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Scrubworks Fleet: 1966 Morris Minor 1000


Scrubworks
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8 hours ago, Matty said:

Have a look at minisports website and weep. Ultimately I'll want to put a 1275 with a few choice tuning bits in mine but fully expect to part with at least 1500 quid. A fully built 1380 which was my dream lump is the fat end of 5 grand. Thing is though its all relative. Look at the bills that modern shit are capable of throwing up. I've joined the a40 club and the spares secretary has just had two mk2 gearboxes rebuilt by Hardy Engineering and are offering them at 250 quid each. That's frankly amazing. Bits might have got dearer but properly old cars can still be cheap motoring once you've paid the entry fee

If you're going for any big-bore engine (1275 or more) you're best going for a Type-9 5-speed gearbox. Much stronger, has a 5th gear, and has synchro on first. Conversion kits easily available from Morris Minor places. The strongest A-Series gearbox, the Spridget 1275 ribbed box, will be severely challenged at anything over 70-75bhp, unless you spend a fortune on having it fitted with deafening race internals.

Your best bet for saving on parts is to just watch eBay and see what comes up cheaply and buy it as and when. Three years ago I snagged an MG Metro cylinder head for £100 (no, I don't want to sell it :P).

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Mine is 1275cc and Sierra 5 speed uprated (both recent recons too) and has disc brakes so that's all good but jeez he is as rusty as they come.

I thought the £2k I paid for him was too much but prices for anything slightly uprated or sporty have gone silly.

£100 plus for a hif44 Metro carb needing a rebuild !!!

If I ever lost heart and broke him for parts I think I'd get my money back no problem.

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1275cc midget sillyness.

If a 1275cc A series engine commands such crazy money surely wearing my sensible head would it not make sense to sell it and go 14 or 1600 zetec ?

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1 hour ago, Joey spud said:

Mine is 1275cc and Sierra 5 speed uprated (both recent recons too) and has disc brakes so that's all good but jeez he is as rusty as they come.

I thought the £2k I paid for him was too much but prices for anything slightly uprated or sporty have gone silly.

£100 plus for a hif44 Metro carb needing a rebuild !!!

If I ever lost heart and broke him for parts I think I'd get my money back no problem.

IMG20220214154820.thumb.jpg.8f0a9918b3d0efad229d345c72d31751.jpg

1275cc midget sillyness.

If a 1275cc A series engine commands such crazy money surely wearing my sensible head would it not make sense to sell it and go 14 or 1600 zetec ?

If you do decide to go Zetec, I'll happily buy that engine from you :P. You'll need your Sierra box still, just a different bellhousing.

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44 minutes ago, Scrubworks said:

If you do decide to go Zetec, I'll happily buy that engine from you :P. You'll need your Sierra box still, just a different bellhousing.

For me half the appeal of old cars is their simple engineering that can be subtly improved for reliability,drivability and performance the Zetec would be a step way too far.

And the A series has a sound all of its own.

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3 hours ago, Joey spud said:

Mine is 1275cc and Sierra 5 speed uprated (both recent recons too) and has disc brakes so that's all good but jeez he is as rusty as they come.

I thought the £2k I paid for him was too much but prices for anything slightly uprated or sporty have gone silly.

£100 plus for a hif44 Metro carb needing a rebuild !!!

If I ever lost heart and broke him for parts I think I'd get my money back no problem.

IMG20220214154820.thumb.jpg.8f0a9918b3d0efad229d345c72d31751.jpg

1275cc midget sillyness.

If a 1275cc A series engine commands such crazy money surely wearing my sensible head would it not make sense to sell it and go 14 or 1600 zetec ?

1400 k series for the lineage. Or 1800vvc just cos 🤪

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Work has proceeded apace on the engine build. In truth, a lot of it had already been done before I created this thread, but there's only so much text I thought I should dump on you all in one day :P.

First of all, I reached a BMC paperweight hat-trick. The second block I bought, which came from an A40, is no good. It was so utterly caked in gunk and oil, that neither the engineer nor myself realised, until the engineer put it through his big washing machine, that the cylinders had been sleeved. The block is usable as a 948, but if we were to bore the sleeves out to the size I require, it would leave them only with a razor-thin amount of metal. If the sleeves then fell apart while the engine was running, that would introduce the mother of all piston-slaps, and the engine would shred itself.

So I had to drop another £100 on yet another block, also from an A40.

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Fortunately this one was only half an hour's drive away, and in truth it is a far better block. Super clean, with a very even deck that shouldn't need skimming, and it even still has the standard bore size, which, considering these blocks are now all over 60 years old, is quite something. When I staggered into the engineer's shop (bearing in mind this is the third block I've brought him in as many months), the first thing he did was laugh at me. Always a good sign. As I write this the block should be about to take its turn on the boring machine.

You may have briefly read earlier in this thread that the sump I acquired from block number 1 was all full of holes. Here is how it was:

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It was very tempting just to buy another one, but a replacement, solid A-Series sump is about £50, and given that I have a welder and plenty of sheet steel, I figured it'd be cheaper just to cut the bottom out and remake it.

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I've ended up with the world's strongest, and heaviest A-Series sump, now resplendent in MG Maroon.

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I also cut out the original drain hole, and replaced it with a metric M14 nut, so now I can get replacement sump plugs far more easily. I also made my own magnetic sump plug, by drilling a slightly undersize hole into the centre of the a new plug, and pressing a little stick magnet into it with a G-clamp.

On the painting front, I've been painting other parts of the engine while it is all in pieces. It would be easier to paint it all when assembled, of course, but I hate seeing engines with every single fastener covered in paint, where they shouldn't be.

