Also here is a gratuitous plug for my local parts supplier CLASSIC MOTORING in Canberra. Good friendly service, reasonable prices, and they deliver anywhere in the country you can post to. Prices displayed in this budget section are based on what they charged me, as I haven't found the others to be any cheaper and then you apply postage. And tell 'em Matt sent ya...

Here is how much I have spent so far on the engine conversion project. This will be updated as things progress. But as you can see it is easy to start racking up big numbers. As you can see the total budget is starting to surpass $9,000. So it ain't cheap!

$2350 Including Freight
Dry Cone Subframes (front and rear)
Steel for Fabrication of Frame (as at 3 April, 2006)
Lower Control Arm Bushes
4 x Subframe Cone Tower Mounting Studs
Two tie rod ends
Hi Lo Suspension system
Dual Circuit Master Cylinder
4 Koni Shocks
New Steering Rack
rear trailing arm kit x 2
$90 (total)
Right Hand Petrol Tank
Super Strong II Timing Belt (Japanese Race Spec imported from Japan)
Toyota OEM Throttle Sensor
Alternative Alternator
Set of Rear Shock Absorbers
Fuel Pressure Regulator (SARD Brand upto 500hp)
Steel Fuel Lines 5/16"
High Pressure Fuel Pump (inc bracket)
High Pressure Flexible Fuel Hose

2.5" exhaust (full system inc Cat Converter) - Pricing has changed as I thought it would. It seems between 700 or 800 for a system from the turbo back without cat.(cat priced at $350 supposedly). I spoke to several places and for mandrel bent they all indicated this price. I think the cost difference between taking the car upto Sydney versus getting it done here would be negligable (once you take into account trailer hire, petrol and probably a stay overnight!). Have had a little luck its seems Powatone may be able to do it for $750.00 but this is based on inspection (and I think the owner meant standard pressbend).

Update: Given the overall price I have decided to have a go myself. I am also going to use a 2.5" in out Ultra Hiflo Catco cat which is the highest flowing one you can get pretty much and is also only 4" in diameter which will work well inside the transmission tunnel. This I am getting through BOS Imports (ask for Michael and tell him Matt sent ya.

Update 2: Just got a muffler. Its a Lukey twin exit straight through, looks the biz and $160.

Cat Converter $270

Mandrel Bends $140

Turbo Flange $40

Twin Exit Muffler (Lukey) $160

Exhaust Total Cost
Remote Oil Filter
New Battery
Redline Air Filter
Radiator Work (movement of top inlet)
OBX Torino Seats
Auto Electrical Work - Essentially this entails hooking up headlights, indicators (front and back), fuel pump, and getting the thermo fan to run off the engine's thermostat. I could have probably done the rest myself but basically it has been proving a pain so I decided to hand it to the professionals, especially as it will get me on the road quicker. The price to the right is a worst case estimate if it ends up being more than this I will start asking alot of questions.
Wheel Alignment
Dyno Tune - Taking it to Jake's Performance for a tune and general workover. This will be the final task before testing, and the bit I am really looking forward to as it will give me an idea of what she's putting out. Plus Jake indicated that he will try and get a bit more out of it than the 135bhp she puts out standard.
Final Engineering Report and Testing
$900 (in total)
Car Insurance (estimate from Shannons)
Car Registration
Total Spent on Project Minstar (Finished 31 March 2006) - AUD$10,711.00

Conclusions on Budget:

So as you can see you can rack up some cash pretty quickly. All up depending on how mod con I want to get with the project I think a minimum of $5,000 is required, and that's assuming that a lot of other things have already been sorted.

The conversion to dry cone cost me a bit in both time and money so if you have a dry cone Mini this would take maybe a month to 6 weeks out of the time allocation. But make sure you get adjustable suspension it will make all the difference.

Some of these costs can be reduced by buying OEM products instead, for example the timing belt I bought is a racing special rather than the standard Toyota timing belt but this was only about a $70 reduction. Also you will notice that there is a replacement Throttle Sensor, this cost me $132 so my advice is don't smash the original. While I splashed out on a few things I think that overall I only spent what was necessary of that would save me money in the long run, or that would add to the performance of the car. Even having said this I am now over the $6500 mark and I still have a ways to go...

Final Note on Budget: Well as of the 31st of March 2006, the car is registered and on the road. Therefore for the sake of this experiment all costs have been met and all funds expended. Therefore total budget was just under $11,000. Which is a fair amount. When I get a chance I will add up those items I feel were directly attributable to the conversion. Just as a guess at this stage I think probably around the $5,000 could be spent on the conversion. But things like brake and suspension upgrades are probably necessary. I guess it all depends on where you draw the line.

Total Money Left: $0
Shorfall is: $
(Actual Costs + Estimate Costs)

Items for the future.

As with anything to do with Mini they are never quite finished. The items that I will be doing to finalise the Mini Starlet conversion will be:

  1. Installation of a T25 turbo with custom turbo manifold (to be developed by me). This will not occur till the end of this year or later.
  2. Installation of a front mount intercooler or barrel intercooler (though I would prefer the radiator type, rather than the barrel)
  3. Creation of the front crossbrace. I have the materials to do this now so I will probably furnish this up in my spare time over the next several months.

Notes on cost.

Change in Direction...30 Nov 2005

I have decided that to get this thing over the line I will be installing the standard everything, intercooler and Mini radiator front mounted. This will allow me to register the car and then I can take the car in the flesh to Jake's Performance and get the custom intercooler and radiator made up without guess work being involved.

Miscellaneous Items

Now a few points to note. I just spent close to $100 on oil. Now agreed some of this was pretty special oil but even so it puts a dent in the budget and is obviously something you have to think about. The gearbox oil which was Penrite 10/10ths Full Synthetic Gear Oil 80-140W which cost about $70 for 2.5ltrs! But as someone on one of the Starlet Forums said you probably aren't going to change the oil in the gearbox for 3 years so you might as well go some good gear. I also bought some semi synthetic oil (5 ltrs) to go in the engine. I didn't buy the full synthetic as this will primarily be used as a flushing oil. In other words I will wack this in and drive for a month and then replace with the good stuff once the majority of the deposits that have been sitting in engine since storage have been heated up and suspended in the oil.


I had previously budgeted for $400 for the driveshafts. But as explained to me by M&A Engineering, this really would only pay for putting the splines on the shaft. There is an additional cost associated with measurement of the shafts etc, which is obviously pretty important. Ultimately they cost $550, but that was done in less than a week and now they are back home. So overall a reasonable outcome.


Update 13 October 2005: Well I talked to Jake out at Jake's Performance and they can get me an intercooler in the size I wanted which was 400 x 200 x 65 (inc end tanks). There maybe some problems with the inlet/outlets as they face straight out whereas I need them to be pretty much at 90 degrees. But the price quoted was $383 which is more my league and I am sure this means I can get the $600 figure I was looking for. Details to follow.

Well it seems I have overestimated (woohoo!) the cost of the custom intercooler. Based on an email to Bow Tie Racing who make custom intecoolers here is their response

"Hi matt with out seeing exactly what you need a rough guess would be around the $500 mark. The ones I do are tube and fin i dont bother with the bar and plate they seem to very restrictive to me.. cheers LeRoy"

This was based on a tube a fin designed intercooler of approximately 300-350mm wide by 200mm high with a core depth of 56mm.