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How To: Change Engine Steady Bushes


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#1 Purple Tom

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 09:48 PM

*This FAQ covers how to change the engine steady bushes fitted as standard to all Mini's, 1959 to 2001, and also covers fitting an additional lower l/h gearbox steady. It doesn't include fitting of the 'Ultimate Engine Steady' as supplied by many companies. The FAQ is based on a 1993 998cc carburretor equipped car, including brake servo. Fitting to an SPi or MPi is similar, but restrictions around the inlet manifold may make access slightly tighter.

You will need to drive the car up onto a set of ramps, or jack the front and securely support the vehicle under the floorpan, ensuring you don't cause damage to the floor of the car.

Then disconnect the battery as a precuation, as you will be working in the confines of the engine bay.

Now you can start!

1 - First of all, open the bonnet of your Mini:

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2 - Then remove the ignition splashguard (if fitted), airbox and grille, leaving an exposed engine bay:

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We will start with the engine - bulkhead steady, mounted on the right hand side of the block and the bulkhead beneath the clutch master cylinder:

3 - Undo and remove the bolts securing the front of the engine steady bracket to the block. They're 1/2" AF, and should come undone easily:

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Once undone, remove the bolts, and retain the bracket and washers in the correct order.

4 - Next, using a 1/2'" AF spanner on the bottom, and a 1/2" socket and long extension, remove the bolt securing the rear of the steady to the bulkhead. Make sure the nut on the bottom doesn't round off, as it is usually a softer brass nut. Attached to the bolt should be the main engine earth strap, make sure this isn't lost. The other end will have been disconnected when you undid the front bolts:

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5 - Carefully withdraw the engine steady bar from the engine bay, being wary of damaging brake pipes etc. It can sometimes be tight in the rear bracket, so some force may be needed. Don't trap your fingers or bang your elbow, as it can sometimes come free quickly:

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6 - This picture shows the engine steady off the car, and its components. As can be seen, the bushes on the engine side are shot, with one almost completely disappeared. This was causing a large amount of engine movement, which in turn ripped the rear exhaust middle mount from the subframe. If your engine has been moving for a while, be sure to check the rear exhaust system mountings for damage. (the earth strap is shown too, for reference):

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7 - Next, remove the front r/h engine steady (if fitted). Most Mini's post 1984 will have this steady. It mounts onto a bracket on the front subframe, and to a bracket close to the oil drain plug.


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It is secured with 2 bolts, both 9/16" AF. The bolt is often corroded, this one required lubrication and some elbow grease to remove. Once the 2 bolts are undone, the steady will come off. Here it is, as it came off, complete with bolts and bushes:

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9 - This is the new engine steady. Designed to fit onto the l/h of the gearbox, at the bottom, utilising three of the speedo housing bolts. It then goes back and mounts onto a pre-exisitng hole in the l/h rear leg of the subframe:

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10 - As an upgrade we decided to fit poly bushes to the engine steadies, here is what is included in the engine steady upgrade kit, as purchased from Minispares:

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11 - Converting the engine steadies from rubber to poly bushes is easy. First, prise out and remove the rubbber bushes from the steady bars. Then, using a small amount of grease to prevent corrosion, insert the poly bushes, with the flange on the outside, into the steady bar. Then, using a vice (if possible, if not, a hammer and and a piece of wood would be ok), press the steel inserts into the bushes:

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(the bush kit from Minispares only includes 1 new steel insert, you can re-use the existing ones to do the other end of the steady bar)

The finished article should look like this:

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12 - This shows the three different types of steadies. The top one is the upper r/h engine-bulkhead steady, with the ends offset at 90 degrees. The middle one is the lower r/h gearbox-subframe steady, with the ends parallel. The lower one is the new lower l/h gearbox-subframe steady, with the ends offset at 45degress. All have been converted to polybushes, ready to fit:

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13 - This shows the new engine steady in component form. I added an extra spring and flat washer for security, as the kit only provided them for one bolt. M(8) stainless washers were used:

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14 - Next, offer up the bracket for the new steady to the speedo drive housing, and carefully undo the three 7/16" AF bolts needed to fit it. Fit the bracket, ensuring not to overtighten the bolts and risk damaging the aluminium gearbox casing. This shows the bracket fitted:

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15 - Fit the steady bar to the bracket on the gearbox, and then swing it up and mount it to the hole in the subframe rear leg. There is adjustment for length on the bracket. Leave the bolts slightly loose for the time being. This shows the bracket fitted:

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16 - Next, re-fit the upper engine steady to the block and bulkhead. A trick to align the holes on the bulkhead bracket with the steady is to use a pair of long-nosed pliers, and gently lever the holes so they align:

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Then, re-fit the bolts, not forgetting the engine earth strap. You can tighten the bolts up fully. This will secure the engine initially, and allow you to make sure the other two steadies are in the correct place:

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You can then re-fit the front lower steady, re-fitting, as Haynes says, is the reverse of removal!! Tighten the bolts fully, and also tighten the bolts on the new rear steady (if fitted).

The engine should be held in a vice-like grip by the uprated steadies. Check all nuts and bolts are tight, and re-fit the airbox, ignition guard and grille. Make sure none of the wiring has been disturbed or damaged, then re-connect the battery. Before moving the vehicle, test all lights, horn, wipers etc.

