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Going coast to coast without a clue


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Palm Springs to Scottsdale, AZ today. About 338 miles. Car continues to run great. Really surprised how nice it is to have the pedal stop for the clutch. I didn’t realize how much effort I was expending trying not to press it to the floor.

 

As I’m driving through the desert and will soon be going through West Texas I got a gas can but they always leak and are too complicated and never work right when you need them. So rather than filling up the can I got a can of TruFuel four stroke gas. It’s 92 octane, zero ethanol fuel intended for lawn equipment in a sealed metal container. Expensive at $20 a gallon but it won’t leak in the car. It’ll give me about 15 additional miles if I need it.

 

Not much I want to do around here so hoping to cover a lot of miles tomorrow.

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I’m getting around 24 mpg the couple of times I’ve calculated.

 

I didn’t bring any tools apart from a credit card. When I took the car for a three day drive back in August I picked up a Harbor Freight tool kit in imperial sizes for around $30. The car was originally 100% imperial but metric parts have crept in. I added a Cruz Tools tool kit for a BMW motorcycle that has metric wrenches, hex keys, duct tape, a better interchangeable screwdriver, vice grips, etc. I’ve added a voltage tester, electric wire stripper/crimper. I’m also carrying red and black wire in 18 gauge, fuses, fuse tester, and an auto store set of connectors including butt connectors, male and female spade connectors, and ring connectors. Don’t forget a big stubby screwdriver for the fasteners on the bottom of the nose cone if you are cursed with those fasteners.

 

At the end of the trip I’m going to create a packing list including a recommended tool kit and list of spares. I am by no means an expert on that topic but I know that everyone will weigh in and add things they have needed so we can come up with a good list.

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I get nervous about fuel when I get 125 miles into a tank and start looking for a station. I have gone as far as 160 miles but don’t recommend it. Out here in the desert and away from interstates, I start looking to fill up around 75 miles if it’s really desolate. I am being very conservative as I have yet to put more than 7 gallons in the 10 gallon tank. When I’m back east and there aren’t big stretches without service, I’ll run the car to empty to see how far it will go and use the TruFuel to make it to the next station for a fill-up so I know the true capacity of the tank.

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Merino wool! You can wear it for a week or a month and it never stinks! I get mine from Unbound Merino or Wool & Prince. It looks like cotton and isn’t as hot as you would expect. For traveling it is the bomb.

 

My apparel consists of the following:

 

Three wool t-shirts (Two is too many)

One long sleeve wool T-shirt

Two merino wool button downs

Three merino wool boxer briefs

Three pairs of Darn Tough merino wool socks

One tight fitting ball cap

One pair of Merrill Barefoot shoes. (Bad shoes but you can shift)

An Arcteryx synthetic fleece

An REI goretex rain jacket which I use as a wind proof outer layer when it’s cold

A pair of jeans

A pair of shorts.

 

I carry packets of tide intended for hand washing laundry and wash things in the sink. Everything will dry overnight except the jeans if you rearrange the furniture to put your clothes line over the AC vent in the cheap hotel. I carry a flat drain stopper for hotel room sinks that don’t have a stopper and a braided latex clothesline to hang things to dry.

 

I got fried the first couple of day because I hate sunscreen. Now I’ve peeled and I’m using 100 spf.

 

My eyesight is awful. I tried to get new prescription sunglasses before the trip but Warby Parker wouldn’t fill my RX. Really fried my eyes. I got some sunglasses that slip over my regular glasses.

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I’m a few days late to this party, but want to suggest that you check the contact in the turn signal bulb socket to see if it has electricity and socket itself is making connection to ground. The ground connection to the chassis often is slightly corroded.

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"The car was originally 100% imperial but metric parts have crept in."

 

Actually things associated with the Vauxhall are metric. So there has always been a mix involved.

The Harbour Freight $30 set has a pretty good mix and for $30 you really can't complain, but watch out as the chrome is so cheap that it can flake off and leave you with a nasty tiny sliver. Ask me how I know.

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For photos, the easiest thing to do if go to @caterhamchronicles on Instagram as I’ve been posting there. I’ll work on posting some here.

 

Scottsdale to Roswell today which was 603 miles by the route I took. There was snow yesterday from eastern Arizona through New Mexico. Roads were dry but it has gotten cold. At my last fill-up it was 32 degrees and I was standing next to a pile of snow left by the plow.

 

Two issues with the car today.

 

I pulled into the gas station and the car died. I thought I had run the tank dry. Only got 6.5 gallons into the tank. It would start but it would die when I tried to let it idle. I carried on nursing the throttle and about 3 miles later I crossed the continental divide at 7,300 feet. When I got back down to 5,000 feet the idle was much improved.

 

The other issue is that the water temp wouldn’t get to operating temps. The car has a 7 qt. oil capacity in the dry sump and a racing radiator that is about four inches front to back. It’s very happy going 7,000 rpm in 100 degree heat but less happy at a constant 3,200 rpm at 40 degrees. I considered two options. The first was to reverse the positive and negative on the radiator fan to have it pull hot air out of the engine compartment. The other was to block the airflow. I covered half the air intake in the nose cone and that took care of the problem.

 

The car continues to run great. Tomorrow I’m on to Marfa Texas for the photo I’ve got to have. Any guesses what it is?

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I’m a few days late to this party, but want to suggest that you check the contact in the turn signal bulb socket to see if it has electricity and socket itself is making connection to ground. The ground connection to the chassis often is slightly corroded.

 

Thanks for the tip. I’ll give that a try.

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Really enjoying reading about your trip. And envious! :)

 

My nose cone has the bottom dzus fasteners, and after about 3 years I just stopped using them. Never had an issue, including hours on track.

 

YMMV, but that’s been my experience.

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Really enjoying reading about your trip. And envious! :)

 

My nose cone has the bottom dzus fasteners, and after about 3 years I just stopped using them. Never had an issue, including hours on track.

 

YMMV, but that’s been my experience.

 

When I removed the cone today, two of the four were unfastened.

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Really enjoying reading about your trip. And envious! :)

 

My nose cone has the bottom dzus fasteners, and after about 3 years I just stopped using them. Never had an issue, including hours on track.

 

YMMV, but that’s been my experience.

 

Have never fastened my bottom ones either.

 

When I was at the track and concerned about "extreme" speeds I made sure that the lip at the bottom was going under the chassis tube for extra grip.

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