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Bornite's Memoirs - Smashed Sierra 😡

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I'm just going to assume that the Mini has been fitted with plenty of anti-theft gear. Thieves don't care for personal tales.


Not saying Alf lives anywhere dodgy, but I just see so many tales of woe regarding stolen Minis (and Land Rovers).

Well......no immobiliser.........nice sharp bend at the end of the road though and it has zero brakes so should end up embedded in the fence. The resultant noise should wake my dog.


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PHACKT - one of my ex-SWMBO’s grandads was Mr. Robinson himself. He also used to run the coach services as well as the garage. I’ve been to his house as well, he still lives in Kimbolton as far as I know.


Sad times on the for sale front though :-(

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Well......no immobiliser.........nice sharp bend at the end of the road though and it has zero brakes so should end up embedded in the fence. The resultant noise should wake my dog.


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Nailed it.


Perhaps I should go to bed with the brake master cylinder henceforth?

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Job jobbed on the Avensis. Not watching the numbers too closely - let’s say £400 for arguments sake to tease it through for another year. All cars need tyres so scrub them off and it wasn’t too bad. And, anyway, it’d be entirely irresponsible to throw a car away over a bloody brake pipe - especially when the replacement part has an indefinite life span. 


So onwards and upwards. 248,500 miles (not out)


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So, in the past 6 years the Avensis has done almost 150k. Not bad going, but when you consider it was already 100k up that is a damn good show.


Yep. I bought it July 2013 with 100,200 miles on it. The previous owners were convinced that was the expected life of the car and chopped it in for a new Kia. A trader went to buy a car from Kia, which was shit, but needed something to get home in so gave (probably) £250 for this. I bought it for £800 with a full fresh ticket, tax (remember that) and a full tank. It was probably £150 more than others but the Tuscan Plum ones look lush and I always wanted to try an SR. All I’ve done since is drive it and look after it. It’s had a couple of timing belt kits, a clutch and a radiator. That’s it. It’s always been about £400 a year to keep it going which is cheap really.

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There's a huge push now to get this bloody Mini finished and off Alf's driveway.  The initial dream was to have it taxed and tested for the Bonk Holiday weekend coming, but that's now highly unlikely to happen because of other commitments and niggles along the way.  It also didn't help that I left the replacement brake pipe at mine when we towed the car last week.  Ah.


I arrived last night to find attentions had been turned to the wipers.  To recap: they don't work.  A few weeks ago there was the most incredibly putrid smell ever encountered.  It smelled like a mix of cat piss, human vomit and dog shit.  It was so strong you could smell it at 15 paces.  I put it down to the car being laid up for so long and 'burning something off' (my excuse for everything).  It was only after I accidentally put my hand on the wiper motor did we realise the culprit.  It was totally stucking stucked mate.  Big stucking time.




This may* explain why.  




Quick blast sent an oxide mist across the garage.




Lubey AF.




Stick it back on.  Boom.




Let's just say that the motor isn't in the first flush of youth, but will get us an MOT.  It's not going to be a car for rainy days (as anyone who's ever driven one will attest) so it's just about satisfying the ministry right now.

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What about the lights?  I can't remember if I wrote this all out previously - but I did make a start a few weeks ago.  Anyway, the two relays (hazards and indicators) were "Best Before Thatcher" and had consciously uncoupled from the wiring of the car.  Two new ones purchased from MiniSpares (along with bases) and I set about wiring them up.  To start with I got the Hazards working with relative ease (except the offside front which I put down to a bulb) so moved onto the indicators.  Let's just say this didn't pan out as I would have liked, and I ended that day with just one single side light working on the entire car.


Anyway, wipers working enough - we took a look.  By we, I mean Alf - with me hovering.




One tooth from the fuse box completely rusted away.  Strong start.  We cleaned this up with a fluid which, I believe, is likely banned in the EU.  If it isn't, it should be.  It could strip the smile from a lottery winner!  Fortunately there was a spare position on the box which we used instead.


