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It's a Chilly Bin Bro! XR4 Daily Novelty FiST

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    No good deed (or preventative maintenance) goes unpunished.

    As you all know I had to swap the radiator because leaks and decided to double down and do the single serpentine belt, the idler and the tensioner.

    Something like eight hours of internalised tool throwing tantrums I managed it.

    Let’s call it 9am on a sunny winters day.

    New radiator looks the goods. Has all the clips for attaching the AC condenser, the single cooling fan and the all important bleed port. It also survived the journey from Denmark without harm.

    In standard Fiesta tradition engine work is done through a headlight hole. Access goes from not, to barely.

    With the belt off (more on that 2.2m long monster later) and the water pump pulley exposed I can conform it’s a few ruins Ford pump, and seems to be a 2007 date coded one.

    Looking up from the bottom with the tensioner and the idler removed. The tensioner goes just above the CAS, and the Idler is about in parallel with the alternator pulley. Although not super clear in the picture everything has a thick congealed layer of steering fluid.

    Comparing all the bits - interestingly the idler is larger, and metal which will probably make no difference during my ownership period, but I think I was lucky with the plastic genuine item only showing a belt grove worn around 1/2mm down. While not “perfect” none of the bearings were bad, and no wobbles etc.

    Looks a bit worse for wear now doesn’t it. While it’s almost a Duratec tradition to snap the most accessible ear off I spent close to 4 hours beating this thing into submission.

    What had happened is the pump had corroded on the interface to the block. So using a long drift and hammer all I could do was smack it until something gave. Eventually I was able to rotate the pump about 30 degrees with hammer blows, and clock it about 10 degrees back. At this point it started to start working it’s way out. That’s not all that hard, but two hits from under the car, then two hits from the top, and then two from the front. Repeat. Eventually I bolted a spanner to the flange and got it to a point where it could be wiggled. Finally it jiggled its way out.

    This is the new pump. When new they are a gentle sliding fit, just a bit of lube on the o-ring and a push.

    So many hours.

    The broken tool toll was, 2x chisels, 1x screwdriver and I actually somehow twisted my fancy spring steel prybar.

    Pump bearings were fine.

    Pump hadn’t leaked.

    If I didn’t change it I’d estimate it would have leaked next week.
    Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


      I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the fact that you are putting so much time/effort into the car, or the fact that you are doing it outside in a Canberra winter.
      Imagination is more important than knowledge.


        For what it’s worth, changing a Duratec to run an Electric Waterpump simply requires the pump to be replaced with a bung. The water inlet and the thermostat (changed around this time last year) is mounted direct to the block behind the pump casting.

        I’d also been liberally applying the degreaser and scrubbing away the grease.

        New tensioner in place. By this point the sheer relief at having the pump out and only having got the old radiator out meant I had to crack on and kinda forgot to take photos.

        The maze of pulleys ready for the belt.

        It looks easy. Incidentally the belt width is basically the same as the clearance between the motor and the frame. I’d ordered a slightly longer belt (as spec’d by Gates) which obviously compensates for the larger idler. Getting the belt on was a three handed job. One cranks the tensioner back, the other guides the belt onto the crank pulley, the last hand swings a 20mm socket on the crank and turns the motor over until the belt schnicks into place. Then turn it over until the belt is seated where it should be on the idler and water pump pulleys.

        Working backwards it’s finally time to put the radiator in and reinstall the headlight.

        New genuine reservoir. These are intermittently available and while the old one wasn’t leaking it had some spider webs forming. More prevention, and it does look nice.

        No pics of the radiator install. The process is kind of neat, all being done from under the car, and for the most part it’s a juggle of clips and sliding things about until it goes into place.

        Thank fuck it’s over.
        Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


          Originally posted by Ben Wilson View Post
          I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the fact that you are putting so much time/effort into the car, or the fact that you are doing it outside in a Canberra winter.
          Thinking that myself, the working outside bit. Any motivation I had to swap my new to me Cibies onto my cars went out the window this morning with the frost.


            Originally posted by Ben Wilson View Post
            I'm not sure if I'm more impressed with the fact that you are putting so much time/effort into the car, or the fact that you are doing it outside in a Canberra winter.
            I pick the days, driveway is north aspect and for the most part it’s tolerable when the sun shines. Been in Canberra 28 years, probably acclimatised slightly too.

            That said I’m going to boot the bike and MX5 out of the garage to do the brakes.

            That and the endless rage at finding stuff that is busted in weird and creative ways keeps me warm.

            Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


              I know I’ve mentioned a few rattles and buzzes from the interior as being (minor) annoyances.

              Today I decided to dig a little deeper while still avoiding the “remove the inside of the car”.

              First the rear drivers side buzz.

