Manchester XPAG Project

Newsletter – December 2012

As the Manchester XPAG engine trial ends its second month work is progressing well. The most important milestone has arguably been the submission and acceptance of the team’s proposal, budget and plans to the University. This forms part of their academic assessment.

The next task for the team is to mount the XPAG engine into the test cell. The diesel engine has been removed and they have completed the design of the engine mounts. Several designs were created and the team came to a decision based on advice from their supervisors. At the beginning of the month, they were waiting for the final approval from the assigned experimental officer. As the Department’s workshop would have taken another month to produce the parts, delaying the project, the team took the initiative to manufacture the mounts themselves using the student workshop. The front mounts are complete; however the rear mount, which fits directly to the back of the engine, has proved more difficult.

While internal combustion engines have not changed a great deal since the 1940s, the process used to manufacture them is unrecognisable. Now components start life in a computer and are brought into being by laser cutters, numerically controlled machine tools, 3D printers and the like. The first challenge for the team was to accurately measure the positions of the holes in the rear of the engine, not easy with a complete engine and no clear reference points. Thank you to Peter Gamble (Hi-Gear) for providing the necessary measurements. The virtual rear mount is now finished ready to be “brought to life” by a laser cutter.

The team has also been preparing a poster session, to be presented to the Department on Friday 30th November 2012; again this forms part of their assessment. The poster contains ideas pertaining to possible solutions for the engine that have emerged. Current suggestions include new needles for modern fuels, fuel intake cooling, fuel recirculation and a possible mechanical closed feedback loop system.

Newsletter – January 2013

This is an updating report from Paul Ireland and has been “squeezed in” so that TTT 2 readers have the latest possible information. “Peter” mentioned below is Peter Cole, who, as treasurer, is accounting for the income from the sponsors and ‘co-driving’ the project with Paul. It has been necessary to shorten (squeeze!) Paul’s report.

As part of their Assessment, the Team presented their plans to the Department in November and to Peter and me in December. Their overview Poster shows the main problems experienced by classic car owners, the various hypotheses, experimental designs and proposed test methodology.

Unfortunately, the Team’s presentation to us was interrupted by a (real) fire alarm, allowing an extended visit to the testing room for a close inspection of the engine. Peter expressed a concern that it had been stored with open access to the main oil galleries, risking contamination in the bearings. As a result we recommended it was stripped and cleaned prior to the tests. Working into their holidays and under my guidance, four of the Team started this work. While the engine is in a reasonable condition, 3 of the cylinders had broken top rings and that on the fourth cylinder was very badly worn. Fortunately, the 60 thou oversized bores were in good condition. Four new pistons and rings have been ordered along with a few other parts to replace missing or worn items. These purchases will be funded from the donations.

The front engine mounts have been manufactured and a solution found to the misaligned front engine mounting plate. The rear mount design was altered in order to fit the starter motor and has been submitted to the workshop for laser cutting. It will now be ready in January.

With the Christmas break and examinations, the Team will not have a great deal of time to spend on the project in January. However, they are planning to further their research on fuel atomisation, ignition timing and to plan experiments to obtain relevant data.

Please note – the Team is finding it difficult to source 1950’s leaded petrol or determine its composition. As they would like to use this as a starting benchmark for their tests, any help or advice, sent to manchesterxpag’at’ would be most appreciated.

Last month, the University asked if we could fund an Innovate Motor Sports Inc LM-2 A/F analyser. This is a high quality, hand held, gas analyser including a data logger. When asked, Innovate Motor Sports kindly donated one to the project free of charge. The Team believe they now have all the equipment necessary for the tests.

Paul Ireland