Well that day has arrived. After a false start due to fuel pump issues and a fuel supply problem the day has come to turn the key in anger.

During testing it was found that the first fuel pump fitted was just not up to the job. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. The first fault with the pump was that it could not get above 2 bar and this really upset the SAAB fuel management system. So the pump was dumped in favour of an 8 bar pump. This new pump sounds like a small jet aircraft instead of a the softer prop powered model aircraft sound of the old pump. Lots of rubber mountings later and things are relatively sane again in the sound department. The new pump also required a new pre-filter because the original one and it's own built in filter. So even more plumbing is required!!

The next problem was found to be the fuel tank outlet being a small 8mm in diameter. This would have been fine whilst the on tick over but starting and running up hill at high RMP or a full boost meant the pump could not deliver the correct fuel pressure at 3 bar @ 1.7 L/min at around 185BHP up to aprox 3.5 bar at 2.5 L/min.

These parameters and faults were all found by pushing the ECU through some simulated events, admittedly while the engine was trying to push around 400BHP on a bench (or more accurately a steel girder frame). Actually not my engine, but hey I'm not taking my one out of the car to do tests on when I can trash someone else’s! Only 100BHP more to find then........

With the software proved on that set up and a nice cool 240BHP very soft program burnt back into my cars brain it was time for some more work.

Pre Filter with Big Bore Fuel Pipes

So the fuel pipes were increased to 10mm the outlet to the fuel pump increased to 12mm. A pre-filter was installed and heavy pump wiring ran from the front of the car along with better earth wiring. It seems this pump is a little sensitive to volts drop when on crank, the heavier wiring solved this issue. See even bench testing leaves gaps in the design work! A couple of small fuel leaks were quickly rectified and the fuel system was passed fit for duty.

Main (10mm in/out) Fuel Filter

There seems to be some debate about where this filter lives in normal life. I purchased it on it's spec and was informed it was intended for a Suzuki Rhino SJ413. Some say it may be a motorcycle filter and yet others say Suzuki Quad. Looks like I may need to do some more searching when the filter needs replacement. All I know is it has the Suzuki logo moulded onto it and has 10mm inlet and outlet bores. I'm hoping when I next remove it there will be some part numbers.......

OK on goes the DI unit, the fuel system is primed using a spare battery so lets see what happens. If this blog ends after this statement then you can guess the outcome and I'll see you in the burns unit of Colchester General......

Click for First Start Video.

Click For First Start Video (Mobile).

I'm still here, the smoke was all cleaning fluids burning off and even my exhaust welding held together. How happy am I......

The final part fitted to the fuel pump/tank area was a alloy plate to stop the road wheel throwing muck and stones at the pipes, pumps & filters.

Now lets put the wheels back on and see if the beast will move.

Yes!! Within the confines of the driveway and workshop it all works well. The clutch bites early so gear changes may be a bit long, but the action is smooth and quite. The gearbox is sweat and falls to hand the the steering, although not stressed in any way, is surprisingly light. Unfortunately there is a nagging niff in the air

It's all gone horribly wrong!

After much sniffing of petrol fumes the source of the wafting high has been discovered. The bend radius of the fuel tank is obviously on the limits and this one has fractured. Fuel is weeping from the offside rear of the tank approximately 25-45mm in from the corner. The reason it has taken time to find the problem is because the neoprene that the tank is mounted on has been happily getting stoned on the leaking fuel. Finally the glue has dissolved, the neoprene anti-vibe mat has removed itself and can now be rung out like a wet sponge. With this stuff out of the way the weeping area is much easier to discovered. It's a gentle weep from what must be a hair line fracture in the aluminium. Some one didn't check the alloy thickness / bend radius charts or the wrong grade of alloy has been used and its all gone very very wrong.

This is going to create weeks if not months of work as the whole body has to be lifted off the car to remove the fuel tank. Now there was planning for this sort of event but mainly at the front end of the car in the engine / gearbox area. Some of this forward planning will help. But the rear end still involves the cursed roll bar, that only just fits and splits the roll bar body work hoop and the mere sign of movement. Then there is the rear fog light that only just fits and the rear cockpit nightmare, which is a two tyre lever and repair the damage afterwards, fitting process.

Add to all this the wiring effort that has been put into the car which, although mostly plug & socket, will still require the bonded components to be disconnected and re wired later.

So the run to Le Mans 2011 has been CANCELLED. Maybe 2012

Suddenly no one here is holding there breath for 2012 either.

The component build quality is really starting to hurt the drive and enthusiasm. Up to now things that don't quite fit. Gelcoat finish quality that required paint work. Parts not quite the right shape, bodywork required cutting and rebuilding. Things that were too green to be used as is. All have been work around things that were a shrug or head in hands moment. But to get this close. With a fully running only mirrors away from IVA car. Having it set back this far by one fundamental miscalculation or quality control error, has to have been the biggest knock to everyone.

Saturday morning: spent checking torques, trims, tracking and rakes ready for a first drive around the Priory Lodge private roads.

Sunday morning: spent working out how to strip the whole damn car back to it's chassis to remove the fuel tank just to start the work all over again.

“Tiz beyond F**ki* words” the statement that said it all!

The Russian model has been cancelled and her photographer postponed. Now the ferry re-booking has started in earnest.....................

OK We are back on track. As of 18/04/2011 the fuel tank is sealed again. Using Petro Patch to seal the bottom rear bend radius of the tank and whole pots of Petro Patch paste the tank has been completely sealed. At a later stage, when the can is fully tested and running a major attack will be made on it (during the cold dark days of winter) and the tank will be replaced.

For now it's onwards and downwards ….

Despite my best efforts the fuel pressure issue is still just that, an issue. The problem has been very hard to identify and the proof will only be know once some new parts arrive. With the laptop plugged into the cars brain, the fuel pressure monitored with a 4.5 Bar gauge the problem looked impossible. There was nothing wrong. But the car died of fuel starvation sometimes at around 3500-4000RPM. The laptop showed the starvation but the fuel pressure gauge read 3 Bar. OH my poor little brain. The problem was also intermittent but would always correct itself when back on tick over. So it looked like a high rev fuelling issue, so lets get busy with it. WRONG! After 2 days investigation the fault was found to be at tick over. Yes yes I know “it always corrected itself at tick over”. But the problem created and rectified itself at tick over. Ouch!

Click here to see the beast transform into a thing of beauty

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