Update 13 September 2005: Well finally started on the alternator bracket. This was mainly because I started on the remote oil filter bracket but thought I should get this working first. So as you can see in image 10 I have started to make the backing plate to which the bar that will support the alternator attaches.
In images 8 & 9 you can see the bar just sitting there. Obviously it will be raised approximately 10mm up to clear the frame and allow for the movement of the engine. Then it is a case of marking off against the bar to locate the alternator. The next step will be to locate the locking arm and attach that to the engine mount and then she should be done don't worry I will supply more pics once I get to that area.
Update 19 April 2005: Well went back out to Queanbeyan to have a look at this alternator. Ended up finding the right one which are shown in images 4 to 7 to replace the previous one in image 3. This is a better setup than the first one I got as it has two locating lugs at the botton making mounting that much more secure. As as you can considerably smaller than the Starlet original. This is a 50amp unit but should be more than enough for the MIni setup as you take out alot of the additional load on the electrics by removing such things as electric windows, the massive heater and air con systems etc etc. As long as I don't run a massive stereo (which I'm not) I should be right. One way to find out.
Also the cranky Italian codger at Jap Parts was a pleasure to deal with. Wanted originally $110 but I managed to find an identical one which somehow was only worth $88 (why $88 not $85 or $90 I have no idea). And before you ask I'm not anti Italian, my wife is Italian!!! I also had a talk to the guys out at A&J Auto Electrics and they indicated that it should take them less than a day to sort out the wiring loom when the time comes. I intend to get it all hooked up and check the indicators etc are working and just get them to go over it to make sure everything is hooked up properly. Once I get to this stage of sorting out the alternator I will post up more info.
Update 15 April 2005: Well as you can see in images 3 & 4, I have managed to source an alternative alternator. There are several to choose from by the looks of it. And generally don't bother talking to a place that sells altenators as they ain't much help. The main tip is to try and get one of the same brand, in this case NipponDenso, which is lucky because they make approximately 50% of all alternators used on japanese cars. The best ones as far as size come off Daihatsu's and are approximately 55amps which equates to approximately 600watts which should be enough for the Mini's requirements.
The other issue to consider is to try and get one with a three (3) prong plug. This will ensure that the alternator sensor which is included in the Starlet wiring loom set up will work. It basically warns when your alternator has had the dick.
I may swap this one as I have seen a few others which have the same poly V wheel as the original Starlet item, but the guy wanted $110 which was alot for a secondhand alternator (and I dare say no warranty). So I am in a quandry as this thing is only $75. And lets face it there's still no guarantee that even with the smaller alternator that I can front mount it. I guess we will see.
This section was revised on 8 August 2004: Previously I wrote about placing the alternator where the air con compressor used to sit. Well, given that I will be sending one of the frame rails through this point I have decided to find an alternative arrangement (plus it probably is a pretty dangerous place to put your alternator). I will be placing the alternator next to the turbo, above the oil filter. This was all predicated on getting a smaller alternator, which was unsuccessful (see story below) so it looks like the original is the go. I spoke to an auto electrician and he said I wouldn't want to go much smaller than that one anyway?
If this is possible then no alternations will have to be made to the subframe or much else. But will still require some alterations to the engine bay design. But I expected this anyway. See images 1 & 2 for details. Well I have been through about a million different iterations in my head about what to do about the alternator.
Until I have the engine fully mounted it is a bit difficult. But the single belt system doesn't look like a goer because of the engine mount being in the way of the belt coming from the waterpump to the alternator. But Brad gave me some good news about just using a tight belt between the crank and water pump. Which negates the need for a lay pulley to maintain tension.
Steps for installing the Alternator
Alright now that I actually have something to report about the design of the bracket for the alternator here are the steps I went through which may give you some ideas...
