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Racing no, but probably nostalgia for many of us here


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#1 mariner

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 11:32

The  enginelabs website is great resource for modern tech stuff but here they have gone retro with a BMC A series strip and rebuild. 

 

https://www.enginela...ic-mini-engine/

 

I doubt that many of us, professionals apart, had those workshop facilities but how many can remember doing at least part of this on some tired A series.

 

For me it was in the front garden of my parents house aged 18 with a failed head gasket and no more than 3 or 4 spanners IIRC



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#2 Sterzo

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 12:24

You call an A series "retro", young man? I rebuilt my 1172 Ford side-valve engine at the kerbside in a Regency square in Westminster (£4 a week accomodation including food). It packed up again soon after, and I abandoned it (temporarily) in Belgravia, where it delayed the painting of some of London's first-ever yellow lines.



#3 sabrejet

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 12:26

There is something very therapeutic about watching videos like that. Thanks for posting and let's hope they do a Bugatti 35 engine soon!



#4 Bloggsworth

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 13:29

Ah! Clinch bolts on the gudgeon pins, what lunatic thought of that one?



#5 GreenMachine

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 13:31

Ahhh memories!  As a youngster, playing with a Morris Minor, followed by a Mini, followed by a Bugeyes Sprite, inevitably bred some familiarity with the insides of the A series.  Good times, learning how they work, doing everything on a shoestring ....



#6 mariner

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 14:10

And that famous thermostat bypass hose between the head and the water pump. True men were the ones who could force a new one on without taking the head off!

#7 Odseybod

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Posted 29 May 2022 - 20:32

And that famous thermostat bypass hose between the head and the water pump. True men were the ones who could force a new one on without taking the head off!


A dessert spoon with a coating of Vaseline was the equipment of choice for some of us (returning it to its official kitchen duties without being spotted was often the most tricky part of the operation).

#8 Tim Murray

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 01:24

You could always cheat and fit the concertina version, but obviously this was much flimsier and wouldn’t last as long as the real thing:

0-ECBFF91-0816-4-F5-C-8-F1-C-E51-C5-B951

#9 elansprint72

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 10:51

You could always cheat and fit the concertina version, but obviously this was much flimsier and wouldn’t last as long as the real thing:

0-ECBFF91-0816-4-F5-C-8-F1-C-E51-C5-B951

I always found it easier to just remove the water pump when changing this hose; the " cheat" hoses had a rather short life!



#10 2F-001

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 11:09

... the " cheat" hoses had a rather short life!

That kind of thing is great to carry as a spare for ''in the field'' repairs though!



#11 Charlieman

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 12:08

A dessert spoon with a coating of Vaseline was the equipment of choice for some of us (returning it to its official kitchen duties without being spotted was often the most tricky part of the operation).

Uggh, Vaseline, petroleum jelly -- a substance best kept away from hose pipes. You use Glycerine BP which is soluble in water, pretty inert.



#12 marksixman

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Posted 30 May 2022 - 13:03

I had been inside a Riley 9 engine at school, also a couple of motorcycle engines, but before I did anything to the engine on my first car, an Austin A40 Farina, I had to overhaul the gearbox when it became incredibly noisy. The layshaft bearings had gone - a common problem. Got it all apart on a Friday afternoon, got the bits on Saturday morning, put it all together and back in the car on Sunday. First lesson of gearbox repairs --- check it works before you put it back in the car or need to use it ! 

 

Monday morning, off to work --- won't go into second gear at all ! 35 miles to work with a lot of revs in first, and some clutch slip in third, 35 miles home again, and permission to take Tuesday off to get it fixed. Out, apart, second gear synchro ring refitted the correct way round, back together, TESTED THE GEAR SELECTION, back in the car, and off to pub for closing time.

 

Did later on build a very nice 998 (plus a bit once it was bored) A-series Mini Cooper engine for a friend. Not exactly in the garden, but a very tatty garage. That had a very hot cam that meant it had to rev hard, but we had it fully balanced and it was a dream. Even sold the engine on, very well, when the car got written off on a road rally !

 

Happy Days !



#13 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 03:58

Uggh, Vaseline, petroleum jelly -- a substance best kept away from hose pipes. You use Glycerine BP which is soluble in water, pretty inert.

A teaspoon no but many use some vaseline for fitting water hoses, fuelines as well as oil lines when required. I have used rubber grease but A not as good and B more expensive and hard to get.

I am still using the jar of generic vaseline I bought about 35 years ago. 



#14 10kDA

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 13:15

Ahhh memories!  As a youngster, playing with a Morris Minor, followed by a Mini, followed by a Bugeyes Sprite, inevitably bred some familiarity with the insides of the A series.  Good times, learning how they work, doing everything on a shoestring ....

And doing one's damnedest to get it all done before having to drive the vehicle to work Monday morning.



#15 10kDA

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 13:21

A teaspoon no but many use some vaseline for fitting water hoses, fuelines as well as oil lines when required. I have used rubber grease but A not as good and B more expensive and hard to get.

I am still using the jar of generic vaseline I bought about 35 years ago. 

