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Old 01-14-2012, 11:02 PM
Nitrominis Nitrominis is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Santa Cruz
Posts: 1,308
Default MINI Adjustable Cam Gear

MINI Adjustable Cam Gear

Using a MINIs 1.6 R50 or R53 engine, an adjustable cam gear will allow you to change the power curve to a specific area in the rpm range or to dial in a cam to specifications. If your Dyno graph shows a drop at X=RPM range then you can effectively change X to +/- 500+/- RPM’s. By advancing the cam timing this will improve bottom end power and retarding timing conversely improve top end power.

Camshafts mechanically open and close the intake and exhaust valves at the "proper time" relative to engine position (piston travel) to either supply Air/Fuel for combustion or to allow the exhaust gases to flow out the combustion chamber and on its way through the exhaust system.

For stock engines OE Cam manufactures will usually set the cam timing during its design specifications at a point where it allows the engine to start and run well under a variety of most condition presenting itself for a daily driven car. Also the EPA has set standards for emissions that engines must operate at so stock cams are very conservative with there specifications. That is why there is no choice other then stock for the R50, R53 and even the JCW upgraded engines from MINI. The R53 and the special JCW engine upgrades use the same camshaft.

After the installation of performance parts like heads, header, CAI, etc you sometimes change the optimum performance of the stock or performance ground camshaft.
To bring the engine back into optimum power under these changes one of the tuning tools is an Adjustable Cam Gear. By changing the cam timing you mechanically change the RPM performance power range of an engine. Even a bone stock engine can benefit with cam timing for optimum drivability and performance. This means no matter what your performance modification level is to your engine you can easily have the power level range changed and in some cases produce more power.
Some ECU/EFI Calibration Technician (tuner) will tell you that they can electronically via an ECU Calibration adjust the power graph levels the same as using an adjustable Cam gear, but the difference is whatever the ECU Calibration is changed to is not the same as mechanically changing the cam timing. And you can even improve on the ECU Calibration adjustment mechanically with an adjustable cam gear even more precise engine operating levels.
So you really need both adjustments adjusted together for best overall results on an ECU/EFI controlled engine.

For the “Track” MINI using an adjustable cam gear can allow the precise power adjustments for track condition that could help with faster track times.
On the street you can mechanically adjust your cam for improved fuel economy by altering where the RPM builds the best torque. Or if you have a planned spirited weekend ahead you can adjust for those twisties in the mountains for more low-end power. Or at the local “run what you brung” track weekday drag race you can adjust your cam affecting your ETs.
Adjustable cam gears are easy to learn how to use them and once you have personally adjusted your cam a few times you should be able to change the cam timing in less than an hour on most applications of the R50 and R53 engine.

Some common Q & A’s

What level of experience do I need to install it in my MINI?

All that is needed is a simple basic knowledge of an engine and a little common sense. The installation is the same procedure if removing a camshaft only you don’t need do all the steps in that process to replace a Cam gear.

How hard is it to set up the cam gear once installed?

This is the part that you may need assistance with someone experienced in cam degree set up and adjustable cam gear’s to help you to learn how to do this. Once you get the basic how to you should be able to successfully change your cam timing without help.

Will I feel or see the results right away from any changes?

Every engine is different and therefore results vary. If cam timing is done correctly you would see the changes in your performance monitoring devices or a Chassis Dyno Graph. In some cases where you are altering and lowering your RPM power RPM level you may feel the difference.

How much Horsepower will adjusting my cam give me?

The adjustable cam gear does not always increase horsepower levels in all cases like other performance engines parts like say a BV Head but mechanically adjusts where you want your existing power level at in an RPM area it will ultimately be the most use for you.

The cost spent per gains makes adjustable cam gear a rather expensive power enhancing part, so how can I justify the cost?

No matter what other engine performance parts you buy this is one of the only ones that you have control to be able to mechanically change the power rpm operating range of your engine. Even if you install every performance engine part available you can still use an adjust cam gear to get more precise and optimum engine output levels. All in all the initial cost of a cam gear will pay for itself in a short time.

I have heard that some have tried the adjustable cam gear for the MINI and concluded it not really needed?

Simply put there is no stock or highly modified R50 or R53 engine that could not benefit with an adjustable cam gear. It is just another tool to aid in adjusting the power of the engine where you want it and where it will give the optimum performance.

Who sells these MINI adjustable cam gears?

This thread is not about who sells them. There are a few vendors offering them in the MINI market. Some offer the labor to set them up on your head. You should talk to your regular MINI aftermarket parts supplier or independent MINI service shops along with the many MINI forums and their sponsors to see who is offering them.

