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Reliant North Cape Challenge 2008

Preparing for the journey - May 2008

Only a few weeks to go so it’s a big update this month - over to Geoff.

Well with the big test day looming I thought I had best do a short trip. So after wondering where to go I decided to go and see Simon my friend in Derby. The trip went well and I was even stuck in traffic on the M5 for 45 minutes and there was no sign of any problems. I thought about going round the Toll road as I forgot to print off the letter that Elvis has here to take with me. But feeling good about the car I thought I would see what they say. So pulling up to the booth there was no one there so I rang the bell and then explained that there machine was trying to charge me to much (£3.50) then with out any fight the lady said hold on sir and as quick as you like the machine now said £1.50 so if you use the tool road point it out as I have used it loads of times now with the same result. Now with 100 miles under New Blue’s belt I was a little more confident about the main trip.

Well Saturday morning soon came round and at 7:30am with a few tools oil and water packed in the boot and the brake down number in my pocket (If I never took it I would of broke down) I turned out of my road and got on to the M5.

I had decided to motorway it all the way there this would be the M5, M6 and M74 then it would only be a few miles on the A704. This would really test the car as it had to run at high speed most of the way. Well a steady 60 – 65 mph anyway lol.

As I got on to the M6 I heard a rather strange noise from the back of the car, as I could not stop where I was I tried to work out what it could be. It sounded like flexing metal and the only thing that I could think of was the vent to the tank was blocked and this was causing the tank to flex so I pulled over and jump out to undo the tank cap expecting it to vent out when removed as I was sure this is what was making the noise as when I stopped the engine the noise stopped. Cap undone and no hissing sound at all confused by this I put the cap back on and thought I would stop at the services to have a proper look for the source of the noise. Then as I was driving along a light came on in my head and I thought rear wiper, As I don’t have am arm on it I would have no idea if the motor was running or not. Locating the switch I flicked it and the noise stopped, success lol I now knew the source of the noise. So I just carried on to my first stop which would be 150 miles away.

The junctions were flying by and before long I found my self at junction 23, when all of a sudden the heavens opened up big time and you could only see about 25 feet in front of you and people were still flying down the out side lane then everything in front stopped very quickly so I darted into the hard shoulder to miss the van in front to find a Jag there but got round him going though a deep puddle. The Jag was smashed up as it had been hit by another car that was now parked side ways in the middle land after bouncing off the centre barrier. I got though but my engine was now missing a beat just before junction 25 my engine died. I knew what the problem was it was all that water it had got to the dizzy I tried to restart her but she was having none of it so I called the brake down squad and while trying to explain to them that all I needed was WD40 I tried once more and she started so a quick good by to the Brake down people I headed off to stop at the next service station. I made it there and parked up. I first went and had a hot chocolate as the heater in New Blue is not working so was a tad cold. After I went across to the garage and brought WD40 of all the things I had got I can’t believe I forgot this lol. After a dry with the cloth and a quick squirt she was running fine again so I set off on my way again.

Next thing I noticed was the oil pressure drop down to 20 from 50 so reaching the 150 mile point I pulled in to the services and checked the oil which was low so a quick top up and some more fuel in the tank I set off once more this time it was non stop to Edinburgh.

When I got to Edinburgh it was hectic I turned into this small side road that used to go to the castle just to find out at the top there were bollards there so you could not get though. So doing a three point turn I came back down and went around by the courts just to find out the road access to the castle was closed for the day as there was something going on. So the best I could do was take a picture at the road block. Then the chap that was guarding the way asked me what the wee car was for and so I explained it to him and he pointed out that if I drive around the corner I could get a nice shot with the castle in the back ground. So off I went and finding a nice spot parked the car at the right angle got out armed with my camera and took some pictures. Then all of a sudden there are loads of people taking pictures of New Blue, as I went to get in this one chap then says “Hey do you mind I am trying to get a picture” all I could do was lath and move away.

Once away from the castle I went to Tina’s house where she gave me a super lunch and it also gave the car a three hour rest before the return trip. I left at 18:30 to return home and had a trouble free trip back. The strange thing was I used three and a half litres of oil on the way up but on the way back only one litre.

So now New Blue has proved her self for the trip 700 miles in total that day was clocked up and that is a large mileage for a big car let alone a little one like New Blue.

There were some little niggles that need sorting though that showed up during the run. The first when I filled the fuel tank up fuel leaked out over the floor Doh it looked like the breather pipe has a small split in it so I kept the fuel level down which means no wasted fuel.

The second was the mile counter was not working even though the Speedo was.

The third was I found out the coil was shorting out at the funnel.

The forth was that pesky near side rear light had lost its brake light again.

The fifth was the vacuum pipe was sucking in air somewhere.

The sixth there is no heat out of the heater.

New Blue in Edinburgh.

Pete - the human car jack!

North Cape stickers on the doors.

Dodgy petrol sender unit.

New Blue and Ole Blue get to meet for the first time since New Blue has been painted.

New spare wheel rack.

New Blue with crash helmet!

Click to enlarge image

The first photo of all the vehicles together - click image to enlarge.

.... meanwhile Elvis had to read some instructions ... on how to put up the new tent we shall use for the journey.

So not to bad really

I will now get the inside ready and collect the items that have been promised to us so they also can be fitted.

 .... a week later:

Well more work has now been done. I have got the steel to make the wheel carrier for the rear so that it can hold two spare wheels and started work on it. The frame went together well though with no gas in my Mig I opted to use the Arc welder instead (Or as Daz says my Granddad welder lol).

Once the frame was built I could not make the hinges as I needed to put the brackets on the chassis first.

So wheel ramps out I put the car in the air and went under to have a look. After having a think and then think again I decide to fit it as you would a tow bar. The only difference is that I will bring the brackets straight though the bumper. This means some careful making up as I want the hole as close as possible to the metal. Once marked up I took the 50mm hole saw and drilled two holes (one each side).

This then lead it’s self to problem two the fuel tank will now need to be dropped as with any one that’s fitted a two bar the pipes of the fuel tank are in the way.

What surprised me was how easy the bolts came undone even the clamps on the pipes by the breather which was shot. As I dropped the tank loads of rust feel off it and then I seen the cause of the leak. The retaining ring clamp for the sender unit was rotted away so the sender was just sitting there. The pipe on the sender was broken also. How she ran I don’t know. So this held things up while a replacement tank and a new sender were sorted.

The refit should be simple after fitting the carrier brackets yer right, what I forgot was you have to lower the tank by 1”. Back to the vice and three brackets later I fitted the tank and connected all the pipes. The two main pipes from the filler neck have to be undone and lowered so new ones were not needed apart from the breather which was rotten.

All back together and working measurements can now be taken to fit the hinges.

Pete came over to give a quick hand and could not resist the temptation of finding a new use for the brackets.

I have also renewed the complete HT side of the eclectics so this will be good and ready for the trip.

I have also bled the heater and now it works (Yippee) lol that will please Elvis.

Geoff Payne - May 2008.


These are the last pictures of Ole Blue to be taken. Shortly afterwards Ole Blue was destroyed by fire whilst travelling to the 50th National Reliant rally.

Go to June 2008