You can now go and drive your beast, and feel how much better it is now the engine doesn't flop about!!

Handy Hint: ALWAYS grease bolts when re-fitting any component!!

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This will protect the parts from corrosion, and will also make it so much easier to remove, should you ever need to!

Thanks to minipixie for the loan of her car to do this FAQ, and for being a brilliant photographer! And for sitting patiently all the way through this work!


:P

#2 Madmax

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 12:58 AM

i would just like to add, that it should really be copper grease used on the bolts, thats what i've found works best


fantastic FAQ mate

#3 vitruvian

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 01:01 AM

quick question !! Might sound stupid (I'm noob so bare with me) Can I fit two gearbox stabilizer on my mini?? ( L/H and R/H)

#4 Tom Sanderson

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 10:17 AM

quick question !! Might sound stupid (I'm noob so bare with me) Can I fit two gearbox stabilizer on my mini?? ( L/H and R/H)


yes you can ;D

whats with posting at 1 in the morning :)

#5 vitruvian

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 11:32 AM

Well because you and I living in different time zone ... Thanks for the info though

#6 jif2006

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 11:10 AM

Ahhh Top Right lovely n warm lol

Well looks like Ill have to so my engine steadys now that was really well explained and planned out will have a go now.

CheerS

Brad

#7 saralouise

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 07:55 PM

Hi, I've recently acquired a Mini Sidewalk:D

It needs it's top engine steady bushes replaced. It has a brake cylinder so it is very hard to get at the rear steady bolt. How do i go about getting the bolt off and more importantly on again?!


Thank you


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#8 Monkeh

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 07:39 PM

just get a ratchet with an extension on it from the top and a spanner on it from the bottom

#9 ceejam

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:14 AM

just get a ratchet with an extension on it from the top and a spanner on it from the bottom


Can I just add that there should be a large, penny, washer between the rubber bush and the engine block.

#10 terryb

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 03:00 PM

Hi all,

Had a go at this yesterday..... had a couple of problems that meant that I could not finish the job.

(1) I was not able to get the bolt out from the bulkhead. I managed to remember to hold the nut with a spanner, and fix an extension bar to the socket etc. So my question is - how do you get the bolt out????? Is it turning o.k., but not lifting up, not even able to get a fine screwdriver under the head of the bolt for a little leaverage. Have tried tapping with a hammer from the bottom but still no luck.

Now I was able to remove the battery strap from both ends of the steady, and also the nut/bolt securing the steady to the actual engine.

(2) Slipped a disc while working on my little lady - any good fixes for this????? You lot are so good at fixing everyting else to do with a mini.

Ta muchies
Terry.

#11 ceejam

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 10:23 AM

Hi all,

Had a go at this yesterday..... had a couple of problems that meant that I could not finish the job.

(1) I was not able to get the bolt out from the bulkhead. I managed to remember to hold the nut with a spanner, and fix an extension bar to the socket etc. So my question is - how do you get the bolt out????? Is it turning o.k., but not lifting up, not even able to get a fine screwdriver under the head of the bolt for a little leaverage. Have tried tapping with a hammer from the bottom but still no luck.

Now I was able to remove the battery strap from both ends of the steady, and also the nut/bolt securing the steady to the actual engine.

(2) Slipped a disc while working on my little lady - any good fixes for this????? You lot are so good at fixing everyting else to do with a mini.

Ta muchies
Terry.


Sounds like the bush is seized onto the bolt. Try supporting the bolt from underneath with a long metal rod and gently hitting the bracket roundabout (using a socket over the bolt) to try an free it off.

Last resort is cutting the bolt either side of the bush, and then trying to get the bolt out off the car

#12 Jimmyarm

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Posted 11 January 2007 - 03:31 PM

Little tip,

If the above (bolt is seized in the metal lining) happens to you, its really easy to get it out. Drill a small hole in the middle of the bolt from the top, there is plenty of room for a drill, and gradually go up in size with the drill bits.

You dont need to go too deep, eventually the head of the bolt will come off and you can wiggle the bar out :D

#13 Monstrous

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Posted 20 January 2007 - 10:32 PM

Excellent guide

just did the top steady today and found it fairly straight forward apart from the bulkhead-end bolt was seized in the bushing so had to knock it out from underneath, replaced all bushes in the top one though

still a bit of juddering though so will replace the lower steady too, one question though, are the lower bushes the same size as the upper bushes?

and i think i'll also get the gearbox steady from minispares, could you possibly link me to it, as there are a few on there and im not sure which one is the one you have pictured above

Thanks

M

Edited by Monstrous, 20 January 2007 - 10:33 PM.


#14 jim295

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Posted 13 April 2007 - 04:07 PM

http://www.minispare....aspx?pid=34151 - gearbox steady

and

http://www.minispare....aspx?pid=36633 - replacement bush kit

#15 moke man

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 08:45 PM

Very useful info, but can anyone advise.

I have both top engine steady bars ( L & R ) but no lower ( gearbox steady ),whilst I see how they are fitted, is it possible to perhaps make it all too rigid if I fitted " lower ones?

Sounds daft I know but Thought I should check first.

Moke man.




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