Basil the Mini

REPORT#24: The Lump Returns and More Wiring

Here comes a big one and my oh my, how these things come in big waves. In this report, I am happy to say that I covered (meaning started) on some critical areas – that required some praying, some measuring, some luck and some bourbon. In no particular order, I got my hands dirty around the new (and upgraded to current tech) fuse box, relays, finishing off the head unit, auxiliary fan, rear spot lamp, headlamp wiring upgrade and FINALLY, prepping the new 1293 engine.

Here’s a quick video of some of the action in this update:

Wont go into all the details here, but at a high-level:

1) New fuse box and relay’d headlamp harness – enter Wired by Wilson, who in my mind, is a wiring wizard and quite possibly the new Prince of Reliability. Steve at WbW makes this really robust fuse boxes with stout wire as well as really high-quality shrink – as well as using exact coloUr codes for easy plug and play. I also grabbed one of his headlamp upgrade units that allows independent headlamp power so that if one blows, they other stays on. I mean simple, right? Of course!

2) Alpine Head Unit – this one comes to a close with the final wiring up front and running a long set of RCAs to the amp in the back. Again, this is an old radio and does not have newer tech for connectivity, but I dont care. I can easily plug my ipod/iphone in via cassette adapter up front and just use the 2 6×9 speakers in the back floor area. I also added an Alpine amp to help power those monsters and ran the wire accordingly as needed. Next up is to make sure the wiring works well with the carpet and may use some j-clips or conduit to route the wiring off the side and hidden. My biggest fear is that the head-unit may not work at all since it has been so long since I used last and then had it refurbished 3 years ago.

3) Auxiliary Fan – well, this one went bust fairly quickly. This fan I have seen used on other Minis (thanks Clay for all the help and tips on yours!) and thinking it would be a nice piece of heat protection when I am in traffic, but maybe not. So I ordered this fan – and I realized as soon as I opened the box, it was 1-2″ smaller than I needed. I think I needed a full 9″ fan and this one was 7″. Who knows if that will make ANY difference here, but the issue I had was with the new stainless radiator, I had no room to mount directly to the back of the radiator (as pictured). A shame really, so now she sits inside the wheel well and against the slotted fender well – with the hopes that it will ‘draw’ the heat out of the rad (push/pull configuration). This is the same concept that the newer Minis use as well, but includes a metal frame/shroud that helps channel heat away from the rad. More to come here.

4) Rear Spot Lamp – wow…this one was scary. Anytime you spend loads of $$$ into pristine bodywork and then DRILL a big hole in the middle of a perfectly flawless boot lid, you start to wonder….guess, measure, measure, measure, drink, sleep, remove tape, return lamp, re-open box with lamp and keep lap and install. So after many days of thinking though this and looking at a TON of pics of these lamps installed, I found the most logical and correct spot to mount and taped up the lid and started the drill. Needless to say, the step drill bit worked well and a clean cut. I also took my time to use high-grade shrink on the back as I routed the reverse lamp to the in-line reverse lamp wiring. Fingers crossed, I hope this works correctly.

5) 1293 Engine – Finally, starting to prep the engine bay for the engine and will be installed in my next update. My 998 sits sleeping in the garage and was a SOLID lump with zero issues…finding a mint 1275 that then went into some upgrades was an easy choice…This also includes getting the dual SU2 carbs set up with the manifold and linkages started as well. Also got the solid state distributor installed that should work like a treat with the Swiftune SW5-07 cam/spring kit. I am also looking at air filter options here as well and will have an update soon on that.

More to come!

REPORT#23: Now We’re Getting REDcited!

Hello again and welcome to the crisp fall weather for 2017. The war still rages on with the project…this update will not be a HUGE one, but an important one. The entire Basil the Mini project originally started with a vision for me. One that started with that one Mini pic I saw a looong time ago of a Tweed Grey mini with a red interior…and I am happy to say that I am finally entering the ‘red dragon.’ What’s funny is when I purchased Basil, one of the first things I purchased for the interior was a set of red leather hand pulls – my small commitment to stay Red with this project! And the time finally came where I can finally marry them to a proper red door card and not this cheap looking black with white piping. The interior is now underway, but will take my time. First up was planning out any wiring that needs to be routed on left or right side of Basil as well as making any other adjustments needed. Part of this also involves replacing all the old worn bungs and rubber plugs on the floor pan. The floor pan was in really good shape – minus the slight floor pan bends where someone tried to jack up the car in the weakest part long ago. Normally this would make one cringe, but it happens and does not affect the mechanical soul of the Mini. Adds character they say!

Next up was a HUGE purchase with Newton Commercial as I finally had my bespoke interior hand made. I decided to move away from the standard Monte Carlo red and went with a more true British red ala Matador Red that you would fine on your favorite TR6. With a new set of the “Monte Carlo” interior, I was presented with lush new seat covers, carpet, and all the interior ancillaries. And once again, the old eyes missed a critical step on my part – ordered the wrong center speedo layout for the dash panel. But once again, Josh at Newton was THE man of the hour and without any question, sent me a new panel. Unbelievable customer service and experience here (and my job is to help organizations improve those customer experiences). Thanks again Josh!

Finally, sound deadening was installed without a glitch and used only in locations that I know will make a difference vs going overkill with all this added and extra weight. Seen some guys completely cover the back bench/seat as well as the top roof. Just does not make sense to me – after all this is a classic Mini, not a Lexus ES. I also ordered a new set of rain membranes for the doors and went with my special rain/weather stripping goop that I have been using for YEARS on the Miata.

More to come in the next update. Carry on….Red.