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The timing cover was a bit of a score; a new old-stock item that just happened to be on eBay. It accepts the later rubber type of crankshaft seal, as opposed to the fairly crap felt seal of the earlier ones. The only remaining engine parts needing to be painted are the block, when that comes back, and the backplate, which is still in the car on the old engine. I did get a backplate with block number 1, but it is a backplate meant for the earlier smooth-case gearbox and flywheel. As my car is a 1098 with the ribbed gearbox, you have to use the later backplate and flywheel to use it with a 948 block. I'm just going to reuse the ones in the car and save myself £100 or so.

I've also been working on the set of twin-carbs I plan to fit when the engine is broken in. As I wrote earlier, these are a pair of HS2s, originally from an MG 1100, but are identical to the ones you'd find on other BMC cars of the period, most notably the 998 Coopers.

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I bought these carbs on a whim from another Moggy friend in 2013 for £100. I really didn't need them at the time and it probably wasn't the best use of my student allowance, but considering a shabby set of these now goes for three times that price, it was a prescient purchase. I bought in an SU rebuild kit, as well as a pair of new, slightly richer needles as indicated by the SU needle chart, as well as a matching pair of new damper springs. This in particular was necessary, as one carb is specced with a slightly softer spring from factory, I presume to take account for the utterly crap air filter setup that you get on an MG 1100; the carbs being at the back of the engine bay, hemmed in with the nice hot exhaust probably didn't help either. However, with the carbs now mounted at the side of the engine bay, with some nice K&N pancakes, they can both wear matching springs. I also found, for a tenner on eBay, a pair of cast aluminium ram-stacks. Works rally department they are not, but they should add at least 2 molepower, especially after cleaning up the slightly rough casting with 1200 grit.

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I was actually not looking forward to this job, but I'm always surprised at how easy SU's are to take apart and reassemble. I bathed all the parts in degreaser overnight, cleaned them off and reassembled them with the new parts. I also gave the piston housings some love with 1200 grit sandpaper, but the rest of the carbs are still a bit dirty; sadly I don't have access to an ultrasonic bath, but it's just cosmetic.

As mentioned earlier, I bought in a pair of K&N pancake filters, with the holes in the centre since bonnet clearance won't be an issue, like it would on a Mini. I bolted the first one on, and it looked lovely. I then tried to bolt the second one on.

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Fuck.
Improvisation time. I used one of the ram-stacks as a template, and mocked it up in a location on the filter backplate that would move the air filter up and sideways enough to clear the other filter, whilst allowing the original holes to be blocked off. I then drilled three holes, two for the fixing screws, and one for the little extra air hole on the face of the carb. This just leaves the big hole in the centre to be created; you know, the one that the air goes through. I don't have a tidy means of creating it, so I'm going to farm that job out to a local engineer. To cover up the original holes in the centre of the backplate, I'll just cut out a little bit of steel, and then bolt it over the holes with a spare gasket. The ram-stack on that carb is also going to need a trim to fit inside the filter element, but no difficulty there. I can at least now see both filters bolted on the carbs. Looks a bit weird, but so does the owner.

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I shall update again once the block is back from the engineer, and I've extracted the old engine from the car, which I will do once I am provided with weather that isn't either a biblical rainstorm or a howling gale.

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I should hate you for this seeing as we are both going to be doing write ups on doing similar shit to similar bmc cars. But. The levels of skill you have and the quality of work, bloody fair play to you. Cap doffed. 

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3 hours ago, Matty said:

I should hate you for this seeing as we are both going to be doing write ups on doing similar shit to similar bmc cars. But. The levels of skill you have and the quality of work, bloody fair play to you. Cap doffed. 

Thank you sir *does a little curtsey*

The A40 had a short but intense period as a touring car in its day, I'm sure you will produce an excellent vehicle in the end. They're much rarer than Moggies too.

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this is some thread!

at the rate this is going, by page 3 you will have gone all allen millyard on us and have the worlds first(?) 6 cylinder or V8 A series engine :mrgreen:

keep up the awesome work I look forward to seeing more :) I especially like the Not-a-1275cc A series build if that makes sense! will be interesting to see how that turns out :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got the block back from the engineers the other day, and I have to say, they've done beautiful work.

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Look at that crosshatching. Mmmf. They even matched each cylinder to each piston, as the sizes were a wee bit inconsistent.

Gave the block and the few remaining engine pieces a coat of MG maroon.

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With the pistons back in my possession, I extracted the flywheel from the old engine, and packed them off with the crank, rods, clutch, and crank pulley to yet another engineer to be balanced. They should be ready by the end of this week, so by this weekend, I may even be able to actually start finally building the bloody thing :P.

While the car is engineless, I'll also give the rustier parts of the engine bay a spruce-up. I may even get started on my secret, highly experimental wiper mod ;).

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  • 4 weeks later...

Well, the balancing place took more than a week longer than expected, but I have my crank, rods, pistons, flywheel and clutch back. Finally, the time has arrived! I can actually start putting the bloody engine together. Put the crankshaft in, then gapped the piston rings and slipped them on the pistons, all went smoothly. I was then going to put the pistons on the connecting rods, but then, Houston, we have a problem. The brass small-end bushes, which I had renewed, were too small to accept the gudgeon pins. You have to ream them to the correct size it seems. Back to the engineer I went. Should hopefully have the rods back in a couple of days, and then I can continue.