You'll never ever work out why the brake light wasn't working.  The PO had robbed the fucking bulb.  Unbelievable, Jeff.




The front indicator that won't work was, indeed, a bulb.  A bulb that had made that little holder its home.  A bulb seemingly with a lifetime, pre-AST tenancy.  A bulb with the right to remain.  A bulb what wasn't going to shift.  In the end, it was a hammer and pliers - so it died a martyr just as it would have wanted.  Fucking thing.




Plenty of corrosion here.  Also, the spring no longer springs.  We fucked about a bit but decided, at £6, it was better to buy a replacement which I will do later.


The final job was to try and get a 'tell tale' for the indicators.  The hazard switch itself illuminates when operated, so we were just looking for something to indicate...err.. indication.  This is where the fun began.  I will document this clearly here, so that future generations don't have to resort to the kind of language we used for five minutes.




12 o'clock on the dial - Green Light. - Indicator Tell tale.


3 o'clock on the dial - Amber light - Not actually an amber light.  It's a fucking lie.  BLANK.


5 o'clock on the dial - Red Light - IGN.  (Pronounced IGNUN).  Ignition.


7 o'clock on the dial - Blue Light - HB.  (Pronounced HURRBURR).  High beam lights (two candles)


9 o'clock on the dial - Amber Light - OIL. (Pronounced OIL).  Oil pressure.


On some fancy ones, and in different markets, the amber lights either side are for indication and the green one indicates when it's meal time or something.  My car is a CITY E - and the above is correct.  Trust me. (!!)




We are getting a little closer each day.  Can't wait to finally drive it home.  (Nor can Alf's wife)


OH. And the reason I couldn't get both hazards AND indicators working last month?  One of the relays was a duff.  Can't wait to disucuss that with Minispares (!)

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Great to see there are now 12 volts flowing comfortably in places where they should be.

I don't know what you're fussing about, in all honesty. A Mini is a smoll car, so all fixes should take less time, as it doesn't take as long to walk around it...

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That Speedo is the same as in my 1100 (and probably lots of other BL poverty chod). The extra amber is used as an oil change warning light on it. It does this by looking at the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet of the filter with a pressure switch. Don't think they were ever that reliable tbh. Or the filter was completely blocked by the time it lit.

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Yup, standard Smiths speedo of the era :)


Lots of different calibrations though.  BI's City E with its 10" wheels should have a 1248ish tpm unit (which is hard to find now!).  Standard diff cars with 10" wheels used a 1376.


Light on HRW switch is green.  Wiring another warning light into the unused locations in the speedo is a really good idea.


I've thought about adding an immobiliser-esque flashing LED in the same spot.  Would be invisible and look totally standard.

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Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't that a recycled unit from a different BL car, where red was Ign, green was oil pressure, blue brights and the orange lights were left/right indicator warning lights?


All of which meant the layout was pointless when mounted in the middle so half of it was rearranged?



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I'm sure that speedo unit features in various vans and commercials too, hence the slightly creative use of colours to denote various functions.


I had a mk3 Fiesta with a brake light switch that tended to stick on, so I wired in a dash light to show me when the rear bulbs were glowing. That way I could manually give the underside of the pedal a quick tap up with my toes if it hadn't sprung back quite enough. I think there was a handy ABS warning light in the cluster that I used, most Fiestas of the era weren't specified with that particular feature!

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Many years ago a phone call late one night from my aunt, who lived a hundred miles away, "There's a light on, on my car!" I eventually worked out, after establishing that she was home and then a load of questions, that it was the charging light. "You'd better go and see Robert" was my response.

Robert is my brother, who lived three miles from her and runs a garage. Aunt's reply, "I didn't want to bother him as he'll be busy"

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Right! Now. Where were we?

Ah yes. A shitbox Mini that’s not been inspected by the Ministry since 1998.

We’ve been hard at it (fnar fnar) every night this week, although I was AWOL last night. Progress is good yet frustrating. 


