Author Topic: Just joined..looking for some help.......  (Read 1859 times)

Offline Lumbago

Just joined..looking for some help.......
« on: December 25, 2020, 10:07:32 AM »
Hello all ! Just joined. So, I want a Mini......I have never bought a car online; I have been going to BaT everyday to look to see what's for sale.

I have to say, after viewing so many Minis there and hearing of the oil leaking engines, rusty bodies and assorted problems with these cars (I understand these cars are 50 - 60 years old), I am thinking I might like to just buy a Brit. Heritage body and start for square one. Although some of the Minis on BaT are quite nice, they tend to be out of my price range. I am looking to spend the money on one over maybe 3-4 years on a project Mini. I am not a purist, meaning I do not care if it's a factory built car with all the "proper" pieces in place. I just want a mini.

That being said............I would appreciate some feedback about a "modern" build. I know it's a wide topic. I guess I am looking for any help from those individuals that may have been thru one of these builds. What problems to look for, parts availability, where to buy the body from, etc. For instance can you source EVERY part needed for a complete build (windows, door handles)?

Not trying to blow my own horn, but I honestly think because I can take my time with this build (again, looking at likely a 3- 4 year build time) and now having present knowledge of issues that effected the earlier minis, (I do remember hearing that Lucas wiring was sub-par for instance), I could build myself a really nice "new" Mini. It's a big investment for me, I even will have to have a shed built for this build because the wife won't let me use our garage! (We are in the Northeast, so she want s the car in the garage in the winter)............

So, any help would be appreciated............... thanks in advance...

Offline LarryLebel

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2020, 10:38:41 AM »
It will cost way more building up a Mini from scratch than buying one. Also, the stories you are hearing about Lucas products are exaggerated.

Offline 94touring

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2020, 11:06:30 AM »
Well I suppose I can speak to this.  I've done a few (maybe a handful at this point) full top to bottom builds.  I've owned and been driving minis going on 20 years.  I even daily drove them for years and have done thousands and thousands of miles on cross country road trips.  Anyways to your concerns. They leak oil.  If they don't leak today odds are they'll leak tomorrow.  Charm and character of the car really and unless you have a major issue nothing to lose any sleep over.  Rod change gear boxes for example will leak like the Valdez when the rod change seal goes bad, but it's a $15 fix.  Rust varies.  I've bought cars that were original shells and immaculate to literally falling in half.  You can certainly buy a Heritage shell and that's appealing for a number of reasons, but you'll still probably want a doner shell to transfer parts from.  You'll need to transfer the vin at the very least, and the correct years to match the shell type.  Most parts can be bought new so technically you can start from scratch but that's going to be one expensive build.  I have one shell in my shop right now that's sole purpose is to reshell his very rusted current shell.  He was able to buy the shell cheaply and it does need some attention to rust, but he'll probably save 5k-7k going this route vs heritage shell or fixing his current shell.  He'll swap parts over and do some suspension rebuilding along the way.  As far as electrical goes, these are about as simple as they get.  Well, except for the innocenti that's sitting in my shop  :-[   They're old cars and harnesses are cheap to buy new.  The 66 I finished rebuilding last year received a new harness just because it looked like crap compared to the rest of the car as a finished product.  You could make your own harness but honestly you'd be wasting your time and money.  The bullet connections could be improved upon perhaps on an original harness, as most of my issues have been those coming loose in the engine bay going to the headlights.  That's been rare however.

Offline Willie_B

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Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2020, 11:23:47 AM »
Yes you can do it. Not cheaply though. I am building a new moke up with a new body. When I got the body a few years back it was about $10,500 delivered to Atlanta Ga. Now it's more due to import duty and just higher cost. All the other bits from drivetrain to suspension are available new or rebuilt. You can also go with a different drivetrain like Honda. How deep are your pockets and how much time do you have available to really do this? Building it is pretty basic mechanics, simple and straight forward.

Offline MiniDave

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2020, 11:45:47 AM »
What's your budget? That will make the decision for you.....

Edit: Have you priced a new shell? A Mk1 is $16,500 plus shipping......you can buy a really nice complete, running Mini for that! Later model shells are about $12,000 plus shipping.

