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Part Suppliers: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

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#16 minidaves


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Posted 30 January 2008 - 08:16 AM

I now have the information I require to respond to this, I have been to an engine builder who builds proberly some of the best a series road engines in the uk and now i will hang my dirty laundry in public.

Adrain Does all the work for Ml Motorsport in Kent the tune ups at Southern minidays and london to brigton to Name a few

The gearbox teardown Report will be up in the next few days

Engine teardown Analysis report –1330 A+
As Supplied by Dave Spurdle

Teardown and Inspection carried out by: ACDodd

Report Complied by: ACDodd

Date of inspection: 27-01-2008

Workshop temperature: 12°C


To investigate oil burning and possible bad build practices on supplied 1330cc A+ engine having only covered 1,500 road miles.


A 1330cc A+ engine & gearbox was supplied to my workshop with the head removed such that the block assembly consisted of a half engine.

The gearbox was also separate form the engine.

Results of teardown:

1. Noted deck heights of pistons using depth micrometer, cylinders 1 and 4 measured 0.057 and 0.065� respectively. Cylinders 2 & 3 were not checked as these were nominal with 1 & 4. Checked deck flatness with straight edge, found to be intolerance, less than 0.0015� bow.

Action-Skim Block deck before rebuild.

2. Crankshaft pulley oil seal lip damaged by incorrect assembly. This was damaged enough to allow oil to seep.

Action-This will need to be replaced at rebuild.

3. Camshaft timing check, cam timed in at 108.5° ATDC full lift on no.1 intake lobe.

A Kent 274 camshaft was fitted, Kent quote 112° for this cam to be installed. It is custom and practice when building A-series road engines to run cams a little advanced. I would have installed this cam at about 110° if I were building this engine. I have no problem with the timing set at this position. The camshaft was in perfect condition.

4. The camshaft bearings have been replaced at the last major build. They now have some impregnated debris from the oil, which is a little more than normal for this mileage.

Action-Replace cam bearings at rebuild.

5. Crankshaft end float check: Perfect at 0.004� for this mileage.

6. Piston Check: Removal of no.1 piston and con-rod from engine reveals broken top compression ring and broken ring land. This breakage is typical indication of piston overload, due to excessive cylinder pressure and or heat for the type of piston fitted (AE 21251 +0.060�). This would cause higher oil consumption than normal and visible oil smoke and loss of power.

Piston no.2 when removed had 2nd compression ring fitted upside down. The likely result of this finding is that the engine would have a tendency to burn a little oil, but not visibly so. No major failures would have resulted in this finding. This was the fault of the builder for not noticing this during assembly.

Action-Check all ring orientations before assembly.

Pistons 3 and 4 were all intact. All pistons are the same Manufacturers type AE 21251’s.

Pistons general: All pistons when checked for size (skirt check) were distorted from the original sizes. There is evidence on all pistons of hot running. The most heat evidence was shown up on piston no.2 and no.1. These both had bluing on there respective gudgeon pins meaning that an abnormally high cylinder temps were present. Piston No.2 also had just started to melt at the edge of the crown. All pistons had suffered galling of the skirts, evidence of a tight bore clearance. This was likely exaggerated by the elevated piston temperatures.

All pistons that were able to be checked had a ring side clearance of a nominal 0.0045� which is excessive for this mileage. New pistons are 0.0015 to 0.002�. The excessive wear is due to the elevated temperatures, and a fuel rich mixture.

Action-Replace pistons with new heavier duty type such as Minispares Mega range. Check ring end gaps before assembly.

7. Crankshaft check: All crank journals were measured with a micrometer and found to within manufacturer’s tolerances. The crank fitted was very clearly a late MPI New crank and not a regrind. There was evidence of hard driven wear on all journal faces but not to the extent of making the journals out of tolerance.

Action-Polish crank before re-use

8. Cylinder bore check: All bores were checked for size, taper and ovality. Measurements were taken on both worn and unworn areas of the cylinders. It is clear from the measurements that the bores were all slightly undersized. Nominally 2.8395�, instead of the manufacturers recommended size of 2.8405�. Some of this discrepancy could be down to the fact that the ambient temperature was lower than when the block was honed. Although for me I would have machined the block to 2.841� at that temp to build a successful engine. Ovality and taper were all within the usually requirement for a remanufactured engine being not more than 0.0005�. The cylinder hone quality was very good, and I would describe as a fine finish.