Meanwhile, I've turned my attention to the car itself. I hoisted out the old engine, and gave the engine bay a bit of a prep.
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The black area you can see is bare steel which I had wire wheeled back, and then coated with a rust converter. I was just going to give the engine bay a bit of a spruce with some new paint, but with the engine out, there's so much more room to work, so I decided to press on with installing the Marina pedal box and converting the car over to a hydraulic clutch and proper brakes. If you recall, this involves cutting a hole in the bulkhead, and then welding a premade bracket over it. You then bolt the pedal box to the bracket. As installations go, it's fairly straightforward.
So, first of all, I removed the heater intake pipe, throttle cable, and bonnet pull, shoved all the wiring up and out the way, and then cut a whacking great hole in the bulkhead.
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You can see in there the steering column, and in front of it, the sticky-uppy part of the throttle pedal that holds the throttle cable. This delicate operation done, I offered up the pedal box bracket, which turned out to need a bit of trimming in a few crucial places to fit snugly. I also ran some extra welding seams along the joins of it to give it more strength, before tacking it in place on the bulkhead.
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Once the fit of the pedal box is finalised, I will remove the bracket again, and give the surfaces final prep before permanently welding it in place. I removed the master cylinders from the pedal box to make it easier to handle, and then fitted it in the bracket.
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It needed a bit of a whack with a mallet to send it home, but it seats pretty snugly. I could then look at the pedal situation inside the car.
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The pedals fall at the exact same level vertically as the originals, which is one of the benefits of using the pedal box bracket. Horizontally however, it's not quite right. The new clutch is right in front of the old brake, and the new brake is in front of the throttle. The new clutch pedal also fouls on the steering column. The new pedals will have to be bent a bit so the pads line up with the Minor's original pedals, which is another job for my local engineer. I don't have a bench vice to put them in and give them a few clangs with a sledgehammer, nor do I have an oxy-acetylene torch to heat them up and bend them that way. Some new pedal rubbers wouldn't be a bad idea either. I also had to bin the parcel shelf that sits just under the heater box, as the new pedals would have gone straight through it, but it was disintegrating and more or less useless anyway (weight reduction yo).

So, the master cylinders:
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The clutch master is just a normal Girling type, easily and cheaply available new. The brake master and servo are also available new, as Triumph TR6 parts are the same, but they are rather pricey; £120 for the servo, and £65 for the cylinder. My original plan was to ditch the servo completely to keep manual brakes, which would also cut my costs significantly. However, as the master cylinder isn't designed to work without the servo , it doesn't have a pushrod, so there's no way to attach it to the brake pedal. I had a look around for an appropriate BL/BMC dual-circuit master cylinder that I could use instead, but I couldn't find one. They all seem to either be single-circuit, or designed for use with a servo. So, I've conceded that I'll have to keep the servo if I want dual circuit brakes; they'll at least be powerful if not quite as precise as they would be without the servo, and the manifold for the new twin carbs has a threaded hole that will accept a hose fitting, so getting the vacuum line plumbed in will be simple.

However, I don't really want to pay £185 for 50 year old tech. It'd be more cost-effective to adapt a servo and master cylinder from a more modern car, that can be sourced inexpensively. I've decided to use the setup from an early MX-5, partly because they're easy to get hold of, but also because they use a 222mm diameter servo, which, while bigger than the TR6 unit, should juuust about squeeze into position between the clutch master and in the inner wheelarch, although I'll almost certainly have to fiddle with things to get it to fit. An adapter bracket will also have to be made to mount it to the pedal box, but the pushrod's clevis pin fitting should attach straight to the pedal. I've ordered a good unit from a mk2 MX-5 off eBay, for a grand total of £39. When it arrives, I'll see if I've wasted my money or been a bit of a smartarse.

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23 minutes ago, Scrubworks said:

I had a look around for an appropriate BL/BMC dual-circuit master cylinder that I could use instead, but I couldn't find one. They all seem to either be single-circuit, or designed for use with a servo.

for what its worth @Zelandeth managed to find a dual circuit Master cylinder for non-assisted brakes that works well in place of the standard single circuit Girling master cylinder thats used on a Model 70, dont know if it will fit in your application, but I figured id mention it just incase :) 

On 13/06/2021 at 22:33, Zelandeth said:

The one I got was TRW GMC226.  Intended for a 1978-80 Triumph Spitfire 1500.

Note that fitting that WILL require you to modify either the brake yoke or the pushrod as the rest position of the piston is slightly different. 

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Ideally it wants the reservoir swapping for a remote one so it's not sitting at an angle - doesn't affect functionality but looks a bit messy.

It works well though!

 

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4 hours ago, LightBulbFun said:

for what its worth @Zelandeth managed to find a dual circuit Master cylinder for non-assisted brakes that works well in place of the standard single circuit Girling master cylinder thats used on a Model 70, dont know if it will fit in your application, but I figured id mention it just incase :) 

 

That's good to know. In truth though, the servo/non-servo debate in my head was inconclusive, and now my MX-5 master cylinder arrived today anyhow and it looks like it'll be a decent fit.

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1 hour ago, Scrubworks said:

That's good to know. In truth though, the servo/non-servo debate in my head was inconclusive, and now my MX-5 master cylinder arrived today anyhow and it looks like it'll be a decent fit.

I was going to fit a remote servo. The first couple of times I drove the car after years of servo assistance I was genuinely shocked at how hard it was to stop. And this is with discs on the front. Didn't take long to remember that I'm the braking force and now I'm amazed at how well it pulls up. And the pedal feel is mint as well, really progressive. So now I'm sticking without a servo. Right up until I have my first near miss 🤣

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm beginning to learn that engine building is 10% sourcing parts and dismantling, 5% actually building the new engine, and 85% waiting for engineers to finish your parts. I still don't have my bloody conrods (or my pedals) back, but that does give me more time to sort out more stuff on the car itself.

