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latest entry - 4th June Went to Brands Hatch recently for the Masters Historic Series

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4th June 2018

Historic Motorsport  

Went to Brands Hatch recently for the Masters Historic Series.


Lella Lombardi's F1 car on display

Lella Lombardi F1 Car at Brands Hatch

and another Italian...

5th March  2018

Rear or Remote Mount turbos

Some years ago I put a turbo on the tail of a 205 GTI. The car was a Cat-D so it never had a future for high value, although I do wish I never sold it. Anyway that is to digress from the story.

Rear Mount (or remote) mount turbos have long been criticised for many reasons. My own testing told me that they can deliver excellent reliable power with a few downsides. I remember the whole concept causing many a row online  this was 2008. Nowadays you can still find the odd discussion. In my view whether you would choose to rear mount or remote mount depends on packaging. I found one discussion recently were someone had written that if it was any good it would have been used on a production on a car by now. Well in a way it has been used on a number of cars where turbos have been mounted on the end of long tubular manifolds away from the engine. However it's not really seen in the world of car production, as there are simpler, and cheaper, ways to run a turbo when you are designing a car from scratch.  That doesn't mean it's not been seen before though. I think most would yield a point that the Aero industry doesn't tend to employ technology that doesn't work.

An early pioneer then of the rear mount concept was the P47-D Thunderbolt

Take a look below and see this fascinating powerplant. The reason was for packaging, just like many a rear mount on a car.

p47 d - early pioneer of rear mount turbos


22nd February  2018

ARBs and Calculators

So you wait for ages for a bus and then two turn up at once? Well how many times have you seen Anti-roll bar stiffness conversions/calculators/charts only to realise they don't give real data - only percentages - well now you can have your cake and eat it with the Balance Motorsport Anti-roll bars page with built in ARB Stiffness Calculator (Swaybar Stiffness)  

20th January 2018

Happy New Year


A very late Happy New Year ! Lots of new stuff coming in 2018. To get the the year started take a look at the new updated Supersprint range. By the end of January we'll also have the new Sport/ Sound and Track exhaust packs, this makes it much easier to order the parts you want and gives a healthy discount to boot.

24th December 2017

Just say NO to Big Data

Merry Christmas to all our customers past and present. This is the Seasonal Message from Balance Motorsport


8th November 2017

The Horsepower arms race and the trend for Seriously Ugly Vehicles (SUV's)

Honda Type R at the Ring

I know from speaking with many of my customers, that a lot of you agree,  the current trends in car design seem so out of kilter with what people actually need. With hot hatches now capable of shaming a supercar from just 10 years ago (Honda Civic Type R faster than Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera) and the quest for ever more power and grip continuing unabated, where will it end?

It feels like manufacturers know that governments are going to regulate their futures much more closely and that it's some kind of final fling. I can't help thinking though that if trends in car design had followed the right direction (lighter, more aerodynamic, more fuel efficient) and that the whole Dieselgate affair hadn't happened that the suggested 2040 ban on petrol & diesel wouldn't have been mooted.

When you look at the Morgan 3 wheeler it looks so right on many levels for modern congested roads. What about a modern interpretation complete with a carbon crash tub from a formula racer and Honda VFR bike engine up front that can run Petrol, LPG, or even your own gas? ;-)

Instead we have dreadful "cars" like Skoda Kodiaq's, Nissan Qashqais, Toyota Rav4s, Renault Kadjar - the list is endless. Heavy, aerodynamically challenged, kinetically challenged rubbish. That the Qashqai outsells ALL sports cars from all makers in the UK is very very sad.

So the best solution? Hang on to your old car and spend some money on tuning parts ! A set of suspension and bushings, uprated roll bars, an exhaust and induction kit will transform any old car and make it utterly engaging, compared to most modern offerings.

20th October 2017

Some Ford Fiesta fans will be very pleased about the relaunch of these Rear Anti-roll bars from Whiteline

Ford Fiesta


Ford Fiesta Whiteline rear anti roll bars

18th September 2017

Twin Tube vs Monotube

You'll find much said on the Balance Motorsport about the benefits of Monotube shocks. You won't find WRC cars running twin tube. Neither top end single seaters. However it is wrong to dismiss the Twin Tube shock. This article from Tein is excellent.





31st August 2017

Favourite engine configuation results in. Shocked, and surprised. If this was an American site I could see the popularity of the V8. For me a V12 is the ultimate, and everything else is a pale imitation...

A V6 2-Stroke Outboard comes a close second. Maybe the results are due to the V12 being so rare that few get to experience it. I  have only driven one V12 , once....but that was enough to know. If you ever hear them at race meets they are so special.  I once saw Alesi's F1 Ferrari run at Brands and loved the 333SPs at LeMans. So you don't agree, what the hell - V12 RULES !!!

Favourite Engine config poll

Alesi V12 Ferrari

13th August 2017

It's rare this page is used for new product launches but in this instance it is necessary as the KW DDC product for the Focus RS Mk3 is now available to pre-order.

26th July 17

Steam cleaning the inside of your engine?

