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Operation Mini Upgrade

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#1 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:19 PM

Hi All,

 

Bit of a back story - 

 

Our mini originally started its life as a 1979 Mini LE 1000.  We picked it up in 2005, where the first thing that was done to it was all of the rust was cut out of it and the bodywork was refurbished, then the mini was painted a shade of pearlescent blue (actually a mazda colour).

 

We also acquired a 1275 A-Series engine from a 1979 Austin Allegro that was swapped into the car and made to run.  We also got a set of 13" wheels which were put on at the same time with a bit of guard work being done to suit.

 

Fast forward a few years and I got the itch to begin upgrading.  First we had 8.4" vented discs and 4-pot calipers from a MG Metro Turbo installed, and swapped out the HS4 Carb to a twin HS2 setup.

 

The car was running really well, then the opportunity came up to get the cylinder head ported out by a mechanic who spent years building race minis.  I took the opportunity and had it done.  because of the way the car was set up, it didn't really do much for it, in fact it made it worse to drive.

 

I then got a hold of an HIF44 carburettor and some lcb extractors (albeit they were for a small bore engine).  this made a bit of a difference and the car stayed like this for a few more years.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention before I had the car tuned on a rolling road at this point and it was producing 61HP at the flywheel.

 

Last year the mini began to drive like a heap and I was looking for a project to do, so I decided to rebuild and upgrade the mini myself.  This was a bit daunting at first as I am an IT Professional by trade and this was quite a bit outside my comfort zone.  I persevered and this is where Operation Mini Upgrade began.

 

I can't tell you how much this forum has helped me through the rebuild, so i thought i'd share it with you.

 

I will post some photos I was taking through the build up until now.


Edited by MordredNZ, 04 February 2016 - 08:29 PM.


#2 inim_repooc

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:21 PM

Hi All,

 

Bit of a back story - 

 

Our mini originally started its life as a 1979 Mini LE 1000.  We picked it up in 2005, where the first thing that was done to it was all of the rust was cut out of it and the bodywork was refurbished, then the mini was painted a shade of pearlescent blue (actually a mazda colour).

 

We also acquired a 1275 A-Series engine from a 1979 Austin Allegro that was swapped into the car and made to run.  We also got a set of 13" wheels which were put on at the same time with a bit of guard work being done to suit.

 

Fast forward a few years and I got the itch to begin upgrading.  First we had 8.4" vented discs and 4-pot calipers from a MG Metro Turbo installed, and swapped out the HS4 Carb to a twin HS2 setup.

 

The car was running really well, then the opportunity came up to get the cylinder head ported out by a mechanic who spent years building race minis.  I took the opportunity and had it done.  because of the way the car was set up, it didn't really do much for it, in fact it made it worse to drive.

 

I then got a hold of an HIF44 carburettor and some lcb extractors (albeit they were for a small bore engine).  this made a bit of a difference and the car stayed like this for a few more years.

 

Last year the mini began to drive like a heap and I was looking for a project to do, so I decided to rebuild and upgrade the mini myself.  This was a bit daunting at first as I am an IT Professional by trade and this was quite a bit outside my comfort zone.  I persevered and this is where Operation Mini Upgrade began.

 

I can't tell you how much this forum has helped me through the rebuild, so i thought i'd share it with you.

 

I will post some photos I was taking through the build up until now.

Sounds like a fantastic project! Look forwards to seeing more! :) 



#3 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:26 PM

Parts began to arrive.....  And the first of a lot of money began to get spent!

 

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A Single box RC40 Exhaust and mounts (no cat - legal here in New Zealand) and large bore LCB Extractors, a new heater tap and double valve springs (160lb)

 



#4 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:33 PM

Yusssssss my first purchase from minisport in the UK, a set of 1.5:1 high lift roller tip rockers.

 

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While I was at it, I also decided to wrap the LCB Extractors in some titanium heap wrap

 

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#5 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:41 PM

More parts arrived and some tools for the job!

