Tuesday, 19 April 2011

VX220 Turbo: The leaky nipple...

In preparation for my first sprint at Ingliston, I've splashed out on some new alloys, tyres and brakes. A nice glossy set of white Team Dynamics 1.2's with Toyo R888's. I had 888's on my MX5 and found them progressive and a hell of a lot grippier then normal road tyres, so I'm hoping for similar results on the VX. As for the brakes I went for cheap standard discs off ebay and CL5+ pads which weren't cheap but were highly recommended.

Managed to get everything fitted on one sunny Saturday with my girlfriend very kindly helping. Bought some new bolts to hold the wheel arch liners and under trays on from ebay. Unfortunately the craptastic plastic screws used on the arches don't work very well so I might have to find a better solution to fasten them onto the car. Also added a breather pipe for the gearbox, been told without this you can get oil pissed on to the passenger side rear wheel under hard cornering, which doesn't sound great.

To give all the changes a shakedown I did a Dreadnought track evening at Knockhill. All started well with the new brakes feeling much sharper and the tyres gripping well but after a couple of laps the abs started kick in very early and after a couple more laps the brake pedal went straight to the floor, which is rather alarming when coming towards the hairpin at 100mph, upon returning to the pits to let everything cool down, I noticed the pads were smoking a little but nothing too alarming. After pumping the pedal and a quick drive in the surrounding country side to cool the brakes the pedal came back. Went out again and within 4 or 5 laps they were cooked again.
Not sure what to try I thought I'd see what happened if I disconnected the abs. Which just involves unplugging one of the front wheel sensors. Instantly the car was easier to drive under heavy braking as the pedal was the same for every corner, unlike with the abs on where it was a lottery whether the pedal would be rock hard and useless(abs active) or softer and much sharper, until I cooked the brakes again. I'm actually pretty shocked at how bad the abs is, in fact it appears to be dangerous as the brakes become almost ineffective when it's active. I'll be keeping it unplugged for all track days and sprints from now on.

Cutting the day short I did a little more poking around the brakes and noticed the drivers side front calliper was leaking and managed to strip red paint off the calliper and drip onto the brand new white alloys, not good.

Upon further investigation it appears that the bleed nipple wasn't fully tightened on the offending calliper, undoubtedly caused by the mechanic that did a brake fluid change and service less than a month ago....
Hoping this was the sole cause of the loss of brake pressure but just in case I'm going to flush out the brakes with some new higher boiling point fluid and do a track day at Kames on Sunday to make sure it's sorted.

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