Making a start on the engine

21 02 2013

After stripping the engine it was time to assess the damage…

A decent engine builder will check literally hundreds of different measurements whilst assembling a motor. Endfloats, tolerances, wear etc are all part of it, and if done correctly, and if cared for correctly, an engine will have the minimum of wear even in a race application.  I think I caught this engine just in time. Lets just say I very glad I didn’t run it as it was…

After a few chats with Darran Taylor at LCP Race Engines we decided to put a whole Saturday to one side to get the engine ready for reassembly. LCP in Cheltenham are primarily set up for the preparation of racing engines. Darran cut his teeth with Mini racing having been brought up helping his dad who hillclimbed a Maguire, but he has also raced a range of his own cars from 1460 Mini’s to his current 2litre 16v Vauxhall special complete with dry sump, race fuel injection and engine management.  I’ve seen all sorts of motors being tended to including F1 & 2 stock cars, hot rods, historic rally engines as well as plenty of Autograss engines, one of the specialities being the class2 units and their bespoke induction systems which LCP have designed, manufactured and dyno proved. On the back burner whilst I was there was an all steel alloy blocked 2.5 litre Warrior twin cam engine destined for a mk2 Escort rally car in Wales.  As far as the machinery goes there are lathes, milling machines, a flow bench, dynamic balancer, industrial cleaning tank as well as the usual boring bars, honing machines etc. If it’s needed for a race engine build then it is in there.

Anyway, first off we put the block, head etc in to the cleaner which is a bit like a giant dishwasher but uses some clever chemicals as well as heat to get rid of all the oil and general detritus that builds up. Whilst this was chugging away we put the crank on the lathe and spun it up so we could polish the journals. This is done using a diamond encrusted belt which I’m told by Darran are very expensive. Of course the journals were measured before and after to make sure they kept within the right tolerences for the 010 bearings.

Once that was done we took the head out of the cleaner whilst it was still hot, and used the hydraulic press to push out the old worn out guides. Using a depth guide the new colisbro ones were pushed in after a little bit of de-burring and fettling. Quite a lot of attention was paid to getting the correct valve to guide clearance as this is very important because too small and they might seize, and too much will cause the engine to smoke and accelerate wear. We wanted to avoid cutting the seats in the head if at all possible so we gave the valves a careful lapping in and then checked for a good seal using the vacuum guage.

Picture10 026

Then it was off to the dynamic balancer. After spinning it up we found the crank was out by quite a way. We confirmed it was a steel crank after it was found to be too hard to drill, so we used an angle grinder with a special serrated wheel to get the metal off in the correct areas. We then spun it up with the flywheel, then backplate, and finally the clutch cover repeating the process at each stage.

There are still a few more things to prep at home before I can start reassembly, but after a very productive day we are well on our way.  LCP has provided the rings, bearings, oil pump etc so I’m running out of excuses now…

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