Coupe Build From Australia

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mermar74
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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by mermar74 » Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:14 pm

Continued from previous instalment;

Finalising EFI Conversion


With the engine management system now installed and wired, work will focus on getting the engine running.
This anticipated stage has been a long time in the making and will verify much about this custom EFI conversion.
At this stage of work;

All fabricated EFI hardware is yet untested,
The chosen electronics have yet to prove harmony with each other,
The mass of wiring is yet untested,
The ECU still needs to be mapped.

My most anxious concern though is with the recommissioning work carried out on the lower intake manifold; the success of this lengthy and involved job can only be verified with the engine running. Worryingly, there are still uncertainties requiring further investigation.

I decided test running the engine is best done on the test stand; this will provide easy and uninterrupted access to all parts.
As the engine has previously run on this stand (albeit with a carburettor and points ignition) all engine mounting requirements are already in place. Running it with EFI though will require making mounting fixtures for the complete engine management system, EFI fuel system and plumbing and EFI fuel tank; not a small job.

Work started by removing the engine from the car and refitting it on the test stand.

The lower intake manifold is still giving me grief and not yet mounted on engine. I next focused my attention on making this right.
As noted in a previous instalment, the recommissioning work carried out on this manifold has included much welding and machining of the mating faces; this has resulted in around 2.5mm missing from each manifold mounting face. The mating relationship between manifold and cylinder heads has now been disturbed, and the manifold seats too deep inside the engine valley.
My original plan was to use extra thick gaskets to make up for the removed material, but further consideration made me realise this is too much to make up with gasket alone. I have now settled on using aluminium spacer plates to make up for lost material; these can be screwed to the manifold faces to become one with the manifold. A thin gasket is all that will be required to seal the manifold to cylinder head face.

Heading down this path, I had the spacers drawn up on CAD and laser cut from 2mm aluminium sheet.

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These were next attached to the manifold faces with countersunk screws.

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The complete assembly was next trial fitted on the engine confirming my long time suspicion that the re machined manifold face angles do not accurately match the cylinder head faces; this will effect manifold sealing and probably warp the manifold when torqued.
This will require re machining of the manifold faces to correct; a great PITA.

Next task was to measure the amount of discrepancy between mounting faces; this was accomplished by lightly tightening the manifold assembly on the engine, and measuring the gap variation between the top and bottom of mounting faces using feeler gauges. This measurement is carried out at all four corners of manifold for an overall comparison.
Measurements confirmed a gap of .005” exists at the bottom of manifold faces and zero at the top; this discrepancy will require an angle cut of .005” from top of manifold faces and zero from the bottom to correct.

Armed with this information I took the manifold (without spacers) to my trusted machinist and explained what needs to be done. Upon return I refitted the manifold assembly onto the engine and was most relieved to find a near perfect fit.

Next issue; reliably sealing the spacer plates so as to not leak vacuum, water or oil.
I decided to seal the manifold side of spacers with Loctite Flange Sealer; with the countersunk mounting screws tightened the spacers become one with the manifold and hopefully should never need to be removed again.
A thin .5mm gasket will be used to seal the cylinder head sides of spacers; this will require custom gaskets as the originals are normally around 1mm thick. I cut these by hand and fitted thin copper sheet around each water hole as per original.

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Thinner gaskets will requiring very little if any retorque over time as there is little thickness to crush; this should provide a superior seal in theory.
The end seals were cut from cork gasket material.

The manifold was finally made ready, installed and torqued to specs; quality gasket sealer was used on all gasket surfaces.

Hopefully this now concludes all the repairs on this old chunk of aluminium; a big AMEN to that I say!

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To be continued:
Victor Pace



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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by scimmy ben » Fri Jun 02, 2017 3:35 am

I'm sure 0.005" is well within the range of 'near enough' for most people - its good to see this Great attention to detail!


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by mermar74 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 5:56 am

scimmy ben wrote:I'm sure 0.005" is well within the range of 'near enough' for most people - its good to see this Great attention to detail!
A .005" gap at the bottom of manifold face is worse than .005" gap at the top as this is a blind area with manifold installed.
A vacuum leak would be hard to diagnose at the lower juncture, and as well oil from around the valley chamber can get sucked into the ports; not so with gap at top.

