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Old 15-11-2006, 06:11 PM   #1
Oz
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Default My Vtec Cooper

Ok, not necessarily a "build" as the engine was fitted by Geoff but thats not to say I just got in it a drove away.

I bought a Watsons frame about 2 years ago but never got to actually doing the conversion, mainly a recalcitrant hillclimber that yearned for every bit of my spare time so I decided that the only way it'd get done in the near future was to send the car to Geoff to get the engine fitted. Also meant no messing around looking for bracket "a" and cable "b" etc, as we dont have the luxury of scrappies etc in Jersey that we can raid.

The car was fairly well stripped out when I sent it away, basically a rolling shell with bits and pieces still bolted on. I supplied the wheels and my frame kit.

Car was trailered by a local firm to Wakefield only for Geoff to inform me that they'd tied a ratchet strap thro grill and around subframe to tie it down, bending the front panel

After about a month the car was due to be picked up but Geoff had a problem with gearbox being noisy. It was stripped and rebuilt but was still noisy so in the end Geoff had to swap it for another box (I was awkward as I wanted an LSD box)

The car arrived back with an old seat Geoff chucked in and added to bill was "Front number plate - 10" - in my stripping frenzy I'd removed the plate not thinking he'd need it for the road test etc.

Spent a week bolting interior back in and all the brightwork and found :-

- Aftermarket bumpers are rubbish, I ended up reshaping them by crushing them in a workmate to get them to even line up.

- I HATE ELECTRIC WINDOWS, ended up removing the W&P kit the car had and went back to the manual winders

- 2nd gear was where the front right hand corner of the passenger seat wanted to be, mounted seat right back in last adjuster and on full extension back so lever now rests against passenger seat

Took car for quick test and ended up going sideways when brakes locked up. Both rear cylinders had burst - fitted new cylinders

Car was trying to steer from rear, found rear LH wheel had excessive toe-in, readjusted brackets

Rear LH wheel rubbed on compression of suspension, spent about 3 days on this checking wheel arches, even top damper mount against fuel tank, eventually found tyre was able to touch lip in wheel arch were boot floor, arch and valance back plate meet - few whacks with rubber faced mallet cured that. Strange there is not same problem on RH side Perhaps a clue to some misalignment somewhere ??

Got suspension set up and tracking done - was surprised to find none of this was done by Watsons, at least I thought the tracking would be set

Only problem now seems that there is oil perhaps coming from between head and block under vtec solenoid. Took car to local Honda dealer today to have them look at it (was slightly peeved that guy didn't seem to notice the engine was in a Mini ) He checked the solenoid as apparantly the o-ring behind valave hardens and cracks then leaks but it doesn't seem like it, he reckons its the head gasket He says he's never had a Honda come in that needed a head gasket doing

Bad luck ? excuse me whilst I go walk under a ladder whilst smashing a mirror

On plus side car goes well, but map need looking at as it stalls occasionally and struggles to start and it doesn't feel like its giving its all on full acceleration but add that to the "to do" list to !!
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New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

Build Thread - Standard Round Nose with K series subframe build begun
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Old 15-11-2006, 06:19 PM   #2
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Before the major heart surgery, breathing through a Swiftune 1380



Picking car up from Harbour


Engine bay













Pics taken today during first proper test drive
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New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

Build Thread - Standard Round Nose with K series subframe build begun

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Old 15-11-2006, 06:24 PM   #3
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Mine had a small oil leak it was the head gasket.
Allan
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Old 15-11-2006, 09:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan McD
Mine had a small oil leak it was the head gasket.
Allan
Ah, so mine isn't just a freak looks like, its the head off then, not what I really wanted after just geting it back and on the road
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Old 15-11-2006, 09:17 PM   #5
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I had another issue that might interest some people

One thing I specified on the build of the car was the Hi-Spec big brake kit. When I got the car back and pulled off the front wheels there was a 2mm spacer between the disc and the wheel pushing the wheels further out beyond the arches. Found this photo in Tony Wells gallery shows what I mean



But on looking at the front of the caliper I noticed that the whole caliper was biased outwards, the outer pad had a fair gap between the back of the pad and the caliper body meaning the pistons on that side were pushed out quite a way, whilst the inner pad was tight up against the caliper, ie the pistons hadn't pushed out at all.