 

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A facet Solid State electric fuel pump, new subframe mounts, adjustable tie rods, high performance leads, cone filter, radiator cap, oil cap, rod change anti-leak kit and a high flow water pump.  It started to dawn on me how much this exercise is going to cost and how much time it will take, but still, I started it, now I have to finish it!



#6 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 08:49 PM

Time to begin...  figured i'd drain and flush the water from the mini.  Wow was it rusty!!!!!!   Forgive the dust, it had been sitting a while!

 

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Mini was then rolled into my shed where it would stay for a few months!

 

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Then I started removing all the external bits on the engine like distributor, coil, alternator and wiring and started removing the radiator.  Wow it took me ages to work out how to do that part!

 

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#7 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 09:00 PM

Engine up and out!!

 

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Water pump off and timing gear removed

 

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Cylinder head removed

 

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Clutch and flywheel off, transfer housing off, drop gears removed.  WHAT A MESS!!  It took a lot of effort to remove the flywheel - it was stuck on solid! I had the flywheel puller on tension for 2 days and still no movement,  It took a bit of heat from a blowtorch as well as a solid hit with a hammer to the backside of the flywheel to loosen it off!

 

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#8 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 09:23 PM

I took the cylinder head to an engine rebuilders shop and got them to give it a clean up, bath and grind the valves and valve seats. THe also replaced the Exhaust valve guides as they were pretty worn.  It came back better than i thought! 

 

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Fresh paint for the cylinder head - decided on black :)

 

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I also cleaned off the old gasket material from the transfer housing with a brass brush attachment on a drill. The old gasket was also sealed in with some high temp cement.  rock solid!  I decided to use Permatex Ultra Black RTV when I put it together!

 

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I bought an engine stand because I got tired of working on the floor, but of course the engine mount bracket didn't really fit well, so I hit these forums and found an idea to use the oil filter studs and alternator bracket mount holes on the front of the engine to mount the engine on the stand so I got to modifying the engine mount bracket.

 

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Test fit....

 

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And......

 

DONE!

 

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Edited by MordredNZ, 05 February 2016 - 12:06 AM.


#9 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 09:53 PM

Fitted the double valve springs to the cylinder head and test fit the 1.5:1 roller tip rockers.  love it!  I put standard valve stem seals on the inlet valve stems and Dupont Viton valve stem seals on the exhaust valve stems.

 

I think at this point the Haynes manual had been given a hiding, but honestly I think the power of Google is a magic thing!  I found so many answers to my questions from this forum using Google with the search term site:theminiforum.co.uk after all my keywords.

 

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Time to drain as much of the oil left in the engine before the gearbox comes off

 

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Nice cleaned up and painted front plate...  mmmmm VHT quick coat was my friend.

 

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Then i got the gearbox off to get the cam out.  I got a bit cagy here but i'm not sure what i was worried about, it was quite simple..  hardest par was not having enough room for my ratchet spanners over the bolts and nuts..  i had to go back to using the open end like a savage.

 

Once I got the gearbox off though, something looked different about the crank, compared to the other one I had on a shelf.  I think this crank had been nitrided once upon a time due to the earthy colour and the fact the cast marks where basically unreadable due to whatever was coating them.  But in saying this i never got it confirmed and wasn't really too worried.

 

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Gearbox off and now sitting ready to have the speedo drive and spindle removed..  Since we put the 13" wheels and changed the diff to a 3.44:1 the speedo was well over 20% out.  I calculated id either need a 17/6 combination or a 16/6 combination.  I couldnt for the life of me get a hold of a 17 tooth drive so I found a 16 tooth drive in an old 1000cc engine.

 

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#10 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:18 PM

Ha HA! I removed the cam!  Time to package the cam and the followers up and send to Auckland Cams here in New Zealand for a new grind on the cam and have the followers refaced.  I opted to have them refaced as I knew they were good, and I wasn't sure how good a new set would be.

