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Daily Driven Mini - Bertie The 1991 Mini Neon


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#31 MiniCarJack

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Posted 01 September 2020 - 08:19 PM

I've been back in the office for a few weeks now so I've been driving Bertie most days, and the local group of mini owners has started meeting up on Wednesdays again, so I've been able to finally start enjoying the fun side of Mini ownership a bit more.

 

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Since the last update I've made a few subtle changes - swapped the bonnet badge for an earlier Leyland shield type, fitted a new pair of riveted number plates, and had a full set of 165 Falken tyres fitted (along with a full alignment) after experiencing a blowout on my way home from work. Annoyingly another slight obstacle has just thrown itself my way, as immediately after driving off from the car park pictured above, a car flicked a stone straight at my passenger side headlamp which now has a nice stone-sized hole in it! So a new pair of upgraded halogen lamps is on its way from Minispares, hopefully in time for me to fit on my lunch break tomorrow.

 

Overall I'm pretty happy with how the overall look of the car is shaping up and fortunately it's still treating me very well with some surprisingly reliable motoring, I even took it on a 700 mile round trip to the lake district and back and it didn't miss a beat. As for what's next, I think I'll be keeping a black grille but maybe replace it with a new thin slat type rather than the pressed steel design it currently has, for a slightly cleaner more retro look. I'm still unsure whether to bother forking out for a partial respray to remove the stripes, they are growing on me but I'm still not 100% sure they suit the look I'm going for, which is starting to evolve into a '70s Mk3-ish standard-ish feel with maybe a bit of a special tuning twist... Apart from these cosmetic bits I will continue to do all the usual servicing and maintenance as needed, and maybe think about upgrading the interior with some comfier seats, new carpet and some sound deadening to improve the overall comfort levels.

 

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Given the break we had from the rain this past weekend I also had a good chance to perform a slightly more thorough exterior detail, with a decent wash, some clay bar decontamination, then a hand polish and wax treatment - the paint is looking the shiniest it's been for quite a while now!

 

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#32 MiniCarJack

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Posted 08 December 2020 - 02:27 PM

With lockdown V2 having just passed and me continuing to work from home, I've not been doing loads of driving recently, so have taken a bit of time to go over the car including getting an independent pre-MOT check-over to see what jobs might need doing before it comes due for a test at the end of Jan.

 

Being a classic mini, there are a few items to attend to!

 

The handbrake and general performance of the rear brakes was pretty poor, luckily this is something I've just been able to sort myself with liberal amounts of penetrating spray & brake cleaner to free up a seized adjuster and get the brakes adjusted nicely on both sides. Now rather than the whole car rolling backwards despite the handbrake lever being up at least 4 clicks, now with just 2 clicks it holds firm even on very steep inclines. Makes me much more confident for hill-starts!

 

The check also uncovered a split steering rack boot as well as some play in the track rod ends and some unwanted slack where the column and rack join together. So I think the best thing for this is going to be a brand new replacement rack and track rod ends which will hopefully eliminate all these problems in one go, and at around 55 quid it's not a bad investment for some longer term peace of mind rather than faffing around trying to refurbish the old one.

 

While it may not necessarily be an MOT failure item in its own right, the front suspension is pretty knackered with worn out cones, particularly on the drivers' side, which is now causing premature wear on the ball joints and subsequently a noticeable clunking noise under acceleration and deceleration, which is both annoying and within the realms of an MOT fail. I could probably just re-shim the affected joint(s) and carry on, but for that all-important peace of mind along with my own comfort (especially as it's a daily driver), I think I'll be getting a new set of cones as well. And since I'll be doing the front, I may as well sort out the rear as well...

 

... which brings me onto the biggest item of concern, the rear subframe. It's a borderline case of maybe it'll pass, maybe it won't, but it does look a bit worse for wear and I'm surprised it wasn't an advisory on the last MOT (in fact, I'm surprised the last MOT apparenly didn't pick up on anything at all...). While I'd be tempted to try and tidy it up and get it through the MOT for another year, it's inevitably going to have to be sorted properly at some point, so with this in mind I'm probably just going to have to bite the bullet and swap it out for a nice new one, or at the very least a decent second-hand item.

