Electrification

So, on with the tale of the engine upgrade.

As a couple of people suggested to me, I made a support for the standard-sump equipped engine as in the photo here. This allowed me to support the engine in position to see what I was going to have to do to make some engine mounts.

Note that I’m using a motor sport magazine to get the support at the right height.

My original plan was to modify the engine support cradle I’d made for the ’07 engine but eyeing things up on the floor of the garage (quite difficult because the engines won’t sit horizontally) I’d come to the conclusion that that wouldn’t be possible. So, I’d taken some fairly careful measurements of the location of the diff, as I didn’t want to move that at all as otherwise I’d be back in driveshaft hell again.

That was a bit tedious, but I suppose that’s the way it was going to be. So, I hoisted the engine into position and spent ages shuffling it about to get it in just the right place.

Finally, when it was just about right and not teetering too much I stepped back and thought that perhaps the cradle would fit after all. Of course, it wasn’t just going to fit, that would be too easy and the world doesn’t work like that. However, it looked as though if I just moved the mounting lugs on the cradle then I had a fighting chance. What’s more, I could probably move them and mount the engine using some small spacers meaning that the ’07 engine would fit back in, albeit with some different spacers. Here it is in position with the new mounting lugs being postioned. (The G-cramp is there to hold the engine at the right place while the new lug is tacked in position.)

After all that, it looked great and I stepped back to admire my peerless handywork. Then, I noticed that the engine was about 12mm too far to the right. So, I cut off another of the mounting lugs and made some different spacers; I think I’ve mentioned how useful the lathe is for making things like this.

After much faffing about it was finally in the right place. As you can see in the next photo there’s a spacer now on all the mounting points on the rear of the engine. However, that’s not really a bad thing as it means I can shift the engine laterally without too much trouble.

As you can also tell, the cradle is now suffering from repeated modification. At some point towards the end of this process I’ll take it off again, clean it all up and paint it one single colour. Or, perhaps I’ll get it powdercoated?

Finally, I made some supports for the front of the engine using some bucket bushes that I made up. I’m still wondering about whether I need to triangulate these a little more though. As I mentioned there’s only one support on the engine at the front now. However, the ’07 engine, although mounted on two points on the engine, only had a single mounting point to the chassis so perhaps it’s OK. I think most of the scope for engine movement is taken up with the cradle. To be honest, the front mounts don’t really do that much, the engine is quite stable without them. So, for now I’ll stick with it as it is, apart from getting the front mounts painted/coated as well.

The engine was now in the chassis and I could move onto the less dirty aspects. The first thing was the airbox.

On the ’07 engine I’d turned the airbox around so that it fitted pointing backwards. I’d then made some holes in the top for the air inlet and routed that into the air filters turned upside down. (Trust me, it makes sense.)

Something similarish was going to be needed with the ’08 airbox. In the next photo you can see the lower half of the standard airbox in the standard positi0n. However, it’s only just missing the roll cage which the top half wouldn’t and it’s probably too close to the long-suffering driver.

So, the same sort of surgery would be needed. I spent ages working up to taking it to bits as it was just such a nicely made part. However, eventually I set about it. As before it’s made of polypropylene and therefore cuttable and weldable as it’s a thermoplastic. I did the welding by turning up the temperature on my soldering iron and buying a spare bit for it.

After much messing about, an inhalation of doubtless very dubious polypropylene smoke I ended up with something that fitted onto the throttle bodies without too much trouble. You can see that I’ve blocked up the air inlet at the bottom, using some stock polypropylene sheet, and I’ll have to arrange for inlet, and a filter, at the top. However, this looks OK at the moment. What’s more, I can get at the gubbins under the airbox OK, which includes things like the primary injectors and the knock sensor.

One minor problem is that I’m going to have to route the fuel supply to the secondary injectors up through the airbox, you can see the feed pipe slap bang in the middle of the airbox. There isn’t the room for¬†manoeuvre¬†on the fuel lines to do anything different. Haven’t quite worked out how to do it yet though.

Next, as on the ’07 engine, I made a panel to both support the airbox and make a mounting place for the ECU and so on. In retrospect I think I might have made this a bit tall and perhaps I’ll have to cut it down.

With that done, I set about doing what I’ve now done several times, that of taking a complete bike loom and chucking away everything i don’t need. As you can see at a partial point in the process I’m surrounded by a mountain of wires. The ’08 engine, inevitably, includes loads of bits and pieces that the ’07 didn’t so the wiring loom is consequently more complicated. I’m getting there though.

One thing I have done, though, is that I’ve pulled out of the next race at Donington. My original plan had been to re-fit the ’07 engine but I decided that I couldn’t face doing that, or the problems that might be caused should I bend the car in the race. What’s more, it’s only a single race. That should meant that I’ve got plenty of time to get the new install finished before the next race at Snetterton.

2 thoughts on “Electrification”

  1. Looks like a lot of hard work Tim. Being ignorant regarding Blade engines I assume the 08 makes more power than the 07 hence why you are doing this mid-season. If there any advantage in the 09 or 10 model year engines?

    Anyway best of luck with this and sorting the handling out and I look forward to seeing you moving back towards the front of the field.

    1. It’s not too much work, to be honest. It’s better than watching the TV anyway!

      The 07 engine is quoted at 159bhp, the ’08 at 178 so, yes, there’s quite a lot more power. The 09 and 10 engines are essentially the same. What’s more, we’ve got an engine date cap at 2008 in the series which will be in place until we run out of engines. There’s no sign of that at the moment, especially as we have examples of all four major manufacturers engines in the series. (R1, ZX-10, GSXR-1000 and CBR1000RR)

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