You may have seen the post in May about Carbon Engine Cleaning. We know that lots of steam inside an engine will clean the combustion chambers. Head Gasket failures usually show this as one or more cylinders being much cleaner upon strip down. The claims of many HHO cleaning practices are rebuffed by many and at face value it does look like junk science. However perhaps it is just the HHO reforming into steam that does the cleaning? So I thought I would try an experiment.

Via a steam cleaner, I added 1 litre of distilled water. Injected into the brake vacuum line, whilst then engine was running.

The before and after pics of the piston showed some change, albeit very minor. To be fair the photos aren't greats and the endoscope unwisely, by default saves over the filename last used.

Anyway i did see a 10psi gain in static compression (only 1 cyl tested twice) but this could be a blip.Operating temperature judged by coolant was the same each time so no explanation for this yet. I don't think it was an increase though in reality.

The real proof is the Race Technology AP22 data.

2 runs only. Always room for improvement on either one, but  I tried to keep everything I could control equal. So same technique. Same location.

Run 1 - dirty - 11.65 sec max HP 96
Run 2 - clean  - 11.7 sec max HP 94

So in essence as you'd expect - 1 litre of water - no real change - as your engine would munch through much more than that in a day anyway. Next I'll be testing an actual HHO machine on the same car. I think if you want to see an improvement with water you need a lot of it.  I once got through 27 litres of water over 90 miles with an HG failure. That engine was VERY clean afterwards internally.

23th May 17

Carbon Engine Cleaning - does it work?

I'm looking at starting a Carbon Cleaning service. I will research and develop the offering to be sure it works better than competitors and at a lower price. More on Carbon Cleaning

26th April 17


Catcams into a Cracker


If you've never driven an X1/9 I can tell you it's a great steer. From the factory they never quite looked "tough" enough, in my opinion needing wider wheels and tyres and lower stance and ideally removing the bumpers. Just what this customer has done with his car. I think it looks fantastic, particularly the wheels which look spot on for the car. He's doing a complete rebuild of the car and engine and has recently acquired a new Catcam to get the superb single cam engine spinning faster. If you don't know about the Fiat single cam it's one of the best 4 cylinder single cam engines ever made. Unburstable with a very strong bottom end.


7th April 17


Reliabilty Survey

It can't always be track cars,  I have to work on regular cars as well. Recently I've been bidding for work using a site called "whocanfixmycar". The idea is people are looking to get a good quote from a reputable garage where they can see the feedback at a glance.

It's grown rapidly and they put a lot of money into advertising. I'm happy to work on pretty much any make or model (OK forget turning up here in a Nissan Juke), but just recently I've put more focus into my penchant for Italian Cars (establishing Squadra Verde Garage)

Whocanfixmycar supply job alerts daily so I decided to monitor the alerts for 1 month and then compile a table of results, taking into account Manufacturer market share, to show which brands were the most reliable. The results are surprising:


Most Reliable ALFA ROMEO 0 0.0 0.19 100.0%
  MERCEDES 4 2.4 6.72 64.6%
  VOLVO 1 0.6 1.59 62.6%
  NISSAN 4 2.4 6.07 60.8%
  SUZUKI 1 0.6 1.42 58.1%
  JAGUAR 1 0.6 1.19 50.0%
  HONDA 3 1.8 2.6 31.3%
  AUDI 8 4.8 6.68 28.7%
  KIA 4 2.4 3.14 24.2%
  SKODA 4 2.4 3.12 23.7%
  FIAT 3 1.8 2.16 17.3%
  MINI 2 1.2 1.44 17.3%
  SEAT 3 1.8 1.86 4.0%
  VW 12 7.1 7.41 3.6%
  MAZDA 4 2.4 2.25 -5.8%
  BMW 10 6.0 5.54 -7.4%
  FORD 27 16.1 13.26 -21.2%
  TOYOTA 10 6.0 3.68 -61.7%
  VAUXHALL 26 15.5 9.14 -69.3%
  PEUGEOT 14 8.3 4.26 -95.6%
  CITROEN 11 6.5 3.01 -117.5%
  JEEP 2 1.2 0.45 -164.6%
Least Reliable RENAULT 14 8.3 2.41 -245.8%

OK I appreciate that just because no Alfa Romeo jobs have been posted doesn't suddenly make Alfa Romeo the most reliable brand (after all I could have put McLaren or Ferrari in top spot as well). However it is startling that in the few years I've been using whocanfixmycar,  that I hardly ever get an Alfa Romeo alert. The commonly held belief of VW, BMW, Toyota & Mazda as being some of the most reliable makes isn't borne out by the data. Anyway don't let the results trouble you - the broad range of makes & models I work with means you're all welcome.

10th March 17

Car Leasing?

Have you ever thought about leasing a car? Granted from a car tuning parts perspective it isn't good for my business - you can't exactly fit a turbo to a car and then hand it back at the end. Actually you probably could - I wonder what they would charge you for? In any case leasing tends to suit people who like the simplicity and generally worry free time that comes with a new car. So what would I lease? Two things caught my eye - a 500 Abarth and a Giulia Super (soon the Veloce).

17th February 2017

A belated Happy new Year - Sorry i've neglected the blog!

