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BRAKES - Rear brake bias adjustment
Created: December 13, 2000
The other 4-way valve on the bulkhead on later cars (part number FAM7821) is frequently wrongly identified as one of the above as they are similar. However, this unit does not have the electrical connection, and has a cylinder sticking out one end. This IS a brake pressure regulator, only fitted to front/rear split systems as far as I'm aware. The PDWA is built into the master cylinders in these applications.
BRAKES - Fitting discs and required ancillaries 
Created: December 10, 2000
What you actually need for the disc/drum conversion is pretty straightforward. Disconnect the steering arms, top and bottom swivel-pins, CV joint, and flexible brake pipes at the subframe - that’s it. There are, however, a number of ancillaries to consider.
BRAKES - Split brake systems and adjustable bias valves
Created: December 08, 2000
You can only use the MS72 adjustable brake regulator/bias valve with a front/rear split system. Definitely NOT the diagonal split type (for identification see 'Brakes - Rear brake bias adjustment'). These should have been 'X-ed' at birth.
BRAKES - Pads, function and parameters
Created: December 07, 2000
The past few years have witnessed a great deal of activity in the brake-swapping department by Mini enthusiasts world wide. The reasons are quite diverse, ranging from fashion to necessity. Some fit vented Metro 4 pot brakes because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do, giving max pose value. Some believe it’s a performance improvement, usually misguided by a misinformed vendor hell bent on making a sale.
BRAKES - Pad types & choices for the MINI Cooper & S
Created: December 07, 2000
I know I keep dragging this one out for an airing but it’s continually ignored by far too many folk - the only way to get the best from what you have is to be totally honest with yourself about your Mini’s main usage. Delusions of grandeur cause severe disappointment, and tears before bedtime. Fitting a set of pads to your road Mini because you think you drive like Michael Schumacher, and your Mini’s built around a ‘race’ theme, with ‘race-spec’ brakes is going to get you into severe bother. Nine times out of ten they won’t work properly.
BRAKES - How they work
Created: December 06, 2000
Without a doubt the most important point to get sorted at the outset is just what makes brakes do their thing - FRICTION. The sole purpose of the brake set-up on any vehicle is to convert kinetic energy into thermal energy. In English that’s motion into heat - friction. The motion of the disc/drum across the surface of the pad/shoe produces a prodigious amount of heat.
BRAKES - Fundamental considerations
Created: December 06, 2000
Most folks immediately turn to considering higher engine power outputs. Because of this pre-occupation brakes tend to slide down the improvements priority list. However, they are far more important...
BRAKES - Silicone brake fluid, to use or not to use - that is the question!
Created: September 29, 2000
Over more recent years I've had affair number of discussions on the use of silicone brake fluid as opposed to the more common type. I have to say some folk are vehemence in their belief that this stuff is 'the answer' to all kinds of brake maladies.
CAM TIMING - Basic Notes
Created: February 04, 2011
To avoid lots of swearing and unnecessary damage, check the timing gears slide neatly onto their respective bosses. If tight, first check for any high spots in the gear bores and key-way slots. Clean out using with fine emery cloth, medium Wet 'n' Dry paper, or some such.
Valve train - Setting valve clearances (lash)
Created: September 30, 2004
A question that has cropped up frequently on the message board lately, and one that I do not ever recall having been set down in print in any magazines, is that of how to decide what the valve clearances should be when changing from the standard rocker gear to higher-lift options. So I thought I wo...
Camshafts - Scatter cams, pros and cons
Created: August 31, 2001
This whole 'scattering' deal has befuddled many. The simple fact is the principle is very basic and easy; it's getting a cam with the right profile and figures applied to it that's the hard part.
CAM TIMING - Mechanical Method
Created: August 31, 2000
Accurate piston position indication is the first goal. You need to know exactly when piston one is at TDC. Without engineering measuring equipment a ‘stop plate’ is required. This you will either have to manufacture personally, or get one made.
CAM TIMING - Conventional method using DTI, etc...
Created: August 31, 2000
Rotate crank so piston one is at the bore top (TDC). Fit timing gears 'dot-to-dot'. Set up DTI with stem resting on number one piston centre with a little preload. Rotate crank backwards slightly (anti-clockwise looking at the front), then gently forwards observing the DTI, watching where the needle stops before descending.
Clutch - Drive Strap Alignment
Created: May 29, 2003
If the pressure plate clutch plate friction face needs re-surfacing, get it machined to clean it up. Make sure the engineering company doing the job records the amount taken off, as the recorded amount needs removing from the tops of the 'horns' that stick up to ensure proper clamping force is achieved.