              To remove this panel the rear seat abs to come out, along with the C-pillar trim and luggage are trim. Today is not that day. However as I’ve pulled it loose a few times to get up in the B-Pillar area I knew there were some dirty secrets behind it.

              Dirty Secrets? Well more dirt than secrets. What is obvious to me is the lack of a retaining clip between the two cupped areas.

              Last melon. I usually have a bunch of these in the various sizes as I replace busted ones when I find them and more often than not fit them in the place of missing ones when doing work on other peoples cars. If you’ve ever done that you’ll know while they look the same there’s probably two dozen distinct shapes and diameters and as such the generic ones from parts stores generally work.

              Anyway this sucker got slipped into place and now that trim still moves like it did before. Yay. Defeated I will do something else.

              Door trim! The passenger door card vibrates terribly at times, usually when the engines cold and definitely more loudly with the engine mount insert in place. While I’ve had the window switches out for the LED install I haven’t had this trim off.

              I really appreciate the way the doors are built. The inner skin mounts everything and doesn’t rattle, buzz or otherwise have any issues.

              The outer skin - eventually I’ll have to pull the brown pressed fibre section and retrim it (you can see the sag in the trim material in the previous pic) but for now what’s painfully obvious is the lack of clips. No wonder the trim felt loose.

              With my supply of clips perilously low anyway I went looking for more of these. As they clip into plastic tabs on the inner door skins the fit needs to be Goldilocks.

              As it turns out Ford 1208973 clips were used in exactly one model, the WP/WQ Fiesta. That’s it. Hopefully a visit to the local parts shops will yield an aftermarket clip, but with a 5 to 6mm diameter and short stem I’m not liking my chances.

              There’s also meant to be three of these.

              They mate to a very specific socket in the trim. Meet Ford 1230332, I’m pretty sure they’re kept behind the boxes of rocking horse shit and chicken teeth in the unobtainium factory.

              Our first clip type at least has a ready supply, not cheap at about $25 for a baggie of 20, but I would be able to redo both doors and have spares.

              The second seem to be an eye watering $5 each, when/if available from Ford only. I need a few, plus their “socket” side as I am pretty the drivers door was missing some too.

              If you’re looking for me I’ll be over there having a quiet rage about how stereo installers are largely a group of hamfisted apes who shouldn’t be allowed to work with toy blocks let alone cars.

              My last little thought exercise is the silver grab handles in the doors. The photo does really show it as well as I’d like, but they’re quite yellowed where they’re exposed and the mounting section shows just how bright sliver they were from the factory.

              I guess future me will be doing some painting.
              Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                Eventually having my own fuckup staring me in the face wore me down into fixing it.

                Probably well over a year ago I committed the cardinal sin of detailing. I got a fair mist of interior trim spray, or leather cleaner onto the instrument cluster. As is the norm for these sprays a hazy spatter got etched into the clear plastic (above the centre gauges) and more embarrassingly I rubbed it in good on the lower left of the speedo.

                It’s always been a bit of a mystery as to why the clear plastics react so badly to products designed to work on plastics, but I guess it’s got a lot to do with surface penetration etc.

                Either way it’s annoying, and doubly so because I know I did it.

                The fix is pretty simply, polish it out, and as I’ve been wanting to pull the cluster out for ages to do the LEDs I’d convinced myself “I’ll do it then”, but I haven’t and it really really is getting annoying.

                In the past I’ve used all manner of super mild automotive polishes and gotten good results, I’ve also had a hankering to try this stuff.

                The word is that it works by hand exceptionally well which is a nice change when you’re working on cluster faces. Plastic polish is nothing new, and there’s any number of options boutique or retail.

                Like all polishes it’s a case of shaking the bottle until you’re fed with shaking. Then shake it some more.

                First pass worked, but needed more pressure and a bit more consistency across the cluster. But within a couple of passes I ended up with it looking pretty good.

                A little bit more “all over” work and it’s looking pretty good. There’s still deeper spots to get out but I can do something about them when the cluster is out of the car.

                The closeup doesn’t lie.

                Spent about 10 minutes in total and now grumbling to myself about “should have done this ages ago”.
                Last edited by Aaron; 20-06-21, 03:26 PM.
                Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                  In other news, I bought this bundle the other day. The keen eyed will see that’s it’s a UK cluster, and yep, it is from a UK “Facelift” (aka WQ, same as an XR4) ST150. The important bits are the cluster, key and ECU set (matched and coded) while the black box on the right is a “C” - code GEM. Australian XR4s we’re all built with a “B” code unit.

                  I’m still hunting for a matching engine wiring loom for shenanigans with the ECU and cluster as they’re for a different car to mine.

