Basil the Mini

Project #4: Fire Breathing Peanut

It seem lately that most of the updates on Basil continue to be small niggly things or problems that need to be fixed, but I must say that he is running pretty good.  Today I installed the very common air filter upgrade, an open air element by K&N.  K&N describes this until as a HS4 carb performance unit, but I also know in all the years I have been working on and selling parts to people, these things just tend to be noise makers.  And that is fine by me for Basil.

It all starts with the OE filter housing and K&N filter installed.  Easy to remove by two butterfly bolts, it is quickly removed and put away.  Next comes the hard part – these two screws that mount the goose-neck intake to the carb body.  Thankfully, I had this little Craftsman Philips socket drive that my dad gave me (thanks pops!) and came into good use.  The space between the firewall/opening and that carb is an arse-crack hair wide and really requires every cm of spaced to be used.  Off come the two bolts and then had a small scare.  It literally looked like the K&N until simply would not fit in between the firewall and carb, but my god she did.  With the K&N backing plate on, the screws tightened down by my new favorite tool and then all was required was to squeeze the filter element on to the plate and the the top plate.  Last nut to go on was the securing nut and Bob’s your Uncle.  Job done!

I have yet to start it and I believe that Basil came with a Performance Upgrade by Mini Spares, so hoping the needle in the carb will play friendly to the filter element.  Before I forget, save yourself about $40 and buy this through Amazon from a general K&N distributor.  The Mini places are literally asking twice the price for these.  These are not custom filter kits, but a common until that fits, Mini, MG, Austin, Triumph, etc.

Project #3: Clutch Slave Cylinder

Well, it was bound to happen again…a failure of some kind that literally stops the drive-line in its tracks.  This time it was a fairly small part, but one that is crucial to moving this wee beastie from A to Zed.

No sooner than I got the cooling system in check again (make sure to read my update here), I thought Sir Alec Issigonis himself was smiling down on me with ‘job done’ echoing within the hills of Marietta, GA – no sooner than I left the driveway when I felt the clutch go to the floor like I was stepping into pudding galore.  Tried second gear and it got looser and now I lost all gears and rolling to a halt.  Outside I saw the issue – DOT4 all over the pavement in a clear puddle.  Somehow I had lost the slave just like that.  I had it.  Video below shows the amount of DOT4 dripping out of the slave soon after.

Back in the garage she goes and I go fuming upstairs for a wee dram of the Bruichladdich The Laddie 10 and to think about things.  Clearly I needed to speak to the elders and gain council to my knowledge base – Minimania.com.  It was clear after a few people chimed in that I simply lost the salve – but many noticed that the slave plate looked odd and the Verto Slave was no longer parallel with the actuator rod.  Shocked, I saw that somehow the bracing bolt that holds this plate at the precise angle was missing and somehow the plate was pushed up and the rod was going at such an odd angle that it broke the seal and the slave was done for.  Some speculated that this bolt just worked itself out, but when looking at all my original pics, there was never a bolt there and the plate was pushed up which leads me to believe that someone who worked on the engine prior just skipped a few critical steps – and I soon found out.

At the end of the day, it would be another fast repair – at least I thought.  With a quick order to Moss (Mini Mania was out of stock of most all the clutch slave parts), I decided to go with a new mounting plate as the other was falling apart as well as new slave unit and various hardware.  Luckily, most of the hardware was sourced at Home Depot and in nice Stainless fashion to jazz up the bits and bobs under the engine bay.  There was one part that was missing that no one seemed to carry – but luckily Mini Mania had on back order and I was set within a week.  It was the spacer that went on the backside of the plate and mated to the transmission bell housing and provided that perfect angle I needed as well as keep things strong and tight.

Had a quick out of town business trip to go to the next week and Basil just sat dormant for a bit and I started to get worried that the longer he sat, the harder time and fluids would take its toll on the engine.  So back from San Fran and literally off the jet, I jumped right into the repair.  Let is be said that it is a straight forward job if you have the Haynes Manual – but I soon realized that a 1 hour job took 3 hours because I needed to drill out the salve holes a bit more (they were not in line with the plate and a bad manufacturing error from AP, the Manufacturer) and the actuator pin simply became my albatross.  Sequence was key here and you literally had to reinstall the unit in a correct order – coming to find out that you needed to get the plunger rod installed first and then the mounting plate bolts.  Believe me when I say this is the only way as I spend a good 1 hour on trying to get the actuator arm to line up with the rod eyelet….had to take it all apart again and go about it in a different sequence.

At the end of the day, it all came together fine and I took him for a short spin and no issues.  I need to lock down the jam nut on the clutch throw out bolt and bend the cotter pin on the swing arm, but just small things to do before tiding up things.