Mini Magazine - - Mini Tech -

Set-up is straight­for­ward. Jack one wheel up off the ground, us­ing a trol­ley or small scis­sor jack po­si­tioned un­der the sub­frame on one side (near­side/left is best). Then re­move the spark plugs, en­gage sec­ond gear, and we’re ready to get busy! Once you have worked out what the cam tim­ing is, ad­just­ing it is de­pen­dent on what sort of cam drive kit you have. But no mat­ter if it’s en­tirely stan­dard right through to a belt drive kit – all can be sorted with the en­gine in the car. Re­moval of the ra­di­a­tor and en­gine mount­ing bracket will be needed at the most ba­sic level, but that’s still rea­son­ably easy. Stan­dard and/or non-ad­justable cam gears will re­quire off­set cam keys to cor­rect the tim­ing, while ad­justable ones will ei­ther need a dowel pin mov­ing or the clamp­ing screws un­do­ing then retight­en­ing.

The TDC in­di­ca­tor works by hav­ing a slid­ing cen­tre rod, which is ra­diused at the end that con­tacts the pis­ton, mov­ing the rod up and down in the outer sleeve. It is en­tirely fea­si­ble to make one out of an old spark plug and metal rod. But find­ing a piece of metal rod of a suit­able di­am­e­ter and hav­ing the fa­cil­ity to prop­erly ra­dius the end so it moves smoothly on the pis­ton crown is sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult to deal with. At £8.00 plus VAT buy­ing one doesn’t hurt the wal­let too much.

The es­sen­tial equip­ment re­quired: A DTI gauge, top dead cen­tre in­di­ca­tor, set of feeler blades and, for ease, a steel plate thick enough to sup­port the DTI solidly. The steel plate is not es­sen­tial; with the heater tap and studs re­moved the DTI mag­netic stand can sit on the head if it is com­pact enough. To­tal value of th­ese all bought new is around £30 – well worth the in­vest­ment.

Get it as cen­tred and as straight to the rod as pos­si­ble with enough preload on the DTI spin­dle to cope with in­di­cat­ing TDC, and some way ei­ther side of that. You need to be aware that the ar­chi­tec­ture of some pis­ton crowns may cause the rod to jam up when go­ing well past TDC and back again. Sim­ply hold the rod up when travers­ing th­ese ar­eas.

Fit the TDC in­di­ca­tor in num­ber four spark plug hole, then fit the steel plate to the end head stud. Fit the DTI stand to that and po­si­tion the DTI spin­dle tip against the top end of the TDC in­di­ca­tor rod.

With num­ber one pis­ton at TDC and the rock­ers on the over­lap (rock­ers rock­ing be­tween in­let and ex­haust over­lap), undo the ad­juster screw lock nuts.

Un­screw the ad­juster screws all the way so that the valves close com­pletely on both in­let and ex­haust.

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