I mentioned before that I'm planning a modification to the wiper motor system; more on that some other time as it develops, but doing so required me to remove the original wiper motor mount from the inner wing by drilling the spot welds out. This gave me the perfect opportunity to fix this mess lurking behind it.
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The inner wheel arch underneath the littler strengthening plate (which has already been cut away here) had clearly rotted through at some point, and someone had just welded a small plate of metal underneath it. This itself then rotted away in turn. I cut a nice big chunk of the wheel arch out and formed a new section out of 2mm steel, much thicker. This was then welded in, along with the rebuilt lower half of the strengthening plate, followed by plenty of seam sealer.
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Not concourse, but it will last.

On braking matters, my second hand MX-5 mk2 master cylinder and servo arrived. Obviously it wasn't going to fit the Marina pedal box, so I made an adapter plate.
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The easy thing to do would have been to just drill four new holes in the pedal box to accept the Mazda servo, but to get the nuts on the backside to hold it properly would have been a pain, due to the complicated shape of the pedal box. Instead, I was going to weld the steel plate to the Mazda studs, then cut them off flush and use some new M8 bolts to attach the servo through the original servo stud holes. However, I decided to do both of these plans together for extra security.
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Four holes were drilled for the Mazda studs to pass through, as well as welding the steel plate to them lower down. This way the servo will be secured to the pedal box both by the steel adapter plate with the new M8 bolts, and also with some nuts on the original studs. Looks actually quite smart when all fitted up.
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You can see the new clutch master cylinder is also mounted to the pedal box. Both the edge of the servo and the side of the clutch master had to be gently shaved so that they can sit comfortably side by side, but they now mount together quite happily. Fortunately, the clevis pin diameter on the Mazda pushrod is exactly the same as the one used on the Marina, which saves some tedious drilling; I guess it must be an industry standard. The Mazda pushrod is also threaded, so I've been able to adjust it to exactly the right length. Lovely. All I need to do now is make some brake lines that start with metric fittings, and end with an imperial ones. Pipe flaring kit is on order.

I've also been thinking about the interior of the car, and for that I recently took a trip down to Southend in Essex to pick these up.
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A slightly grotty pair of seats from a 90s Alfa Romeo GTV. These seats are a favourite of kit car and classic car modifiers , Because they are modern, well-constructed, supportive, and reasonably safe, yet are small enough to fit even into a Mini, and have a subtle retro style that doesn't look too out of place in an older car. That does mean that they command a bit of a price premium, but this pair I was able to pick up for £130. The ruined bolster and mould on the driver's seat didn't really bother me, as my plan is to have them retrimmed in pale green vinyl to match the rest of the interior. However, that plan will have to wait. The trimmer I went to quoted me £1800 to do the pair(!). I'll think about that some other time. I doused them with leather cleaner and scrubbed hard, and all the mould came off, so they are at least hygienic. When everything reopens tomorrow, I'll head down to the metal merchant 🤘 and pick up some nice angle steel to make some mounts out of. Shouldn't be too difficult.

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  • 1 month later...

It's been a while, and I've been very busy. I decided to crack on getting the driver's seat installed. This involved fabricating a couple of adapters out of angle iron. Simple in theory, but actually quite time-consuming in practice. I've installed aftermarket seats before, but those were using premade adapters. I've never had to make my own from scratch. It involves bolting the unfinished adapters onto the seat rails, and then taking the seat in and out of the car about 50 times, experimenting with mounting locations, mocking things up, and then eventually crafting the feet for the adapters bit by bit and welding them on. You then eventually end up with this:
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And then the seat simply bolts on:
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Looks fairly decent. The brilliant thing of course is being able to position the seat at the exact height and distance from the wheel to suit my 6ft 5 frame. And of course, they have proper seat runners, so varying them is easy.

That done, I decided I couldn't be bothered to do the passenger seat, so I turned my attention to the windscreen wipers. The original wiper motor broke last year, and I was unable to fix it. You can buy a reconditioned exchange unit, but they're £100. which isn't really good value for a motor that's fairly crap in the first place, and only has one speed. However, I had all the wiper system components left from a K11 Micra that I parted out a few years ago, just begging to be used. Now, there is an episode of the Project Binky Mini build by Bad Obsession, where they remove the entire stock wiper system. which is the same design as the one fitted to a Minor, and replace it with the system from a more modern Peugeot. However, watching the episode again, it looked like quite a bit of surgery and work to do, so I decided I'd instead retain the Minor's original wiper system, but adapt the K11 wiper motor to operate it.

