A bit of music from the lamented Radio Blog Club

Le Français

Toujours, je suis désolé pour mes amis( et amies) français(es), mais il est difficile pour moi d'écire en français. Peut-être un jour...
S.V.P. regardez ce LIEN

Thursday, March 29, 2007


You will see that I have added a few words to the header on this blog.

The reason for this is that I have discovered that people using Internet Explorer sometimes have strange text appearing in my posts and also some of the features on the blog do not work.

The answer is simple: install Firefox. It takes a couple of minutes, it's free, is much better than IE (probably safer) and incorporates a number of useful and user-friendly features.

Find it here in English ou ici en Français

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Little More 1486

Given that the 1486 project was a qualified success(!) I doubt if many of you you feel inspired to try something similar.

However if you do, the attached drawing, prepared by Justin (the owner) might be of interest. Drawn up for 82.4mm bore, this shows the impact of V-angle changes on the overlap between the cylinders.

Click on the image for full size

And just for a bit of fun, here's a factory drawing of the BMW tii Kugelfischer installation...

It's a bit more complicated than our installation on the 1486 Fulvia!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Land-Rover Antics Part II

One of the attractive features of Land-Rovers is the modular construction; the vehicle can be reduced to an enormous number of component parts. In England, Land-Rover enthusiasts are well served by the trade with almost everything being available. I was surprised on looking at the specialist magazines for the first time in my life, how cheap the parts are – engine bearings from about £12 for example. Used as I am to paying over £80 for set of Fulvia big-end shells I was quite shocked.

Work began in installing the revised oil cooler piping. There was to be no trouble in future: Bill had been busy since last autumn. Having experienced the miserable business of changing the oil filter, he had acquired a remote oil filter mounting, fitted in a place that allowed easy changing of the filter. In addition he had bought an oil pressure gauge, a notable lacuna in his complement of instruments; the sender for the gauge fits conveniently into the remote filter housing.

The remote filter, showing new pipes and gauge sender

On fitting the original filter mount with its take-offs for the new cooler, I found that the Daihatsu engine already has an oil cooler of the water/oil type. Inspection showed that the water hoses feeding this were past their best so I made up new ones. The discovery of this cooler explained why I had noticed rather low oil temperatures on our journey to Paris (despite the fact that a thermostat is fitted). Bill decided that the new cooler would be held “in reserve” for hotter places and made up a simple blanking panel that can be quickly removed when necessary. The new hoses are industrial quality, made from PTFE with stainless steel brading and with proper threaded fittings; they will give no trouble.

Finding a source of “ignition on” power for the oil pressure gauge was not simple: the military Land-Rovers have most of their cabling enclosed in tough sleeves and all are connected via elaborate multi-pin connectors. I eventually broke into the heater circuit to find a suitable source, and at the same time re-wired the voltmeter since previously this had been on permanently.

The next task was to mount the gauge. There was very little space available, but finally I made an aluminium bracket to hold the gauge and managed to squeeze it in to the left of the speedometer panel. On firing up the engine later, we were happy to see that the oil pressure was absolutely to specification showing that the engine had not suffered from its near-death experience last year.

A view of dashboard, note (round) military lighting switch
and oil pressure gauge on the right

With the oil system now complete and in order, I turned my attention to the cooling fan. Since the engine conversion there had been no mechanically driven fan. The previous electric fan was rather small for its job and had failed. The vehicle has a Land-Rover 2.5 Tdi radiator fitted; this allows space for the very nice aluminium intercooler – also a Tdi part. Now whilst the rated power output of the Tdi engine and the Daihatsu are about the same (c. 110HP) the Daihatsu is 2.8 litres whilst the Tdi is 2.5. I suspect that the greater capacity was the cause of the overheating oil that had prompted the purchase of the new oil cooler – the Daihatsu probably needs a bigger radiator, although Bill assured me that the water only starts to get above normal temperature when long climbs are being undertaken. However I did recommend that a bigger radiator should be considered. Meanwhile Bill had bought a very powerful Kenlowe fan; its size can be guessed when I say that it consumes 25A! Mounting this was straightforward. I made up some brackets which fitted to the easily removable radiator housing; these are much nicer than the curious Kenlowe system that uses plastic clips that pass through the radiator core. Bill had already fitted a nice adjustable thermo controller, again much better than the Kenlowe one. So I reorganised the wiring with suitably thick cable to carry the large current and that was another job on the list ticked off! The fan produces a very powerful flow of air and should be most effective on those alpine passes I think.

