Saturday, 20 August 2011

Rootes multihole timing sprocket part number CTS 1034

No high lift Hillman Imp camshaft will be easy to set up without one of these,I have in the past drilled my own holes as the need was at the time.

The Rootes Competitions part number CTS 1034 multihole sprocket is on the left,it may or may not have the timing line seen on the standard sprocket to the left.The standard item will suit the Imps basic and also the Sport version,others will need the multihole item.

Note,the center hole has a bevel on one side,fit that towards to camshaft so it will fit flush.


Timing the Rootes Competitions R20 camshaft

Rootes Competitions Department  made some great Hillman Imp camshafts,among them the R17 the R20 and the R23,each has its own setting for the number one inlet valve at the engines TDC ( top dead center) this is not hard to acheive if you read the A4 installation papers supplied by Rootes at the time.

The tool you will need is a dial gauge in imperial,thats Inches,well parts of 1000s of them,yes that price is correct,I thought it cheap myself when I bought it in about 1971.

The back mount plate was an alloy,it fell apart with age,we all do this? anyway I made a new one and used a Hillman Imp lock tab plate as the method of mounting the dial gauge,just as I did back in the early seventies.

The multihole competition camshaft sprocket,check the ring of holes near the center.

The lock tab is then mounted on the cylinder head,I use the nearest stud,its close to the number one inlet valve tappet.With the camshaft removed,from TDC,take the engine backwards so that the number one piston is about 1"down the bore.Replace the camshaft,rotate it untill the number one valve is open to 113 thousands of an inch on the dial gauge.To do this,set the gauge up to read 113 thous,on the surface of the number one valve tappet face,then rotate the camshaft clockwise,when it reads zero,stop.When this is done turn the engine back clockwise  and the when  TDC engine pointer is in line stop.Then fit the drive chain over the  the drive sprocket to the nearest available drive peg hole,use a new lock tab and torque to 20 pounds,then lock the bolt with the lock tab.

With the spark plugs removed to reduced compression,slowly turn the engine by hand clockwise to ensure the timing is correct and no valves are hitting pistons etc.I always re test the timing at least once more,its quite simple when your up to speed with the method and so important to get this job right.

Note you will need the Rootes Competitions multihole camshaft sprocket to do this job.

TDC,you MUST have the correct pointer plate.

Note the three camshafts have different settings!

How hard can this be?


Friday, 19 August 2011

Cable work,keep it tidy

I was at our local elecrical wholesalers and asked what they can offer for me to enable a better engine room cable run? the answer was simple.

The size used is coded TY3 and made by Hellerman Tyton,they are named Cradles on the packet.left click the picture for a larger size.
The self adhesive pad has a pair of slots in it,so the cable tie you use can go in either direction,in this case the perfect solution to keep loose wires in shape.You can use these sticky pads in all sorts of applications,in your home,car,boat,as long as the surface is clean you can stick a pad on.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Athol Das Rocas chart,North East Brasil

Having stayed a night there and seeing the tight anchoring positions I know a little about this place,well enough to advise its really only a good place in settled weather.

Arrival down wind and  from the south, sees you go to the north of the island and anchor there but not any place.The water is clear,spotless,check below to locate one of the few strips of sand,you must anchor in those sand strips,otherwise your ground tackle will just sit on flat rock.

Also beware the ledge at the back of  I do Farol,it dries and you can walk on that area.When we were there the only spot left to anchor was off the area between the two yellow parts marked on the chart,there was plenty of sand below but when the tide turned we had  the entire lagoon empty out and across where we were for that night,placing an extra load on our anchor and chain.The anchor was stuck the next morning,I assume in rock or coral,we broke it out using the yachts weight,then made our way to Forteleza,mainland Brasil.Our stop there was at the yacht club in Mucuripe,which is a fishing port just before the city proper.You will now use the Marina Hotel facility,which sounds good and at least is just about central to the main city.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Shell Oils new lubricant

We saw the Hillman Imp introduced using an X100 Shell oil,this was back in 1963,the same oil was still on the South African market about 1994 then Shells Helix seems to have taken over,that was also a 20W/50 grade oil.

I called at our local Shell Garage and bought the new Helix 15W-40 grade oil,I then took it back to question its use in an engine designed some 50 years back? best to check always,it seems that the new grade has replaced the Helix 20W-50,which in turn replaced the X100 20W-50,nothing stays the same,we move forwards.

This is what we are using the new Helix oil to protect,its a brand new Hillman Imp 998cc engine,just about from top to bottom,the cost of the oil compared to the value of the engine is peanuts,we would be foolish indeed to attempt to save money on a lower value oil.

