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BRAKES - How they work
Created: December 06, 2000
Without a doubt the most important point to get sorted at the outset is just what makes brakes do their thing - FRICTION. The sole purpose of the brake set-up on any vehicle is to convert kinetic energy into thermal energy. In English that’s motion into heat - friction. The motion of the disc/drum across the surface of the pad/shoe produces a prodigious amount of heat.
BRAKES - Silicone brake fluid, to use or not to use - that is the question!
Created: September 29, 2000
Over more recent years I've had affair number of discussions on the use of silicone brake fluid as opposed to the more common type. I have to say some folk are vehemence in their belief that this stuff is 'the answer' to all kinds of brake maladies.
Camshafts
Camshafts - Scatter cams, pros and cons
Created: August 31, 2001
This whole 'scattering' deal has befuddled many. The simple fact is the principle is very basic and easy; it's getting a cam with the right profile and figures applied to it that's the hard part.
CAM TIMING - Mechanical Method
Created: August 31, 2000
Accurate piston position indication is the first goal. You need to know exactly when piston one is at TDC. Without engineering measuring equipment a ‘stop plate’ is required. This you will either have to manufacture personally, or get one made.
CAM TIMING - Conventional method using DTI, etc...
Created: August 31, 2000
Rotate crank so piston one is at the bore top (TDC). Fit timing gears 'dot-to-dot'. Set up DTI with stem resting on number one piston centre with a little preload. Rotate crank backwards slightly (anti-clockwise looking at the front), then gently forwards observing the DTI, watching where the needle stops before descending.
COOLING - How it works
Created: January 25, 2001
Very few understand just what the cooling system does and how it does it, and that incompatibility between the cooling system's capability and an upgraded engine can spell disaster for the new engine.
Cylinder Head
CYLINDER HEAD - Torque-down and head gasket problems
Created: July 11, 2001
First a brief word on head gaskets. If it is not a genuine Rover or Payen gasket, don’t use it.
CYLINDER HEAD - Unleaded Fuel Use
Created: May 16, 2001
The specter of 'unleaded fuel only' - instigated in UK on January 1st 1999 and seemingly from decades ago across the rest of the world - seems to be forcing more and more folk into frightened, panic orientated action.
MSE6 - POST 1992 unleaded stage 2 (Road Rocket) large-bore head
Created: October 23, 2000
Modified to give maximum performance gain for cost. Combustion chambers, inlet and exhaust ports extensively re-worked. Stone-ground finish in ports promotes ultimate fuel atomisation. Three-angle valve seats in head. Super-quality MG Metro valves modified to increase airflow.
MSE3 - PRE 1992 unleaded Stage 2 (Road Rocket) large-bore head
Created: October 20, 2000
Modified to give maximum performance gain for cost. Combustion chambers, inlet and exhaust ports extensively re-worked. Stone-ground finish in ports promotes ultimate fuel atomisation. Three-angle valve seats in head. Cooper S size valves with current maximum flow profiles and Tuftrided for durability/longevity when used with unleaded fuel (hence 'black' finish).
CYLINDER HEAD - Valves; shapes, materials, and finishes.
Created: October 19, 2000
Many moons ago, the standard performance valve shape was the then-ubiquitous 'penny-on-a-stick' profile. For the very good and simple reason it minimised airflow obstruction by having the least amount of material in the way. Very plausible, and a design that many have stayed with to this day
Electrical
DISTRIBUTOR - Electronic ignition
Created: September 15, 2000
Since the A-Series has such an efficient combustion chamber design, the standard points set-up is perfectly capable of providing sufficient sparks for effective combustion when new. And this is the problem. They require regular servicing to maintain maximum performance. This can be a chore, so is generally neglected.
LUBRICATION - Oil, what it does and how
Created: February 03, 2011
It’s criminal. Folk spend fortunes putting together super-sonic motors, only to skimp on the oil they use. Why? Oil’s oil right? Wrong. Even if it’s a standard engine, it deserves TLC considering it's extremely hostile working environment.
LUBRICATION - Temperature critical
Created: February 03, 2011
The correct running temperature of the oil is perhaps even more important than the water/coolant temperatures - so let us consider how to control them. Mainly because it seems to be the most misunderstood of the whole process, and oil cooler fitment almost a reflex when over-heating occurs where a tuned engine of any type is concerned. And in many cases on standard production road cars for that matter.
LUBRICATION - Oil pumps
Created: January 24, 2001
Essential to the well being of every engine is its oil pump and oil. Much in the same way as the heart and blood is deemed relatively important to us humans! It’s also another of those greatly misunderstood and, unfortunately, misrepresented subjects connected to engines.
Created: January 19, 2001
This is another of those subjects that crops up on the message board frequently. I am constantly surprised by the number of engine builders - or people who charge other folk for building engines at any rate - that never hand out such an information sheet. It seems pretty daft to me that having taken a wad of money off of a customer for an engine you've lovingly put together, you'd want to help that person get the very best out of the engine.
