Friday, October 9, 2015

First Drive

It's not everyday that we get to tick off one of our life goals, things that we consider part of our bucket list as it were. For a very long time, long before I'd even heard of the term bucket list, I've always wanted to drive a car motivated by an engine that I have built myself.

After spending what seems like an eternity building and installing a new engine, that day has finally arrived, today I get to realise a lifelong dream.

Having already started the engine and broken the cam in, the only thing that was needed was a little final setting up to get the ignition timing, mix and idle correct. As I had no idea how to set this, thankfully I was assisted here by a friend called Ed who actually knew what he was doing as he runs his own classic garage. Check it out here:

I must admit that since the engines first run, there's been a niggling feeling that something wasn't quite right as there's a bit of vibration roundabout 1500 RPM. I pushed the worry out of my head and hoped it would go away after the engine was setup. Once everything was ticking away beautifully though, the engine wobble was still there.

Running up to 2500 RPM smoothed the rumble out and at idle it was okay also, so I though 'what the heck' and decided that I wasn't going to let it stop me going for a drive. Slowly I engaged the newly rebuild gearbox and engaged the new clutch and could feel the car wanting to move. Once the handbrake was off, the car was rolling under it's own power.

Gingerly I drove up the street and tested the brakes, then moved into second gear. I must admit that I was as nervous as I was excited. Once I was feeling brave enough, I tried third and give it a bit of a push and the car responded with a jolt of acceleration.

This was it, I was driving along and it was actually working!! Moving onto a faster road, I moved into fourth and gave it the beans and it felt an awful lot stronger than I remember it with the old engine. There was a little more acceleration and definitely more torque in third and fourth gear.

Luckily the roads were pretty deserted and I paid a visit to the local farm shop. Might as well make the journey useful. Alter doing a bit of shopping I took a picture of the car to remember the occasion and drove the long way home.

After a long project such as building and installing a new engine, as fantastic as that process is, it's nothing compared to finishing it and going for your first drive. There is that slight niggle of the vibration thought that I can't ignore. I'm guessing it's because, I chose to save a few pounds when I decided not to get the crank and flywheel balanced. I'm starting to think that I may regret that decision, but time will tell...

Overall though, I'm very pleased to be out and about in my Mini once again.

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