The in-line thermostatic fan controller

Powerful Kenlowe fan mounted

Next time: more electricity...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Word from Colette

Source here

" Il n'y a pas de chat ordinaire."

You could translate this I suppose as "There is no such thing as an ordinary cat".

Land-Rover Antics In England


“It’s never too late to learn something new”.

So often when searching classified advertisements for “Lancia” I have found myself in the Land-Rover listings, they being obviously the next in an alphabetical sense.

Well this time the proximity is more than alphabetical.

I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog that I had to journey to England to attend to a Land-Rover. Well so I did and now back in France I propose in relating the story also to demonstrate a degree of versatility on my part!


My client, Bill, purchased in 2001 an ex-army Land-Rover Defender 90 intending to equip it for expedition use. The arrival of the vehicle meant that he now had two Defender 90s, the other being a production “County” model.

The ex-military Defender 90

As standard, both were fitted with rather gutless 2.5 litre normally-aspirated four-cylinder diesel engines. Whilst these have good slogging power, performance is really rather underwhelming. The first step was to replace the engine in the newly arrived vehicle with a Daihatsu 2.8 litre turbo-diesel that was originally fitted to the “Four Track” model. Unfortunately the company that performed the conversion made a pig’s ear of the job, resulting in clutch failure due to a poorly designed adaptor plate. A visit to another firm provided a better job. Subsequently the gearbox failed so an uprated one from Ashcroft was fitted. After these expensive adventures, Bill proceeded to modify the vehicle himself with long trips in mind.

Chassis Plate. Note "Winterised" and "NSN -
Nato Stock Number - "99" means UK manufactured

I came into the picture last year – in September – when Bill arrived here visiting us on his way back from Greece. Naturally, he invited me to look over the Land-Rover. This I did, taking in many of the elaborate modifications, such as the split charging system for the two batteries, roof rack with tent on top, additional instruments, GPS system and so on. He then showed me the newly fitted oil cooler. He had fitted this since he had noticed the oil getting very hot when climbing Alpine passes. I remarked that I didn’t like the way the hoses were fitted with worm-drive hose clips and also that I considered the tubing to be very hard – especially with that type of clip. I showed him the installations on my Fulvia and also on the Fanalone we have here and he agreed that he would adopt this approach on his return to England.

He set off for home, but was back after about 40 minutes. He had stopped to fill up with fuel and had noticed a film of oil on the back of the vehicle. So we took the Land-Rover up to our garage to have a look. We found three things: first a blown damper that had sprayed its oil around (the cause of the oil on the back) second a weeping brake wheel cylinder and third a pool of black oil under the engine – one of the oil cooler hoses I had criticised had blown off! He is a very lucky man; there was about a litre of oil left in the sump. Had the damper not failed when it did, then the engine would have packed up about a kilometre later! I observed that a rethink was going to be necessary if the vehicle was going to be used for serious expedition work.

He was able to source a set of special Australian dampers (“Old Man Emus”) locally from an expedition vehicle specialist at Sallanches so we fitted these together with a steering damper of the same make. We renewed the rear wheel cylinders and bled the system. I remounted the oil cooler hoses as best as I could using double clips where possible and renewed the oil and filter (a real pain in access terms – frequently encountered with engine changes). Finally I persuaded him to drive to England via Paris – this I way I got a lift to see my girlfriend who lives there and of course I was able to monitor and check things on the 550km (350 mile) journey.

