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Old 04-10-2016, 12:04 PM   #1
jondrane
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Subframe: Watson
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Default AWD B16 build

My name is Jon and I am an aircraft engineer based in Portsmouth, I have been building my AWD project on and off for the last 5 years. I say on and off as during this time I have done some traveling with work which stopped the project. I will start my build diary at the beginning.

I first purchased my mini in 2000 and it was a standard Mini Mayfair in Caribbean Blue with a 1275 A series. I fitted this will all the standard mini bits, roller rockers, LCB, etc but the 1275 was a bit tired. In late 2002 I purchased a 1293 stage 2 kit from mini speed and did my first engine build, I paired this with a 45 Weber and the car was now running well and pushing a massive 95Bhp!!!
The issues with the above setup was that it was unreliable in the wet like most minis, it was great when going fast but a pig in traffic and the fuel economy was dreadful.







At the end of my collage year I decided that I would do a VTEC conversion over the summer of 2004. I paid a visit to Geoff Watsons workshop in Wakefield, and he was in the process of building his white space frame rally car and it looked amazing. I looked at another customer car that he was working on and saw the body modifications that were required, and decided that is was something I could achieve.

I purchased the Watsons kit and spent 2 months working around my Job to get it fitted.

I encountered all the issues which are now common knowledge on the forum like wiring manufacture, alternator brackets, inlet manifolds and gear linkage modification. There was a lot less VTEC minis on the road then and one of the main builders on the forum was Tony Wells. I can remember organizing to meet up with Tony at Shakespeare county drag strip and look at his car, which was a great help as I was half way through my build.





















Once the car was on the road with the VTEC I had it rolling road`d and it was pushing 145bhp with the standard inlet manifold. After a year of driving I added a set of Jenvey ITB`s and a DTA E48 ECU, I had this all tuned at Aldon Automotive. It was defiantly worth paying the money to have the car mapped properly as I had a base B16a2 map to get the car started, and once mapped it made an additional 10BHP and was a lot more drivable through the rev ranges.







I then drove this setup for as my daily driver for three years until I got a second car in 2008. I still used the Mini back & for work but for longer journeys used another car. With using the car nearly every day it didn’t get the looking after it really needed, and as with all mini`s had some rust appear. One of the main areas was the drivers a pillar, and outer sills.

In 2010 I purchased my first house and could now start the restoration of my mini as I had a space of my own to carry it out.

My plan was to replace the inner and outer sills, repair the A pillar and give the front sub frame a new coat of powder coat. I started stripping the front sub frame out and on removal of the front suspension upper mounts found rust holes.























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Old 10-10-2016, 11:46 AM   #2
jondrane
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The more items I stripped off the car the more rust I found, as is usually the case with the mini`s.



It was at this point that I saw some posts on the forum about the superfast mini`s kit using the MX5/Miata differential and mentioned this to a few of my friends. The more rust I found the more my mates kept sayingĒ you might as well make it AWD nowĒ, so I had a look into the options. I spoke to Mintec and they could not really give a lot of advice as they had not done a lot of driving with their car yet, I also looked into the CRV drive train. During this research I read an article in Honda tuning about a company in the US called Epic Tuning, which had built a 400bhp EK coupe using the CRV/Wagon drive train. It was this that made me think it was worth a try as it looked like they had mounted the diff to some box section and got some custom drive shafts. It would turn out to be a bit more work than some welded box section!





As this was turning in to a bigger project I made a spit to mount to body on to enable me to get to the floor section etc easier. I made this out of 2inch box with some off cuts of tube welded to the tops, it was all mounted on caster wheels so it could be moved easy. Due to the shear amount of rust and the number of panels that need replacing I welded in a bunch of 1 inch box section to give the shell some strength prior to mounting on the spit.













With the car now fully stripped I made a list of the panels that needed to be replaced:-
RH inner wing
LH inner wing
Drivers door jamb
Complete floor including inner sills
Jacking points
Seat belt mounts
Scuttle panel and closers



I started with the front right corner and removed what was left of the inner wing, and the scuttle panel. There seemed to be a lot of rust between the panels on removal. It took forever to drill out all the spot weld with drill bits, but I did find one tool that made it a lot quicker. I got some of the Clarke spot weld hole cutters, these worked really well but did go blunt quickly.







