Friday, December 20, 2013

Radius Arm Rebuild

If you remember from the post Radius Arm Inspection, my radius arm bearings were a bit knackered and I didn't have the tools to repair them. Well, it just happens that Mini Spares were having a 15% off sale recently, so there was no better time than the present to replace the radius arms.

I took my old arms in for an exchange, and got completely refurbished arms with pins, washers and bolts etc and crucially, the bronze bushes already reamed and ready to fit onto the subframe. Well nearly, the radius arm was black and I want them to be red... many coats of paint were applied.

Hangs quite nicely on the nut.

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Handbrake Cable

While stripping down the rear subframe, I noticed that the rear part of the handbrake cable was damaged. The handbrake cable I have is in two parts: There is the bit from the handbrake lever to the middle and a separate cable from the middle that goes to the two brake drums on the back wheels.

Slightly worrying handbrake damage.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rear Subframe Strip Down - Part 3 (Ish) - Foam Filler!

Having spent what seems like a spare lifetime stripping down the rear subframe back to bare metal, it becomes obvious why they have a reputation of rotting to bits within a few years of fitting. Well, it seems obvious to me, there are so many nooks and crannies for muck and debris to hide and set the rotting process off. No matter how diligently you clean your car, there is no way you are going to be able to make sure that the unseen subframe pockets are clear.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rear Brake Rebuild

I have been very busy recently cleaning and painting all of the individual parts that came off the rear subframe. In the previous post, I mentioned that I was ordering new brake cylinders. Well they arrived and I was finally in a position to reassemble something... the rear brakes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rear Brake Cylinder

I am still working on the long and laborious task of stripping down the rear subframe and repainting it, but I decided to give it a quick rest to have a look at the rear brake cylinders. I removed these some time back when I stripped the radius arms down.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Radius Arm Inspection

Now that I have the radius arm off the subframe and completely stripped it down, I was able to inspect the needle bearings, shaft and bronze bush and it didn't look good.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Keeping track of work - Crib Sheets

Even though I decided to only strip one radius arm at a time, it's still been a little tricky keeping track of what to clean, what to fix, what to replace etc. and where I am with each part and even where I have stored it.

So to get around this, I had a scout around the internet to find some parts manuals. I found some at the Mini Spares website. From these I created some Crib Sheets which I printed out to make notes on. This has been particularly useful when searching for new parts as you have the part name and number.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Guest Blog by Dylan...

As Dylan has been helping out with the Mini restoration, he has been wanting to write a few words about his experiences. So this is all Dylan's own work ...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Radius Arm Strip

I wanted to get my 8 year old son involved as he is quite keen, but he does find it a bit boring just standing around watching me. So I decided to give him the drill with the wire brush and strict instructions not to muck about and set him the task of stripping the subframe. As there is only one drill, it left me with nothing to do but take a radius arm to bits.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rear Subframe Strip Down - Part 2 - Wire Brush Time

I managed to get a few hours in the Man Cave tonight and was able to get on with the task of turning an oily, greasy, filthy subframe into a thing of beauty. Well that's the theory anyway.

I'm focusing on the drivers side at the moment. I have already removed the radius arm, trunnion and support pin. The only thing I removed from the subframe tonight was a brake hose as it was in the way of where I wanted to clean.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rear Subframe Strip Down - Part 1

Now that the rear subframe is off the car and in my man cave, I can start to strip it down and assess what needs to be done to make it as good as new. I knew that it was mostly in good condition, but now it is off and I can see it up close, I can see that it is very good with only a little surface rust and no rot at all.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rear Subframe Removal - Part 2

Managed to get a break in the weather and between the rain showers I was able to crack on with the rest of the work needed to get the rear subframe off.

Now with the exhaust off and 2 trolley jacks supporting the subframe, there are only a few more steps needed to get the job done:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Off with the Exhaust.

As part of the rear subframe overhaul, I have decided to remove the exhaust as it will probably get in the way when the subframe is lowered, and possibly damaged.

This was a stinker of a job as I had not raised up the front of the car. As the rear of the car was on axle stands I was not able to jack the front up. Luckily the Mini is on quite soft gravel, so I was able to dig down a little to make enough space under the car to reach the lower bracket.

I had already removed rear brackets yesterday, so there were just 2 left to remove. Sounds pretty simple, but it wasn't due to the cramped working conditions.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Rear Subframe Removal - Part 1

Last week, when I sprayed protection on the underside of the car, it became obvious that the only parts that were receiving the protection were the bits I could see. For the best protection, I really need to get in all the nooks and crannies. The most effective way to achieve this is to remove the rear subframe.