Does anyone even read this page? I'm not sure. Facebook page is more interesting as you can give feedback on things.What I should really do is post on here first and then provide a brief on Facebook. After all giving your content to a third party isn't that clever.

Just to say the project car is progressing.A picture below of the Panda 1.4 Tjet which has finally had it's custom engine mount made for the M32 6 Speed box. This provides the torque handling for the higher state of tune in the future. It would of have very easy to get this running in road going, but once the interior got stripped it was only going one way - modified production. More information on the build will feature on the project cars page in due course.

thanks for tuning in !

Panda T-Jet

oh and have you ever wondered about 12v battery voltages ? Well I think a voltmeter is in order in the car. It will have a smaller battery and underdriven alternator so it's no bad idea. Here is a synopsis of battery volts and condition

Battery Voltage and State of Charge:

12.67v and higher . . . . . . . . . . 100%
12.44v . . . . . . . . . . 75%
12.24v . . . . . . . . . . 50%
12.05v . . . . . . . . . . 25%

2nd November September 2016

2016 Uk's best drivers car

Porsche 911R evos favourite

I wrote this for another page I run on the 27th October "This will almost certainly be evo magazines eCOTY (evo Car of the Year). There is no doubt they love their Porsches. The 911 has compact size as one of its chief weapons. This new version with a manual box and ultimately a less grippy chassis than the RS, looks on paper to be lethal. However Porsche really know how to make a driver's car so keep a look out on the shelves for the eCOTY issue. evo website". When I get an evo COTY issue unfortunately I now have to read from the winner backwards as it stems the disappointment. I remember reading a few eCOTY where you think they've plumped for another model only to find, yet again, it's another 911.

Reading it backwards is the solution! I was surprised after the comments about the Giulia it didn't come in higher up but still taking the scalp of an Aston Martin and a BMW M4 is no mean thing. Personally though I'd take a 488 GTB over a 911R if I was lucky enough to be able to spend so much. I was flummoxed by the Golf R Clubsport in 2nd. I appreciate it is a great car but I wonder if it was more to do with the accessibilty of it's performance on the chosen test route than anything else? Given the choice of a 911R  and Golf R with no driver aids on a wet winding B-road I know which I'd find easiest to go quickly in. 

Also given that the Giulia Quadrifoglio has come from nowhere to shine, one would have thought it would place above a Golf which didn't really bring anything new to the table. I'll have to lend them the Panda Arrabiata when it's finished and see what they think of that.

488 GTB - my choice


30th September 2016

Can any car become cool? Escort Mk2 vs Mirafiori 131

Fiat 131 vs Mk2 Escort

What makes a car Cool?

Personally my favourite cars tend to be very curvy. Lamborghini Miura, Ferrari 250SWB. They are also completely out of reach or mere mortals. The Escort Mk2 and Fiat 131 Abarth due to their competition pedigree (the Lampredi engine in the Fiat went on to become the 2nd most successful engine after the DFV) are now worth astronomical amounts as well.

Sleek and curvy they are not, but to my mind so cool they are off the scale. What's your favourite? Personally I prefer the 131 and rarity makes it all the more desirable. However the sound of a BDA on the limit is still very seductive.

So what makes cool? Is it enough just to have wide wheels and arches and a powerful engine? Or does a car need to have been successful in a motorsport discipline like rallying or racing?

20 years ago I remember a friend asking me to help him buy a car. We went to a used car dealership and they a lot of the usual. I convinced him he needed this Corolla.

Toyota Corolla AE86


At the time the AE86 had nothing like the reputation it has today. It didn't cost much - about £1500 I seem to remember. His mates actually took the piss out of it saying it was a minicab. Living in South London at the time Japanese cars were the most popular for mini cabs. The motoring press praised the engine and the fact it was RWD but I remember clearly the FWD Corolla getting much more attention in the UK and selling in greater numbers.

However look at the legendary kudos surrounding the Corolla AE86 today and it makes you wonder if any car has the potential to become cool.

Well maybe not any car..

Morris Marina Rally Car

What do you think of changing parts from one car to another ? I read recently about a Merc SL500 that had the Mercedes V8 replaced with a JZ Toyota inline six turbo. To my mind that doesn't fit. No matter how fast or powerful it is I don't see that as a fit. Take a Stratos replica - what engine do you use? Busso V6 - not a Toyota V6.

Fitting parts from one make to another can work but it's a fine line if you don't want to damage the vehicles credibility and value. This looks good to my eye...can you spot the origin of the upgrade? Answers on a post card to info@balancemotorsport.co.uk

Porsche 911 Flat Nose with upgraded lights

Porsche 911 Flatnose with modified lights

Here are 2 ice cool cars below that you don't see very often in peoples list of top cars. If anyone has a picture of a their car, that they think is cool, send it in on email and the best one will go on the homepage slide show.

abarth Scorpione

Toyota GT2000

Are you competing in 2017 or doing Track Days?

Then get in touch with Balance Motorsport today for special offers on race prep products - I can sell you any product you see online at Demon Tweeks as well a my own range. Special offers on Camshaft and Valve train and engine rebuilds commencing in 2016.