The worn portion of the bore was checked and there was a nominal 0.0015� wear. This wear extended the full stroke of the piston travel, indicating that the engine was running very rich. This is otherwise known as bore wash. Another indicator of this rich running was the piston crowns, having a black sooty flaky coating.

Action-Hone block to use again.

9. Cylinder head check: The cylinder head was in poor condition, so much so that only the general visual inspection of the head and valves and the subsequent examination of both valves from chamber 2 was enough for me to determine that this head was in need of a thorough inspection and overhaul. Both guides and valve are worn excessively. There were no stem seals on the exhaust guides. This together with excessive clearance would give rise to visible smoking and a higher than normal oil consumption. There was also a possible crack between the valves on chamber no.2. The valve seats were also in very poor condition, being worn to the point of being totally miss-shaped. The chamber capacity was derived by buretting the chamber no.2 cylinder with grease sealed valves. The capacity with no leaks was 19.4cc. Subsequent computation of the Static compression ratio revealed that this units CR was set at a nominal 9.7:1

Action-Check head for cracks, rebuild or Replace head with new item if used again. Set CR to 9.75:1 with new piston and head combination.

10. Ignition timing check: It was not possible to determine the exact ignition timing setting of the engine when it was running due to the fact that the distributor was loose in the engine as presented. The distributor was stripped and the internal advance curve checked. It was found to be fully functional and giving a full advance length of 34°. In order to get this spec of engine to run at all well this distributor would have had to be installed and timed at 8 or 10° of static advance. With this much advance the engine would have had 42 to 44° of total advance at full power. This would generate enough heat in the cylinders to damage the pistons in the manner seen above. The correct advance for the engine would be between 30 and 31° total.

Action- Re-curve Dizzy to suit engine spec.


This engine had failed for a number of reasons. The piston type for this spec is too weak (AE21251). These are designed to operate in a low rpm low stress condition with a compression ratio of 8.8:1. The pistons are designed for engines with power outputs of 55hp. This engine would be able to achieve nearer 75hp. More expensive pistons more suited to the arduous conditions of a tuned engine should have been used. Whilst the bore size was a little small if this engine were set up correctly this would not have caused premature failure, just not the most free revving or powerful engine for its specification. It is impossible to comment on the piston ring end gap, as now there is too much wear to determine what the end gap was when assembled. From experience with these piston sets (AE 21251) a new ring in a fresh bore can give in excess of 0.025�. So 0.035 to 0.050� is to be expected on a bore washed engine. The bore washing is most likely due to an incorrectly tuned or malfunctioning carburettor which was delivering a fuel mix far to rich for what the engine needs.

In order to build this engine such that it would not have failed, it needed either a higher quality piston set to run the higher 9.7:1 CR, and increased loadings of the tuned engine or a much lower CR to decrease the load placed up the weaker pistons. This piston choice is usually linked to the budget agreed between engine builder and customer.

A rolling road tune early in the engines life (i.e. 500miles) would have been needed in either case. A tune up would have highlighted the problem of over-advance (causing high cylinder temperature) before the engine was ever driven at full load.

This would have ensured that cylinder temps were kept to a sensible level such that the already weak pistons were not weakened further by high operating temperatures. Even if this engine had run a higher quality piston set, I would suspect that engine failure would still have happened in a similar fashion due to the excessive ignition timing causing the elevated piston temperatures. This point is very much the customer’s responsibility to have the engine set by a reputable rolling road establishment, and preferably one with which the engine builder is happy for his engine to run on. Failing to have the engine properly setup was the cause of the overheating pistons leading to the overload condition resulting in the ring land failure of number one piston.

The likely cost of building such an engine from scratch (without gearbox) with all the suitable components is likely to be in the region of £1,500 plus fitting plus rolling road tuning.

All the above statements are the sole recommendations of AC Dodd based on the complete strip down and inspection of the above engine.

#17 Jammy


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Posted 03 February 2008 - 12:36 PM

Posts removed.

#18 minidaves


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Posted 04 February 2008 - 08:23 PM

Gearbox teardown Analysis report
As Supplied by Dave Spurdle

Teardown and Inspection carried out by: ACDodd

Report Complied by: ACDodd

Date of inspection: 30-01-2008

Workshop temperature: 15°C


To investigate Serviceability of gearbox as supplied.