Saliva works wonders getting hose ends where they are supposed to go. It may not be the best option but it's definitely the cheapest.



#16 downhillfast

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 13:42

Nostalgia and Racing for me  :D . Built  a mini in my parents garage in the 70s and raced it for a few seasons. Clive Trickey , Dave Vizard and CCC Magazine providing inspiration. Only simple hand tools then, but still possible. 

 

Happy Days Indeed.



#17 RS2000

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 15:30

Changed a head gasket on my 998 Cooper at the side of the A34 near Enstone on Boxing Day 74 as light failed with very few tools. No one else around that day in those days. Finally made it to Shropshire to meet my wife to be's parents with my unadjusted valve clearances, frozen fingers and oily hands. The fact I had a full gasket set in the car was a fortunate legacy of its time as my rally car.

Having to lift the thermostat housing because I simply could not get the top hose off it meant using the cardboard the gasket set came in as a replacement t/stat gasket (with no knife or scissors but with teeth) was the worst problem



#18 mariner

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Posted 31 May 2022 - 16:24

When the head gasket failed on a very old Austin A55  en route to Castle Combe so in deepest Wiltshire I had to go to Devises to get new one

 

No option but to hitch down a country lane and saved by a kind cattle truck driver . My abiding memory was sort of thud, thud, thud sound above me as the cattle shot forward due to his rapid braking to help me!

 

I did fix the worn out rear brakes of an A40 in the gutter with , I think, just an adjustable, a screwdriver and plies The trick was BMC saved themselves one wheel cylinder and a flex hose by fitting only one rear slave cylinder on the chassis pushing the normal handbrake linkage tight. So no need for hi-tech stuff like slotted spanner and  expensive brake fluid.

 

How it worked , sort of, here 

 

http://www.austinwor...m/t-brakes.html



#19 DouglasM

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 00:57

I raced a Mini Marcos for years and rebuilt far too many times, 1275, 1380 and even 1450 cc A series engines, straight-cut drop gears and gearboxes, and limited-slip diffs. I don't think I've seen the insides of a standard A series.



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#20 RobertE

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Posted 01 June 2022 - 15:37

I struggled with a Mini-Cooper which seemed to leap out of gear whenever it chose. I was totally ignorant of these matters (then) so when I learned that it was  simple bush on a stabiliser rod I recall thinking "actually, that's brilliant"...

 

I love the A series; it's really hard to break - and believe me, I've tried.



#21 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 03 June 2022 - 03:32

Have done a few roadside overhauls. Did a headgasket on the side of the SE Freeway coming home from an event. 186 Holden. The racecar was the same model and like many I always had spares!! When a HQ Racing engine sealer I must have done a dozen at the racetrack. Record is around 20 min to unbolt the head, scrape off the crap and replace head gasket. Me reseal it and have it running. Later on we deliberatly left the wire a little loose so they could flip it and change headgasket. Most of the heads had been milled 100thou plus to get compression,,, that A made the head quite thin and B made headgasket failures fairly common.

Have changed radiators on the side of the road more than once. 90s Fords have a habit of blocking up radiators so I carried a spare that had been cleaned out. These days I would just carry a new one. These were used cars and until you gave them a test you did not know. Generally they would be fine except when towing,, even then sometimes only on stinking hot days. Usually IF I made it up the long climb to the top of the freeway I was fine. 

Lost a brand new [fitted the day before] waterpump belt near Yumali in the mallee.. Fun! 40 deg day cutting off all the shredded belt to replace it with,,, the old one!! Maintenance is a bad idea!

Twice towing the speedway car I had to 'steal' fuel from the racecar to get to a fuel supply. 2 litre Coke bottle at a time!

Ran out of brakes on my way to Winton in my Dodge truck. Old Highways truck and where the brakeline ran through the chassis It had rusted out. Covered in dirt and bitumen. We blocked off the pipe and proceeded slowly to Benalla with only front brakes.  Where we found a brake shop who fabbed up a new pipe about 15 feet long. I then refitted, bled the brakes and we were gone.

Going to Sandown in the same truck we lost a retread tyre on [ofcourse] inside rear. Luckily it happened literally about 500 metres from the retread factory that had made it. This at 7am in the morning. We were off again at 8.30 with a new warranty tyre. So still had a spare.

A friend of mine who was an animal driver with his Holden Van used to carry a spare gearbox and diff and axles. And regularly changed them on the side of the road.

Late 70s coming down the freeway on my way to an engagement party coming from Tailem Bend rallycross towing I ran out of brakes.At the bottom of the freeway.  Boiled the fluid at a guess. Drove very carefully on rear brakes only about 6k to the party. Stayed at the party and got up expecting to have to fix the brakes,,, they had fixed themselves!! I did flush them out when I got home however.

BMC A series?? I was never that silly. We once traded an old Mini that then immediatly ran out of clutch fluid. I filled it up only to watch it disapear near as fast. My saleslady [who traded it]  however sold it to her stepfather who eventually fixed it!

She traded some shitters but always got rid of them.


Edited by Lee Nicolle, 03 June 2022 - 03:36.