EXHAUST - Manifolds, types available and application.
Created: September 28, 2000
The third stroke, that following the compression stroke, of our four stroke Mini engine is the only one producing power. The other three consume it. Here we’re looking at with exhaust manifolds, so what we need to consider is how to minimise power consumed on the exhaust stroke as the piston pushes the spent gases out.
Fuel Systems
FUEL - Leaded/unleaded fuel and the alternatives.
Created: September 29, 2000
The fuel situation seems to be worsening at a great pace these days. And as is exhibited by the questions that appear on the message board many folk are confused by what they can and can’t do, and what is best to do as far as race engines go. Many have posted (particularly from the States) that nothing need be done - just run on unleaded.
SU CARBS - Dashpot oil.
Created: September 29, 2000
This subject is a regular message-board poser. Many of us have touted our preferences and discoveries whilst playing about over the years. One problem with trying to deal with it on the message board is the sheer volume of information offered and available against the time available to post it.
SU Carbs - Quick reference needle selection
Created: September 08, 2000
Being an oft-voiced question on the message board, I thought I'd share it with you. Since there is already a very good source of starting points/applications for fixed needle carbs, this is for those floundering about in the wilderness that is the biased (swinging) needle example of the breed.
SU Carbs - HIF, a more finely honed instrument.
Created: September 06, 2000
The basic SU design has maintained the same basic format since it's inception. But modern technology continually sweeps its ever-growing arm across all manufactured products and the SU was no exception.
SU CARBURETTORS - How They Work
Created: September 01, 2000
Even though the SU carburetter (carb) is a very basic yet precise instrument, some fundamental understanding on just how it works is needed to be able to deal with common problems and tuning. Following is as basic a description of what's going on that I can manage!
Gearboxes
Created: October 16, 2000
Fitting an LSD isn't as simple as replacing the diff cage unit. In all cases a certain degree of diff housing modifications is needed - material needing to be ground/filed away to provide clearance for larger diff housing cases and crown wheel bolts. Although it has to be said the Quaife diff is supposed to fit without these mods. I've never found that.
Created: October 16, 2000
Modified engines producing more power generally induce owners to drive with greater verve, particularly when competing in one of the many motorsport disciplines. In fact this isn’t isolated to modified Minis. Owners of relatively standard machinery competing in a discipline or merely out on a country lane blast are subject to the same determination.
Created: July 11, 2001
The 'Gospel According to Calver' concerning all tuning carried out on any aspect of your car and therefore
Created: September 26, 2000
Establishing an accurate TDC reference point is of paramount importance when developing and monitoring ignition timing (and cam timing come to that). When an experienced engine builder assembles an engine - no matter whether for road or race - he will establish an accurate TDC indicator that can be used for ignition purposes.
Created: September 25, 2000
Any deviation away from the original standard engine specification, or where a dizzy from another source is used in the engine you have, the ignition timing will generally be different from that set by the manufacturer.
Created: September 15, 2000
Since the A-Series has such an efficient combustion chamber design, the standard points set-up is perfectly capable of providing sufficient sparks for effective combustion when new. And this is the problem. They require regular servicing to maintain maximum performance. This can be a chore, so is generally neglected.
Created: September 15, 2000
Any dizzy can be set to get maximum power. No problem. Unfortunately that's only one spot on the whole power curve/rpm range. If the curve isn't right elsewhere, the engine will be either loosing power - in some instances by substantial amounts - or detonating its self into oblivion and a costly re-build.
Created: September 21, 2000
To sate the demand for rear anti-roll bars to fit more diverse component configurations and applications, re-development of our popular kits has been instigated – enhancing space and performance efficiency.
Suspension
SUSPENSION - Converting from wet to dry
Created: July 11, 2001
The steady decline of readily available hydrolastic displacer units has prompted an escalation in the number of folk asking how to go about swopping from hydrolastic (‘wet’)
Suspension - Corner Weights and Bump-Steer Basics
Created: February 27, 2001
A surprising number of racers still avoid dealing with them, as with geometry in general they're seen as another 'black art'. Not at all alleviated by the sight of the well-to-do single seater teams producing computer controlled, highly accurate scales to make last minute corner weight adjustments or slipping wafer-thin shims in between steering arms and hubs.
Created: October 28, 2002
Having applied Hi-Los and some smart 165/60/12 profile tyre shod12 x 5-inch ally rims, discussions get around to just why does this combination cause the tyre to hit the front arch? Well, it's all a question of alignment - either subframe to body or suspension to subframe.
Created: May 30, 2001
This subject is a regular visitor to the message board and 'Knowledge' section of Mini Magazine for whom I write - fitting bigger wheels. Predominantly 13-inchers, but 12s as well, the main thrust of the questions being 'what do I need to do?' along with 'which wheel arch extensions will I need?' The answer has always been somewhat 'clipped' purely because of the space availability issues both in the magazine and on the message board, so something a little more detailed was required.