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Going coast to coast without a clue


SanderGA

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I’m on to Marfa Texas for the photo I’ve got to have. Any guesses what it is?

 

Its famous for its mystery lights although when I was there it was pretty underwhelming. Fantastic night sky for star gazing.

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Its famous for its mystery lights although when I was there it was pretty underwhelming. Fantastic night sky for star gazing.

 

Yeah it looks like a really cool town I’ll be tired of in about an hour. But I’ve got a nice hotel room waiting and I’m betting I can get a decent meal.

 

I’d love some stargazing but I think my telescope is bigger than my car.

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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?

 

I'm going to guess the Prada Marfa shot?

 

Thanks for all the updates - fun to live vicariously through your posts.

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That’s the one. Going to go back in the morning and do it right.

 

Yesterday was tough because it was too cold and too many miles. Today was glorious. Nothing like a good convertible on a cool, sunny day.

 

Tomorrow I head to Austin.6a172c286d343c7d2e51cc19f111218c.jpg

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Check the ‘gram @caterhamchronicles or wait until tomorrow. Like many, many people, I am constantly frustrated by the forum sites inability to provide an effective mechanism for uploading a photo.

 

Tapatalk seems to be a half decent bridge honestly. Even if it is one picture at a time

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Marfa to Austin today. Around 450 miles. The car just runs so nothing to report there. I’ve now covered over 4,200 miles on this trip and have 950 to go.

 

I was certain I was going to run out of gas twice today. Both times the needle made it almost to E and I covered over 150 miles on each tank full. When I filled up, the car took 8.3 gallons each time. It appears I have an accurate fuel gauge. My fuel consumption has dropped to 18 mpg. When I get home I’m having the timing checked and the carbs adjusted then putting it on a dynometer.

 

 

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One thought I’m having is pulling the heater out. It’s woefully inadequate and the pull knob is very hard to move. I’ve been afraid of busting open a hole in the cooling system by pulling the stuck knob and finding myself stranded. Rather than a heater, I want to keep heated electric motorcycle jacket liners in the car that I can plug in. It would be much warmer. Is pulling the heater difficult? Would anyone perceive it to be a downgrade to remove the heater?

 

 

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It’s finished! 5,100 miles and I’m home.

 

Only car related event of the last two days was a flat tire.

 

Odd thing was that I probably drove on a totally flat tire for between 50 and 1,000 miles. I never noticed. A guy at a gas station pointed it out. The car is so light the sidewalls support it. It didn’t seem to harm the tire.

 

The drama was that I didn’t have the key to remove the wheel cover to remove the nuts to change the tire. I put 16 ounces of Slime in and it has held 18psi for 900 miles.

 

The key is in my spares pile in Utah. I’ll have that shipped and be able to change the tire.

 

 

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Quite an adventure, congratulations! You put more mileage on your se7en in less than a month than most do over the period of their ownership:)!

 

Are your ears still ringing? Are you tired of answering questions at gas stations? How much does the tank actually hold?

 

I look forward to reading your follow-up reports, including the inevitable upgrades/improvements.

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Fortunately, my ears are not ringing. After the first few days I wore 3M disposable ear plugs except for about 30 minutes each day. I can definitely see this car bringing on tinnitus. I went without for 30 minutes each day to see if there were any disturbing noises I was missing.

 

The most I ever put in the tank was 8.5 gallons at about 155 miles. At that point the needle was very close to empty. I believe it's a 10 gallon tank with 8.5 usable gallons. My fuel consumption is down to 18 mpg. I'm hoping I can increase that by tuning the carbs. It's clearly running rich.

 

 

The questions at the gas station are generally ok but when I'm trying to get something done or concerned about something they can get annoying. If I was a 65 year old woman looking to meet a man, I'd get a Caterham and just drive from one gas station to the next because every 70 something man in the zip code will come talk to anyone driving a Caterham. Thankfully, one of those men pointed out my flat tire which I wouldn't have noticed for a while otherwise.

 

Here's my list of things to address:

New windshield as mine's cracked and chipped, etc.

Refresh the rear suspension as it seems really worn out. Front seems to have been restored sometime since the car was new.

New rear wings as mine are full of star cracks.

Check the carbs and timing and put it on a dyno.

Switch to my smaller 14" wheels.

Hunt down and address the worst of the rattles.

New muffler as mine's pretty well shot.

New oil lines for the dry sump as they have some minor leaks.

New temp sensor so the radiator fan will work on its own but leave in an auxiliary switch.

New tail lights as these are too dim.

High mounted brake light.

New engine mounts.

Replace bent steering column.

New front pads and discs.

Reinstall the parking brake.

Fix the squealing I get when I let the clutch out in first and second. Seems to be coming from the rear end rather than the clutch.