First attempt at tidying up the underside

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Underseal the rear.

As winter is fast approaching, I thought the rear subframe area would benefit from a coat of this stuff . . .
This is the business!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Rear Seatbelts Revisited

Last September I fitted rear seatbelts, but ever since fitting them, I have never really felt that the part connected to the side of the pocket was strong enough. So decided that the best way to anchor the seatbelt is to mount it above and below where the seat is welded to the pocket.

To do this, I needed to construct a bracket that could be mounted inside the pocket to transfer the load to a hole below the seat as well as above, hopefully giving maximum strength.

Yeah, picture's crap, I know!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Electronic Ignition Kit

Having ordered the ignition kit last Thursday to be delivered to work, I checked today and could barely contain my excitement that accompanies a box of new Mini parts arriving. As you can imagine, I couldn't wait to get home and get fixing.

Box of new bits!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

None Starter

I have been suffering a number of starting problems recently. Ever since I took the dizzy apart funnily enough! and managed to drain the battery trying to get the car started which is very frustrating.

So what is the problem? Took the dizzy apart again and checked a number of things.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Distributor and Ignition.

Not done a lot of work recently, but have been enjoying lots of trouble free motoring recently. Checked the mileage and done over 500 miles since the last post. All that has now come to an end as the colder, damper mornings have been causing a few starting problems. This is undoubtedly caused by the shortcomings of having a classic distributor. They work brilliantly in summer, but can be a total disaster in winter.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Be Gone, Evil Pointy Bits.

<This post is part of the 'Weatherproofing The Car' project>

Finally got around to filing the points off the winder arms. In the previous post 'Weatherproofing Part 3 - (Inside the door) - A bit closer still!!' it highlights the problem that the internal weatherproofing curtain in the door is in danger of being snagged and torn by the points on the end of the winder mechanism arms shown here.
Evil Pointy Bits

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Snapped Stud

As if there is not enough to do, one of the front wheel studs snapped. This was a real headache for me as I wasn't sure how to fix it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hi Lo Refurb

Recently I bought some genuine Ripspeed Hi Lo's from Ebay for the rear suspension. When I got then they were in a bit of a state, but it was all cosmetic and I knew they could be cleaned up.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weatherproofing Part 3 - (Inside the door) - A bit closer still!!

<This post is part of the 'Weatherproofing The Car' project>

With everything I had learned from the previous attempt at creating an inner door curtain, I can now see the areas that need attention to nail this problem

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fancy Fuel Lines and Filter Removed

Since overhauling the carburettor, it has made the fuel lines look very untidy and we can't have that!! But on a serious note, since fitting the fuel filter, I have had considerable problems starting the car. So when I fitted the new braided stainless fuel lines, I removed the filter for now to see if it would fix the problem.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Weatherproofing Part 2 - (Inside the door) - So near and yet...!!

<This post is part of the 'Weatherproofing The Car' project>

Well having sealed the doors with new rubbers, my attention is now drawn to solving the problem of what happens to the water once it is inside the door.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weatherproofing Part 1 - Door Seals

<This post is part of the 'Weatherproofing The Car' project>

I have been getting a bit fed up with the fact that every time it rains or I wash the car, water finds its way inside. Looking into this problem on the various forums, it seems to be quite a common problem.  Mini's can have a tendency to imitate a tea bag.

For the majority of the time, the car is covered over with a waterproof 4 ply car cover specifically for the mini. So from that point of view it is not a problem,  but I cannot always guarantee that it will be covered up and coupled with the fact that cars should not leak. I decided to try and fix the problem.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Carb Overhaul

After last weeks breakdown, I decided to overhaul the carburettor. I have absolutely no prior experience of taking carbs apart. Well, what could possibly go wrong. As it turns out, nothing. Carburettors are pretty simple beasts really.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Well we had enjoyed a nice family trip to the park which covered most of the afternoon when calamity struck! We all piled in the car and got about 50 yards and the engine died a death! No worries I though, just needs a little more choke. But it died again, and again. And to make matters worse, it was spewing petrol all over the road!! Oh dear I thought, something aint right!!

Looking a bit sad. Note the size of the petrol stain in the layby in the foreground!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A journey into the passenger door!

More exciting stuff but now inside the passenger door, as the weather was not as bad as the forecast, I was able to get out at the weekend and work on the passenger door. Given the decent condition of the drivers door, I was hopeful that the passenger side would be in similarly good condition.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

A journey into the drivers door!

