We won’t, we won’t rock you

For some time now Neddy’s engine has been moving about a bit, rocking on its mountings due to worn stabaliser bushes.  A while ago I fitted new bushes to the top stabaliser, which vastly improved matters, but since then it seems to have returned to its old unstable self, probably more the fault of the bottom bushes than the top ones.  I shall hopefully be buying new bushes at the Norfolk Mini Day this Sunday, but in the meantime I thought I would fit the extra bottom engine steady bar I bought at the Riviera Run.

As standard, a Mini engine is held in place by two stabaliser bars, one at the top and one at the bottom of the block, and that’s usually enough to keep the engine in place nicely.  Of course there are many additional solutions which make the engine even more rock-steady, which is useful under hard accelleration as it ensures responsive transmission of power from engine to wheels (if the engine rocks at all then that first short millisecond or two is spent turning the engine on its mountings rather than the wheels, a small but critical loss in power).  Uprating the bushes is one solution, exchanging the standard rubber bushes for polycarbonate alternatives, which just firms up the whole thing.  That’s what I put in the top engine steady last time, and while it does transmit a little more engine noise into the cabin it does make a significant difference to the feel of the car.

So today, in absence of a replacement rubber bush for the bottom engine steady, I fitted an auxilliary bottom engine steady, which goes from the bottom of the block on the left hand side (looking from the driver’s seat) to the front subframe.  It was surprisingly easy to fit, and only took a few minutes of head scratching and only a couple of squirts of WD-40 to get the bolts undone.  Then it was a simple case of fitting the new bracket which uses the existing bolt holes, and putting the bolts back in.  Then the stabaliser bar was attached to the new bracket and swung up to attach to the subframe using an existing hole, everything was tightened up, and that was it!

Taking the car for a spin was reassuring, feeling very little movement in the engine department, which is a nice improvement.  I’ll keep an eye on it, just to make sure everything stays nice and tight, but it’s looking good so far.

I think actually the most nerve-wracking part of the whole thing was getting the Mini up on the ramps I’d borrowed from my mate Darren.  My drive is ever so slightly up hill anyway, but not enough to make too much difference.  That said, getting the front wheels up was something of a challenge, revving high and putting great strain on the clutch.  In fact, it took a slight run-up to get the wheels up, with some reassuring assistance from a passing neighbour!  Not something I’ll be doing regularly I think, though if I do have to use the ramps again I might try facing the car the other way and see if the slight incline of the drive helps at all.

So, all’s well in the engine stabalising department, which means I’m all set for the Norfolk Mini Day on Sunday – some members of the Colchester Mini Club will be driving up in convoy, which should be a fun experience.  Last year the weather was fantastic, I’m not sure this year will be so kind to us, but two fields full of Minis should make up for that!

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