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  • Retro Clubman VVC

    Hi everyone. I’m James and this is my Rover 1.8VVC steel front Mini Clubman project.

    I’ve been into Minis forever. Dad had them when I was a kid and still has a couple, one of which is a Watson’s B16a kit going into a Clubman Estate. Well it’s been going in for the last 10 years and he tells me is nearly finished…. That’s the trouble with being a perfectionist! My Dad is Bob, he built the Pageant Blue B16a Clubman PYD654V which featured in the Mini Power DVD and Magazines years ago and has more recently surfaced on this forum.

    My first Mini was a 1969 Mk2 Austin Cooper which I loved, but was in need of bodywork and an engine rebuild. It was an original car right down to the engine, small discs, glass and trim and I sorely regret selling it (was 1999 and I sold it for just £1400 with 9 months MOT). I must stop looking at eBay to see what might have been… The rusty old mini market is a rather different place now!

    Following the Cooper I was given a crusty 1978 Mini 850 by a family friend, which I spent my student loan fixing up. Learned how to weld and spray and got MED to build me a fast road A-Series engine & box. I still have this car






    And then….. after years of reading about everyone else’s skinned knuckles on here, I took the plunge in November 2014 and bought a 1975 Mini Clubman with a broken auto gearbox in nice original condition that had been repainted to a good standard.







    Since buying that I have stripped and rebuilt the rear of the car. Amazingly the subframe and suspension parts are original and perfectly serviceable. They got cleaned, painted and put back on.











    Thinking ahead I bought some 10” 1275GT rostyles and am part way through restoring those.






    With Dad’s help and machine tools, I have got a set of Fiesta calipers to fit a standard 8.4” drive flange. These use 7.9” discs we turned down to size and they will just squeeze under the Rostyles. It has to be 10” Rostyles and no arch extensions, so if that doesn’t work it will be an off the shelf disc kit.







    Last weekend I pulled out the engine and broken auto box and sold them to a nice guy called Steve who is going to use bits and pieces from it to build a historic replica (He bought the whole thing just for the old style Hardy Spicer inner joints, the rest will resurface on eBay soon I suspect).



    Originally I planned a turbo as I love the mid-range power delivery and getting a shift on without wringing every rev out of the engine. I thought about a Glanza donor car. However, these are sought after cars in their own right and therefore would have turned into quite a costly project. I love the power delivery of turbos and may still come back to this one day, but for now the budget is quite tight. I also don’t envy the turbo boys getting rid of all that heat!

    After much research and advice from some active members on here I decided to buy an MG ZR 160 VVC. It has some nice bits I can sell, the engine has had an MLS gasket fitted a few years ago and is in fine fettle except for a small oil leak over the gearbox side. It also benefits from having had a KMaps upgrade. The engine, box, MEMS3 ECU and as little wiring as is necessary to make it work will be re-homed in the mini.

    It is insured until this weekend, and I’ve done about five hundred miles in it familiarise myself with the engine and gear ratios. The engine is very strong and the low down torque is much better than I remember Dad’s B16a conversion. Yesterday evening I drove for an hour cross country & stop/start (25 degree+ heat) and the temp didn’t move from the ‘normal’ position – the electric fan didn’t even cut in, so looks like I’ve got a good one.

    I love the challenge. Keeps me off the sofa and my mind off work in the evenings. I enjoy working on my cars and fully intend to keep this when it’s finished. BUT, I’m secretly dreading all the struggles that are ahead. First, I want to keep the fixed steel front (possibly with removable valence). Second, it’s already painted, so I can’t scratch it. Third, I am going to build my own subframe copying the best bits of everyone else’s. Fourth, it’s getting done in my single garage with no pit or ramp. Finally, I don’t like wiring…….

    My vision for the car is to look like an early ‘70s 1275GT (minus the stickers) and for nothing to be visible to give the game away. I have no strict deadline, but I am building this to drive not gather dust, so I am quite motivated right now. Lots of questions to follow, and thanks in advance for your guidance, advice and encouragement!


  • #2
    Nice! Didn't know Hardy Spicer driveshafts were that sought after, I have a spare set in my parts shed...

    I found in researching this that nobody seems to have put one into a solid steel front without cutting it off first. I wasn't prepared to cut mine off so I've managed to do it (though it's still in progress).
    Getting a K into a Clubman engine bay is possible but tricky. The whole assembly will go in from the bottom, but you have to drop the engine into the subby through the top during the design stage until you work out where to position it.

    I opted to allow the bottom front rail of the subframe to show at the bottom of the valance; painted body colour it will not be too obvious.

    You can compare notes on my build thread http://www.16vminiclub.com/showthread.php?t=31745. Looking forward to seeing your progress, it looks like you've done some good work already.

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    • #3
      hi yellow,, nice read, made me feel all happy lol, look farward to seeing this progress,,
      the 2 outer hardys are useable but the 2 at diff are diferant
      "yuck ,more like a 3 r2"
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=tb261HwQNDQ
      SAY WHAT YOU BELEVE,,BELEVE WHAT YOU LIKE,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=3JhaTwP7uuk

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      • #4
        You will be better getting hold of a C6 ratio gearbox out of a non-vvc mgf, this will give better driving ratios than the box out of the zr on 17" wheels.

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        • #5
          Good luck!!!