                  But the GEM is for the Chilly Bin.
                  Asides from a “C” GEM being better than a “B” GEM what do I get?
                  - Double-Locking
                  - Enhanced key programming
                  - Alarm Interface.
                  Not much, and really the only thing that interests me is the Double-Locking. When the Car is double-locked the interior handles will not unlock the doors. The only way to unlock the car is with the key in the drivers door and with the remote. Probably not a big deal, but as it was basically “free” in the bundle “why not”.

                  As for the rest of it.
                  Well it’s getting pared back and being used to re-ECU a mates Duratec powered Birkin. We built it some 14 odd years ago using a LS Focus as the donor, including ECU etc, but after some head scratching between us and weighing up the costs of re-working things to go Haltech we have settled on this retrofit.
                  Well for a start the ST150 setup is well understood out in tunerland, and given that the engine is identical we can basically follow the ST150/XR4 tuning path including canned/email tunes. There’s also a bunch of little things we did in 2007/8 when building the car up that we can do better now.

                  So imagine some nice mild cams, a 60mm throttle body, long primary 4-2-1 headers, a Cosworth intake manifold and tune that matches. In a 500kg car.
                  We will be turn key for under $2000.
                  Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                    The day has come to drag the Arduino kit out to the car and have a bit of a go with pushing stuff to the cluster while the car is actually running.

                    It’s rough looking but portable enough now.

                    First I need to re-enable the radio display in the Cluster (this is done via the Dash user settings)

                    The on my Arduino all it takes is a click of the Rotary encoder to enter the menu and scroll to the “Speed” option, another click to select it.

                    A couple of seconds later we have the Speed displayed.

                    I’m exceptionally happy with this - although the speed display is randomly generated at this point the data for the Tach and Coolant temp aren’t.

                    So switching over to this gives me….

                    Nothing. A big fat nothing.

                    So I either have a bug in my code, a bug in the code I “borrowed” or a hardware fault reading the HSCAN bus.

                    Nothing like a definitive point to start troubleshooting.

                    In other news, there’s a couple of coolant drops at the joint of the upper radiator hose and the coolant outlet on the head. This was that corroded, crusty alloy piece I cleaned up last year. My current thought is to ignore it, but ultimately I think I’ll just buy a plastic outlet and swap it over.
                    Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T



                      We have success!

                      It took a few hours until I realised that I had inadvertently not assigned the CANBUS board that queries the car (HS-CAN) a hardware interrupt on the Arduino correctly. Move one wire, reassign the interrupt in my code and BAM!

                      Now feeling less like a fool.
                      Last edited by Aaron; 03-07-21, 05:02 PM.
                      Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                        Good work - Impressive!


                          Mental health is all in the mind isn’t it?

                          As you can see I have a nice fresh length of Orange-Blue automotive cable here. I wanted to see how a potential new supplier went with me ordering an absurdly small amount before I get a few kms of wire for the next 1:1 builds.

                          So why the fancy wire?

                          This pic is the back of the Focus/Transit/Fiesta headlight switch. On a Fiesta the LEDS in the cluster illuminate at a fixed brightness, on a Focus they can be dimmed.

                          With the stock Green LEDs brightness isn’t an issue, however in testing I’ve found that the Blue LEDs I use on the backlight conversions (and White/Red options) are just a bit too bright at night. Yes I could get less bright LEDs, but ordering 50-100 PLCC2 Blue LEDs in each of the available light output levels will send me stir crazy.

                          That’s why a while ago I converted a Focus Dimming switch to blue illumination and installed that.

                          The missing step has been to re-pin the connector at the switch to include a wire for the dimmer output that gets fed to the instrument cluster. That wire will the tap into a junction at the base of the a-pillar (around 50cm away) and will take over instrument cluster backlight power feed duty from the standard Fiesta feed that comes from the GEM. The wire that runs to the cluster is Orange-Blue.

                          I’ve yet to actually do this because it’s such a trivial job wrapped in an hour or two of fussing with trim and harness wrapping to make it seem “factory”.

                          For what it’s worth this is likely to be only the second car globally to have backlight dimming retrofitted as most people doing the LED backlight swaps like their LEDs always eye searingly bright.
                          Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                            Documenting a bit of the musings about the immobiliser system and how it works after playing with a new toy today.

                            I got some dubious hardware and software from China that lets me pull the EEPROM as a direct “dump” from both the immobiliser and the ECU.

                            The loom for the Birkin project turned up today so I’ll be able to test this more thoroughly but for now I launched it against the Cluster only.

                            There’s two attractions to this software for me. The first is that it pulls the EEPROM (and can write it) without the chip having to come off the PCB or the ecu even bing opened. The second is that it can be used to move “keys” between the ECU and the Cluster, in essence cloning.

                            So that’s convenient for doing repairs on clusters along with the ability to brute force the odometer reading of both the cluster and the ECU.