All went well on the trip and I was duly dropped off at Porte Maillot. Later I heard that Bill had reached home in Suffolk without problems.

From time to time I received some progress reports and then I was invited to go to England to do some work on the vehicle; there was quite long list. How this went I shall cover next time - or perhaps the next TWO times! I can say right now that I found the experience interesting and instructive.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Aston Martin

Aston Martin must be able to claim a record for the number of owners it has had since the company was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin. The first company was called "Bamford & Martin". In just a few years in the 1920s, building cars in a mews in Kensington, it managed to lose £50,000 - about £25,000,000 in today's money; not bad for a mews operation.

Not long ago it was said that had Aston Martin never made a car but instead given each customer £50 it would have lost less money!

Well once again, the company has changed hands. Acquired by the Ford Motor Co USA in 1987, the sale was confirmed on Monday - to a consortium headed by David Richards of Prodrive fame.

A 1924 Bamford & Martin Aston Martin
Source: here

Whilst searching for information, I found this - cruel but amusing...

Hub Tools

In my post on Feb 19th I promised to provide some pictures of tools for the front hub bearing job.

Here they are.

Hub nut tools: SI left, SII right
Note that he SI tool is retained by the large cap screw,
whilst the SII one has a support retained by the wheel bolts

Hub Puller

Tool nut

Ball joint separator

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The 1486 Project - Part II

I must now try to explain at least in broad terms, how the Kugelfischer system functions, since this has a bearing on subsequent problems and work. Kugelfischer mechanical injection was used well into the 1980s on the Porsche 956 cars that ran at Le Mans, on the BMW M1 Le Mans cars and on F3 cars up to the end of the 1980s, long after the appearance of electronic systems.

In this picture may be seen the throttle bodies and Kugelfischer injection pump
together with the throttle linkage (see text)

The system is quite elaborate and superior in many ways to the Lucas type on my own car. In essence it functions rather in the same way as a diesel pump with four plungers, one for each cylinder pumping fuel at high pressure to the injectors. The high pressure ensures excellent atomisation – a boon on a Fulvia with two of its inlet ports being so long. Fuel control is determined first by the control lever which is connected to the throttle linkage. Inside the unit this basic setting or more precisely, its curve, is controlled by a three-dimensional cam (nicknamed “the potato”). The “potato” is also free to rotate and its position is determined by engine speed this being achieved by an aluminium disc influenced by a magnet acting against a long clock spring. It is difficult to imagine how the “potatoes” were manufactured on a production basis. They are made from hardened steel and are very complex in shape. One can imagine that many, perhaps hundreds of hours were spent in finalising the shape of the three-dimensional cam.

Naturally we had no intention of making our own “potato”…

With the engine assembled, we realised that installing it in the car would also require a great deal of special work. So we decided to have a break and run the engine literally on the bench! This was quite easy to do: a fuel supply and radiator etc. are easily rigged up. We had many happy hours running the unit and probably poisoning ourselves with exhaust gases at the same time.

The testing was worth it however. First we found that the engine, despite our worries ran remarkably smoothly, but we also found that it appeared to run rather lean. We tried adjusting the clock spring to dampen the movement of the cam but this seemed not to help. Finally I designed a little lock plate which fixed the cam in one position (the richest) with a second plate available which would be slightly leaner. Effectively it was now running in Lucas mode with a simple cam – i.e. one curve on the “potato”. It was now time to confront the problems of installing the engine into the car so we could try some road testing.


The first problem we encountered concerned the cooling system. Whilst a lightweight aluminium cross-flow radiator (ex-Metro turbo) was installed, there was no room at all for even a thin cooling fan since the injection pump and pulleys took up much of the space in that area. The problem was solved in a rather ingenious albeit eccentric way. A radiator from a 500cc motor-cycle was purchased second-hand, complete with its electric fan. This was mounted at an angle behind the LH headlamps. Justin fabricated some elegant aluminium ducting for this, with a louvred section being let into the inner wheel arch to provide an exit into a low pressure area for the hot air.

