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post #1 of 101 (permalink) Old Apr 10th, 2012, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
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Mini Cooper N/A rally build

I thought I would post the progress of the rally Mini build as I slowly put this car into rally mode. Don't expect a mega bucks build as I have a very limited budget, also don't expect to see many Mini parts going on the car! The donor car is a 2004 base Mini Cooper which was an ex rental car so the interior was not great but as a rally car this is not important plus it was cheap. I got the car off Ebay with the seller saying the car ran ok apart from a rough idle. After investigation I found #2 had a stripped thread for the spark plug. Worse still was in had already had an insert fitted so I used a big sert kit to fix the problem but to my surprise the engine still ran rough. So I pulled off the cam cover and removed the rockers. Then hooked up the air line to #2 cylinder and put some pressure in. Checking the intake and tail pipe revealed the tail pipe had an healthy blast of air coming out. Then I made a tool to remove the valve springs with the head on so I could push the valves down to see any damage. One exhaust valve had a burnt seat so game over. Next I'm going to get a Cooper S head as the exhaust valves are better.

I have finally got started on the Mini to replace the head, while I'm in take apart mode I decided to remove the front bumper and all the junk in that area. Damn there is a ton of junk. The battery box, intake box, raditor plastic surround, ABS area covers. Weighs a ton. For sure the battery box and intake box are going in the basura! How about the radiator surround? I figure I can make a few brackets to hold the radiator and bumper and loose all that junk. Also the A/C system is going.....and what's with the fan under the engine????(power steering cooling??) That's a first for me! plus the fan was well seized so not doing much. Interesting thing is the Subaru Impreza WRX radiator has the hose mounts in the same places and just fits between the chassis rails so this could be an option for a bigger radiator?

Thanks to my parts Sponsors EBC brakes and Braille race batteries.



Now I'm in Costa Rica driving the Rally Swift GTI, so no progress for 3 weeks.
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post #2 of 101 (permalink) Old May 1st, 2012, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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Kicked off the build today and hit problems. As reliability wins rallies I'm replacing the water pump with a new one but the bolts were scary stuck until I slowly got them out. Then I found the metal coolant pipe was really coroded, also the radiator fan sounded a bit suppect so I'm replacing that too. I got the "S" cylinder head on but not connected everything up yet.

The original raditor will be toast in no time being plastic ends so I've opted for a 4 core rally aluminum Subaru WRX radiator which will fit after some modification. I plan to junk the plastic surround and make the bumper a one piece off for easy access. Also I found a belt to run the alternator/water pump without the need for the dummy A/C pulley.
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post #3 of 101 (permalink) Old May 2nd, 2012, 06:59 AM
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Yeah lose the plastic surrpund. It breaks so darn easily you'll be replacing it every event anyway.


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post #4 of 101 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2012, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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The surround is goooooone! That was some week! finally got the Subaru WRX radiator in, a 165F thermostat, Way motor mounts, Lowes CAI hahaha, Computer servo fan for the power steering pump, custom mesh grille plus putting the head back on. I hope tomorrow to have the car running.
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post #5 of 101 (permalink) Old May 13th, 2012, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
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Regarding the radiator. I have a high regard for Subaru parts as they seem to be strong and built well.( Some Subaru's see 300,000 miles without issues) The competition parts (STI) are even better. So having worked on Subaru's I knew the inlet and outlet were in the correct position to fit the Mini. The length is about 30" so just fits between the chassis rails. It took me about 8 hours to make a frame the support the 95 WRX aluminum 4 core radiator. I didn't use the plastic surround but maybe it's posible to use it? Also I made some brackets to support the wheel arch liners and used Dzus fasteners to hold on the front. bumper. The bottom hose was a auto store universal hose and the top I cut up the original bottom hose. The good thing is the WRX radiator comes with a small pipe extension near the top outlet which I used to bleed the system and then blocked it off. The original fan I cut up and made brackets to fit the radiator. I also made some heat shields to duct the heat away from the intake. I wanted the radiator a little forward to give more clearance so I cut the inner hood metal away to gain clearance and save some weight.The CAI is a 2" to 3" Lowes(similar to Texas homeware) rubber toilet pipe connected to a PVC pipe($10 for both) then to the cone air filter. Works and sounds great! The 165F comes from a 2001 V8 Ford Explorer. The size is 54mm so there is enough metal to copy the Mini. For the skid plate I made a frame that goes under the radiator and bolts up to the sub frame.
Got the Mini on the road and all seems well so far.



