The Max Column

With two shows behind us, we now have Christmas and Autosport International to look forward to! The first of the really cold weather hit us in mid November and I really hope none of you were caught out with plain water in the radiator. It is such an easy mistake to make after running just water in the height of the summer. Rotax celebrated their 85th birthday in 2005. They have 1been producing engines for leisure products including motorcycles, outboards for boats, Skidoos, Seadoos, microlights and karts among others since 1920. To mark their long and very successful history the factory are offering a free Sniper C2 as a gift with every new engine registered between the 1st November 2005 and 31st January 2006. The retail value of the C2 is about £140 and this effectively makes the engines fantastic value for money. The Rotax MAX has always been very reasonably priced when compared with a classic 100cc unit, so once again I expect there will be a surge in demand, bizarre when there has just been a short term shortage as a result of demand outstripping supply! Following a very successful series in 2005 the calendar and regulations are out for the 2006 Rotax Mojo Euro Challenge. The dates and venues are as follows: 22nd-26th March Salbris (France), 17th-21st May South Garda (Italy), 26th-30th July Speedworld (Austria) and the final, as in 2005, on the 20th-24th September at Genk in Belgium. All are fantastic venues with great facilities. It is easy for almost anyone to enter as long as you can get the requisite International C grade licence. The classes are for Rotax MAX Junior (145kg), Rotax MAX (165kg), Rotax MAX Master (32 years and over at 170kg) and Rotax DD2 (the RM1 engined karts at 175kg). All classes will run on the Mojo D1 slick tyre and the Mojo W1 wet. The event organisers are as before, RGMMC (www.rgmmc.com, email: info@ rgmmc.com, tel: +34 9 71 28 53 91, fax:+ 34 9 71 28 38 82). Entries are limited but if you get in early enough then you can be sure of a place.

I am not in the habit of advertising within these lines but I am pleased to see that none of the above dates clash with my other European commitments. I am already under pressure to run one Junior driver so could well put together a small team with a couple of other likely lads (Is that advertising, Ed?). Idiots without budget or with attitude need not apply. An email to george@georgerobinson. co.uk will find me. The Euro Challenge series has been a fantastic opportunity for many drivers to race in a proper international environment on some amazing tracks for a fraction of the cost of a 100cc season at European level. There has been some talk about the eligibility of the new battery. I can assure you it is fine and has been approved for racing. The query concerned the addition of acid to the battery after delivery. The battery has a special absorbent construction that is common to almost all ‘sealed lead acid’ batteries. There are fibre mat panels between the plates that absorb the acid and prevent spillage. There are in fact very few genuine ‘gel cell’ batteries, these are prohibitively expensive and are equally prone to releasing acidic material if destroyed. The new battery will be readily available by now. Tests have been carried out and the charging system for the new battery remains the same as before. Our initial tests have been very positive with very little drop in either voltage or amp hours over the course of a whole day’s testing in very cold conditions. An overnight charge is all that is required and it seems that one battery will be all that is required for a full day’s racing. Rotax are planning to change the carburettor specification slightly. I understand that the new spec. carburettor will have 60 idle jet, 60 emulsion tube and 3.6 gram floats. These carburettors will be coming in the not too distant future but no date has been set for their introduction as yet. There is also to be a change of type to the rubber water hoses.

There is no change in specification but the factory has adopted a new supplier, hence the change in part number. I have had a number of people complaining about their engines drinking the oil in their gearboxes. There are two possible reasons for this. Firstly, that the oil level was dangerously low to start with, the engine base should be horizontal if checking the level using the level plug. Secondly, that the crankshaft oil seal has started to fail. This seal can be replaced without the need for a full engine strip and the procedure is relatively straightforward. Remove the gear cover and check the position of the large plastic gear on the crankshaft and if necessary mark it. Remove the circlip on the end of the shaft and withdraw the black plastic gear (early engines had a cast iron gear here). There is no timing required on this gear as it’s only there to run the water pump. Now withdraw the white plastic gear from the crank. Timing here is critical. Check which way round this gear is fitted, if in doubt it is flat side inwards, or the opposite to the identical gear that drives the balance shaft. Having removed the gear, the oil seal can be seen. Remove the seal using an appropriate pick, taking note of which way round it is fitted. Carefully clean the housing area so that it is oil free. I coat the outer diameter of the new seal with Loctite which helps it slide in and stay in. Lubricate the lips of the seal and slide it over the shaft, it is possible to push it home with strong fingers or a deep socket. Do be sure not to push the seal in too far or it can make contact with the main bearing and destroy itself. This done, carefully check the condition of all the gears. Any sign of wear and they must be replaced. By the same token, any plastic swarf in the gear oil indicates the start of gear failure. In extreme cases where gear failure has gone too far, care must be taken to examine the condition of the balance shaft bearing as it can become contaminated with swarf and need to be at least cleaned if not replaced. When all is present and correct, clean the inside of the gear cover and refit, taking care that the gasket is in good condition and in the correct position. Refill with 50cc of the appropriate oil. Rotax recommend SAE 40. I know this can be difficult to find and I use light gear oil with no ill effects. If you are laying up your MAX outfit for the winter, it is a really good idea to clean it all now and put right anything that needs doing as if you were going to go out tomorrow to win all the heats and the final! Clean and grease the clutch bearing, check the condition of the clutch shoes, drum and sprocket. Strip and clean the carburettor and give it a healthy dose of WD40 to stop the damp and cold pickling up the aluminium inside the float chamber etc. In fact I would give the whole engine a good spray over with the WD. As far as the kart is concerned, anything that is not painted is subject to corrosion, so again a good clean and a protective spray is a great idea. There are products on the market specifically for this purpose that do not dry out like WD40 and a car accessory shop should be able to help here. However, my earlier comments stand regarding the engine, these protective sprays are probably not suitable for internal components. It is also a good time to replace the exhaust baffle and wadding, so give the whole pipe a good clean and a coat of high temperature paint. That’s about it for this month folks, have a great Christmas, don’t drink and eat too much and invest it in the Euro Challenge with team Robinson Sport! Now that’s advertising!