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Greystone Track Day Goodwood

Another great Greystone track day, this time at Goodwood where we again provide full technical support for everyone attending. As well as the Mclarens (12c, 720, 570, 650s) we also looked after a couple of Aston Matins, AMG mercs and a lovely 911 GT3RS.

No garages meant we made do!
AMG
Lovely P1 in attendance
675LT
Arty shot of the Lotus Cup car
Very early 12c
We even got a treat of the Spitfires, P51 and Hurricane

 

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Mclaren Owners Club Beaulieu Meet

Great time had again with the UK Mclaren owners club, 81 cars this time (second largest group of Mclarens together since our record breaking 100+ at Silverstone two years ago) and a great mix of new owners as well as long term owners still enjoying their cars.

81 cars, the largest marque present

Day started with a meet up at the new Harwoods Mclaren dealership
One member collected her new car
We brought Lyndhurst to a standstill
All models represented
Year 5 of ownership for us
Great club, great day, great cars

Thanks must go to Jeff and the team at the Mclaren owners club, growing all the time and a real support network for Mclaren owners everywhere.

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Track Day Championship, Oulton Park

Our first wet race of the year but another great result.

The Friday test didnt go so well, lots of red flags meant limited running and we picked up a whining noise from the rear diff that we diagnosed simply as worn bearings so would require a rebuild which isnt something we can do in a paddock so our hopes for the weekend were simply to run the car as usual and hope it held up.

Well the weather was on our side and race day greeted us with pouring rain which meant less stress on the diff and the opportunity for Callum to show off his wet driving skills.

Callum got another great start picking up a few places in the opening laps and settled down to a decent pace running 4th in class and 10th overall, in an eventful race Callum kept his nerve and ran without incident gaining on the top three cars in his class when with 10 minutes to a go the third place Golf slid off at turn one and clattered the tyre wall. The damage to the barrier was such that the race was red flagged giving Callum 3rd place in class and 9th overall.

Callums consistent driving (on the podium every race) bow means that he’s 5 points clear at the top of the overall Championship so we look forward to Donington Park with huge anticipation. Well done Callum.

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Greystone GT Track Support

Another great day supporting the attendees of the last Greystone GT track day at a very very wet Donington Park. Weather was awful but it didnt stop most of the attendees from getting out on track to enjoy their cars.

 

To be hnest we werent overly busy so we decided to shoot some new Youtube videos to show how to do a track inspection and change your brake pads on a Mclaren so will get those up soon.

There was some lovely cars there as well, an awesome Senna, the new Aston Martin GT4 and the new Brabham which to its credit rattled round all day without an issue.

Again, very few issues with the Mclarens, some again needed oil and a few niggles like loose undertrays but the only real issue all day was a Porsche Cayman that cracked a crank case cover dumping the entire contents of oil all over the floor so little we could do.

Next Greystone event is at Goodwood later this year hopefully see you there.

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Mclaren Engine Low Oil Advice

The Mclaren range all uses the same base engine known as the M838T. The 3800cc twin turbo charged engine was originally developed for Indy car racing and after work from a variety of operations including Mclaren, Walkinshaw and Ricardo is now the staple engine for every Mclaren road model from P1 to 12c.

 

Over the models a variety of changes have taken place mainly to the head from 12c to 650 and 675LT and more changes to the Sports series and then the 720 where the capacity was increased by 200cc by stroke with new pistons and crank. The engine is nothing short of an engineering master piece having won awards since inception but being dry sump it does have one achilles heel – oil level.

IT IS CRUCIAL TO ENSURE THE ENGINE HAS THE CORRECT OIL LEVEL AND IS NOT REVVED HARD WHEN COLD.

Yes, thats in caps, it needs to be as I’m afraid we are starting to see cars with top end engine wear due to either insuffucient oil or being revved hard when cold (which is essentially the same thing – lack of oil pressure to the top end as the oil is cold).

Worn rocker

Now of course no one with any mechanical sympathy will want to run a car hard when cold or run the car with low oil, indeed we and any other engineer would consider it abuse and hence not covered by any warranty but sadly it does happen and potentially could happen when the car was not in your control (if you’re the second or third owner) so it is important to understand the importance.

Snapped rocker

Lack of oil, ie a lack of lubrication to moving parts is easy to identify; excess wear on the rockers, followers and cams which can be seen by scoring and marking on the surfaces.

worn cam lobes

Given time the rockers can wear so thin that they snap which is as bad as it sounds – lots of bits of metal floating round the engine which can result in even more internal damage.

So, without opening up the engine what are you looking for?

The answer is a ticking noise, when the engine is warm and running it should be relatively silent, any loud tick which runs in time with engine rpm is something to be concerned about. Its important to note that this is only an indication of engine wear when the engine is warm, ticking when the engine is cold is perfectly acceptable, the dry sump oil system and unique rotation of the cams means it can take some time for the oil to get to pressure and lubricate the top end of the engine hence the secondary advice of not to run the car hard when cold so some top end ticking on start up is not something to be overly worried about – only when the engine oil is up to temperature is any noise an indicator of a potential issue.

If you go to a Mclaren dealer they only have one solution – a new head(s) which at £4600 plus VAT each for a 650 and a whopping £7600 plus VAT each for a 12c (just fit a 650 head, they fit the same) plus 10 hours of labour timing and 30 hours labour removing and installing the engine means a ticking engine for a 12c if repaired by a dealer could equate to a £30,000 bill.