This thread will only serve to help bring a better understanding of existing MINI Adjustable Cam Gears. The basic FACTS about adjustable cam gears and other cam timing devices and their positive usefulness has been time tested on thousands of engines over at least five decades and clearly shows the benefits of its use on most any an engine. As with all performance parts installed and used on any engine the end results will vary.

It is not the intent of this author to entertain counter productive comments that would distract from the basic structure of information provided. The information network available to everyone i.e. internet, local performance parts suppliers, engine machine shops and even your local yellow pages can be used to researched facts about the content of this thread regarding the mechanical ability to adjust camshaft timing using an adjustable camshaft gear.

In other words for some of you try to post respecting the MINI community as a whole and see this as a useful informative thread and respect its content and all others that will be reading it.

Last edited by Nitrominis; 01-14-2012 at 11:11 PM.. Reason: font sizing change
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:41 AM
jiminni jiminni is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Central California
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Wow! Good info Lynn
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:30 PM
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Thumper460 Thumper460 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Orange Park Fl. 32065
Posts: 117

Good post.... most people will be happy to learn how to do it..

Just me............................


THUMPER HEAD Nitrous Fed Methanol Injected Screaming Supercharger all BRG 06 MCS!! The fun begins at 4K in 6th
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Old 02-23-2015, 04:40 PM
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Thumper460 Thumper460 is offline
Y Rated - 186 mph
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Orange Park Fl. 32065
Posts: 117
Default Up Date....

Yikes.. been a while on this subject.. Here are some guys just like you and me and their results.. Cool??
I'm out in the garage this morning working on the car, and I realized that in all my excitement I forgot to report on Thumpers cam gear.

This is hands down one of the best mod's I've done to a MINI, Thumper said that I should feel it in the seat of my pants and man was he right! I have a Shrick installed and it was ok but with his ACG it really came alive.
If you have a cam installed or are thinking about one, this cam gear is a MUST! Thanks again Mike
Mike got a first in class yesterday. My first run, before the IC got heat soaked, I could feel the extra torque especially off the line. I can feel the difference on the street as well. I could see how a conservative driver, do you know any, will see an improvement in their mileage with the cam being indexed. No wonder Eddie Conrad kept wanting me to let him do this. But he wanted me to bring him the engine. LOL
After receiving my Adjusted Cam Gear from Thumper I promptly had it installed according to have Thumper recommended, and WOW did it make a difference in how my Mini engine feels. The power and torque comes on much quicker and stays on all the way up to redline. I also saw a slight increase in MPG i went from 28MPG to 31MPG on the normal route i take. It complements my TPR1 head with a stock cam very well. I can wait for more Thumper products to come down the line.

This course was a lot faster than the others so far this season. It was perfect for where you have my cam set.
Schrick Camshaft

OEM cam sees more HP and torque... read it at:
.................................................. ........
I can't say enough about the ACG, esp. for me, I just got lucky and got one of those ECU's that doesn't like cams, so I had no choice but to stick with the OEM, but now it's the same or better than when I was trying to use either of the cam's I tried, simply because the power comes on sooner, as the graph above tells you I got a peak difference of 7 ft/lb's, but if you look at it closely you'll see that early on it was more like a 9 to 10 ft/lb gain, and neither of my cams turned on near that early. As the guy who designed it say's "It Just Rocks!", not to mention it's a pretty simple mod."
.................................................. ...............
Milled Head .030" and Degreed Camshaft w/ AdjustED Cam Gear
Compression test shows the gain in compression for sure. Before TPR2R was 165 on all 4, now all 4 cylinders are 200psi
Ported Head some results... side benefit that won't show up on the dyno graph is how much smoother the car will run at "tip-in" accel and general driving... the car will feel more effortless.. it's hard to put in words, but you can actually feel it while driving the car"
.................................................. ....
Just wanted to give you a quick update. I finally have had a chance to get the gear installed and do some data logging. The motor seem quite happy with the change. I haven't had it on a dyno yet, but have some observations from the data logs:
The boost curve has change significantly. Before the motor would be at 12.5-13 psi by 4500 RPM and stay there until 8000 RPM. Now it builds from 11.25 psi @ 4500 and steadily increases to 13.8 psi @ 8000.
Calculated air flow has increased everywhere.
That last one is the most important to me. Increased airflow = increased power.

Easy Mod.. and it works!!



THUMPER HEAD Nitrous Fed Methanol Injected Screaming Supercharger all BRG 06 MCS!! The fun begins at 4K in 6th
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Old 02-28-2015, 01:20 AM
Partsman Partsman is offline
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Posts: 658

Nice Mike...that's awesome!
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