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Projects and Restorations Building a car from scratch, restoring your pride and joy, building a track car, or starting a long term project? This is your place to document it.

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Old 11-07-2018, 12:48 AM   #81
James_G
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Another update on the Mini for you, although progress has been slow. But first, some driving.

A good friend and ex colleague of mine is a member of the Goodwood Road and Racing Club (GRRC) and he asked if I'd like to join him in one of their regional drives. Thinking I'd be passengering I said yes to ride shot gun in his E46 M3 but it turns out he meant driving so in early June we lined up at RHS Wisley for the off in our similarly blue cars:





There was a great atmosphere and about 100 or so cars from all parts of the motoring spectrum, some of which I caught in this shot:





Highlight of the day was following a Ferrari 599 GTB through down Box Hill hearing the glorious V12, followed by a chance to pilot the M3 for 25 miles or so. Compared to my previous Z4 M (same engine), it felt much easier to drive quicker and I really really liked it. More on that later.

As we approached Goodwood, after a very circuitous route of about 100 miles we stopped for a photo and a chance to swap back in to our own cars to head for the finish. The Mini was declared to be "excellent" and certainly looked good as I pedalled harder than you might imagine in the M3 to keep up.



Then, on arrival at Goodwood we were ushered on to the track for a photo on the start/finish straight surrounded by our fellow enthusiasts.




All in all, a thoroughly splendid day!


In preparation for that day I'd taken my children's car seats out of the Mini (which I sometimes use for the nursery run) and took the opportunity to have a first attempt at sorting out the seats. So the front passenger seat looked like this:




And after a few hits with some Chemical Guys Fabric Clean (about 10 years old!) it looked like this:



Similar story with the rear seat, albeit still much to be done:



And after:




Then it was time for a service. Well, the OBC said I had another 8k miles, but it had been 1 year to the day since the last oil change and given it will be heading out on track again I felt it was probably wise. First job though was to fit the last remaining wheel centre that I had forgotten to do previously:



Bonnet up:




As I have done before, I sourced parts from BMW and oil from ECP. Parts I could get from ECP too of course, but these days BMW do a "Value Line" service kit for the Mini and it's much easier on the wallet than you might imagine. Plus free biscuits and coffee when you pick up....




As is becoming a theme with this car, it was not all plain sailing. The sump bolt wouldn't budge and inevitably it rounded off. So I hammered on a size smaller spanner and by pushing on it with my leg it let go with a crack. In fact I have a set of basic Draper spanners that are "sacrificial" for these kind of jobs although no damage was done.



Luckily, the oil filter came with a new sump plug as I wouldn't want to have used the old one given how it looked after that.



Oil then drained out nicely and like other Mini owners have mentioned on here it was fun and games time to get to the oil filter, which is at the back of engine.




New filter ready to go in to its housing, although this caused some head scratching when it wouldn't go fully in. A proper push, helped by some oil lubrication was what was needed.



I did the cabin/pollen filter too, which is up behind the glovebox. The old one didn't look that bad and the paperwork I have shows it to be only 1 year old, but surprisingly it's dated 2006. Old stock perhaps, or maybe that code isn't a date but anyway, it's gone now and the new one went in easily enough.






Then 4.5l of Shell's finest and it's done. As always there seems to be some uncertainty about what oil to put in these but this is what is currently recommended by Shell and it meets all the LL-04 requirements so I was happy.




The next day I took it to work and nipped out at lunchtime to the tip to get rid of the old oil and some other things and also because all my project cars must serve as a tip car at least once. Fun fact, this "recycling centre" is about 500m from the entrance of McLaren HQ.



With the weather then warming up it was time to get the non functioning aricon investigated. I knew it didn't work and the seller avoided using the "just needs a re-gas" line in their advert so it was a case of fingers crossed that it wasn't anything major.



The engineer quickly identified that my low speed fan wasn't working (which has previously been raised in this thread by somebody but which I hadn't checked myself) and this was causing issues with over-pressurising. But when running at normal pressure it holds gas so for now, I have working aircon as long as I only run it while doing a decent speed. Plans are underway to sort the fan and I have all the parts so it's just a case of getting some time.


Anyway, more to come soon including final removal of the graphics, some paint correction, a massive drama with the R56 brakes and following my drive in the M3, thoughts about a new project.

