Because of the confined workspace, there are a few tasks that have owners groaning and rolling their eyes when their Classic Mini needs work in these areas. A big one that I have to do on my own car is the steering rack. I’ve had the typical banging noise under the toe board as the car rolls over bumps and I can move the front wheels against the steering arms and see and hear a bit too much free-play! The steering rack was about the ONLY thing I did not change as I restored my 66 Cooper S from the body shell up. It seemed fine and the car only had about 50.000 miles on it. Still, when you consider that you can change the rack in about 10 minutes on a bare shell, and how cheap the replacements are, it’s very much a false economy to hope that it’s fine!
Now, I have to at least drop the front sub frame a foot or so, and while not terribly difficult, it can be a bucket of worms as I’ll have to separate metal brake lines, clutch hose, shift linkage, engine stabilizers, some of the wiring harness, the exhaust system, fuel plumbing…. I’ve about talked myself out of it just thinking about all the things that could get stuck and make the project bigger! The good news is that the steering rack and tie-rod ends are usually in stock and not at all expensive… here’s the close-ratio LHD unit for my Mk1:
Another notoriously maddening area to work on is the radiator. Most models are a very tight fit to the fan and the surrounding sheet metal. But it’s ether try to finesse it out, or pull the whole engine out WITH the rad! The good news here is that we’ve scored a good buy on the most common radiator, and are passing the savings on to you…. a NEW rad for less than the cost of cleaning out an old one. That should lessen the pain of banging up your knuckles to install it!