Creating the EFI Fuel System
Essentially what we are talking about here are the following items that require creation and they are:
These are explored in detail below:
Due to the fact that the car is going to be running EFI it is advisable (and some would say necessary) to replace the standard fuel lines with ones of a larger diameter. The existing fuel line is currently 1/4" and as a replacement I have opted for 5/16ths or 8mm tubing (The roll can be seen in Image 1). This is because the EFI system runs under greater pressure and also has alot more fuel being supplied in order to increase the amount of fuel sitting behind the fuel injectors. A smaller line will can do some if not all of the following things. Firstly, it may increase the already high pressure in the line by going from a larger to a smaller diameter tubing. Secondly, it will tax the pump alot more because it is trying to force the fuel through a smaller line. And finally it will lead to fuel starvation because even with the pump working harder it still can't get the fuel up to the engine at a high enough pressure and flow.
A lack of flow will not only make your car run badly (if at all). It can also ruin your catalytic converter!
The other issue is also the creation of a return line which is a necessity in all EFI applications. This is simply a case of having a similar line running back from the engine bay to the fuel tank (well easy in theory).
Essentially I will have one line running along underneath the car where the original fuel line sat and coming up to the engine bay to be connected to the existing Starlet inlet. A high pressure fuel pump will be located at the back of the rear subframe to be fed under gravity from the existing fuel tank. Placement of the fuel pump will have to be precise to allow room for the fuel line and the line from the tank.
A similar line will be made to go from the engine bay back along underneath using the tray that carries the battery lead (a new one which can be seen in Image 4). Then enters the tank at a location yet to be determined (probably the fuel sender like most people do). I am thinking of welding a small inlet spout somewhere near the bottom of the tank, but this will have to be confirmed. On the engine side I will be using high pressure fuel hose to connect the line to and from the engine.
The final (hopefully) is including a fuel pressure regulator (image 3) as this is a necessity. Without a fuel pressure regulator you will have not control over the rate of fuel being delivered to the injectors. This means that given that the pump produces a reasonably constant flow (which really can't be altered) you may end up running a lean or rich mixture (probably rich) which cannot be altered. By increasing the flow through the regulator you let more fuel return to the tank thus in effect reducing the fuel pressure which reduces the amount of fuel passing through the injectors.
Anyway as usual I will post photos when I have ironed out this one.
Update 21 May 2005: Well I am finally starting to assemble all the bits and pieces I need to do the fuel system. The latest addition has been the flexible high pressure fuel hose (expensive stuff at $35 for 1.5 metres, image 6). This will help me connect the petrol tank to the pump and filter, and then at the engine bay end to connect both the fuel line to the engine, and the fuel regulator etc to the return line.
Now that the rear subframe is in I can start this stage. You have to have the rear subframe in so you know where there is space to put the EFI pump which is quite large. This is a fairly straight forward problem so I should have this knocked over during the week. Once this is done things will get easier (at least physically.
Update 26th May 2005: Well I have sourced all the parts I need to finalise the installation of the EFI system. The list of items is as follows:
I have basically bent the steel fuel line to roughly the configuration that is required at both ends. I am still in a dilemma about how to setup the steel lines. Orginally I thought about running the EFI line to the engine down the left hand side (looking from the back of the car) and the return line up the right. But the right tray is looking a little congested because of the battery lead and the rear brake line. So I may have the both the return line and EFI line running up and down the left hand side. This may be good as this would place the outlet of the return line close to the tank again. As you can see in Images 7 - 11 I have done the fuel lines it was a little trickier than I first through as you have to practice a bit to know where the bends are going to start with the pipe bender but I managed to muddle my way through. I get the barbs put on on Saturday and then they should be right to go. Once these are installed I can then set about reinstalling the subframes for the final time and getting the Hi Los in and then she's back to a rolling chassis.
Update 28 May 2005: Well took the lines out to Simon at Pirtek and put some very nice barbs on them (image 7). So that was that. I took them home and with a bit of elbow grease they are now in. I replaced the rear subframe and by the looks of it hasn't creased them though it can be a little hard to tell. But they look pretty good and I can jiggle them around a bit so I don't think this is a problem. The whole thing looks very neat so once the fuel pump etc is in place that should be it for this part of the fuel system, apart from running a wire from the fuse box to get the fuel pump running. But that will wait until I have installed the wiring loom.
Update 30 May 2005: With the subframe (and fuel lines) now in place I can't start to fiddle with the location of the fuel pump and prefilter. The prefilter is essentially a standard carby level fuel filter placed before the pump to reduce the level of contaminants that can get into the pump. The final EFI fuel filter will be placed at the engine end of fuel line, this is mainly due to space restrictions. I had a look at Brad's setup because I was having trouble picturing how I was going to sort this. Brad's design solves alot of my dilemmas and takes into account the possible installation of twin tanks (another story to be tackled at a later date). Anyway in Image 19? you can see my adaption of the design. I will also be putting a protective plate from the subframe to the bottom of the wheel well to protect the pump and filter from the heat of the exhaust and from mud etc.
Update 4 September 2005: As stated earlier I had suspended work on this until I had the exhaust etc done. Well I am now in a position to start work on it again. This should happen soon.
Update 22 October 2005: Well finally got the exhaust completely finished. So now I can go onto the fuel system with a clear conscience. As you can see in Image 14 I have made a dummy placement of the fuel pump. This will essentially pump through the hose in a horseshoe shape and then obviously into the bundy tube fuel lines that you can just see poking through to the left of the pump itself. Why this arrangement well essentially because you don't have much choice. There ain't a lot of room there to play with and unfortunately the surface is not flat (or at least not everywhere). Anyway all going well I should have this part of the system polished off by tomorrow as really it is essentially plug and play.
Update 25 October 2005: A bit further along. Here you can see the HP EFI Fuel filter now in line. I will have a go at welding in some balance pipes for the fuel tanks on the weekend.
Update 6 November 2005: Moving on from my last update I had a change or mind. Originally I was going to route the return line underneath the car. But obviously this would mean directly over the back of the exhaust. Not a real good idea so brainwave, run it into the boot as along the back and all sorted. So over the weekend I managed to do this. I was hoping to get the whole thing done front and back but had some friends down for the weekend and so another weekend gone. Anyway here is a pic of my progress. I used the nutsert tool for the first time and it works a charm. I used these to do the bolting points for the little metal tabs that hold the hose in place, makes for a very neat solution (first image).
I also managed to get the right hand tank in. It is not the most perfect installation but I am happy with it and it looks a pretty neat solution. I painted both tank as you can see in the first image (the right one wouldn't dry properly so at some stage I will remove it again and do a proper job but for the moment it is fine. The last thing to do to finalise the fuel system is to basically run the hose from the left hand tank into the back of the fuel pump and connect that (with the fuel filter in place) into steel line running to the front. Then connect up the fuel rail on the engine, which is very straight forward. Anyway I think I should have this licked by midweek and then (yes I know I say this alot) I should be onto the electrics. I have spoken to my wife and told her not to invite anyone over for the next few weekends...Wish me luck...
Final Update 10 November 2005: The fuel system in finished. I managed to get the hoses connected to the fuel rail tonight. This completes the fuel circuit. A new set of issues may arise when I start the thing up but I am pretty confident about the quality of the installation. The only concern is the balance pipe between the two tanks hopefully this will work as planned. Anyway below is a pic of the hoses from the steel fuel lines to the fuel rail.
Installing Right Hand Tank and creating a balance pipe.
Well that would have to be the longest title for a section so far. Anyway onto the information. Now given that there is a chance that someone else doing this installation wouldn't either have access to or want to put in a right hand tank. But there are several good reasons why you might want to:
Q: Why do you need a balance pipe?
A: Simply because if you run a system with two tanks with return line into one and the fuel line in the other this creates problems with the return tank overflowing because it cannot balance the fuel levels in each tank quick enough. This has been relayed to me several times by several EFI converted Mini's. So what do you do? Well simply you create a secondary route for the petrol to escape back and forth between the tanks so that they balance. The big problem is that there only one outlet from each tank which is not enough for tanks the size of the mini's or the outlet itself which is less than 5/16 (internal diameter). The picture of the system I am running may be of more help.
