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BFH_Garage New Reader
2/24/18 6:55 a.m.
Chappers said:

The battery clamp you have is correct. The other strap is used to hold down a cover that is missing on yours. 

There is a pressed cardboard like cover that goes over the battery, so the strap is for that?

Chappers New Reader
2/24/18 8:40 a.m.

In reply to BFH_Garage :

Yes, nice that you still have the cover. There is a hook on the opposite side. Although the strap may have lost its elasticity by now...

The seats are usually fitted in a clubman like this 




BFH_Garage New Reader
2/25/18 6:38 a.m.

Accomplished some minor tasks yesterday... I saw that the bushings were cracked on the upper stabilizer, so I swapped those out and took the opportunity to throw some fresh paint on it and the bracket.

New bushing on the left

All cleaned up and ready to reinstall

I also picked up a power fuse/distribution box for some up coming lighting additions. In my mind, a mini isn't a mini without at least one set of driving lights on the front. I also want to rewire the city/pilot lights inside the headlights to run all the time as DRL's, so I figured I might as well create a fresh power source for these projects. I didn't like how a lot of the distribution boxes for sale on summit and other sites left the power stud unprotected... so I ended up with this marine grade one that has a cover that covers everything (there is a slight gap on the edge, but I can live with that)

It seems very well made and is probably over kill, but I want to make sure the minor modes I do to this car are done correctly.

I don't know why, but the system keeps flipping the image... but you get the point. I mounted it on the front right inner fender and I think it blends in well.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
2/25/18 6:40 a.m.

Where did you get the fuse box?

BFH_Garage New Reader
2/25/18 6:53 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13 :


Here is the link to the company, they are a Marine supply company in Annapolis MD. They shipped quickly, would definitely buy from them again.

Dusterbd13 MegaDork
2/25/18 10:30 a.m.


That's a pretty slick setup 

BFH_Garage New Reader
3/1/18 8:51 p.m.

I admit, I have a thing for driving lights on cars... and, in my mind, all minis should have at least one pair. So, now that I have a solid power source under the hood, it was time to wire up some lights.

Not wanting to drill holes into the body or bumper, I created a through grill mounting system that only required a few small bolt holes through the frame of the grill.

Mount from the front

From the back - I ran a 1" wide (1/8" thick) strip of aluminum across the back of the grill (painted black) and bolted that to the grill frame. The light mounting bolt attaches to that aluminum and projects out through the grill. Nuts on both sides lock it in place and allow for some tweaking of "stick out" from the grill.

Here you can see the strip spanning the back of the grill. I used 4 small bolts to attach it to the black frame of the grill.

Lights all mounted up!

Since the grill is removable for service, I used a trailer light plug for the wiring, a pair of wires for each light.

Hella time!


A post shared by Scott Douglas (@dsdouglas) on


eastsideTim UltraDork
3/2/18 5:52 a.m.

In reply to BFH_Garage :

Nice!  After watching Italian Job (the original), a huge number of times as a kid, I agree, all Minis should have additional driving lights.

BFH_Garage New Reader
4/14/18 8:20 p.m.

cleaned connections and the ground, still bouncing... this is at a steady 60mph


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acheron64 New Reader
4/16/18 7:47 a.m.

Selective yellow globes, designed for good contrast in fog. Used to be a requirement for all headlamps in France. Don't know why i know that....

Jumper K Balls
Jumper K Balls PowerDork
4/16/18 11:48 a.m.

The car had these funky bulbs in the headlights. I love yellow headlights, but I've heard Virginia cops are quick to ticket for this, so I pulled the glass yellow covers off and re-installed the plain bulb.

Anyone know what size/type these bulbs are? The are mounted in Cibie lights, the metal base of the bulb is almost 2" in diameter. I assumed they were H4's until I pulled them out... definitely not H4's. Googling the text printed on the bulb didn't help either.

I realize this is a little late but what you have there is a halogen conversion bulb for a P45t. Usually the P45t looks like this

This means two things. Your headlights are rad, from the 60's and that they are probably fluted for right hand drive and need to be replaced for use in any area other than Japan, England and Australia, They will be blinding oncoming traffic on the left and not illuminating road signs on the right.

Yep they sure are. That sucks because I love old Cibies. Try and find something equally as cool when you replace them. 

BFH_Garage New Reader
4/17/18 6:27 p.m.

In reply to Jumper K Balls :

My understanding is that these headlights were designed for both markets because they are marked with arrows pointing both directions. Per the Daniel Stern lighting  website (link below):

↔ Low beam is adaptable for use on either side of the road (many projector lamps and older reflector high/low lamps)

There is a little switch on the back of the fixture that shifts the bulb mount. I moved it when I removed the yellow globes from the bulbs (they were just clipped on). No one has flashed me yet, but I've only driven at night a couple times.