 

I'm a bit worried about trying to tackle all of this work myself, as I'm working full time, live in a 2nd floor flat with no real space to work on the car properly, and probably don't have half the tools I'll need to do everything. Plus I'd rather avoid taking it off the road for ages being my daily driver, even though my Mk1 is due into the country in a few weeks' time, I really don't fancy using that as the backup car during winter and subjecting it to salty roads! I've had some offers of help from a friend who's pretty local, but even with that, it'll be a challenge to dedicate loads of my time on weekends and evenings to getting it fixed. Which does leave me in a bit of a dilemma as to what to do... outsourcing the work is definitely the easiest option but also undoubtedly very pricey! I suppose I have until the end of Jan to work out a plan, I'm just really hoping I won't have to cut my losses and sell the car to buy something modern and boring  :(



#33 MiniCarJack

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Posted 17 December 2020 - 09:11 PM

Quick update, I've decided to have a go at doing as much of the fixing as I can. My nan has very kindly offered some space where I can store and work on the Mini, so it'll be much more do-able now. As I'm still working from home I should have little need to do any driving, meaning that the soon-to-arrive Mk1 will only be used sparingly for backup car duties, which is an arrangement I can live with!

 

Earlier today I managed to eliminate the play between the steering column and rack by checking and torqueing up the shear bolt along with the rack U bolts, now there's just a bit of play in one of the track rod ends which I need to eliminate. Fortunately this should mean I won't need to replace the whole rack which makes the whole task of prepping for the MOT much less daunting.

 

So, as it's payday, I've just taken the plunge and placed a nicely sized order with MiniSpares. I've splashed out a bit, so on the way are a full set of new evolution cones, genuine HiLos, KYB shocks, rear subframe fitting kit, new ball joints all round (although I'll only need to address one - always handy to have spares!), track rod ends, plus a few other bits I've already forgotten.

 

I've also managed to secure a decently priced second hand built-up rear subframe in good nick, which I'll be collecting this weekend. Hopefully the shiny new bits from MiniSpares turn up soon, or at least between Christmas and the new year, so I can have a chance while I'm off work to properly tidy up the subframe and fit all the new suspension components, all ready to swap in place of the crusty old frame currently on the car. Have watched a few videos on YouTube of removal and refitting of the rear subframe so I'm feeling a little more confident, although I'm still dreading the thought of snapping bolts and the nightmare that could entail...



#34 ads7

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Posted 18 December 2020 - 09:42 AM

Good to see a daily driver on here I'm currently doing the same with ours.

Will be interested to see how the evo rubber cones ride in combination with the kybs, should be excellent.

#35 MiniCarJack

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Posted 18 December 2020 - 10:08 AM

Good to see a daily driver on here I'm currently doing the same with ours.

Will be interested to see how the evo rubber cones ride in combination with the kybs, should be excellent.

 

I'm quite keen to see how it rides as well. KYB shocks seem to have a good reputation, but as the evo cones are pretty new to the market, there isn't a great deal of real-world feedback on them yet. Hopefully it'll make for a really nice setup in conjunction with the HiLos to get the ride height dialed in, which should also help account for the harder rubber compound of the evo cones which means they're less likely to settle as low as standard cones.


Edited by MiniCarJack, 18 December 2020 - 10:29 AM.


#36 MiniCarJack

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 11:38 AM

Very speedy delivery from Minispares, Christmas has come early  :D

 

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I also managed to collect the replacement subframe over the weekend, didn't get any photos of that but it's in excellent condition. Managed to crush my thumb between the subframe and the radius arm while attempting to lift it (stupid me!) which seems to have caused a bit of nerve damage, but luckily it's not broken so not too much to worry about.

 

My next aim is to get the subframe assembly tidied up and painted ready to fit to the car, it is already built-up and complete but of course the new suspension bits will all be getting fitted, and I'll probably rebuild the rear brakes with new shoes, springs and wheel cylinders as well. It's my last day of work today so hopefully between Christmas and the new year I'll get a chance to crack on with refurbing the subframe.



