When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, there’s one that Davin will never agree to: Go on a diet. After all, the man loves carbs. He couldn’t cut those out of his day-to-day life even if he wanted to. This episode of Redline Update is all about carbs and getting the Mini’s twin SU fuel mixers ready to rock.

The process is simple and starts with placing an order for two new carb kits. The boxes come filled with everything Davin needs to refresh the carbs functionally, but of course Davin is after more than just a functional redo. To help the aesthetics, the stripped-down pieces get a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner before some careful vapor honing to restore the aluminum finish. Only then is it time to re-assemble. Davin’s big tip this episode is to do the carbs one at a time. This way you have a reference point if you forget exactly how the one you took apart goes back together.

While the second carb is in the ultrasonic cleaner, there’s a quick pivot to getting the shaft rocker assembly ready for reinstallation. The assembly comes apart easily and is cleaned even easier by utilizing a tumbler that will do the work overnight while Davin is asleep and dreaming of big blocks and bang shifting quarter-mile passes. The shaft is too big for the tumbler, but he has a tip for making life easier: chuck the shaft in the lathe and spin it at low speed while holding a scouring pad against it. This makes quick work in removing the caked-on oil and grime from years of use. A drill press or even hand drill with a large enough chuck can do the same thing for your projects.

This little engine is making big progress lately, and it won’t be long before the whole thing is back together and on the run stand for break in. Never miss a tech tip or project update by subscribing to the Hagerty YouTube channel.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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These days, not much surprises Davin when it comes to events in the engine assembly room. Elements outside his control, however, can provide an entertaining change of pace. Take for instance the incorrect bearing size setback he discovered last week. His plan was to pivot to the transmission, but instead he got something unexpected. A surprise, but not such an unpleasant one.

The first set of bearings that were ordered ended up being too small for the finished machined crankshaft, but a replacement set arrived faster than expected and allowed progress to roll forward (almost) without a hiccup. We say “almost” because Davin might have had the proper bearings, but he lacked the proper tool to check the oil clearance on those bearings. Without micrometer that will do the job, he had to resort to a very basic tool that he doesn’t use often—Plastigauge.

“It’s not that Plastigauge is bad; it’s not,” said Davin about the measuring material. “It’s more that I find it to be a little inconsistent and I don’t have any way of confirming what it tells me with hard numbers.” No matter; it will have to do for this engine, since there is a bit of a deadline looming. Instructions for using this tool are simple: assemble the connecting rods to the crankshaft with a small piece of Plastigauge between the bearing cap and the crankshaft, torque everything down, then disassemble and use the Plastigauge package to determine the clearance. Davin first thought this engine to be a bit tight, but then he remembered that the journals on this crank are much smaller than he is used to.

With a few other parts already installed, the Mini engine is effectively sitting now at the short-block phase. The cylinder head is next, and if the rotating assembly was any indication that will come together quick. Or maybe there will be another odd hurdle? We don’t know, but regardless we will be back next week with another Redline Update. Be sure to subscribe to the Hagerty YouTube channel to never miss an oil-soaked minute.

Thanks to our sponsor RockAuto.com, an auto parts retailer founded in 1999 by automotive engineers with two goals: Liberate information hidden behind the auto parts store counter (by listing all available parts, not just what one store stocks or one counter-person knows), and make auto parts affordable so vehicles of all ages can be kept reliable and fun to drive. Visit RockAuto.com to order auto parts online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have them conveniently delivered to your door. Need help finding parts or placing an order? Visit RockAuto’s Help pages for further assistance.

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