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1984 Mini City E - ready to de-engine


N Dentressangle

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Progress so far: 

Engine bay mostly stripped down from this:

LwUk7bd.jpg

to this:

SuIbNwr.jpg

Still to do:

Remove lower engine stay

Unbolt engine mounts

Disconnect gear change linkage

Pop out both inner driveshaft joints

Then the engine and box can come out over the top of the front panel with the engine crane. I'm in two minds on the engine - a mate has a 1275 which I could buy off him, or I could stay 998. Someof it depends on what this engine is like when it comes apart, but what do we think?

Moar powah or moar originality?

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  • N Dentressangle changed the title to 1984 Mini City E - strip down

I'm not buying a new shell, so no worries there.

I wanted this one because it needs work. I'd like to get better at making and welding, so I'm happy to fix it as I go. The Mini's ideal because:

  • I've just rebuilt one so I know the structure, how it all fits together, and I've got another one to have a look at if I need to compare
  • It's small and leaves loads of room to work around and is easy to get on a rotisserie
  • The parts are as cheap as they come, and everything is available
  • You can get repair panels for literally every part of the car, or whole new panels if you have more ££
  • There's loads of advice and videos online for literally any job you could imagine doing

Time is not an issue - it takes as long as it takes - and I'm not a perfectionist so that makes life easier too. I'd like to end up with a structurally and mechanically sound but cosmetically tatty car. That's the outcome that would suit me best.

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Personally I'd say keep it standard.  There are a billion modified Minis out there, the ones which always catch my eye are those which are standard to be honest.  

They weigh about as much as a paper bag anyway, the 998 if in good order is plenty sufficient to make good progress and put a silly grin on your face.

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19 minutes ago, Zelandeth said:

Personally I'd say keep it standard.  There are a billion modified Minis out there, the ones which always catch my eye are those which are standard to be honest.  

They weigh about as much as a paper bag anyway, the 998 if in good order is plenty sufficient to make good progress and put a silly grin on your face.

Agreed.

That's kind of why I'd like to keep it tatty - so it looks like the kind that were everywhere 30 years ago and that many of us were driven to school in when we missed the bus

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Being a 1984 that is one of the last of the drum braked 10"wheel Minis.

I think I would stick with the 998, or you will have to upgrade to discs on the front. If the drums are serviced regularly they are adequate enough for regular driving. You can squeeze a bit more power out with a stage one kit (but keep the stock airbox, you ears will appreciate it). Also it's a Mini, they all feel like they are going at 100mph when going down a country lane and 50 bhp is more than enough to dart through small gaps that no modern can.

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On 9/24/2023 at 4:45 PM, DSdriver said:

Is that red clay in the bottom of the carb bowl? I seem to remember being told back in the early seventies that Esso products came from wells with a lot of red clay in the crude. This may have been bollocks but I have always avoided Esso garages ever since... and never had a problem with my carbs silting up.

Putting my chemistry hat on for a moment, and not wanting to derail the thread too far, I think I can ease your concerns.

Petrol is produced by fractionally distilling the crude oil. It's heated up, various volatile  fractions boil off as gases, the gases rise out of the crude carried to a column were they are condensed back to a liquid and voila you have petrol. Clay does not evaporate, so even if the crude oil came to the refinery full of red clay, the production process would ensure it was left in the remains of the crude oil and would certainly not be carried over into the petrol.

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1 hour ago, grogee said:

If the 1275 is outwardly visually identical I'd sneak it in. Stealth power upgrade. 

Putting discs on the front may not be a bad idea anyway. 

Definatly. It's not like discs on the front and a 1275 are irreversible mods anyway.

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Following this thread with interest - I had an '83 and an '85 back in the day, they were only 14 or 15 years old at the time and pretty rotten. Wouldn't stop me having another though if I had somewhere safe to keep it, I don't think they can be left on the street anymore unfortunately.

I'd stick with the 998. Mine taught me a lot about carrying momentum up hills and through the twistys. With a stage 1 kit it will push the needle round to the backwards '90' on that big speedo. The drums on the other hand taught me all about anticipation and keeping my distance - in the end I could adjust them by feel without taking the wheels off.

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Sounds like a majority of votes for the 998 so far.

Fitting discs means either 12" wheels, or going for a 60's Cooper disc conversion to stay with the 10" ones. All doable, and bear in mind I'm used to tenuous drum brakes from many kiles of Series Land Rover driving.

Anyway, more progress.

Car up on stands now and wheels off:

WC8RhRf.jpg

I had a mate helping today, so with another pair of hands we decided to tackle the rear subframe.

BANG and the subframe's gone!

uiDmEMu.jpg

Covered in scale and filth, but plenty of prodding suggests it's sound and no obvious holes or weak areas:

0sTYm0u.jpg

I'll clean it up and it can go again. Obvs I just chopped through the seized handbrake cables, although I did nicely remove the brake pipe union. One of the shocks came undone OK, the other ended up having the top nut sliced off with the electric spanner.