#37 colinf1

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Posted 23 December 2020 - 01:47 PM

You can't beat a box of shiny new parts!

The rear subframe is remarkably awkward to lift with the radius arms still attached, lots of pinch points and cumbersome to maneuver!

#38 MiniCarJack

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 01:57 PM

Happy new year all, just a quick update on this car for now. Most of my time and attention has gone toward my Mk1 which arrived from New Zealand a few days ago, so I haven't really had a chance to work on the subframe. However, I have made the call to get the subframe swap and other MOT items done by a local mini specialist instead of attempting it all myself, so I'll just be repainting and refurbing the frame before getting it all fitted and taken through an MOT in one go.

 

Part of the reason is it's far more convenient for me in terms of time, but also the work will now include a couple of areas of welding which are needed after I discovered a hole in the floorpan, and some corrosion near one of the subframe mounting points. All of which would be far too beyond my skillset or ability to work on without any of the necessary tools etc. Fortunately the estimate for all this work is actually very reasonable, and at least I'll then be confident I've got a solid drivable car to use for the next year and beyond, which I can enjoy and continue to personalise.

 

Also, now that I won't have to dedicate as much time to all the needed MOT work, I've got the chance to work out a mounting system for these seats which arrived yesterday  ;D

 

KNGQ6GU.jpg



#39 ads7

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 05:27 PM

You can't beat a box of shiny new parts!

The rear subframe is remarkably awkward to lift with the radius arms still attached, lots of pinch points and cumbersome to maneuver!


Attach wheels, roll into place, easy.

#40 GT Jimmy

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 06:18 PM

Happy new year all, just a quick update on this car for now. Most of my time and attention has gone toward my Mk1 which arrived from New Zealand a few days ago, so I haven't really had a chance to work on the subframe. However, I have made the call to get the subframe swap and other MOT items done by a local mini specialist instead of attempting it all myself, so I'll just be repainting and refurbing the frame before getting it all fitted and taken through an MOT in one go.
 
Part of the reason is it's far more convenient for me in terms of time, but also the work will now include a couple of areas of welding which are needed after I discovered a hole in the floorpan, and some corrosion near one of the subframe mounting points. All of which would be far too beyond my skillset or ability to work on without any of the necessary tools etc. Fortunately the estimate for all this work is actually very reasonable, and at least I'll then be confident I've got a solid drivable car to use for the next year and beyond, which I can enjoy and continue to personalise.
 
Also, now that I won't have to dedicate as much time to all the needed MOT work, I've got the chance to work out a mounting system for these seats which arrived yesterday  ;D
 
KNGQ6GU.jpg

Love the alfa seats, got a set to fit myself

#41 MiniCarJack

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:08 PM

Love the alfa seats, got a set to fit myself

 

 

They are mega comfy and I love how they look, one of the few seats that come from another car but actually look right in a Mini, at least from the photos I've seen online. I'm thinking of getting a pair of aftermarket low profile locking subframes and adapting/modifying to suit, rather than bolting through the floor or attempting to make a frame myself from scratch. Will see how I get on and update this thread with any more progress  :proud:



#42 70K1100

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:19 PM

What is the back seat out of?

#43 GT Jimmy

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:22 PM

What is the back seat out of?

They are Alfa GTV seats

#44 GT Jimmy

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:45 PM

My front seats are from a 156, a five door, so they don't flip/tilt like the GTV ones, the rears are GTV and fit almost perfectly. 

 

I tried to fit the fronts the other day with frames I'd welded up but didn't like the seating position, too high so I've revised my plans, I'll post some pics when I get them in



#45 MiniCarJack

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Posted 01 January 2021 - 07:59 PM

My front seats are from a 156, a five door, so they don't flip/tilt like the GTV ones, the rears are GTV and fit almost perfectly. 

 

I tried to fit the fronts the other day with frames I'd welded up but didn't like the seating position, too high so I've revised my plans, I'll post some pics when I get them in

 

That'd be handy to see your revised frame design, like you I'm not keen for the seats to be positioned too high. I might have a go at popping the rears in tomorrow as that should be a pretty simple job by the looks of it. Did you make up some brackets for yours or just fit them straight into place somehow?






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