Some Setbacks, Some Progress

Some Setbacks, Some Progress

February was a busy month as usual. Overall, I made lots of progress, but there were some setbacks that I encountered along the way.

High Idle Issue

After much more research from my last update, I found that the TPS sensor was definitely not the cause of the high idle. It turns out I had a few massive vacuum leak from the intake manifold. First, I had installed the throttle body gasket backwards. Second, the manifold was leaking at the gasket which was sucking in much more air to the runners. After fixing these two, I was able to cut the RPM idle down to 2500 as in the following video:

Though the idle is much better, it is still too high for this engine. At this point, I sprayed some carb cleaner all around the intake manifold and I found that the silicone elbows on Cylinders 1 and 2 were sucking in air at the bottom half of the runners. After pulling them off, it appears to be a combination of large clamps and the runners were grinded down too much to make a proper seal. The good news is that I still have the bottom portion of the new ITR copy manifold, so I will be using that with some smaller footprint clamps to provide a better seal.


This was such a pain! Installing the headliner is not ‘difficuly’ but it is such a time consuming process. Overall, the job came out pretty well for my first time, but I think I would likely start from the front and my work my way backwards if I had to do it again.

I used approximately 40 binder clips from the local Dollar Tree store and I used 0.25″ 3M double-sided tape to hold the headliner. It is holding VERY well!

Custom Rear Speaker Board

Since my old rear speaker board had years of stains on it, I did not want to re use it. Fortuantely, I had some spare particle board and a new jigsaw that I wanted to try out 🙂 –I used the original board as a template then cut out the new liner accordingly. Next, I sanded down the edges to soften the curves. Once the board was overall smooth and cut, I bought some black felt from Walmart and used 0.25″ staples (with a staple gun) to secure the felt to the board. As a plus, I had a Batman patch that I have been meaning to use on something so I figured I would iron it on the felt!

(Note: I also installed the rear door cards and rear seats)

Reverse Light and 3rd Brake Light

Continuing on with the rear of the Mini, I wanted to finish up the electronics. I had to create some custom brackets to be able to mount the lights to the bottom rear fascia of the bumper. I used some 12 gauge steel and coated the steel with rubber undercoating spray paint to help prevent future rust.

Passenger Headlight and Front Lighting

In order to fit the passenger headlamp bowl, I had to cut the original bowl make it more shallow. Otherwise, the bowl would hit the radiator too much. I was expecting the modification to be more difficult than it was, but it was actually very straight forward. I simply cut about 2 inches from the headlight bowl, and used some ABS plastic to seal the hole with water-resistant epoxy.

Cylinder Head Removal

Up until a few days ago, I thought everything was still on schedule. However, during my troubleshooting of the high idle, I performed a compression test on the engine and found that cylinders 1 and 2 were severely lower compression than the others. In particular 120, 120, 90, 60 were my results. Based on some research and some oil near the head gasket, I was under the impression that the head gasket may have blown. With this, I made the decision to stop where I was at and replace the head gasket. I figured this was a good opportunity to learn since I have never pulled a head from an engine before.

After pulling the head, I noticed that the head gasket actually looked pretty darn good. I didn’t see any signs of blow-by or anything. The pistons looked like the engine was running a bit rich, but there wasn’t a TON of carbon build up as I expected. From here, I called a local shop (Quality Cylinder Head Specialists in Stanton, CA) and dropped off the head for an overhaul. The shop let me know that the exhaust valves were all very loose, so I’m hoping that a head service will raise the compression of the engine once it’s all back together.

Next Time

Here is a side shot of the car as it stands:

With the head removed, I figured this was a good opportunity to replace any parts that are normally difficult to get to from the back of the engine. Plus, I wanted to minimize the amount of coolant lines being run. I ordered a new water connecting pipe that deletes the stock oil cooler on the filter, a new thermostat housing to delete some smaller IACV/FITV hoses (since I deleted these anyways), and some ARP head studs.

Once the engine is back together, I plan to finish the brake lines / clutch lines and test out my new double flaring tool. THEN I WILL TEST DRIVE IT! 🙂

Until next time!


One Reply to “Some Setbacks, Some Progress”

  1. Hello , very nice mini and project. Currrently i am building mine 1967 b16b. I am having problem fitting the header. Do you fit header after engine is in? How could you explain.

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