January 2012

Current project, engine#5, is a rebuild & update to Brian Osbourne’s 24CT M8S engine, which will feature my latest developments, and will mimic the Ron Tyrrell developments, that were first seen in his engine, aka number 4, but with the addition of a modern ignition system. In fact, Ron Tyrrell was a keen supporter of electronic ignition, and it was because of Ron’s involvement the distributor based ignition prototypes were developed. The only issue for these was an immediate lack of a rev counter or tachometer drive, and a non working ignition board. At the time of their development Peter Breed was developing an ignition that was more specialised, and it was deemed not appropriate to continue with this work. Peter Breed initial ignition project fell by the wayside as far as I can tell, and he is now working on a distributor based system, that retains the OEM distributor drive mechanism & associated mechanical tachometer output. I will be using a MicroSquirt based solution, because I have used this on other projects, and it is a cost effective solution for engine management.

List of jobs to date to engine number 5 include the following

Remove mass & inertia from OEM flywheel
Revise crankcase oil circuits, as it is the later crankcase design, which relies on the camshaft gear to splash lubricate the front main bearing and big end.
New oil seals to front and rear main bearings
Make new front pulley for new crankshaft trigger wheel and MicroSquirt ignition system
Revise porting to cylinder head area, with possible twin plug conversion
Rebore cylinders with new bespoke high compression pistons
Rebuild the valve gear bushes
Improve crankcase breather
Improve air filtration
Improve oil cooling

Historically, engine number 1, is my development mule, and engine number 3 is a still dormant motor somewhere in the UK, which is a pity, because nobody has seen this one running. The oil lubrication on number 3 was a based on the earlier number 2, which was first seen on Ron Tyrrell’s PL17 engine, but this time applied to the earlier M5 Dyna engine. It is important that the work is applied to running cars to improve the development cycle, which is why I have agreed to do Brian’s engine. There is a number 6 planned for much later this year, which will showcase other work to date.
May 2010

I will be adding to this section later and maintaining a blog, but first I have to collate all the mods I have carried out over the years, admittedly dormant for the last ten or so, and update stuff as I catch up. I will also be updating another website with a link to parts that will become available soon, and it will allow people to buy oil filter kits, and other associated parts. These will eventually cover all the key areas of Panhard maintenance, and improve the engines for everyday running conditions, and negate some of the inherent faults of the Panhard flat twin engine. If you are a purist, these modifications are under the hood, and are just a series of updates that will not detract from the cars overall appearance or be based on inappropriate historical developments. The first oil filter kit was the start of a series of minimal, easily retrofitted parts that protect the engines, but concentrating on this aspect is fundamental to maintaining crankshaft longevity, so I will be adding some new developments over the next few months.

My philosophy on updating the Panhard engine is probably different from the traditionalists, but the one thing I have in common is I don’t like to destroy old parts. I will always try and make new replacement and updated parts, as opposed to modifying scarce OEM resources. This means a future Panhard owner can always revert back if they feel they want to, but why you would want to do this is hugely questionable to me.

All along I had a road map in my head for Panhard engine development, some of it is modernising the OEM engine and enhancing it, but I am in the short term going to concentrate on improving the engine design, by incorporating modern components and negating the existing faults. This all started with a simplistic oil filter, then a revised lubrication circuit. Later there was an improved crankshaft assembly, that had longer life components and a maintenance pathway, but this was for a few good engines already. I looked at the charging system and that meant using an alternator, and I also started to dabble with electronic ignition. I even made a further mod to the oil filter conversion kit, to allow for the higher oil capacity sumps that can be fitted, and refined the oil lubrication circuit further.

The real issue is how radically do you jump before you lose sight of the original engine, but if you evolve too slowly, then the cost of making these steps becomes prohibitive. So like everything there has to be a compromise, unless somebody wants and can pay for a more bespoke product.

What are the compromises and decisions to date?

The oil filter conversion I designed is good enough for the existing engine demands, and although I designed a positive pressure version, the added complication is unnecessary, because the reality is, you’d be better concentrating on increasing the capacity to improve the oil situation. The standard oil pump is good enough for its design application, and in fact most modern low loss engines are looking at roller bearings and moving away from shell bearings and higher pressure high flow oil pumps.

The oil circuit modifications negate the inherent flaws in either generation of Panhard engine, and they extend the service life further still, plus if you increase the capacity, the engines will run cooler in traffic, and also at high speed. However, as the existing oil delivery to the crankshaft cannot be changed easily, engines still have to be stripped periodically to remove the sludge like deposits in the crankshaft slingers, but at least the oil filter conversion will extend the service intervals, because the inherent particulate size is smaller.

The crankshaft can be overhauled, assuming it is serviceable, and after all this time the internal components will almost likely need to be upgraded, and fortunately there is an improved solution from Peter Breed that covers this scenario for the OEM crankshaft.

If your crankshaft is too damaged and you are more performance orientated, I hope to offer a new solution, that should be cost effective and fully rebuildable. This will allow better quality internals to be used with the new pistons, and at the same time extend the reliability even further at higher rpms. This same crankshaft design will also allow for more bespoke components, and will form the basis of a large capacity engine, which will mean manufacturing new cylinders. The cylinder compression and sustained rev limit will be higher, and because of this the engine will have modern engine management and prefer fuel injection. The only fuelling that I would consider for a non injected engine would be SU carburettors or other CV types from a motorcycle. The end product of all this work will be a more reliable engine, with a little more tolerance to cope in todays traffic, and a side effect of all of this will be a more relaxing driving experience.

Many years ago, I experimented with a new rear oil seal conversions for the crankcase, that doesn't require the cast iron rear bearing support, and I believe Burkhard Diehr in Germany had a sample and drawing from me, when I had some made. This has been successfully used in two engines to date.