1380 Race Mini

Raced in the competitive Yorkshire Speed Hill Climb & Sprint Championships, the 1380 Mini Clubman of John Savage proved to be an ideal testbed for the Canems Ignition ECU. Many thanks to John for adopting the system in the development stages.

Wiring in the new ignition system was straightforward due to the colour coded loom supplied as part of the Canems ECU kit. Making use of the programmable ECU outputs, a shift light was added. An original A-series bottom pulley was machined with the necessary 36-1 tooth pattern.

A Ford crank sensor was then added in the most convenient location, facing towards the front grille for easy access. Mounted here, the missing tooth ended up 232 degrees away from the crank sensor at top dead centre. Having set the static timing correctly in the Canems software, the car started and idled relatively well. To check that the static timing was indeed correct, the ECU was programmed to lock the timing at 20 degrees. A strobe light was then used to verify the timing with the engine running.

Once the spark plugs had been opened out to 0.040", low speed running of the car was vastly improved. Being a five-port cylinder head (siamesed inlets) with 45 Weber and a race cam the car had previously been very temperamental when low down in the rev-range.

At the top end of the rev-range, there was a problem with a misfire approaching 7200 rpm. Performing a datalog in the Canems software we were able to see that engine speed was not being sensed correctly. After reinforcing the crank sensor mounting plate with triangular welded gussets so that the sensor could not vibrate, the engine immediately ran smoothly through to the other side of 8000 rpm. Normally the engine would not be taken to such high speed, being a relatively long-stroked design. Happy with the system, John arranged for a rolling road tuning session to get the best from the car.

Mapping and rolling road testing

After spending an afternoon on the rolling road at the Fuel Injection Centre in Bolton, the ECU was mapped under different load conditions. Ironically, because John knew what the maximum advance figure should be, little gain was seen at the top end of the power curve throughout the day. However, we were able to confirm his thoughts and add some ignition advance when the engine was not under load. This enhanced the idle characteristics and low speed running even more.

Happy with the new ignition map, a full power run was made, recording a staggering 135 bhp, 112 at the wheels.

Click for a closer look.

Being a solid state design, there is less potential for problems with reliability with the Canems Ignition ECU. In the past, rotor arms and distributor caps (not to mention high-resistance coils) would have been under severe strain at over 7200 rpm, which is where this engine reached maximum power. With the Canems ECU this is not a problem.

Race Success

Racing for the first time with the Canems Ignition system, John was able to win his class in the Olivers Mount Hill Climb, part of the Scarborough Festival of Speed weekend.

At the time of writing, John has managed to claim his second successive win in the championship at the Teesside Autodrome. The next target is Cadwell Park where hopefully the Canems Ignition system will once again prove to be part of the winning formula.


Thanks to all at the Fuel Injection Centre in Bolton for giving up their time to test the Canems system and providing valuable knowledge and guidance.

Thynne Street, Bolton BL3 6AY
Tel:01204 396263 or 01204 391071




Registered Office:
43 Oswald Road
North Lincolnshire
DN15 7PN

Telephone: 01724 700222
Email: sales@canems.co.uk

VAT Reg No. 170061643
Registered in England No. 08598238