I can't imagine that building one up from scratch will be a cost effective way to go.....and the time and effort involved are huge. When you get a bare shell it's exactly that - bare metal, you have to do all the sealing, undercoating and painting. Then your project has just begun. There is no sense installing old nasty parts in a brand new shell, so you will either buy all new stuff or refurbish every part of the car - it's a HUGE undertaking. And the cost will be staggering to do it right.

I think your best buy is to get a Japanese market car - they are well cared for and rarely rusty - a good platform to build off of. From there you can make it your own - you can also get an automatic if that's important to you. That way you can spend your time and money fixing it up as needed and still get to drive it. I recommend one of these for a couple other reasons too - they will have the later technology, either an HIF carb or SPi fuel injection - they also almost all have A/C if that's important to you.

Driving the Mini is what it's all about - especially in your neck of the country there are fantastic roads, and if you check there will be a Mini club that has all sorts of events to join in....that's the real joy of owning a Mini.

Welcome to the forum, if you have specific questions we are happy to help get you answers.

Good luck with your project, whatever you decide to buy please start a thread and post it here!

PS I have an '89 LHD I'll be selling in the spring, PM me for details if you're interested.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 12:04:47 PM by MiniDave »
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline Lumbago

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2020, 12:02:36 PM »
Thanks to all for your replies. To answer a couple of questions asked from my repliers: Money: I am fortunate enough to have about 10k a year to spend on my vehicle. Time: Lots, I am retired. Mechanical ability: Very good. I would like to "tweak" this car, (for instance I saw where someone had put the fuse box displayed on the dashboard and the fuses were lit up).

Donor car: I wondered if it would be needed. I know that there are different "Marks"; is one donor car model easier to acquire? The British Heritage bodies come in different models, so I would want the model easiest to get a reasonably priced parts car for (I know the Brit. Her. Company makes a "Clubman" body shell, but I do not like the looks of that model) What might be a reasonable price I should pay for a donor car?

As for the statement that it would cost much more to build from scratch. Understandable for sure, but I look to my actually being able to put more into the build because I can do it over time, and the issue of rot and rust on a older car is a major issue for me (unless of course I am lucky enough to find a very preserved barn find....)

I just saw the last post as I was writing this reply. The Japanese market idea sounds very intriguing...so now this brings up a new set of questions!

How do you acquire a car from Japan, (actually I like this even more, because I want my mini to go "full English"...right hand drive).


How do I know the car seller is legit? that's a long way to send money (I know there are some type of safeguards (PayPal?) but I have never used them.

Offline MiniDave

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2020, 12:07:58 PM »
Buy from an established importer - Bruce, Michael or Dan can weigh in on this later as they're our importation specialists.

Or buy one that's already here and plated, I think most of them are in Florida.

If you like, call me tomorrow - I'm in the midst of working on a Japanese Import right now...I can give you some tips.

Dave - 913-948-3652 I'm retired too, so anytime is fine.

here's my thread on this car - http://restorationmini.com/forum/index.php?topic=2366.0
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 12:10:32 PM by MiniDave »
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline MPlayle

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2020, 12:17:14 PM »
A few years ago now I did a full restoration of a Moke with a new body tub like Willie_B.  He sourced his new tub from the same place I did.  My original Moke tub was a lot of patches on patches and was rusting out again.

Here is the thread on mine:
http://restorationmini.com/forum/index.php?topic=1139.0

It was not a "budget" effort - involved a lot of new parts and refurbishing others and was not inexpensive.

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2020, 12:44:25 PM »
Even with the excellent parts supply available for our cars, I donít think thereís a way to build a Mini completely from scratch with online ordering with a credit card. There are just so many little parts, brackets, widgets, and so forth that are not available to purchase new.  Or even find used.  So you have to have a donor car - not just for the VIN - but for all the other minutiae that make up a full and complete car. 

But why go that route?  I agree with Dave that the most logical option is to get a complete car from Japan.  As far as Iíve seen rust is not an issue for cars from Japan like it is from the wet climate of the UK.  Once you get Japanese-spec Mini as the starting point you can do whatever you want with it. Or just drive it and enjoy it.

