April '02
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4th April, New Fool !

Stubbo has succumbed to the temptation of a V8 Mini and has duly been added to the ranks of the V8 fools.

6th-8th April, Action (slogging on)

Got up far too early on Saturday morning, so had to invent some quiet jobs until proper noise was allowed. Cutting up cardboard was deemed to be a suitably quiet occupation, so I snipped & taped up a rough bonnet scoop/duct/cowl thing to cover the plenum top. Then I did some DIY ergonomics for the dash by sitting in the drivers seat and drawing where the controls could be. I figured that if I could draw them, then I could reach them :-)

Damian arrived and we set up the MIG with a 5 foot tall cylinder of Argon/CO2 (should be just about enough) and three mains equipment fans for extra cooling - overheat now - I dare you ! Then, as the clocks struck 9am, Damian fired up the grinder to start  a long weekend of serious Imp carving. Admittedly a replacement grinder had to be bought after the first one exploded - oops.

I got to work on the gear change, moving the lever base, then cutting and welding the rods to fit. With a horrid split pin in place of the roll pin the action felt pretty good, and the KAD quick shift  kept the throw very short.  With the stick in its new location the exhaust needed to have a couple of extra 30 degree wiggles welded in, then with a bit of hammering and swearing the pipes bolted into place in the tunnel quite happily. 

Back inside the car the flap in the drivers side of the tunnel was folded back down, and to my surprise most of the gap closed up, seems like I could have found room for the exhausts by just jacking or hammering from underneath to bend the panel.

Then into the boot, the hole in the boot floor was edged with 20mm box section and a 30mm strip of 1mm sheet just for good measure, this provides a solid rectangular frame that will be able to support a variety of radiator options - I just need to work out which one to try first !

Mini progress pics

All of this work was interspersed with great big chunks of welding to the Imp - which now has had it's rear end hollowed out and an obscene amount of 100x30mm box section installed to make a nice solid 'extra chassis' inside the shell. Still, good experience for battleship construction ;-)

Pics of Imp butchery

13-14th April, Action

The progress from this weekend doesn't look too significant, but it did involve lots of fiddling to get it right (honest!). The existing Mini loom  was treated to a bit of a trim to remove about a mile of  spare cables. Then it was refitted with as much as possible on the inside of the bulkhead to keep the engine bay clear. The wiper motor was also relocated inside the car, hopefully to make room for an expansion tank.

The battery is temporarily sitting in a non FIA enclosure behind the drivers seat (OK, it's in a plastic storage bin from Tesco - but it does have a lid!). I think the spare wheel will end up living behind the passenger seat until I have worked out the cooling/boot stuff.

With the important bits of electrical stuff in place the dashboard became the next job. So a bit of MDF was cut to fit full width on the bits of 20mm box I fitted a couple of weeks ago. The cardboard template was brought back out and a hole for the clocks was cut, taking far longer than expected! The previous switch box was refitted but turned through 90 degrees to leave more room for a glove box (later).

After much deliberation I decided that the yellow fiberglass flipfront would be going back on, mostly because I am lazy as this front has all the lights & wiring still attached. Only minor problem being that the bonnet scoop/lump thing will be harder to fit to flimsy GRP stuff.

With a brutal hole in the bonnet the front was quite a good fit, but the hinges needed relocating further forward to stop the front hitting the exhaust when flipping. A shiny chrome grill had to be fitted because the moulded one would have melted against the exhaust, and because it always looked naff. The back of the grill needed to be mashed a bit with the grinder, but fitted on fairly well. The bottom edge sticks out about 30mm more than it should, but with the bumper fitted it is not too obvious. Unlike the scoop/cowl thing !

The plenum now lives under a fairly ugly bit of bent 0.7mm steel sheet, but heck at least it's away from prying fingers! The scoop lump thing was fitted central with the plenum to keep it as small as possible, this means that it sits about 80mm off centre - symetry is overrated anyway :-)

Click for Pics

16th-19th April, (lots of) action!

4 days off work for a mad mechanical spree, to try to sort out a lot of the niggly little detail bits like bunging the brake lines back in and testing the electrical systems. Not large tasks but they always seem to suck in more time than you think.

The induction system was next on the list, so a sundry collection of pipes and bits was formed from the original EFI parts and from the plumbing for a twin SU set up. This provided just enough bits to locate the air filter above the clutch, just behind the grill.

The fuel pump was cut out from it's original bracket and a large 'P' clip was made to wrap around it, this bracket is bolted to the underside of the boot floor with two rubber mounts.

Thursday, Damian came over for some more Impery and spent the day working on his engine, porting the heads for EFI, assembling stuff, then working on the block to box adapter.