Maybe switch to a hydraulic clutch with a slave cylinder outside the bell housing.

Change to a thinner oil so the car will reach operating temperature in daily driving.

Determine if I'm hearing detonation or not and if so, address it.

Hook up reverse lights.

Fix turn signal.

New mirrors.

 

That's pretty much my list of planned maintenance and upgrades. Most of my "upgrades" are just putting the car back closer to new condition or regular maintenance. I really don't see a need to upgrade the engine as it has more horsepower than I can use already. The suspension easily pulls over 1.0 g so there's no need to upgrade that. I just want it closer to the way it was when new.

 

I was very fortunate to get a great car that did the trip with almost no drama.

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Here's a summary of what I needed for the trip. This will be my packing list going forward. Items marked with an * are items I didn't have but will take next time.

 

Great weather. I did 20 days without a drop of rain. I was so lucky in that regard

 

A car in good shape. I was fortunate the car I got was well maintained. Honestly, it was crazy to do the trip in a car I hadn't done a shake down run with and gotten familiar with. If I had owned the car for six months and driven it before this trip, none of the problems I encountered would have happened.

 

Doors, sunglasses and ear plugs

 

AAA membership. I thought I could get this last minute. You can but only the basic level which offers a 7 mile tow. To get the high-end AAA membership you have to be a basic member for 90 days with zero tows. After the 90 day period, you can upgrade to the membership that offers tows of up to 200 miles.

 

Here's a list of tools I ended up with:

Socket wrench

Metric and imperial sockets

Metric and imperial wrenches

Vice grips

Screwdriver with interchangeable tips

Stubby screwdriver for removing the nose

Hex keys in metric and imperial

Pliers

Needle nose pliers

Wire snips

Torx wrenches (there are no torx fasterners on the car but as I change things out, I add them because they are so much better than the alternatives)

Blue lock-tite

Zip ties

Thin and thick sharpie

Crescent wrench

Air pressure gauge which I now use at least once a day

SAE powered electric pump

Jack and tire changing kit including any necessary key to remove the wheels

Baling wire

Duct tape

Voltage tester

Test lead

Wire stripper, cutter, crimper

A couple of inline fuse holders

A couple of switches.

Ring and spade electrical connectors

Butt connectors

18 gauge wire in a couple of colors

A charged cordless drill with drill bits (seems excessive but was a huge help)

Replacement bulbs for headlights, tail lights, turn signals - Test all lights before the trip

Fuses

Fuse puller

Map of fuse placement in the fuse box

At least two SAE plugs connected to the battery, fused and run to the cabin and one with an in-line switch

SAE to USB converter to power my phone (Note these will drain the battery over time so pull it every night or switch it off.

Quadlock windshield phone mount, Quadlock phone case and Quadlock wireless charging head

Spare phone with SIM card from provider

Spare eyeglasses

Eyeglasses leash to keep them from blowing away

 

Consumables and spares

Oil as I burn a quart every 1,500 miles

Clutch cable

Throttle cable

Brake fluid

Rags

Nitrile gloves

Slime and/or tire plugs

Waterless hand cleaner

Something to clean the windshield

Silicone tape for bad hoses

Gas can, funnel and siphon

 

I hope this list is helpful. Feel free to add anything I didn't include that you would feel is helpful.

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I know you said you didn't experience rain, but my personal experience tripping on the motorcycles and being caught in the rain with Aeroscreen on the Cat only I'd consider adding a few items in regards to weather/water management to that pretty encompassing list. Even with doors and windshield in a serious rain event the car becomes a bathtub even if parked. Driving with Aero around town I keep a full face helmet in the car for the rain contingency.

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I expected rain and took both the top and the tounneau cover. I agree a helmet would be a great thing to have and I almost took my Bluetooth full face helmet as audio would have been nice. I guess the downside is that the helmet takes a good bit of space and it’s one more thing that might be stolen.

 

That reminds me. I had a messenger bag that I used as a “go bag”. It held valuables such as my laptop and cameras. Whenever I walked away from the car I took it with me. It rode in the passenger seat so I also kept things in it I might need while driving such as lip balm, change for tolls, my wallet, and ear plugs.

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Sander,

This caught my eye "Change to a thinner oil so the car will reach operating temperature in daily driving."

 

Do you know if the car has a thermostat? From your description of it's cold weather behavior is sounds like it doesn't. I'd suggest checking that out. Running the engine cold won't do it a bit of good. Beware of attempting to control engine temp with oil viscosity, that may get you into trouble!

 

Andy

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I assume it has a thermostat but I don’t know for certain. The behavior does seem odd. If it has a thermostat and it closes the water flow it should heat up nicely. It’s odd that doesn’t happen. I’m going to check that.

 

 

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