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Rover K Series installation in a Mini Clubman - 2008 work log

01/03/2008

Well lots has happened in 2008 so far, all of it revolving around a new front end.
Back when I first did the conversion I would have liked to have kept the front looking more standard. Due to the frame I could not do that, so decided I might as well make it look decidedly unstandard. ;-)
Now that I have more experience and there is more information available regarding 16v Minis, I decided to try and do what I was apprehensive about doing 5 years ago. Namely modifying the frame, and a number of other parts to allow a near standard front to be fitted.

Pics below show the work carried out to the front crossmember of the frame. Including modifications to both side members, cutouts for clearance, strengthening, and making a removable section to facilitate exhaust manifold removal.
As can be seen in the last pic this all has allowed a standard valence panel (with all the back bits removed) to fit in place and only be 1/2" or so proud of the wing joins. The valence is easily flexed back this small amount.

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The new front panels will be bolted together rather than welded so that if needed I can just remove a wing to get at stuff, rather than the whole front. Not only does this kill my back but you have to find space to manoeuvre it and put it down. The slampanel and valence will be welded together, with the wings bolting to them. 6 bolts in all at the front of each wing.

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02/03/2008

Some of this is in the wrong order as I did all of the ancillary modifications before I altered the crossmember.

Exhaust manifold.

Firstly the cast exhaust manifold was replaced with a cut up and rewelded tubular item. The resulting manifold sits over an inch further back.The down pipe was also modified to fit.

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Alternator.

The alternator was swapped for a smaller unit & bracket from a Rover 400. The bracketry was modified slightly to allow the alternator to sit as close to the block as possible. The result is a drop from a 750mm belt to a 700mm one, and over an inch of space gained.

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Radiator.

The radiator had to change as currently it goes right down the front of the bodywork, into the section of valence that would now slope backwards. It also needed to still fit between my twin headlights which I wanted to retain if at all possible. After measuring the available space, and searching the web I found a Golf rad on Ebay that appeared to be the right dimensions. Slightly wider than the current one, shorter, but twice as thick. Oh and I would have to run it upside down. The first 2 pictures show its size compared to a standard Metro radiator. The 3rd pic shows the bracketry I made (after a few attempts) to hold the fan in place. I'm fed up with paying for those plastic through radiator fixings, which to my mind are very expensive for what they are ...

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Oil filter.

Lastly the oil filter. It been common practice to replace this with a remote filter when building Mini based frames, and I decided if I did the same it would allow the front crossmember to be moved as far back as possible. It uses home made adapters, and the original filter housing relocated under the wing.

Everything runs fine after a couple of minor problems. A non lighting charge/ignition light, and a weeping oil filter gasket. The radiator will hopefully do the job okay. When left idling the temperature did not rocket up and was still brought under control by the fan when things got a bit warm.

Got to get on with the front bodywork now.


07/04/2008

Lots of pics of bodywork mods including cutting of wings to clear wheels, headlight brackets, making arches fit etc.


25/04/2008

This update concerns the other end of the car. Ever since I slipped a disc back in 1999 I've suffered with back pain and sciatica. Getting stuff in and out of the Minis boot is usually uncomfortable at best, and damn painful at worst, so I came up with a plan to help the situation.
Firstly I sourced a smaller, lighter spare wheel. Okay It means a bit of wheel shuffling if I do have a puncture on a front tyre as it won't fit over the brakes, but it weighs less and actually almost fits in the wheel well.
Secondly rather than have to bend double to get at stuff in the boot I decided to make the contents come to me ;-) The pictures below should be fairly self explanatory, but in essence I have created a sliding platform (a drawer). First mocked up in wood, then remade from light steel tube.

I have further plans for this. Watch this space ;-)


22/05/2008

Well heres the rest of the boot story. A few brackets welded to the lid, a complete new latching system, some plywood, black carpet and a bit of coily cable later.

It opens and locks using the original handle, and just slams shut like a door.

Ive also modded the rear bumper to fit round the relocated exhaust tailpipe.

And another thing off my list is modifying the bonnet. Far too many Clubman bonnets slope upwards to a peak at the front rather than running flat, parallel to the top of the grill. Mine is one of them and it annoys the hell out of me, so I took steps to correct the situation.


23/05/2008

Oh and I finally got some paint on the front end panels. The bonnet I paint stripped and sanded to bare metal as it was very rough. Looking at all the surface rust I can see why now.


01/08/2008

Sorry for the delay in updates, but been very busy. Once the front end panels were painted, it became clear that it was time to do the rest of the car. Now the compressor I have is not great, as its only 1.5hp, so I decided (after my experiences with the front end) that I would tackle the rest of the car in stages. Obviously being a Mini the seams provide great points to break the car into sections, so thats what I did. Even then the roof was a struggle.

I'm quite pleased with the result although there is still lots of cutting back to be done. At least it is now one colour for the first time in 18 years!

Bumpers.

With this incarnation I was torn between quarter bumpers, and a one piece bumper. I eventually decided to go one piece, and because I considered the one I had too good to rub down and paint, went on the hunt. I eventually won a bumper on ebay, described as "Good condition. Perfect for rechroming" just what I was after ........
Now I'm not sure what definition of "good condition" the seller was using, but I've scrapped better bumpers. It was bent, very bent, twisted and all the brackets were rusty and misshapen. I've included a few pics the middle one shows how bent the brackets were when compared to a decent bumper. I spent best part of a day trying to straighten it, then gave it up as a bad job.

With no alternative bumpers cropping up I then made a decision. If I used this bumper to make quarter bumpers I could cut out the worst of it. What did I have to lose.

Finished ???? .... of course not!

So here it is as it stands at the moment. A bit more rubbing down is needed, the interior needs sorting, and I'm sure there will be other things ;-)