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Mini Vtec Build


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#1 26dtp

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 04:29 AM

I have been wanting to build a special mini ever since I was a teenager but due to money and time (mostly money) I was never in a position to build one, until this year.  I have been a fan of Zcars for many years.  After watching youtube videos of hayabusa mini's I was instantly sold on the idea.  Being located on the west coast of Canada though makes this a little harder to achieve.  

 

Last year (2015) I decided it was time I started seriously looking into doing a Zcars mini build.  After looking at various options (Front engined VTEC, bike engined, etc..) and reading builds I decided I want a mid engined RWD K20 Mini.  So I now have an idea what I want to build, good first step right!  So off I go to look at Zcars website only to find out they are closed down.  There is no chance I'm going to find a 2nd hand Zcars kit in North America (or is there?) so I was a bit stuffed.  After countless hours of research I learned that Zcars may be starting back up again in the future and if not there are companies in the USA that sell similar kits.  Zcars is my number 1 choice as it was the kit that I fell in love with.   So I decided to hold off on that decision and focus on another issue, finding the right Mini.  There is a bit of a cult following of Mini's around where I am and so they are about and often found for sale, but always overpriced.  I also didn't want to start cutting up a perfectly good mini, I wanted a 'project'.  So fast forward to February 2016 and I come across this bad boy:

 

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This 1979 Austin Mini 1000 has been off the road for somewhere close to 20 years.  The previous owner bought it about 12 years ago to continue restoring the mini from the owner before and getting it on the road.  Like a lot of projects his motivation went and mini sat for many years.  Whilst it looks a mess, a lot of the rust has already been repaired and the only section that has rust is the rear, which is a none issue for me as it is all getting cut out.  She wasn't running and whilst I don't need the engine, I would like to get her running as I want to get as much of my money back selling parts as possible.  She also has a really ugly sunroof that needs to go.  I got a decent deal on her and bought her home.

 

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Edited by 26dtp, 10 September 2016 - 04:51 AM.


#2 26dtp

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 04:50 AM

After getting the (dis)approval from my mum, me and my dad got to work trying to get the engine running.  It only took us a couple hours and turned out to be a clogged fuel line.  For the first time in 6 years, the engine was ran and in all honesty sounded pretty good.  Got a vid of it running to help with sale of engine and then started on the stripping down of the mini

 

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As you can see the body is in pretty good shape and there has already been a lot of rust repair on the floor, sills, and firewall.

 

Whilst selling the bits from the mini I did not need, I managed to find out about a guy about 20 mins away from me with a mini that is never allowed on the road again and so he is looking to part out.  The entire body is rusty except for the roof.  Well remember how I mentioned that the mini had an ugly sunroof? Yes, I think you know where I am going with this.  After chatting with the guy we made a deal with him.  If we remove the engine and subframe from the mini,  We can take the roof.  Considering we removed engine and subframe a couple weeks prior on our own mini, we knew it was only a couple hours work, so that is precisely what we did.

 

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Ugly sun roof!!

 

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Funny looking without a roof ain't it!

 

Now I have the entire roof I think it will be easier to cut my roof pillars and weld this one on.  This new roof has 0 rust and dents.  It has an antenna but I should be able to weld that without too much hassle.


Edited by 26dtp, 10 September 2016 - 05:22 AM.


#3 26dtp

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 05:22 AM

Before continuing I had to find the mini a home.  It was currently sitting on my parents front driveway and whilst the weather is alright now, we get a lot of rain.  Not only that but the driveway is sloped making it awkward (and potentially dangerous) to work on the mini.  The only solution was to level the driveway and build a shelter around it. Again, after getting my mum's (dis)approval, my dad and I spent the weekend building essentially a big tent.  

 

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Got the tarp 2nd hand and the shell was from an old tent thats canvas had ripped. It is very sturdy and should hold up through the winter.

 

I also managed to source an engine.  The K20A2 is out of a 2003 RSX-S that had an unfortunate encounter with black ice which caused it to roll.  Was a few hours away from home and was a decent price.

 

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Edited by 26dtp, 10 September 2016 - 06:03 AM.


#4 26dtp

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 06:03 AM

So this is the part of my build that even I still don't believe happened.  After buying the engine I realized it did not come with an ECU and because I was planning to go the hondata route, I was on the lookup for an OEM one.  Well I managed to find a K20A2 for sale in my area.  On a limb, I decided to email the guy to see if he had the ECU and would be willing to sell it separately.  I get a response saying it is not a stock ECU and wouldn't be what i'm looking for as the ECU is customized for a K20 in a mini.  After picking myself up from the floor I emailed back telling him that it is exactly what im looking for an asked for more information on the mini.  Well it turns out that quite a few years ago in the UK someone built a K20 Zcars Mini.  An American guy saw it, brought it to the US, and drove it into a wall.  The guy I am chatting with saw it on an Auction site, bought it, and brought it up to Canada with the intention of using it to turn his Mini into vtec mini.  After he bought it and stripped it down he realized more stuff was damaged than he was expecting and due to money decided it wasn't for him.  So it sat for a couple years.  I couldn't (and still can't) believe my luck.  First opportunity I got, I met up with him and swiftly bought everything he had, for a very good price.  Here are my winnings:

 

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Things I am missing: Front subframe, radiator, 1 ultralite wheel, petrol tank (the one I have with it has a hole in it, might try and repair), rear rotors and pads, seats. and i'm sure many other things I haven't realized yet.

 

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Things that are bent: Rear subframe, A-arm on the front, and hopefully nothing else!

 

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You can see the bow in the rear subframe.  Going to take it to frame shop to get straightened.
 
