Author Topic: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?  (Read 100 times)

Offline Tremelune

I have a 1992 Rover Mini 1.3i from Japan that I am putting a Nissan Leaf drivetrain into (hopefully).

I'm getting close to the point where I'll begin fitting the motor, and I'm trying to figure out how to best set this car up while allowing this to be possible. My goals are pretty much daily driver on bumpy LA roads, with jaunts up in the hills and mountains. Comfort and NVH does matter, but I don't want to lose how fun this thing is to drive around a turn. Hopefully anything will be better than the much-maligned coil springs I have on there now, but I see real value in some kind of adjustable coilover suspension.

I'm not certain what the weight/distribution will be when I'm done, but it will increase by a few hundred pounds and move rearward. Top speed is likely to be 75mph, and highway driving will be rare. Power is about 110 hp, but torque is 210 ftlb at zero mph—quite a bit more than any VTEC motor, which makes me nervous about torque-steer and, well, traction. I don't intend to drag race, but I don't want the car to yank me off the road if I goose the throttle.

Does anyone have experience with the MiniTec front or rear subframes? The fronts are designed to work with Honda D/B engines, and I suspect they'll be better suited to the Leaf motor than the stock subframe (though I have no great reason to believe this). My car is right-hand-drive, which I'd kind of like to keep, though it's not that big a deal to me.

I thought these used Miata coilovers and brake components, but it's looking like it might be specific to MiniTec...? It would be lovely to use standard/common components, if possible. I'd love to get disc brakes on the rear, for no other reason than I hate working on drums.

Are there any other aftermarket subframes (front or rear) that might be worth looking into?


Offline MiniDave

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 09:11:25 AM »
I have a lot of experience with MiniTec subframes, and I think it would be a good choice for what you're doing, I assume you're going to stay front drive, and the battery will go in the boot or rear seat area? The advantage of using the MiniTec subframe is you get coilovers, just as you said, however their subframe may not work with RHD, you'd need to call them on that.

John McGee of McGee Custom Minis does a Honda D series frame that will accept RHD just as an alternative, and his frame is well built but his is designed to use the stock Mini suspension.

All that said, you will wind up modifying it considerably to fit the electrics in, why not just build your own subby?

How cheaply can you buy a Leaf these days and get one with a good battery? Cause I heard their battery lost rechargability pretty quickly, only able to be charged to half or 2/3 after a year or so?

I don't know how the drive is set up on the Leaf, but equal length drive shafts and a good, correct alignment should keep the TS at bay, but no question it could get out of hand, especially from a dead stop....wonder if you could make it rear drive instead?

Please do keep up posted on your progress, we'll be glad to help - and Welcome to the Forum!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 09:18:07 AM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline MPlayle

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 09:25:27 AM »
You might consult with these folks: EV West

They did an electric conversion of a Moke some time back.


Offline MiniDave

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 09:55:55 AM »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline Tremelune

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 12:24:28 PM »
I'm in touch with EV West, but they charge six digits for complete conversions, and they have a 4-5 year waiting list (which makes me want to start my own conversion business, but I digress). For the purpose of getting the motor in, I'm hoping any good race shop can fab up motor mounts for almost any subframe in a good spot to keep the half shafts at the same length/angle.

I did not know about MCM! The stock Mini subframe/suspension is good, but I fear the options out there for them might not work well with a strangely-weighted Mini. I plan to put the batteries right behind the front seats, but it's still much closer to the rear axle than the front. I figure with coilovers, I can pretty much have them sprung and valved to suit any configuration (though this may not be true, depending on what shocks are available for the MiniTec subframe. I might not be able to make a great decision until I start weighing the corners of this car as stock and with the ICE components removed.

With regard to RWD, it's a consideration, and there is more than one approach. I think it would take a lot of work to the chassis and the MiniTec RAV4 rear subframe to make it work, and none of it is work I'm capable of doing—same with fabbing up mounts or a subframe of my own. It's either that, or I'd have to keep a (RAV4) transmission and driveshaft in the car (for a AWD), and I'm hoping for a single gear setup.


It's pretty easy to pick up a Leaf for $5-6k these days, but you will want one built after March 2013 to avoid the troublesome battery packs that you mentioned. In terms of swap components, a Leaf nets you 110hp/210tq 10k rpm liquid-cooled motor, an 8:1 reduction gear, a 24kWH battery pack, as well as fast/good charging/BMS. Possibly HVAC as well, but that's a bit of a question mark...It can be a pain to get it all working, though, and you need to keep a lot of crap around. My work in progress on this front is here:

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=199847

Offline MiniDave

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 12:53:39 PM »
Right on all counts.....if you watch the vid, even at 30 mph he could squeal the tires just by stepping on it, and that seems like a much smaller motor/power package that what you're thinking of doing.....so I would def think about doing it rear wheel drive.

There is a thread on TMF of a guy from LA who has his electric up and running, I'll see if I can find it.

Found a few actually.....you may already know of these - if so, disregard

http://elkoja.blogspot.com/

http://www.theminiforum.co.uk/forums/topic/225701-electric-mini-early-planning-phase-comments-welcome/?hl=+electric%20+mini

http://www.evalbum.com/1454

https://www.diyelectriccar.com/forums/showthread.php/grant-electric-mini-71039.html?&highlight=grant+electric+mini

http://www.bdrive.ch/

https://evmini.ca/post/955438887/the-adapter-plate-fits-my-transmission-honda

« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 01:15:20 PM by MiniDave »
1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2004 Audi Allroad 2.7 TT

Offline BruceK

Re: Of subframes, suspensions, torque-steer, and handling...MiniTec?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 03:19:33 PM »
Welcome Tremelune!   Can't wait to see more as you develop this project.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
2007 Triumph Bonneville