Once removed the true extent of the rust to the RH A pillar could be seen. It was really bad and I couldnít believe I had been driving this around. The top section had a previous repair plate which hid the worst of the top rust, and the bottom was not connected to anything with wasnít rust. I fabricated a new X-member closer and offered up the new inner wing, once in place I marked where all the spot welds needed to be. These would all require plug welding as I didnít have a long set of jaws for the spot welder, so set out drilling all the required holes. Once all clamped in and happy with its position top the scuttle and what was left of the A pillar I welded this in.









While doing the inner wing replacement I was on the lookout for the CR-V gearbox and diff, I eventually found one on the for sale section of the forum. I took a trip up to Wrexham and collected them for the sum of £200.







The next panel to attack was the drivers A post, this needed completely removing due to the rust. The A post is made up of four panels, the rear of the inner wing, the stiffener, the door pillar and the door jamb. I was really worried that this wouldn`t be welded back in the correct place, so lots of clamps and taking the door on and off to ensure correct alignment.









I decided to do the complete driverís door Jamb early on in the project due to it previously having a repair in two places, but this panel was by far the hardest one to replace. This was mostly down to my own fault as I didnít change the complete rear quarter panel. The issue was slotting the complete jamb in underneath the B post panel, without causing any damage. Again with this panel though there was a never ending amount of spot welds to drill out!



















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Old 10-10-2016, 04:31 PM   #3
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s#!t the bed !!
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:27 PM   #4
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keep 'em coming!
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Old 12-10-2016, 02:48 PM   #5
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Frightening how nice it looked from the top & how bad it was underneath, bet there are more on the road like that
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Old 25-10-2016, 07:59 AM   #6
jondrane
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I carried on working round the car and next removed the lower half of the rear driverís quarter, I found even more rust and thought at this point it might have been easier to buy a heritage shell. The main reason I didnít go for this was that they were so expensive, I know you get a brand new one but the heritage panels would cost me about £1800 for the whole project.



Once this was removed it was evident that the heal board would need replacing also, I placed another order with Summerford minis.



I couldnít really do any more work on this rear quarter now as the rust was so bad I had nothing good to weld to or use as a reference. My next job was to remove the entire drivers half of the floor pan. When I ordered the floor pan I ordered the LH and RH instead of the complete floor, as it was going to need a tunnel cut in it and though it would be easier to move/store. I did find that the car had had over sills fitted at some point and the photos show why these are should never be used. The original outer sills were still there rusting away inside, these got the inner sills too.























During the removal of the floor found that the extra Vtec power had caused the tunnel to crack where it had been bead rolled. It looked like the hand brake cable had chaffed on it to start with.





I was getting a nice collection of rusty metal by this point.



I trial fitted the floor and made sure that the driverís door still fitted in the correct place, but during the floor strip I noticed the rear heal board was so far gone it had to be replaced. I removed the drivers half to help with getting the floor in. Looking back at this now I would of ordered a complete floor with the outer sills already welded on, but didnít think the rust was this bad!















I tried to work my way around the car during the panel replacements as I didnít want to remove to much in one go but the floor was quite daunting. There was just so much rust, I didnít have much to use as a reference. I moved on to the other side of the heal board and found that this was in much the same state as the driverís side, completely shot.





Now this is were taking the time to make the spit in the beginning came in handy, I didnít have to spend ages on the floor getting burned by welding spatter. I got the heal board welded in, and then could finally start to weld the drivers floor in.





It seemed a shame to weld my shiny new floor to a rusty old toe board, and as there was the smallest of rust pitting in one corner I decided it had to go. I did have to undo some of my previous work as l had already tacked the inner wing to it, and remove the front half of the passenger floor to get it out. Doh.





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Old 25-10-2016, 08:30 AM   #7
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Much respect to you, I would not know where to start with something like that
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Old 25-10-2016, 01:08 PM   #8
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Fair play, I'd have gone with a new shell at that point

or this

http://www.16vminiclub.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=36579
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Old 25-10-2016, 02:45 PM   #9
jondrane
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Oz did see that space frame kit, but really wanted this to look like a mini. I have managed to keep the outside of the shell standard other than the 90mm extension. The rear frame etc does not protrude lower then the valance.


