'97 Rover Mini 1.3i

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My Wife has always wanted an old Mini. We finally bit the bullet just over 2 weeks ago and purchased one. The car in question is a '97 Rover Mini with the 1275cc engine, fuel injection and fully electronic ignition. The car has 70k on the clock and came with a bucket of history including regular oil changes, although the oil and filters used are unknown.

The car is totally solid with no rot. There has been a few small patches done on the floorpan to a reasonable standard. It's been resprayed at some point in it's past but still in it's original Flame Red. The paint job isn't the best and is flaking in some areas. I also don't think the roof was resprayed as it's suffering badly with clear coat failure.

The interior is all there. It's still maintains it's original Balmoral interior trim with red carpet and walnut veneer dash. Some of the veneer is cracked and flaking off the dash and there's a few small marks in the leather interior. Unfortunately I found a LOAD of cigarette burns in the carpet once I'd removed the seats. Weirdly, the car doesn't smell of cigarettes so I have to conclude it must have been very early on in it's life.

The engine generally runs well. There is some oil leaks, I think the majority stem from the rover cover gasket. There's a small amount of sludge in the head (viewed from the oil fill hole) but the valvetrain seems to be squeeky clean. The car is desperate for new engine mounts, there's banging and clacking going on when you're on/off the throttle. I also need to find a way to interrogate the ECU as it's not OBDII compliant.

These were two pictures from the seller prior to purchase...
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We drove the car ~170miles home without a hitch. Well, I say WE, I mean my Wife. I was comfortable in my bigger, more comfortable and air conditioned car. :ROFLMAO:

We got it home and made a Mini-sized hole in the garage in which it will live...

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The next day we introduced the kids to it, they absolutely love it!




The plan is to get the car as close as we can 100% mechanically, tidy it up cosmetically and just maintain it.

Work is well underway, I'll add more as the day progresses.
 

Bailes1992

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The first thing I did was rip out the interior for a full inspection of the floorpan.
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There was evidence of a few minor repairs in the past. All done to a half decent standard and fit for purpose. Some minor surface rust which I cleaned up and painted with Grey Hammerite Rust Beater.

While removed, I scrubbed, pressure washed and extracted the carpet which came out really well. Unfortunately we found a load of cigarette burns in the carpet under the drivers seat. A brand new OEM carpet is around £250, so not horrendous. May replace it in the future.

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I brought the seats into the house, much to the dislike of my Wife and gave seats a thorough clean. Leather was scrubbed with ValetPro Leather Cleaner and a non-abrasive scrub pad and the fabric was sprayed with all purchase cleaner, scrubbed and extracted. I'm convinced these seats had never been properly cleaned...
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I didn't get any pictures of the extraction, but this was the extracted cleaner:sick:...
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And all back together...
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Nice - my first car was a 1977 Mini 1000 - that thing rusted for fun! I love seeing them about now, but they don't half look small and vulnerable on modern roads.
 

Bailes1992

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So, the next job was to give the engine bay a good clean. It engine block was thick with old, dried, crusty oil and everything else just thick with 26 years of muck. I'm a fan of a clean engine bay. I find it easier to track leaks and just generally more pleasant to work on.

I popped off the air filter assembly and bagged off the throttle body and alternator...
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I soaked the engine bay in Bilt Hamber Surfex HD for 10 minutes and attacked with a pressure washer...

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I rinsed the engine bay off with Bilt Hamber Atom Mac at 4% to try combat corrosion. Still needs a little attention here and there but far better than it was.
 
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Bailes1992

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So I decided to start the real maintenance.

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Started off by replacing the well overdue air filter. The Mann filter I purchased originally turned out to be the wrong part. Ended up ordering a Mahle replacement...
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Quick oil change...
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Popped a couple of magnets on the new filter...

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And refilled...
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I've worked on so many Mini's in my life, it seems strange to see one with no SU, no distributor, and no radiator...or not where it should be anyway.
 

Bailes1992

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So during the oil change I also swapped out the sparkplugs, coilpack and ignition leads.


I got my 4 year old Son involved with sparkplug removal...


I think the old plug looked okay. I have no idea on the age of it, but it looked reasonably worn.
Old Plug.JPG


New & old plug together. Here you can see the gap has opened slightly. I've also put a small blob of Febi Special Ceramic Grease on the threads.
New & Old Plug.JPG


Another little blob of grease on each end of the plug leads, this time Dow Corning Electrical Compound...
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For some reason I didn't get a picture of the coilpack replacement. New item is a Lucas unit from a Mini Specialist.


