Just joined the forum and this is my first post! Excited to say I have caught the Mini Fever!
I am about to begin a project and am keen for some general tips and warnings about problems I can expect to encounter during my build:
Okay, Mini #:
Bought a 1992 Rover Mini Sprite from the UK, blind on eBay one evening (yes, I am that impulsive). It had apparently had the floors replaced already, and had three months MOT still on it, so figured it was at least roadworthy. Flew in, picked it up in the middle of the night and immediately drove it all the way from Kings Lynn, UK up to Helsinki, Finland over about 4 days. Unfortunately, got rear-ended the very morning after the car was picked up. Relatively minor damage to just the right hand corner. No glass broken (except reverse lamp), and the door stills opens and shuts fine. Fairly lucky there, but the insurance company will almost certainly call it a write off. The only other issue i had on the drive up was that it didn't seem to be charging. It has a seemingly new alternator (shiny, less than a year old) on it, and the battery was new, but I still had to buy a new battery halfway up Sweden after driving with torches taped to the front one foggy evening because the headlights took all the power away from the spark plugs. I had a brief look at the wiring and quickly concluded I needed to replace the whole wiring loom as there were speaker wires, random splices, crap terminals and the rest EVERYWHERE. Not huge problem to me, I new I was buying a project.
I intend to buy the wreck because apart from the charging issue, the rest of the mechanicals are sweet as a nut. Engine runs great and doesn't drink too much oil, it has a new Stage 1 exhaust and the carb has been adjusted to match, the heater works, gearbox is great, brakes work well etc.
Once I got it up to the garage where I intend to rebuild it in Finland, I removed the seats, ripped out the carpets and realised I might have been had. There is rust and the 'replaced floors' were maybe just the passenger footwell quarter welded in by apes. The underside had been sprayed with a very heavy coat of underseal so it wasn't possible to check all this before purchase, but oh well. It is definitely not too far gone, but there is a bit more rust than I was prepared for at this stage.
During the same period of time, I was researching converting this car to Left Hand Drive, as I live in Sweden now but will probably move to Finland within the next year or so, and plan to use the Mini (after the rebuild) as my daily driver.
I initially thought you could just buy conversion kits relatively easily, with a kit for the steering rack and a set of slave pedals and the rest should be fairly easy, but I found this to not be the case.
I then noticed another Mini for sale (yes, I tend to let things get a bit out of hand...).
This one is a 1974 Mini 1000 project. It is in Finland, its Left Hand Drive, has a registration plate, has been inside since 1996 and 95% of the welding has been done, plus it comes with all the required panels to finish it. I am yet to see it in the flesh but will pick it up by the end of February 2019.
My idea is, to take out the engine and box from Mini #1 because I know it runs great, plus its a bigger 1275cc engine, and after doing a teardown, clean and rebuild of it, slap it under the body of Mini #2. Thus I would have a LHD, 1974 Mini with a 1275cc engine, registered, rebuilt and ready to go in Finland relatively quickly. Then, over time, I can do the welding on the body of Mini #1, and eventually put the old engine into it, and then sell that one on or whatever.
Now, I have already bought the Hanes Service manual AND Hanes restoration manual. I am keen to get going and I think my first project will be removing the engine and box from Mini #1 and tear it down and rebuild it, whilst I send the body of Mini #2 off to get finished and painted.
Can you guys tell me what issues I can expect to encounter in trying to put a LHD Mk3 body onto the running gear of a RHD Mk4? I plan to use the subframes from the Mk3 as they have already been restored and painted. So a more focused question would be, would the engine and box from a Mk4 fit into the Mk3 subframe?
What do I need to ensure I have/keep/preserve/look for to ensure I can rebuild it all as a LHD vehicle?
Is there a different wiring loom for RHD and LHD?
All advice and tips welcome!