With the amount of work that has gone into repairing this manifold, I did not want to risk it and likely end up with more work and problems to solve.

Victor Pace



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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by lozzzzzz » Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:36 am

This continues to be an excellent read. As always I look forward to the next installment. Can't wait to hear about the results of firing it up.


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by Old and Slow » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:48 pm

Hi Victor,
I was just wondering whether you'd considered using 3 mm annealed copper sheet for the gaskets rather than adding the 2 mm shims plus .005" taper machining. I can understand wanting to avoid re-torquing but I'd have thought a less complicated approach would have still made the joints airtight and accommodated the dimensional discrepancy.
Philip N


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by mermar74 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:45 pm

Old and Slow wrote:Hi Victor,
I was just wondering whether you'd considered using 3 mm annealed copper sheet for the gaskets rather than adding the 2 mm shims plus .005" taper machining. I can understand wanting to avoid re-torquing but I'd have thought a less complicated approach would have still made the joints airtight and accommodated the dimensional discrepancy.
Philip N
Philip,

It is never a good idea mating copper with aluminium as the two materials react with each other causing corrosion.

As well, the expansion rates of these two materials are very different which will likely cause other issues.

Victor Pace



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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by mermar74 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:13 am

Continued from previous instalment;

Test Running Engine

With the intake manifold issues finally resolved, work continues on getting the engine running on test stand.

The last components to be madefor this unique EFI conversion are the intake air horn assemblies; I have given these much thought over time, and with ideas in mind made a start on construction.

Space is somewhat limited inside the plenums for air horns; what fits inside the limited space will dictate the size and shape. I started by making a drawing of what I had in mind on CAD, and kept making changes until an acceptable shape was created. The air horns will fix to a pair of aluminium base plates shaped to fit inside the plenums.

Templates of the base plates were first cut from melamine board and trial fitted. These were fettled for a good fit inside the plenums and the port alignments optimised.

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The templates were next transferred onto 3mm aluminium sheet and the base plates cut out.

The six matching air horns were next machined from aluminium round bar. A machined step on bottom of horns will accurately locate and spigot the horns to base plates. Four countersunk screws are used to retain each horn to the plates.

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The finished parts were lastly assembled and installed inside the plenum chambers.

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The engine test stand already includes a radiator, electric fan and an electrical charging system. The exhaust headers made for this car fortunately clear the engine stand; these have been installed along with mufflers.

The next task is to mount the complete engine management system, EFI fuel system and fuel tank onto the test stand. I decided a frame added to the rear of test stand will provide a good mounting platform for carrying these components.
I next fabricated a suitable steel frame and attached it to the stand between the branch manifolds. A timber board screwed to the frame will serve as the component mounting platform.

With this done, the fuel pre filter, fuel pump, main filter and regulator were mounted to rear side of the board and plumbed using the hoses made for this car; this will test the hoses under pressure prior to final installation on car.

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A shelf built at the highest point of frame safely supports the fuel tank; from here the fuel will gravity feed to the fuel pump.
For this exercise the surge tank is not used.

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The ECU, wideband controller and EFI fuse box were next mounted onto the front side of board, and the recently made engine management wiring harness installed and connected. Lastly, the battery power supply was connected and all made ready.

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The complete electrical installation now mimics exactly as it will be in the car; this will test the wiring prior to final installation.

With the ECU now powered up, the next task was to adjust the fuel line pressure to specs; a fuel pressure gauge was connected, and with the fuel pump running pressure was adjusted at the regulator.

Mapping and tuning an engine management system requires a laptop computer; all well and good if you have one, I do not.
The next task was researching and purchasing a suitably machine.

With this done, the Haltec program was installed on the computer and the next several days were spent trying to familiarise myself with this program and getting my head around all this (new to me) technology.
I found much self help built into the program once the system is understood. A nice feature is an easy start configuration for when a suitable map is not available for the engine in question; this requires imputing certain information about the engine e.g. number of cylinders, firing order, capacity etc., and the program will provide adequate fuel and ignition base maps to safely start the engine.