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Old 25-10-2016, 03:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrane View Post
Oz did see that space frame kit, but really wanted this to look like a mini. I have managed to keep the outside of the shell standard other than the 90mm extension. The rear frame etc does not protrude lower then the valance.


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I know what you mean

TBH if I'd have gone that route I'd have fabricated it so the metal shell was put over it (a bit like a Z Cars type of thing) so it was effectively a floor pan/ rollcage with subframes attached to it rather than be like a proper spaceframe as that F/G shell is horrendous

Fair play to you, I'd have long since given up if that was my shell !!
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Old 25-10-2016, 08:26 PM   #11
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wow hats off to you for sticking with it!
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Old 17-11-2016, 12:26 PM   #12
jondrane
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Welding in the toe board was quite straight forward, I did have to remove the front section of the passenger floor, but as I was planning on replacing this any way it was no drama.







I had a bit of a change in tactic now and I decided to attack the passenger inner wing/arch, as per the other side I drilled out the never ending spot welds. This side also needed the cross member closer replacing as did the driverís side. This inner wing was on the original replacement list but again as I removed it I found more rust between the panels. This also led me to order the passenger A pillar stiffener and passenger door jamb.






With the inner wing in place I temporarily bolted in the A post stiffener and then Started to remove the passengers door Jamb, this was just as difficult to remove as the drives side. To make it easier to remove, I cut the front section of the rear quarter off.







I then fitted the door jam, I forgot to take pictures of this once installed but they are almost the same as the driverís side. Next I removed the remaining portion of the passenger floor and welded in the new front to back floor, I have not welded the center as my plan was to roll my own tunnel.





Now things got exciting, as I started on the rear frame. I had some criteria that I wanted to try and keep to:-
Nothing is to protrude lower than the standard floor pan.
The rear track should not be hugely different from standard
The new frame should use the existing sub frame mounting positions.
These did seem too drastic, but the hardest one to maintain was the first one. This is the one that lead to using a push rod suspension system.
I started with producing the front part of the sub frame using 2x1 inch box section, and 40x20mm angle. I followed the shape of the heal board.







Once I had the basis of the front of the frame I made a rear mount, again using 2 X 1 inch box. All this work at this point was just tacked together, as I was unsure if this would work out.







Next I offered up the rear differential to work out what height I want to install it. I noticed that the Mintec kit modifies the rear seat base to get the differential forward in the frame. After looking at the wheel positions and drive shaft angles I decided that modifying the rear seat was not required. I could get the correct height to the drive shafts by moving the diff rear in the frame about 3 inches.





During the diff positioning I realized that the front part of the frame would need modifying already, I decided to remove the upper piece of 2x1 and install a piece of 1in box.



Next I worked on making the frame work between the front and rear frames to hold the differential, I made this out of 1.25 CDS. A local engineering shop did the bends for me. I decided to cut holes in the front part of the frame and slide the tubes into the 2 X 1, it was then tacked on both sides of the 2 x 1. I did a similar notch out at the rear to increase the contact area.











For mounting of the wishbones to the frame I had a local firm to laser cut some 3mm tear drops, I used two of these spaced an inch apart to mount the rose joints too. Originally I was going to mount them closer together but this caused issues with the outer casing of the rose joint contacting the mount.







Before going any further with the frame I had to decide on the hubs that I was going to use. I first looked at mini hubs and getting a pin machined up to replace the tapered pin so that I didnít have to have tapered plates on each arm. I decided not to use this as I was concerned with the strength of the pins made. I did some mocking up with these and some plastic tube, and the height of the hub was not a problem.





I went for an MGF rear hub in the end, due to the fact it had two lugs on the lower side making it easier to attach a track rod. They actually fitted surprisingly well in the 13 wheels I had.



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Old 16-12-2016, 12:41 AM   #13
GEORDIE SP1
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Any more updates on this ??
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Old 16-12-2016, 08:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Any more updates on this ??
Seconded
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Old 17-01-2017, 09:00 AM   #15
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Any more updates ? I'm interested to see how the rear wishbones bolt up to the MGF hub as the MGF lower arm and bolt fouls a 13 inch wheel so I'm keen to see how you got around that
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