Speedy Steve's Workshop

Steve's new Workshop has sorted my car. I now have working brakes and 13" wheels!

My friend Steve Foster has set up Speedy Steve's Workshop, aiming to provide servicing, repair, and maintenance for Caterhams, whilst trying to be a bit more convenient than most of his competitors.

At the last minute I decided to become his second paying customer. I had built up quite a list of car-related chores, and there was very little chance that I'd ever get time to do most of them, so the evening before I went away on holiday I arranged for Steve to come and pick up my Seven on his trailer and take it to his place. This would give him a full week to work on my car before he would deliver it back.

Top of the list was fixing my brakes. For many months now I've suffered from two problems: a soft brake pedal which becomes more firm if pumped; and a judder under braking, combined with a pulsing of the brake pedal (much like when ABS activates) and vibration felt through the steering. Plan A was to change the front discs and see whether that made a difference.

Steve found the likely cause before he changed the discs: one of them was bent. Not just warped, but actually bent - there were indentations on the disc which indicated that someone had levered against it. Curious.

After my experience at Colerne I wanted to see whether I could improve the fade-resistance of the braking system so I also went for new DOT 5.1 brake fluid (I was on DOT 4.1), and a change of pad type. Based on comments on the Sevens list and Blatchat I asked Steve to fit Mintex 1144 pads.

After quickly bedding in the brake pads, the judder was gone! My first impression is that the 1144 pads don't have the same initial bite of the Green Stuff pads, but in a weird kind of way that might bode well for the track - Steve says that his Ferodo race pads are pretty poor on the road. I'll find out soon enough because I've booked my first track day of the year at the Bedford Autodrome. Can't wait!

Steve also fitted my recently acquired second-hand 13-inch wheels with their part-wornYokohama A032R tyres, and raised the suspension a bit to make up for the reduced rolling radius, since the speed bumps I encounter every day won't allow me any less ground clearance. I hate to say it, but the combination of the aeroscreen, exhaust, and smaller wheels has made me pretty happy with the performance of my car. I don't think I'd want more than about 170 bhp in my Seven, and for the moment I'm content with what I've got. Another reason why I'm looking forward to the Autodrome.

Many other minor things were fixed and tweaked during the week that Steve had the car. Overall I'm very happy with his professional service (as I was when he was a free amateur!) and I'm glad that I now have another Seven fettler that I can trust.

29 August 2003: Steve's now got another "proper" job, so his workshop is closed for servicing, although he's still selling his custom parts.

This page is http://www.strangely.org/diary/200307/speedy.html. It was first published on Sunday 6 July, 2003 and last updated on Tuesday 2 September, 2003.