With engine parameters set, the next step is to connect the laptop to the ECU and download the map; this is done with the ECU powered up (ignition on).

The last step required prior to attempting start up is to synchronise the ignition timing; this is carried out with timing light and the engine turning over with the starter. While doing this I discovered spark was not reaching the spark plugs. My initial thought was a problem in the wiring, although lengthy rechecks of the wiring harness showed all was satisfactory.

Not sure what to do next, I decided to call the Haltec for advice.
The tech was very helpful and suggested I download a Haltec app onto my computer so he can run a diagnostic test of my system from his end.
I had no idea this is possible, but when done he was able to quickly diagnose a non responsive crank sensor. In conversation I mentioned to him pictures of the sensor and trigger wheel can be viewed on this (very same) forum; he found the pictures spotted a problem straight away.
It seems the gap left by the two missing teeth on the crank trigger wheel needs to be deeper for the Hall Effect sensor to pick up a signal; fortunately this is not a big issue and easily resolved.

I (dinosaur) was fascinated by this long distance diagnostic method.
Just to reflect back;
I am standing beside the engine in my workshop talking on the phone, the computer is connected to the engine and the mouse is moving about madly on its own accord as a tech runs a diagnostic check of this system from 1000 kilometres away, and the problem is quickly found!
I have certainly never experienced anything like this working on carburetors and distributor ignition.

The next day I rectified the trigger wheel, and to my delight spark was now present at the plugs. The ignition timing was next synchronised and all was now ready for the big and long awaited moment.

With some nervousness I turned on the ignition, allowed the fuel pump to run for a while, and next pressed the starter button. To my utter delight the engine started instantly catching me off guard as I clambered to quickly check for fuel leaks, oil pressure reading, water leaks and odd noises. All seemed well as I let it run up to operating temperature, although I did notice it sounded a little flat and the idle speed was on the high side.
I shut it down after a while and spent a moment reflecting on the results and what has been achieved here.

I again called the tech to inform him of the successful outcome and again thank him for his help. I made mention of the high idle speed, and he willingly connected to my computer again and with the engine running lowered the idle.
To my surprise it did not stop there; he spent the next hour or so mapping the ECU until the engine ran nicely.
It was amazing listening to the engine beat gradually improve as changes were made from his end. During this time I was just a spectator looking at a moving mouse on the computer screen while intently listening to the engine running.
I am in awe of what is possible these days.

By the end of this session the engine ran smoothly, idling nicely and revved cleanly; a most gratifying result after all this work. It now runs well enough to be driven (when the car is ready) to the tuner some distance away for final dyno tuning.

This experience highlights the importance of choosing an engine management system from a manufacturer (or agent) that offers helpful after sales support. In the meantime I have booked to attend a 2 day Haltec tech seminar soon coming to my home town; this should set me on the right path learning to tune this system.


To be continued:
Victor Pace



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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by scimjim » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:27 am

Fantastic customer service!


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CURE THE FAULT - NOT THE SYMPTOMS

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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by philhoward » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:34 am

Ah - the joys of remote support (It's something I do in my day job, although on manufacturing production lines rather than engine ECUs but the same principles apply). Costs so little, yet worth so much.

I get the feeling from your latest instalment that the road to an ECU from a good supplier was worth it and that this new-fangled technology does have its advantages.. ;)

There is no better mojo boost than a running engine for the first time..


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by fightingtorque » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:41 am

I have certainly never experienced anything like this working on carburetors and distributor ignition.
Absolutely agree with this, with EFI there is more that you can do rather than less. Provided you have access into the mapping of course......
There is no better mojo boost than a running engine for the first time..
And this!



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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by CNHSS1 » Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:03 am

Ecus are just great, and once running, should you ever have a problem, connecting the laptop will either tell you the fault or at least the area ie trigger wheel pickup etc. Closest carbs do to indicate an issue is backfiring through the trumpets and removing ones eyebrows!

Good luck :-)


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by DARK STAR » Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:04 pm

Victor, I am once again overwhelmed, both by your work and by the service of Haltec.
Congratulations on the first running of the engine :pc


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by lozzzzzz » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:29 pm

Fantastic work Victor. A really satisfying milestone reached.


