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Thursday
Feb212013

A Change of Direction (AKA Gaining Traction)

As you know from the last update, I was going to fit an Electric Power Steering column from a Vauxhall Corsa. I received a second hand column off eBay, and began to modify it to fit into Vikki.

I also did an awful lot of research on how the ECU fitted to the column worked, to allow me to get 'proper' speed dependant assistance, without the need for an interface box that spoofed the signals.

Well, after all this work, I've come to a horrible conclusion - The damn thing won't fit. On first glance it does, and technically, measuring it all out and drawing up plans it should... But reality has shown it won't. This is due to having too much stuff in the way. The electric motor either fouls the side of the cockpit, the scuttle top / pedal box or the centre consol and heater.

Now, I could engineer a solution to this - but it would entail a lot of dismantling, moving stuff that's already in damn near perfect positions and generally making a lot of compromises. Which in my mind is too much effort for very little gain. So no power steering for Vikki.

I will, however, be forging ahead with fitting a RaceLogic traction control system

I purchased one of their units second hand, and have been blown away by the level of support from the company themselves. They didn't sell it to me, yet they're more than happy to dispense advise, and provide spare parts as necessary.

It will work off standard ABS sensors - so as Vikki already has ABS equipped hubs, it was just a case of getting some sensors (eBay to the rescue!). I've removed the BMW specific plugs and fitted some new waterproof ones, and the cables running to them back to the TC unit will get the other halves.

Fitting the unit will involve interuppting the injector lines from the engine ECU, but I've figured a way to allow me to do this without making a complete pigs ear of the loom, and will also allow the removal of the unit and the reinstatement of the standard injector lines at any time.

Essentially I'll be wiring up a second injector loom, which will be fed from the TC unit rather than the ECU... But more details on that once I've got it fitted.

The only visible controls of the traction control is the adjuster. It allows for different settings depending on the conditions or personal taste. I've decided to mount this under the handbrake handle on the tunnel. It didn't seem right having it on the dash, and there's no room on the centre consol.

The adjuster will be in a waterproof box on the underside of the tunnel, with the rotary switch shaft coming up into the cockpit through a hole drilled for it. The adjuster will then be finished off with this:

It's a nice identification / switch plate, made up by the same company that did the centre consol switch plate and the VIN plate to my specifications - so all the fonts, text sizes and colours match. It will be screwed in place with some stainless fixings as per all the other items in the cockpit, and a red indicator light that matches the ones in the dashboard will be in the top-most hole on the plate. This will illuminate when the traction control is switched off.

Some other good news to report before siging off is the idle issue has been solved! It appears that the new ECU requires a period of 'learning' before settling down and behaving properly. After letting her run for a good 20 minutes out on the drive, she settled down to a steady 800rpm. And when started from cold she's bang on 1000rpm, and drops to the lower speed when warm.

Result! :)

 

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