A+ DAM5626 Case, fitted with Standard ratio A+ helical gearset, having ratios of;

1st 3.647:1
2nd 2.185:1
3rd 1.425:1
4th 1:1

Final drive ratio: 3.44:1 Using pre A+ Crown wheel & Pinion. Gearbox used for approx 1,500miles.

Summary or terms

‘Serviceable’ in the context of this report defines a component is fit for re-use.
‘Unserviceable’ in the context of this report defines a component as no longer fit for further use and is effectively scrap.

Results of teardown:

1. Excessive wear on Idler housing thrust face. Case Unserviceable.

Action- Replace case and check/Adjust idler endfloat.

2. Off side diff output shaft spring retaining clip missing.

Action-Replace Spring

3. Oil pickup pipe severely clogged with debris. No engine damage from this as a result. Oil pick-up pipe serviceable.

Action- Clean mesh and wash pipe through.

4. Small Layshaft needle roller bearing has failed. Some needle rollers are pitted. (See arrow) This bearing is Unserviceable.

Action- Replace Needle roller. Layshaft Serviceable.

5. 3rd Motionshaft or mainshaft nose journal surface hardening is just starting to break-up. Shaft Unserviceable.

Action- Replace 3rd Motionshaft. Replace 3rd motionshaft nose Needle roller.

6. Baulkring on 2nd gear has unusual wear. While not being worn out, the grooving on the inside of the ring is much shallower than it should be or indeed the other baulkrings. This coupled together with the synchronizer springs fitted in the 1st/2nd synchronizer hub reading a little on the weak side (3.5kgf instead of 4 to 4.5kgf) is an indication of weak 2nd gear synchro operation.

Action- Replace Synchronizer hub springs, and baulk ring on second gear.

7. Differential is fully serviceable, and is fitted with a competition pin.

8.. The rest of the gearbox components are fully serviceable.


This considering the low mileage from first build and the lack of evidence of the unit being driven especially hard I would recommend that this unit should be returned to the supplier for the remedial work to be undertaken at his cost.

All the above statements are the sole recommendations of AC Dodd based on the complete strip down and inspection of the above engine.

This is the gearbox report, sorry I cant post the photos of the findings in this report, these have been forwarded to David Braint in orginal form, and the issues with the gearbox will be discussed with My gearbox builder when i have collected the parts and reports From Mr AC Dodd

#19 Rosslin Racing

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 03:18 PM


#20 Jammy


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Posted 05 February 2008 - 10:52 PM

The last two posts are reports from an engine strip down, performed by AC Dodd of ML Motorsport, at the request of minidaves, in response to the previous post by 'Senile Ol Git'.

#21 cap'n crunch

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Posted 07 February 2008 - 07:55 PM

Name of supplier : SC Parts
Type of parts supplied : 100% of mini parts
Location : Crawley
Link to Map or website :http://www.scparts.co.uk/
How you placed order : face 2 face
Rating: :angel: :genius: :angel: :!: :xxx: :xxx: :xxx: :xxx: :xxx:
Testimony: See this Thread ***CLICKY***

Took 40 days to send me my goods (after saying it would only be 1 week)
Lied to me saying that the products was in one of their warehouses in another county when in fact they NEVER had the products and were wating for the suppliers.
Sent me the incorrect products, Exhaust valves with the wrong collet groove, Faulty Rockers, wrong valve top cap.
Constantly tried to charge a delivery despite originally promosing free delivery
Poor customer service support constantly lieing and not caring about the customer


#22 Jammy


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Posted 10 February 2008 - 12:57 PM

Posts removed, please only use this topic for reports on Parts Suppliers, not discussion.

#23 Mini_Magic


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Posted 14 February 2008 - 04:58 PM

Name of supplier : Mini Sport
Type of parts supplied : Adjusta Rides, Smootha Ride cones, Gaz shock absorbers,
Location : Lancashire
Link to Map or website : http://www.minisport.com/
How you placed order : Internet
Rating: :thumbsup:
Testimony: Fantasic delivery times! Placed three seperate orders with them and all three arrived in less than 48 hours. The website is quick and easy to use. Only problem I've ever had was their technical support over the phone was not that great. Got through to someone very quickly but the advice they gave wasn't particually helpful.

