Basil the Mini

Project #1: Well, welcome to British motoring…

It was bound to happen….as soon as I made the 300 mile trek from Cinci to Marietta, GA, I thought it was too good to be true….within a week Basil developed a real mystery.  Coolant was spraying all over the left side of the engine bay and I could not for the life of me place where it was coming from.  Obviously, it was getting on the fan and splattering all over the place….so instead of just taking part by part in hopes that it was one that I was dealing with, I decided to do a cooling system overhaul.  Queue the music.

So what this involved was a quick call to Se7en Enterprises for parts which included a new Tropical Fan (aka the PITA for the day), h20 pump and gasket, upper and lower Kevlar hoses, bi-pass hose and clamps (the cause of said coolant leak), cork rocker cover gasket and rubber grommets, new thermo housing and gasket, and new belt (which did not fit).  So for the entire week last week, I did small tasks…for 10 mins I worked on removing small items each night and would just go to bed and think about the next steps.  Had the Haynes Manual, but also had a great article from Mini Magazine on a recent H20 install write up which was very helpful and reassuring.

So by the time Sat morning rolled around, I had a cup of coffee and watched the F1 Qualifying in China and off I went to start the big task.  First, I needed to run to Napa for some basics (coolant, brake cleaner, etc) and then I got right into it like a madman.  I removed the thermo housing (I grabbed a 180 degree thermo the week before thanks to Mr. Gasket) and then worked down to the H20 pump.  The rad and shroud was removed the week before, so it was just the remaining items that caused no issues.  Once I got the old H20 pump off, I saw that it looked old, but still was good…but that bi-pass hose had seen better days….it appeared that it was cracked and was the cause of the dreaded leak.  Victory was at hand!

Everything went to plan….until I got to the belt and Tropical fan…the belt was a hair too small and would not fit and the fan was simply not clearing the radiator.  How could this be?!  Also, the fan would not allow me to use the fan screws (holes were too small) – which was odd, so I used a 1/4 bit to drill them out some more.  But the belt needed to be tended to as I did not want to reuse the belt I had….off to Napa and bob’s your uncle!  They had the belt.  Back home, my good friend Taylor joined me and helped out – clearly seeing that the fan was not clearing the radiator.  We noticed that the spacer used on the OE fan was the issue…and that went into the bin and set the new fan back to the engine more and cleared the rad.  From there all went as planned as we had hoped.

Enter Keith Cox at this point – local Mini Manic and came by to see the excitement.  On start up, the new fan just did a job on the rad and was not clearing and rubbed against the rad.  I quickly shut down the car and saw the issue.  At this point, I just got up in the fans grill and bitch-slapped it until tomorrow – pulling back on each blade slightly to clear the rad and all was well.  So far, no leaks, no issues and all seems well.  At least now I know how to get into the cooling matrix and tear it down and put it all back together well.  And for that I feel good and like I am now closer to Basil then ever before.

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