 

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I had a good discussion with Henry at Auckland Cams on what I wanted to achieve and what I was doing to the mini.  He came up with a profile that he thought would achieve what i was looking for that was designed to work with high lift rockers.

 

Once he got the cam it took him a day and it was on its way back to me, and his pricing was extremely reasonable!

 

And here it is:

 

 

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Cam Spec Sheet:

 

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While the cam was away I took the time to strip the carb and reset the jet start position for air/fuel mix and replaced the needle with a BDR which looked like it will work as a start - turns out the needle was the right choice!  I also used a yellow spring in it as well and 3 in 1 sewing machine oil in the damper.  I bolted the air filter on and left it to the side for when I put the mini all back together.

 

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#11 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:31 PM

Now it was time to start tidying up the engine, removing the old paint, grease and oil and repaint it. I also removed the rest of the old gasket material from all the surfaces, mostly with a razor blade and a brass brush.

 

I started with painting the transfer housing.  I wanted to paint it cooper red but my wife wanted blue.  So we compromised and I painted it blue.  I know there are blokes out there thinking, "I understand that compromise!".

 

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Gearbox was next to get the rattle can treatment.  I used high temp engine enamel - colour was ford blue.  After I painted it, I actually really liked it, especially with the black cylinder head (and black water pump, timing cover etc...)

 

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Edited by MordredNZ, 04 February 2016 - 10:43 PM.


#12 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:42 PM

Now I thought i'd tackle the fuel pump swap from mechanical to electric.  I new from the word go that hooking up the pump straight to 12V ignition was a dumb idea and a dangerous one at that so having a discussion or two with a friend of mine I decided to put a oil pressure switch in place that when the ignition was turned on, and the car produced oil pressure it would trigger a relay that fed 12V from the direct battery connection at the starter motor solenoid through a fuse to the fuel pump.  i wired the pump with 10 Amp wire and grounded it back at the boot which to me seemed the most obvious place being that the battery was grounded there too.  If there was an accident and the engine shut off, so would the pump, so the theory went.  So I put it into practice and the results were that it worked exactly as I wanted it to.

 

Here is the mock up of the cut off switch.  I used a brake line to connect the switch and oil pressure gauge to the existing point on the engine block where the oil pressure gauge went.  I used a 'L' bracket from the hardware store and a big hose clamp to mount the switch away from the engine.

 

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#13 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:46 PM

Time to also replace the "earth strap" that was in the engine bay.

 

from this:

 

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To this...  I also made a new earth point for it as I wasn't happy with the existing one.  the contact wasn't great.

 

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#14 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:58 PM

I reassembled the speedo drive...

 

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The decided to start reassembling the engine.

 

First i put the followers in and then the cam, using a good amount of engine assembly lube.

 

Then the front plate gasket.  I used RTV on almost all of the gaskets where oil was involved (except the pump) or where there was pressure.

 

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Time to degree in the cam.  I spent hours doing this over and over until I was happy with my process and the results.  I watched several videos on YouTube and read several articles on the best way to do it.  every one was different!  i worked it out in the end...

 

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Turns out I was reading 110 Degrees.  Needed to be 106 Degrees, so I ordered a 4 Degree offset woodruff key.  when it arrived I put it in and redid the timing.  #[email protected]$#@$!!! I must have had the figures slightly out when I originally did the calcs, so the best I could get was 106.5 degrees.  That will have to do I rekon.

 

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Yes I know the pushrod wasn't straight.  this was probably measurement 75 of 346 (bit of exaggeration, but hey it felt like it!)

 

 



#15 MordredNZ

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 11:01 PM

Next up was the subframe mounts.  The old ones were a bit perished so I replaced them.  What a mission when you are doing it by yourself!  2 jacks and a pry bar later I got them in.  the Teardrop mounts weren't so bad, but I needed to get creative with washers for spacers.

 

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