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Carolynn and Daveís Mini Challenges.

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Mini Turbo - Click on Pictures for a larger image

     I had always wanted to try a turbo charged Mini but the only Mini I had at the time was the Cabriolet which was perfectly healthy. This coupled with the fact it has no roof and is therefore considerably less strong that a tin top prevented me from attempting such a project.

    However, an MOT failure Mini became available for next to nothing cost (which became known as Freebie for just that reason) and this presented the perfect solution to the desire to try a Turbo-Charged Mini.

     As anyone who has contemplated fitting a metro turbo engine with Garrat T3 turbo will know there are many hurdles to overcome, these are basically as follows :-

i) Fuel Tank Modifications to add return pipe and enlarge fuel pipe diameters.

ii) Change mechanical Fuel Pump for Electric fuel pump and add fuel pressure regulator.

iii) Modify Engine Bulkhead to allow turbo to fit in engine bay.

iv) Improve cooling if any decent performance is required, oil cooler recommended as turbo has only oil for cooling. Add electric fans.

v) Sort out air filter fitment

vi) Tilt engine forwards helps making the plenum chamber fit without hitting the bulkhead.

vii) Most importantly improve brakes and subframe strength/mountings (experience has shown rubber ones tear under fierce acceleration).

viii) Any other things Iíve forgotten!

The hardest part of the project is knowing where to start, I however didnít have much choice as the Mini was in need of some serious TLC. New sills, new wings, new front panel, A panels etc all the usual items that rust away on a Mini.

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As can be seen from the pictures it looked reasonable from the outside but proved poor underneath like a lot of minis. Some serious patching later and a set of sills and the underneath was good as new.

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Once the sills and floor repairs were done it was on to the front end. With the intention of creating a significant increase in power output the front had to be strong so a new front end was the only choice with some repairs to inner wings and surrounding areas with some Ďbeefing upí here and there.

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With the new front firmly welded on it was really starting to look more respectable .

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I always planned to make a Mini trailer so fitted a tow bar at the same time, however the back end needed some TLC also and after a new boot floor panel was fitted a new rear valence and corner pockets finished it off nicely.

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Nothing went easy on this Mini and painting was by far the biggest hurdle. A re-spray by a previous owner had left a layer of semi cured soft laquer that we suspect didnít have enough hardner in it.

Any attempt to spray a panel left a stunning result which lasted for up to a day before it began to shrink and crack exposing the blue underneath. I tried an isolator layer but that just shrunk and cracked as well. After many hours of trying to find compatible paints I resorted to industrial strength aeroplane paint stripper and removed all paint down to bare metal panels. This took a lot of effort but painting was no longer a problem after this.

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Initially I fitted the original 1 litre engine and fitted it up with the T3 turbo, this gave very peaky performance with some good torque on boost.

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But as always you can always use more power .... right ?

 

On to the 1300 turbo engine fitment.

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