30th September 2016


MI16 bottom end nearly done.

205 mi16 engine

29th August 2016

Engine Rebuild

Rebuilding for a customer (on a very tight budget) an MI16 bottom end. The engine will be using a new set of Kent Cams supplied by the customer - hydraulic profile. Personally I would want solid lifters but it does increase the budget considerably.  That said the hydraulic operation cams mean the rev range is limited and therefore the build can be done as a "standard" rebuild. New liners are being fitted with new Main and Big End bearings. The top end and final assembly are being undertaken by the customer.

The block was chemically cleaned before being acid primed and then primer coat. Top coat to follow next!

405 MI16 block primed

Engine Block Primed 405 MI16

New Liner with old piston with new rings

405  Liner and Rod



30th June 2016

Performance & OE Spec Braking

Ferrari Disc Glowing

Balance Motorsport offering special rates for Brake Installations and Part Supply in July 2016

There is more nonsense spouted in the brake market than most. How many times have you heard and seen discussed on Forums "warped discs".

This is something of a myth. What does happen is judder caused by Disc Thickness Variation (DTV). This can occur by disc runout not being checked at installation. Ask if your fitter checks disc runout. You might be surprised by the answer.

Another problem that results in DTV is accidentally kerbing a wheel. This can unseat the disc on the hub just enough to cause DTV a few thousand miles later.

The secret is well known - check runout when installing. Unfortunately very few places do. If you are installing yourself then invest in a simple dial gauge. It must read 0.01 mm scale. You want a maximum of 0.07mm on a new disc.


Balance Motorsport always check disc run out - even on a 1.2 Fiat Panda. However the need for checking is more important the larger the disc. Nowadays 350mm one piece cast iron discs are not uncommon. This is really too large for a single piece casting and that is why many people look to invest in a Big Brake kit with 2 piece discs and larger fixed piston calipers.

If you are able to attend our workshop in Sussex we are able to offer unbeatable rates on Installation & brake part supply throughout July.

If you want standard spec discs and pads please get in touch via email with your registration number.

For performance parts the following offers are live:



Enjoy the summer month of July and get in touch if you need help stopping!


18th June 2016

The Brabham Fan Car

Brabham Fan Car

I am sat here thinking about something to write on the blog as it has been a while. I start to think about race cars and innovation. My mind wanders to the slow progression of the current project car and ponders ways to innovate. Then the next thing that pops up is the Brabham Fan Car. I remember that Murrays brilliance of design saw the car quickly banned. The fan was alledgedly for cooling but I think the shape shows a different intent. 

Isn't it a shame that when true innovation occurs in motor sport,  often it is banned. Rather than everyone else copying that design to level out the advantage?

Surely the current crop of F1 cars wouldn't look, sound or drive like they do if they were allowed to really innovate?

Why can't a team run a 120 deg V12 instead of a 90 deg V6? Even the basics that you accept as a given in lower formula are strangely out of reach at the pinnacle of motor sport. Induction should be Free. Petrol Engine configuration should be free or what about Gas Turbines running multifuel with a high speed flywheel for instant response.

I really think that F1 needs more innovation and a more laissez faire approach to the rules.


13th April 2016

British Steel and Road Tax

angle grinder


What would you do with  British Steel?

Personally I would ensure that a government contract was awarded to a suitable buyer to build a car for the people. Not some utilitarian saloon but a corking sports car that can seat 3. Something made from British Steel with technology and other parts sourced as needed, keep assembly in the UK along with design tech and tooling.

In the wake of the VW cheat device and the realisation that diesel soot is worse than eating bacon and marginally better than malboro. The cost of transportation has essentially risen for all of us. Yet the technology exists for a cheap 100mpg petrol / solar / hybrid car that was made in Britain from British Steel that outperformed the others, and was owned by its group funders.

If only..

Emissions - shouldn't this cost about £100 a year to tax?

Caterham 620R - shouldn't this be a low tax car?=

If you think about the effect of Diesel in enabling bigger heavier cars to get good mpg and performance it is fine for people to buy these. However it has affected sports car practicality. Tax needs to incorporate not just tailpipe CO2 but dust to dust output. Particular focus should be given to weight and travel to market distance (pre sale). I think the formula would probably see a Caterham R500 (in its favour distance to market & weight) being a sub £100 tax vehicle. A Petrol SUV perhaps £500 and perhaps a diesel SUV from Japan or Korea (distance to market, weight, soot) £1000. A Golf £1500 (just kidding!) perhaps around the £200 mark and a C1 £100.

Actual dust to dust emissions would surely be a better way to fairly tax consumption and stop the erosion of good cars at a keen price.

10th Feb 2016

Weight and drivetrain losses

 Project Panda Alternator Set up - 8v on 16v

Project Panda - Over 7 kg saved by ditching the standard T-Tjet Aux set up and running just the original 70 amp alternator. The Denso alternator on the TJet engine was 120. Today at work I was asked for a Dynamo for an old Beetle. It was rated at 30amps. Just shows how much more electrical load (and therefore energy) newer models put their starting and charging system under.

