It’s Alive!

It’s Alive!

Though slightly delayed, there has been a ton of progress on the VTEC build for January. After many cold days and nights in the garage, I am happy to say that the motor is running! Let’s get started!

Alternator Adjustments

It turns out that the alternator still was not fitting right because it was hitting the sidewall of the body.

After revisting it, I fined the original modifications, but also grinded down the pulley nut to allow for more clearance.

Intake Manifold

After reaching out to multiple shops, I still have not found anyone willing to weld the intake manifold for my application. However, I didn’t want this to hold me back from testing if the motor even turned on, so I ended up using some 45 degree silicone elbows for fitment.

On the other hand, I found that the JDM intake manifold had a bunch of coolant bypasses involved. Since I live in a region that does not require the intake manifold to warm up, I ended up purchasing a SKunk2 intake manifold replica.

Due to the upgrade, the intake manifold bore is actually much larger than the stock JDM manifold, so I also had to upgrade the throttle body to accommodate the 70 mm bore.

Fuel Rail

The fuel rail was tricky. I ended up purchasing an AEM fuel rail for the B16 because it allowed the stock fuel pressure regulator (FPR) to be re-positioned in a way that I could plumb the return line between the intake manifold and the alternator. As a plus, the rail comes with -6AN outlets and 1/8″ outlets pre-drilled if I ever need them for the future.

Once the rail was installed, I ran some new 3/8 aluminum tubing underneath the car, and braided line for the necessary connections for fuel filter / fuel pump.

Fuel Injectors

After researching a no start issue, I found that I had to upgrade my stock injectors or install a resistor pack. Basically, earlier Hondas came with 2-3 Ohm injectors that routed to a resistor pack before going to the ECU, while newer Hondas used 12 Ohm injectors that routed directly to the ECU. If you use Low imedpance injectors without the reistor pack, then you will fry your ECU.

I opted to not wire an additional electronic pack and found some OBD2 high impedance injectors at the junkyard. Then, I simply ordered some OBD2 to OBD1 adapters from Amazon so I wouldn’t have to cut anything.

Shifter Linkage

Though it took quite a few tries, I got the shifter linkage to install. However, as I will still need a custom exhaust, this will likely have to get revisited for final fitment. (it’s sitting slightly offset anyways).


The electrical wiring has been the most time-consuming part of this project! Since I ripped the original harness, I had to create new wiring harnesses from scratch. I ran a harness to the ear electronics (fuel pump, fuel sender, tail lights, reverse light, and rear speakers), then ran another one from the engine bay (side indicators, front turn signals, horn, radiator fan and headlamps). To add to this, I was installing a new fusebox and battery leads. Very time-consuming 🙁

I was able to mount the fuse box on an original Mini bracket (I think for the heater core), but I had to create a custom bracket to mount it on.

Dashboard (Temporary)

In order to prep for my first start, I wanted to mount the gauges. However, since I will be going with a new dashboard setup anyways, I didn’t want to make anything permanent so I ended up modding my RHD dashboard into a LHD functional one.

Fluid Reservoirs

The last thing that needed consideration were the fluid reservoirs. Since I had the Wilwood clutch/brake cylinders, I needed to find a way to mount (cleanly) the reservoirs. I created a custom bracket out of some spare L-shaped brackets. Once I had the brackets right, I cut out a template to mount the gauges, bought some aluminum from Home Depot, and drilled out the necessary mounts.

Engine Starting

Once I had all those pieces in order, I ended up prepping for the first start. Unfortunately, it did not the first couple times. After many hours of troubleshooting, I found that the engine had a faulty Cylinder Position Sensor (CYP) on the distributor and needed an entirely new one because the injectors were not getting a ground pulse. After buying the new distributor, and with nearly all hope lost, this happened:

Here is a shot of the engine as it stands (without the intake filter). Overall, I am very happy with the results as it looks very OEM.

Next Time

For the next update, I am planning to have the car driving! I simply have to route the new brake lines and clutch line, which shouldn’t (hopefully) be too much of a pain. The high WOT turn start up was due to a failing Throttle Position Sensor so I will go and find one at the junkyard. If there is time, I need to start looking for an exhaust shop that can make a custom exhaust for the Mini as well as adjust the shifter linkage. While all this happens, I have new interior panels and headlining coming in, so the car is going to start being placed back together 🙂

One Reply to “It’s Alive!”

  1. Hi, I can’t believe it took me this long to find your blog! I’m in the midst of converting my Mini only I’m using the D Series motor. This one also requires the intake manifold be modified and I just bought a Skunk2 for that purpose. Could you please email me some more detailed photos of how you handled your intake modification? Also, would you be interested in me hiring you to simply carry out that modification on mine? Please let me know. Our conversions have a lot in common. Also, was the headlining a kit you ordered from Newton? Please let me know. Thanks again! -RK . Also, my phone number is 512-299-5329 if you’d like to discuss.

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