                            Where is all this heading?

                            Well I want to get the cluster out of the equation. That means understanding how the ECU and the cluster exchange the key details at “Key On” or “Start”. They communicate on the HSCAN bus only, and the ECU handles the reading of the physical Key.

                            The way the system works (well this version of PATS) is that the ECU will allow the engine to fire and run for 3 seconds, and if in that three seconds all PATS requirements aren’t met the ECU shuts down the engine and “times out”. The ECU checklist is something like:
                            - Do I have a Key Reader attached?
                            - Do I see an Instrument Cluster?
                            - Do I see a Key?
                            - Does the Key match the ones I have programmed?
                            - Does the Instrument Cluster know this key also?

                            The moment the engine runs beyond that 3 seconds the immobiliser will not reactivate until the Key is turned Off.

                            On my car I can see that the Immobiliser warning light goes out when the key is turned ON, so I presume at this point the ECU and Cluster have exchanged data and decided it’s all fine.

                            The Instrument cluster gets a signal from the starter relay so it may then follow up (or at the request of the ECU) and repeat the validation of the key at that point in time.

                            If you look at the screenshot you’ll see some blank fields in the lower right. Key ID#1, Crypto Key and ECU Sync.

                            My theory is that there would be no practical need for Ford (back in the day) to encrypt the messages as the ECU would read the Key in Ignition, then ask the Cluster for the code for that particular key “slot” (they support 8 keys). If it matches we are all go.

                            The code in these slots is literally the RFID response when the key is queried. It can be extracted from the ECU or Cluster and then written to aftermarket programmable keys (genuine Ford keys are not programmable).

                            So now all I need to do is fire up the Cluster and ECU on the same loom, attach a key reader, Switch and starter button, and lastly record all the messages on the HSCAN at Key ON and Start. Take that dump and search it for patterns that match the key ID. Repeat with Key #2 and see if its code appears.

                            Then instead of having the cluster connected I’ll play back the recorded stream. If we successfully turn off the immobiliser then the fun starts to weed out all the regular stuff the cluster sends (fuel level, ambient temperature, brake fluid level, oil pressure warning and a few other things) and we should end up with a group of messages that cover the clusters ID, the Key ID and importantly the timing of those messages.

                            It’s a cakewalk for an arduino to do this, and with the supporting hardware I can deal with extra keys or replacing keys in the future, so the Immobilisation ends up being as robust as Ford made it in the first place.

                            While we are at that why not have the Arduino take all the Ford messages and retransmit them in GM LSJuan language so one of the many drop in GM digital dashboards could be used? Not your bag? Why not speak Haltech instead?

                            Have to say this is is fun
                            Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                              Clippy, the friend no one wanted.

                              The scuttle is attached with two clips. Two very unique clips, I’d not had a matched set and for some reason aftermarket clips weren’t “right” and don’t hold much.

                              Ford (reproduction) clips are very snug, the Goldilocks length and the lock button had to be tapped down with a hammer.

                              Last weeks coolant drop mark hasn’t gotten worse or been joined by any friends. This is good as it seems that the upper rad hose as somewhat sealed itself again on the corroded outlet. When I changed the rad hose this time last year it did the same as then didn’t drip again.

                              That said I ordered a revised design water outlet complete with matched temp sender for $30. The major revision is it’s made of plastic. These were a production change on all Duratec motors from 2007/2008. Im not stressed about this leak, yes it can get worse, but ultimately it’s not really a driving along and all the coolant goes missing in one hit like the radiator end tanks were.

                              Also don’t appear to pissing power steering fluid all over the place - although there’s still some wetness on a flex section of the return line that I didn’t change.

                              That can be a summer job as it’s going to need the system drained and by then another go with fresh fluid should take care of any lingering crud in the system.
                              Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T


                                Minor update. Still no more apparent coolant leaks. Passenger door doesn’t rattle even though I haven’t added the extra clips. Power steering has been smooth and quiet. I suspect the pump is a bit shagged, might like some bearings.

                                I think the massive win has been since doing the water pump, belts etc I’ve had pretty much the lowest commuting fuel
                                consumption since buying the car. With winter in full force (-8.5 apparent temp the other morning driving to work) it’s nice to not have to work on the car - everything just works. Auto wipers have been great, cruise control flawless, right down to the exhaust being a bit loud, but ultimately not that loud now that it’s completed and has no air leaks.

                                I’ve got some new springs to mount up and chunk under the car, the brake swap and a few other tweaks to come. But with Sebastian Woodhouse turning up from COVID ravaged Sydney real soon Chilly work will need to jump on the back burner. Sebastian will need some pretty major detailing, a complete going over, and out of the box I’ve got to get its suspension tweaked.
                                Shed Project: 1994 Laser Lynx with BP-T