Ignition switch & tire status

I removed the intermittent ignition switch and replaced with a toggle switch and starter button.

Also checking the tires after about 6000 miles, pretty close to being bald. I certainly expected them to last a little longer.



Its been a while…

….since my last blog, a year has gone by. Summer is over, we have 3 feet of snow on the ground and the 7 is put away for the winter.

Over the summer we had driven down to Los Gatos for the annual 7 get together, and during that trip the speedo died permanently. So I just left it broken and relied on my GPS to get my speed and mileage.

My eyesight has gotten to the point that I need reading glasses when I have my distance contact lenses in. When I don’t have my contacts in, I have some bifocal sunglasses. But, where I had mounted the GPS, it was above the lens cutover horizontal  meaning that I could not read anything unless I tilted my head way back. Clearly I needed to move the GPS lower.

The final solution takes inspiration from F1 cars, where they display all kinds of data on the steering wheel. So, I have mounted the GPS on the steering wheel. Sofar it seems to work OK, but I have driven only limited mileage before winter set in.


This evening I went to take a look at the speedo sensor. It appears to be working correctly- with ignition on and turning the wheel slowly the led is the sensor turns on & off matching the toothed ring timing. At least, I know I’m getting +12v and a ground. Next thing to check is that the signal is making its way to the speedo. That’s the next thing to check.

While doing that, I discovered that the ignition switch is intermittent. I removed the switch assembly and found most of it was loose. So, I need a replacement.

I remember when waiting for my 7 kit to arrive, Randy informed me that there was a delayed schedule due to a faulty batch of ignition switches. Well, I guess I got one, but it took a while to shake loose.

Hat on deflector



Well, I found out what keeps my hat on (actually baseball cap).  I removed part of the driver side deflector, took the car out and my hat flew off at 50mph. Its the lower part of the deflector- so, I’ll have to try some more experiments with that part of the airflow. See the red circled area in the picture.













Shortie soft-top fixed


To fix the problem of the individual pop fasteners coming loose.  I found a piece of extruded aluminum 3/4″ x 1/8″, cut to length and bent at either end to follow the top windscreen contour. This involved heating the aluninum until it JUST started to bend and using large pliers, form the curve. Note that the curve is on the wide way (3/4″), so its quite tricky to get it right. Also if you heat the aluminum too much, is just breaks off.

With the bends on either end finished, I marked and the drilled the holes to mount the pop fasteners. Mounted the fasteners and verified the fit onto the top windscreen.

Then I removed all the screws and pop fasteners and started threading the aluminum extrusion into the seam of the soft-top. This was a very tight squeeze and took about 1/2 hour. Once in place, I found each of the mounting holes and screwed on the pop fastener and completed with a stainless steel acorn nut. With all those in place, I installed the shortie and went out for a test drive. Took it up to 70mph and the top stayed on – test passed.

A few maintenance activities

While Jeff & I were comparing cars on Sunday morning, I noticed some oil on the outside of the sump. So, on Tuesday evening I decided to take a look. Jacked up the front end and I noticed the LHS front stub axle bearing was loose – there was play in the wheel.

But first things first. The oil temp sender mounted in the drain plug was not fully tight – so I took care of that. Next the oil filter was a little too loose for hand tight- so I hand tightened it a little more. There’s maybe some oil slightly leaking around the oil filter mounting casting, but I’ll wait a while on that to see what the other two fixes have achieved.

Now the LHS front stub axle. Took the wheel off and noted that the lock nut was not fully tight even though there was a fitted cottar pin holding it from moving. Also noted that the inside stub bolt (where the front wing bracket bolts onto), was not tightened to the spec 81NM (60 ft lbs). So, I torqued that first. Then tightened the outer bearing-facing nut until the wheel just got too tight to freely rotate, then backed off to the closest cottar pin hole. Fitted the cottar pin and put the wheel back on. Looseness all gone.

