Basil the Mini

REPORT#22: Do Mini Owners Dream of Wiring?

….yes, yes they do – especially if you are an anal wiring guy like me where everything has to be new and in the proper place. I love new wire…just something about it and I went to the nines on Basil to make sure the botch job from the previous owner was eradicated, removed and burned behind the shed. New wire is good.

So we start update #22 with some more of the bumper project – this time the front, where the trickiest job was the front whiskers/mustache chrome parts that just hug the front wings ever so gently. Once again, I went overboard with hefty hardware to do the job right and to be removed if needed down the road. The original way to mount this hardware was to use pop rivets that 1) rust and 2) does not give you the flexibility to adjust the mounting line or to be removed down the road if needed. I also wrestled with the new Mk1/2 chrome grille where I had to accommodate the quick release grill knobs – was a bit feddly but managed to get it lined up correctly (still could use some further push back, but I am happy with the hardware I secured for a proper install).

Next up was looking at the inside of Basil to install the new Tach…now this project was a long one. Originally was looking to invest in a very expensive Tach mount from Turtle Trading Japan, but could not justify the price for milled steel that was power-coated to something I could make here…so even had some help from my buddy CAD up for me some plans to have one made here locally, but when you deal with low volume (meaning 1), the cost was too much. So off to Moss UK I go and there was one for just a few quid and with some robust hardware and thinking, I got the exact looking mount that Turtle was selling for over $60 shipped for under half that. Job done! I also started to look at mounting options for my original Alpine head unit…now again, Turtle makes this great mount (much like the tach mount) that allows 1DIN units to be mounted, but again, the cost! So again, I got my old thinking cap on and came up with a great solution that looks the part. Job done for parts I had around the shed.

No less than a day goes by when I discovered that the menacing rear window that I rebuilt in update #21, just did not seal 100% against the new window gaskets…so I had again a nightmarish job of re-drilling and mounting the latch bracket to the body of the Mini in order to become tighter – hence closing tighter to prevent any water entry. It feels good and is solid….but will not know if that helps with the rain. We will see soon….I hope not!

So some new toys for this update – I beautiful center CNC milled/polished switch plate from Retrosport UK (DNC) to accent the interior…the new wiring harness from Autosparks UK as well as a sporty cam/springs and solid state distributor from Swiftune UK for the engine.

More to come in #23!

REPORT#21: The Simple Complexity (and pain)

So here we are at update #21 and things are moving and groovig nicely. But #21 also presents a new attitude unlike any others. Once again, I am plagued with aftermarket products that simply do not fit – and sadly, I took a stance and ended my relationship with Seven Mini Parts. I simply had the last straw with a purchase that was not correct online or a part that did not fit – or quite honestly did not work and failed. After all the cash I spent on returns back to them, I told them no more…taking my project somewhere else. In all honesty, they credited me for these parts, but the due diligence of making sure they knew their products just continued to fail me. The first example was the water pump bypass hose that they sold – failed in 3 weeks causing a mess and hours to take apart and fix with fuel tubing. Then the recent one was the side window gasket that was a .5mm too thick and simply did not work…this is after having other mini experts local to me try to make it fit and just did not go. I am sure they have many happy customers, but somehow I ended up with more pain and frustration just through their products that it was too much. See ya 7 – good luck. Sticking with Mini Spares UK for now.

So here we are with some good and not-so-good updates…We start with finishing up the wiring in the boot post fuel tank install…also including some grounding points, etc. We also got to know the new bumpers really well…including fitting new bumpers on some very old body seams where the holes did not line up completely with the new hardware. But I took my time here and got the superior hardware and did the adjustments carefully. Clearly these are Mk1/2 bumpers with over-riders and I love the look – clearly I am not trying to pass Basil off as a Mk1/2/3, but just love the look. The square tail lamps are a tight fit but no contact is made with the over-riders and I am a happy camper.

The worst job to date on this car (and there are some big contenders) was the side vent window with 1 broken bracket. Now, I went the purist route and kept the Triplex glass and found the right mini-rivets as well as sourced a used bracket. Just could not find a nicely used Triplex window/frame to work with (some guy on MiniMania wanted a kidney for a pair – no thank you) so went for full rebuild with new gaskets. As mentioned before, these gaskets did not fit and were too thick. A simple google check shows this issue with many people and sadly had to result to a used frame from my local Mini guru as he worked in another seal that worked fine.

Couple new toys added – including a new rear fog lamp, new rear view mirror as well as a leather fuel bib which was a nice add. On to #22!