I started to notice small flakes of rust appearing in the space between the sill and the plastic trim that runs along the sill. I would brush them away, but they would just keep appearing. I knew that they were coming from the drain holes at the base of the door and I was a little worried that the inner of the door was rotten. Well it was a sunny weekend and I decided it was time to be brave and have a look before the rust erupted through the door and ruined it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

K&N fitted and fuel leak fixed

Recently a friend kindly gave me a new K&N air filter so the obvious thing to do is to swap it for the standard 'frying pan' air filter to make the engine bay look a bit 'cooler'. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Painted a bit more of the engine

Had some very fine weather recently, so it seemed an ideal time to paint a bit more of the engine.
Removed the front grill, HT leads, engine steady and anything else in the way. Then used good old 'Gunk' to get the crud off and WD40 to rinse. Then an aerosol engine cleaner to finish.

Once it was dry, I used a very small craft brush and undiluted Hammerite Smooth and a lot of time to go around the plugs and edges making sure it was neat. Then used a slightly thicker brush for the larger areas.
Luckily, I had the foresight to paint several coats behind the alternator before I fitted it!

I will need to remove the starter motor to get to the lower part of the engine block, but for now, I am pleased with the results.

Also painted the diaphragm on top of the distributor and the oil pipe silver to tidy it up.

Still to do: The lower part of the block. A second coat for the whole block.

Actually, it is worth noting that the next day I was having problems starting the car. Turned out that I forgot to reattach the earth strap. Pays to double check everything!!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Oil Change

Thought it was about time to change the oil as I have no idea how long the old oil had been in there. After a little research in the good old Haynes, it seemed a straight forward enough job. Things I bought for the job were a cheap Wilkinsons 5 litre container of oil for flushing, some decent quality 20w/50 mineral oil, a new oil filter and a new copper washer for the sump plug. I think it all totalled no more than £35.

The procedure was, as it turned out, quite straight forward.
I used an old baking tray to catch the oil and a larger washing up bowl also.

Actually, it is worth noting here that the sump plug size is 15/16" which is about, but not exactly 24mm. I read that a 24mm socket fits, but is a little loose and you could risk rounding the nut. I didn't want to risk this so I purchased a 15/16" socket especially for this job.

Started by running the engine for a while to get it up to temperature. Then, after removing the oil filler cap on the rocker cover, I placed the baking tray under the sump plug and removed the plug and let about one third of the oil drain into the tray.

I emptied the tray into the larger bowl and repeated the task until the oil was fully drained.
Then I poured the cheap oil through the system and discarded that also.
Next, I had to remove the grill to Change the oil filter.

I cleaned all the bits off the sump plug and replaced the copper washer with a new one and put it back in place with 25 lbf lt (about 35 Nm) of torque. Then it was just a job of pouring in the new oil and putting the grill back on. I ran the engine for a few moments and everything seemed OK.

All in all, this was a fairly straight forward job, except now I have 10 litres of old engine oil to get rid of. Well actually 5 litres of used oil and 5 litres of flushed through oil. A trip to the tip will soon sort that though as they have a used oil disposal bin there.

Did it drive better? I have to be honest and say that it seemed the same, but at least I know that there is lovely fresh oil sloshing about in the gearbox now, so that's something.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Passenger wheel arch

Finished work under the passenger wheel arch. Used a wire brush to remove the remaining loose paint and applied several coats of Hammerite. Once that was dry, I applied a liberal coat of Waxoyl. Underbody seal over the top.

Waited overnight and reattached the fresh air hose. As suspected fitting the hose to the bulkhead was a horrible job. It's a tight fit and you are working in an awkward way, but after much heaving and cursing it eventually was fitted.

Now both front arches are fully protected with Waxoyl. At some point I will need to revisit this area and do a full repair, but for now, this will do.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tracking and bulkhead welded

Booked the car in with the Hue at Inspect A Car to have to the tracking checked and also to fix the problem with the top engine steady. The top engine steady attaches to a bracket on the bulkhead. I had noticed that the bracket had sheared, which was the reason it felt like the engine was moving when I stepped on and off the accelerator at about 40 mph.

Unfortunately, the bracket also hosts the clutch pipe, so that needed to be removed before welding. Also as a precaution, the carburettor was removed just in case!

