Over the last two weekends I have been on two distinctly different rallies with the common theme running through them, my inability to diagnose simple faults.
First off the Veteran Car Club’s 1 & 2 Cylinder Rally. As the Sizaire is still waiting for a new front axle I pressed the 1914 Douglas into service, well that was the idea. The first day was spent going everywhere other than that listed in the directions to the point that I covered 50Km for a 30Km run and never arrived at the destination. Day two I had a cunning plan to follow a reliable car only to be foiled by the Dougy failing to proceed from the car park as it was backfiring and had an ominous intermittent knock emanating from the bowels of the engine.
So day two was spent pointlessly pulling apart the engine when as it turned out the problem was self inflicted. During the preparation for the rally I decided to fit a cutout switch as the throttle is configured such that if a cable broke it would go full flat out and as the decompressor does not work (long story) it could be painful. Uncharacteristically I did a very neat job, unfortunately by running the wires parallel to the high tension all sorts of spikes were entering the low tension side causing the engine to backfire to such an extent that the flywheel loosened (the knocking sound). Never the less the rally was good for all the usual reasons of good company, food and drink.
The next rally was the 50th Anniversary Bugatti Club Australia Rally held at Creswick. I only attended the last two days so had to get up at an unheard of 6:00 on Saturday to get away at 7:00 for a 9:30 start, on the freeway the Bug just goes with easy cruising at 100Kph, however under load the exhaust was popping and a general wooliness at lower speeds so as I am very adept at going off on tangents I blamed the twin Solex carburetors, these still may be partially at fault but the main culprit was too much advance. When I got home I retarded the ignition 5 degrees went out and wrung its neck, no more popping which in retrospect was probably indicating pinging (or pinking) so as my friend Andrew McDougall says “most carburetor problems are in fact ignition problems” (again)