Engine News

3rd June 2010

Over the last few weeks, I've been talking to the engine builders a lot about cams and valves and things. After a lot of searching, they've managed to find a set of larger valves (38mm to the standard 36) which will fit. From a vauxhall of all things, but a lot cheaper than getting a custom set made up, which was the next plan. This is apparently about the largest valve which will fit into the standard chamber, and will need larger valve seats putting in. It will be a better fit for the size of the ports in the head and should improve breathing at all points through the rev range.

As far as cams go, I've been recommended the Cat Cams 1030911, what they term a "rally" grind. It has 1.85mm more lift and nearly 20 degrees more duration than stock. I'm told it will be obviously "tuned", but not so lairy that it's unpleasant for everyday driving.

I could save a bit of wedge by compromising on the exhaust cams, maybe getting regrinds for them or even leaving them stock - haven't decided yet. The other thing they can do is make up a set of vernier pulleys - not cheap at nearly 300 quid a pair, but importantly will allow the cams to be degreed in for best performance in a rolling road session - something which will be impossible to do with the standard pullies on their keyless tapers. I've read plenty of stories in the car magazines of engines with all the right bits in producing tens of bhp less than they could, simply due to poor setup - so they're probably going to be worth it I think.

So it's all finally moving on. Of course, I've no guarantee of the impact of all of this, which makes it a rather expensive experiment, albeit one that's based on well-known principles. But hey, you only live once...

Clutch / Brakes / Wheels / Scuttle

17 June 2010

Not a huge amount of work on the car over the last week or so, alas the DIY beckoned again. Also been spending some "build time" trawling through clutch catalogues trying to find bits that fit - but so far, zippo. The alfa flywheel seems to be an odd size, and there seem to be few if any clutch plates which would fit. More searching to do, but it might have to be a custom job, which I daresay won't be cheap.

Been looking into brakes as well. Willwoods are the "Default" kit car choice, but seem to often suffer from squeal. So I was hoping to find an alternative. But it seems that they're the default for a reason - APs, Torox and Brembos are getting on for 900 pound a corner, which is a bit much; standard sierra cosworth ones are by all accounts very heavy; and I read bad things about the other brands in the same price range as Willwood. So it looks like I'll probably end up with them and just hope that I don't get the dreaded squeal.

Will have to choose some wheels at some point, and there's a whole new world of offsets and things to discover. I don't want to go too big, as conventional wisdom is that smaller = better handling. However, I also need enough width at the back so I'm not spinning up the rears all the time. (Unless I want to).

If you go with split rims (such as the Image wheels recommended by Dax), you can get any width in any size, pretty much. However, these are (a) very expensive and (b) I don't really like the styles they come in. One piece rims are less flexible, so it looks like I'm going to need a 17inch at the rear in order to get the width. So I might do what another builder has done and go for 17s on the rear and 16s up front. I'm liking the Team Dynamics Pro-Race 1.2 at the moment:

I've also ebayed a few bits, including the supercharger, to hopefully recoup some cash. Oh, and I picked up a nice old Record vice from an antiques place for the princely sum of 25 (the new equivilent is 166, so I'll consider that a bargain). Took a couple of nights to fix as I had to hack my workbench around a bit, but now it means that I don't have to keep traipsing up to the shed every time I need to hold something.

The only thing I've managed on the actual car is covering the front of the scuttle with ally sheet. I've seen this done on a few Rushes and liked the look, so I bought yet another sheet of 1mm ally and got to work. A couple of evenings later:


I'm getting to the stage where there isn't much more structural to do for the time being. The rest of the bodywork can't be fixed until it's on some wheels, and I want to put that off until the engine's ready to go in for the final time - otherwise space is going to be an issue. There's all the dashboard etc which I'm going to start thinking seriously about, then I'm into wiring, and plumbing fuel lines. So it's about time to start on the engine rebuild I think - there are a few interesting modifications to make as well, such as a remote oil filter and rerouting the coolant feed from the rear of the engine to the front.

Dashboard Thoughts

25 June 2010

Before I started ripping into the engine, I couldn't resist having a bit of a play with how the dash might look. The idea of starting it now is so I've plenty of time to "live with it" and do tweaks here and there, before I actually get around to making it for real.

So I spent a couple of nights looking at gauges and things to get a rough idea of the sort of thing I wanted, then printed a couple out actual size to use as dummies. I'm definately after analogue guages rather than digital, because I think that analogue things are usually best represented in an analogue way. I don't really like the appearance of the all in one digital dash things you can get, which is a shame because they tend to be extremely practical and have loads of features.

Then I made up a few cardboard dashboards to see how things might sit. As expected, the handbrake will impinge on the dash if it's just flat, so I'll need either an inlet section for it, or to have the whole lower part of the dash resecessed (see pics below).

I'm very keen on good placement of the tacho (and less so, the speedo :) ). Standard position is between the two seats, but it's a long way to move your eyes from the road - looks nice, but very poor ergonomics. They will fit behind the steering wheel, but a quick "pretend drive" showed that they'll be obscured most of the time - again, pretty poor. One way around this is to put some shift lights behind/just above the wheel, F1-style. But then the tacho itself is a bit redundant if you're never going to look at it!

Optimum placement for me seems to be just to the left and slightly above the wheel. Unfortunately, this is above the top of the scuttle! There are various gauge pods and things you can buy, so this might not actually be the end of the world.


I prefer the right-hand design at the moment, but there's more ideas to be tried...

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