I now need a larger pulley for the alternator and a longer belt. Underdriving the alternator (which is running at about 2x crank speed judging by this picture) can again reduce energy losses.

During this process it was discovered just how restrictive the inlet manifold and throttle body are. Now to find a throttle body with TPS around 60-70mm I think.

18th Jan 2016

Project Panda Takes Shape

As you can see this isn't the Panda but a written off Bravo that we took engine and box from. The 1.4 Tjet will then go into the 860kg Panda. Hot rodding at it's classic best. Updates will follow as the car is readied over the next few months.

Bravo Engine Removed for the Panda


3rd Jan 2016

Happy New Year! 2016 is the year our new Sprint project will be created. On a minimal budget we need to grab interest online through video and social networking. You will notice all new business launches nowadays need integrated digital marketing campaigns. This costs a lot of money. So I have to try and work smart this year as there is a very very small marketing budget! In fact we understand the challenge you face for your 2016 motor sport campaign. Here to help wherever and whenever possible! BEST OF BRITISH TO YOU ALL!

23rd November 2015

ECU Remapping Day 28th November 2015

ECU Remapping Day

Please get in touch before the day so we can see if we can map your car and then give you an idea of time slot. Unless like some of the rest you want to hang around in the cold all day talking cars, drinking coffee and eating doughnuts?


14th October 2015

Turbo Diesel Dump Valve - I get asked this a lot so I thought it was worth a page!

6th October 2015

Maserati Quattroporte vs Land Rover Discovery

Maserati Vs Landrover

Extended blog entry for this week gets a whole page in the wake of all the focus on diesel..

23rd September

Anyone remember the Mincia?

Anyone remember the Mincia?

Many moons ago in CCC magazine they featured the Mincia. A portmanteau of Mini and Lancia the car obviously featured the classic Lampredi Twin Cam engine. One of the best 4 cylinder engines ever made, the tough and durable as well as compact (compared to a Pinto) engine was a legend before it was even made. If you haven't heard the history behind the story it goes something like..."you builda me a race engine?" says Agnelli to Lampredi.

Anyway the reason for Mincia being relevant is the Angry Panda build has reached a point where it looks like dropping in the 500 wishbones will make sense. Being slightly wider at 1401mm they are actually the same width as the old Lancia Beta Coupe used as the Mincia front end (subframe and all!). So although the Panda is a lot heavier and a lot higher than the mini it is also much wider and the track width is wider too. The shell is stiffer so hopefully it will all pan out nicely. Luckily it will be in under 2 litre class with the equivalency rules so we won't have to actually beat the Minis. Of course it would be nice to beat up to 1400, up to 2 litre and over 2 litre but you have to finish first.

Don't you think it telling though that the Lancia Beta has a track width the same as a 500. Which we today consider to be a very small car.


2nd September

Gas Turbine Cars & Drag


Gas Turbine cars

can you guess the date and drag co-efficient of the car above...

So Gas Turbine cars are works of the future. Or are they? The 1953 Fiat Turbina caught my eye when looking at Drag Co-efficients
It has a super slippery 0.16. Consider the fact the Honda Insight (and the horrible Prius) have 0.25. The slippery and landmark Audi 100 comes in at 0.3 (although i am sure it said 0.29 on the cars?). A surprise was the Alfa 155 at 0.29.

So the Fiat Turbina was super slippery, it also had a shaft HP equivalent 300hp engine at 22000rpm. I was surprised to read of its low top speed. Perhaps there were other issues. The estimated top speed was just 160mph. I would have thought more was possible given the slippery shape.

If you are thinking of good economy at speed or a high top speed in a race car where power is restricted then the Cd is very important. Of course drag is but one factor as we all know Downforce is the real key to speed around a circuit. Most customers I speak to aren't looking at aero. However I think a few hours with CFD and some simple changes could bring huge gains. I will be looking at a Motorsport degree to work on this area more in future.

Rover were actually the first with a Gas Turbine car. They made JET 1 and also the spectacular BRM Gas Turbine Race Car.

Jet-1 Car

Rover Jet 1

Rover-BRM Gas Turbine Race Car

ROVER BRM RACE CAR - gas turbine

11th August

Heat Management

High Temp Coatings & Turbo Heat management

Zircotec Coatings

Over the years a number of improvements in heat coatings, particularly from Zircotec (please contact us for great prices on any of their products) have filtered down from the highest levels of motorsport. Controlling heat is critical in Turbo charged installations. The benefits of lower underbonnet temperatures are further boosted by keeping the heat in manifold which leads to quicker spool. Litchfield the popular Nissan & Subaru tuner reckon 300-400 rpm earlier spool was occuring due to coatings on manifold and turbo housings.

Heat management in other areas is also vital. What is the oil temperature getting to? Are Exhaust Gas Temperatures within limits? It always seems crazy that you can safely run 900 deg c EGT on a turbo engine when Aluminium alloys melt at a much lower temperature but luckily the boundary layer of fuel air mix keeps the piston alive. Not to mention the 720 deg power cycle in a 4 stroke engine. A 2 Stroke is much harder on pistons as it must perform the job of the exhaust valve.

