Injection - Tuning up-date March 3rd, 2003
Late again - I know. But there were pressing problems and I wanted to clear something up about another company's claims I alluded to in my last up-date. The very astute of you will also have noticed I've dropped the 'cars' from the title/header - simply because this is applying more and more to non-injected cars as folk are getting more interested in injecting their previous non-injected cars. And not without good reason where a properly developed injection system is concerned - the results are worlds apart.
Firstly, I have failed. I have failed to bring about a very decent and competitively priced plug-in alternative to the standard Rover unit. And for that I apologise to all those folks that have been hanging on for this much-vaunted product. In my defense I will say that I tried. I tried bloody hard, and then some. In fact my accomplice in this damn-near gave blood to try and make it happen. Unfortunately - the previously mentioned producers of this 'ere electronic box of tricks lead us right up the garden path. Into the woods even. Promise of 'it'll be available soon' and 'we are definitely doing something' came to naught. For a start it wasn't the originally promised straight plug-in swap ECU. It was to be a 'piggy-back' unit that worked via a 'jumper' loom through the original ECU. Not a huge problem at all - as long as it worked. It did side- step the hope that a better alternative would be available to replace the sometimes weak, and difficult to diagnose standard Rover ECU. The when it came to the crunch (we'd booked dyno time to do the R&D) they came clean and admitted they had no interest in doing one for the Mini as they saw it as a real low-volume, low-profit market. I was gutted. There was a good deal of commercial politics and company take-overs going on behind the scenes but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice to say that if the company in question was UK based - I'd have been down there to thoroughly upset some folk's day in a very meaningful way. Anyway - don't give up hope - we have something else on the go that looks very promising indeed - and we're doing it ourselves.
I had already had a gut feeling that something was going seriously awry with this project. My 'accomplice' and I had already been making plans about alternative systems. Particularly since his success with fuel-injecting 8-ports. I am, of course, talking about auto-electronics whiz Mike Barratt or MBE in Lincoln. We'd decided to develop his Webcon-based system to work on the siamesed 5-port head long before the day of doom arrived. So we just started to apply that to the standard MPi system. I won't report on this yet as we are still developing that particular system - made especially tricky because of…the immobiliser system. This thing causes no end of trouble. And as we have discovered through our early attempts at trying to get a standard ECU to run on the dyno without an immobiliser connected - it is much, much more than an immobiliser. Anyway, more on that in another up-date and more when we are happy with our testing. No - the real news is about the complete replacement fuel injection set-ups we have developed and completed preliminary testing on. My god - we were stunned by the results. For which you'll have to catch the next installment in a few days time, because for now there's something else I need to report on…
My last up-date alluded to a certain company's claims. I did state I would believe the claims if I witnessed them with my own eyes, and I had yet to actually speak with the company concerned. We got off to a slightly bad start when none of my e-mails got answered. Well, I finally got time to sit down and make some phone calls today after the lunacy that is pre-season race engine building here, and they were one of the first on the list.
It appears that much of the article in CCC was conjecture. Educated guesses if you like. But they are absolutely adamant that the power figures quoted in their advert of 135bhp/122lb ft was indeed out of a 1380cc, 276-cam equipped engine. OK - it is now featuring a stage four head (this whole 'stage' thing we agree to disagree on), and the figures were recorded on a rolling road (I know the guy that owns it, called him and he qualified that he had indeed seen some impressive figures out of a Mini with this companies set-up on it but wouldn't/couldn't be specific about engine details) - but I still maintained they were mightily impressive in comparison to all the testing I have thus-far done; and a 276 cam? Still they were insistent. So now all I can say is what I said before - I'll believe it when I see it, although nothing is theoretically impossible. And I publicly apologise to them if they feel I have done them a disservice.