The Max Column: Jun 2006

Make sure your wiring loom and switches are in good condition otherwise you won’t get far

The Super 1 Series finally got under way at Lydd following the Clay Pigeon cancellation caused by the weather a month before. All the classes were well supported as expected and a growing number of 177 Seniors added to the fun. It can be no secret that there was much talk of inconsistency in the Junior tyres. How unfortunate that I had just been to the Vega factory and that the report was published in the current issue of this magazine! Of course I was now considered, quite wrongly, to be the expert and spent a good deal of my time at Lydd talking tyres. It is true to say that there seemed to be some problems with older tyres that had been out in customer’s hands since Clay Pigeon. However, there were only a very few people who may have had a genuine grievance, if any at all. During the week after Lydd a lot of testing was carried out including the correct back to back running of several sets of tyres. While there were some surface marks on the SL8s this was no detriment to their performance. Tyre testing is one of the most difficult elements of this sport and cannot be decided upon in just a few runs. There are so many factors that contribute to a good set of laps and for no fault of the equipment or driver a whole session can be wasted. Last year over 3000 laps were completed while making the decision to adopt the Vega SL6 for Seniors. You can imagine how those involved with investing that much time and effort might be less than delighted by some self appointed experts who condemned them as rubbish after ten laps at below zero temperatures in the winter! Just three months later and the SL6 is now receiving rave reviews from the same detractors! Oh well, never mind children.

At this stage no more can be said on the subject except that JAG and Vega do take the consistency of tyres very seriously. It is not straightforward to change to another tyre and this has certainly not been proved to be necessary. Tyres, as was stated in the factory visit report, are a living thing and will leave the factory in as close to identical condition as is possible. It is almost certain that it is how they are treated subsequently that can affect their performance. Following last month’s undisguised advertising regarding the carburettor float gauge, I have to confess that a lot have been sold! As it is such an inexpensive item I cannot report an early retirement plan, but a lot of people are now much happier with their carburettor set-ups. I always thought I could do this measurement by eye but it really is not easy. Then again my eyes never have been that clever anyway. There still seems to be a split vote on the new specification carburettors versus the old. Probably the best yardstick is to say that the more experienced drivers actually prefer the old 30/30 idle jets with the heavier floats. Nothing is more important than keeping the carbs clean but I have beaten that drum to death in this column so many times that I have to be careful that I don’t repeat myself! In fact I think it would be interesting to look at a few MAX columns from five years ago to see how many times I manage to contradict myself! I would of course put up a stout argument that the whole Rotax MAX phenomenon has continued to change and evolve over the years and it has never been better than it is now. The engines are still selling remarkably well and JAG are also in the top few distributors for the sale of spare parts.

This also proves that their service centres are providing solid after market care. There is no doubt that the system is alive and working well. On the technical front this month I would like to touch on a couple of electrical points, sorry only low voltage for those of you who would think it funny if not desirable for me to disappear in a puff of smoke! The new battery from Yuasa is a great success. It may be more expensive but has a really good level of durability and performance. We have completed more than 7 hours of running including at least 20 engine starts with no drop off in performance at all. Rotax are soon to introduce a new loom which will be supplied both with the MAX range of engines and the DD2. This loom has eye terminals in place of the existing spades, so bolts directly onto the battery positive and negative posts. The loom also has an extra black wire that goes to the coil multi-plug. This is only for use with the DD2 and can be safely ignored when fitted to the MAX. A short piece of shrink-wrap and a cable tie will keep it out of harm’s way. I think the wiring loom and switches are too often ignored. The battery is often referred to as the heart of any vehicle so the wiring loom must be the arteries. These really need to be in perfect condition to ensure reliable running of the engine. A few ground rules worth following are as follows. Take the loom off the kart completely from time to time, clean it and inspect it thoroughly.

This is the only way to be sure that it has no damage, poor connections or scuffing where it may have come into contact with the ground. When you refit it using the inevitable cable ties, do not put the wiring under too much strain. Also make sure that the way the loom runs does not pull on the switch terminals. The switches are fragile items and must be treated with care. It is very easy to bend the switch terminals and thereby compromise their reliability. The area behind the engine can become very dirty, unfortunately this is where the all-important coil, pick-up and earth connections are living. They must be kept clean to be sure that they do not let you down. Inside the coil multi-plug is a red rubber seal, this must be in place to ensure a good vibration free connection. This seal can easily be lost if it is displaced when disconnecting the multi-plug. The Brits abroad are still doing a good job flying the flag. Salbris, the opening round of the Euro Challenge, saw good results for Colin Davis in the Masters and Martin Pierce in Seniors. Both go to the next round at Garda with plenty of points on the board. The British endurance series are well supported this year, reporting full grids at the early rounds. The Euro endurance is also fully subscribed. The UK based Screenvyn team had a good outing at Mariembourg, finishing 4th overall and winning the MAX class by a handy 2 lap margin. The series has a great set of venues again this year including Le Mans and Essay. The MAX engines again proving they are the TaG engines to beat, not only are they fast enough but easily the most reliable. By next month the Super 1 will have been to Warden Law and there should be some news from the opening round of the Stars series as well.