Here are some pictures of my friend Chris and I taking the halfcut from the driveway to the garage. You can see my new engine hoist and the rest of the shed. I am the one on the right in the far right photo.


Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4 (Plugs of Dash)

Remove the dash

Photo 5 (Photo of Pedal Retaining Clips)

Photo 6

This show where the looms exit the firewall

Photo 7

Here are the bits that have been removed

Photo 8

Photo 9 (ECU Tray)

Here are the bits that have been removed

Photo 10

Photo 11

Here are the bits that have been removed


1. Remove the dash (and cabin half of wiring loom).

Here is the halfcut sitting in my shed...(Photo 1)

The first thing to do is to remove the dash. This is much harder said than done as many of the dash components are captive (hidden). Now if you want to keep the dash take it methodically.

  1. Remove the glovebox this will reveal some bolts and nuts to undo.

  2. The front aircon grill pulls out this will reveal more nuts and bolts.

  3. Remove gearstick shroud.

  4. Remove airconditioning tubes that run from aircon system to the floor giving access to the box underneath (see point 11).

  5. Remove steering column - (Photos 2 & 3) there two brackets holding it on (before the universal joint near the firewall), there also sundry brackets hold part of the wiring loom and ignition so take extra care with these. Some can be cut or reefed out as they are held in by pinch plugs (this will become obvious). To remove the steering column completely requires you undo the pinch clamp. The end of the steering column goes into here and has a slightly splined end to it. Simply undo the pinch bolt (generally completely if rusted as mine was) and then work loose. Make sure you have undone the connectors to the indicator binnacle at the top of the steering column.

  6. Remove speedo binnacle - this will also necessitate removal of the speedo cable (which uses a clip to attach it and should come off fairly easily. Once removed this should allow access to the back of the dash on this side. The actual gauges are connected by three large plugs, undo these and label them. Note: Getting access to the back of the binnacle and the front surround of the binnacle is very difficult if you do not remove the top of the dash. My friend ended up taking an angle grinder to the top (the bit of plastic at the bottom right of Photos 4 & 6 with EP82 written on it) of the dash, and slightly cut part of the loom. Not recommended so try to find some other solution!

  7. Remove small clock as there is bolt behind this holding the middle of the dash to the firewall. There are no screws holding this in just use a small screwdriver to jimmy it out

  8. As highlighted in Photo 4 there are also four plugs that hold the top of the dash in place these should come out with a bit of elbow grease. But make sure that everything else had been undone!

  9. Remove the foot pedals (Photo 5) . Now both the brake and clutch link shafts (that go to the master cylinder and clutch respectively) are held in by pins and a clip. Trace back to the pedal shaft and you should locate the pin. Remove the clip and slide out the pin. The pedal should come away. Then undo the mounting bolts for these. The brake and the clutch systems aren't that important but the accelerator is. The reason? The ECU takes input from the throttle position sensor which forms part of the pedal mechanism. Make sure you keep these parts as you will have to graft them onto the mini assembly or vice versa (graft the Starlet pedal into the Mini otherwise the car won't run properly if at all.

  10. You should be left after this process with the fan (far left box and air con box(es) (Refer Photo 6). Even after removing all the retaining nuts this will not come away as there are metal tubes running into the back of the aircon system (See photo 7). Now you have a choice to make. You can either leave this till you have the engine out or you can try and get the box apart and undo the linkages. I went the second option as essentially I just want to get the loom off not really worrying about the air con as I won't be installing it in the Mini (no room essentially). Now the box is put together as part of the dash which means that essentially you will have to possibly destroy the airconditioning casing to get at the connectors, whereas if you wait and disconnect from the firewall side things will be much easier. Patience Grasshopper...

  11. Below the centre left box you will find a tray with a metal box in it (See Photos 8 & 9). This is probably your ECU so be careful. It should have a large plug coming into it from the right hand side as part of the loom that then runs along and into the engine bay by the centre of the firewall. There will be a screw directly at the front of this tray that will allow the tray to fall away. This then should allow you access to the two mounting bracket screws. Undo these and the big plug and voila you have removed your ECU.