The most fantastic thing was this. All of the front subframe bolts came out whole and fairly easily with a gentle and sensitive hand on the ratchet. What a fuckin relief. Second brilliant thing was that the heelboard is sound. The pics might not show it too well, but a bit of dirt and scale is all there is. Here's the n/s:

Wj7j7V2.jpg

and here's the o/s:

K7O8kz6.jpg

Might not look much, but between those two things there's several days of making and welding saved right there. The 25 was FAR worse in that area, with loads of fabbing needed on the n/s and a good bit on the o/s, mostly because the local garage had rammed it full of filler at some point in the past. Little tinkers.

Here's one of the worst bits though - the boot floor:

M3IpL0g.jpg

Not much left of that. But, you can buy a complete floor for £300 and as the subframe's saveable there's money in the kitty for it.

All the pick-up points around the perimeter of the panel are good and solid too - arches, rear panel, firewall - so the rusty old floor can be unpicked and a new one welded in without too much making good.

So far, no surprises and plenty of areas which could be awful but aren't, so I'm pleased.

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Next job is to pull the engine and box.

Here's the o/s hub stripped down ready to pop the inner driveshaft joint out:

i5gGgrn.jpg

The roll pin is out of the gearchange linkage, and the rear lower engine stay is unbolted.

Still to do are the n/s hub dismantled just like the o/s, front lower engine stay, and finally the engine mounts before I pop the driveshafts out.

O/s engine mount is a right bastard if I remember, so not looking forward to that.

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With that rear subframe, I'd be tempted to have it acid dipped and then hot-dip-galvanised.  They dissolve like a sugar cube in hot water normally, so to have an original one that isn't cornflakes is amazing.  With it dip galvanised, it'll last forever, and it's a major selling point as and when you come to sell it.

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4 hours ago, Talbot said:

With that rear subframe, I'd be tempted to have it acid dipped and then hot-dip-galvanised.  They dissolve like a sugar cube in hot water normally, so to have an original one that isn't cornflakes is amazing.  With it dip galvanised, it'll last forever, and it's a major selling point as and when you come to sell it.

Finding someone to do any of these things, and at a reasonable price is a nightmare.

I wanted the wheels of the 25 shotblasted - one firm wanted £110 per wheel to blast and powder coat, another one wanted £25 per wheel to blast and prime only but hasn't got back to me. It's a PITA.

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1 hour ago, N Dentressangle said:

Finding someone to do any of these things, and at a reasonable price is a nightmare.

I wanted the wheels of the 25 shotblasted - one firm wanted £110 per wheel to blast and powder coat, another one wanted £25 per wheel to blast and prime only but hasn't got back to me. It's a PITA.

I'd reckon your in a bad bit of the country for stuff like that price wise. Up here I'd get stuff like that done for far less. Tbf it helps being in the trade and knowing people but prices down country are mad.

And, by the way, I didn't vote 998. Big block all the way for me 🤣

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We're now at the stage where I've made my rotisserie, or at least the business ends of it:

eVe2Nv9.jpg

The castors were 700kg rated cheapies off Ebay for about £11 the set. All the rest of the wood I had lying around or left over from other jobs, which answers the question my wife always asks me.

Engine bay is now fully stripped, engine mounts undone and lump ready to pull - might do it tomorrow if I'm in the mood:

bic1DW6.jpg

Interior is also now fully stripped out. There are a couple of holes in the corners of the rear floorpan which I knew about:

ceIhdd9.jpg

The front floorpans are a different story:

PkU3Nzx.jpg

YYLmbuk.jpg

Bad enough to make me give up on the project tbh. I've put some feelers out and got a chap called Fred coming over this afternoon for a look. Wants to bring his mate Barney, who reckons he's a bit of a mechanic. Let's hope they're genuine - can't stand timewasters.

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  • N Dentressangle changed the title to 1984 Mini City E - end of the road?
9 minutes ago, N Dentressangle said:

We're now at the stage where I've made my rotisserie, or at least the business ends of it:

eVe2Nv9.jpg

The castors were 700kg rated cheapies off Ebay for about £11 the set. All the rest of the wood I had lying around or left over from other jobs, which answers the question my wife always asks me.

Engine bay is now fully stripped, engine mounts undone and lump ready to pull - might do it tomorrow if I'm in the mood:

bic1DW6.jpg

Interior is also now fully stripped out. There are a couple of holes in the corners of the rear floorpan which I knew about:

ceIhdd9.jpg

The front floorpans are a different story:

PkU3Nzx.jpg

YYLmbuk.jpg

Bad enough to make me give up on the project tbh. I've put some feelers out and got a chap called Fred coming over this afternoon for a look. Wants to bring his mate Barney, who reckons he's a bit of a mechanic. Let's hope they're genuine - can't stand timewasters.

You're giving up on the project because it needs a pair of floorpans? 

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