Monday, September 14, 2015

Re-Connecting the Engine

<This post is part of the 'Engine Swap' project>
Now that the engine is actually sat in the car, the work has really just begun as now there's the small task of reconnecting everything. Well almost everything as the speedo cable's already been connected when the engine was lowered into place, so that's one thing off the list at least!!




Engine Mounts
Still on the list though, are a ton of things that need sorting, starting with bolting the engine mounts in place. As memory serves, the last time I did this it was incredibly difficult to get the holes in the engine mounts to line up with the holes in the subframe. Doing just one side is generally no problem, it's the other side that's always the nightmare. This time though, I had a little trick up my sleeve.

I decided to tackle the clutch side first as it's the trickiest and I thought I'd best get it over and done with. Each mount has 2 bolts, the bolt nearest the front of the car is fairly straight forward to get into place as you can reach it through the front of the car. The rear one however is very difficult indeed as the clutch is in the way and I can't fit my hand down the gaps to put the bolt in place from above.

To get around this, I taped the end of the bolt to a bit of wire, and fed it through the hole from above and pulled the nut through from below. It's crude and sometimes the tape falls off, but with a bit of patience and few attempts, it generally works.



Once the rear bolt was in place the front one was no problem and both were done up finger tight.



Wahoo! That's one side done, but it's always the other side that's the problem as the holes are nowhere near lined up.



In the past, I would have spent ages trying to line the holes up, poking and prodding with a screwdriver and just hoping that I could pull the holes together enough to get the bolt through. But not this time, this time I had a cunning plan to solve this tricky problem and it worked a treat. The secret is to undo, (but not remove) the two bolts that hold the fan bracket in place.



Once these two bolts are loose, there's enough slack to wiggle the second mount into place and get the two bolts in. This method turns an insanely frustrating job into a regular, simple everyday job. Obviously all the bolts were then torqued back up again. I used a little threadlock on the engine mount bolts for extra security.


Lower Engine Steady
With the engine now properly mounted to the car, the next thing I decided to tackle was the lower engine steady. As one half of the steady was already attached to the front subframe when it was installed, all that was needed here was to swing it out and bolt the other end of it to the bracket on the engine.

As for the bushes, I decided to go with polyurethane ones from Mini Spares rather than the traditional rubber ones.

Gear Connector
While I was under the car, I thought that I'd sort out the gear connector next. The first thing to connect is the stabiliser bar that sits above the shifter. This should have been a simple enough job, however there was a snag, there always is!! This time it was the exhaust that I'd bolted into place the day before. As it's an aftermarket LCB exhaust with two down pipes, it takes up more room that the standard single-pipe-pea-shooter of an exhaust that was previously fitted. This extra exhaust pipe means that there isn't enough space to get the bolt that holds the gear stabiliser in place into it's hole!



There is always a snag with aftermarket parts! so after I'd gone up top and slackened off the bolts that held the exhaust in place, I was then able to push the exhaust pipe aside and slide the bolt in.

Now onto the gear shifter itself. After doing a sterling job of fitting it into place, lining it up and tapping the roll-pin through, I 'stood back' and realised that I'd forgotten to put the rubber boot in place!! Yeah, that kind of sucks when you do that!



So once I'd tapped the roll-pin back out again, (which I hasten to add is quite tricky) and pulled the thing apart, again. I took the new dust boot and put it in place.



Now I realised why it was so easy to do it the first time round as trying to line the holes up for the roll-pin meant compressing the dust boot quite a lot. But after a bit of patience and squashing, tapping and a little swearing, the whole thing was back together again. I found that messing about with the gear stick and experimenting with different gears helped to align the holes. Once it was all done, I wired it up to reduce the risk of the roll-pins working loose in future.



Fuel Hose
As the top engine steady was not in place yet, it was possible to lean the engine forward a little to give a more access to where the fuel pump lives. which is right down the back of the engine. With a tiny amount of grease to help things along, the hose slid onto the fuel pump with ease and was clamped into place with no problems.


I also attached the hose that exits the fuel pump at this point as I thought it would be easier than when the top engine steady was in place.


Clutch Hose
Before I attach the engine steady though, I wanted to put my shiny new stainless steel braided clutch hose in place.






Top Engine Steady
Now for the top engine steady, just like it's lower twin, was also afforded a new set of poly bushes.



Once it was bolted in place, the engine felt much more secure. I also attached the earth strap at this point as it shared the same bolt on the engine side.




Electrics
The earth strap leads me quite nicely onto the electrical connections, which to be honest are very few indeed. There's the main wire from the battery to the starter which simply bolts to the solenoid.



The temperature sender and the wires to the alternator are next



and finally the oil pressure sender. I say finally as I'll be connecting the coil at a later date as there's the slight issue of a toasted ignition cable to resolve first.


Carburettor Chaos
You would have thought that bolting the carb on would be a simple enough job; just attach the intake manifold to the head and then attach the carb to the manifold. Well it seems not to be the case any more as the new air intake must go  back further than the standard one that was fitted and the result is that the carb will not fit on the studs as the bulkhead is in the way!


It simply was not going to fit either with or without the air filter attached. There was nothing for it but to undo the top engine steady again and lean the engine forward enough to get the carb on the studs. Once on though and bolted up, there was still a slight problem as the bottom of the jet was very close to the bulkhead and it was almost touching when the choke was pulled right out!!! Oh the joys of aftermarket car parts!!!!


I'll have to leave it like this for now, but something will have to be done to fix it before the car is back on the road as the jet could bash into the bulkhead and end up bent.


Heater Hoses and Radiator
When it comes to the plumbing, it couldn't be simpler as there are only two hoses to attach at this stage. One to the heater valve...


and the other to the water pump.



Then the radiator was bolted back into place and the top hose to the temperature housing attached.




Summary
And that's about it really, on the one had there's quite a lot to do, but compared to a modern engine I'm guessing it's pretty easy and that's why I love owning the Mini. Something as involved as an engine swap can be done with limited skills, space and ability and hopefully done well.

This is the checklist form above;
  • Engine Mounts
  • Lower Engine Steady
  • Gear Connector
  • Fuel Hose
  • Clutch Hose
  • Top Engine Steady
  • Electrics
  • Carburettor Chaos
  • Heater Hoses and Radiator

Although there has been lots of progress today, there are still a number of things that need to be sorted before the big day of firing up the engine. In the next post, I'll tackle the drive shafts.





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