On first trying the engine in the car, we found circulation problems. Various piping arrangements were tried until finally we arranged the pick up to the water pump from the link pipe between the two radiators (notionally at the “bottom”). The little fan is just enough to keep the engine cool, but I wouldn’t bank on it in tropical conditions.

View of engine compartment. The aluminium ducting may be clearly seen,
with the breather bottle mounted upon it

The rest of the installation was not difficult; just a question of mounting the Uno Turbo fuel pump at the rear and the Lucas regulator and filter in the engine compartment. A fuel return was necessary of course for the "spill" from the regulator. An exhaust system was made up to mate with the manifold, so all was ready.

Another view showing the oil cooler installation
Note the opening in the top of the wing to provide an air supply
(there is normally a cold air box and filter mounted)

Initial Results

On trying the car we believed that we had what was a major success; the engine was powerful and had a surprising amount of torque – this we certainly had not expected given the rather extreme valve timing. And the engine was also very smooth as the bench tests had suggested; this again was really quite a surprise.

The one flaw was a very jerky take-off. We later found that there was an error in the bell crank ratios in the throttle linkage which incidentally may well have caused the apparent leanness in the early tests.

There was a track day at Brooklands at this time and Justin entered and had great fun. On the way back on the M3, whilst I was cruising happily in my Dedra at 115mph, Justin simply sailed past me in the 1486 with a big grin on his face.

Just after this Justin invited Barry Waterhouse to try the car. He was impressed and reckoned that it had “at least 140bhp”.


With various minor tweaks, Justin was really looking forward to the Lancia Motor Club track day at Goodwood. My own Fulvia being in pieces at the time, I followed him down in my Dedra. Sadly, near Godalming, he stopped, with the temperature gauge off the clock and clouds of steam. We hoped that it was perhaps just the head gasket but sadly it wasn’t: the sump oil had turned to yoghurt…

Back at our workshop we eventually found that one of the cylinder bores had cracked; obviously the overbore had been too much.

Justin had the damaged bore lined, but this failed too – there was not enough material to support the very thin liner.

Some time later, Justin had another block bored. This time, he selected a slightly wider angle – about 12° I recall. Unfortunately, this block which had been bored with great care by a specialist who understood what was being attempted, failed very quickly indeed.

Subsequently, Justin had the bottom sawn off this wrecked block and straight away we could see that the cylinder bores were not concentric with the walls. Obviously when cast as a 1300 block, there is plenty of margin to allow for core shift, but of course we were rather “pushing the envelope”. It was very frustrating, as some of the cylinders were fine; it was simply that the bore was off-centre in one place. There is no easy way of telling where the limits of the cast cylinders are.

The second block, with the bottom sawn off. Note the extreme thinness
Of the cylinder wall on No 4 (top of picture)

The section that was cut off: the red circle shows the problem on No 4
Note also that the other cylinders are much better in this regard

At present the car has a 1300 engine installed, still running the Kugelfischer injection and with the nice exhaust manifold. It goes quite nicely, but nothing like the 1486 which really was a flyer. I am also certain that there was more to come from that engine if only it had stayed together.

I believe that if 81mm pistons were made, the project would have a reasonable chance. Of course this would be a “1437” and not a 1486.

One last thought: some of may know that the Squadra Corse under Tonti experimented around 1967/8 with an 80mm bore version of the 1300 engine giving 1401cc. This was known as Variante 1014. I recall that they had head gasket problems with this engine. We had many problems as I have outlined above, but never a problem with the head gasket. Funny that…

Sod the Law!


New Internet Speed test

Music and Radio Blog Club

Radio Blog Club, a good friend for a while appears to be in some legislative difficulty...

However, in tribute to its brave effort, I shall leave the existing track on this page (which amazingly still works)

Sadly my Playlist no longer works (hence its removal) thanks to the absurd "Hadopi" legislation in France. Apologies to all.