Pot joints. No, really.

Brian’s been working on the driveshafts. Rupert, like many Minis of humble origins, uses QL5000 universal joints on the inboard ends of the driveshafts, and CV joints on the outboard ends. QL5000 joints are cheap, but they’re too big to work with the exhaust headers we’re using, so we’ll have to replace them with modern CV joints. Here’s a QL5000 next to the CV replacement:
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Just one tiny issue: the old differential output gears need to be changed to suit the CV joint, and so do the driveshafts. Since we’re changing the diff output gears, we might as well rebuild the differential and choose a more suitable final drive ratio. Oh, wouldn’t you know it- the diff cage is worn beyond being rebuildable. Time for a brand new diff, thanks to our friends at MiniSpares.

This is where the problems start.

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That is not a happy face. While assembling the new final drive gear to the new diff cage, the first bolt pulled its threads out. “You overtightened it!” I say, and have a go myself. The workshop manual says tighten to 60 ft.lb. The threaded hole strips at about 30 ft.lb. Aargh! Looking at the remaining holes it appears the threads have been cut with a blunt or damaged tap- there’s galling everywhere.
Heli-coil to the rescue.
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Once the crappy threads on all of the bolt holes are replaced with Helicoils, the bolts easily tighten to 60 ft.lb without drama. Fingers crossed it all holds together in the car, or else we’ll just have to buy a race spec limited slip diff…

Oh, and “Pot Joint” is what all the workshop manuals call CV joints. The more you know!

Sills need replacing. No surprises here, then.

The sills are often the first part to rust out on a Mini, so I was surprised to find that Rupert’s sills seemed solid. After seeing the craftsmanship in the boot floor, I was also deeply suspicious. Off they come…

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Huh. As gross as it looks, it’s actually not bad in there. Still, I cleaned it up and made sure all was well before putting new sills back on.

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Close encounters of the finnish kind

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a Super Minifin Brake drum that’s been sandblasted and painted in 3M calliper paint?

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Yeah, it’s the third thing. The previous owner went to a lot of trouble to collect all the mad parts they could find, and I love it! Finned alloy drums with built-in spacer blocks and cast iron liners. (Without the spacer blocks the wide Cooper wheel rims won’t fit).

Radius arm bushes

The rear suspension radius arms pivot on a hardened steel shaft, using needle roller bearings at one end and a bronze bush at the other. The needle rollers are easy to replace, but the replacement bronze bush needs to be reamed to size using the special and expensive mini radius arm reaming tool.

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Bugger that, I’m going to turn one of the old pivot shafts into a reamer and do it myself. Where’s my angle grinder?

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I welded a nut to the shaft (oo-er) and reinstalled the old needle roller bearing to keep my flash new reamer aligned. I also forgot to take pictures with the needle roller in place, so you’ll just have to imagine it in the next photo:

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Bloody hell, it actually worked!

More rust

Having made pleasing progress with some of the smaller parts, I was ready to tackle the passenger side A-panel, which was even more rusty than the driver’s side.

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Once the internal panel was removed, a small repair to the external panel was needed, and then the new internal panel could go in temporarily.

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