Tappy Tappets no longer pay tribute to Danny La Rue. The car is whisper quiet (video on twitter @danielfoxfm if you fancy it)


Float valve needle is being a “CuntPig” (patent pending) so a new one is being fitted later. 


I didn’t think the car even HAD reverse lights, never mind twin ones! A few minutes were spent trying to make the offside one as bright as everything else. Having checked the earth and cleaned the bulb holder with a Dremel - closer inspection revealed a 24v bulb. Rather than adding a second battery to the car we compromised on a 12v bulb.

The near side headlight has never been right. So much rust around the wing rendered the bowl almost unattached. Fortunately, Alf had a Rivet gun and had been frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog at the thought of using it. 




Job’s a goodun. 

Emissions are good!


Now we just need to sort the back brakes. More on that in the next update as, as is always the case with me, nothing is ever straightforward. 

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These brakes then. 

Well, we first tried about 6 weeks ago to make it stop as well as it goes. A decision was taken to refresh everything that even looked suspect as, despite any assumptions you’ve made to the contrary, I rather enjoy both being alive and having use of my own legs. So the anchors had a complete refresh on fettling day 2, apart from the front to back pipe which looked fine. We were bleeding it all up, and feeling very positive, until all of a sudden it let go. Frustratingly, there was a short section of pipe which isn’t visible due to being routed above the rear subframe. Guess were it broke?! Anyway, better on my driveway than at the top of a slip road. 

A second attempt on Tuesday night was also fruitless; the so far brilliant MiniSpares unfortunately dropped an bollock (somehow) and sold me an incorrect replacement pipe. Further time wasted. So last night, with a fresh reel of pipe and road so flooded I had to sweep it down the drain, brakes were finished! 


What a feeling! A car that goes AND NOW STOPS! 

And also strops.

I do understand though. I get it. 21 years is a long time to be on garden leave. To ask it to go from watching Judge Rinder each day to immediate conscription and onto the front line was a huge ask. First to pack up were the lights. Fortunately there are only FOUR fuses, so that was simple enough. I took it for a quick blez and it goes brilliantly. Braking, you’ll be pleased to know, is every bit as awful as nonservo 10” wheels suggest it might be. 

Back at Alf’s he jumped in the copilots seat and we went for a longer run. 

Only we didn’t. 

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: 1st maintenance pause. 

Fortunately this was achieved at the top of a hill, so I coasted most of the way back before we pushed it, in disgrace, back home. 

Verdict? Shit from tank. Once the car was given the chance to chill, it started up fine. Hopefully this can all be resolved with an inline filter and a bit of luck. We also tidied up wiring from the coil and inspected the rotor arm which will get replaced. 

More on lights next time, and the final push to get this turd finished.

Again, huge thanks to my pal and all round nice guy Alf892. 

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Illumination. Not something you necessarily associate with Minis - especially those with sealed beam units. The nearside unit was fine, despite appearing to be the original Lucas unit. Offside was on strike, but fortunately Alf’s chum had one in his collection*

Once fitted it worked perfectly. For all of 5 minutes. Again, it’s hard to complain when you’re asking stuff to perform flawlessly when 5 minutes ago it was retired. The returns policy, being a 30 year old lamp, is debatable - so I’ve bitten the bullet and added an H4 modified set. They mostly just screw on, other than I needed to make a small adjustment with an angle grinder to simplify sidelight bulb changing. 


First time I’ve ever armed myself with such a device. Terrifying. 10/10 would repeat. 

New fuel pump now fitted. Alf loved** this. Look at him practically humping the car!


Now it’s just the small matter of presenting it for a test, which will happen when I find time. Having had 4 nights and a morning on this during this week alone, I probably need to give other things a bit of attention. 

One final pic. The effortlessly cool Alf in his best jumper and 50s style specs, chuffing a cigar and blezzing a Mini. This is what it’s all been about. 




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