I looked under the back and noted the rear A-frame mounting point looked like there was a small gap, checked the bolt and noted it was not tight, even though its supposed to be 81NM (60 ft lbs). Now when I built the car, I had inadvertantly not included 2 nylon washers on either side of the bushing on the rear A-frame mounting point. So, I found the nylon washers, took out the bolt, then re-assembled with the nylon washers and torqued it up.


A fun weekend despite setbacks

We had been invited to display our 7 at 2 events over the weekend: first at Roseville shopping mall; and second, the Sacramento Capitol Air Show at Mather field. Many thanks to the Hamlins for putting us up in Plymouth.

We drove to Roseville late on friday afternoon sporting the “shortie hood” (soft-top) that Dot made. We did OK for a short while, but the corner front press studs kept coming loose. Running repair was made using zip ties. Then about 3 miles short of Colfax, “Whack!”.  All the press studs broke free and the soft-top blew over our heads heading rapidly towards the rear of the car. Dot hung on to it until we got to Colfax, where we removed it and put it away in the boot (trunk) – that makes it sound too big – rear glove box is rather more like it.

We continued without a top, but on the driver side the turbulence around my head was rather more (I was using a front deflector).

Dot on the other hand had a regular 7 door/window on, which was OK until we hit slower traffic off the freeway. At that point she started cooking (it was ~90F).

So, lessons learned:

1. front deflectors work a little, but need the rear deflector or shortie soft-top to be more effective.

2. The front press studs on the front of the shortie soft-top need to be spaced closer so that the fabric has to stretch to get them to fit (thus removing the bulges that attract the wind).

3. Need to incorporate a stiff strengthener in the front ‘rail’ of the shortie soft-top, thus all the fasteners will act in unison with a combined higher force to get them free. This stiffener will follow the windscreen top contour, and not be too big as to become dangerous if it comes off in flight.

4. Sitting in the hot sun all day at Mather field really requires: an ice box; fine mist water spray; even more cold water to drink.


You can find a full set of air show photos at this url:


Pics include: Raptor; DC3; P38; P51; B25; T33; Harrier; Spitfire; Wing Walker and a few cars.

Deflectors part 3, shortie hood & new cycle wing

Front deflector with mirror

Front deflector with mirror

Over the last 2 weeks, I updated the 2 front deflectors and added large convex mirrors. On Tuesday, we took the 7 out for a drive to Markleeville to visit the Alpine County Superior Court to pay my speeding ticket. The deflectors allow driving up to 70mph without getting blown away, but it still requires a baseball cap to prevent the wind coming in from the back  and blowing my hair into my eyes.

RHS deflector & mirror

RHS deflector & mirror

But the best feature was the new mirror—I get a perfect rear view unblocked by roll bar, plastic windows or other impediments.

New LHS cycle wing

New LHS cycle wing


I finally fitted the replacement cycle wing on the LHS. (I had damaged the other one when I hit an ice patch last December and fell off the road.)



The Dragon Lidy as been at it again. This time sewing a shortie hood that hopefully will block sun & rain, but keep the open feeling.

Shortie hood

Shortie hood

The front fastens onto the existing poppers on the windscreen. For the rear, I installed some brass holes and tried bungee cords to hold the hood in place. This did not work too well as the hood was not tightly fitted and the wind turbulence at 60mph had the hood flapping rather wildly. The poppers at the 2 ends also came loose.


shortie hood fasteners

shortie hood fasteners

Plan B came into effect and Dot sewed some straps with adjustable fasteners. This looks like a better solution, with a much tighter fitting. Have not gone for a test drive yet though.



Deflectors, part 2

Its Sunday. I made a matching rear deflector side-screen (iteration 4) for the passenger side.

Next step is to see how small I need to make to front deflectors. I looked at the picnic pictures and noted that Jeff & Julie’s deflectors are only about 4″ wide and go no higher than the top of the windscreen.

I also need to buy hinges and a pair of wing mirrors.