On the low cost side Thermotec heat wrap is under £20 pack for a small manifold or Thermotec offer their special white coating for high performance applications

22nd July 2015


I stuck a post over on Facebook page (please follow us? how do people get 1000's of followers? Well they buy them or they inherit them due to their brand strength - could do with a few more being a minnow in an ocean of hungry sharks!)

Anyway camshafts are probably the most exciting area of engine tuning - nothing changes the character of and engine, the tone, the noise, the delivery and most of all the rev range than cam changes.

So for the next few weeks I am going to be offering extra help and advice for cam choices as well as special discounts.

Whatever you want from mild road with stock injection to dirty great high lift monsters with enough lift at TDC to drive a bus through - just let me know

(oh and you'll need some proper Bilstein suspension to go with the new found power.)

1st June 2015

How to turbo charge your car - Stage 3 controlling the turbo

Turbo Control Part 3

So you've decided on the right size turbo and you've worked out where you will locate it - however how will you control it?

A modern turbo car has fine control of the turbocharger. They normally employ either electro-pneumatic or electric control of the wastegate. They have a complicated system of closed loop control which ensures the turbo responds with the throttle - not against it.

You may have driven a turbo car with boost controlled by an aftermarket boost controller. These can be really useful with different maps for different power levels. However it is rare to find one with a Throttle Position Sensor input. Without a TPS input the Turbo can overspeed against the throttle butterfly even at small openings. This is particularly prevalent at higher engine speeds, e.g exit a bend, give a small amount of throttle and "whoosh", loads more boost arrives than you required and you end up snapping the throttle which can sometimes cause stall.

This is why I prefer a full standalone aftermarket ECU (like the Emerald ECU) which gives you the ability to tailor turbo response not just via a closed loop boost map but also via the TPS. This will enable fine control of the turbo to ensure that the pressure ratios vs load sites enable you to control the turbo within the parameters of its compressor map.

Another thing to remember is that if you are boosting an atmospheric engine you may be doing a low pressure install. In which case you may only want 0.2-0.3 bar above atmospheric. Remember then that turbos with built in actuators and wastegates usually have a base boost level of 0.4 bar. In this case you are better off with a separate waste gate allowing control of the turbo boost to very low levels.

Something that is worth doing is keeping the heat before the turbo and after to speed the exhaust gas up. We offer a range of heat wraps online.

We are currently looking for project work - please get in touch if you want help on a project car for road or track.




11th May 2015

Lydden Hill Sprint (9/5/15)


Lydden Hill 9th May
Finally the Stilo Wagon hits the circuit - and it doesn't come last !!!

Ok so you are probably a bit bored with me talking about doing sprints in probably one of the slowest cars ever entered but money is too tight to mention and I'd happily accept gainful employment rather than selling Performance Parts for peanuts...

Anyway my theory is if I don't get out and immerse myself in some form of motorsport I'm never going to turn sales around. I started Balance in 2004 after a successful season sprinting so it was overdue.

It was a lovely day (until the sprint finished when it poured down for the VW fans turning up for the Apex Festival) for racing. The Lydden circuit has changed quite a bit with all the developments in Rally Cross and I'm sure you're familiar with it from the various Top Gear features. Although if I made a big mistake I could end up on the rallycross section, the idea of today is staying on the race circuit.

If you've not done a Sprint before but have done a Track Day I would recommend sprints every time. Yes track time is less but the buzz is huge. The adrenaline flows on the startline (even in a Stilo 1.6!) and knowing you have to push really hard on cold tyres always makes for interesting handling.

Stilo Estate

So the theory is that being the only entrant in the slowest class I must surely come last? Well I pushed hard in practice and was ahead of 5 cars ( I was hoping the pressure would make them make a mistake in their timed run). Of the 5 cars I was quicker in practice there was one 911 GT3 and one single seater as well as an MX5, Saxo and 205 from modified production with roll cages etc.

Naturally this wasn't going to last and in the end I only ended up quicker than 2 cars. However both were from faster classes so I wasn't too despondent. In fact although the rules state there must be 3 in your class to gain a prize I actually left with the class winner trophy as I was alone in 1.6 Standard!

I won't be campaigning the Fiat seriously but as a way to engage with fellow sprinters and have fun it did the job (helped on by it's new Bilstein shocks which are on offer (I bought these cheap about 2 years ago and finally got round to installing them).

If any of you want a copy of the timesheet please email me.

7th May 2015

Goodwood Sprint (25/4/15)

Goodwood Sprint in the pits, Avenger Tiger & Alfa GTV

So I got to Goodwood but it was heavily oversubscribed meaning I couldn't get an entry and get on the track. So I filmed a few cars and took a few pictures. There was a nice Bertone Alfa GTV and a rorty sounding Avenger Tiger both above. A lovely period english Roadster with a gorgeous sounding Straight 6. A heavily modded Dolomite sprint and that was just a few of the cars in modified production.

Overall it was a diverse grid with everything from a stock MG Midget and Saxo / 106 GTIs in under 1.6 standard (I honestly think the Stilo would have been up there had I got in). Through to the usual single seaters that regularly contest this series.