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This is how the motor looks when you take it off the Micra. It bolts to a steel plate, which in turn bolts through rubber bushes to the body. The spindle has a small metal arm (not shown here) that bolts onto it and is driven by splines, which drives the rods that make the wipers move. However, the Minor uses a cable that is drawn back and forth inside a wheelbox by a connecting rod, that then sits on a metal peg on a gear, that is then driven round and round by the wiper motor. The con rod turns that rotational motion into a reciprocating motion the move the wiper cable forward and back. I decided the best way to adapt the Micra motor would be to build my own wheelbox from scratch, where the rotating peg is instead attached to the metal arm on the Micra spline-drive. This would then rotate the connecting rod, which would drive the cable as before. To actually mount the motor to the car, I decided to cut the original motor bracket from the Minor in two, and then welded four M8 nuts in each corner. This allows the original Micra mounting plate to bolt straight on:
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Not only does this allow for easy installation and removal, but it also keeps the rubber mounting bushes to reduce vibrations. That done, I started working on the wheelbox. I decided to mount this directly to the Micra mounting place using the three bolts that thread directly into the wiper motor. This may prove not to be the best way in time, but it should be strong enough. This is the base of the new wheelbox:
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The two upright pieces of thick steel form a guide for the wiper cable end to move back and forth in. The original wheelbox has a track like that too. This was then mounted to the motor plate, and then the original motor bracket welded back onto the car:
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I had to ruin my recent repaint of this area to weld the bracket on. The inner wing also needed a few taps with the hammer for a bit of extra clearance. You can also see here the motor arm, which is the original Micra one. I cut it in half to keep the splined end, and welded on a raised portion, through which an 8mm hole was drilled, at exactly the right point. The distance between the centre of the motor spindle, and the peg that drives the con rod is crucial, as that sets the stroke of the con rod, and therefore how far it pushes and pulls the cable, and ultimately, how far the wipers sweep. If the distance is too short, the wipers won't sweep the whole screen. Too long, and the wipers will go off the edge of the glass. Fortunately it seems just right. The drive peg itself I had made by an engineer to my exacting specifications, drawn on some paper in crayon. The Minor's wiring plugs straight in to the Micra motor, although to get both the speeds from the motor, I had to add an extra wire, no biggie. A basic test proved it works, so I dismantled it all, and finished building the wheelbox:
IMG_20220521_154620.thumb.jpg.d6ff6af166cb64ab8433bd3841bad770.jpg

It's painted with red oxide and then black satin paint. I also welded nuts around it so that the like can be bolted on and off, similar to the original wheelbox. I also repainted the bracket area on the car. Again:
IMG_20220521_145936.thumb.jpg.bdbd5891dc9be374e345d7aacf6864bb.jpg

After that dried, I remounted everything for a final fit. I also rewrapped the wiring in new fabric tape:
IMG_20220521_175451.thumb.jpg.7ae44a77934cc9ea7f8bc23c5c5c1936.jpg

It's definitely overbuilt, but it also works pretty well so far. Both speeds are working (had to buy a 3-position switch), and the motor provides far more oomph than the weedy original. It also should be more dependable, and even if it does break, will be cheaply replaceable. I've also bought a generic off-the-shelf electric washer kit to replace the super-soaker fitted originally.

The Minor build in general is now proceeding full speed. I have my con rods back from the engineer, so now the engine is going together. I have also had the new clutch and brake pedals altered, so the next big task will be to finalise the fitment of the pedal box, and fit the new hydraulic clutch system.

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A bit late to the party - but excellent work on this and the fabbing looks great. That sump looks like it would survive a direct hit!

I read back on the engine bit - from my long distant memory - and I haven't double checked it out first so apologies if wrong - but iirc the FIAT Fire engine head is a relatively easy swap for a 16v head to be in place...... only a waterway needing blocking and an oil channel routing or blocking - can't be sure which it was. Don't know if that would be of interest to you..... and looking at your skillset it wouldn't seem to be too much of a challenge.

Top work on the build though - excellent stuff.

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1 hour ago, Back_For_More said:

A bit late to the party - but excellent work on this and the fabbing looks great. That sump looks like it would survive a direct hit!

I read back on the engine bit - from my long distant memory - and I haven't double checked it out first so apologies if wrong - but iirc the FIAT Fire engine head is a relatively easy swap for a 16v head to be in place...... only a waterway needing blocking and an oil channel routing or blocking - can't be sure which it was. Don't know if that would be of interest to you..... and looking at your skillset it wouldn't seem to be too much of a challenge.

Top work on the build though - excellent stuff.

Yeah, it's probably the heaviest A-Series sump in existence now :P. I'm not too clued up on the Fiat engines, but the general consensus these days seems to be they're not worth the time or the money. They're very old now and getting parts for a rebuild can be a pain. There also is the issue of finding a gearbox that isn't shagged. If I do swap to a non-BMC engine in the future, it'll probably be a Toyota 4-AGE. Nice and compact, and far better engineered than the Fiat unit.

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I probably didn't explain properly - sorry- but the FIRE head can go on the A series............... I'll go do some digging - see if I can find anything.

EDIT - also the BMW K1200R can fit too but I haven't looked into that at all.

I just remember the A-Series kits being knocked out for the FIRE head to be fitted......

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8 minutes ago, Back_For_More said:

I probably didn't explain properly - sorry- but the FIRE head can go on the A series............... I'll go do some digging - see if I can find anything.

EDIT - also the BMW K1200R can fit too but I haven't looked into that at all.

I just remember the A-Series kits being knocked out for the FIRE head to be fitted......

Never heard of this Fire head, I know all about the BMW K head swap. I have a 16V K1200 head with the RS cams in it in storage, but I think the power gained from it is no longer very good value compared to just swapping to a more modern engine with more displacement.

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  • 1 month later...

Looks like I'm getting into the habit of monthly updates. Hopefully as things progress more rapidly from hereon the posts will be more frequent.

The last pictures you saw of the engine were of me smearing the bare block with burgundy paint. The engine, after a couple of months on a stand in my living room, is now complete. I didn't document the build step by step because that's tedious, and I'm sure most of you know what a connecting rod looks like, so here are some choice pictures:

IMG_20220529_180339.thumb.jpg.81f130f0bcb96ee8d2724f40f6238a0e.jpg
This is an adjustable camshaft pulley, which allows you to vary the cam timing to a minute level. This is pretty much essential if you're running an aftermarket cam, like I am, because you have to degree the camshaft and verify its timing is correct. Degreeing a cam is possibly one of the most tedious things I've ever done, but good thing I did; the timing turned out to be 22 degrees advanced, so I dialled it back and it's now perfect.

