Right, where was I, ah yes, the Ox of Oxford House Video Agency (MG Midget) is now well and truly an empty shell. A daunting moment to say the least.
With David Vizzard's book about the A series engine to hand, along with Youtube, I felt confident to fully strip the engine and all it's innards. Knowing that half the components (the ones I'd need to map) will be replaced with new performance parts. Therefore I could allow myself the pleasure of ripping it apart without fretting.
Oh the pleasure. Nothing is quite as satisfying disassembling a nearly 50 year old, grubby and grimy engine. Black gunk, that's what I'd call the engine's paint job...
After a few goings over with chemicals, rags and a wire brush (electric of course) it shone as if it had just come out of the cast, no, it would have shone brighter as a cast I'm sure would be dirty in itself. Nevertheless, it looked like as new of an old thing as it could have.
It's extremely rewarding turning something from so gunky to brilliantly clean. But clean raw iron is liable to one thing and that's rust, paint is required.
So, what colour did I decide to paint the block I hear you ask? RED! Bright, bright RED. Garish some would say, but remembering where the engine sits and the amount of bits that will be bolted on, red - garish red - will be a gentle pop in the bay. It also hints at the power, the sheer power that is held within! I won’t kid myself, maybe not too much power, but maybe one day...
The next job is to send the head off to be shaved, cleaned and have the valves re-set and introduce some roller rockers - the first performance upgrade. The head will sit proudly over the same bore, no enlarging going on here, as well as being connected to an upgraded camshaft, one to push the power higher up the rev range, ideal for racing and increasing performance.
That's really all that will happen with engine. If it survives the season then brilliant! But there could be damage on the crank, con-rods and such, I can't imagine the new camshaft will push it that hard, but it might, it's an old car remember.
What else? Following Mr Vizard's advice, airflow. The carbs will stay the same for now, but a good couple of inches worth of ram pipe will be fitted to smooth the airflow. A new intake manifold is on the agenda, again to smooth out the airflow. I need to swap out the strange stock manifold with extra channels for emissions and unknown pressure reasons.
The head won't be ported, but it will be cleaned so airflow will be improved - can you spot a theme? A new manifold, exhaust that is, will also be popped on. It will be a gradually decreasing, performance, exhaust, where we go from 3, to 2, to 1 - again with the idea to create the most efficient and powerful "suck". The science with airflow is utterly captivating and equally mind boggling. The thought behind the exhaust, in an ideal world, would be to scavenge the pistons and suck out all the excess exhaust, clearing up the chambers for the intake, and with the right cam profile, help suck in the new fresh air - we won't be getting that advanced just yet!
Those are the key engine bits and bobs for now. It has an electric ignition, strong coil and good leads/plugs, so hopefully all will be set. It's the gearbox which needs the most work, and the suspension. But like last time, that will do for now... stay tuned.