Kutuka Motorsport North





OK, spot the cause of death.



Full points doctor, the big blob of white stuff in the oil pickup. That's what comes of swapping a sump at 2am in a mad rush to finish a car, too much goo and the engine sucks the excess up, oil starvation doesn't make for a long life.


Yes, my fault. My bad.

With a full collection of engine bits now on hand the Bear and I strap a short engine together. Everything spotlessly clean, some bits new, a list of correct torque settings and things that we labelled and arrowed and photographed, it’s almost as if we know what we’re doing.


The crank rotates freely, which is a miracle. Pistons charge up and down glaze-busted bores. Sumps and timing covers are attached with only a minor memory of sealant, Alex made me leave the postcode before they were attached, the only snafu being the front oil seal that Bear mangled in his urgency, discovered of course after we’d fitted alternator, water pump etc. Bugger.






















































Why have we painted the pulleys white? Well, the crank pulley cos it makes it easier to time, black on white is easier to see. The water pump, well, er, cos then it matches. Oh don’t start.


We’re stuck for a few days until the head and flywheel arrive, Power4peanuts tinkering with both, I’m finally going to try playing with some slightly-fettled parts.


To occupy the time we attack this old XJ40 someone left us to put shocks on. Something about it being special in some way, or the only one left in existence or some such thing. Makes no odds to tackling the rear shocks though, a bolt’s a bolt on any car.











































With that done and the car cast aside we’ve still got time so we’ve attacked the red car project, and rip apart the donor car for its shell, happy hours, I do enjoy taking them to bits, we’ve got really slick at it now, we can reduce an XJS to a bare, blastable shell in 3 days. Not bad for a Bear with a dodgy set of knees and a jaded solicitor.


XJ40 out, Helen in, and it’s that voodoo that we do so well, engine transplant time. Helen ejects her engine, it’s pretty much a reflex action, one hour, turn your head and cough, one engine on the floor. Bit of a snag though as we’re without a head and flywheel, and the transporting of same from down South to oop North hits a problem and can’t be achieved in time, so I’m back on standard bits again. Damn. At least with standard bits I should have more go than the sub-standard bits I’ve been using, even if they’re not tuned parts, right?


It’s a last-minute panic then to refit the engine, big style. At 11pm on Wednesday night I’m nearly done, which is the moment that a sheepish-looking Bear hands me the clutch release bearing he didn’t fit to the bellhousing. Poor boy discovers that if he takes a major role in a job so that he may claim credit for the rebuilt bottom end or re-bushed gearbox, so does the blame for the error also attach. To his credit he stays up with me to tackle the problem, but the need to drop the prop, crossmember, box and bellhousing does slow one down a tad.











































Of course then the gearbox he’d fixed shows a fault, sticking selectors mean I can’t get gears, we put the old one back in. Then the engine won’t fire, and we can’t make the new throttle work, the voltage output doesn’t seem to be there, I’ve clearly shorted something because the power feed to the horns starts smoking etc, it’s one of those nights.


It’s 11.30pm when we finally get her running, packed and on the road by 1, arrive at track 3am. But other than the issue of tyres, of which I have none, we’re ready to rock OultonPark. Tyres are optional, Mallory ate mine. It at least ate all of them roughly evenly, the car is using them quite nicely this year, we’re halfway into the season and I’m just thinking about needing the second set, but still, Mallory was heavy on the n/s. I’ve one set of tyres that are just good enough to do the race on, what the hell I’ll fit for testing I don’t know!


Oulton is where I need to wake up and start driving properly, because we’ve still not shown the car’s ability. Snett was a disaster, Anglesey was no-grip, Brands I screwed up, and Mallory shows a sullen, bored driver mumping round with no real commitment or thought put in, I’ve not yet rewarded the car with anything approaching a good drive. The video of my attack on Gerrards at Mallory is embarrassing, looks as if I lost all interest in conquering the circuit.


Oulton was where I started to work it all out last year, I know vaguely where to put the car on the track here and if I’m going to remember that late-apex high-speed approach and make the car have it, this is the place, it will all hinge on actually thinking about my lines instead of just hanging on and waiting for the tyres to stop squealing. Oulton and Cadwell, 6-pot tracks, this is where it’s got to happen if it’s going to.


Most played in the garage this week – Def Leppard, On Through The Night.

Injury of the week – accidentally punched myself hard in the face.

Helper of the week – Dermott. Or maybe Bear. Tough call.


Look, we cleaned something!


Ignore the wine bottle, it's er, degreaser, yes, that's right, degreaser, we'd never condone alcohol during daylight hours.


Nearly there! I think these chains are meant to do something?


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