IMG20220609203415.thumb.jpg.819efb5012cbf6be61a8fcef4d598dd1.jpg
Mmm. Copper.

IMG20220630212711.thumb.jpg.e275b5d79d205241cfc48e428026d84e.jpg
The full engine. It still needs the backplate and flywheel, but they'll have to wait until the stand bracket is removed. I really like this rocker cover. It's not a special branded one, just one that you can pick up for £40 or so from ESM Morris Minors, but I love the raw, cast and polished look it has, very old school.

On the car itself, moving on from the wiper motor conversion, I decided to tackle the most major task of welding in the pedal box bracket. The bracket had been tacked into place, so I removed it again after checking the fitment of the new Marina pedals, which have now been bent to accommodate the Minor's steering column, and line up with the original pedals pretty much bang on.
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The pedal pads will need to be removed and welded on again at the proper angle. I didn't take that many pictures of the process of welding the pedal box bracket into place, but it wasn't too difficult, and actually came out very solid. I was concerned that the bulkhead would flex whenever the brakes were pushed and so extra reinforcing would be needed, but I can grab the bracket and move the whole car with it, no flex, so I'm happy. Welding the inboard side of the bracket to the battery tray definitely helped. I also constructed a small frame across the top rear part of the bracket, both to help rigidity, and also to accommodate six threaded holes. I will later make a metal plate that can bolt on and off, if I need to access the top of the pedal box. The whole thing was then coated in Bilt Hamber grey weld-through primer, which is excellent by the way, before being welded in.
IMG20220624124556.thumb.jpg.2d9530ac3ec748a86f9cf4b26d3df334.jpg

You can also see here that the two holes for the heater hoses, and the hole for the wiring loom, are a few inches higher than their original location. I remade these holes and moved the wiring, then welded up the original holes. I also took the opportunity to finally close up the ugly hole in the bulkhead left by the Bosch immobiliser coil. The new holes will allow the hoses and wiring to sit clear of the pedal box, rather than comingling with it, which would have been a bit messy. This does mean I am now a bit pinched on space for my upcoming fusebox conversion, but I'll manage.
The pedal box was then coated in fresh almond green, followed by a liberal dusting of lacquer. There will also be cavity waxing later, I don't want this going rusty. This is the bracket with the pedal box reinstalled:
IMG20220626175237.thumb.jpg.012ba093b11e3a72075686cdb2095d81.jpg

Since the pedal box is nearing its final installation, I've also set about converting the clutch system from the original mechanical rod, to the hydraulic system as used in Spridgets. This involves the simple bolting on of a mk2 Spridget slave cylinder to the gearbox; the holes are already drilled and tapped in the bellhousing, because both cars use the same gearbox casing, and it must have been easier just to drill and tap them all. A Mini clutch hose is then needed to provide the flexible join, along with removing the Minor's clutch fork, and replacing it with a Spridget item. Same fork, but with a different attachment point that will work with the slave cylinder. I then made a small bracket for the clutch hose to secure to, and welded it to the car.
IMG20220626175246.thumb.jpg.5fa1949349591e4eae5a19c9873b93a5.jpg

It's in red primer, pending some black stone chip later. Now all that is required is an 18 inch brake pipe to go between the clutch master cylinder and the flexible hose, and the system will be complete. Really a rather simple conversion. Next on the agenda is to get the new pedals prepped for final installation, along with test fitting the MX-5 master cylinder and servo.

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On 5/22/2022 at 10:29 PM, Back_For_More said:

I probably didn't explain properly - sorry- but the FIRE head can go on the A series............... I'll go do some digging - see if I can find anything.

EDIT - also the BMW K1200R can fit too but I haven't looked into that at all.

I just remember the A-Series kits being knocked out for the FIRE head to be fitted......

Interesting! I didn't know this. Is there certain sizes/generations of FIRE engines that fit better? Not that Fiat changed them that much! So many of the things about, I'm sure it must be possible to get a cheap engine off a rotten Fiat 500 or Punto. 

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28 minutes ago, SiC said:

Interesting! I didn't know this. Is there certain sizes/generations of FIRE engines that fit better? Not that Fiat changed them that much! So many of the things about, I'm sure it must be possible to get a cheap engine off a rotten Fiat 500 or Punto. 

Why is this supposed to be a good idea?  I know the  A series and the FIRE though admittedly have never compared them side to side.

Even if the bore spacings are the same, which they might be more or less:

To start with the head bolts are all going to be in different places.

Then you would have to convert the block/sump to accept a belt drive for the camshaft and water pump.

Then you will need a modified oil feed to the overhead cam.

Then the Fiat is a crossflow head so you will need a different exhaust system as well.

And so on.  Yep, easy couple of evening's work!

Even if it fitted straight on, it is still an 8 valve head so surely there can't be much potential for extra power over a normal A series, which is already quite an efficient design.  

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Ugh. The weather. That's one bad thing about working on one's own project; you can't force yourself to go outside and work on it in 30+ degrees. This means I'm limited to couple of hours every evening when the sun is low, but there's still enough light to work by. Still, here's what I've managed to get done:

The Marina clutch and brake pedals were removed, and the pedal pads were cut off and welded back on at the correct angle again. I also took the opportunity  to actually cut the pedals back a bit behind the pads, so they will sit further towards the front of the car by about an inch. Doesn't sound like much, but the more room I make for my Bayonetta legs the better. I then painted the pedals in stonechip, and put on a pair of new rubbers.
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Shite picture, but it's the only one I remembered to take. The pedal box was then put back in the car, although I've only fitted the clutch pedal for now. The reason for omitting the brake pedal, is because I will be running-in the new engine using the standard carb, inlet and exhaust. The MX-5 brake servo naturally needs a vacuum source on the intake for it to function, and the standard intake manifold does not have a vacuum port. This means I'd have to run the MX-5 master cylinder with no power assist; not advisable. So, I need access to the standard brakes for the time being. Once the engine is run in, I will install the twin HS2 carbs, the manifold for which does have a vacuum port, so that should work fine. I will install the front disc brakes at that time as well. The new clutch, however, is now plumbed in and working. I ordered an 18 inch hard line off eBay, and it all connects together like factory, and seems to be working properly, though I won't be able to fully tell until there's an actual clutch for the system to push on.