And all done...
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Bailes1992

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I've worked on so many Mini's in my life, it seems strange to see one with no SU, no distributor, and no radiator...or not where it should be anyway.

Being only 29 I consider carbs and distributors witchcraft so figured it would be a safer bet looking for a Mini with EFI. In addition, the more efficient cooling system and turn-key reliability is also a huge plus.
 
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Carbs are not bad to deal with after you study their operation and learn to hear the engine. A healthy carb is fun to tune and rewards you. But fuel injection has been much better for me. and I don’t miss dealing with carbed, pre-emissions vehicles. Hate the fumes and working in them.
 

Bailes1992

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I pulled the rocker cover off to adjust the valve lash and then got distracted by painting the rocker cover itself :ROFLMAO:

Love how much room is left in the garage with this thing in there!

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The old rocker cover came off, the cork gasket has been smeared in RTV and the gasket itself was rock hard...

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The engine was actually much cleaner than it appeared through the fill hole. What I thought was sludge was just the finish of the cast head.

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Then I got side tracked with painting. I thoroughly cleaned the rocker cover, wired brushed it and then sanded it with some 240 Grit. Applied 2 coats of zinc primer, followed by 2 coats of high build primer...

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I sanded down the high build primer with 800 grit and then applied two coats of Fiat Orange Red and two coats of clear with 15 minutes between coats.

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My Wife has a vinyl plotter so think she's going to make a black Mini logo which we can apply and then add another coat or two of lacquer.

Think it looks good!

Might adjust the valve clearances soon. :ROFLMAO:
 
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I commend all of your cleaning and mechanical efforts thus far, well done. I must ask...how can the oil filter seal with those two magnets protruding from the mating surface? I've only ever seen them on the outside of a filter.
 

Bailes1992

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I commend all of your cleaning and mechanical efforts thus far, well done. I must ask...how can the oil filter seal with those two magnets protruding from the mating surface? I've only ever seen them on the outside of a filter.

I think it's a weird trick of the camera. The magnets are not any higher than the base of the can. However, if you look back up the thread there is a picture of where the oil filter sits after I cleaned it and you can see there's a void where the magnets would sit.

Only reason I decided to try the magnets were because the engine and gearbox on the Mini share a sump and oil. I'm interested to see what gets picked up!

I would have put more in but I was afraid they would move and end up on getting stuck in one of the holes in the base where the dirty oil goes. Figured if there's only 2 magnets then only 2 holes could potentially get blocked.
 
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The Mini (and ADO16) have a magnet on the drain plug, that should tell you all you need to know. We sometimes used to find a gear tooth on the drain plug. The customer would be told, but seldom was anything done about it...it's going great, why make problems.
 

Bailes1992

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The Mini (and ADO16) have a magnet on the drain plug, that should tell you all you need to know. We sometimes used to find a gear tooth on the drain plug. The customer would be told, but seldom was anything done about it...it's going great, why make problems.

There's no magnet on the drain plug currently installed. I don't know if the drain plug is OE. I found the drain plug hole has been helicoiled. I may try to work out what size the hole has been tapped for the helicoil and get a Goldplug in that thread size so I can remove the helicoil altogether.

Didn't have time to adjust the valves last night, but dropped the rocker cover onto the engine to see what it looks like. :ROFLMAO:
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Bailes1992

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Valve adjustment done and my freshly painted rocker cover installed.

3 day weekend for us over here I the UK so looking forward to getting it out the garage this weekend and having a blast!

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Aftermarket rocker arms? Do they increase the ratio? They look a bit more modern than anything I've seen in my Brit fleet.

Nuce car!
Those are the sintered rocker arms, used on later engines. The first BMC engines, or Austin of the time had plate steel rocker arms, it was bent around the adjuster and valve pad, then they used cast iron, then those sinter cast ones. These are the early ones as my explanation is hopeless.

Bmc-A-Series-Engine-Rockershaft.jpg
 

Bailes1992

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We were out and about in the Mini yesterday when it decided to stop cranking.

Luckily we were parked on a hill so we were able to bump start it and get it home.

Quickly diagnosed and rectified...
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I installed a new positive battery terminal and cleaned up the negative post and main earth. May pop put and get a new negative battery terminal today to match. Once all reinstalled I sprayed the battery terminals and main earth point with Bilt Hamber Ferrosol which is like WD40 but on steroids, leaves behind an invisible 'barrier' and works well on battery terminals in my experience.
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Trying to get in the boot to work on the battery is interesting, as this picture my Wife took shows...
 
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