Only one race and four engine failures …….

Kyalami, conrod through the block, Passion for Speed, Zwartkops, practise, run a bearing, raceday overheating and then there was past Sunday, Super Traxday.

On race day stopping in the pits, I noticed water pouring out from one of the waterpump bolts. An engine that can not hold water pressure, reaches water boiling point sooner, followed by … and …. Not an ideal situation. We also suspected a blown cylinder head gasket.

Well, we promised ourselves two weeks rest from working on our Anglia. That rest was over in two days. Removing the cylinder head, expecting an easy quick repair, ya, right. Lift the cylinder head to find a near perfect cylinder head gasket. The cylinders are almost perfect mirrors. Not looking for too much work I removed the waterpump to find the leaking bolt hole open all the way into the water pocket next to the number one cylinder. The hole was cleaned and sealed from the inside of the block and then pressing the excess from the inside of the hole with the bolt giving me the depth required for fitting the waterpump and alternator bracket.

We then reassembled the engine using a new head gasket. A start revealed no air bubbles in the radiator and our leaking waterpump bolt was sorted. Not wanting to make too much noise at home and avoiding public roads, Sunday morning we load Fossa and head to Super Traxday.

We are there to test and for probably the first time, with absolutely no expectations. Just as well. We only do two stints. Both ending with a very hot engine and the second stint ending with us pumping oil into the catch tank. Yet another first for us!

Gary said that during his last time out with the engine he tried to break it, apparently he came quite close to it!

Next race, 7 March, Kyalami. Is that a target date. No not really. I plan to start researching the reason for the overheating tomorrow and maybe pull the engine tomorrow. I will then strip both engines and look at our options. With a bit of luck, buy spares again on Saturday …..

I am in desperate need of some success! Trust me, sometimes it is very hard to stay positive and motivated.


2015 Passion for Speed, what a weekend ….

Sitting here, still tired from a hectic past week and feeling touched by the sun ….

This “report” follows our previous entry directly, as later that very day we purchase another engine. It is immediately stripped and shows a lot of promised with it already at 40″ oversize cylinders, standard crank etc ….. Cleaning follows. Part selection from all our available parts. We decide on using this “new” block. The “project” becomes the child of “The Roach”. Target, have it ready, installed and idling on the 25th ….. A lot less time than our last build.

The crankshaft is taken in for polishing and the main journal are machined to 10″ under size. Source the required spares. For some or other reason AE big end and main bearing seem to be obsolete and we can only get “no name” shells. Why AE, well this is South Africa and we simply do not have “cheap” and easy access to the “preferred” shells, pistons, …….. There are so many Ford Kent engines in use in S.A. I think it can be profitable business to import and have a selection of engine components readily available.

“The Roach” assembles the engine with assistance and advise when needed but we do not achieve our target date. I have put in for a weeks leave and the time is used to complete and fit. On Tuesday, 27, we have first start of the engine, it sounds very good and we have a lot of expectations ….. I spend Wednesday and part of Thursday completing and finalizing settings.

With all of us on leave Friday Fossa is loaded and hauled to Zwartkops Raceway. With the size of the event pit bays are limited and we set up our own little pit again. The first practise stint I take Fossa to the track entry. We get one timed lap, second stint we do five timed laps and a big end failure. Disappointment, unbelievable! More about that somewhere in the future as the plan is not to strip that engine for a while. An observation: we were more reliable using a slightly worn standard oil pump than the high pressure high volume oil pump. All the HPHV oil pump has done so far is give a seriously “false sense of engine safety” and a worn camshaft!

Fossa still running

Fossa still running

Fossa during practise 1

Fossa during practise 1

Fossa during practise 2

Fossa during practise 2

For a moment it is hands up ….. Annalie goes to sit and watch some of the other cars on their practise sessions, Chris “The Roach” is circulating and I am sitting in our pit resting. Gary Stacey pulls up prior to what would be our qualifying session. “The Roach” and me help Gary with verification of his Mk1 Cortina’s timing and our situation comes to mind. We have that scary engine build by Gary at home. I do not want to risk breaking it as it is a work of art compared to what we build and probably worth the same as a “van Gogh“. Gary assures us that it is unbreakable and if we break it the spares are ours. I send Annalie a Google chat, “do we want to race tomorrow” and I get a “how” reply. Before I can reply Annalie makes a hurried appearance ….. It is shortly before 15h00 and we are loaded and heading home collecting oil and a new oil filter en route.

By 18h00 the damaged engine is out, we start stripping components we need such as intake manifold ….. At 23h00 the engine is fitted and idling. Time for bed ….


Up and loaded at 05h00, trackside 06h00, re erect our temporary pit, oil level confirmed, timing set, engine sounding good we are ready and as tired as we can be. No time to test. No idea what is inside. We wait for race one ….

Race one: With no qualifying and no nominated time we are grateful to take up the rear. With our original engine this would be playing up the field as there are quite a few cars slower than our best lap times. I am looking forward to that, shock one, the engine configuration is way different to what I am used to. She only wants to run from about 4000rpm. I am not sure if it is a setup issue i.e. ignition timing and I do not really want destroy the engine. Shock two, busy sussing out the Porsche in front of me, confused that I am not able to munch him for breakfast and go for lunch when after two laps she suddenly starts to lose power after corner four and her temperature shoots beyond what her gauge can measure, tap off the adrenaline pedal and coast her to the pits.

Fossa behind that Porsche

Fossa behind that Porsche

Gary Stacey confirms my suspicion with regards to her power band. He advises it is carrying a 300° cam which should be in its happy zone between 4000 and 8500rpm. This cam SCREAMS “SIDE DRAUGHTS PLEASE”!!!

Kent Camshaft profile  sheet

Kent Camshaft profile sheet

Also unusual for us, we load early being tired to the power 10 and on our way out meet some guys of the Ford Anglia Club.

Some serious Ford Anglia supporters, from the left, Andre, Danie, "The Pilot", Tristan and "The Roach"

Some serious Ford Anglia supporters, from the left, Andre, Danie, “The Pilot”, Tristan and “The Roach”

As at this stage the assumption is a blown cylinder head gasket, yes, yes I know about assumption. For now just drain the water from the sump …… will attend to the rest over the next two weeks. Everybody that gives their all, we have gone way beyond, needs a break.

Due to the time needed to keep an old car on the track and the extreme strain on our budget we will only enter when Fossa is ready. This will lead to less or late entries from now on.

Greetings ………….