Ae86 Update: Part 3 – Braking woes

As stated in the previous blog, the AE86, for reasons unknown at the time, decided to restrict its own forward motion. Imagine driving along your favourite section of roadway. You are doing your best Vettel routine. You are possibly on the streets of Monaco blasting through the tunnel – full speed ahead! That is what you had in mind, but, the machine you spent your last dollar on to ensure a gratifying experience, had other plans and despite your brain confirming that your foot did bury the throttle way beyond fifty per cent, the machine is barely creeping along at an embarrassing 10- 15 km!

Ae86 chilling!

Essentially that was the experience with the Ae86. Marvin, the chief engineer and mechanic suggested that the brakes were ‘binding’ – doing its own thing. Now we knew what was wrong, so we started the process of elimination, to identify the problem. Easier said than done!

We went through brake lines/hoses – nothing changed! Someone suggested that we look at the brake equalizer (junction). Somehow – don’t ask why, we thought we found the problem. We changed the brake equalizer, but race weekend at Dover was approaching, so we did no testing and went to both work (for me) and  spectating at Dover.

Incidentally, while we were at Dover we were in Marck Carey’s pit area and they were having a brake problem. I overheard crew member, ‘Turbo’, saying the brakes were binding and he had changed almost everything and still had the problem. Because we were having a similar experience and being brilliant students of the craft, we  suggested that he should look at the brake equalizer. He didn’t dismiss the idea, but he responded by stating that he had pulled one apart and (based on its design) he did not see how the equalizer could cause the brakes to bind. As I listened to his argument I reflected on my internet search for the brake equalizer and I didn’t feel good!

We left Marck’s pit, but I brought the doubt, re the equalizer solving our problem, along. In traditional Jamaican speak – so said so done. When we eventually got a chance to test the Ae86 we were expecting freedom to reign at all wheels. It wasn’t meant to be and just like before, the machine would crawl along like a stunned crab, despite being fed generous amounts of fuel.

Marvin concluded at this stage, that the only other aspect of the brake setup we had left to remove and replace was the booster and master cylinder. We located a used, but not abused replacement. After the components were changed we went testing again. The difference was like night and day! Pedal to the metal – the machine responded as directed – happy days returned!

Cecil Munroe Gleaner On-Line Writer

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12 Responses to “Ae86 Update: Part 3 – Braking woes”

  1. Mullo says:

    What class are you planning to run? The 20 valve only puts out 120-125 at the wheels. You will need hot breeze (turbo) to be competitive

  2. cmunroe says:

    Hail Mullo! Do not tell me that you are like everybody else! The formula for a winning or competitive machine is not always buried in ‘big power’. The class I am actually looking at is MP1 – which is the 1600 cc class.

    The ideal format for that class is abundantly clear. Look at the machines which are dominant in the class and you will be surprised at the power they have – (Tarik Minott and Chiney Dolly). Please note, I am not suggesting that I will be even close to the performance level of their machines. My initial goal is to get going and then take it from there!

  3. Colin Thorne says:

    I thought u guys didn’t want that problem fixed, brake booster should have been the first thing you checked. Its good you have it fixed now.

    AE86 could be a powerful car without Turbocharger – just have to spend the money. At any point don’t spoil your engine with turbo, its a cheap way of making your car faster, but its also a very risky way.

  4. cmunroe says:

    Hail Colin. This project is a learning process for everyone involved so at times things which might be second nature to some individuals take a little more time for us, but its all good – we are learning!

    As I have stated before I am not chasing power, so the turbocharger route is not on the cards! I watch too many Japanese AE86 videos with n/a machines screaming like rabid monsters to violate the iconinc principles. N/A to the flipping world! Thanks for the link.

  5. Mullo says:

    Turbocharging and cheap do not go together! People blame turbocharging when it is not done properly and the car has not been tuned properly. Normally aspirated engines can be destroyed by detonation as well.

    Way back in the day, the now defunct Cars and Car Conversions Magazine conducted a test between two original Minis. Both cars had the same size engine, but one car had suspension work and the other car had an uprated camshaft and other tweaks. If I remember correctly, they took both cars to Donington Park and the car with the suspension work was faster.