Last edited by James_G; 28-07-2018 at 02:29 AM.
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:22 PM   #82
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So, it was time to remove the lower graphics on the door.




I had been working through them manually when I had a few spare minutes each evening but it was taking too long:



So out came the toffee wheel seen in a previous update and I was soon making great progress:





As you can see, it creates a lot of dust and leaves a bit of glue residue. So I wiped it down and then using some tar remover got rid of the remaining stickiness. I then clayed each door, this being the results from one half of the first door. Plenty of bonded contaminants:





That left it looking like this. You can see the toffee wheel on my cordless drill in the reflection.




What this photo doesn't show is the outline that was left from the graphics, which is no doubt due to the 5 years or so that they've been on there. You can see it on this shot:




Also, I did some more tidying. The "Checkmate" graphic on the driver's side is missing and the passenger side was looking scruffy so I took the chance to get it removed.




They aren't too expensive to replace, so I may fit some new ones in the future.


So with the need to sort those legacy marks from the graphics the next evening I got the car taped up and got out some Menzerna and a medium cut pad:






I also had a little go at wet sanding on s scratch that had seen some touch up paint. Not perfect, but much better.






I don't do a lot of polishing with my rotary, mainly due to a lack of time, but I think I am doing an OK job here. This is after the medium pad; some refining still required




So I move on to a finishing pad and some Mezerna Power Finish (I think) and end up with this:





Having done both sides it was then time to apply some sealant. I've not used this much before but it goes on very nicely and seems to last well and certainly it's much easier to use than a wax:





And here's how it looks all done. I much prefer how it looks without those door graphics so a good job done.

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Old 14-07-2018, 08:52 AM   #83
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Very nice James, great update!

What’s happened to the brakes?
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Old 14-07-2018, 11:08 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluechimp View Post
Very nice James, great update!

What’s happened to the brakes?
Thanks. Re the brakes there's an update coming soon, but in short they were very tough to dismantle (rust) and being from a very early car it looks like they are different to all other R56 Cooper S brakes.
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Old 14-07-2018, 11:32 PM   #85
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Great work.
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Old 15-07-2018, 02:27 PM   #86
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Lovely Jubbly, you've definitely turned this wee car around now.
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Old 15-07-2018, 11:47 PM   #87
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Still put my happy face on when I see this thread has been updated
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Old 19-07-2018, 01:05 AM   #88
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So, let's talk about brakes.

As a reminder, the 1st Gen Mini Cooper S (R53) is often criticised for poor braking performance due to sharing, as it does, the same caliper and disc setup as a lowly Mini One. In actuality I think they are fine for the road, but after a session on track I wanted to improve them. A very common modification is to fit either the brakes from a 1st Gen John Cooper Works/GP Works or brakes from a 2nd Gen Cooper S, known in Mini circles as an R56. The former would be a straight swap but are rare and expensive so I went with the 2nd option mainly because that was what was available at the time. They are also a straight swap except you need to fit R56 brake hoses.


So after keeping an eye out across forums and eBay without success, I eventually picked up the phone and spoke with Minitopia in Southampton, a dedicated Mini dismantler and service outfit. They had just taken in an early R56 with a dropped valve that they were breaking and the brakes were still available. I drove down the next day, 40 miles or so and this is how they looked:





And this is the car they came from, which was built Nov 2006 just two months in to the R56 build cycle.




I pulled that photo from their Facebook page so I had the registration number for the purposes of ordering pads etc. and only recently did I notice the Scottish flag on the numberplate. So yes I had ended up with a set of calipers and carriers for a relatively low price, but they had presumably seen some Scottish winters and were really quite rusty. But undeterred I got them home and started the process of tidying them up.



Immediately it became obvious that things weren't going to be easy when the first bleed valve I went to remove rounded off. So I did what anybody would do and hammered a socket on to it, which did the trick:




It was exactly the same with what remained of the hoses, although you can't hammer a socket on so in the end an undersized ring spanner was used. As you can see it's the uppermost threads that had corroded:




Now these brakes are a standard (i.e. cheap) sliding caliper/single piston design, whereby the piston acts on one brake pad and that invokes a force on the other pad via a set of sliding pins. The free movement of the pins is essential for correct operation of the brakes. Here's what a pin looks like:



In the shot of my brakes above you can see all four sliding pins in situ but perhaps what you can't see is that they are fully insert and one is very stuck. Two could be removed easily, which were the ones at the top of the caliper for each side, and one came out using a ratchet to gentle rotate it while applying pressure to remove it. Sadly the final one simply wouldn't budge.





