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.

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.

Speedo update

I was alerted to a conversation on Blatchat about speedo issues.

One recommendation was to install a chassis ground at the car rear and connect to the ground side of the sensor plug.

I did that and went for a test drive, but no success. As usual, on a hot day when the car got warmed up (~20 miles), the speedo went erratic and putting on the blinkers made it worse.

So I’m still suspecting its a grounding issue, but where?

New ground wire connected to the black (it caught the flash so looks white - its really green).

New ground wire connected to the black (it caught the flash so looks white – its really green).

Grounded to the rear brake pipe T on the de-dion tube.

Grounded to the rear brake pipe T on the de-dion tube.

Next project

Well. the 7 is definitely a summer car. So looking for something to do some winter driving, meaning snow covered roads & dirt trails. Something with 4 wheel drive – which points me to a Subaru or Audi A4. I’ve been looking for a project car for a few weeks on Craig’s list and found one on Saturday. Dot & I drove down to Sacramento and bought a 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS for $3000. The good news is that the car body is in good shape, interior is almost perfect and its a 2 door coupe. The bad news is the engine is clapped out at 220k miles and the 4th gear pops out. So it needs a new engine & transmission.

3 in a row

3 in a row

Red and Yellow and Green and Blue....
Red and Yellow and Green and Blue….