Updating the Vtec Pup

Discussion in 'Classic Mini' started by Minidave, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    My buddy has a Mini Classic Pickup, he bought it 10 years ago now from MiniTec and we drove it back from Georgia to KC where we live, it was a fun trip but even then I knew we needed to make some changes. One of the first things that had to happen was to raise it up a couple of inches - it was so low that every expansion joint or bridge approach caused the tires to rub. I also noticed that a car with gear ratios designed for 15" wheels didn't work so well on 10's!

    After this much time and 30,000 extremely fun miles he decided I was right and so we brought the car over to my shop to make some improvements. The engine was also leaking oil from the front and rear main seals, and we thought it might be a good idea to install a new clutch while we had the trans out to change the diff ratio. Another thing we noticed on the drive home was the incredible amount of NVH, this thing buzzed and rattled like crazy - we fixed part of that in the first month by changing back to the stock Honda motor mounts and ditching the poly ones, that got rid of about 1/2 of the noise and made the car pretty drivable, but as I pointed out - Honda's don't vibrate and buzz like that, no reason this one should either. The culprit is a poorly engineered engine steady, that wasn't bushed or mounted right. To fix that I'll need to do a bit of welding on the subframe.

    So, first things first, drain all the fluids and drop the motor and subframe out.....this is Don and the Pup the day he picked it up at MiniTec in Georgia.

    Canon pics 571.jpg
     
  2. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Don is not a mechanic, so I've been doing most of the wrenching on the Pup since it was new and we have changed a few things - it got a new radiator as the one MiniTec supplied wasn't quite up to the job, it also got some new and updated control arms when both of them bent - MiniTec supplied those at no charge. The stock Honda cast iron exhaust manifold cracked so we bought a set of stainless headers on Ebay for a ridiculously cheap $50 and I modified them to fit the Mini - this was no small task as I had to cut 5/8" out of the pipes right at the flange plate and then weld them back on - but the results were worth it as the car no longer has exhaust stink in the cab when you drove. I also reset the alignment as it wore out the first set of tires in less than 5K miles. Now they go about 12-15K before they're done.

    So, out with all the fluids then to figure out how to get the engine/subframe out. It all looked pretty straightforward, but man there was a lot of wiring and funny little hoses buried behind and below the intake. But like any car, once you take enough stuff off it WILL come out. WP_20180619_15_52_52_ProR.jpg
     
  3. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Once we split the engine/trans out of the subframe, I knew exactly how to fix the vibration problems, first I needed to remove the broken sheet metal webbing/stiffener off the back of the subframe and replace it with a solid bar - this will accomplish two things - get rid of having to feed all the wires, cables and hoses thru the webbing - a complete PITA - and also it will provide a base to build a better engine steady.

    WP_20180620_11_15_10_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180619_17_22_36_ProR.jpg
     
  4. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    8,505
    4,632
    113
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,862 / 0 / -0
    What a cool mini! Did you say 15” wheels? I didn’t know they had wheels that big on the mini.
     
  5. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    So while Don cleaned parts I took a cutting wheel to the subframe and removed the webbing across the back....the subframe sprung apart about 1/4" when I did this, but it was easy to pull it back with my come along. Then I cut and shaped a 1" thick walled square tube to fit between the spring perches, pulled it back into shape and welded her up. Just to make sure we mounted it back in the car and it fit perfectly.

    Since we have the engine out and the trans split off, engineering the engine steady will have to wait till it's all back in the subframe.

    In the meantime we mounted the engine in the engine stand so we could change out the front and rear crank seals. while we're in there, it got a new cam belt, water pump and belt tensioner. We had to pull the valve cover and oil pan to change the seals so this gave us a chance to see how it looked - it's surprisingly clean - I guess regular oil changes do help! Of course modern fuel injected engines just don't produce the sludge and carbon like our old carburetted classics do. WP_20180621_21_39_37_Pro.jpg

    WP_20180621_21_40_02_Pro.jpg

    WP_20180622_12_10_20_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180622_12_14_09_ProR.jpg
     
  6. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    No, 15" wheels on the donor Honda - the Vtec came out of a 2000 Honda Civic - engine and transmission. The Pup has 10" wheels
     
  7. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    8,505
    4,632
    113
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,862 / 0 / -0
    Sorry I should have known.
     