Created: August 28, 2002
Countless Mini enthusiasts have been dogged by primary gear bush hassles on 1275-based engines - in particular the one nearest the block (the front one). Worn ones are expensive and difficult to replace for the DIY-er because they need machining to the correct size, a job that needs to be done very accurately - a particular problem for over-seas enthusiasts. Racers from all disciplines are all too familiar with the bush spinning in the gear - usually jamming the gear so no drive gears can be selected and sometimes rendering the gear useless; replacement of which is very costly.
DIAPHRAGM SPRING - Pre-Verto types
Created: December 04, 2000
These are the shallow cone-shaped objects that the release bearing pushes on, with a steel band (disc spring) on the underside that presses against the flywheel. This provides the clamping force on the clutch plate that ultimately passes the torque/horsepower to the wheels (via the gearbox of course!). This component is therefore available with various different spring rates/tensions dependent on the application.
DIAPHRAGM SPRING - Verto types including injection
Created: December 04, 2000
The Verto/Valeo type diaphragm included the pressure plate in its assembly, much like a 'normal' car set-up. The spring being of the 'finger' type as opposed to the disc spring used on earlier, three-piece assemblies. There were originally three diaphragm specifications using progressively stronger springs - small-bore, big-bore, and Metro Turbo.
CLUTCH PLATES - Verto types, including injection
Created: December 01, 2000
There is only one original Verto/Valeo clutch plate and is fashioned more like a ‘conventional’ clutch plate - it has a sprung centre section. Four springs around the centre section of the plate take up shock, and supposedly reduce the likelihood of judder. It was an attempt by Rover to improve the clutch take-up and engagement to make is more like a 'modern' car.
PRESSURE PLATE- Pre-Verto & Verto types
Created: November 30, 2000
Apart from very first one that should be avoided at all costs (cast in part no.2A3509), there is an astonishing five other types generally available. For high-tech ones see 'Flywheels & Pressure plates - technical advances'.
CLUTCH PLATES - Pre-Verto types
Created: November 30, 2000
There are generally three types to be concerned with these days - standard pre Verto, fiber rally/race, and sintered race. All at 180mm diameter. Standard-type plates. The pre Verto plate has a spring-steel centre section to which is riveted the lining. Between the linings are sprung washers.
COOLING - How it works
Created: January 25, 2001
Very few understand just what the cooling system does and how it does it, and that incompatibility between the cooling system's capability and an upgraded engine can spell disaster for the new engine.
Cylinder Head
Cylinder head - What can easily be achieved
Created: February 03, 2011
The engine build I recently covered in previous Mini Magazine issues developed into a bit of an ongoing 'project'. During a discourse with the editorial staff at Mini Mag, it was decided the build feature presented an ideal opportunity to demonstrate just exactly what such an engine build is capable of in days where it's generally believed you have to have an all-singing, all-dancing 1380cc engine to have an enjoyable road burner - leaving those with very limited budgets a little depressed.
Cylinder head - Combustion chamber shape
Created: February 09, 2004
This addendum to the Cylinder Head section was fueled mainly by pictures of combustion chamber shapes and folk's excitement at what they could possibly do for them. It is also prompted by the 'new isn't always great' teaching. So what's in these varying and dramatically different chamber shapes?
Rocker gear - General compendium
Created: August 28, 2002
Whether you’re building a solid road performer or fire-breathing monster, the main goal is to improve air/fuel flow into the engine. The more you can get in, the more power you can get out. Cheapest chunk of power improvement comes from sorting the asthmatic manifolding and exhaust by applying a stage one kit. Then what?
Cylinder Heads - About Min Tec heads
Created: May 25, 2002
Cylinder Heads - About Min Tec heads. 'Modified to give maximum performance gain for cost. Combustion chambers, inlet and exhaust ports extensively re-worked. Smoothed finish in ports - not mirror-finish polished to minimise drag. Four-angle valve seats in head.
CYLINDER HEAD - Torque-down and head gasket problems
Created: July 11, 2001
First a brief word on head gaskets. If it is not a genuine Rover or Payen gasket, don’t use it.
CYLINDER HEAD - Unleaded Fuel Use
Created: May 16, 2001
The specter of 'unleaded fuel only' - instigated in UK on January 1st 1999 and seemingly from decades ago across the rest of the world - seems to be forcing more and more folk into frightened, panic orientated action.
