White Japanese Spec Suspension Rebuild

Started by MiniDave, November 01, 2020, 10:28:04 AM

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MiniDave

Last night, right as the kids were coming thru for trick or treat my next project arrived.

This is a late 90's Sport Pack, Japanese Spec, 1275 automatic trans with A/C.

Boy howdy is that one crammed engine compartment! Between the A/C components and the SPi ECU AND the automatic there is no room for hands or tools to get in there and work!

The brief on this car is that it has flat cones and is riding on the bumpstops, so first order of business is to rebuild the suspension and get it to drive properly. While we're under the bonnet I'm charged with removing the A/C components which will require a bit of tidying up and some different brackets to drive the alternator as it's currently driven off the A/C compressor clutch. The owner had the freon removed before he sent the car to me.

The car was shipped in one of the nicest enclosed car haulers I've ever seen! I didn't get any pics as it was dark when he got here, but I'll see if I can get some when he comes back to pick up the car for the return trip home.

Edit: I just noticed the big MINI badge on the back! I told you, it was dark when it got here last night!   ;D
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

Holy smokes, that engine compartment is filled to the brim!

BruceK

And here I was thinking a VTEC filled up the engine bay.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1997 Jeep Wrangler Sahara

MPlayle

Carefully remove all the a/c stuff first.  That will give room for getting at the front subframe bolts to get a compressor on the rubber cones.  Expect to use the metric compressor rod.

Now would also be a good time to install hi-lows if not already present.

While removing the a/c stuff, full document the disassembly process for someone to use as a reassembly guide.  There is still a slight demand for the a/c kits when complete.


MiniDave

Nah......I'm just gonna rip it all out and toss it in the bin!   ;D ;D ;D

He says he doesn't want the removed parts.

I made my cone compressor out of a chunk of black pipe and a piece of 14mm allthread - works a treat!

Adjusters come with the Smooth a Ride kit, but Ima look and see if it already has them JIC. We're still going to change the cones no matter what.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Jimini II

I remember that car. it was imported out of Japan and came off the boat with no forward gears only reverse, nothing a full re build of the auto trans couldn't fix along with some others that were done at the same time.

That is a straight no rust Mini and probably still has 95% o it's original paint apart from the viper blue roof, painted bonnet stripes and flares of course.

The ac always worked well with no issues afaik.

The issue when removing this ac set up on the later spi cars like this is that it runs through the ecu, it is a factory set up unlike the earlier ones with the condenser up front which were an add on to the existing wiring harness.
To have a complete kit apart from the obvious you need the Japanese ecu and the wiring harness, Jap spec cars did not have the immobilizer like the UK spi ones so the ecu's are different.

Looks like the owner installed new 13x7 rims and tires it had 13 inch sports pack wheels on it when my buddy sold it a few months ago.

Lone Star Mini

So Dave.. what's your job?  to get the mini up and running properly?  I think it's a nice looking mini.  Although I've always wondered how well the side mirrors on the wings work?  You can't (or I can't ) reach them if you need to adjust...
Lone Star Mini
1982 Morris Mini 1000HL (heck of a lot of work ahead of me)
1992(?) Mini Cooper
1964 Austin Cooper
1980 Mini 95 (Pickup)

cstudep

Mirrors on the wings do not work worth a darn if you ask me. Not only can you not reach them, those mirrors are so small they are basically useless once you move them that far away. It's a good thing I have a decent enough center mount mirror and the mini is small enough with enough "window" that seeing out isn't really an issue.

MiniDave

#8
which Mini, Randy?

This white one is in for suspension rebuild, it runs fine. I won't be able to start on it till I get the Inno off the rack tho.

I agree on the wing mirrors - I've only driven one car with them and I could not see a damn thing!
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Jimini II

#9
The wing mirrors are a pain to get adjusted correctly and then when the car is parked someone always seems to bump into them and you go through the re adjustment procedure.
I find it best to used an overtaker mirror as a back up that fastens onto the body seam.

mascher

That's why they made the Boomerang mirrors. Still it's like looking at postage stamps mounted on the fenders. Almost anything is preferable.
Kelley

MiniDave

#11
Well, so far DHL has let me down today.....I've had not one, not two but three text messages today saying that my suspension parts order was out for delivery by the end of the day (of course, they don't say which day!  ::)) and usually I see my driver about noon to one o'clock.

Today, it's now well past dark thirty and nuttin......absolutely nuttin.

Just in case I checked around the side of the house and by the garage door in case they simply dropped it off. I also checked my two immediate neighbors to see if it got dropped there by accident, but no.

The boys are really good at alerting us when a UPS, Amazon, FedEx, Postal or DHL delivery truck is in the neighborhood, but today was a very light delivery day for our hood, as only FedEx and the postman showed up.