The mini that was crashed into the wall.  It was on the front cover of the MiniWorld magazine at one point.  I have ordered the magazine and I look forward to reading more about it
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We have started cutting the hole for the rear to sit, but are missing the Zcars DVD making it more challenging to find information. If anyone has one please let me know!

 

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So this is where I am currently at with the build.  Still early stages but far enough along that I have content to start a build topic.  I have made an instagram account for if you want to follow: https://www.instagram.com/k20_mini/ but I will not be going into much detail on it unlike here.

 

What's next? Well in a few weeks I will be travelling to Dublin for work.  Whilst there I plan to pop over to UK to visit family and also to Kent and check out the new Zcars shop and pick up some parts I am missing to bring back with me (like front subframe).  

 

Hope these posts are interesting. They are to me! I will continue to post my updates.  Anything questions/comments/suggestions I would love to hear, cheers!

 

 


Edited by 26dtp, 10 September 2016 - 06:12 AM.


#5 morley

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 07:12 AM

Nice project, you were so lucky to find a 2nd hand kit out there. Maybe it's a sign that it's meant to be!

#6 BLING BLING WHEELZ

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 08:33 AM

Good luck with the project

Any questions you have feel free to ask will help the best i can. am also half way through a vtec build

#7 Magneto

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Posted 11 September 2016 - 05:05 AM

I'm interested to see how you run the shift linkage, and I wonder about cooling for the engine, I didn't see any vents from the fenders or outlets to the rear. I know the radiator is in the front, but I'm wondering about airflow over the engine....this will be interesting to watch - great find on the Kit!

#8 cptkirk

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Posted 13 September 2016 - 03:11 PM

Good luck with the project. I remember reading the article on that car, more than anything I remembered the Goodmans speakers in rear window, made me chuckle, proper old school. Shout up if you need help and I am sure we will all try and help.



#9 Johnny Mac

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 10:34 PM

Hey 26dtp!

 

I am doing a similar build down here in the Bay Area! I'm in the process of stuffing a Honda J32A2 V-6 in the rear of my '62. I have purchased most of the components from MiniTec in Atlanta. I just spent the last 6 months getting rid of rust and now am really getting into the mods. Let's keep each other posted on our progress!

Cheers!

Johnny Mac

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#10 26dtp

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:04 AM

UPDATE TIME!

 

Don't worry, the project is not dead, just been very busy!!  So what's been going on since my last update? Well shortly after my first posts on here I had to travel to Dublin for work. Whilst in Europe, I popped over to UK to visit family and arranged to meet up with David & Chris from Zcars.  They showed me around the new facility in Kent and we chatted about parts i'm in need of for my project. Was a great visit and they even took me out for a Big Mac Meal!

 

Upon returning, I took the rear subframe to the frame shop and got it straightened, it looks much better now and only took them a couple hours of work.

 

I started work on the roof, cutting it out and putting a new one on:

 

 

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Can't go back now!

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I am still learning how to weld so for now it is tacked and I will keep practicing my welding as well as test door fitment but overall it looks pretty good.



#11 26dtp

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:29 AM

I wasn't able to touch the Mini in 2017, but I did upgrade her home.  As you saw I was working out of a (large) tent. Well at the beginning of 2017 I bought a house so I have been very busy moving and working on house. Here is my favourite part and the Mini's new home:

 

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A double garage!

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Shortly after moving in, whilst browsing the internet, I stumbled upon a 4 post car lift that a guy had in his scrap metal pile.  I got a steal of a deal for it and decided to restore it.  It is a beast and far bigger than anything i'll ever need, but I just couldn't help myself. Here are pictures of how I found it:

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As you can see very crusty and in need of TLC



#12 26dtp

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:40 AM

So I spent most of the summer restoring the lift.  It was a lot of work.  Me and my dad initially built a sandblasting booth but soon realized that there were alteast 6 different colours of paint under the red and the sandblasting just took way too long due to thickness of paint so instead whipped out the angle grinder and spent more hours than I want to admit grinding every piece back to bare metal, then primed and painted it. Here are the pics:

 

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I am really happy with how it turned out and I hope will get many years of use.  The next thing I want to do is try and get the mini underneath it.  I don't have the ceiling height to put the lift all the way to the top, and I somehow need to find an additional ~2" to fit the mini under, it is so close i'm sure I can figure something out.



#13 26dtp

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:09 AM

The lift was completed a few weeks ago, I have mostly just been tidying up the garage as I had to move everything multiple times to accommodate the lift.  My Z Cars order also arrived a few weeks ago!

 

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Z Cars have redesigned the front subframe, I think it is a big improvement. Arms are a lot simpler and have created more space.

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Z Cars now use GAZ shocks

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The extra space has allowed for a larger tank :) The hole is for the throttle cable as Mini is LHD

 

 

Bonus, I scored a good deal on 2nd hand (but brand new) complete set of wheels and tyres!

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#14 26dtp

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:29 AM

This past weekend we moved all the remaining Mini parts from my parents place to my house (My mum wants the tent taken down!). I needed to find a good spot for some of the larger items  :D

 

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The engine in the now straightened frame!

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How to install the rear subframe when you have only 2 people and an overkill lift  :shades:

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It went in quite well.  No doubt will be in and out multiple times but my plan is to do a dry run and get everything in and then take it all apart for paint/cosmetics.

 

So this is where i'm currently at.  I think my next step will be to get the front subframe in and try and stack the mini on the lift with my other car.

 

I will do my best to update this build thread more regularly.  The mini is back to being my main focus :)

 

Question: Would you guys be interested in a vlog that i post on youtube where I video my progress and working on the mini? I think it might be fun and would help motivate me to push on. I would of course also continue to update this build thread.


Edited by 26dtp, 06 February 2018 - 04:31 AM.


#15 panky

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:50 PM

Vlog away, I'd watch it :-)






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