  12. In Photo 10 you can see the loom completely removed except for the final plugs that exit through the firewall. Now I am at the stage where I am ready to remove the engine. That is about it the rest you have to figure out for yourself...

Don't forget to label the wires as well (something I forgot to do this during the first day of removal). The next step is removal of ancillaries from the engine bay to get the engine out of the halfcut.

Starlet GT Halfcut

The plugs for the fuel rail

2. Remove the Wiring Loom and Engine Ancillaries in engine bay.

Hopefully by now you have labeled all the plugs, connectors etc on the dash. At the end of this process you should have 3 large plugs that exit to the engine bay from the cabin. This is pretty much as far as you have to go with the dash side of things. The next step is the engine bay.

By Ancillaries I mean such things as the air filter system, radiator, fuse box etc. So that ultimately you have something resembling the final photo opposite. That way when you remove the engine you don't snag on something or have try and remove things while lifting the engine out.

I could list them all here but if your doing it, you can probably work out what needs to come out! But here are the basics:

  1. Remove battery leads from battery (if present)
  2. Remove Intercooler and hoses.
  3. Remove airbox (See photo)
  4. Remove thermatic fans (there is two one each side of the radiator core)
  5. Remove radiator (this creates a lot more room at the front of the engine
  6. Number distributor cap and remove leads.
    Very Important Note: Number the distributor leads and the cap and also mark between the cap and the head so that you make sure it goes back on the way it came. Working the firing sequence (between the distributor cap and the cylinders) from scratch is a messy annoying affair indeed!
  7. remove lead to alternator;
  8. Remove the lambda sensor from the turbo (Label this even though it should be obvious. Once out the car the loom can look like spaghetti and any visual reference is lost. (See Photo)
  9. Remove aircon condensor (silver box like thing on left hand side of engine bay)
  10. Remove fuel management system from back firewall and connections. Label this clearly.
  11. Disconnect and remove fuel return tank and metal fuel line running to back of car.
  12. Disconnect HP (high pressure) fuel pump and remove. Without petrol you don't have worry about damaging it through disconnection. Though you will want to make sure that there is a source of fluid (in this case petrol) connect when you start it up as sucking pure air can damage the HP fuel pump very quickly.
  13. You have a choice here. Remove headers and turbo or Not. Make sure you disconnect the exhaust from the turbo and the pipe to the EFI system if you so choose. Otherwise you can simply disconnect the exhaust from the base of the turbo and leave in place, to be hoisted out with the engine. This is my choice as you don't have to worry about things going missing and you can do it properly when the engine is out of the car.
  14. On the left hand side of the engine will possibly be a silver unit with steel brake tube like connectors. These run to the brake booster and also to the power steering. This does not have to be removed for any particular reason apart from the fact that the lines go over the top of the brake booster stopping its removal. This is a messy and annoying job.
  15. Remove the the wiring loom where it plugs into each fuel injector (be cafeful here these plugs are what fire the injectors). There is also unfortunately a wire that then leads from the end of the fuel rail underneath the back of the engine. I have to get this out.


Note: Make sure you label all the wires as you take them off the engine prior to removing the engine. Given that wiring looms on the modern jap cars are a little more intricate than that of a '72 clubman it can make things a lot easier even if you only do the ones that attach to important bits on the engine. Place somewhere safe..

Try and get hold of a wiring diagram for the Starlet GT (courtesy of This can come in handy. Also note that the wiring to the rear (usually run along the sill on the drivers side) will obviously be cut at the same point as rest of the halfcut, which will require you to match up those wires that perform functions at the rear of the car (i.e. brake lights, reverse light etc etc, and some of these may not work with the Mini items). You may elect to try and combine the two at the dash rather than try and work out what these wires do, up to you.