I took the calipers and carriers off and put 2mm washers between the carrier and the hub and refitted the caliper. The pads sat much better in the caliper (and strangely the pedal feels better but I cant see any reason why that should be).

I put the wheel back on without the spacer to find it was just touching the edge of the caliper when it was rotated. I filed the bear minimun off the caliper edge (just needed rounding rather than the sharp edge) and it cleared the wheel.

Dropped car back down (at same time had lowered suspension on the adjusters) and with the negative camber added from the lowering the wheels sit just on the arch, maybe a little proud but you cant really see the tread when viewed from above. Saves having to look at fitting the wide fibreglass arches.
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New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

Build Thread - Standard Round Nose with K series subframe build begun

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Old 22-05-2007, 07:00 PM   #6
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New photos added to Gallery





Compare this one to the side on shot in post above. Matt rebuilt front end as I wasn't happy with the way Geoff had done it. Much much happier







Always promised I'd sort the interior and finally got to getting new seats, carpets and door cards

I also dumped the bonnet stripes. The whole car needed a respray and Geoff had used longer stripes to suit the longer bonnet and I didn't have any to put back on but I actually prefer it without so I'm gonna keep it like that
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New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

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Old 22-05-2007, 07:34 PM   #7
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Looks really tidy mate Very nice indeed
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Old 23-05-2007, 12:03 AM   #8
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what's the difference in the front? has matt absorbed the length more in the middle part of the wing?

look lovely btw
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Old 23-05-2007, 02:35 AM   #9
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That is one beautiful Mini.
Congratulations. Now, enjoy the pride of ownership.
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Old 23-05-2007, 06:42 AM   #10
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this may help with the front end comparison....







awesome looking car, nice'n'sleeper
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Old 23-05-2007, 11:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XEValver
this may help with the front end comparison....





awesome looking car, nice'n'sleeper
Cheers .... why didn'I think of that

Yeah the wings were welded on at an angle so front pointed upward despite car having 1.5 inch forward rake - couldn't actually adjust headlights low enough to be legal Matt offered to have a look at it and as far as I'm concerned has made a 1st class job of it - I know he had some problems as the engine and rad sit quite high in the Wastsons frame so had to mod the underside of the bonnet for clearance. Can happily recommend 16vMiniShop for all your 16v Mini needs (no I'm not on commission )

Thanks for the nice comments guys

Next job is to lower the rear a little - and possibly rear ARB - oh and finally fit the inner door window rubber strips keep forgetting to pick up some new clips

Ended up making my own gear lever too as I didn't like reaching down so far (plus I'm fitting harnesses for track day and I had to lean out of seat to get to 1,3 & 5th as lever was close to dash). Didn't take any photos but I basically cut the standard honda lever just abouve the pivot ball and sleeved/welded it to the first 5 inches of a B&M quickshift. Lever is now at right height and comfortably to hand and despite the increase in lever length the throw is still about 15-20% shorter
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New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

Build Thread - Standard Round Nose with K series subframe build begun

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Old 23-05-2007, 12:09 PM   #12
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Just curious but did you speak to Watsons about the front end ? I'd be well grapesed if I had paid for a wonky front !
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Old 23-05-2007, 02:31 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by duck
Just curious but did you speak to Watsons about the front end ? I'd be well graped if I had paid for a wonky front !
Yeah I did - I wasn't too impressed either, especially as his solution was just to panel beat the wings under the headlamp rims to get the headlights legal and fill the wings to make them smooth !! In the end Geoff agreed to pay Matt to replace the front end. It was cheaper for him to do that than have to come from Wakefield to Portsmouth to pick up car (days round trip) and then the same again to drop it back (or pay a transporter to do it).

TBH I'm glad it went to Matt, his workmanship is 1st rate.
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Old 23-05-2007, 03:01 PM   #14
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Glad to hear it got resolved without you being out of pocket

Also good to hear that Watsons were prepared to bite the bullet and accept it was not up to standard.
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Old 23-05-2007, 04:01 PM   #15
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Yeah, once I made it clear I wanted a new front end Geoff was happy to find a way to sort it out, which was cool as he could have made a fuss as I was so far away that at the end of the day it would have been hard to fight it out successfully without costing me the same again to deal with
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