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Marina v Midget
Fitting the Marina engine requires a lot more work than the Midget engine as there are differences in the flywheel area.Unfortunately Midget/Sprite units are getting hard to come by.
Articles have appeared in Minor Matters in the past on how to make up the various parts needed, but I feel that if you have the skills and tools to make these parts you certainly do not need a step by step guide. If you are like most of us and do not have access to large machine tools, then just buy the bits and bolt them on in accordance with the instructions they come with. Here are two ways to go, using either the Marina or Morris boxes.
2. A second kit is available to fit the Morris flywheel to the Marina engine allowing the fitting of the standard Morris box. Again a good buy as drilling the flywheel is not a job for the average home mechanic.
The former way does have one advantage in that it is possible to adapt parts from the Triumph Vitesse, Dolomite or Spitfire overdrive boxes to fit the Marina box. The difficulty is that it is necessary to fit the Marina input shaft and the entire set of cogs from the Marina to the Triumph box as the gearbox input shaft is too short. Unless you are well used to gearboxes this could prove to be a lot of grief. I personally would go for the Toyota conversion as detailed in the Gearbox Modifications section.
The advantages of the Marina engine are improved torque and power and a more relaxing car to drive. It is more able to keep up with modern traffic, and with the disk brake conversion is a pleasure to drive. The insurance companies are used to it and do not charge excessive premiums. It has no real disadvantages and can be put back to standard quite easily if you wish but I don't know anybody who has as they are so pleased with the result.
A wide range of engines have been fitted to Minors over the years, some more logical than others. Engines squeezed into the wide Morris Minor engine bay included the Rover 3.5 ltr V8, Fiat 1300, 1600, 1800 and 2000. The Ford crossflow (Kent) engines, Ford V4, Ford V6 and a Toyota MR2 with engine management computer in the back of a van!
The Marina B series engine has been fitted, but this engine is large, heavy and gives very little more in the way of performance. The worst one I saw was a Daimler 4.2 ltr. This involved moving the bulkhead back 12 inches and fitting a tubular spaceframe chassis to take it all. I wonder where it balanced and how it handled. I also wonder what the insurance company said!!
The Ford crossflow engines fit easily as the gearbox is small. All that is required is to fabricate a set of engine and gearbox mounts to fit it. An allegro radiator fits well and a modified propshaft is required. If you fit a 1300, the standard Minor back axle will take it. If you go for the 1600 then I would advise you to fit uprated halfshafts and read the section on diff ratios. These stronger shafts are available from traders in Minor Matters.
The Ford Pinto OHC engines are no good for us as they are way too heavy.
Fitting the Fiat twin cam engines requires a lot of work. New engine and gearbox mounts need to be made along with new gearbox crossmember. The Minor front crossmember has to be altered, and the Fiat gearbox has to have a slice taken out of the bellhousing to clear the Minor steering rack. It is also advisable to fit a stronger back axle from a Marina, Toyota Celica, Fiat 132 etc., as the standard Minor axle could snap like a twig! Brakes and suspension should also be uprated. See the article in the Members Area on Fiat twin cams.
New fuel system, cooling system, exhaust, electrics and clutch release arm also have to be fabricated. Nought to sixty times will be below eight seconds, and sixteen second quarter miles are common. The good news is that there are kits available from advertisers in Minor Matters, with all the mountings and brackets that you need, and specialist insurance companies are now recognising this as an acceptable modification. There are also scores of Morris Minor Owners Club members who have done it! Contact me for more information.
Fitting the Rover V8 is even harder. Usually a separate spaceframe chassis has to be made up, although using a standard Minor van chassis has been done!