#24 Pie


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Posted 18 February 2008 - 12:57 AM

Name of supplier : MiniMail
Type of parts supplied : Various
Location : Gloucestershire
Link to Map or website : www.minimail.co.uk
How you placed order : visited in person
Rating: :wub: :( :)
Have been to minimail a LOT since owning minis. Located out in the sticks, its more of a barn than a warehouse, but even so, its a decent place.
Owned by Tim Haber (mini mag writer and super mighty mini racer) so all advice is professional, he knows who you are, what car you drive and where your from, so you have more of a "relationship" with Tim. Not just brand new items but seconds hand bargains can be found too, and the scrap pile can hide many a treasure.
Not only great service, but decent prices too.

Name of supplier : Minispares
Type of parts supplied : wheel spacers
Location : potters bar
Link to Map or website : www.minispares.com
How you placed order : msn
Rating: :) :o :dozing:
Testimony: Cant fault minispares. Great service as always, doesnt matter if you email them phone them, place your order via their site or visit in person, always welcoming, and great service every time. Not to mentioned the decent prices, amount in stock and 5% discount we get.
Not to mention Simon is a great help, part numbers of the top of his head, quotes etc etc

#25 Racer_Pete


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Posted 11 April 2008 - 06:28 PM

Name of supplier : Mini Sport
Type of parts supplied :Exterior - Lights, Mirrors..
Location : Lancashire
Link to Map or website : www.minisport.com
How you placed order : phone
Rating: :shifty:|
Testimony: Came a few weeks after placing order.

Name of supplier : Swiftune
Type of parts supplied : Cam, Followers..
Location : Ashford
Link to Map or website : www.swiftune.com
How you placed order : phone
Rating: :teehee:
Testimony: Recived them next day after payment

Name of supplier : MED Engineering
Type of parts supplied; Engine Parts
Location : Leicester
Link to Map or website : www.med-engineering.co.uk
How you placed order : Phone
Rating: :goaway:
Testimony: Very friendly over the phone, Came the next day. Would use again.

#26 s_robinson91


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Posted 13 April 2008 - 10:02 AM

I've always found midland wheels nice and cheap

#27 project-mini


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 02:38 AM

Name of supplier : ABS MOTORSPORT
Type of parts supplied : Fibreglass products/plasctic products and fittings e.t.c
Location : LN8
Link to Map or website : abs motorsport
How you placed order : phone
Rating: 5 stars
Testimony: Came a week after placing order.......very helpful and genuine nice people.....use them all the time and even promote them on my car because i like them so much :teehee:

#28 Joloke08


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 09:03 AM

as far as bad or ugly go i notice nobodys mentioned somerford mini?
dont get me wrong their work is very good so i hear but somebody really needs to overdose them on cheerful pills!

Im just about to get a mini i could be a potential customer for life because its only down the road,when i called in tuesday they were as miserable as sin!

The guy i spoke to wasnt really interested in talking to me and made me feel like i wasnt that important and wasting his time:(
Ok i wasnt buying but wanted to get some rough ideas of cost of bits i may need and servicing etc but he was really cold and made me feel like i wasnt welcome there:(

I also dont like the fact that their website/catalogue contains no prices!
the prices i did see while there were really expensive and virtually every other mini specialist i know undercuts them!

So please Somerford take some chill pills!

#29 JohnGordon


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:02 AM

Name of supplier : Mini Spares
Type of parts supplied : Panels, engine parts, interior (pretty much 3/4 of the car)
Location : Midlands store
Link to Map or website : minispares.com
How you placed order : phone through a medium at the jaguar 'sister' company
Rating: 4 stars
Testimony: Most parts came within 2 days, only had a couple of back order parts that took up to 2 months to come (luckily ordered in plenty of time)

Name of supplier : Mini Sport
Type of parts supplied : Harnesses, seats, odd bit in emergencys
Location : Padiham, Lancs
Link to Map or website : Minisport.com
How you placed order : phone / over the counter
Rating: 3 stars
Testimony: Been given great advise over the counter, prices wern't too bad. 2 main problems: was never called when my seats came in stock had to keep ringing myself / and was told there was no delivery date for my harnesses the same day I got home from work to find them sat on my doorstep, was charged £8.50 for delivery less than a mile away when I had told them I would pick up! In there defence I played :teehee: the next time I went in and got a credit for the postage charge.

Edited by JohnGordon, 14 August 2008 - 10:03 AM.

#30 Rhyd


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Posted 14 August 2008 - 10:15 PM

I also dont like the fact that their website/catalogue contains no prices!

Their web site has prices, the old one with PDF files had a PDF price list with all the part numbers separate from the exploded diagram PDFs. They now have exploded diagrams where you point to the part number, click an option and it shows you the price.

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