The good news is although the next round in Hethel is also booked out,  I have an entry for Lydden on the 9th of May.

Goodwood Sprint - Lotus Cortina, Dolomite Sprint, MG SVR

11th March 2015

How to turbo charge your car - Stage 2 - Turbo Location

Should the turbo always be as close to the head as possible?

Brabham BMW F1 Engine glowing turbo manifold

Conventional wisdom suggest so. Most modern Turbo cars have a log type cast manifold that puts the turbo just a few inches from the head. The logic is you want to maximise the heat energy available for a turbo. A turbo is principally a heat powered device. The compressor maps we looked at last time showed the Adiabatic efficiency of the turbo. If a turbo was a 100% efficient then no heating of the inlet charge would occur. Unfortunately they are not an inevitably heating of the compressed inlet charge does occur and efficiency rarely exceeds 75%.

So is the log type cast manifold the pinnacle of design? Well no. The picture shows the old Brabham BMW F1 engine (the 1400hp from a 1.5litre on funky fuel). It is clear to see the engine has a proper equal length tubular manifold which dictates moving the turbo some distance from the head. The benefit is the exhaust tuning is not sacrificed unlike a log type manifold which rarely optimises exhaust flow. Another benefit of the more "remote" set up is that head into the head is dramatically reduced. You can see how much hotter the exhaust turbine is than the manifold near the head. This puts less stress on the exhaust valves and associated components. I remember on an 16 Valve Fiat turbo I bought once that the exhaust cam had worn down due to excessive heat and was only opening the valves 4mm!

So if you are building a high power turbo conversion give due consideration to the manifold set up. You could if you want to really break with tradition mount the turbo remotely. You may have seen the "crazy" rear mount turbo I did on the 205 project some years ago. Although it still relies on heat to work some design aspects are changed - the exhaust diameter before the turbo must not be too large and the turbo can be smaller than it might be mounted conventionally. It's not a new idea and the many benefits it brings explain this concepts use on WW2 fighters such as the P47 Thunderbolt.

P47 Thunderbolt Remote Turbo

So the bottom line is if you are seeking big power and going to run the high pressure ratios that entails you may well find the factory log type manifold is not suitable.

5th Feb 2015

TWMC All Circuit Sprint Championship

If you want to do some competitive motorsport (even in a totally stock road car) then this is the place..

All Circuit Sprint

Well I have a new project car but haven't had any time to start work on the thing. The first event of the season gets ever closer. A good line up this year...

Provisional All Circuit Sprint Dates 2015

Sun 22nd March BARC Mid Rockingham Entry Form | Regs
Sat 25th April Bognor Regis MC Goodwood
Sun 3rd May Borough 19 MC Hethel
Sat 9th May TWMC Lydden
Sun 17th May Borough 19 MC Snetterton
Sat/Sun 30/31 May BARC Mid Coventry Street Circuit
Sat 20th June Bristol MC Castle Combe
Sat 1st August Brighton & HMC Goodwood
Sat 17th October TWMS/7Oaks Goodwood

The only circuits I have driven on in the list are Goodwood and Lydden and without a car to compete in the threat of last year is finally going to become reality. I am going to enter the Stilo Wagon in the under 1600cc Standard Road class. I thought that being an estate I could bring along some Millers gearbox and engine oil and additives in case anyone needed supplies.

Now looking on the bright side - although 300kg heavier and up to 60 hp off a VTEC 1.6 it does have a wide track and very big 215/45 tyres on 7 inch rims. It also has a lot of grip and nice brakes that don't easily activate the ABS. It has a side exit exhaust (legal to change the exhaust).

I also have a set of Bilstein shocks for it that have been in stock for a while. So who knows. Perhaps I won't be last at every event. At the Coventry street circuit I might even be able to get the weekly shop in.

The intention is to try and make the kind of set up changes permissible with a stock car and concentrate on Corner entry speed as the exit will only ever be slow with 103 hp!

In fairness it is pulling maybe 110hp as according to the AP22 meter it hits 60mph in 10.8 seconds - faster than when new...
Still no better way to learn a circuit than in a slow car.

19th Jan 2015

Specialists For

It has taken a while to get this onto the new site but finally our specialist model pages are ready and these will make your life a lot easier if you own Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Fiat, Honda, Lotus, Porsche or Subaru.

8th Jan 2015

How to Turbo charge your car - Part 1 

Compressor Maps

GT2560R Compressor Map

Before embarking on any turbo upgrade or turbo charging a car that is currently atmospheric you must choose the correct Turbo. The non-variable vane turbo is a relatively simple device and consists of inducer and exducer on both hot and cold sides. Energy from the exhaust (mainly in the form of heat) powers the turbine, the shaft then spins the compressor to pressurise intake air. Intake air increases in pressure therefore the engine can flow more air and make more power. The downside is heat is created on the intake side and heat before the turbo is created on the turbine side.
These inefficiencies can lead to failure. Successful turbocharging is all about heat management.

Back to the map. The turbo is happiest operating within a range. This range is defined by the size of the inducer and exducer on both turbine and compressor side and their ratio to each. Then the housing comes into play as well.