DISTRIBUTOR - Electronic ignition
Created: September 15, 2000
Since the A-Series has such an efficient combustion chamber design, the standard points set-up is perfectly capable of providing sufficient sparks for effective combustion when new. And this is the problem. They require regular servicing to maintain maximum performance. This can be a chore, so is generally neglected.
LUBRICATION - Oil, what it does and how
Created: February 03, 2011
It’s criminal. Folk spend fortunes putting together super-sonic motors, only to skimp on the oil they use. Why? Oil’s oil right? Wrong. Even if it’s a standard engine, it deserves TLC considering it's extremely hostile working environment.
LUBRICATION - Temperature critical
Created: February 03, 2011
The correct running temperature of the oil is perhaps even more important than the water/coolant temperatures - so let us consider how to control them. Mainly because it seems to be the most misunderstood of the whole process, and oil cooler fitment almost a reflex when over-heating occurs where a tuned engine of any type is concerned. And in many cases on standard production road cars for that matter.
Pistons - Mega piston performance report- Classic Mini Cooper
Created: July 14, 2005
Pistons - Mega piston performance report The two other articles I have done on this site concerned what pistons are all about, different design and construction pros and cons, material specs, ring set-ups and so on. Under 'Pistons - Favourable features for maximum performance' it would seem that th...
Engine - Metro engine identification data
Created: August 12, 2004
A word of warning - whilst the data given here is as accurate and complete as I could make it without 6 months-worth of hermit-like investigation, there are bound to be oddities. Austin/Morris, BL/Austin Rover Group/Rover were never dedicated at keeping 100% correct records, particularly post 1970 - that's why Heritage really struggle with trying to identify cars manufactured after 1969. The Metro data - or lack of it - proves the point. It's nothing like as comprehensive as the Mini stuff.
Crankshaft - Standard production crank identification
Created: October 27, 2003
Below is a list of crankshaft identification data by forging or stamped numbers - yes, contrary to what many say/express, all cranks are forged. None are cast. They wouldn't last 2 minutes in an engine if they were cast - they'd be way too brittle. The differences are in the material used,...
Engine - Identification Data UPDATED
Created: September 05, 2003
If you have the engine tag still attached to the engine - just in front/below the thermostat housing - or perhaps the original engine number in the log book then the following should help you determine which engine you have. For Metro units, see 'Engine - Metro identification data'.
Oil Gallery Plugs
Created: July 23, 2003
Created: February 02, 2011
The sheer volume and diversity of bolt on goodies available for our cherished Minis underlines the fact that a very large portion of them is modified in some way. Be it just dress up items to personalise it aesthetically, or tuning parts to improve performance.
EXHAUST - Manifolds, types available and application.
Created: September 28, 2000
The third stroke, that following the compression stroke, of our four stroke Mini engine is the only one producing power. The other three consume it. Here we’re looking at with exhaust manifolds, so what we need to consider is how to minimise power consumed on the exhaust stroke as the piston pushes the spent gases out.
Fuel Systems
Injection Cars - Tuning up-date
Created: December 26, 2002
And how 'real' are those claims likely to be? Only witnessing such an engine producing such power would be definite confirmation, so then it's down to 'scruples' I guess. How to judge? The company illustrated above claims in it's advert that they are getting this 135bhp and 122lb ft torque from their stage 3, 1380cc, Kent 276 profiled cam, injected engine - not the 286, stage 4 headed detailed above when in the CCC article the figures given for the stage 3, 276 cammed motor is only a claimed 115bhp/100lb ft torque. Some wool-pulling there or what? As this advert has been run like this for many months - I really can't see it as a genuine mis-print!
FUEL SYSTEMS - The History of SU Carbs
Created: December 12, 2002
Injection cars - SPi-TPi tuning, basic information
Created: May 25, 2002
Injection cars - SPi-TPi tuning, basic information I've been getting a lot - well even more than normal - of questions concerning tuning the injection engined-cars of late as more and more folk are looking to tune their modern Minis. Many are frustrated by the lack of product availability to achieve what they want, some are experiencing problems with the standard ECU and others are plain hacked-off at the lacked of useful information on how to go about tuning the injected cars.
Air filtration - K&N Air cleaner test
Created: September 19, 2001
In improving the over-all breathing capability of the very asthmatic A-series, the air filter set-up gets priority attention. A frequent question is "which is best - element in standard case or cone/pancake type?" To satisfy some folk's desire, I did a test on a small-bore unit.