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          • #6
            Did you get the fiesta calipers under the Rostyles ? I tried this on a set for a lubby Estate I was building and I couldn't make them fit, I tried judicious grinding of part of teh caliper but by the time I got clearance I didn't consider the caliper to be safe so scrapped the lot
            New subframe fitting has begun - slowly

            Build Thread - standard length round nose B series with Rover K series frame, will it all fit ??

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by asahartz View Post
              You can compare notes on my build thread http://www.16vminiclub.com/showthread.php?t=31745. Looking forward to seeing your progress, it looks like you've done some good work already.

              Cheers. Yes I've been looking at your build. You kindly shared steel tube spec with me a few weeks back and I've just to find a supplier now. Places I've tried so far have been wholesale only

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ardonfast View Post
                hi yellow,, nice read, made me feel all happy lol, look farward to seeing this progress,,

                the 2 outer hardys are useable but the 2 at diff are diferant


                Thanks. Yes he knows they're only half the set he needs, but still worth his while. Check out the price of hardy spicer joints on Minispares. I nearly fell off my chair! Think he's making some mix and match set-up, wanted the driveshafts too (which by comparison make the pot joint type drum brake shafts look like drinking straws)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Oz View Post
                  Did you get the fiesta calipers under the Rostyles ? I tried this on a set for a lubby Estate I was building and I couldn't make them fit, I tried judicious grinding of part of teh caliper but by the time I got clearance I didn't consider the caliper to be safe so scrapped the lot

                  It's touch and go. The way most people fit them is to use a metro turbo drive flange. This spaces the disc out from the hub and makes room for the caliper. It also gives a wider track. What I have done is slimmed down the mounting lugs on the hub and the caliper carrier and kept the mini drive flange. So the disc and track are in the right place and the caliper is spaced inwards. My thinking is I'll only be running 165 section 10" tyres so the force on the brake assembly, limited by the tyre, should be handled with ease. It wouldn't get an NCAP rating, but then neither will the rest of the car...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris16v View Post
                    Good luck!!!


                    Thanks Chris. Was good to meet you and the other regulars at Retro show at Santa Pod. I had my Yellow Mini with me that day and got enough info from those at the show to narrow down my search to a MEMS3 ZR160. So thanks all, looks like I'm out of the blocks now

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                    • #11
                      Retro Clubman VVC

                      @Gadget555. Time for the old K Series gearing debate to get going again! I will be running 10" wheels and think I need a C6 box with a Freelander FD. 20mph/1000rpm in top feels about right and matches the gearing on the ZR with its big wheels.

                      Does anyone think I've got the maths wrong please?

                      I had read the G4 box was closer ratio, but the only appreciable difference I can see is 4th to 5th.

                      Assuming it is right, does anyone have a suitable FD for sale or know where I can get one? Also I saw the whole gear-set swap routine posted a while back, but is it less complex to do just the FD?
                      Last edited by Yellow; 03-11-2016, 04:09 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I really like your yellow A-series mini.. I'm rebuilding my 1380 A - series mini in a similar style.. I guess they are group 2 arches with the chrome trim.

                        Your going forward building a K series and i'm going backwards with an A -series build

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                        • #13
                          Cheers. Yes group 2. Came from Avonbar about 15 years ago. Quality is great, but take your time - I fitted to the car w/o the rubber strip and had them on and off several times filing the mounting points to the exact profile of the body. Then painted off the car and finally fitted with rubber strip. I used cap head stainless bolts which allow you to pull the arch up tight to the body and much nicer looking than self tappers as well as being less likely to cause rust at the mounting points

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                          • #14
                            The cars look great James. Will be good to see this progress.

                            I've looked at your gearbox calculations but it's lots of numbers but don't really mean a lot to me. I think this is simpler to use. I've added in the 10" wheels and C6 ratios.

                            http://www.cargister.com/calculator-...[2][]=

                            As stated on my other post, the 3.6 looks good in theory but the parts are hard to find. A C6 box is under £50 and very easy to find.
                            Last edited by AGoaty; 17-09-2016, 10:20 PM.
                            If tha does owt fo nowt, olas do it fo this 'en.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AGoaty View Post
                              I've looked at your gearbox calculations but it's lots of numbers but don't really mean a lot to me. I think this is simpler to use. I've added in the 10" wheels and C6 ratios.



                              Thanks Andrew that's great. The info about revs after up change is also very useful.

                              I have also re-thought rpm on motorway having read an ancient post on this from Gazwad when you were just moving to your diesel gear set. 4,000rpm feels a lot in my A mini as I'm at 60% max revs, but I need to adjust my thinking to this being not much over 50% max revs on the K and also an inherently smoother and better balanced engine.

                              Next step for me is stripping the donor. The insurance expired yesterday so no reason to delay. I am glad I drove it for a few weeks as there's only so much you can tell from online gear calculators. Even in the ZR at times it felt high geared (rate of acceleration at speed in 5th noticeably dropped off compared to lower gears) almost like hanging onto the revs for ages waiting for the vtec in Dad's old car. So I now understand the sensitivity on gearing.

                              I know there's an oil temp sensor preventing huge revs before the car is warm, but does anyone know at what rpm does the vvc begin to activate? And at what rpm is it fully 'on'? Interested to learn as I think it is quite progressive rather than just on/off in the Hondas

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