Manchester XPAG Project Newsletter

Newsletter – February 2013

As suggested in the January newsletter, there has not been a great deal of progress this month due to exams. Despite their time spent revising, the team were able to finish their poster outlining the problems they have identified with classic cars and modern fuel and the tests they are planning to conduct. The poster is available to view by clicking here.

Now is the time to book your place at the ‘T’ Register ‘Rebuild 2013’ event on 23 March at the Heritage Motor Museum, Gaydon if you would like to discuss this project with the Manchester XPAG team in more detail.

Ed’s Note: The event is now over-subscribed.

All the replacement parts to refurbish the engine have been delivered. Thanks to the Octagon Car Club and Mad Metrics for their help. Unfortunately, the team has not been allowed to work on the engine due to the lack of “expert” assistance, a problem recognised by Dr Rob Prosser who has arranged for technical help to be provided.

The manufacturing and delivery of the hardware to mount the engine on the dynamometer is progressing, the flywheel mount has now been laser cut and delivered and shaft connector between the engine and dynamometer manufactured.

The students also have the LM-2 A/F analyser and lambda probe, kindly donated by Motor Sports Inc. However, this was nearly lost in transit by Parcel Force who, on the first attempt were unable to deliver it to the same address at Manchester University where the engine parts were sent. Fortunately, it was returned to Peter Cole. The team are in the process of designing a fitting for this probe into the exhaust pipe.

The original plan has slipped. The aim is now to finish the assembly of the engine and mount it on the dynamometer over the first two weeks of this month.

Last month I highlighted the problem the team were experiencing in finding information about or sourcing 1950’s petrol. We are now in the very fortunate position of having two fuel experts who are able to advise the students. Nigel Stevens, a gasoline development engineer between 1969 and 1975 and MG TC owner responded to the request in Totally T-Type 2 for help. He is now in regular contact with the students. In addition, Matt Vincent a motor vehicle fuel expert has provided invaluable advice on a testing methodology to isolate the effects of fuel composition, volatility and octane rating and has provided fuel mixes for this purpose.

I believe the students are now in a very strong position as they are now have all the information they need to source the reference fuels needed for their tests.

With their exams behind them, the team’s focus is now on getting the engine installed in the dynamometer, fully instrumented and running the different fuel tests.

Newsletter – March 2013

As the University was concerned the students did not have sufficient experience to reassemble the XPAG, they employed a part time technician to perform this work. The engine has now been fully rebuilt with the replacement parts provided by The Octagon Car Club and NTG in Ipswich. The engine mounts, guards and other parts to install the engine in the dynamometer are ready and the plan is to have the engine fully installed and “ready to go” in the first week of March. We are looking forward to their initial set of results when the students present at ‘Rebuild 2013’ on March 23.

Fuel has continued to pose problems despite the help give by Nigel Stevens and Matt Vincent.

Matt provided a contact in a specialist company able to mix fuel to given specifications. It was hoped this company would be able to provide both the “Classic” fuel and fuels with different volatilities and octane ratings for the tests. This would have allowed the different factors that may affect combustion to be isolated. In the event this company was unable to help. Perhaps if the current tests prove promising it is something we could follow up with additional support from other organisations.

Nigel, suggested using aviation fuel (UL91) as a reference, this is guaranteed to be a hydrocarbon only lead free fuel, which was all that existed when the engine was designed. It could also be used as a base for the students to mix their own fuels by adding alcohol or ethers. In addition, comparisons will be made using BP Ultimate and the ESSO Unleaded. The reason for the choice of these fuels is that they are readily available to owners of classic cars in the UK.

Evaluating the effect of “pump” based ethanol blended fuel is more difficult as the actual concentrations are not published and, currently, E10 is not available in the UK. In an attempt to evaluate this, tests will also be performed using BP Ultimate (understood to be ethanol free) mixed with 10% ethanol.

The testing plan is to perform “fuel loops” to produce a contour map of the variables controlling the engine (timing, mixture setting, throttle setting, etc.). The next step for the students is to prepare a test methodology document for approval by the supervisors.

Paul Ireland