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Rover Mini

Rover Mini Published: 25th Sep 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Rover Mini
Rover Mini
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Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come

1. ENGINE OUTPUT

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Coopers share 1275cc MG Metro (72bhp) unit kicking out 61bhp in carb form and 63bhp in later (single point, SpI) injected tune, care of a cam taken from 95bhp Metro Turbo albeit with inferior cylinder head; in ’97 a twin (Mpi) took over. Mini Sport sells 90bhp Mpi Stage 3 head and exhaust for £1319. De CAT pipes from Minispeed cost £25, sports exhaust a smidgen over £60. John Cooper kits: S packs 78bhp or 90bhp, recently updated.

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Usual faults apply; undue crank and tappet noise, excessive smoking etc. Has earlier unit been fitted? Engine numbers start from 12A2AF53 for model with an oil cooler 12A2AG01 for those without and 12A2EF77 for fuel injected engines. Fuel injection system is simple and as a result inherently reliable but can be reverted to carburettors if you wish. Exhaust is Cooper twin down pipe and Cooper S rear set up come replacement time. Minispeed’s flexible neck repair piece cost under a tenner.

2. ENGINE AND FUELLING

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1275 block can be stretched to 1380cc or more than 1400cc but latter needs watching. Typically a 1293/1380cc engine from Minispeed starts from under £800 for a budget kit to £1100 for a ‘fast road’1380cc. Metro Turbo engine can be fitted as ERA proved, but you can gain similar power by normal tuning such as Swiftune camshaft and replacing ECU with a mappable type or ‘tricking’ existing type says The Real Mini Company. Performance air filters offer cheap couple of added horses.

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Metro engine an improvement over earlier engines but still suffers from usual wear including worn valve guides leading to smoking. If Mpi engine cuts out at idle it is normally MAP wire breaking due to engine rocking (worn stabiliser bar) or failed Stepper motor which slightly raises engine speed. Former can be by-passed or fit a a new loom. Other problems relate to sensor failing causing high emissions and, in contrast, air leaks on the inlet manifold from its tiny capillary stubs.

3. COOLING

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It’s amazing but for years people have been crying out for a better method of cooling the Mini than its side mounted rad and when Rover did get around to it for 1997 – with a conventional front mounted radiator and electric fan – now there’s complaints Mpi models are most prone to overheating! Some say its due to a mix of too much cramped under the bonnet together with today’s fuels. Have a new rad or an uprated one made and run it on Evans Waterless Coolant.

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Side-mounted radiator is still prone to becoming clogged up with road dirt and debris – best to remove and flush every couple of years. On fuel injection models, the infamous by pass stub hose between water pump and head was done away with and heater is fed via a special sandwich plate. For competition you can remove ’stat but must fit proper blanking sleeve and a restrictor plate or coolant flow will be impaired. Speak to a Mini specialist on best ways to keeping cool.

5. TRANSMISSION

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1275 Rover Minis used same internal ratios but the fuel injected versions used a slightly lower final drive ratio of 3.2:1 against 3.1:1 which gives slightly better poke although latter is better for cruising. If you wish, earlier transmissions can be fitted with more frantic gearing or you can fit a close ratio gear set; Mini Sport sells a complete new ’box with diff for under £1300. However, being straight cut gears they are more aimed at competition and very noisy for road use. Mini Sport LSDs from £193.

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Mini ‘boxes can give trouble while injection models in particular have more a reputation for weak second gears which some say is due in part to the gear casings made thinner although jumping out of gear (an old Mini trait) can also be due to simply excessive engine movement caused by a worn engine stabiliser bar – its bushes can easily be replaced cheaply. Mini Sport sells transmission overhaul kits for under £200. You can fit tougher competition driveshafts costing a similar amount (Mini Sport).



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