This engine has a Rootes Competitions R20 fast road or race camshaft,we can expect engine revs to peak around 8000 rpm and more,the best oil for the job must be used.

Left click the pictures for more details and to read the lables.


The Churchill RG 355 Cylinder Head tool

Chances are you have never seen one of these before,chances are you never will either!

Made by Churchill Tools to allow the lower row of Hillman Imp  cylinder head bolts to be re tightened without removal of the camshaft,saving a lot of time and related down time and its cost.

The tool is cast then forged I think,not an easy process but a welded version can be made using a suitable 9/16"spanner socket at on end and a 1/2"square drive at the other end.

The inside faces are 85mm apart.

As seen from the cylinder head bolt end.

The two ends are not in paralell.


New front side lights for older cars

Lucas make a really simple lamp fitting,its quite basic and the rubber grommet it fits inside can probably fit in the same hole as the original fitting.Some drilling works will be required?

Lucas parts are now made under licence.

The original lamp holder has been drilled out,leaving a lip the suit the rubber grommet that comes with the lamp holder.

A simple cure which means we can change the bulb without removal of the front lens cover

The clear lens cover will be fitted later

The red wire is the original feed,the car being a negative earth 12 volt system used the body to supply the return,with the new lamp holder it is required that we fit a black wire to ground,on this car its close to the wiper motor and and easy addition.


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Inside a competition Hillman Imp

It seems to me that the less we supply the more you pay,or is that the other way around,for sure a stripped out Hillman Imp saloon car,basicaly a bare shell with no comfort parts at all.

The issue is weight costs acceleration,which of course relates to the cars top speed,in this case over a 1/4 mile,taking the weight from the car by removal of the interior basically makes the car that much faster.


Fitting an electric fuel pump

This should be simple if its a like pump for a like pump but in some cases it will be an after market addition and if you buy on price alone,you may just pick the wrong pump? Believe it or not pumps are made to either push fluids or in some case pull or suck them,meaning we need to know where our pump will be mounted before we go out and buy one.

This is a brand I have no connection with,the motor factors I bought the pump off supplied another make,also German but when I got back to the garage and I read the fitting instructions,the first thing they ask was 'Do you have the correct pump? ' of course I did not,I needed a fuel pump in the engine bay,while the petrol tank was at the front of the car.

Note,not all fuel pumps will handle both diesel and petrol,so state your intended use when buying.

Another requirement to this make of pump  was it must be below the the level of the carburetors,this can cause a mounting position problem,so I would advise reading the data on which ever pump you choose prior to paying and driving off as I did.

Note the fuse holder,this pump requires a 3amp fuse,so purchase that at the same time!


Changing a generator to an alternator

This is work in progress on the hill climb Imp and assuming it works, was not as hard as I expected.
The old 22amp Lucas C-40-1 generator or dynamo is fine for the Imp in day to day use but with the new Lucas H4 Halogen head lights now fitted and a posibility of extra spotlights for night rallys,we thought an upgrade to an alternator was the right idea.

The original black box of the Lucas regulator is stripped of its three coils and basically used as a junction box.

You will need to drill out the rivet studs with an elecrtic drill and a 6mm drill bit.
the one pop rivet which is in the center was an addition to secure the terminal plate inside,check with a volt meter on alarm to ensure there is no internal contact when you do this?

My thanks to " the Knowledge" who can be found at

 htp://   for publishing this method.

Tools required? an electric drill and suitable drill bit,a soldering iorn and solder with flux in it,a screw driver to fit the three mounting screws,plus some wire crimp pliers.You will also need some 2.5mm auto wire and some wire crimps to suit the terminals,one of which is quite large.The digital multimeter is handy for checking continuity once you have made the various solder joints up.

Noreseman turnbuckles and deck toggles

A neat and simple way to adjust the length of an existing stay and also add the ability for movment,is to fit a toggle.Toggles come in many sizes and shapes,these 316 stainless steel ones are in a cast form.

Left click the picture to view in a larger size,there are two toggles on this fitting,one is the wrapped steel plate that is a part of the Noresman rigging screw design,then the cast 316 stainless steel one below.This allows tuning of the length of the rigging stay but also gives good movment and allows the assembly to line up perfectly. Never leave stainless rigging so that it is loose when you handle it,the wire can work and cause fractures then,normally as it exits the swage terminals.

A set of eight of these cast 316 stainless toggles were the perfect solution to tune a mast on a local yacht.