Carburation - Initial Considerations and Manifolds
Created: March 22, 2001
When trying to improve your Mini’s breathing efficiency, carburation and inlet manifolds are open to as much speculation as other ‘performance enhancing’ components. A great deal of which falls into the b*llsh*t category. As is my wont, I’ll try and outline some basic guidelines.
FUEL - Leaded/unleaded fuel and the alternatives.
Created: September 29, 2000
The fuel situation seems to be worsening at a great pace these days. And as is exhibited by the questions that appear on the message board many folk are confused by what they can and can’t do, and what is best to do as far as race engines go. Many have posted (particularly from the States) that nothing need be done - just run on unleaded.
SU CARBS - Dashpot oil.
Created: September 29, 2000
This subject is a regular message-board poser. Many of us have touted our preferences and discoveries whilst playing about over the years. One problem with trying to deal with it on the message board is the sheer volume of information offered and available against the time available to post it.
Gearbox - Common sources of problems
Created: October 28, 2002
A gearbox needs careful and proper attention when building it up. It's the knowledge of what to look for prior to and during the build that sets the 'professional' builders apart.
Created: December 04, 2001
A fairly crucial part of how the idler gear operates is its tolerances and running clearances. End float is a continual problem as folk often ignore it, and because many units left Rover with incorrect (usually too big) clearances.
Created: April 13, 2001
With the cost of new primary gears spiralling ever upwards, and the availability of good, serviceable used ones, fitting new bushes to existing gears is becoming a more common solution.
Created: December 01, 2000
Although not of immediate interest to many road-runners/street-burners, mainly accorded to the racing scene, it seems to be a perplexing problem to a very large number of folk around the world, and has burned up plenty of telephone time.
ENGINE TRANSPLANTS - gearbox information
Created: November 01, 2000
Selecting the right final drive ration is a subject worthy of an entire book to explain the whys and wherefores, and also causes much consternation on the part of the transplanter. Much confusion’s spread over which gearbox has the best ratios, is best to use, and with which FD. For a detailed account on this and covering all gearboxes fitted as standard to the Mini, see the relevant separate articles 'Gearbox - Standard production gearbox types'.
GEARBOX - Close-Ratio Conversion Pre-A+ gearbox
Created: October 26, 2000
It is entirely possible to change the common 4-syncro gearboxes to the helical close-ratio set-up as used in the Cooper S, 1275GT, 1300GT, and some early MG Metros providing the right parts can be sourced.
Created: October 26, 2000
The final drive gears are ultimately responsible for the way your Mini goes after engine, gearbox, and under carriage tweaking has been applied. The aforementioned and the degree to which it has been done will affect the decision as to what Final Drive is required. They’re also responsible for much discussion between many tuning freaks, and confusion to the less informed.
Created: October 26, 2000
As outlined in the 'Gearbox - standard production gearbox types' article, it is entirely possible to change the common 4-syncro gearboxes to the helical close-ratio set-up as used in the Cooper S, 1275GT, 1300GT, and some early MG Metros providing the right parts can be sourced. And you don't already un-knowingly have the close-ratio kit fitted! Part numbers are detailed at the end.
Created: October 16, 2000
Modified engines producing more power generally induce owners to drive with greater verve, particularly when competing in one of the many motorsport disciplines. In fact this isn’t isolated to modified Minis. Owners of relatively standard machinery competing in a discipline or merely out on a country lane blast are subject to the same determination.
Created: July 11, 2001
The 'Gospel According to Calver' concerning all tuning carried out on any aspect of your car and therefore
Created: November 23, 2004
IGNITION - Possible pre-ignition/pinking cause Something that came to light during a conversation with a colleague and friend may be worth passing along! It's one of those things that, once ingested, lurks in the dark corners of the mind until a pertinent situation comes along.
Created: April 11, 2003
I'd like a pound coin for every time I've been asked about what these are all about and why they are used. Folk seem to hold them in some kind of awe - but they are very simple.
Created: September 26, 2000
Establishing an accurate TDC reference point is of paramount importance when developing and monitoring ignition timing (and cam timing come to that). When an experienced engine builder assembles an engine - no matter whether for road or race - he will establish an accurate TDC indicator that can be used for ignition purposes.
Created: September 25, 2000
Any deviation away from the original standard engine specification, or where a dizzy from another source is used in the engine you have, the ignition timing will generally be different from that set by the manufacturer.
Created: September 15, 2000
Since the A-Series has such an efficient combustion chamber design, the standard points set-up is perfectly capable of providing sufficient sparks for effective combustion when new. And this is the problem. They require regular servicing to maintain maximum performance. This can be a chore, so is generally neglected.