    That being said, in order to make power for NA engines it is all about the CR/port matching, lots of headwork, cams,light flywheel and balancing of the bottom end. I am no stranger to NA builds. Back in the day when we ran Minis, the best performing cars were overbored with 13:1 and 14:1 CR. You can ask Victor Brown.

    Dollar for dollar, you make more usable power with a properly set up turbo system versus a properly set up NA engine. A very good example of a properly set up NA engine is Bajan – Neil Armstrong’s 1800 cc FWD Starlet. Here is a link to what engine tweaks the Bajans suspect he is running.

  6. cmunroe says:

    Hail Mullo. I had no issue with turbocharging the AE86. Colin made a point and suggested that I should not spoil my engine with a turbocharger. And he also suggested that to do it properly would possibly involve some degree of spending.

    I hear what you are saying and I do not have enough informed grounds upon which to disagree. Incidentally, you mentioned Victor Brown. Are you are aware that he built the roll cage that is in the car? He is someone I consult from time to time re- the build.

    But do not lose sight of my goal – to start racing! So at this point I want to keep it simple. Stay tuned, good things are happening!

  7. Mullo says:

    I have also seen those videos but you are missing the point. Dover is an autocross track with asphalt and it requires more torque than outright power. Those JDM 20 valve and 16 valves revving like that are running shim under buckets and cams with 11mm lift. Hit me up with your email and I can give you some info if you are interested.

  8. cmunroe says:

    Mullo, which point did I miss? I am saying that I intend to keep my project simple and based on the rules which apply at Dover, keeping the AE86 n/a will see me competing in the class I am comfortable running for the time being, Bracket 37/38 and MP1. But I have a question – What are you suggesting that I should do?

    I spoke to Victor Brown earlier. Did you work on projects together, or is it that you are familiar with projects that he worked on?

  9. Mullo says:

    Victor Brown from Mad Max Racing is whom I am talking about. Back in the day he was a VW fan and switched to Minis after being frustrated by several bent VW pushrods. His first 1293cc was built by Sherwood mated to a straight cut close ratio box.

    I used to run an Anglia that went from a NA 1650cc to 1761cc. Long story short, did not get the 72 Escort I was after, so bought a Mini. When I drove a friend’s 1380cc Mini it pulled like my 1761cc. The point I was making is that at Dover you need more torque than outright power. Keeping it simple and improving your skills because seat time is important is a good way to go.

    Personally I am not a fan of the bracket class because you have to artificially hold back your car either with your right foot or by fitting a throttle stop. What I would suggest at a later stage is to fit a 7A bottom end obviously using the 20V pistons and head plus adjustable cam gears. For timing belt here we use a Porsche 944 timing belt when using the 4AG head on the 7A bottom end. This will give you a lower revving (7800RPM) torquey 1800cc engine.

  10. cmunroe says:

    Mullo, I told Victor about your post and he was curious re who you were. As I said, he is helping me with the AE86. We tried the 7A route in the early stages of the build, but I will tell you what happened in a bit.

    The bracket class is not too bad if you are in the class that matches your cars ‘ability’. The problem exists when a machine is 1 to a few seconds quicker than its class, so the driver ‘artificially’ restricts its power to ensure that he does not break out. With my package I do not think I will be doing that! Baby power!

    Your points are valid though and I would love your input, so stay connected. I will tell Victor about the Anglia story.

  11. Mullo says:

    Victor needs some memory suppliments! LOL! Also remind him about the time we were returning from an autocross at Ironshore. He was driving his blue Mini and he was passed by Moyston’s BDA Escort and Chen’s blue VW with the Porsche engine on the Ken Jones highway.

    He was very upset when he came by Sherwood’s shop. We had to show him that based on the gearing he was running and the RPM, he was passed by these two cars when he was doing 120, therefore his car was running but these two cars were just plain faster!

  12. cmunroe says:

    Mullo, he was actually at the shop today waving his magic wand, fine-tuning the current powerplant in the AE86. We were fortunate to witness a maestro at work. I will remind him. Here is your homework – locate a TRD (or similar) AE86 2 way lsd. Thanks in advance!

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cmunroe Posted by: cmunroe January 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm