I wish I could say that I have done a lot on the car in the more than 6 months since I last updated this column, but alas not.
However, I have created a vented bonnet which looks pretty good, not perfect, I will probably sort out the few little uneven bits over time but unless you look reasonably closely it looks pretty bloody good. I mainly did it to get the under bonnet temperatures down as the setup of the Mini engine bay doesn't really allow for much flow. Plus with the air filter sitting in the engine bay and the feeder tube to the turbo running over the engine I dare say I am losing a bit of power due to the already heated air entering the turbo.
So my next two projects for the Mini are thus:
On that note, as I was working on the dash wiring my mate from next door came around because he was getting annoyed at me constantly revving the engine (I would turn it on to make sure I hadn't cut anything important). As I might or might not of told you, it ends up he used to be head mechanic for a Formula 3000 team (Minardi I think) in Europe, and while he doesn't want to touch cars per se, he offered to call in a few favours and try and get me a aftermarket ECU! And what's more he offered to rewire my entire car in the process. This was before Xmas and I promise myself I would give him some time but this weekend or next I think I might call the favour in. How cool would that be (he was possibly talking Adaptronic!).
If that falls through I will bite bullet and install the DFA thought obviously the other way would be much cooler. But I have to solve this for several reasons:
I will also reinsert the manual boost controller as this also has an effect on how quickly she spools up. The only trouble with all this though is that I am running standard internals so I am limited as to how much bhp I can make as I think the current setup once sorted could easily make over 200bhp atw.
Anyway that is the news at the moment. I will update next week with pics of the bonnet and also how it went with my mate next door. Wish me luck. Oh one other thing I also intend before say April this year to head up to the Sydney Dragway for "Run what you brung", and see what this thing can really do the quarter in, still this is all assuming nothing happens re the ECU.
Well a little bit to announce since I last updated the website. The first thing being that the performance mods are all pretty much done if you have been watching the site.
But as you would also know is that the issue of over fuelling or running rich has been an ongoing battle. Well I finally bit the bullet and decided to purchase the Jaycar Digital Fuel Adjuster. This is a cheap option for achieving fuel ration adjustment on the fly.
The kit costs about $80 and you solder it together yourself and then you get the kit for the handcontroller which you also put together. Once together you test and then it is placed in the car in a similar fashion to all the other piggyback fuel computers.
As at writing I have put the kits fully together and will now start testing them. Fingers crossed I have put everything together properly. That is the only downside to this approach, basically if you put things together incorrectly, the thing probably won't work and trying to then find out what went wrong can be like looking for a needle in haystack especially if you are complete novice in this area like me.
Anyway I have created a page dedicated solely to developing this kit and installing it. So if you have ever thought of doing the same thing then check it out.
Finally I have some good news to relay about the car. I dropped it off last Friday to Autotech in Fyshwick. I had never tried these guys but new that they were one of only three places that had a Dyno Dynamics dyno. So I thought hopefully these guys will be able to sort out the tune.
Previously I had taken it to another Dyno place that also had a Dyno Dynamics dyno and the best it got was 141hp at the wheels. He had to suspend the dyno run because it started to lean out really badly which is something I had already suspected. His prognosis was that I needed a new ECU and new injectors ($2000 approximately). I thought that can't be right because in the preceeding two weeks it had ran like a dream. Anyway given my propensity to persevere I kept going until I found the cause. It ended up being more crap blocking up my fuel pump. So I removed the pump and drained both tanks and that solved the problem of leaning out at high boost (rather than a new ECU etc, thanks mate).
Anyway I am driving to get it dyno'd for the third time and she started to run out of fuel. This happened about every two kilometers in peak hour on the way to Fyshwick. Anyway I finally made it and explained to the guys that they should remove the right hand tank from the equation. This they did and ran the dyno session. Now for the good news...
136kw or 184hp at 15-16psi and 127.4kw or 171hp at 12psi. Some very good figures and I am more than happy. I am running around now with over 170hp at the wheels and whats more the AFR is perfect on boost and it boosts all the way to readline so overall things are sweet. And with the right hand tank taken out of the equation she is running flawlessly. And I think finally this is the way it will remain.
Ed's Note: Well the AFR is not actually perfect in fact it is very bad to the point where fumes enter the car it is running that rich. So I am in the process of sorting this issue out. It could be a while but if you have seen the latest post (Feb 2008) you should see that I have received an offer, which if it comes true will solve this and a whole lot of other problems. If I clean up the AFR then not only will it mean better mid range power but could also lead to a quite sizable jump in peak power to possibly over the 200bhp atw barrier. This coupled with the full tunability of an aftermarket ECU could make things very interesting, but alas I have to stay below 200 because it runs standard internals...
Well something like that...
The car is complete everything is hooked up and the car runs smoothly. I have completed the installation of the turbo (KKR280), manufactured my own headers. Created intake and intercooler tubing. Installed a BOV and finally the front mount intercooler. The results of this I am most happy with from a aesthetic and design point of view.
But the question you all have is how does she go...Well simply.
AWESOME... Man this thing is an animal, in fact it is so powerful that traction is a big issue. In fact is the car will burn rubber at 70kph in third! I still haven't booked her in for a dyno as the last thing I want to put in is a boost gauge. The thing is with a stock ECU there is oftern no need for a dyno tune. It is purely to get a official figure of what it is putting out as I don't want anymore than 180bhp at the wheels which given the way it goes is entirely possible...
Anyway I will soon put up a new video of the car performing so you can get an idea of what I am talking about.
As with everything there are downsides. The main downer is that my friend who installed the remote oil filter obviously didn't do everything up properly and load of oil pissed out all over the drivers side guard, alternator and some of the turbo. Also almost crash the car during testing as the oil was hitting the front wheel. Still as soon as it happened I knew what the cause was and took it very easy on the 2km drive back home (lucky I wasn't fanging it miles from nowhere).
The other issue is that a couple of times when I stopped at the lights a huge amount of blue smoke enveloped the car. I then tried to replicate it later and it never came back (very strange). Even if it was rings gone it is strange to have it happen while stationary rather than under load. I don't think it is the rings I think may be to do with this oil filter issue. Still I will get a compression test done next week.
Ed's Note: It wasn't the rings or the oil filter, basically as you probably know the turbo is lightly covered in oil to stop the parts rusting, on the first decent run this gets burnt off, and this was the cause of the big cloud and also the reason it never came back. It is now Feb 2008 and the turbo just keeps on humming.
Things have slowed down somewhat as far as the car is concerned. There have been a few little issues that seem to have taken a long time to resolve.
Still things are reasonably hopeful. I have booked the Dyno tune for 16 October, so basically I have 7 days to complete the car and having it in a running state. Could be tight me thinks.
Still the outstanding issues are not that great. I am pretty close to hooking up the turbo with only the oil drain pipe outstanding. I have also almost finished the top and bottom mounts for the intercooler and so the only other major issues are the redesign of the alternator bracket and the finaiising of the top brace for the radiator. The rest is pretty straightforward.
I have hooked up the exhaust complete with nut welded in for the oxygen sensor, and that was an issue I am glad is done with.
Oh one other thing I have started to design the intercooler pipes which is quite exciting, especially as there are few things on this car that actually give you any joy it is really the final result that brings that. Anyway keep going to the Performance Mods section for updates on the above issues.
So now with the exhaust finally done the only thing left is:
See not that bad. And I still have a month before the baby is due. Shit it in...I can't wait to see what the dyno output is.
Well I have finally got to the stage where I am getting excited. I have a tendency to be a bit "glass half empty" when it comes to working on this car, given the number of times something has happened causing me to go back to the start.
But I had the radiator in last night to check that it still fit and it does. In fact it should mean that I can move the intercooler back slightly which means it will sit well under the leading edge of the bumper.
I have dropped the radiator off to get the bottom pipe turned around a little to point in the right direction but apart from that it is all good.
I just finished (tack) welding the dumppipe. I had to cut the old one off and do a new one obviously with the change in turbos. This one has actually turned out really well and will probably flow a bit better than the original on the CT9. Not to mention that I finally got around to fitting a flexible link so that the exhaust doesn't place undue pressure on my super deluxe wammo Super Matty Special (SMS trade mark pending) headers...
So now with the exhaust finally done the only thing left is:
See not that bad. And I still have a month before the baby is due. Shit it in...I can't wait to see what the dyno output is.
Sorry little joke there. Well if you have checked out the new section on Performance Mods for the Starlet engined Mini you will see that I have decided to have a go at making my own performance tuned length headers (or extractors). This was mainly due to the fact that I bought a new turbo so the Starlet manifold wouldn't work. Which is good coz it is crap.
So after about 2 weekends solid one of which included a couple of days off, I have pretty much got it licked. I think these things will flow a heap better than the original (which wouldn't be difficult) and should add to the performance of the turbo.
I have also been busy since I took the engine out to sort out a few niggling things. I have replaced the clutch with an Exedy HD clutch rated at about 200bhp. I have also got a hold of the Sard fuel rail adaptor so now I can run the Sard Rising Rate Fuel Pressure Regulator (RRFPR). Which is something I've always wanted to do since I bought it but never had the opportunity. Plus the regulator looks hot and should help with fueling no end.
The other thing I have done is augment the frame to allow for the extra power. I have welded tabs to the tie rod arm mounts and the back of the frame and these will be joined together with rods to aid in structural stability and also to give more strength to the frame under braking.
What else? Oh yeah the Front Mount Intercooler. I am getting a custom made intercooler made up that will go in the front where the lower fascia was. This should have a twofold effect of generating more power but also keeping the engine cooler as I think the top mount especially with it not getting any air was a heavy contributor to the overheating issues.
Oh and also on that issue my custom made radiator is too big but the radiator I got a bloke from NZ to send over looks like it will be a perfect fit. Howzat. So things are going really well and barring any catastrophe's I should be away by say end of Sept. Which means I can then support my wife as she delivers our first child...
The car has had a bit of a chequered existence since it was registered. It ran very well apart from the occassional overheating problem.
But things started to go downhill in the last few weeks. I thought it was an electrical problem. But it ended up being a problem with the EFI pump. $700 later I have a Pierberg 500bhp rated fuel pump and new filter. It ends up that the EFI pump sucked in the rust in the bottom of the vintage right hand tank and rust debris and pumps don't mix.
It instantly went better and so I thought time to sort out the overheating issue as well. So I got a new semi custom radiator put in but alas it is a bit too long but I think there are ways around it and while I could take it back it definitely does the job so I would rather come up with some solution rather than go back and hassle them (still I probably should).
Anyway I will put up some pics in the post development page that I am developing. This will cover such things as the rad installation and eventually in the future the turbo header development and turbo installation.
I also try and update the page more than once every three months...
Well I'll get to the point. The car passed! I now have 12 months rego on the car! Slowly but surely I perservered and here we are. Even though it was line ball if it was going to get over the line.
So now I can sit on my arse for a while and obviously spend more time with my wife!
If anything it has become a little anticlimactic. Now that it is all finished I don't know what to do with myself. Still the next thing is to get the car handling properly and then maybe in a few months time start work on a new turbo manifold and stick on a T25. Still as of 31 March 2006 Project Minstar has officially finished.
Well as you have probably guessed I didn't get through rego on Friday. In fact the whole thing was a complete right off.
As I expected I had a different bunch of guys look over the car. And sure enough the "technical officer" present decided to take issue with things that the previous guy hadn't even raised an eyebrow to. Which is my greatest gripe with the whole system is that you get one set of guys do one inspection and then another set do the same thing so technically you could go through numerous times because they take exception to different things. Hang on, that's my situation!
So basically he took issue with the engineering report indicating that it had not been detailed enough especially in the areas of the brake modifications and the subframe. So now I have to go back and get my engineer to rewrite the report. He also asked that the engineer talk to him directly. I got the distinct impression that the rego guys (and one in particular) have a problem with my engineer.
So I have advised my engineer of this so it will be interesting to see what comes of that. I tried to argue the toss with him but I new that it would just make things worse. Having said that his protestations were probably reasonable given that there was a lack of detail when describing the subframe. But I got the impression he was looking for any reason to knock me back.
The next issue was the ID check. This takes half an hour and your not allowed to be present when they do it so you can't argue your case. But anyway, the guy comes back and he was a pretty reasonable fellow. He indicated that he wanted to see an import cerficate for the halfcut (even though I had the receipt of purchase). Once again I said to him that I thought that you didn't need one for a halfcut. But he said he wanted to see it and because I wasn't sure of my facts I couldn't argue.
So when I got home I rang Rolin's automotive in QLD and the guy was very helpful and confirm my suspicions in that only full cars require this clearance so that DOTARS can ensure that they meet import regs but halfcuts and engines do not require this.
So now I am booked in for another test session on Friday. So in the meantime I am going to push to get the engineering sorted out and also get as much amunition as I can to sort out the ID issue.
One bright note though is that I passed all of the issues that they had lined up previously including the rear brakes so now it is simply the engineering report and the ID check. I hope...
As always I will let you know.
Yeah probably a little over dramatic...
As you would know from my last post I did not pass rego, but the list was pretty small. The only real issues were the brakes and the ID check.
So this weekend I sat down to sort out the other issues on the list. And I managed to get them all done. I have made up the door cards in black vinyl as well as padding them. They came up very well. I will be including a step by step in the technical area for those that are interested.
In addition I made up the splitter plates for the rear taillight lenses so that's done and finally I have made up a braket to secure the air filter. So that really reduces the list to the brakes and the ID check. Also wouldn't you know it but the issue with the LH high beam was simply that one of the wires had not been pushed into the plug properly. I did this and the headlights work fine.
I am compiling photos for the ID check and have also done a stat dec indicating the history of the car and stating my ownership. With all my possessions going up in the January 2003 bushfires in Canberra I don't know what I'll do if they want to push for proof of ownership?
The brakes could actually be the big issue so I guess I will find out what the brake guys will have to say when I drop it down tomorrow morning.
The re-test is Friday at 3pm (plus ID check) so wish me luck. If this goes through then the car will be officially road legal and will the end of the project (apart from engine upgrades which will be progressively dealt with)...Woohoo!
I took the car to get rego tested on Monday and as I thought the car failed. But I was kind of expecting it. There were a few things I should have done to minimise the number of issues they picked up but even so there were things I wasn't expecting to fail on. I mainly did it so that I had a better idea of the things that I had to sort out. So here's the list:
So overall pretty good really. One of the inspectors asked me twenty questions the first being "Why'd you bother doing it". Given the response I got at Wheels 2006 on the Sunday I think the answer is pretty obvious. Anyway it is booked in for the second rego check next Friday the 24th of March. So I think I should get the rest sorted out well and truly before then so apart from the ID Check the rest should hopefully be a formality. Fingers crossed...
Things are now going according to plan. I have pretty much sorted all the little things that the engineer said I should sort out if I want a trouble free run at the rego station.
Basically, little things like windscreen washer jets. I put them in last night very nifty. I guess that is one thing that is cool about getting a wiring loom from a modern japanese car. I realise that Mini's came with them but it all seems so much more efficient with a modern loom.
Anyway the only things left to do are to sort out the indicator binnacle cover and maybe put a door card on the drivers door to allay suspicion that the window doesn't actually wind up or down. But I have got the rear number plate light sorted out so now all the lights are sorted.
So anyway she's booked in on Monday (next week) to go over the pits so I guess I will find out. Hopefully with the engineer's report in hand and it all looking nice and neat I should be home and hosed. Can't lie though I am not that confident that they will not go over it with a fine tooth comb and try and find fault with it but I guess you have to stay positive.
Anyway for those in the ACT who are interested I will be at the Wheels 2006 exhibition on Sunday, so if you want a look there the opportunity.
Also as much as I hate doing it I am going to put google ads on the site to generate a bit of income which I can divert into the car. Lets face it, this cost me $11K basically, and if I can get some money from it, well...Also any mods will be documented here as always.
The news I know I have been waiting to hear (and probably some of you too). I got my engineering certificate today. Basically the braking tests were the last of the testing that I needed to complete and the metros came through with flying colours.
Cooling is still a bit of an issue but I will be able to sort that out at my leisure as it will do to get through rego. I have a sneaky suspicion that there may be a leak in the hose as when the tank is filled to the top the engine doesn't get over half way and then I leave her for a few days and she starts to overheat. So I will investigate that. But as I said all I have to do really is tidy her up and go for rego.
It is actually a little anti-climactic given the setbacks I have had but I am sure it will dawn on me tomorrow. And the engineer has done a very good job with the cerfication including the braided lines for the brakes etc. And the steering wheel so they can't get me on that either. So I will be going over the pits probably next week or the week after depending on how long it takes me.
Also I confirmed with the engineer about putting a vent in the bonnet and that is ok so I am going to do that after I have it rego'd.
So not far to go now. I keep you posted.
Notice: More pics will be up in the next couple of days from my mate Ross Buchan in South Africa. He is putting out 380bhp with NOS atw. So much power in fact that he has bent the subframe and has had to beef it up. Anyway I will put up the pics and you can get a load of his handywork (a very neat installation indeed and with a shedload of power).
It has been a very annoying period lately. From a high of having the engine
start first go and the car run like a gem things have gone from bad to worse.
Firstly as you would know there was an issue with the cooling. Which seems
to have resolved itself, thankfully. And thinking this was the last of the
problems to beset me on my way to getting the engineering testing out of
the way, I was getting really excited.
Then I took the car for a run, and she ran like a dog which is when I noticed the dreaded Check Engine Light. I then realised that I had let the petrol tank run down to basically empty. This is what I think generated the Check Engine Light (or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL)). I think the intiial issue was raised because the ECU detected a lean fuel mixture (which obviously un acceptable in a turbo engine).
The only trouble is that even when I filled the tanks the Check Engine Light hasn't gone off even with attempted reseting by disconnecting the battery. So tonight I am going to check the code the system is generating to get a better idea of what's wrong. I also have it booked into Toyota tomorrow to see what the deal is if I can't find and solve the issue tonight.
That is the biggest problem as I have now cancelled the engineering test twice (dammit). My engineer seems pretty relaxed about it but I am a little worried that something terminal has happened. As you may have noticed my first impulse is always to assume the worst about anything. I'm not a pessimist but given the things that seem to cropping up at the last minute I am starting to get a little fatalistic. Anyway I will continue this post tomorrow night when I have more to report.
PS. My front set of A539 Yokohamas turned up today so I will whack them on the front this week and assuming positive outcome on the engine then I should be ready for testing next week (please please).
Also you may want to know that I have update Conversion 10 to reflect completion of the engine bay and guages so have a look.
Well just when I though this project couldn't throw anything else at me. I took it out to get Dyno'd and it started overheating on the way there and so had to slow it down on the way. Then on the way back it really overheated. Well not really I just ended up pulling over everytime it got to 3/4.
Anyway took it to my local radiator place and they said that the combination of the very high idle (1800 rpm roughly) and the small radiator meant that in traffic it will never stay cold. Anyway, having talked to a few other guys running similar sized radiators I wondered how they did it.
The Dyno guy gave me the thumbs up about the engine even though it was only on 7psi. 106bhp at the wheels by the way so not bad. Anyway while he managed to tune it (though I couldn't tell any difference) he didn't really achieve what I really wanted which was an idle around the 800rpm range.
But today I had a bit of a win. I took the thermo fan off the radiator (it currently sits in front of the radiator). As it occured to me and this was also pointed out by my engineer that it should be behind. Also it occurred to me that the motor of the fan blocks almost 50-60% of the radiator that is exposed to airflow. So anyway I took it off and then went for about a 15 minute run around my suburb. Hey presto, didn't get above a third. This will need to be confirmed by a longer drive but does suggest that will adequte airflow (and a thermo for stop start driving) the radiator will do the job afterall. I have it booked in with another dyno mob to see if they can sort out the idle...
The engineer came around on Saturday and was reasonably happy with the car just needs a few things tidied up. Put the rear carpet in so that done and the seats are finished with the changes requested by the engineer completed. The heater is the last thing to be hooked up and that will also be the electrics done. So hopefully if the radiator thing and the idle thing can be sorted I am away as the engineering test looks like it will be primarily about brakes, which just keep getting better the more I use them...
Another major step has been completed today. I have rung the auto electrician and I have all the following sorted out:
Though having said this, it could end up costing me $500. Still it works and at this stage I don't care.
I also sorted out the brake lights myself, and while not perfect (it runs constantly and the flow is back to front) I have the thermo fan working as well. The only thing the didn't solve was the fuel level sender, but that's a small price. All the dials works and once connected so should the speedo.
So now she is almost ready. I have her booked in tomorrow for a wheel alignment and the come Friday (hopefully) she should go in for a dyno tune. And barring any surprises from that, she should be very close to going for her engineering test. I will have to tidy her up and connect up the lights and indicators etc before testing but that should only take an weekend. So once the engineering test it done and I get the report it is off to get registered. This is the most difficult part and the part that worries me the most. But then again I have overcome all other obstacles so this is just another one...
Oh almost forgot. While I had nothing else to do I decided that I would redo the grille the Matty Way(C). It looks even better in the flesh. So there you go.
Well a fair amount to report as I know it has been a while. Well first of all I finally took the car for a drive aroudn the block. And what a beast, even without a tune or anything else she still spun the wheels in third! She also accelerates like a banshee. I can only imagine what it will be like when she's all tuned up. I can also only imagine what Dean's beast must be like. But I am more than happy with the performance let me tell you.
This leads onto another piece of news. I was always under the impression that the gearchange didn't really operate correctly. So this was confirmed when I tried to move the car into reverse. No go. So I finally bit the bullet and sorted it out. It ends up that the principles of my design were correct all it needed is the step bracket where the cables attach on the engine needed the top bracket moved back approximately 13mm. This required removal which was a pain but now she's all sorted. All six gears including reverse and she changes like a charm. So now there is no impediment mechanically to getting her on the road.
The final piece of news is that as I write she is sitting out at the auto electrician gettting the lights etc sorted out. The list of things to do is:
I managed to sort the brake switch system out myself so I was impressed with that. I am bit worried about the guys i have given it to as they don't seem to sure of what they are doing but they were only ones willing to take the job. So I will ring them tomorrow for a status report and if I am not satisfied with the results I might think about pulling the plug and getting someone else onto it.
Anyway as always I will keep you posted.
I know not a lot has happened of note since I turned her over 3 days ago.
But I have mounted the fuse box inside the dash. It is not beautiful but is should do the trick. It is not a very friendly fuse box to mount so I will have to remove the dash to change fuses but a small price to pay.
The wiring in the dash is all but finished the only thing left to do really is connect up the rear loom to (taillights and fuel level sender) the Starlet loom. Once that is done I have to finish the indicator assembly onto the mini streering column. The major issue is creating a fuel power circuit to run of the ignition. Most likely using a relay but this could be tricky.
Once the fuel is sorted it is just simple things like the headlights etc. My only other concern about the electrics is the alternator. I am not sure whether I got that circuit right so I may get an auto electrician out to check it for peace of mind.
Well what a weekend of lows and highs. I spent most of Saturday doing spot welds around the outlet (for the balance pipe) on the left hand tank after having filled the tanks with petrol the previous night only to find a small seepage of petrol in the boot floor. Everytime I made a weld and tipped the tank up (which was filled with water) I'd find a little trickle. Then it occurred to me that maybe tipping the tank up so soon after doing the weld probably cause it to cool down too quickly creating fissures in the weld. This took me 4 hours to work out. So I did it one more time and then left it for 20 minutes and bingo no leaks.
Then I hooked up the EFI fuel pump with a pair of connecting wires and she ran and whats more I confirmed that my system of using the left tank as the main tank and the right as the return tank (with the balancing tube) works. Which has me a bit chuffed.
I then made an earth strap using the same guage wire I had used for the lead from the battery to starter motor (very thick) and attach that from a bolt on the gearbox to the engine bay wall. Then filled the radiator and she was ready for test starting.
Anyway the list below ended up being pretty accurate. Also the iridium spark plugs did the job...
So I am about to have a celebratory beer with my wife who has been amazingly patient given that i have been in the shed just about every Saturday and Sunday for about the last 18 months. Thanks babe...
So tomorrow it is off to the auto electrician to get the EFI pump hardwired to the ignition and to check that the alternator is charging the battery and then I just have tidy her up and check her ready for the engineering tests.
Simply bloody brilliant...
Well have spent two days making the front brace to replace the Mini original. It is going well. Hopefully if I have a go tomorrow I should have it pretty much done.
I also connected up the radiator this week so once the brace is done that will be the radiator (with thermo fan) and the bracing on both sides done.
So one more thing done on the list. Outstanding items to be done are:
I'll keep you posted.
I have managed to make great headway in certain areas which is quite inspiring. I have attached the turbo and intercooler in place for the final time. And have sorted out the majority of the enginebay electrics. The cabin electrics will be easy to solve just a little difficult to work with but I have all the plugs tagged so it won't take long.
The big win which occured today is that I have finally solved the front mount radiator problem which is good. This required moving the top inlet from the left to the right and creating a 90 degree angle. I took it to a shop to get this done and they did a great job.
Well from here the only major jobs are to sort out the dash wiring and the fuel pump. Theoretically once this is done the car should be sorted enough to have a trial run? First I will obviously go over the car with a fine tooth comb but I will at least have a try at turning her over. Then come January I should be ready to get her tested and rego'd hopefully.
Update: Inserted my Redline air filter today looks great.
I'll keep you posted.
Things are starting to really come to a head. I have done most of the engine bay electrics. The alternator and the starter motor are all hookedup and I have installed the igniter and fusebox to the engine bay. With that done it is time to finalise the dash as I can really proceed with any of the other activities on the loom until the dash stuff is completed.
So you wil find a new additon to Section 9 on how to make and install a dash. Just my version but may give you some ideas. As you may know I am not going with the Starlet dash installation. This will be wooden and have the Starlet dials.
Anyway more details tomorrow night...
First the good news I have resurrected my little MySQL driven database from the bin for the second time (may actually back it up from time to time from now on). So leave some messages...
Things are slowly grinding to the end. I have finalised the mounting for the seats. They look shit hot. Only one downside they are 4mm apart at their widest (where the shoulder support is). Funny that because I bought them with my usual "She'll be right" attitude. Luckily they fit otherwise it could have been tears at bedtime!
Started on the electrics and I am slowly getting there. It is a bit difficult without a full wiring diagram. As some may know their are ECU diagrams floating about, but that really don't help much hey! But I have isolated the wires running to the starter motor, alternator and fuel rail. The rest is essentially plug and play and the numbering I did at the start seems to actually work! I have also attached the fuse box and the ignitor to the side firewall. So getting there. I reckon another couple of weekends and I might have the electrics done, I have made Xmas a tentative finish date.
The clutch has been finalised. Wasn't that difficult just tedious. The clutch is a little heavy but don't worry this is standard issue I am told (by those who know). And there is full movement. I just hope the clutch lasts a little while so I can at least put her through her paces.
The brakes on the other hand are proving to be a pain in the neck. But I have them licked over the weekend. It wouldn't be this project if it came easy!
Till next time...
Coming up the home straight now. I purchased a pair of OBX Torino reclining race seats for the Mini. Luckily they fit which is something you might like to check prior to purchase.
Anyway I have already started to make the mounting rails and stuff and that should be polished off by the weekend.
The clutch is also done, bleed and everything. So another one down with only the brakes to be done and that is it for the mastercylnders.
The wheel brace is also finished I just need to get the vacuum in there to get all the steel filings which are everywhere.
I have now managed to track down some info on Toyota ignition schematics so feel alot more confident about tackling the electrics. I have purchased all the wire I need to do extension to the loom so possibly even on the weekend I may get a chance to have a go.
Today was a funny day. I had no interruptions and yet procrastinated alot. I think it is due to my trepidation about tackling the electrics. But I dropped them in the engine bay and actually hooked up the injector rail and a few other things. So I have made a start and that is the main thing, especially psychologically.
I also ordered my new OBX Torino seats ($800), I could have got them cheaper but people needed a lot more time so I just bit the bullet. But this has destroyed my budget, which is a worry. Ahh for endless funds...Anyway the budget page has been updated so you can see the damage
The other weird thing was the strut brace. I have been putting this off for quite a while. Mainly because I didn't want to do it. But late in the afternoon I just bit the bullet for some reason and she is practically done. Just needs a few spot welds and some paint and she's done.
I also managed to finalise the efi system during the week so she is all hooked up from one end to the other. Hopefully there are no leaks or anything. The only outstanding issue is obviously getting power to the pump, which is obviously part of the electrical installation.
I have finished the wheel retention system but unfortunately the holes for the bolt seem to be out a bit so I will sort this out (plus vacuum all the filings out of the boot floor) and install the wheel for the last time. I will put up some photos when done.
The whole project is starting to look like a car again which is nice. Things are also moving a little faster so keep coming back on a weekly basis and I should have some more results especially after Sunday...
I did have a very productive weekend car wise. Had some friends down. I am losing many weekends at the moment to having to entertain. I have cancelled alot of engagement from now till Xmas to finalise the car.
The last thing is the fuel pump which was in but I decided to move it a bit over an inch closer to the subframe away from the exhaust just to be safe. But anyway the bracket is back in and I just have to run a line from the standard left tank to the inlet of the fuel pump and that will be the EFI system at the back done! That leaves just hooking up the engine to the fuel system and that part is done.
I estimate that there isn't much left. Once the EFI is done it is onto the electrics. As I am going back to runing the standard intercooler setup to get through rego once the electrics are done it should be a weekend to get the rest sorted. So hopefully getting it turning over by my birthday (26 Nov) may be a reality...
I had a pretty productive afternoon. Made the hole in the right hand quarter panel for the Right Hand Tank. Got it pretty spot on too. Won't win awards for beauty but it works and is covered up by the rubber grommet anyway.
I then welded the second nozzle onto the back of the right hand tank so that is the balance pipe setup done. Looks the goods too. I am still amazed that I was able to weld in two small bits of bundy tube into the back of the tanks but it worked. Once again with a Mig on gasless they ain't the most beautiful welds but they work well and that's the main thing.
The fuel pump is now in too. I might have to move it but as it is close to the exhuast and I can probably move sideways more toward the side of the frame, pity was a good effort first go. As far as the hoses are concerned everything is pretty much sorted. Once the tanks are repainted (tomorrow maybe) and I have done a new restraining strap for the right hand tank. Then I can pretty much bowl over the rear of the EFI system in a few hours.
Then it's onto the brake pipes (couple of hours) and then the ELECTRICS!!! (almost the final stage)...
Until next time when you will hear Matty say - "Geez "...
Well things are starting to move along quite quickly now which is a nice change...Anyway I have now completely finished the exhaust thank god. And I must say it turned out a lot better than I thought it would.
I have also trial fitted the fuel pump just to get an idea of where things should go. Given the limited room any solution isn't going to be superb but it should work fine which at the end of the day is what is important. Section 9, with details of the fuel system installation will be updated which progress of which should be a lot of on Sunday night.
Until next time when you will hear Matty say - "Why won't you work?"...
After my week off the first week back at work was hard but anyway. I managed to get quite a bit done during the week off with the alternator now completely finished and in. The driveshafts are also completely in. The last bit before I start on the EFI system was the remote oil filter system which is proving a real pain in the arse to sort.
Anyway as you can see in the picture below it is in. But the gap I made to pass the hoses through is pretty tight and also a little serated a combination that does not go well with high pressure oil hoses. So I might have to take the adaptor plate off the engine so that I can gain enough room to open it up. A real pain but I see not other choice. The good thing is that the bracket I made up for the remote oil filter attachment seems to work a charm. So come the end of this weekend hopefully I will have the remote oil filter sorted, which means the really annoying stuff is all but over and I get to look at fun things like the intercooler and electrics...Will it ever end...?
Until next time when you will hear Matty say - "Why won't you work?"...
I have taken the week off to try and finish the big jobs on the car and hopefully get close to getting her on the road. Things hit a snag from the start as they always do with the installation of the alternator. But as of today I think she is pretty much sorted.
Tomorrow I hope to put the driveshafts in. I have all the circlips in and the dust boots are on so hopefully this will be an easier process than the alternator. Having removed them from the Mini before I know getting the circlips in isn't that difficult so if I can get that sorted tomorrow then I can get onto the fuel system on Friday and I should be well on my way.
Update on the driveshafts
Well they're in...They fitted perfectly and are in including new dustboots and new moly grease so that is another job sorted. Slowly getting through them...
The job I am procrastinating on is the remote oil filter installation which is not particularly difficult (well when compared to everything else) but is time consuming...Still I might have this licked by the end of the week as well??
Once again things went relatively to plan which makes a nice change! I dropped the car together with the Starlet driveshafts over to M&A Engineering in Mitchell, to get the driveshafts made up. I dropped it over on the Tuesday and they were ready by the end of the week so go going timewise. The only downer was that they were a little more expensive than previous advice had indicated. But this was not the advice from M&A. Anyway $550 later I had new measured and splined driveshafts. These things really look the goods. So I should have them in by the end of the weekend. I originally thought about getting OEM Toyota inner boots to the point of ordering them ($108 each!!!) only to change my mind when I wandered over to Auto Pro who had aftermarket replacements for you guessed it $15. So hopefully these fit. They seem pretty well made but I will confirm and put pics up when they are done.
On Sunday, I originally started off doing the mounting bracket for the remote oil filter (which proved to be a bit of a pain in the arse) but it occured to me that the bracket may well impinge on the free movement of the alternator belt. So I suspended work on the remote oil filter and began work on the alternator bracket. So far only a bolt on plate but I think I should have the whole thing assembled and welded together in a weekend.
The other piece of good news is that my engineer put me onto a bloke to get my custom intercooler made up and said I should be impressed with the price. So I will give him a ring and get the lowdown on price etc. I am going with the grille position and the overall configuration will be an intercooler measuring 480mm (inc end tanks) x 220 x 50 (yeah 2" core, any fatter and the cooler will be sitting against the headers which would probably provide a very good source of heat soak!). Pics to come once the intercooler is finished...
All good news to report and a bit of progress. The exhaust is finally finished and installed, the only slight problem is that the exhaust is quite close to the ground and I might have a problem with the minimum 100mm ground clearance but it is pretty much right so I am not too worried.
Having finished the exhaust I sent the car by tilt tray truck to M&A Engineering to have the driveshafts done which is a bit of a milestone really so once it comes back from there things will really start cooking.
As I don't have the car I thought I might as well finish off getting the loom out and to my surprise I got it out this evening. So once the car comes back it will be a case of doing the remote oil system, gearchange and then it is onto the fuel system, and alternator.
Well a little bit of progress on the exhaust situation. I managed to get some more mandrel bends as I ended up hacking so many to bits that they ended up being useless for anything. So I went down to my exhaust place and they guy gave me a few bends and also a pipe that is almost perfect for what I need so things are looking up. I spot welded it to the dump pipe and it is almost there I have also sorted the mounting of the rear pipe and welded the muffler to the rear pipe and this also connects well to the goose neck that goes over the rear subframe. Should I have a little bit of luck I am confident that I should have it sorted by the weekend and then I can drop the car down to get the driveshafts made up.
I should also have the gearchange sorted by the weekend too. The only issue left is the addition of a bit more rubber to make it truly water and fume proof. Then it should be away. If I get around to it I might even connect up the clutch and brake master cylinders.
I had one of the those weekends where you know what you have to do but you end up getting nothing done. Well not exactly nothing but not as much as I would have liked.
I did manage to get the mastercylinders in which ended up taking me alot longer than I thought. Not the mastercylinders so much as the cotter pins and snap pins for connecting them to the pedals that took me two hours at least. But now they're in.
I had a go at the exhaust but have decided to redo the dump pipe as much as I like what I did it hangs a little too low and I have a feeling it might be a problem come registration inspection as it might go through the 100mm limit for ride height. Anyway I have the weekend clear so hopefully I should have it sorted by Sunday arvo.
I also installed most of the remote oil filter system. Which looks pretty good. I still have to make up the bracket for the oil filter which will bolt to the subframe. Maybe that will also get done this weekend. I have also pretty much finished the gearchange so that should also be completed this weekend.
Once the exhaust is finalised the next issue will be the driveshafts. I will book these in for next week and then I can drop it off. That should be very interesting...
I had a very social weekend this weekend, my wife's birthday on Friday Night and a "Quentin Tarrantino" Theme Party on Saturday. Anyway, that left only Sunday to really to have a go at the car. There were a couple of little issues to sort out before I could drop the engine in for the last time. I had to do a bit of judicious grinding where the new adaptor plate for the remote oil filter sits. Plus there was a section just above the left hand tie rod mount where the engine just glanced the frame so I made an indentation there to make things nice and neat. Having scratched the frame to buggery during the numerous engine removals and installations, the subframe was looking pretty ratshit so I masked it off and then gave it another few coats. It came up quite well, and during the final installation I managed to put only one scratch back on so I success really.
I also had a bit of a win with the oil filter hosing and connectors. I had previously been out to Pirtek to get the fittings and he was recommending Speedflow. Now they are a very good brank but he also indicated that they can break! Anyway I went over to Enzed because I was sick of waiting for him to have any in stock. The guy at Enzed asked whether I particularly wanted Speedflow, and I said whatever does the job well. And so he offered me some brass fittings that also give a 5/8" outlet (much larger than the speedflow ones I was shown at Pirtek). I actually like them because they look very robust and due to the size will give better flow (IMHO) and also will add a little bit to the total amount of oil circulating. The final bonus the four connections plus hose $92. That means I have got my remote system setup for just over $200 alot cheaper than the $400-$450 I was quoted for the "kit".
Also my mate Andrew put me onto Nutserts. Nutsert's are basically threaded rivets. So you make a hole put these things in (the Nutsert) then using a gun much like a rivet gun it compresses the collar and you have a threaded hole which you bolt to. Very hand for mounting things in engine bays...I will post a few pics when I have installed one...
Finally, now that the engine is truly deeply in for the last time I can finally get down to the fun bits. I am now starting to feel a bit more enthusiastic about the project after having to take care of so many side issues it wasn't funny. The next step is to think carefully about what to do next...Probably I will take care of the exhaust which is really starting to come together. Then onto the brake and clutch and then the electrics. The only other big ticket item is the reinstallation of the alternator which could be a headache. The good thing about these tasks is that I can do them at my leisure unlike alot the other stuff which has meant that my wife hasn't seen much of me for a while.
Went to Sydney this weekend so nothing done on the weekend. But I had today off so into the shed I went. I have finished welding up the rear crossmember.
I installed the engine again to check that the gearchange works and that there is enough room for the gear arm to move and it looks like for once I got it right first go. Which is a great relief and since that works and the crossmember is finished that is all the things on the list of to do's done. So once I have I have done these little tasks the engine goes in and then I connect everything up!
I also remove the oil filter and put on the engine side oil filter remote adaptor. I will have to remove the engine again to finalise a few things. I am also going to give the engine a spruce up and the subframe will require a repaint to cover all the chips that I have taken off it everytime I put the engine in.
New pictures tomorrow...
I managed to finish the aperture in the cone tower for the gearchange on the weekend. Once I have taken the steel wheel to it and stuff it should come up well and restrengthen that area aswell.
Apart from that I managed to finish the dumpipe as well (picture below). I am quite happy with the way it turned out. I also brought a Lukey muffler on Friday night so I now have all the gear to sort out the exhaust once I finish the rear crossmember.
I also made a start on the rear crossmember to accept the exhaust. It will be a tight squeeze but it should hopefully work. So I got a bit done.
One interesting note though is the fact that the car and engine sit quite close to the 100mm (or 4") limit for distance from the ground. Hopefully this won't bring everything undone.
The forecast is to have the engine in for the last time (this is definitely the last time as I have given great thought to any possible need to take out the engine) next weekend and then onto the brakes, clutch etc.
Well as stated last week I have pretty much sorted the gearchange and the rest I need to do to sort that out can only be done once the engine is out of the car.
This presents a slight dilemma in that I want to do the dump pipe for the exhaust which can only really be done with the engine in and will also help me see what I have to do to the rear cross member. If do have to make a gap in the cross member for the exhaust this also can only be done with the engine out . But equally I would like to sort out the gearchange once and for all and then do everything else.
So essentially so that I can do everything once when the engine is out I am going to have to do the dump pipe this weekend and then sort out the gearchange and the crossmember next weekend.
I put all the cables together in the engine and I have made a hole in the firewall (it ain pretty but it works). I bolted the gearchange to the pedestal and gaffer tapped it down. I then got my wife to do a few gearchanges. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, but no reverse. But I know the reason for no reverse as I still have to make the aperture in the cone tower just that little bit bigger so the arm can move freely (like 3mm). Buy hey...
The bad news is that I have decided to suspend work on the website (don't worry not permanently) for a few months so that I can complete the project and then you will be able to see the thing from start to hopefully finish (eg registered). Sorry, but I have a few other things that are also biting into my time.
Well not as much to report as I would have liked. But still a good deal. I have managed to fit my redesigned secondary gearlinkage and it seems to fit and work which is good. That took a while because there is a lot of measure, manufacture, place insitu, measure again, tweak and then perfect. For that reason it took most of the time I had available on a couple of weekends. I have been going to a few parties lately so the weekends have been writeoffs, but I am determined to get the gearchange sorted once and for all this weekend and then I can start on the brake and clutch systems which should be a doddle. I have the brake and clutch lines ready to go.
The other piece of news is the gearchange cables. I have now finalised the bracket and connect the cables to the linkages and seems in order (famous last words). The main issue here was ensuring that there was enough movement for the cables to move the levers adequately through their range of movement. This required me to put a step in the bracket to the move one of the cables away from the levers. This was tricky but I am happy with the outcome. I also drilled the holes for the cables to enter the cabin and as stated above I want to have the cradle welded in and the whole thing hooked up by the end of the weekend (fingers crossed)
Last weekend I stated that the engine was going in for the last time well that ended up being untrue (this weekend). Having measured the aperture for the gearchange it became aparent with the final installation of the engine and gearbox that the hole was incorrect. I really hadn't touched it since I first made the opening so this is no great surprise. But did mean the engine had to come out and will probably come out one more time.
The reason. Room really. You can't get an angle grinder, file, anything in the gap and do anything decent. So I made a different type of hole and put the engine in again (tonight) and it is very close but I think there needs a little bit more room for movement. Plus to remove the engine necessitated the removal of the turbo and headers and the two mastercylinders.
I am a bit pissed off that I didn't get the gearchange finished this weekend but what can you do. Hopefully during this week I will finish the hole and then I can put the gearchange cables through and then this Saturday drop her off at the exhaust joint to get the new exhaust done.
New Feature: On a site as big as this one is getting I thought it might be easier to just put some links to the most recent updates made to the site and the car. So from now on below you will get hotlinks to the latest information. Just another way Matt is keeping the customers happy.
The Engine is officially bolted in for the last time. This means a few
things. Now I can get started on doing the interesting stuff like setting
up the electrical side and the fuel system and the gearchange. Now the
that the engine is in it also marks a psychological milestone because for
quite a while I didn't think I would see the day. So I feel much more positive
about the project now.
Hopefully these won't be my famous last words and I will have to remove the thing again! I have also completed bolting in place the protector plates under the car that carry the fuel lines and the brake and battery cables. I have also completed the rust repair in the boot. Still needs a coat of the Beige but for all intents and purposes it is finished and sound. So the car is now on four wheels with all the suspension in and the engine in aswell. The only thing is she sits quite high and unevenly, but this is something I will sort out closer to inspection time.
The Cone Mystery Solved - I was determined to solve the Hi Lo situation given that having roughly placed them in frame on Friday night, that they actually do match up (though a tight fit). Anyway, on my trip out to Fyswick to get the fuel lines barbed I stopped off at my local steel merchant and bought some 10mm and 12mm steel rod. I got home and placed the 12mm rod into the cone trumpet and hey presto a nice snug fit, but with room for the rod to slide freely. I also purchase some oil pressure valve springs (which end up being identical to the springs that come with the Hi Lo kit. Anyway after a bit of trial and error I got the spring length correct and the rod length as well. Put them in the frame and with a bit of elbow grease had both in place. Will adjust them once the car is back on four wheels. Another problem solved.
Fuel Lines - as stated earlier I couldn't reinstall the subframe until the fuel lines had been completed. It was lucky I bought the second set of 6m length bundy tube as I ended up cutting the first fuel line too short so it went to the scrap heap. Anyway late on Friday night had two fuel lines made up ready for barbing by Simon from Pirtek. This occurred on my trip to Fyshwick and what a good job he did (and took all of 5 minutes too). So I installed those on Saturday arvo. I ended up running both the EFI line and the return line both up the left hand side (from the back) due to the congestion on the cable channel on the other side (battery lead and rear brake line). I ended up running them up the back between the subframe and the body and there seems to be room. The two 90 degree bends are a pain but given that everything is overcompensated I don't think this will be a major problem (eg 400bhp fuel pump for a car probably putting out 200bhp)
Fuel Pump Setup - Well I started to sort things out as far as the installation of this but decided that I couldn't place the fuel pump and hoses anywhere with confidence as I have no idea where the exhaust is going to go. So I have decided to hold off on the installation of the fuel pump and concentrate on installing the engine and turbo, ready to take the car to the exhaust shop to get a new exhaust and dump pipe. I'll let you know what's happening soon.
Well it has been a time of great hope and great depression. Actually that's crap I rarely get depressed, exasperated and frustrated but never depressed. I have also managed to start most of my sentences with WELL. Anyway back to the topic at hand. I managed to weld plate into the wheel well in the boot and managed to do a much better job of this than I did in the engine bay. I can only think that it was easier to do because a) its flat and b) it is getting quite cold at night now and the colder metal makes burn through much less of a problem. Anyway as you can see on the Conversion Step 6 page it ain't pretty but it is solid and strong. Once bogged up (just to make it look a little nicer and smoother) and painted it should look OK.
The Cone Mystery - If you have been following on Ausmini I have some rear Hi Lo's that just don't even look close to going in. Well they didn't until last night. Even went out to Classic Motoring and talked to Warren, who showed me they were standard by comparing them to the original rear cone trumpets. So I went away shaking my head. Then last night (25/5) I put the rod in with the knuckle join attached into the radius arm and then placed the trumpet and cone in roughly and they line up pretty well. I can only put it down to having the subframe bolted in as trying to do it with the subframe sitting on the floor lead to some inconsistencies. A few unfortunate things have occurred I have jammed one of the connecting lugs into the cone trumpet and it ain't coming out so I have to drill it out! And I have lost the springs for the lugs so I have source those as well but I have found a solution to the springs so watch this space.
Now for the fuel lines. Things aren't quite progressing here as I would like. Getting the front of the lines to go through the gap behind the front subframe and the firewall (where the original fuel line and hydro lines used to go) is proving difficult. It would be a lot easier if I had a full car hoist but alas I don't. But I think it is a case of making them too long. So I am going to cut them a bit shorter as I will have to run flexible fuel line up to the intake plenum anyway. I have now sourced everything I need to do the job, pictures of the different bits and pieces can now be found in the EFI Section. I will hopefully have the whole system installed by next weekend (not this coming one as it is write off due to my Dad's and mate Chris's Birthday's). The other issue with the fuel lines trying to get them to rise up behind the body and the rear subframe like the old ones did. I noticed Brad cheated and brought them straight through and under the subframe. I am thinking that I may end up doing the same thing.
Well had a busy weekend but not alot on the Mini. But today I did manage to assembled all the parts and completed assembly of the subframe and radius arms/brakes. The only outstanding issue is how to get the Hi Lo suspension into the arms as it seems almost impossible (if you know the trick let me know by email). But there must be a way.
The only other outstanding issue before the subframe goes in for the last time is the creation of the EFI fuel lines. I have bought some larger diameter (5/16ths or 8mm as opposed to the Mini 1/4" fuel line) bundy tube and a tube bender ready to go to work. This will be tricky to make sure it is correct but over all not that hard to create. But the lines must be in place before the rear subframe can be installed. Well that's it for this week, tune in next time when Matt will bend tube with a single tube bender!!
This weekend I didn't manage to finish the subframe, actually not even close but I have done quite alot. I painted the subframe, radius arms, and spacered drums. All of which look very schmick. I have also taken everything necessary off the old wet subframe and cleaned it all up ready to go on the new subframe. So over the next week I think I should be in a position to start putting it back together (the best part).
As always stayed tuned...
Well things are starting to gain some momentum. I disassembled the rear dry cone subframe I had. It was so full of crud that I thought it would take me a week to get it clean. So I took a chance on getting it sandblasted. Man did it come up a treat. They even gave it a coat of some form of primer so it killed two bird with one stone which means on Saturday I can paint it and then on Sunday install it!
I have the old rear fully unbolted from the car but can't remove it until I have the handbrake lines out which is proving a pain the arse.
Still all things going well I should have the subframe out of the car and new one painted. I probably won't have it ready to go in as the parts to go in need a going over like radius arms. But still by mid May she should be a rolling chassis and then it is just a case of doing a minor overhaul on the engine and then in she goes for the final time!
Till next time...
Today I got the subframe back in, the suspension on including the shock absorbers, then the wheels and lowered her to the ground. The sufbrame is fully bolted in and everything is sorted in that regard. I have also bolted in the stainless steel brake lines.
Now I can start on the rear subframe and once that is in I am really heading up the homefront, as the rest maybe a little tricky but I have a strong feeling that it couldn't be anymore time consuming that creating the subframe and getting it installed!
Also just between you and me don't those Koni shocks and the general setup look shit hot (but to me the shocks make it). I am now a lot happier than I was about 1 week ago I can tell you. Fingers crossed nothing unexpected turns up.
Well things didn't quite go according to plan on the weekend. Manage to install the new steering rack so that's done. Then went to install the new subframe and guess what? It wouldn't fit. Not a major issue but it has meant that I had to remove some of the supports for the right hand mount, and I will have to take more out before it will fit.
Basically having strengthened the right mount I added too much metal to the front of the mount which precludes it from rising back up into the engine bay by about 5mm. But this isn't a big issue and come the end of the Anzac Day weekend she should be in. This means taking of a bit of the paint work and installing a different type of strengthening. Pics to follow. Still once its in its full steam ahead!!
I managed to get around to painting the subframe on the weekend but it was a bit of a rush so I am bit worried that it won't stay that way, I'll guess I'll find out. But at the moment is looks very good. Now that she is painted I only have to fix up the engine bay and in she goes for the final time. Then I can put the suspension and engine back in.
The only other process before the subframe goes back in is to weld some plating back into the engine bay and to give this a fresh coat of paint. I have after a little struggling managed to source some 1.1mm steel sheet to use in the engine bay and will try and get that finalised as much as possible by this weekend. And hopefully she won't get too cold to paint before I am ready to go. I have created a page on painting with some examples for those people like me who have never painted before. And believe me if I can do it anyone can.
Well better late than never the subframe is now complete. That is there is no more welds or bits of metal to cut etc. Now I can just clean up the welds a bit.
Obviously I still have to paint it and as you can see in the image below I am still in the process of wire wheeling back to bare metal ready for the etch primer. But once she is painted I can place her into the car for the final time, then install the suspension and finally the engine itself.
The only other process before the subframe goes back in is to weld some plating back into the engine bay and to give this a fresh coat of paint. But that is another story...
Before I go any further the engine conversion part of the site is undergoing a major overhaul so bare with me it should be finished soon.
Today I completed most of the right mount and also attached the tie rod mounts. The tie rod mounts still require a little tidying up but are there and working. I have put in some supporting spars to the engine mount that should make that area quite solid now (second image below).
I am about to purchase the paint to paint the subframe so hopefully next weekend is as hot as this one so I can paint the frame. I don't know whether to include this in conversion part of the site or do a new section on painting. Come back and find out.
Before I go any further the engine conversion part of the site is under going a major overhaul so bare with me it should be finished soon.
Almost all done just the right hand mount to go and then she is finished
and ready to paint and bolt in the car. So close I can taste it. Anyway
go to the Section 6 for more photos of the mounts.
I am particularly happy with the design and welding on the right mount it looks way cooolll in my humble opinion. Once the subframe is painted and in and the engine bolted in then the rest should flow pretty easily after that.
Good news finally go around to spot welding the rear mount and cross brace in place. That is all the engine mounts done. I can now remove the frame do the final welding jobs and tidy up and then the subframe will be sprayed and the reinstalled then I can put the suspension and engine in for the final time!!
Well Guys I wasn't very happy with my first attempt at the left hand engine mount so I ground it away and started again. This one is the correct position. And now the engine sits dead straight and away from the bulk head. All that is left is to do the rear engine mount and then I can remove the subframe finalise all the welding spray the subframe and then reinstall it, then the engine and finally the suspension. Easy really, NOT!
Didn't do much on the car this weekend as I my long suffering wife has forgotten what I look like. But did manage to create a mount for the right hand side and tack weld it in place. I am still tossing up to make do with the current left hand side arrangment or start again as it is a bit of a dogs breakfast. But given the amount of effort required to change it (ie make new mount, grind old one off, make sure that engine is located propertly again etc etc)I think I might just persevere with it. Still the right hand one worked out perfectly, I think I should have done both this way...
Well spent a lot of time working on the car this weekend but ultimately didn't achieve that much. Refurbished the tappet cover see pic below. But at least I did weld in the the main part of the left hand engine mount. I think this is psychological because it was the most important phase so far and once I have it in place the rest of the mounts should be much easier. I think I should have the left and right mounts done by next weekend.
Well I thought about getting started on the engine mounts straight away. But as usual a whole lotta other stuff gets in the way. Well it occurred to me that once the engine is in it is highly unlikely that I will attempt to do anything with it for quite a while as far as tidying it up a bit. And I would have to say that it has been looking a little sick due to its holiday in the moist air of QLD. Nothing serious as far as corrosion is concerned just some staining and light oxidisation of the aluminium and some paint peeling on the block. So over the past few days I have been scrubbing bits and pieces with "Blitz" oxi remover. Did fairly well and certainly well enough to paint over. The next step is to take the gearbox off for painting. I have cleaned both the valve cover and the gearbox. I will spray these then that will be it the rest will just have to survive. I will post pics in a new chapter to section 4. I will also attempt to change the cam belt as this is very near its used by date. The clutch and the major gaskets will wait to a later time (ie, after its on the road).
Canberra finally received some good sunshine so I could do things in the evening so I thought. Well why not try and put the engine in and as you can see it fits! There are few little things I need to sort out to get it to sit perfectly level such as removing the catalytic converter which fouls on the lower front of the car and also a little more space for the diff but nothing that can't be done. Also as I suspected I think I will have to reverse the alternator similar to what Brad had to do with his...But it looks like it's going to work out afterall! Cool. Cheers Matt
Well swapped the lower control arms after installing them back to front. Then managed to finally get the driveshafts out of the CV Joints. and placed the hubs in the car and attached the wheels. So now she sits on all four wheels. This means I can put her under the carport instead of sitting out in the rain.
I have just returned from my Italian wedding so this explains the lack of progress over the past 3 weeks. So come Sunday or Monday I should be back into it. So keep coming back for updates soon... Also if anyone reading the site wants to leave a message in my guestbook feel free, it would be nice to know who those people in Portugal, US, UK, Mauritius, Canada, Netherlands etc are, who are viewing the site.
I found out just before leaving to go overseas that the lower arms from the other subframe have ball joint holes of a smaller diameter so the hubs couldn't be put in which means I will have to take my old ones off and give them a sprucing up, which is a bit of pain, but so is this whole exercise but definitely worth it. Catchyalater...Matt
Well sensational news have finally finished the subframe. Welded in the back spar on Saturday and finished the rest off this afternoon. Have also painted it with a coat of primer filler. I have also bolted in both lower control arms as you can see in the picture below.
The last bit is to put in the top arms which I have sanded and painted. So I should have those in by next weekend. Then she'll be on 4 wheels for the first time in a while and when I come back from holiday I can start dropping the engine in and creating the mounts...Cheers Matt
Had a fairly productive weekend and finished the lower control arm mounts. And on Monday finally found the correct bolts to use. I had previously bought 2 x 5/8" High Tensile steel bolts. But these were way too thick so managed to source a pair of 9/16" HT Bolts which fitted the bill perfectly. I also bought a 9/16" drill bit which cost a kings ramsome. Still it did the job!
The only difficulty is getting the bolts through the bushes. As anyone who has done this with the original mini item will know it is a difficult process and a pain in the arse. The bushes have to be a tight fit but that tight!!!
Have practically finished the subframe. Just have to weld the front mounting plate but apart from that and the back bracing she is finished. I have decided to only weld in the back bracing once she is bolted everywhere else so I don't have a repeat of my last effort where the back brace was too short which brought the cone towers closer together leading to the mounting bolts for the bulkhead being out by a 1/4"!
I have decided not to proceed any further with bolting the engine in until the car is a fully rolling chassis again. In other words not until I have the full suspension in and the tie rods attached. This ensure that when I measure where I want to put the engine, it is correct in comparison to the engine bay and the suspension. It is my birthday this weekend so it looks like any work on the car is out. I am getting a little frustrated as I never seem to have a full free weekend to get it done. But then again I also don't want a divorce either (ha ha).
Well managed to get the old A series out of the car this weekend. Also drained the Hydrolastic and disconnected the hoses to the front subframe.
Should be ready to start cutting the engine bay and then install the subframe for the final measurements. Then I can start finishing of the subframe ready for final installation. Also picked up a dual circuit master cylinder this weekend.
Well starting to make headway on the big ticket item, the subframe. Probably approximately 60% - 70% complete. There are a few teething troubles like the gearchange and the alternator placement but I think I have these licked. By the weekend I should have a bit more done. But I have to remove the old A series from the Mini and also the Hydrolastic Front subframe which could easily take all weekend. Plus I have to keep the wife happy by doing some gardening with her. Otherwise...
Here is an image of the subframe so far, if you are wondering why it is so shiny, well obviously the steel spars are plain steel so are obviously going to look nice and new, but the subframe? Well I bought a wire wheel and the thing comes up a treat! Will probably take to the whole subframe with the wire wheel prior to priming and painting it. The main reason for doing was obviously that it makes welding so much easier...
Didn't get much done this weekend as has a few social events to attend and watching the Bathurst 1000. Holden once again but it looks like we have little Johnny for 3 more years (Oh well 1 out of 2 ain't bad).
Anyway placed the engine in the subframe for the second time and as at Saturday arvo was almost thinking that the whole thing wasn't going to fit. I ended up having the cut the welded piece that I had placed on driveshaft aperture to get the diff cup to move in enough. Also ended up butchering the rear lattice to make an opening for the diff. But I got there eventually. Will tidy things up this week. Never got around to setting the welder up for gas this week I suppose.
Still the engine can't go much further back due to the location of the steering rack. But she is close to level with where the driveshafts are on the Mini. Approximately a centimetre further forward but at the right height and there is nothing more I can do so she will just have to work! Now that I know pretty much where the engine sits I can start work on the subframe. I will start putting up some pictures from next weekend. Stay tuned.
Well I did a bit more welding on the frame. Basically the last cross support on the bottom of the rear upright for the back fo the frame. I also made some supports for the tie rod flanges go to the conversion part 3 page for more info on why.
Then the fun began. Got the angle grinder out and attacked the subframe. All the metal that needs to be removed is now out of the subframe. All that is left is the back of the subframe and the two front mounts plus tie rod flanges (see image below).
I hoisted the engine close to the frame (not in it, ran out of time, tomorrow I think?). She all looks good as far as fitting is concerned. There will need to be some workarounds but I expected that. Come back after the weekend and you should seem a fair amount completed. Hopefully once I have done some measurements I can start looking at welding up the frame. The real interesting bit!
Well she's done. Finished the subframe jig this afternoon. Even degreased the subframe quite a bit so she is looking quite good.
Come back soonish as next weekend I will be chopping bits off the subframe and beginning the design of the new frame in earnest. This is the fun part...
I have added pictures of the completed frame to the subframe page...
Well I have just about completed the subframe jig. Which means I can soon start on the important part of the conversion and that is creating the subframe.
I have created all the uprights and also welded most of the crossbraces it is now just a case of welding the base supports and she will be finished. This has also been good practice for the MIG welding which will be important when I start making the real subframe. The subframe page has plenty of my own pics now...
Well the Automotive Engineer turned up tonight at about 5.30pm with folder in hand. And he seems to thing the project is a goer which is a wait off my mind and now means that I can start getting stuck into it. I am not going anywhere this weekend and so I am going to make a start on the jig for the subframe. He had no problems with the ideas I had and gave me a few helpful hints like putting on a smaller alternator rather than the one that comes standard with the Starlet (which is bigger due to the loads put on it by the monstrous air cond system. Which means it should fit in the front without much trouble at all.
I have decided to add a new small section in step 3 of the convesion page to cover the issues that you need to look at. But I asked him straight whether I was wasting my time and he no I wasn't and "that it should be a lot of fun"! The only slight downer is the fact that he wanted me to weld the frame to the sides of the engine bay because I am cutting part of the sides away. While this is something I would rather not do as this make getting things like the rubber cones out a bit more difficult I have decided that it's a case of whatever makes him happy to a certain extent. Anyway cross that bridge when I come to it. That is after all about 3 months away I would say.
As you can see the full engineer's certificate is going to cost me around $800 all up. But finding engineers was not that easy so beggars can't be choosers.
Well as you know the engine is out and I have taken a few things off like the alternator and air con compressor
. But I don't feel like I should go any further until I talk to this engineer. I get the impression he is very busy but I only
need to talk to him for about half an hour.
Still he is the only one who has taken an interest and he sounded encouraging on the phone. So he's coming out on Friday unless he postpones for the 3rd time (I should give him a break his father in law died, seriously). As usual I will keep you posted.
Finally out and sitting in my garage. Took me about 3 hours to get her out.
Ended up taking the driveshafts and everything as I had no access to spring
the driveshafts out of the diff. So now onto the subframe and getting the
other engine out of the Mini. The fun begins...
All that remains is a small plug on the back of the engine, the accelerator
cable yeah completely forgot about it. And the driveshafts! Yeah I thought
(they knew they wouldn't) they may just slide out no such luck. And the nuts
on the end of the CV's are stuck solid. Anyone know how to get them out of
the diff end? Hopefully I can work it out on the weekend because she is off
the engine mounts and so close to coming out!!
Finally got the gearchange mechanism of the engine. Ended up tipping the
halfcut on it's nose to do! Also disconnected the speedo cable so the connections
to the engine are slowly being stripped away. Those two above were really
holding me back so it is pretty much a definite that I will have the engine
out by the weekend. I will have pics hopefully on the site by Monday hopefully.
Well about 70% of the way to having the engine out. So so so many wires. But I am actually sticking to my plan to label everything which you can probably get from the new pictures in the Conversion section. Hopefully next weekend if I can spend the weekend on it I can have the engine out. Then the more pleasurable stuff can begin. Like making the jig for the subframe and dropping the engine in. Cheers Matt
Well good news just talked to the engineer on the phone and he was very encouraging. He seems pretty confident that this shouldn't be a problem from his viewpoint. And I don't have to worry about a catalytic converter which would be a real problem as far as ground clearance at the rear is concerned. So it is full steam ahead once again. Oh and I managed to get the heater off the dash. A little WD40 does wonders! Pics to follow.
Engine: As far as the actual engine bay is concerned I have taken the air cleaner assembly off and most of the hosing leading to the air con compressor. I have also taken the radiator and air con core off.
Dash: Well the dash is almost off. The only thing stopping complete removal of the dash wiring is the heater. There are two pipes running from the firewall into heater itself. While I have loosened the pinch clips the rubber hoses won't budge. Will have to get the big bastard pliers out methinks. But once this is off that is pretty much the dash wiring done. Once the heater is out of the way I can start to poke the loom ends back through the firewall finishing off this step and go full steam at getting the engine out.
I have obtained the Starlet GT Halfcut from Rolin Automotive and it is now sitting in my driveway (see pics). Cost $2300.00 including freight from Brisbane so pretty bloody good really (The guy reduced the price by about $100 which I won't argue with the only trouble being that the freight was $100 higher than I thought). The compression test came up pretty well (165 170 175 165) and the oil pressure came out OK.
It has 91,000 kms which makes it reasonably low km's. It starts so that is the main thing really hopefully these guys are decent and they sounded like a reliable outfit so I guess I will find out.
I talked to the guy (Greg Wells) about the warranty and while he didn't sound real encouraging, he did say that if it took me three months to put it in then they could probably start the 3 month warranty from that date, once again I guess I will see. Here is a copy of the warranty document.