Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spare Engine - Timing Gear Removed

Having spent quite a lot of time recently working towards restoring the head, I now need something decent to sit it on. This is the part I have been looking forward to, the engine!!! This will be a mountain of work and will take me ages to complete.

My first obstacle is that I am not too familiar with the A-Series engine. To be honest, I'm not actually familiar with any engine at all. This problem is not insurmountable though as I have acquired a knackered engine for £10 and plan to use this as my learning engine. Although the block is cracked, it is complete and perfect for taking to bits.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spare Engine - Reassembling the Head

Now that the head is all painted and looking fantastic in its not so original red coat, it's now time to put the whole thing back together and store it away.

The red looks fantastic.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spare Engine - Painting the Head

Progress has been oh so slow recently, hampered by all the building work and all the general busyness a full time job and two kids bring. But now the building work is complete, it is set to get even slower as I embark on the mammoth task of redecorating the whole house! So blog entries may not be so think and fast for the next few months as I will only be able to steal a few hours on the Mini here and there.

But that hasn't stopped me from plodding on with restoring all the other parts of the head. Along with those restored parts and a few new bits, it's finally time to put it all back together again. But before any rebuilding can be done, the head itself needs new coat. As the head I'm working on is a 998cc, it should really be painted yellow, but I'm not purist when it comes to these things so I'm painting it red. Why, because I want to!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Testing The New Thermostat

Slowly but surely I am getting around to rebuilding a spare head. So far I've cleaned off all the grime, lapped the valves into their seats, done a little porting (badly) and refurbished the rockers. Still on the 'to do' list is the job of reassembly. But to do that, I needed some new parts.

After some careful internet window shopping and price comparisons, I bought all the parts I needed online from Mini Sport. This is my first purchase with Mini Sport as in the past I've generally used Mini Spares, but for the parts I needed this time, Mini Sports was the cheapest so I thought I would give it a shot. 
Shiny New Things!!!

Among the various purchase items was a new thermostat. You would have thought that buying a new thermostat would be easy, just search and add to the shopping cart and away you go. But unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as that. A quick search on the website brings back not one, but a whole range of items to choose from. To the untrained eye, (i.e. mine) they all look identical, but a closer inspection reveals that the difference is down to the operating temperature. The main choices I could see were 74°C, 82°C and 88°C, however the website descriptions for the differing items offered little to no clues as to which was the best one to use with a standard 998 carb fed engine. I assume that if you get the wrong one it could be bad, probably very bad. So after a quick phone call to Mini Sport Customer Services, I was directed to the 82°C item.

As there was a selection of different thermostats with different temperature thresholds, I thought it would be fun to see just how closely to the stated 82°C it would spring into action. So I devised a little experiment...

Moving to my laboratory (the kitchen), I gathered together the necessary equipment to conduct the experiment. The specialist apparatus used include a kettle, a cup, a thermometer and a draining board.

Very Technical equipment.

After boiling the kettle, the hot water was added to the cup and the thermometer confirmed it was pretty hot, too hot in fact, so adding a little cold, brought it down to about 80° C. Leaving the thermometer sat in the water I could see the temperature dropping from 80, to 79, 78 and so on quite quickly, so I kept topping the cup up from the kettle allowing it to overflow to try to keep the temperature stable.



Plopping the thermostat into the water at 80° C, I expected nothing to happen as this is below the opening temperature. And a few minutes in the water soon confirmed that the thermostat did indeed stay closed.



Adding a little water to the cup, raised the temperature of the water up to 83° C, and now things started to happen.



Slowly the thermostat came to life and started to open. First a little...



Then more...



until it was gaping...



All the time, I tried to keep the temperature at about 83° C.


This seemed to be very close indeed to the operating temperature, these things obviously work and work very well. As a final test, I let the water cool and as the mercury dropped, the thermostat predictably closed back up again.

So there you have it, a very good result confirming that the 82° C thermostat does indeed open at (or very close to) the stated temperature.

With all that sciencing complete, I now just need to tidy up now and allow the kettle to fulfil it's proper role and make a well earned cup of tea.





<Next Post> - 'Spare Engine - Painting the Head'
<This Post> - 'Testing The New Thermostat'
<Previous Post> - 'Oil Change Number 2'

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oil Change Number 2

Changing the oil and the oil filter is a bit of a chore really, but as the Mini is currently my daily drive, it's a fairly important one that I can't ignore. Looking back over my blog, it appears that I last changed the oil back in May 2013. That's a whole year ago, where did that go?! So the time has come once more.

Apart from a few minor changes, this year was much the same a last year: take the old oil out, change the filter and put the new oil in. There's not that much to it really.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Gunk Engine Degreaser v's Red Diesel

Like many people who have their hands in old car parts, I get through quite a lot of engine degreaser. The brand I have found to be the most effective (and the best smelling) is Gunk. I find Gunk so useful I buy it in 2.5 litre cans which are currently selling in Halfords for £10.99. Making it £4.40ish per litre.
A lot like this one.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spare Engine - Rocker Refurb


Spares Are Great
Having spare parts kicking about the shed is brilliant! It means I can mess about experimenting with things, learning how they work without the fear of breaking something I am currently using. This's exactly the case with the rocker assembly. Actually, I have two spare sets, which is even better!

So having all these spare parts available, it seems a shame, almost a crime in fact, not to take one to pieces just for the sake it! To be honest, the rockers just looked dirty really and I suspect that refurbishing them is probably unnecessary as it will not make them work any better, but so what! Where's the fun in that?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Spare Engine - Porting the Head

Research
As porting the head is simply a means of getting more gas through the ports, it should be fairly straight forward to make improvements. Just make the holes bigger! If only it were so simple. Porting seems to be an art-form that requires the skills of a sculptor and the experience and knowledge of an engineer. Neither of which I have at my disposal. Also I really need a flow bench to check how the modifications effect the Cubic Feet per Minute (so that's what CFM stands for!). I had a look around, and I don't seem to have one to hand. What I do have though is a scrap head to use for practice, some sub standard tools, a book and lots of determination.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spare Engine - Lapping the valves

Previously
In the previous post, I was experimenting with various methods of lapping the valves into their respective seats. I found that lapping by hand worked very well if the seats were in good condition to begin with. The problem is though, the head I am working on has some bad pitting around the valve seats and lapping by hand was just not going to work