So at that point I soaked it in penetration fluid and left it overnight. The next day I tried the ratchet and it started to move but to my horror I was just twisting the top and the part that was still in the carrier wasn't moving. I stopped before it broke and instead tried heat. Lots of heat. But again nothing.


I did some more research and saw on YouTube somebody using an air chisel which essentially hammered them out by applying a force behind the "hat". I don't have an air chisel but I do I have an SDS drill which you can turn the rotation off which amounts to same thing. Naturally, things didn't go to plan:





I don't have a photo but as a result of this I now had what amounted to a stump rusted in to the caliper. The only saving grace was that it had moved about 5mm with the SDS drill before it snapped. So at this point I temporarily gave up and did all the removal of the graphics which you've seen earlier in the thread.


The reason for the pause was so that this delightful bit of late 80s garage equipment could be delivered by my father. I distinctly remember him buying this from the Swindon branch of Halfords in the town centre (before out of town shopping!) in order that he could weld up the ever crumbling sills of my mother's Datsun 120Y. I was probably 13 at the time.





It's fair to say that I hate arc welders as they seem to offer very little in the way of control or precision so my efforts to weld a nut on to the protruding stud were wholly unsatisfactory. Thankfully though I'd made enough of a mess to create sort of mushroom to the top of the broken pin which was just the right size to get the SDS drill behind it and use the hammer action. Once in the vice, I lined everything up, held on tight and finally after 30 seconds (and two weeks) the bloody thing came out.






So now, having finally disassembled everything I was ready to start tidying them up. I used a combination of wire brushes, a Dremel and a flap wheel but sadly those salty Scottish winters had taken their toll and I was never going to get things back to a smooth-ish surface. While that was going on I was ordering new caliper pins and thankfully there are places out there that sell them because BMW themselves don't. No, instead they want to sell you a whole carrier at vast cost, as is their way. Having removed three pins intact I knew that they were 67mm long but all listings for R56 Cooper S brakes showed that pins were 65mm top & 75mm bottom. The only pin kit showing 67mm pins was for rear brakes. Odd. Still I ordered a set of 67mm rear caliper pins anyway along with some new brake bleeders.


Soon it was time to paint everything and thinking ahead I had ordered some black VHT paint. I thought it would go on as a satin black but in actual fact it's more like dark matt grey, so while it suits the rusty surface aesthetic by partly distracting from it, I can't help thinking it looks a bit rubbish. Still, I'm committed by this point and I just want to get them on the car so I carry on.






I let it dry in the unrealistic hope that it will look better in the morning, but of course it doesn't.

A little while later I had amassed all the parts I needed to rebuild the brakes and get them on the car. As well as the Brembo discs (seen in a previous post) I also picked up some Brembo pads and being a man true to my word I bought some HEL brakes lines as I said I would in this post back in March (http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/foru...61#post5442961). Then there's the new caliper pins and some new bleeders from BMW (after I was sent incorrect ones by the seller of the caliper pins)





The caliper pins have a rubber boot on the end of them when in use, I believe to stop moisture but also to create a partial vacuum to aid operation:





However I suspect that means that the part under the boot doesn't see grease during services and contributes to rusting. So as a precaution I make sure I grease the whole pin before doing anything else. 67mm pins fit fine too, so that's a relief!





Then it's time to fit the anti-rattle shims to the calipers (well I assume that's what they are) but for some reason they aren't a perfect fit which will come to bite me later.




And then it's a case of fitting the new hoses and brake bleeders and actually, once all fitted up they look quite respectable. I'd prefer them to be a bit more smooth and glossy but this isn't a show queen and they at least look OEM that way.






That evening I head out to the garage, get the car up on axle stands, wheels off and put releasing fluid on the various bits I need to undo.

Next installment, fitting them, cost breakdown and my thoughts on the car after 3k miles.

Last edited by James_G; 19-07-2018 at 01:36 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 19-07-2018, 09:51 AM   #89
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Good work
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Old 19-07-2018, 09:51 AM   #90
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A very interesting read about the brakes! You’ve certainly got stuck into it! I’d have thrown the towel in some time ago!
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