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Restoring A Mini With Limited Experience?


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#1 A362 TTU

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 10:46 AM

Hi All.

 

I have a mini which was my first car. It was in tidy-ish working condition but a LONG way from perfect. It has been laid up in storage at my parents for 6 years now, drove it in one day - and its not left their driveway since. It hasnt been started in approximately 5 years.

 

I am now in a position where I have my own home with a large single garage to store it. I would like to restore the car extensively, stripping/cleaning/repairing/replacing every component as necessary.

 

I only have basic tools but am happy to buy what I need. I do not have any real mechanical skills but can follow instructions and am willing to learn - I did keep the car running for the year as my first car which involved many a weekend with the spanners out, so I am not totally useless.

 

My main concern is body work and paint. I don't think I will be able to complete the welding work required. The car has oversills, and multiple layers in the floor panel (metal over rusty metal etc etc) from previous bodge repairs. It also has an aftermarket sunroof that needs sorting (new roof panel to remove this?) and massive holes for 6x9's in the parcel shelf. I guess this is going to be the most expensive and troublesome part of the build? Am I right?

 

As for the rest of the work, engine/suspension/brakes/electrics/interior, I am thinking that, with the right tools - it is more like a really complicated lego set that I could do the work on myself with enough time and perseverance? 

 

Am I mad? or along the right lines? are there any resources you would suggest? any other tips?



#2 Homersimpson

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:37 AM

The bodyworks is always the major part of a project, the rest of it is easy in comparison and I have seen so many unfinished projects (even bought a few) where the previous owner has bought and stripped a car, looked at the body, found its too difficult so they rebuild the engine/suspension/ whatever.

 

They then come back to the body to find its still the same so they spend loads of money of new shiny bits instead and avoid the problem, they then admit the body is beyond them and get some quotes to have someone do it which is far more than they expect.  

 

They then site on for a while, maybe even buy a welder before leaving it for a few years (often outside getting worse) before finally throwing in the towel and selling them.

 

If you can afford to pay someone to do the body and paint it then the rest is simple with the help of a Haynes manual, if you can't pay to have the body done then you need to consider whether you are able to weld it up, do you have the space, will the neighbours be round banging on your door every time you fire up the angle grinder etc.

 

If you look on the forum you will find that loads of people on here have started in your position, bought a welder and done a fabulous job so its certainly possible.  That's how I started over 20 years ago.



#3 A362 TTU

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 11:44 AM

Thanks for the response.

I could pay for the body work, part of me wants to do it myself but I'm fairly confident I would be biting off more than I can chew.

Definitely don't want to just do the easy bits and leave the body either way.

If I were outsourcing the body work but doing everything else myself, what order would be the most sensible to do things in?

#4 Bat

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 12:25 PM

Hi,

Strip it to the shell, label everything!

Drop the shell at the body shop leaving you a nice empty garage to rebuild the mechanicals...

Cheers  :proud:



#5 A362 TTU

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 12:47 PM

Thanks Bat :). Sounds like common sense. Am I going to need a hoist to have the engine out? Any other large 'tools' required?

Anyone got any recommendations in the north west for body and paint work?

#6 Mini Waco

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 12:59 PM

You and I appear to be the same with similar experience yet the desire, drive and willingness to learn.  Between this forum and youtube, I am learning everything.   Since I knew there must be others in the same situation, I have started my youtube Mini Restoration from a "Novice" perspective.  Perhaps you you may relate..    https://www.youtube....as=subscriber.  Good luck to you!!



#7 A362 TTU

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 01:23 PM

Hey Mini Waco, thanks! I've just watched your introduction, very cool setup you have over there, a mini texas haven.

Good luck to you too, I will keep an eye out as you progress.

#8 matt615

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:01 PM

My local college does an evening class in welding and bodywork. So you could enrol on something like that, buy a welder and give it a go yourself.

The other (much more expensive) option is to send the body off to a body shop.

As said, the mechanical side of things is pretty easy in comparison.

#9 sonikk4

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:02 PM

http://www.theminifo...se-for-welding/



#10 Bat

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Posted 14 October 2018 - 05:28 PM

Hi,

If you leave the engine in the subframe you can lift the body off it if there's 2 of you.

That's how they were built except they lowered the body on.

Cheers  :proud:



#11 Gillybobs

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Posted 15 October 2018 - 08:07 PM

My project is very similar to what you say you want to do . A body shop did the body work and I'm trying to complete to mechanical side of things. Sounds very doable. It's taking me forever but one day it will be done lol!

#12 harrythehat

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 09:27 AM

Apart from the mechanical and body learning curve one other thing you will learn is patience by the bucket load and its just so rewarding.

They should do a ninja finger stretcher for some of the tasks ahead.



#13 johnR

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Posted 16 October 2018 - 09:55 AM

I was in a similar situation to you with little experience of minis or welding. I stripped the body (didn't take enough photo's)and had it welded and painted while I restored the other parts.
This approach means it comes together quite quickly while you're still enthusiastic - I think it took about three months to put mine back together once I got the body back - I'd set myself a deadline of taking it to Monaco which helped.
If you can find a bodyshop that will take it on as a side project it should be cheaper (but slower).
I recommend having all the zinc coated parts re-plated.
UT4Gbhd.jpg

#14 A362 TTU

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Posted 17 October 2018 - 08:13 PM

Thanks all for the replies and bits of advice, it is much appreciated and good food for thought.

 

Does anyone have some ballpark pricing for larger scale bodywork jobs they have had done/quoted? Would be good to have as much info as possible when I start to look around. I think I am unlikely to take on that part of the task in my garage.



#15 Hedgey

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Posted 18 October 2018 - 06:56 AM

I was in a fairly similar situation when I started my project.

The mini was my first car which I had tinkered about on, then went off to university leaving it for 3 years before getting a job and starting the restoration.

 

I have basically learnt the skills I have needed and bought the tools along the way. If you're happy and prepared for your project to take years (mines in its 4th year and only just getting ready for paint) then I'd say have a go!

 

These days we have access to tonnes of information on forums such as this and plenty of good videos on Youtube.

 

Pick one section to start on and buy the tools and learn the skills needed to complete it. You'll find that your skill set and tool collection quickly build and you're able to confidently tackle more jobs yourself!

 

I'm only speaking from my 'first restoration' experience but I think you should have a go, just make sure you keep yourself motivated or set deadlines to complete tasks by.

 

Elliott 






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