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Showing posts from September, 2012

Austin Mini - Cylinder Head

Top overhaul was my highest priority until the clutch slave blew which led to a total clutch rebuild
Spark plugs from cylinders 2 and 3 were comparatively sooty despite my efforts to optimize carburetor mixture and the engine was running a bit too hot for comfort. Let's be an optimist and list possible causes: 1. Head gasket no longer sealing properly between cylinders 2. Manifold gasket leak 3. Both!

Unfortunately this head has not been modified for unleaded fuel use and could not find a source for hardened exhaust valve seats locally ;( Since I did not want to risk parts getting lost, everything was reassembled. Hardened valve seats = back job to be pursued ASAP!

Thermostat blanking sleeve It is so typical in the tropics for uninformed mechanics to take off the thermostat as a cure all for overheating problems. So I did some research and found this information at Mini Spares:
Removal of the thermostat helps reduce engine temperature, however a thermostat blanking sleeve should…

Austin Mini - Clutch Part 2

Non-Verto woes
After studying the Haynes manual carefully, I enlisted the help of Gilbert, an ace Japanese car mechanic, for this operation. He already assisted me in the past - replacement of the steering rack and ball joints.

Front sub frame supported by jack stands + a trolley jack under the transmission, the Mini is prepared for a full clutch overhaul.

With the flywheel cover and starter re installed it was time for a test drive. No more clutch slip and significant improvement in drive ability, but...

...there is significant wear on the ball (red*) at the end of the clutch release lever and socket (red*) of the release bearing plunger which prevent proper adjustment of the throw out nuts (2). I had to keep the 1/4" thick bolt between the slave piston and clutch arm rod (blue**) to get clutch action. To get it back to factory specs, I need a new clutch arm lever + release bearing plunger.

Just like music performance, I always try to be a perfectionist so this has to be sorted…

Austin Mini - Clutch Part 1

Non-Verto clutch woes

Since the fluid spurted out by the slave was jet black I went ahead and dismantled the master cylinder.

Fresh DOT 4 fluid was transfused into the hydraulic system and bled until no air was coming coming out of the slave bleeding valve. But there were a few snags, the clutch throw out stop could not be adjusted as per Haynes and I had to insert a 1/4" bolt at the end of the clutch arm push rod to get clutch action. Although clutch pedal feel and action significantly improved, after driving around my neighborhood I still experienced intermittent clutch slide on steep hill climbs...more problems lurking ahead :(

Smiths Tachometer

With the prices of Smiths Classic Gauges going through the roof, I gambled at eBay and won this for about $20/shipped. It is an RVI* 1433/01 negative ground probably pulled out of a junked mid-60s MGB, MG Midget or Austin Healey Sprite.
*The RVI Series only works with conventional contact point ignition systems. For later models (or converted) with electronic ignition, use an RVC.

NOTE: the black dotted lines between the distributor and coil denotes a wire that should be removed. Essentially the tachometer replaces the wire and, is in series between the distributor and coil as shown in the diagram.

The gamble paid off!

Frankenstein Isolettes




Solinar and Apotar pics