If you are starting from scratch though the most important thing is the map. Fortunately there is a very easy ready reckoner for the the sizing. Airflow lb min x 10 = hp. So 35lb min = 350 hp - simples!
That is for Garrett Turbochargers you will find the figures for airflow in lb/min. It isn't quite as simple as this and for that reason I have constructed a spreadsheet to make this lookup much easier.
You simply add the Engine size, RPM, Volumetric efficiency, Compression ratioo, Atmospheric pressure and it gives you the air requirement in lb min. You can then size the turbo to suit the required output range of the engine. It is important to ensure that pressure ratio and airflow do not cause the turbo to operate outside the map as surge or stall will occur. The peak efficiency of the turbo is acheived in the middle of the compressor map - on the GT2560R map above you can see a line with 75% efficiency on it and 110000 rpm. This equates to pressure ratio of 1.75 and airflow of 20lb min - approx 200hp. So this blower is at peak efficiency at this point. Max flow is 35lb min pressure ratio just over 2 and approx 143000 rpm. So if you were building a 250hp-300 hp engine with approx 2 bar absolute boost (1 bar over atmospheric) this is perfect. For a 300hp plus engine at more than 2 bar absolute a better choice would be a GT2871. 

These general rules apply - The bigger the capacity the slower the spool and also the bigger the capacity the higher the rpm the engine will make. In fact if you are careful with sizing you can actually improve the high rpm performance of a 2 valve engine.
I remember my old 205 GTi Turbo revving past 7500 with ease with the turbo whereas without it lost verve at 6500rpm.

Unfortunately for most European turbochargers the compressor maps look like this

Their isn't such an easy cross check as the lb min and partly this is because these maps work with cubic metres per second which is volume not weight !

It is pretty easy to see how you can rack and stack your turbos to get the amazing outputs achieved by some engines. Multiple compressor stages keeps heat under control and maximises final boost / flow vs temperature to get maximum horse power.


4th Jan 2015

Autosport Show

Well Autosport International show is nearly upon us again. The show features every level of Motor Racing - from the grass roots level of Karting (inc the fastest bang for buck racing in the world - Gearbox karts)  through to Formula 1. Of course Motorsport at any level can be expensive. Top Kart racing costs a lot more per season than budget tin top racing for example. What the Autosport Show tries to do is cater for all in the industry from those racing to those building cars.

Some of the highlights for me are the amazing engineering displays - not sure if this stays open on public days but watching a big lump of alloy being turned into an engine block before your eyes is quite something.

Unfortunately this years show clashes with a few things so I might not make it but if I do I will post some photos here.

Autosport International incorporates two Trade-only days (8 & 9) followed by two Public days (10 & 11) dedicated to Motorsport enthusiasts.


1st Jan 2015

Happy New Year ! Thank you kindly to all our customers both new and old for helping us get through our 10th year of trading in 2014. I'd like to say it was a good year but this market continues to be tough. Even though prices have remained largely static since the recession people are much more reluctant to spend - particularly on big ticket items such as Big Brake Kits and Throttle Body Kits. For 2015 we will be offering special "sponsorship" rates to those competing in any motorsport (including short oval and non-MSA events). This is a limited offer so please get in touch if interested.

Here is hoping whichever government gets the debt ridden UK economy this year, that they can inject some life into it and get petrol heads spending again!

28th Dec 2014

budget for the new sprint car is less than small it is nano tech. So up steps the easy fix, water injection. I am even tempted to just run big cams to "decompress" the dynamic compression of their engine. the 135 cams should work reprofiled  for more lift and duration and timed up  with a late intake close.

16th Dec 2014


Shock Top Nut Tightening Torque

"Never use an impact wrench", " I always use an Impact wrench"

As I was fitting a set of Bilstein shocks the other day I was looking at the tightening torque paper and thinking I should share my thoughts. I've been in a position a few times where the top nut you are supplied with the new shock won't go over the thread as the torque to do so is greater than the peak torque of the insert allen (or torx). e.g You are trying to put on a brand new nyloc for M12 thread and to prevent the shaft turning you may have a 6mm allen. It sounds like it should work but in practice it often doesn't. For this reason I sometimes reuse the old nyloc and ensure factory torque is maintained rather than thread the insert allen and resort to a impact wrench.

Damper makers - what is the point of a nyloc if the nylon takes more torque to apply than the insert allen or torx can cope with?

Many I know just bosh it on with an Impact Wrench. Do this and you risk overtightening and a stress fracture and eventual failure occuring.

UNLESS you set your impact driver to the correct torque. If you are comfortable with it's average torque on a given setting, based on torque to remove a test nut, then it is a very helpful tool.

Some average torque settings for differing nut thread sizes:

The lower figure is a non-nyloc nut and the latter a nyloc.

M8 15-20 lb ft
M10 30-35 lb ft
M12 40-60 lb ft
M14 60-90 lb ft
M16 90-130 lb ft

Of course removal is a different kettle of fish. I think this is why the impact wrench started getting used by so many so often.

I've sometimes had to grind flats on a threaded shaft and use a pair of mole grips, combined with an open handed karate spanner thrust to undo....wax on, wax off.

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