  8. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    So, next up - the engine work. On top of the new cam belt water pump and seals, we also decided to adjust the valves and replace the plugs...I was pleasantly surprised to see how clean it is inside as the engine now has about 170K on it.

    WP_20180622_16_21_41_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180622_16_22_09_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180622_16_27_35_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180622_17_49_28_ProR.jpg
     
  9. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Next, the oil pan went back on with it's new neoprene o-ring gasket, then we flipped the motor back over to install the cam belt and tensioner. Once done we put the lower front cover on then the front crank pulley. Once that was done we checked the valve clearances and buttoned up the valve cover. Next the new thermostat and then it was pretty much done. Don is mostly reinstalling ancillary bits now. Tomorrow we'll tackle the transmission...….which was the whole reason for the teardown! WP_20180623_14_05_51_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180623_14_05_45_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180623_14_33_33_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180623_15_39_01_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180623_15_39_09_ProR.jpg
     
  10. Zapski

    Zapski Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2011
    2,089
    876
    113
    Columbus, OH
    Ratings:
    +923 / 0 / -0
  11. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Today was transmission day...…

    Taking it apart was the work of a couple of hours, finding all the bits that had to come apart in order to separate the case halves, then once I got the cases apart, then it was time to figure out how to get the gearsets out of the case.

    WP_20180624_11_55_38_Pro.jpg

    At one point it all just came apart and I had both gearsets lying on the bench.

    WP_20180624_14_32_21_Pro.jpg

    Next the final drive came out.....one interesting bit of knowledge - the bolts that hold the gear to the hub are left hand thread! I only figured it out after breaking two 3/8" drive sockets.

    WP_20180624_14_32_39_Pro.jpg

    Getting the final drive on was pretty straightforward, then we had to disassemble the mainshaft and reassemble all the gears onto the new mainshaft. That was the easy part!

    Don spent a couple of hours thoroughly cleaning the cases and we started putting it back together.

    WP_20180624_14_50_27_Pro.jpg
    The mainshart, all three shifter and the layshaft all come out of the case at one time - which means they all go back in at one time too! Trying to get everything juggled into it's respective place all together was NOT fun, but I did finally get it all slid into place.

    WP_20180624_16_05_19_Pro.jpg

    However, I'm not happy with the reverse gear, it seems to ride on the 1st gear, so we stopped for the day so I can give it some more thought.
     
  12. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2009
    8,505
    4,632
    113
    Male
    Ratings:
    +4,862 / 0 / -0
    I wish I had something to add. But this is a very good thread!,
     
  13. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    22,386
    12,019
    113
    Burbs of Philly, PA
    Ratings:
    +12,281 / 3 / -3
    Well yeah, minidaves repair posts are always awesome.
     
  14. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Thanks guys!

    Today was a pretty good day in the shop....last night after getting the gearsets all installed I was unhappy cause the reverse idler gear seemed to rub on the first gear.

    So first thing this morning I took the gears back out of the trans case, and inserted just the main gear and the reverse idler - it did not drag. Hmmm...….so next I tried putting all the gears and shifter forks in - still no drag? So I went ahead and assembled the rest of the gearbox. Everything went together fine this time and once it was all in we bolted the two halves together. All that was left was to install the release bearing, detents and a few other bitsa and it was ready to be put on the engine.

    WP_20180625_10_53_35_Pro.jpg

    We pulled the engine out of the engine stand and set it on a footstool so we could install the flywheel and clutch assembly. Once the flywheel was bolted up and torques then we installed the clutch. The clutch kit Don got not only came with a clutch alignment tool but a new pilot bearing, release bearing and disc and pressure plate. The new disc was slightly larger than the old one too.

    WP_20180625_11_38_48_Pro.jpg

    Once that was done we manhandled the transmission back onto the engine and bolted her up. Next we fit the subframe onto the motor mounts so I could start figuring out how to build the new engine steady. That's where we left it tonight......