Despite not needing it quite yet, I've decided to fit the MX-5 master and servo, in order to check what clearances would be required. As I suspected, both the shock absorber and inner wing don't provide quite enough room. The inner wing was simply bashed out a little bit with a hammer, no issues there. The shock absorber is literally 4mm too tall; the height of the little filler plug on top. Since I needed to drain and refill the shocks anyway, I just removed it from the car. The MX-5 servo now fits like a glove.
IMG20220715200322.thumb.jpg.04edb24904ca3ee47983f52bb0a1ce6f.jpg

The shock absorber should be able to refit now with juuuust enough clearance. If not I may have to shave it a bit. This also means that I can't remove the servo without also removing the shock absorber, but that's ok. In time, I'll be binning them for Spax adjustable gas shocks, which will make this issue moot. Oh yes, I also had to cut a notch in the brace bar on the bonnet to provide room for the master cylinder reservoir, but that took but a moment.

Back to the pedals, I then had to do something about the throttle pedal. You see, in its standard configuration, the top bit where the throttle cable attaches is now completely blocked by the hinge bar on the Marina pedal box.
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I first considered lengthening or shortening that part so the throttle cable could pass under or over the hinge bar, but I didn't really like that idea, because it would change the amount of pull you get on the cable. Instead, I decided to lengthen the horizontal part of the pedal, to push the cable arm further to the left, so now it runs just past the clutch end of the hinge bar. This also makes routing the new throttle cable much easier. I had to shave the hole in the bulkhead a bit to clear the pedal, but other than that it's worked a treat. Stonechipped the pedal as well so it now matches the other two.
IMG20220722195139.thumb.jpg.0af9007e8ddc747f5b31da558e9448d2.jpg

Now, I can move on to the electrics. Since Morris Minors have dynamos from factory, they use an external voltage regulator. This lives up on the bulkhead, and pretty much all the electrics are plugged into it. Even when converting over to an alternator, which is regulated internally, most people keep the redundant voltage regulator in place, because it houses the bus bar that most of the electrics plug into; they just disconnect the dynamo and field connections to the regulator, so it no longer functions. The Morris Minor's fusebox, which has all of two fuses, lives elsewhere on the bulkhead. BMC also decided, in 1964/5 to add in a third fuse for the sidelights, for some reason. Rather than redesign the fusebox to accommodate the extra fuse, they added in an off-the-shelf inline fuse holder. They did that from factory. Incredible.
Now, this is all fine if you're just converting a car to alternator and leaving the rest of it standard, but I have a few problems with it:

  1. Having the bus bar and fusebox as separate components is an inefficient use of space and wiring.

  2. There are only two proper fuses, which limits expansion.

  3. The sidelights fuse really should be included in the fusebox.

  4. Glass fuses.

  5. There is no provision for relays, so if needed they have to be wired in and mounted externally, which is messy.

  6. The stock key-barrel does not have an accessory position. Not a massive issue in itself, but it'd be nice to have.

To remedy this, I have bought these:
IMG20220715195743.thumb.jpg.2a16781423c906dc3138be1fff38f203.jpg

This is a modular fusebox system made by MTA. The way it works is, you buy your basic fusebox, based on how many modules you want to fit (this one holds 4), and then fit it with the modules you want. The first module I've picked holds 10 mini blade fuses, and one full-size relay. The second module holds another full-size relay, and a mini relay. These modules will click into the fusebox in the middle. One space will be left blank for future expansion, and the other space will house a small bus bar. The bus bar will serve as a connection point for all electrics that require unfused, permanent current. It will also have two other terminals that will be energised by the accessory and ignition positions on the key barrel. These can then also be used to supply unfused circuits if necessary. The bus bar terminals will also feed power directly to the fuses and relays they are assigned to. Having the bus bar inside the fusebox will cut down on the amount of wiring needed significantly.

To get an accessory position on the ignition key, I've bought this:
IMG20220722195215.thumb.jpg.e131cd2c2782d9ae8c686e2e8b698e42.jpg

It's made by Durite, and it's an ignition barrel for plant equipment like excavators and such like. It happens to be only slightly bigger in diameter than the original Lucas key barrel, so fitting it will be pretty easy, and it won't look out of place at all. It comes with two keys which can be ordered by serial number if needed. The original circuits will just plug straight in, and the extra accessory circuit won't take long to create at all. Making the fusebox fit properly, and rearranging the wiring to plug into it properly, I suspect, while conceptually simple, in practice is going to be a pain in the girldick. I have actually sat down and created a whole new wiring diagram to document the changes, as I am liable to forget halfway through and will need reference. I'll update with how I get on soon.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Wiring is done. It's not ever anyone's favourite job on any car, but it wasn't too painful in this case, especially once I'd worked out how to assemble the new terminals into the modular fuse box.

