Suspension Setup

23 07 2014

I’ve previously setup my own suspension and geometry but have decided to farm this job out as for one reason or another I don’t currently have the equipment to do the job properly, but the main reason is that I’ve never set up a miglia before and if I’m going to be whizzing round at 125mph I really need the setup to be as good and as safe as possible. In my mini 7 days I developed it myself and it took ages to get right. It makes sense to go to someone who knows what they are doing in the first instance and in miglia circles there is no one better than Endaf Owens.

I’ve known Endaf for many years through Autograss.  The first I remember of him was in 1994 when respected grassing journo Jeffrey Parish told me to ‘watch this lad – he’s going to go far’. At the time Endaf was racing a class5 mini pickup with a modified 1340 short stroke engine, and that year he got a second at the Nationals and continued to be at the sharp end for several years when the class was in it’s golden era. Then about 1998 Endaf bought Ian Gunn’s miglia and set about doing the same on the circuits. At a Pembrey round in only his second or third race he briefly led Ian Curley making everyone sit up and take notice. From then on Endaf was a regular on the podiums culminating in winning the title in 2011. 

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So I booked in for a setup and was at the Owens Motorsport HQ just outside of Carmarthen less than 2 hours after leaving Bristol. If you have never been there it’s like a toy shop for petrol heads, particularly mini racers. There are historic mk1’s, miglias, fast road minis, hillclimbers and autograss cars in various stages of build. Upstairs is an ultra rare Corry Cultra rally car, and what is for me the holy grail of mini racers – a Mini Maguire with a Ford Cosworth BDA on a mini gearbox. Then there is the special saloon Imp, and Endaf’s own KAD spaceframe mini which he has won the ‘Fastest mini in the world’ race twice. He could charge people to just come and nose around, and I’m sure if dad Danny is around he will be glad to give you a guided tour!

Quite rightly I’m sworn to secrecy with all the settings as Endaf has taken many years to get the winning formula, but we started by setting the ride heights with me in the car.

Then we put the front wheels on the turntables and rigged up the gauges to set the castor. Then we set the camber which was made a bit more difficult as my bottom arms are not ‘in-situ’ adjustable, meaning we had to unbolt them to wind out the rose joints. I have to change them apparently…

Front tracking was done and after disconnecting the rear anti-roll-bar we moved on the back to set the rear camber and tracking. Finally we put the car up onto the scales and did the corner weights. It’s so much easier with scales than the way I used to do it with a corner weight gauge. It took 10 minutes rather than a couple of hours!

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All throughout the process Endaf was explaining to me what he was doing so I learned a lot too. And all for a very reasonable price, I left very happy. Hopefully it won’t be long and I’ll be able to get some testing in and feel the benefit.

Next step is to get the engine running. I’ve got a few issues with the MBE ECU having assigned itself a new mystery pin number. Fixing this has been a bit of a saga in itself so I’ll save it for next time.  

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Dad’s come in dead handy for bleeding brakes but they are difficult to manouvre in and especially out of racing cars…

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One response

26 07 2014
dave barley

Hi Ian, Thanks for your thoughts and pit falls of your build, at present we are just getting parts together for our build, all comes down to budget. Please keep sending your progress. thanks dave

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