Anyway, it was all money well spent as it feels a lot better now when driving along, firstly because the steering is more positive, but mostly because the horrible engine movement is much, much better. I has not totally been removed as I suspect that there is some play in the rubber bushes on the steady bar itself. I guess if I changed them to polyurethane, it would be stiffer, but I will stick with the rubber for now. I might invest in an extra engine steady if it annoys me too much.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Drivers side suspension done

Took me most of the morning, but I got the drivers side suspension installed. Getting the upper arm pin in was the trickiest part as there was very little space behind the clutch, but it was doable without removing any clutch parts. Quite straight forward install really with no problems. The last thing to do is to pack the upper arm with grease when my grease gun arrives. Once the car was back on all wheels, I checked the ride height which was very similar to when I started as I set the HiLo's to the minimum setting.

I will tinker with the HiLo settings over the next week to get the ride height I am happy with. Then to the garage to have the tracking sorted. I did have a quick drive up and down the street to check all was well and the handling was so much better. Hit a few bumps in the road to see how much better it was. Before, it was horrible if you hit a bump, there was a spine shattering bang as the car went over, but now it feels perfect. I am very pleased with the whole job.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Passenger side suspension done

Well it took forever and there were many obstacles to overcome, but the passenger side suspension is now back in. After a huge amount of cleaning, I painted the upper and lower arms with Hammerite smooth. I started with black, but decided it was too boring, tried blue, but hated it and eventually went for red. I did struggle to get a decent finish with the Hammerite as it was like treacle and after a several failed attempts decided to pay someone to do them in 2pac. While they were away, I placed an order with Mini Spares for all the parts I needed to replace. All the bushes were knackered and needed replacing. I also decided to upgrade the front tie bars as one was bent and the other looked a bit iffy. I cleaned 25 years of crud off the car subframe using Gunk and stared the assemble. I remembered to put the cone in before the top arm thankfully. The top arm was straight forward, as was the cone.

The compression tool worked very well. Put in the HiLo and the knuckle joint all quite easy if a little fiddly. The bottom arm presented a slight problem as the new pin needed little filing so it would fit in the hole in the subframe, apart from that, no problem. The new tie bar was adjustable, so I made sure it was exactly the same size as the old ones and installed them also. Ball joints on and torqued everything up to the correct torque given in the Haynes manual and job done. Very pleased to have this side complete. I did obviously put the radiator back in and gave it a quick polish. Just the other side to do now. I have read that the clutch cylinder is in the way on the drivers side, but I am hoping to install the top arm without removing it. we will see tomorrow.

Actually, in the pictures shown, you will see that I forgot to put the knuckle joint dust covers in place before putting the arms on. This was a pain to sort out as I had to crack the joints again, compress the cone, lift off the arms and put the dust cover in place. Lesson learned!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Even more suspension

Well as work commenced, I decided to remove the lower suspension arm also as it didn't feel like it was moving properly. Again, this was a mammoth task as the bush sleeves had corroded onto the bolt. Anyway, I tried to use a G clamp to push the bolt out, but no luck, so then I used a small drill to weaken the rubber and eventually it gave way.

However the sleeves were so corroded to the bolt, I decided to replace the bolt. I also had to split the lower ball joint which was also way harder than it should have been as the splitter would not fit onto the ball joint. I ended up using a file to alter the shape of the splitter to make it fit.

The front of the tie bar was pretty easy to undo. There was a problem also with the tie bar bolt as the threads had gone and the bolt needed to be split. So a new nut and bolt ordered there. Now just a job of cleaning everything.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

More Suspension

Todays job was to remove the upper arm. I knew I needed to break the taper on the ball joint so I went a bought a cheap ball joint breaker that worked a treat. Then it became obvious what the problem was as the upper arm would hardly move up and down. There was no way that the shaft was going to come out so I spent the next hour hacksawing through the back of the bolt, but still it would not come out. So I started work on sawing through the front part of the bolt, which was much harder as I had about one inch of movement on the saw. Anyway, 2 hours later and one blistered thumb, I was able to remove the upper arm. Clamping it in a vice, I hammered the shaft out and could see that it was packed with rust. The needle bearings were completely knackered and just rusted into place. Spent the next hour or so cleaning the gunk off the arm and clearing away the rust. Managed to remove the old bearings with a small grinder. I also removed the grease nipple as it to was rusted up. I ordered a replacement shaft, bearings and grease nipple from Mini Spares, but they will not arrive until Monday. Today is Thursday so will just have to wait until they arrive before work can commence. Just goes to show what happens if you don't keep the bearings packed with grease. Dread to think what the other side of the car is going to be like. Anyway, At least I got the old rubber cone out, which looked a little squished.