So here are the steps you need to take.
How to install the Right Hand Tank (RHT)
Sourcing Custom Driveshafts
This will actually prove to be one of the most difficult parts of this operation. Why because this part is quite complex. Also just to let you know, I rang a driveshaft specialist a while back and he indicated that to get them exactly right I should bring the car in so that they can make precise measurements with the car sitting there, which makes sense so at some stage you are going to have to hire a car trailer I would say.
When getting custom driveshafts made up you're trying to get an engineer/driveshaft specialist to:
Now the first two should be something that anyone worth their salt should be able to produce, it is the last point that is a little difficult. But even so, this should not be a problem for a decent fabricator. Now I am going to make things just a whole lot more difficult by seeking out the possibility of creating a layshaft setup for the longer driveshaft mounting this to the engine in some way and then creating a short actual driveshaft into the lefthand CV joint. I will investigate the possibility and report back.
Here is a link to a webpage that discusses measuring driveshaft distance for custom driveshafts (rear wheel drive but the idea's the same) and what's involved. Opposite you will find a visual depiction of what I am going to try and do. I am not sure one way or the other whether it is possible, though I have seen similar type driveshafts on websites. I guess I will just go into a driveshaft shop and talk to them. After I have done a bit of research on who can do this and keep you posted. It may have to be a trip to Sydney, which would be a pain, but worth it if they can do what I want. Keep you posted...Note: After speaking to the engineer he recommended an engineering firm in Canberra that might be able to help me out.
Update 13 September 2005: Well I got my driveshafts back which is great and as I said $550. More than I had budgetted for but this place is about the only one in town that can do this kind of job and obviously I need the driveshafts. Unfortunately I can't give you too much advice except leave this too the pros unless you are obviously a fitter and turner.
There is one piece of other advice I can give you. I ended up obliterating my dust boots on the driveshafts and was about to pay $108 for new Toyota OEM ones, but decided just to see if any of the auto parts place had replacement ones. Repco ended up quoting me the same price but I popped into Auto Pro and they have OETIKER replacement boots for $15 (Part no 55-3780-K). I also got the replacement Mini outer CV boots for even cheaper at $11 each so well chuffed. So this weekend I might get a chance to put them on. Pics to follow.
Update 30 August 2005: Today I ordered the tilt tray towtruck to take the Mini out to M&A Engineering to have the driveshafts made up. At this stage I have no idea of cost so I could be in for a shock hopefully it is no more expensive than the quotes I have got off others who have done the conversion (ie. $300-$400). After having spoken to them, I got the feeling it was a walk in the park for them. I don't know how long it will take but I will give them a ring on Friday 2 September.
Update 4 September 2005: Well Mick at M&A has made the measurements for the driveshafts but unfortunately I forgot (I need I should have thrown it in the back of the Mini, but anyway) to include a Mini driveshaft so he could get the splines just righ and also the grooves for the two spring clips. That should be there tomorrow so I should have the driveshafts done before the end of the week...
Update 28 September 2005: I managed to get the retaining circlips off with a bit of ingenuity (a screwdriver and a pry bar, it sounds worse than it is). Getting these off was going to really hold me back so a bit of luck going my way for once. Anyway tomorrow is Thursday so I think I should have them in in a day, all going well so that will be another big item off the list, anyway more tomowrrow.
Well following on as you can see in images 4 -6 I have managed to get the driveshafts in complete with dustboots on and clips in place. It was a bastard of a job but now it is done and I can move onto some more entertaining bits and pieces...
FINAL NOTE: While I have endevoured to give you as much information as I can, I am not a professional engineer, not even close. So anything you take from this website is at your own risk. Due to the increasingly litigous society in which we dwell I am will also be unable to develop or send out full specs for the subframe. For the same reason I won't be making subframes for people. The fact is as much as people like to say that they won't seek you out when things go wrong they will and usually with a lawyer in tow.