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Re: Coupe Build From Australia

Post by Pepe » Mon Jun 26, 2017 12:19 am

Congrats from my end, too!

And welcome to "the new age, Mr. dinosaur"... Isn't that great? Good to see this major milestone in your build reached... And entertaining to read too!


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Coupe Build From Australia

Post by mermar74 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:56 pm

Continued from previous installment;

Major Milestone Reached


Testing of engine electronics and EFI has now come to an end. The results are most encouraging and I am now satisfied all components work as intended and together in harmony.

As an aside; I was also relieved to find the coolant temperature to be within normal range since fitting EFI and engine management as the new engine ran disturbingly hot when run with carburetor and points ignition.

A short video of this EFI engine running on test stand can be viewed here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjpL0n207JM

While running the engine an issue showed up with the charging system as the battery kept going flat. It seems the new 60 amp Lucas alternator does not provide enough charge at low speed to keep up with the higher electrical demands of this engine.
The higher demands are largely due to the 16 inch Spal electric fan consuming almost 25 amps to run. This along the ECU and Bosch electric fuel pump consume more power at low engine speeds than alternator output. Speeding up the alternator by fitting a smaller pulley was tried but made very little difference.

It has become obvious a higher output alternator (especially at low speed) is required. Finding a suitable higher output replacement to fit a Coupe is not straight forward, as limited bonnet clearance will not allow for a larger alternator. I am aware 100 amps Lucas alternators with same body size as the 60 amps are being sold in the UK, but I have no interest in purchasing another poorly made re manufactured Lucas.

Research eventually pointed me towards a Delco Remy alternator rated at 95 amp output; this unit produces 65 amps at idle speed and has the same mounting configuration as the Lucas. I purchased a new unit from the U.S. and had it delivered to my door for less money than the 60 amp Lucas cost me.
Upon arrival I sourced a suitable V belt pulley to replace the original multi ribbed, and after some fettling installed it onto the engine.

This now completes all work on the engine; it can now be removed from the test stand and installed into the chassis for the final time.

Work started by draining the cooling system and disconnecting all fuel plumbing and electrical connections. The engine was next lifted off the stand and carefully lowered into the chassis and mounted.

The hydraulic clutch thrust bearing was next installed onto the gearbox and the complete assembly bolted to back of engine followed by the prop shaft.

The exhaust system was next made ready for installation.
The new stainless headers have already blued from exhaust heat and are now looking a little second hand. I decided to have these ceramic coated for a stain free finish, and more importantly lower radiant heat inside the overcrowded engine compartment. These were sent to a coating specialist for coating inside and out, and upon return looked resplendent in the silver ceramic finish.
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The headers along with the rest of the exhaust system were lastly fitted, completing this part of the work.

This grand build has now reached an exciting and major milestone with the new chassis and mechanical assembly finally married together and complete.
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This journey has now consumed ten long years of work, problem solving, research, planning, designing, fabricating and machining. Accomplishing several challenges along the way required learning new skills, and on occasions already learned skills required extending to new heights. As well, my already generous tool and equipment inventory has somewhat increased since starting this build.

Reflecting back;

My intention at the start of this build was to refine and improve the 1960’s concept without straying too far from the original design. As well, I wanted to incorporate a number of upgrades for increased all round safety and performance.

I quickly learned a number of factory compromises required a redesign for these objectives to be met; I made it a priority to make changes in a sympathetic manner so as remain close to the original concept.
The resulting mechanical specifications are now more akin with high end performance sports Coupes from the period. Adding to this, the little modern technology incorporated into this build will make this old design a little easier to live with.

The logistics of this build are (in my view) impressive considering it was built by one man in a home workshop; in fact every single part of the chassis and mechanical assembly (apart from the steering rack and the EFI lower intake manifold) has been made from scratch or replaced with new. It is unlikely this feat has been duplicated since Reliant built the last Coupe over 45 years ago.

I now consider my objectives met, and the results pleasing.

The chassis now awaits body installation.

To be continued:
Victor Pace
Last edited by mermar74 on Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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