Thursday, November 03, 2005

SVA test disaster

Today was the day of the SVA test. After months of hard work and preparation, the Jester was flying this morning. A quick stop at the local Tesco for supplies for the day drew a huge crowd of well wishers and the reaction of most was extremely complimentary. After joining the M4 and getting her up to a decent speed all seemed OK. Until I hit traffic and had to stop. The engine in its infinite wisdom chose that moment to slow right down and stop. My efforts to restart the engine were in vein. By now, the Jester was well inside the hard shoulder and I was already looking for the cause of my problems. After removing a couple of spark plugs and turning the engine over I could see that they were sparking nicely. Not the spark/ignition system then. Next to the fuel. As I was running with no air filter at that point I could see straight down into the carburetor. Fuel was definitely getting there but I noticed that after turning the engine over that what looked like air bubbles were seeping back into the bottom of the carburetor. A closer inspection revealed that the gasket between the bottom of the carb and the inlet manifold was covered in petrol, so much so that it was dripping petrol at some points. Just yesterday I did a dummy run, leaving the engine running for over half an hour in the garage, it appears this problem only started this morning. I loosened and re tightened the two bolts securing the carb down but to no avail. By this point my battery was almost flat due to my efforts to start the engine. I reluctantly rang the SVA centre and cancelled the test and called for recovery too. Once home I went to a local motor factors shop who sold me the gasket for 50p! If you click on the pictures at the top you can see the carb, old gasket and new gasket, and the new gasket fitted with the carb fitted.