Hereís an example of a Mini available for export from Japan.  Itís got the bigger 1.3 engine and still has a carburetor so you avoid the complexity of the later fuel injection cars. 

https://www.beforward.jp/rover/mini/bh264507/id/1843639/

Under $8000 to arrive at the port in Baltimore, and figure maybe $600 for brokerage fees and custom clearance.  I dealt with this export company last year when I imported a Toyota truck using their services.  So if you want to pursue something like this I can tell you about my experiences in more detail.   Of course there are other sources for Minis in Japan, so this is not the only way.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline MiniDave

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2020, 01:05:20 PM »
Bruce are you sure that one is carburetted? It has the same air cleaner as this SPi......

I would not fear an SPi, they seem to be really reliable and it's nice to not have to fiddle with a choke or anything.

That said, the HIF44 in mine works pretty well in all weather once you get the right needle and get it tuned properly.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline 94touring

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2020, 01:13:17 PM »
That one is an spi, but very easy to convert to carb.

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2020, 01:27:03 PM »
I just took a closer look at that Mini and I donít see a choke knob on the dash.  So itís likely one of the first fuel injected models.   So leave it as is, or make one of your first projects to convert it to a carburetor.   Michael here has experience in doing that.

Edit: you guys spotted it is a fuel injected model before I did.  I was thinking that because it was a Ď92 it would still have the carb. But I think Japan got only the SPI models after a certain date while the UK continue to use carbs for a while longer.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 01:30:08 PM by BruceK »
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline 94touring

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2020, 01:31:35 PM »
Engine bay is a dead giveaway.  All the extra electrical components along the firewall and the ecu on the right inner wing.  They're great when they work.  It's when they stop working.  The nice thing with the Spi is you can go carb, where the Mpi's you can't.  Not easily anyways.   

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2020, 02:04:05 PM »
Engine bay photos? Yeah, would have spotted that. But Iím looking at that Japanese Miniís site on my phone and there are no engine bay pictures shown. Must be a slightly different site with more photos when you look using a computer.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline 94touring

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2020, 02:05:53 PM »
Engine bay photos? Yeah, would have spotted that. But Iím looking at that Japanese Miniís site on my phone and there are no engine bay pictures shown. Must be a slightly different site with more photos when you look using a computer.

Excuses  ;D

Offline MiniDave

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2020, 02:23:54 PM »
There are really only a couple of possible problem areas on an SPi that will keep it from running or cause issues - the crank sensor, the intake air sensor and the coolant pipes that go thru the intake manifold. All of those parts are available.

The really big issue would be either a dead ECU (there should be plenty of used ones around from those that have been converted to carbs) or a drivability issue - not having the software to diagnose it means throwing parts at it and hoping you get it - or putting a carb on it, which isn't all that expensive. Carb, intake and distributor gets you running, that and some small wiring changes.
Complete failure at retirement

1989 Cooper Racing Green
2009 Clubman S
2014 Audi Allroad

Offline MPlayle

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2020, 03:28:11 PM »
The SPIs can get sputtering issues when the Throttle position sensor and the Stepper motor start acting up.  Those were NLA at the time I did the conversion to carb on the one Mini I owned.

Swapping ECUs is not always an option as there were several versions.  Those with the built-in immobilizer function are code matched to specific key fobs and require program updates when swapped.  Last known, there was only one place in the UK that offered that service.

As noted, it is not too difficult to swap a SPI Mini back to a carb.  I documented the process in a thread on this forum.


Offline jedduh01

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2020, 03:56:57 PM »
Mini's do come up for sale many other places than Mini Mania forum and Bring a trailer = those two avenues in my opinion are the highest costs.

 I say this , from a local guy ... he has for the past 2 years been buying mini's from England... Ebay kindof.. and shipping them over.
  He has gotten what he pays for each time.  The CHEAPER cars bring issues... the more expensive cars are better ready.. But there is still a likelihood he's buying a car with problems in some way .. CHEAP Cars are likely being sold to avoid fixing for MOT road tax.

 Case in point= he imported an 85... 1275..   it arrived showing a bit worse for wear. bubbling rust all over.      Ran so so . but stopped and handled horribly ..  Needed Steering rack . suspension  busings. FULL brake job including calipers.