All parts now available

However we are now able to offer a full engine rebuild service, working with the same people who designed and engineered the engines for Mclaren Automotive and using the same suppliers for engine parts we can now offer a complete turn key engine build service. For a comparison, a full rebuilt head with coated rockers, followers and cam regrinds can be as low as £4000 with labour to remove and install the engine for £3500.

However the point of this message is avoid all that by simply by checking your engine oil regularly (once a week and before and after any track work) and when the next door neighbours kid comes out and tells you ‘rev it mister’ ignore the little scrote, 30 seconds of his entertainment could cost you thousands of £££.

If you’re unsure how to check your oil level watch this short video how to for a 12c/650 (its the same process for all the models and we will update our Youtube site with those as and when we can.

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Mclaren Owners Club Track Day support

As part of our continued support of the UK Mclaren Owners Club we attended their track event at Blyton Park. A total of 26 cars attended representing the entire range (save for the P1 and F1).

All the models were there

Our role was to ensure all the cars were prepared before going on track, deal with any issues and ensure all the cars were safe to drive home again which meant conducting the full Mclaren pre and post track inspection as well as dealing with any mechanical issues on the day.

It got busy

Yet again the cars all showed just how reliable (in real life) they are. Over the course of the day:

  • 12c with an oil leak, ‘fixed’ by a dealer a few weeks previously
  • 570 with a coolant leak, clip
  • 12c with a coolant leak, loose hose
  • 600LT with some error lights, all cleared
  • 675LT with low brake pads

Thats it. So thats 26 cars, some brand new, some over 5 years old all getting ragged round track without a single major issue.

Thats not to say we werent busy though, the Mclaren pre and post track day checks are quite thorough so do take time (especially when you have 26 cars lined up for them) and during the course of the day we had to deal with a variety of issues from clearing out dead birds from the air intakes to punctures which required us to lend a wheel from our own 12c to get the car off track (to avoid damage to the wheel).

We did need to top up a lot of oil on cars though, 7 of the 26 cars were running low on oil to require small top ups to get them off the minimum so we continue to advise owners to check their oil once a week, running low oil on these cars can be disastrous with significant top end damage so please, keep an eye on your levels.

We are proud to continue our support for the owners club and delighted we can help members enjoy their cars with the comfort that if something goes wrong we are here to help, all free of charge.

 

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MSV Track Day Championship Round 2 – Snetterton

Well if it aint broke dont fix it, with a class win in round one we decided to leave the M3 in the same class and run it this year in part as a learning year for Callum as he gets used to the extra power and weight.

Well he’s learning, a near faultless drive and weekend got another podium and a second place trophy to add to the round 1 win – happy faces all round.

Weekend didnt quite go as planned though, the Friday test was a wash out (which was good as we missed it) but it meant everyone was going out for practice with the same lack of practice but some issues with the steering meant Cal couldnt really get to grips with the car so we qualified mid pack.

The race itself was great fun, Callum got off to a great start and quickly took three places and then managed to claw his way nearer the first placed car (another Clio) but at the pitstop was still 12 seconds adrift. Try as he might we couldnt close that gap in the time so Cal cruised home to collect class second place.

With a 1st and a 2nd and riding near the top of the championship standings we will run the rest of this year with the current power and see how the year pans out, but thus far Cal is doing great, no real issues with the car so hoping for a good season.

 

 

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Mclaren Track Day Support

Delighted to carry on in our third year of support for Mark and his Greystone Track day operations and support all the Mclaren owners in keeping their cars track ready at Silverstone this month all for free.

As usual we carried out the official Mclaren track day inspections for the cars and ensured all ran without issues and again there were few issues for us to consider – testimony to the real World reliability of these cars.

All Mclaren models were present

All we did was top up some oil, check tyre pressures, clear a few minor error codes and advise on set ups, no major mechanical issues from the 20 or so Mclaren cars (12c, 650s, 675, 570 and 540 models) present on track.

Full track day checks taken out

We even slummed it a bit and looked after a Ford GT and a Porsche Carrera GT but we cant all be snobs can we!

£1.5m right there!

Another great day helping Mclaren owners enjoy their cars.

 

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The Mysterious Hole – update

Remember the oil tank issue we discovered on Mclaren cars? if not the initial story is HERE where we had a car with a hole in the oil catch tank and no real way of understanding how the hole happened?

Well, now we know.

By way of a recap, all Mclaren models have a dry sump oil system and the tank for this is hidden away up behind the firewall and in front of the engine – about as far away from potential impact damage or contact as is physically possible but we had a 12c in with a leak from the tank. One of the downsides of being so protected is that its a proper job to replace it – the engine needs to come out so –  its not a small job, so we wanted to know why the tank had sprung a leak but on investigation all we could see was a neat hole with no under lying cause.

A hole in the side of the tank.

Our best guess at the time was a pulled weld from inside the tank but as this was the only one we had seen we were loathe to cut it up and thought it was a one off, but we warned owners at the time just in case.

Well we are afraid its not a one off, we now have three 12c models here all needing new oil tanks so we decided to cut one of the failed ones open and see what caused it.

Oil tank, cut open to show internal baffles

 

We were right, inside the tank a spot weld of one of the internal baffles has in effect pulled the aluminium wall in causing a neat square hole where it was fixed, either there has been a thermal difference in how the two materials (aluminium weld or aluminium wall) expanded and contracted or the tank itself has expanded and pulled away from the baffle mount. Either way its a new tank and the engine out to replace it.

Area where the hole appears
This is the baffle and the weld
The offending weld

So, if you have an oil leak from the drivers side front of the engine (just behind the drivers side door) then be prepared for an expensive bill, sorry.