Exactly one week untill the Yellow Mini of John Unsbee is scheduled to run it’s first race in 3 decades. While lot’s of work has got done over the last couple weeks, it seems like almost an impossible task to get it done it time. Saturday morning was suppose to be the start of the downhill task and the first one was to simply start the engine for the first time!
In todays modern racing we have to meet maximum noise requirements and The Mini as it was run back in the early ’70 apparetnly was never required to have a muffle of any sort. Friday, I picked up a 70″ long straight 2.5″ diamter straight pipe with a flang on one end with hope for a quick and dirtly installation of a flanged Supertrap that I borrowed from a friend. This was the first step Saturday morning and it did not go bad except for the fact that the car is so low to the ground that the end of the muffler is only 3 or so inches off the ground! But I deceided it would work. I just needed a clamp big enough to get around the muffle. I had no room for anything other than a solid mount to the body (it is sure to last for at least one race?). It was now time for my first trip to the local auto parts store for the oversized clamp and a new master power kill switch to replace the defective original Lucas one discovered the over day.
The battery we put into the Mini was an old spare one laying around the shop that I thought would be good enough. That was one of my many errors in judgement during this crash reminder in how much work it is to get a ‘Almost ready to race’ car back on the track.
I solutioned the battery problem by simply stealing the battery out of the Mini Clubman (it always starts great). A week or so ago I thought I had checked the fuel system. I had replaced one of the two fuel pumps and actaully pumped fuel out of the tank into a bottle to insure it worked and looked clean. I noticed at the time the rubber fuel line looked a little old but thought I could get away with it this one time. Afterall, this effort is intended to simply get one race under our belt before the winter restoration is started in ernest. Well, I was wrong again about the fuel line!
When I though I was again ready to start the engine, I dumped a can of new race gas into the left hand tank (it has the dual tanks from a Cooper S), hit the power switch. The smell of fuel lead me to the rear of the car where I found a growing puddle of new race gas. Opening the boot of the Mini, it had almost a inch of fuel on the floor. After lots of rage to clean up all the fuel, I discoved that a old rubber line it not take well to the pressure. With this complex set-up of dual tanks and dual pumps I found it was much easier to simply remove the boot lid to work on all of this. Then found I had to make my second trip to the local auto parts store as almost 4 foot of fuel line needed to be replaced. After I returned, I discoved not only did I have to pull the right side fuel tank to clean it out but the rubber line had deteriorated so badly from the inside out that it actually melted and plugged all the metal unions used in the input and output of the fuel pumps, etc. Although I tried for 30 or 40 minutes to clean the unions I finally resolutely made my third trip out of the shop, this time to the local harware store for new unions.
After replacing all the rubber fuel lines and gas tank, it was time for a simple task of replacing the master kill switch. Wrong! The whole was the wrong size, it was too close to the edge and thus required almost an hour worth of custom fabrication on the lath! At least it is in and now working. Time to try to fire it up again. Crank, crank, crank- no fire, nothing!
Quick check- opps, no rotor in the distributor and none on the shelf. Rather than make another trip to Mini Mania, we borrowed one out of Dennis’s
daily driver! Crank, crank, crank- still nothing! The Mini came with a set of apparently rebuilt twin H2 carbs and thus it is what we installed. John said he ran the car with a Weber but had sold it some time ago. So, the easy answer was to simply install the Weber. Still nothing! Then realized we had not checked the valve adjustment or distributor timing! OK, so now everything was right and Voila- Power at last!
A quick drive up and down the driveway showed us how we close are (or how much we have yet to do) – tomorrow!
More pictures can be found here: http://donracine.miniowners.com/comm_MyGarage.cfm?galID=700
More of the story can be found here: http://www.minimania.com/web/threadid/101045/msgthread.cfm