Archive for March, 2009


We have been busy the past couple of weeks, but we want to give a shout out to Deirdre and her dad Homer who let us borrow their engine lifter. We would have given them their props sooner, but we didn’t take any pictures of it til now. So here it is! It’s even pink! Thanks again! Hopefully we’ll be done with it soon.

And today, I finally got around to removing the whole engine and transmission. That thing is heavy as @#$%! It took a while to finally wiggle it out, and Andrew and Jackie helped a lot as well. I had to take off the hood and some really really greasy hardware near the very appropriately named oil pan. And the flywheel was pretty stubborn too. Sometime this week I’ll degrease it and start to disassemble it even more.

I found a lot of other little bits that we will need to replace like the U-joints and a few more gaskets I didn’t even know existed. But it’s OK, judging from all the oil everywhere, they probably weren’t doing much gasket-ing.


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BBS doesn’t make 10 or 12-inch wheels, but I have a few sets of 17’s handy…

These will probably not fit without some serious fender rolling:

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I put the carb back together after a few days of disassembling and cleaning it up. I added the new ruby red fuel hose at the bottom.

I still haven’t figured out how it works, but it cleaned up pretty nicely. It needs a couple more little pieces and I think it’s missing a gasket. I also painted the manifold, polished the carb spacer, and made gaskets for it. It was getting dark soon, so I only had time to take a picture of the carb before putting everything away.

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junk in the trunk

I finally started taking apart all the things on the engine so that we can remove it to find out what’s really wrong. The carburetor, alternator, distributor, and after this picture, the radiator all came out. I labeled all the wires and hoses so that I can figure out where they all go when I put it back together. The grille also had to come off, so it kind of looks like his teeth are missing. We just need to disconnect the driveshafts and the shifter, and it should be ready to go.

Everything in the car is pretty greasy, and I’ll do my best to clean and paint everything before I put it back in.

Nearly everything fit neatly into these boxes in the trunk.

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Today, I went to the DMV to transfer the title and get the new tags. The lady at the counter was really cool and we ended up talking about Minis, Italian Job, and Bourne Identity. She highly recommended the movie “Taken”, so we will probably go check that out soon.

When I got home, the So-Cal license plate frame I ordered was already there! I also got some cool hot rod stickers to go with it. Maybe they’ll find their way on there someday.

Oh, and the new bullet mirrors are also on there. I got some stick-on convex mirrors at Super Autobacs’ going out of business sale that fit into them perfectly. They should come in handy. The mirrors are mounted a little bit low, but they look good and are a big improvement over no mirror at all.

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I picked up the pinkslip yesterday, so the Mini is officially ours. Thanks Jonatan!

Now we can get to the fun part of taking apart the engine and seeing what it needs. To that end, we’re armed with a Workshop Manual direct from England. I got it about 6 years ago off eBay just in case I’d ever need to work on a Mini.

It even has an original inscription on the inside front cover:
“Mr. Desmond Fearon. All my love, Helen.”

Helen sounds like she was a good catch! Desmond, you lucky bastard!

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On Saturday, while we had lunch and waited for the train on Mission, we saw this old-school rat rod. Even the driver was old school. He was all dressed like he was from “The Outsiders” or something. It was pretty sweet. Open pipes coming straight out of the head. Luckily we were across the street by the time he started it up, because I took this picture from our table.

Unfortunately, in all the excitement, I missed out on the Weber DCOE carburetor I was going to bid on for the mini. And by excitement, I mean that I kept pressing the wrong button on Jenny’s phone when I was trying to place a bid.

After that, we took the train to Hollywood to see “Rent”.

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Bling Bling

I took off one of the wheels just to check and it is a genuine 10″ x 5″ Dunlop wheel, made in England. Pretty nice. I had seen that there were replicas being made, and I am a completely zealous wheel snob. I mean does anything suck as much as fake wheels? But no worries, our Mini is rolling on the real deal: honest to God 10 inch Dunlops! That’s half a DUB!!

We do need to get some proper spacers though, the tire is too close to the suspension arm and looks like it rubs a tiny bit.

We also got some shiny new parts in the mail today. A couple of bullet mirrors and a chrome rear license plate lamp to replace the black one. Also, a little grip for the handbrake. All pictured on a pink background, just for Jenny.

After nearly breaking the little lenses when transferring them over (it’s 40 year old plastic) , I managed to install the new lamp housing:

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Big Bear

This weekend, we went to Big Bear. The weather was actually pretty warm up there, and we were able to see some real snow. Since we were in a blue Subaru, we got lots of waves from other blue Subarus. Jenny thought that was really funny.

Here are our shadow eyes:

And here’s a shot of the sky and the lake:

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