Created: September 15, 2000
Any dizzy can be set to get maximum power. No problem. Unfortunately that's only one spot on the whole power curve/rpm range. If the curve isn't right elsewhere, the engine will be either loosing power - in some instances by substantial amounts - or detonating its self into oblivion and a costly re-build.
Created: October 05, 2001
For those who have any racing tendencies, I'm going to be dealing with basic preparations that will enable you to compete in any of the many motorsport disciplines and be reasonably competitive - but above all to be mechanically reliable and enjoy yourself.
PISTONS - Whys and Wherefores
Created: July 02, 2001
This is another of those subjects abused for ‘bar stool b*llsh*t’ one-upmanship. Ignorance is the main problem. Particularly as trying to get any really useful information out of the manufacturers concerned.
PISTONS - Favorable Features for Maximum Performance
Created: July 02, 2001
The overriding factor that influences just what is best for an A-Series engine is the block's propensity for flex at higher rpm, and the crank's equal propensity for flex at the same sort of rpm levels. Both combine to require a piston that is as stable as possible to maintain effective and consistent ring-seal performance.
Created: November 21, 2005
To improve engine out-put, you need to increase the engine's 'breathing' ability. The stage one kit deals with all the easily bolted-on external parts, and represents the best increase for investment. From here on in the power increases will cost commensurately more money.
Created: September 21, 2000
To sate the demand for rear anti-roll bars to fit more diverse component configurations and applications, re-development of our popular kits has been instigated – enhancing space and performance efficiency.
SUSPENSION - Basic set-up method
Created: February 02, 2011
This is one of those subjects viewed as a ‘black art’, largely because of lack of understanding and confusion. The confusion part is because folk encompass the whole suspension set-up deal with suspension arrangement and design, lack of understanding instilling terror at the thought of ‘fiddling’ with the suspension components.
Shocks / Dampers - Fitment data
Created: August 31, 2001
Following the various articles I've done on suspension modifications and vehicle lowering, the most often asked question is 'do I need shortened dampers?'. It all depends on what the car ride height was before lowering took place.
Suspension - Fitting Hi-Los and similar derivatives
Created: August 06, 2001
Many suggest that fitting HiLos will allow you to change your ride height for different situations; this simply isn’t so for two important reasons
SUSPENSION - Lowering the standard dry set-up
Created: July 12, 2001
Possibly one of the most asked questions by new mini owners since not only does lowering the car improve it aesthetically - giving that 'mean low' look - it also further improves the Mini's already phenomenal road
SUSPENSION - Converting from wet to dry
Created: July 11, 2001
The steady decline of readily available hydrolastic displacer units has prompted an escalation in the number of folk asking how to go about swopping from hydrolastic (‘wet’)
Suspension - Corner Weights and Bump-Steer Basics
Created: February 27, 2001
A surprising number of racers still avoid dealing with them, as with geometry in general they're seen as another 'black art'. Not at all alleviated by the sight of the well-to-do single seater teams producing computer controlled, highly accurate scales to make last minute corner weight adjustments or slipping wafer-thin shims in between steering arms and hubs.
Suspension -  Effects of Fitting Wide Wheels
Created: February 27, 2001
In the 'Suspension - Terminology' section, I covered what KPI is, as it is an ancient but still oft-used term despite being pretty redundant. Not that it isn't attendant in current cars - it has to be.
SUSPENSION - Basic Priorities
Created: February 20, 2001
Having studied the Suspension - Terminology article you should now have a ‘job description’ understanding of previously possibly un-comprehended words associated with suspension control. Now - what to do with it?
Tires - Getting to grips, basic information
Created: October 05, 2001
In any competition discipline, the tyres and control parameters used are so important to success; practically all the effort put into the chassis and suspension is to enable those four, relatively small contact patches to give of their best.
Created: October 28, 2002
Having applied Hi-Los and some smart 165/60/12 profile tyre shod12 x 5-inch ally rims, discussions get around to just why does this combination cause the tyre to hit the front arch? Well, it's all a question of alignment - either subframe to body or suspension to subframe.
Created: May 30, 2001
This subject is a regular visitor to the message board and 'Knowledge' section of Mini Magazine for whom I write - fitting bigger wheels. Predominantly 13-inchers, but 12s as well, the main thrust of the questions being 'what do I need to do?' along with 'which wheel arch extensions will I need?' The answer has always been somewhat 'clipped' purely because of the space availability issues both in the magazine and on the message board, so something a little more detailed was required.