Lee’s Mini Prep – Getting our car Sparky sorted

Hello fellow Porkpiers!


Hope you are all well on your way to having reliable minis ready for the epic journey from Northland to the Deep South.


We have had a few cars through our workshop getting prep work done for the run. Nothing too major to deal with this time around I’m pleased to say. Makes a nice change from snapped cranks, lose gudgen pins grinding bores to shreds and seized motors we have had to deal with prior to previous runs.


I finally got time to get into our car Sparky a few weeks back in between customer work. He has been parked up for over a year as it turns out checking the last rego, so definitely needed a thorough going over.


First up, new battery, the one fitted was dead as the proverbial dodo.


Next up give the brakes a check. All good up front, he has 7.5” Cooper discs fitted. The rear drums were not so flash though. Cylinders, although not leaking just yet were showing signs of heading that way and the pistons were a little stiff to rotate. So, off they came and on with a new set. Dress up the shoes and clean down the back plates. Bleed the system through to expel air and cruddy old fluid as it attracts moisture and needs changing every couple of years anyhow. All good.


Next, clutch. The pedal had been feeling a little funky for a while. Slightly sticky and just not right.


First check was the clutch slave. Off with the boot to be greeted with brown crud where fluid was starting to leak past the seal. Off, and in the bin and on with a new one. I also fitted a new flexi hose between the master cylinder and slave. These are prone to collapsing on the inside, which restricts fluid and gives an intermittent stiff pedal.


Next check was the clevis pins on the clutch lever. One holds the lever to the clutch housing and the other secures the push rod going to the clutch slave. These wear a lot, which reduces the throw of the clutch lever considerably. Both pins were worn, as was the hole in the push rod so they joined the clutch slave in the bin. I also checked the ball on the end of the clutch lever for wear and it had a nice flat worn into it, so that was toast as well.


95% of the clutch issues we deal with are caused by wear in these items. If your car has a bent clutch arm then I can pretty much guarantee it has all these issues and the bend is a bodge repair to compensate. Pretty sad that mechanics do this when the parts to repair properly are less than $100 and readily available!


Gave it a general service, oil, filters, plugs, dizzy cap, rotor. No dramas there.


Next was the cooling system. I changed the water pump and fan blade prior to the last run so knew the system should be in good shape. Still worth a flush through, fresh coolant and a new thermostat though.


On the home straight now. Just the windscreen to replace as we caught a stone coming into Invercargill on the last run.


Out with the glass to be greeted by RUST!!! Aaaaaarrrrrrhhhhhh!!!!!!

So, guess what I was doing last Sunday? That’s right, choppy chop, weldy weld, grindy grind. Then strip off lights trim etc before dropping car to the painter on Monday. To be fair there were a few other spots on the front that had been niggling me for a while so a good opportunity to tidy these up also.

So there we are. Hopefully I’ll have a reassembled car by the end of next week.

You may also like...