Here is what I started with:
IMG20220715201745.thumb.jpg.1039a5e12d74333e13f42f426b1ab6d7.jpg

Old, crap, redundant voltage regulator taking up space, and wires mostly uncovered due to the original braided covered mostly rotting away. You can also see the factory inline fuse holder for the sidelights on the red wire.

Here is what I ended up with:
IMG20220910182428.thumb.jpg.3ca915381fabc284216d0d1dcdf3e83a.jpg

Wires tidied up and rewrapped in fabric tape. Wires all nicely rerouted into the new fusebox, which is mounted on the bulkhead (I could only use three of the four mounting holes due to space constraints, but it's nice and solid). The fuse holder for the sidelights is also deleted. I've actually been able to remove about 10 feet of wiring from the car by condensing it down like this, which was a nice bonus. While I was there, I also wired in the brake fluid level switch that is built into the MX-5 master cylinder. It's just a simple float switch that completes a circuit when the float sits low enough. I've run that through a nice bright red warning light on the dashboard which will be easily seen.

Having the loom uncovered also gave me the opportunity to add in the wires for a new electric washer kit I bought.
IMG20220910183253.thumb.jpg.7591ee66bf6edadd03969c77b54e7cf0.jpg

It's basically a copy of the electric washer system they used to fit to Minis in the 80s, before they switched to a servo master cylinder in 1989. Nice, compact little reservoir with integrated pump. It was only £17 off eBay, and it came  with a little wiring pigtail, a mount for the reservoir, several feet of plastic tube, a momentary push switch, and even a pair of washer jets. I honestly can't fault it. I drilled a couple of holes in the inner wing to bolt the mount on , extended the wiring pigtail up to a spare fuse in the new fusebox, then plugged the pump into the existing washer system using the new length of pipe. The original manual washer pump was removed from its hole in the dashboard, and the hose connections bypassed with a little plastic union that came with the washer kit. The push switch was then mounted in the hole, and wired into the ignition circuit. That was all it took to install the system. It works extremely well. I know have two-speed wipers, AND electric washers. Such decadence. You may also have spotted the new horn in the picture. It's a cheap klaxon, "awoooga" horn, and, to be honest, is far too loud. Should be good for scaring pedestrians 😁.

I also installed the new ignition barrel with the accessory position.
IMG20220910183122.thumb.jpg.34c95b8a4e9f7b5e9a74d00d15d5a3cb.jpg

As you can see it looks pretty much the same as factory, and it only took a little bit of work with a file to slightly enlarge the hole to fit it. After that it just plugged in on the back with spade terminals. You can also see the little black push switch for the washers on the left in the picture.

While I had the speedo out to fit the key barrel, I changed all the lights on the back for warm white LEDs. Wasn't particularly cheap at £25 for 10, but it's made a world of difference:
IMG20220920232631.thumb.jpg.01f8ec57d968fe09b90ebba1be632cef.jpg

At least twice as bright as the incandescent bulbs they replaced, although my phone has over-exposed the picture a bit. The indicator lights for the ignition and high beams also stand out much more vividly too. The two orange lights, for the oil filter and oil pressure no longer function; the new oil filter housing has no provision for a sender (and they never work properly anyway), and the main oil pressure sender on the engine block has been replaced with a feed to a mechanical oil pressure gauge. I also replaced the original, faulty mechanical voltage stabiliser for the fuel gauge on the back of the speedo with a new, electronic one. This should make the fuel gauge at least reasonably accurate now, as well as permit me to supply regulated voltage to a new coolant temperature gauge I am installing.

Now for a bit of tedium. In order to actually work out and document the rather drastic changes to the car's wiring, I actually sat down and made my own new wiring diagram (actually I just altered an existing one made by another Moggy fan, but I had to blow it up into proper resolution). Here is the standard Morris Minor wiring, altered slightly with an alternator in place of the original dynamo:
wiring2.thumb.jpg.00c5087b8aec2746d450e5450048fa60.jpg

Here is my new wiring setup:
wiring4.thumb.jpg.58171ea8adffb2bef3d74f088269a170.jpg

P stands for Permanent Live, A for Accessory, and I for Ignition. I know it initially looks more complicated, but when you consider the bus bar and the fusebox are now all contained inside one physical component, it's actually far more compact. I also now have ten fuses, rather than three; two for permanent stuff, three for accessories, and five for ignition stuff. I can also grab unfused power, should it be needed, for all three circuits from the bus bar. I've also deleted the under-dash switch for the speedo illumination, which is pointless and just breaks anyway. The fuse holder for the sidelights is also gone, and now the power for the side AND headlights is run through a fuse. A friend of mine did express a bit of concern at that decision, as if that fuse blows, I will lose my headlights. He's right, but with a suitably rated fuse it shouldn't be an issue. It will be easy to change if it does prove troublesome.

Everything is tested and working, and this marks the end of the pre-engine work that needs to be done to the car. The engine bay is ready to accept the new engine, the engine is ready to be accepted. I am nervous.

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2 hours ago, Matty said:

What makes the rev counter bud? I need one. Was going to get a smiths one and make my own pod to mount on the under dash shelf, but not at the money they fetch second hand

image.png.4351cda6bef0d2b828876cb8eb4380c7.png

The make is the Chinese People's Instrumentation Factory No. 237 🤣
It's just a cheap ebay job, wouldn't recommend to be honest. I will actually be binning it for a genuine Mini Cooper gauge that I picked up some years ago. It was just easy and convenient to wire in at the time. If you want a suggestion for a rev counter of similar size and style that's actually good quality I can recommend something.

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By all means any recommendations welcome. Smiths neg earth rev counters in supposed good working order are up for 80 to 100 pounds on ebay. I can't justify paying that. So any suggestions would be mint.

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