    WP_20180625_12_40_31_Pro.jpg
    WP_20180625_12_57_08_Pro.jpg

    Later tonight I'll cut the old brackets off the subframe so I can start engineering the new ones.
     
  15. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    12,913
    497
    83
    Retired
    Ratings:
    +513 / 0 / -0
    Always good stuff.
     
  16. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Today I worked on getting a second engine steady engineered, I think the one would suffice but if one is good, two is better. [​IMG]

    WP_20180629_10_55_34_Pro.jpg

    The big problem was where to locate it on the engine, since I had one at the transmission end I thought one at the opposite end of the engine and up near the head would be a good choice. I found a 10mm bolt that was only used to support the end of the intake manifold but it was tight, very little room to locate a bracket, so this is what I made....and where it goes.
    WP_20180629_10_56_34_Pro.jpg
    WP_20180629_10_55_51_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180629_10_55_41_ProR.jpg

    Once that was done it was just a matter of shortening the double ended steady and rewelding it in the right orientation, then making and welding a bracket on the frame to receive the other end and we're done.

    Don is cleaning and repainting the subframe this afternoon, so tomorrow if the paint is dry we'll put it all back together and back in the car. Finger's crossed it will all fit OK.
     
  17. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    Another big day on the Pup.

    We started with the subframe, we had painted it yesterday and left it outside in the 100* temps to bake, which it did! Today we installed it back on the engine and I took one final pic to show the modifications I've done to it.

    WP_20180630_11_21_14_ProR.jpg

    Next we installed the suspension - which is fairly fiddly in that like a race car it uses heim joints on four points on each side, those are held in with shoulder bolts and spacers and some of the suspension angles make them tough to fit, but in the end we got them all done.

    WP_20180630_11_39_48_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180630_12_22_36_ProR.jpg

    Then we installed as many ancillaries as we could, then took it off the stands and hung it in the engine hoist to move over to the car up on the lift. Then things got a little slow - our plan was to set it on a couple of furniture movers and roll it under the car, then lift it up into place with the hoist, but the legs of the engine hoist wouldn't clear the dollys, so we spent an hour cribbing it up til we could roll the hoist under it, then slowly work it up into place, moving the wire harness, hoses and other bits out of the way as we went. But, tonight - it's in the car!

    IMG_4735R.jpg
    We had one small setback, Don accidentally broke one of the custom MiniTec spec SS brake hoses that go to the calipers, but I may have figured out a work around..... otherwise we may be down for a while waiting for them to get around to sending us one - especially on a holiday week. Still lots to do but our goal is to drive it tomorrow.
     
  18. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    #18 Minidave, Jul 1, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
    Looks like my workaround on the brakes will work! Don has some banjo bolt adaptors to allow a slight angle for the hose as it comes off the caliper, this gives clearance for the suspension members - they only seem to come with a male end, the special hoses he has are regular looking Mini Stainless front brake hoses, but have a female end grafted on as they normally come with a male end - that won't fit the male end coming out of the banjo fitting.

    WP_20180701_13_46_12_ProR.jpg

    WP_20180701_13_46_21_ProR.jpg

    My workaround was to simply put a female/female union between the two male ends - worked perfectly and allows him to use a stock Mini SS brake hose - something he can even get in the US. and not have to wait for MiniTech to make him up some replacements. Then it was just a matter of adjusting the angle of the hose to make sure there was no interference at full lock either direction and at both ends of the suspension travel.
    Result! as Edd Chinar would say...…..

    WP_20180701_13_52_38_ProR.jpg
    WP_20180701_13_58_40_ProR.jpg
     
  19. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    12,913
    497
    83
    Retired
    Ratings:
    +513 / 0 / -0
    Now that was a great solution.
     
  20. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    4,581
    1,882
    113
    Overland Park, Ks
    Ratings:
    +1,914 / 0 / -0
    I looked all over for those banjo fittings with a female end - no luck anywhere and I do mean I looked everywhere. This will be a workable solution I think.
     

Share This Page