Cars


Mini Rebuild

 

Step 57 - Engine installation

 

Extra hours at work and illness have set the build back quite a bit in the new year. Frustrating but I make progress whenever I can.

 

I made the decision very shortly before the body went off to paint to install a righthand fuel tank in the boot. Nick was kind enough to install the tank mounting straps but I still needed to modify the RH tank to be able to connect to the LH tank. I also needed a threaded insert welded onto the filler neck to fit the Aston-style cap. This required the services of my favorite welder.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Welding brass to steel? I left this to an expert.

 

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Here I have marked the location of where I would like the steel AN fitting welded to the RH tank. A line will run from this fitting to a similar one mounted low on the LH tank.

 

With both fuel tanks finished, the next step was to connect them together and finish the fuel lines within the boot. There are 3 lines - the first carries fuel out of the LH tank via the in-tank fuel pump.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

After passing through a quick-release connector, the fuel immediately passes through a filter then to a bulkhead connector in the boot floor. The second line is a return line from the engine.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Any unused fuel from the engine is returned back to the LH tank. The third, smaller line (not visible here) connects the LH and RH tanks together. There are two additional vent lines, one per tank. These have a one-way valve (the red piece) installed - air can be sucked in but no fuel can leak out. If instead the tanks become overpressurized the filler caps each have a spring-loaded release valve built in.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Here you can see the bulkhead fittings protruding underneath the boot floor.

The original plan was to run flexible stainless steel fuel lines under the car. I then convinced myselft to run rigid stainless steel lines instead. After attempting to make some complex bends without the benefit of the right tool, I realized a combination of the flexible and rigid lines might be best.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

 

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Here you can see the rigid lines run up the side of the exhaust tunnel. Since the exhaust will be running directly alongside the lines I am using an insulation by DEI. To help insulate the cabin from the exhaust I installed another product from DEI. This is a moldable, adhesive-backed aluminum/fiberglass sheet, visible in the photos above

 

The next big step in the project is getting a number of items powdercoated. This includes the front and rear subframes and the fuel tanks. Before I can start that process I need to do a little more test fitting and fabrication. The first thing to do was to put the engine back into the car.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Before the car was painted the method I used was to install the front subframe from underneath the engine bay, then use the engine hoist to drop the engine and engine cradle in from the top and bolt the two together. The engine is a tight fit and led to some scratches here and there back when the shell was just primered. Now that the car is painted, I decided on a different method. I bolted the engine to the subframe, slid it under the engine bay, then used the engine hoist to pull the whole entire assembly up into place. It worked reasonably well.

 

The first thing I tried once the engine was in place was installing the exhaust manifold. This was a nightmare the first time I tried it two years ago. I scratched the black ceramic coating off of the manifold and scratched the primer off of the bodywork in a few places. I am still trying to understand why but this time the manifold dropped right into place, an easy fit.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

Next up was the fabrication of some brackets to hold the radiator in place. You may recall the incredibly ugly mount I made originally. Although it worked, it was not an elegant solution. The radiator came with mounting points already installed down the sides - a set of rivnuts in a pair of side rails. Why not utilize them?

Mini Rebuild Step 57

The radiator is held in position pretty well by the top and bottom silicone hoses, so I think it will be enough to run just these two upper brackets. I can always add another set later.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

With the change to the fuel lines I had to re-do them in the engine bay as well. Here they are plugged into the gold quick-release fittings. You can also see the inline fuel pressure gauge on the feed line. I installed it when I was first trying to fire up the engine and couldn't. It is a handy diagnostic tool so I decided to keep it installed. As long as it doesn't leak, it can't hurt, right?

 

Mini Rebuild Step 57

This is where the lines drop down out of the engine bay and pass through the front subframe. I've mounted the lines in these aluminum brackets to keep them from rubbing against each other and anything else in the car. Braided SS lines are like hacksaws and over time can do a lot of damage if allowed to rub against anything. At the top of the photo you can see the fittings that wound up at the ends of these lines once trimmed to length.

Mini Rebuild Step 57

The finished products.

 

With the engine in place and the diagonally-mounted slam panel braces, I can now see two things - the xfer box oil cooler is not going to get much air. The other is that there is almost nowhere to mount a custom intake air duct that I was considering fabricating. This would grab relatively cool air from just behind the front grille and send it into the side of the engine airbox. Neither of these issues are absolutely critical to getting the car running so I will likely come back to address them later on.

 

The oil cooler mount I fabricated two years ago is a sad mess. Time to make a cleaner, better version. More on that later....

Mini Rebuild Step 57

 

Continue to Rebuild Step 58

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