A Special Builder's Notes


The Special Builder's Breakfast Club

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03 April 2019


A potential problem with the Morris 6 engine under the bonnet of the Alvis Special, will be the position of the distributor. It adds a good 4" to the overall height of the installation and robs me of the equivalent amount of ground clearance for the sump.

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A right-angled bevel-drive to the distributor was an interesting engineering possibility to consider although backlash would probably cause problems with timing. I wondered if there was an electronic ignition system which might do away with the distributor all together.

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Years ago, I had an Evans VP1 - a VW powered monoplane of the most basic design. It was always a pig to start until I converted it to the Leburg electronic ignition system. That did away with the mags (the distributors) replacing them with two small batteries, a couple of lightweight coils and a box of tricks in the cockpit. A disc and neodium magnet on the crankshaft and another carefully positioned on the crankcase created the signal. Awkward mentioned a similar system called Megajolt and, after looking at it on the web, it's exactly the sort of thing I could fit to avoid having to add a bulge to the bonnet and still achieve decent ground clearance. I could soon fix up something to engage with the distributor drive shaft (keeping it from flailing about inside the tower) and blank off the hole in the camshaft cover.

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I had a couple of jobs to do on the Hillman before the next outing, so I completed the hinging of the nearside mudguard....

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... which gave me a handy tray to put spanners and whatnot on whilst I removed the exhaust. There was a slight blow in the usual place - the engine side of the manifold to downpipe gasket. The last time I had this apart, I replaced the traditional gasket with a solid copper one that a local firm had water-jet cut for me.

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The gasket was nicely annealed (that's a spare one in the top of the picture) and all it needed was a bit of a buff up on the wheel and squeezing between two steel plates in the vice to straighten it out. Truing up the surfaces of both the manifold and the downpipe flanges, plus a bit of exhaust paste was all it took to reseal the joint with the now, old gasket.

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The heat-shield wrapping around the exhaust was past its best so I removed that - I had to anyway - and drilled an 18mm hole a couple of inches down from the flange to accept a Lambda sensor boss.

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I'd been meaning to do this for a while as I've never been sure about the mixture - despite the plugs being sort of the right colour. Awkward has bought recently a new bit of plug 'n' play Lambda kit with flashing LEDs that gives you the gen.

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And finally, I had to remove the offside rear wing stay as it had somehow cracked, causing the wing to flap about. The cause soon became obvious. The rear wheel at full upward deflection, had at some point grabbed the over-long stay bolts and given them a good yank and, in so doing had buckled the 1mm fabricated stay and ripped a corner of it apart.

That was the snags dealt with.

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