3. Remove gearchange mechanism

This is as easy or as difficult as you want to make it.

As per the photos there are two rods/cables for up and down shifting. They are both connected to the shaft by swivel bolts (there is a technical name for these but stuffed if I can remember it). Originally I suggested undoing these but you can actually have the whole unit intact and just remove the connections at the gearbox side and withdraw through the small aperture in the firewall.

This becomes a much easier proposition with the heater out of the way (as you can see in photo 3 & 4). The next part is tricky but. You have to remove the cables from the gearbox. With the actual gearchange chassis removed from the floor plan you have a bit of give and take. Make sure you label these "left" and "right" otherwise you will have to drive in reverse all the time (a little joke there!!).

You may want to think about removing the metal surround that sits around the aperture in the fire wall where the cables exit. You can then graft this onto the mini when installing the gearshift.

In photo 5 you can see the linkages on the gearbox. One slight hitch. There are shims in place and buggered if those bastards are goin to budge. There are nut like parts just in front of the shims but these just rotate but don't release pressure on the shims. I will investigate and report back. If these won't budge then it is back to step one of removing them (the cables) from the gearchange mechanism and when withdrawing the engine to just slide them out and deal with them when the engine is out of the car. If anyone has a secret solution please post a message to my answers board. Cheers.


4. Remove the Engine

  1. Support engine with the engine hoist (use a engine leveller if you have one)
  2. Check the whole engine for wires that are attached or cables such as the speedo or tacho cables
  3. Raise the hoist ever so slightly as this should make undoing the engine mounts that much easier
  4. Lower the engine slight and then remove driveshafts or if difficult remove wheen hubs from the upper and lower wishbones. It can be done!.
  5. Lower the engine until it is stable and secure.
  6. Attach hoist to actual car and hoist so the bottom front of car is above engine.
  7. Reattach hoist to engine and move from underneath engine bay and store.
  8. Once clear place securely (an engine mounting frame would be good but if not on the ground, preferably with some thing soft underneath like carpet or cardboard. Secure it, as a broken fuel rail or turbo, because the engine fell over would not be good)
  9. Give it a clean.

Author's Special Notes:

From what little info I could get off the internet, getting the drivehshafts out was a case of wedging a large screwdriver in between the diff housing and the driveshaft and lever and hey presto out come your driveshafts. Two probelms I found:

  1. you have to loosen the nut on the end of the wheel hub and unfortunately I could not find a socket deep enough to reach it (its a 30mm nut but on a long thread).
  2. And because it was a halfcut it is very difficult to get the whole thing off the ground safely to get underneath and even then trying to lever these things was going to prove impossible! So what did I do? I left the whole drive shaft assembly include wheel hubs and brakes and remove it from the wishbones. Much easier! I then lifted the car over the engine and then hoisted the engine away. Reason? I realised that the engine was originally installed from under neath so lifting it out of the top wasn't really going to work! Anyway check out the photos...




warranty document - lots to do

5. Engine Maintenance prior to fitting

The warranty document requires me to do quite a bit to the engine before I even get a chance to work on the subframe. This is the list as source from the warranty document:

  1. Fitment of Cam Belt - I guess they mean the timing chain (or belt)
  2. A full service once in - I worry about that when it's in!!!
  3. Professionally clean radiator and replace thermostat
  4. Replacement of seals at fitters discretion

Nothing too bad there. The engine has done 91,000kms so it is about due for a timing belt anyway and since I will have it out of the engine bay I will be replacing this. I may even go for a lightened flywheel? But I will definitely replace the clutch with a new one. Since I am going to have to use an alternate radiator (this one is huge) I may just void my warranty instantly...! I may think about replacing the sump gasket depending on it's condition. Sometimes it is best to leave them alone!

While the engine is in good nick allot of the alloy parts (cam cover, fuel rail etc) are in need of a polish (they don't rust they just tarnish). You may want to go as far as painting the block. And lastly a good degrease does wonders. Pics once the engine is out...