With everything 'under the boot' sorted the cooling system needed my attention - mainly because so far I hadn't made definate plans of what to use! Damian however provided some inspiration by arriving with a nice radiator from a Carlton, and a pair of fans from an MR2. A little bit of juggling in the back of the car revealed that the fans would sit into the floor without hitting the exhausts and the radiator would sit neatly on the top. A cowl to seal the fans to the boot floor was made from 0.7mm steel sheet and the whole assembly fitted in fine (after about an hour of cursing, swearing and filing off corners).

Damian did have a bit of a downer (plumbing related <spooky>) on Thursday when he found out that the boiler at his flat had died meaning no Impery on Friday :-(

The radiator sits flat on the top of the cowl, and the core is almost the same height as the fans, so it will not be masked off at all. Behind the radiator and fans there will be another bit of thin steel cowling to seal the boot floor to the front edge of the parcel shelf, this even leaves some room in the boot for storage! The passengers will be separated from the radiator by another sheet from the front edge of the seat base to the front of the parcel shelf, then I just need to duct enough air in from the side windows or wings......

Stubbo called in on Friday to inspect the progress, so it was quite a relaxed day with not much work, except trying to start the engine up in the rain. It did go eventually, but wasn't very happy - shame Stubbo couldn't hear it at its best. I will just have to drive Doris up to see him :-)

Last job before the weekend was to make up all the pipes from the engine to the radiator and solder them together without setting fire to anything with the blow lamp !!!

Induction & radiator pics

20th-21st April, Action

Woo, after 4 days on the car it's the weekend - so I can play on the car again ;-)

The radiator was connected to the new plumbing then again using a variety of different hoses and bits of pipe  the cooling system was connected to the engine. Bit of a problem not having a radiator cap anywhere on the system, so for now it will have to run unpressurised, with just an expansion bottle for a header tank. First mistake was to plumb the bottle into the top hose resulting in a huge airlock, lots of bubbling noises, then a small column of steam! Having moved the bottle to the bottom hose the system filled with water, just needing to have the top hose disconnected from the thermostat housing to bleed the air out. 

Then the alternator, from a SuzukiSJ410, was fitted between the water pump and the bulkhead. A small bracket needed to be made to support the outer end and an adjuster was made from the original rover bit. The next problem was that a fan belt of the exact length could not be found :-( Not a problem as I had already got a contingency plan. Some time ago I bought a couple of bearings from RS, (8mm shaft, 25mm outer). A suitable hole was drilled in the adjuster bracket, then a long M8 bolt was used to hold the two bearings and a spacer in place - instant idler - no more slack belt trouble :-)

Last thing to do was to actually test it all, so the engine was run for 20 mins at idle to see what happened. While warming it up I bunged on the gastester and found that the CO for each bank was about 2.2% - dunno if that's good? But best of all, with the fans running the temperature never got above 63'C

Next week :- Tuning !

Plumbing & belt pics

pump_fan_v8.wav (287k) :- sound of fuel pump, then cooling fans, then both, then engine starting.

pump_fan_v8.avi (1.2Mb) :- as above but also showing engine pulleys, CO level & water temp.

27th-28th April, Action (some)

Seeing as things are getting close to test drive time I decided to make the cooling system installation a bit more permanent. I unhooked the pipes, pulled out the radiator, then removed the fans and cowling - to reveal a nice orangy puddle - oops. A few 5mm drain holes soon fixed that problem and a couple of coats of hammerite should keep things happy.

In addition to the M8 bolts holding the fans into the cowl I put about a dozen rivets around the edge to keep things tight and close up any gaps that air could escape through, then painted the cowl, painted the rest of the coot floor and bunged all the cooling stuff back in again. The fans were then rewired through 2 on-off-on double pole switches for independent suck/blow control.

In the meantime Elaine played about with bonnet cowl shapes using chicken wire :-)

I finally got around to getting some more exhaust manifold bolts (nice allen head ones), so the previous deficiency could be rectified (8 bolts instead of 16 is a bad thing). The four bolts holding on the front manifold were removed and used to fill the gaps at the rear, then eight shiny new bolts were fitted at the front. To make things easier I ran a tap into each hole to tidy the threads and clear out any crap.

To prevent fouling on the bonnet, the vertical breather had been unscrewed from the front rocker cover, and this was blocked with a small steel plate, some silicone instant gasket, and 6 self tapping screws, then a 15mm hole was drilled in the rear corner of the cover and a large hose barb fitting epoxied in place ready for connection to the breather system.

With everything plumbed back in I ran the engine for a couple of hours at idle and managed to clock up about 45 miles by leaving it in top gear :-) 

The speedo has not been calibrated yet, but at idle of about 900rpm, it was reading 15-20mph in top, so it's quite close for the 3.76diff.

Eeek shock horror - NO PICS !!!!! (sorry)

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This page last modified 04/02/2008.