This car ate up his resale profit and i think he moved it on for little or nothing over what he spent but the numbers are close to this

 Car = USD = 6000$
  Transport - Ocean + Inland to Charlotte = 1500.
    Repairs ( i did ) he's not a mechanic - 1500$
it still   Needed bodywork to be 'pretty', tires were wore out . it needed other things. not to mention what other he may have had in it.. Title costs  etc...

 Sold for around 11K. 

I know he has just received 2 more cars that from the pictures look MUCH better than this past
 one... will probably be priced a little higher but not the stratsophere of an original MK 1 or something online.

 I know this person has sold 4 = nearly locally = not even posting for sale on big websites.   So A local sale is easy that's why you wont find them up for sale.

If you want his info I can share= send me an email . I can pass info .  I do not know what he's asking for these two freshly entered cars and i haven't seen hem yet.  Apparently they don't need big work because he hasn't hired me to do the big stuff.

jhandy59 @ gmail.com


 


 
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 03:59:48 PM by jedduh01 »

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2020, 04:22:55 PM »
All that makes a car from Japan even more attractive IMO.  Assuming a buyer is okay with a 1980s or 1990s model because thatís all the Japanese market seems to offer at reasonable prices.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2020, 04:35:39 PM by BruceK »
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2020, 04:33:35 PM »
Engine bay photos? Yeah, would have spotted that. But Iím looking at that Japanese Miniís site on my phone and there are no engine bay pictures shown. Must be a slightly different site with more photos when you look using a computer.

Excuses  ;D

The phone screen is pretty small. And the sun was in my eyes.
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline gr8kornholio

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2020, 06:18:13 PM »
Patiently waiting for the ďBruce listĒ of currently available minis from other sources  4.gif
I am the GR8KORNHOLIO! Are you threatening me?

Saussie Aussie 1965 Australian MK1 Mini.
"Beavis" - 07 MY/MY MCS, B/MY Konig Daylites, JCW sideskirts, TSW springs, TSW lower rear control arms -- Exploring the country with new friends since 11/09.

Offline BruceK

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2020, 08:26:19 PM »
Okay Mark. Iíll try and put one together tomorrow.   
1988 Austin Mini
2002 MINI Cooper S
1992 Toyota LiteAce (JDM)
1992 Honda Beat (JDM)

Offline MPlayle

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2020, 11:30:28 AM »
Buy from an established importer - Bruce, Michael or Dan can weigh in on this later as they're our importation specialists.

I'll provide some info to this point.  Bruce can add more as well.

It used to be easy to do the who;e process yourself - not anymore.

Not long ago I imported a Burton (non-Mini) from the Netherlands.  I used the selling company's import representative and customs broker.  It made the process much simpler as the paperwork has increased in complexity over the years.  The extra fees were reasonable and the process hassle-free.

Some services will offer the extra option (at a cost) of having the car transported from the arrival port to you.  This may be worth while depending on the restrictions at the particular arrival port.  Depending on the port, you may or may not be able to pick the car up yourself.  The bigger and busier ports will require you to pay for an authorized escort with what is called a TWIC card or have a bonded service bring the car out to you.  The smaller ones do not - they clear you by your paperwork - letting you pick the car up yourself.  You can usually look up the specifics (or contact information for asking) at the website for the desired arrival port.

Example: Coming into Texas, the port of Galveston now requires the escort (at an extra fee), but the port of Freeport does not.  That is where I had the Burton shipped to via RORO (Roll On, Roll Off).

The process for having it shipped in a contained is much different and definitely requires an importer's services.

The big key either way is steady communication both ways to understand all the steps.

Offline 94touring

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #23 on: December 26, 2020, 12:38:44 PM »
The bus I imported from Brazil that landed in Houston was only another $600 to have it shipped to my shop in Tulsa. Well worth it to me. 

Offline Lumbago

Re: Just joined..looking for some help.......
« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2020, 05:48:59 PM »
@mplaye:

Thanks for the shipping tips. If I were to import a car from Japan, I would have it come in to the port of NY. I would want also to have someone take it from there to my location in CNY. I do not know just how much that would be additionally, but for myself, I would have to pay it because I do not have the availability to go there to pick up. Buying from Japan I think now would be my preferred way to acquire a Mini.......