Monday, November 9, 2009

Almost back racing

Work has proceeded on The Beast at Carwise over the summer. The accident damage is fixed, the new engine is in, the ally radiator is back in, the oil pipework is now 5/8” diameter and as a consequence the oil temperature (which we can now measure!) is consistently 10-15 deg lower than the water temperature, which is comforting.

We’ve done a few shakedown runs, the most eventful of which was a run down towards Hameem along Desert Challenge Day 1 route. Fortunately Alan Passmore was with us, because we suddenly experienced severe overheating in the dune section. Investigation showed the brackets which support the a/c compressor (which was retained only as an adjustment pulley) had bent, allowing the serpentine belt to fall off. Unable to fix it, we came back to Dubai with Alan, returning next day to fit the repaired brackets. But the drama continued – despite re-tensioning the belt, it was slipping, and the rad was boiling. Eventually, after replacing the belt, I was able to drive it back to Dubai. As a result, the a/c compressor has now been replaced with a spring-loaded Corvette pulley, which maintains the belt in correct tension, and in better contact with the water pump pulley.

Further shakedowns have led to the discovery of wear in the front diff, caused by partial engagement of the ARB locker, due in turn to a sticky solenoid valve. Fortunately the wear is only on the thrust washers, replacements of which are awaited from ARB.

The latest improvement has been the installation of some really good adjustable roof vents, from Autopro Motorsports in the USA. Two forward facing vents and one rearward one now provide excellent airflow through the cockpit, making a huge difference to our comfort level!

The bad news is that the auto section of the November 13th ‘Desert X’ has been cancelled due to ‘lack of entries’ – the day after the entry forms were sent out! We are not amused. Hopefully the remaining legs of ‘Desert X’ will go ahead as planned.

We also have dates now for the international rallies, which we plan to contest again. The total schedule looks like this:

11th December 2009 Desert X
8th - 9th January 2010 Desert X Double Header
12th - 13th February 2010 Desert X Double Header
16th - 18th February 2010 Hail Baja (Saudi Arabia)
27th March - 1st April 2010 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
16th April 2010 Desert X