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post #6 of 101 (permalink) Old May 14th, 2012, 12:46 AM
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looks good to drive very dynamic and have power but not super power
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post #7 of 101 (permalink) Old May 14th, 2012, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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I'll be working on the lack of power issue later.
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post #8 of 101 (permalink) Old May 14th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the interesting build update and latest pictures!
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post #9 of 101 (permalink) Old May 14th, 2012, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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My pleasure, I'm now in Costa Rica for 3 weeks so no progress until I return.
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post #10 of 101 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2012, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Last week was an all out attack on removing the extra wiring I don't need, such as rear wiper/window heater, airbags, speakers and door mirror. This is best done with scissors and gloves as the black mess thet wrap around the wires is very sticky and messy. I managed to remove all the wires up to the bulk head, and then I cut and taped them off until I get the car to Costa Rica when I will remove the dash and heater to remove those wires I can't get at. Everything else is about done apart from some brackets to drill out.
As I only get a few hours a night so I have to make a good progress! I finished drilling out brackets I don’t need, wrapped electrical tape around the wiring loom, moved the fuse box to a better location. Stripped the front seats to make a temporary support for the OMP seats until I get the cage in which will also support the seats. I used the base of the seat with welded on brackets to bolt the seat to. This give me some driving position adjustment before I permanently secure the seat in. Looks like a jet fighter seat! Hahaha.
Today was the first time I really got to drive the car and I can say it's pretty good. Seems to be nearly as fast as the Swift but the handling is very nice, even got a bit sideways this morning which I like! The D1 set at SP9 makes the throttle respond as I like it.

I'm happy to report that the WRX raditor performs better than I expected. Driving around the temp reads about 1/4" below normal and in traffic goes up to normal without the use of the cooling fan which I have a manual switch. I sat for 40 mins in traffic at 75F outside temp with the needle at normal. If I flicked the fan on the temp needle dropped 1/4"
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post #11 of 101 (permalink) Old Jun 16th, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Excellent news!
Your mods seem to have worked out well and hopefully the legendary handling that Mini's have been famous for over the years, will give you some advantage over the competition.

Having watched Mini's being built at the Oxford factory.....the complete dashboard, heater assy, wiring and upper steering column is fitted as a complete assembly, secured with 4 long bolts (2 on each outer end of the dash)......hidden behind plastic trim panels. It can be removed in the same way if required.
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post #12 of 101 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2012, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Well so far it seems to handle well without any suspension mods.

A few photos





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post #13 of 101 (permalink) Old Jun 20th, 2012, 05:46 PM
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looks like an awesome build so far!

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post #14 of 101 (permalink) Old Jul 4th, 2012, 09:57 AM
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PDX - Performance Driving Experience @ Fernley Raceway 30 minutes East of Reno, Nevada

Calling all Mini's June 30—July 01, 2012

Reno SCCA is holding a two day track event and you are invited. Come with a group or an individual enthusiast, we will do our best to make you feel at home. Whether an experienced track day driver, racer or a novice we have a group for you. The fabled 2.8 mile Course “B” at Reno-Fernley Raceway will be utilized.

Classroom and in-car instruction is provided for all beginner and intermediate level PDX drivers and is available for advanced drivers that wish to hone their skills.
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Building a similar car in the UK
Raising front and rear strut tops and going for Bilstein struts as cant afford Proflex
Post pics soon
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