Although my next door neighbor got hooked up on Google fiber today and the boys sure let me know about THAT!  ;D

Edit: I was just about to push the "Save" button for this post and here they are!
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

MPlayle

"End of day" for FedEx and DHL tends to be about 8:00 PM - especially for "home" deliveries.


cstudep

I had UPS show up at 9:30 pm a couple of weeks ago. Felt sorry for the driver as it's always the same dude and he usually shows up around 5. He said it was a long day and he was ready to be done.

MiniDave

#14
Parts is parts....

Smooth a Ride kit plus adjustable lower control arms and tie bars. I prefer these lower arms, they're easy to set and plenty heavy duty.

Still waiting on a set of sealed ball joints from Japan.

We're also going to change to an aluminum radiator on this and the 998 I'll be building for him, so I ordered 2 of them.

The automatic for the 998 will be crated up and sent off for a rebuild to Nick Upton....he has all the special tools you need to do one of those - I don't although if people keep sending them to me I might try and get them.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

I have never seen that version of adjustable lower arms where are they from? They are definitely different than the ones I have seen.

Seems like I saw you and Dan have had good luck with the considerably cheaper aluminum radiators from ebay I think? Still satisfied with their quality? I need a new radiator pretty bad, I think mine has sprung a leak somewhere. Would the one you usually get fit a Mk1 ok? I know fitting on the mk1's can be hit and miss sometimes with radiators.

MPlayle

The aluminum radiators are just a tad thicker than the regular Mini radiator. 

If your MK-I still has the shroud on the inner wing/fender, then it may be an issue.  It was when I did my white Moke: I had to roll the lip of the fender shroud for clearance.

MiniDave

The white car is a '96 Japanese spec SPi, so it's what...a Mark 5 or 6?

If this 998 goes in Dan's Pup, then it might need a small notch cut out.

I did have to notch my '89 Racing Green to fit, come to think of it.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Jimini II

Quote from: MiniDave on December 03, 2020, 01:10:56 PM
The white car is a '96 Japanese spec SPi, so it's what...a Mark 5 or 6?

If this 998 goes in Dan's Pup, then it might need a small notch cut out.

I did have to notch my '89 Racing Green to fit, come to think of it.

1990 through 1996 were MK VI Minis.

On a customers early Mini rather than cut the lip on the wing I modified (or used) a different top bracket as there was enough fan clearance, can't remember how I solved the bottom bracket issue maybe spacers.






MiniDave

On my 89 Racing Green I only needed to take a very small notch out where the forward corner of the radiator interfered with the fender. I think I could have put a tiny bit of rubber in there instead, or take a hammer to it and dented it in very slightly for clearance.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

I think I will probably just order one and see how it works. If it requires more permanent mods than I am comfortable performing I'll just use it on a future test stand I plan to build. I have a motorcycle engine I am rebuilding along with potentially an a-series in the future so a test stand of sorts would be useful.

MiniDave

#21
My little junk parts test stand has been really useful, I know how I would build it the next time tho. Leave more room under the casters so the legs of the engine hoist will fit under it, and leave one side open so I can bring an engine straight in rather than up and over.

I think I would have the engine sit higher too so there's more room under it for gas tanks, batteries and such. Also a tool tray for the odds and ends screwdrivers, timing light and such. You learn you grow, right?

I buy mine off Ebay, I used to pay around $60 shipped, the last three have been $74 shipped, sill a good buy IMHO.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

cstudep

Yeah I was checking out your stand pretty good when we were there LOL. Simple yet effective and your "upgrades" sound pretty reasonable, especially the space under for the hoist legs, not really something you think about until the first time you go to sit the engine in and the damn things won't fit under it. Been there done that so thanks for the mention there, probably saved me the same aggravation later LOL. 4.gif I have seen the pictures of ones built using the metal wheeled carts that you mentioned somewhere here, but after looking at how flimsy some of those carts actually are I am not sure how well one of those would hold up without some pretty decent reinforcement.  In which case you may as well just build one like you did.

Yep even at $74 it's still a hell of a lot cheaper than anything else I have seen.

MiniDave

Best part about the aluminum radiators is that they work, even in Texas/Kansas/Missouri  summer heat.

Yeah, I had to go with bigger casters on mine as I could not get the legs under it! Also, I originally had two fixed and two swivel casters, now I run all swivels
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

MiniDave

Sorry Paul, I missed you question about where I got the suspension bits. They all came from Mini Sport, that's the only place that sells the Smooth a Ride kit, and I like this design of control arm better than the ones MiniSpares sells.

I managed to get some time in on the white car.....

Getting anything off of a Japanese A/C car is a total PITA! It will look positively roomy under the hood once it's done. One thing I will say, all of the Japanese added on bits (all metric of course) come off easily - they are not rusted up like the English build bits are.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

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