Jumper K Balls
Jumper K Balls PowerDork
4/17/18 10:38 p.m.

Great news!

BFH_Garage New Reader
6/21/18 12:32 p.m.

So, I've been enjoying the mini, mainly driving to/from work on nice days and a few jaunts around the SW Virginia mountains. Tuesday was a warmer day here, about 88 degrees, and the mini's temp gauge migrated from its usual spot. It usually sits on the cool side of the midway point. Tuesday it moved to the mid point during my short highway commute and then being stopped at a traffic light caused it to move a bit beyond the middle. It didn't overheat, but the movement was unnerving since it has been rock solid for a few months.

I'm open to suggestions, but I'm thinking about a few things:

1. Install a true water (and maybe oil too) temperature gauge so I actually know what the temps are.

2. Go ahead and replace the radiator cap and t-stat and see if the easy solutions work.

Any other ideas? 

T.J. MegaDork
6/21/18 1:06 p.m.

That sounds like normal Mini behavior to me. They will get hot sitting still on a hot day. An electric fan in the fender well is an option that I've thought about trying over the years, but when it gets to be summer time, I usually just don't drive the mini.

One common issue is if you have the standard yellow plastic four bladed fan, is that people tend to put them on backwards and that does not help airflow across the radiator.

BFH_Garage New Reader
6/22/18 8:00 p.m.

My fan has more than four blades on it. The marking for engine side of the fan are on the correct side so it is oriented the correct way. I had it idling at 2000 rpm in the garage tonight and the paper towel roll hanging on the wall was flapping in the breeze coming out of the wheel well. the fan is definitely blowing through the radiator. 

I had my laser thermometer out and the upper coolant hose and top of radiator never went over 160 degrees. I guess I'll take the thermometer with me next time I go for a drive.

I'm also wondering if the Cold Normal Hot on my gauge, like this one: 

is equivalent to the 50 90 140 on the Smith gauge like this one:

Images from these pages:




BFH_Garage New Reader
7/10/18 5:31 a.m.

So, I decided to add an oil temperature gauge to see how oil temps compared to the water temps. I went back and forth between mechanical and electrical gauges, but decided I didn't want to deal with the tubing for the mechanical. I ended up selecting a Stewart Warner gauge that was similar to the gauges that were already in the car. 

I wasn't sure where to mount it, but ultimately decided to create a new tach bracket that would also hold this new gauge...

A couple cardboard templates later...

I bought some sheet steel and broke out the jig saw and dremel (not the ideal tools, but one must use what they have on hand!)

I used some heat and a BFH to bend the "foot" back for a mounting bracket

And, after some issues with finishes, ended up painting it with some wrinkle black paint.

Not too bad for a hobbyist with a few hand tools. I have since mounted it in the car and need to take a photo of it installed.

Unfortunately, I am currently struggling with getting an accurate reading from it. I bought a sump plug adapter for it, but that required a second adapter down to the 1/8 size of the sensor. That adapter isn't threaded all the way down, so just the very end of the sensor protrudes from the adapter. After talking with SW about it, I need to get more of the sensor exposed to the oil... so I have ordered a tap to extend the treads in the adapter and  hopefully resolve the issue.

BFH_Garage New Reader
12/2/18 6:43 p.m.

So, I've been out enjoying the mini, driving it to work once a week and occasionally on the weekends. Its been running well, but the stereo was lacking... The Japanese market radio only scanned a narrow portion of the FM band and the speakers on the floor didn't sound too good.

I had been pondering solutions when I stumbled upon this vintage suitcase while we cleaning out my wife's grandmother's closet:

I ordered up some speakers and amplifier and got to work, here was the draft speaker layout with an 8" sub, 5.25 mids, and tweeters:

I threw together a rough MDF box (yes I added a back to it) to provide a solid mounting point for the speakers and a home for the sub:

I bent some metal brackets that mounted where the rear seatbelts should go and mounted the box:

I mounted an amp and blue tooth adaptor on a panel under the back seat: 

and here is the final suitcase speaker:

I'm still chasing some rattles on the suitcase handle and latches, but it sounds way better than the old pioneer speakers that were on the floor (as long as you don't mind all the sound coming from behind you!).

BoxheadTim MegaDork
12/2/18 6:51 p.m.

I love the suitcase idea!

swindrum New Reader
12/10/18 3:49 p.m.

If you decide to part with those seats, they are correct for a 1275GT I am restoring (also Pageant Blue over tan), I would happily purchase them.

The suitcase idea is brilliant!

BFH_Garage New Reader
12/10/18 4:11 p.m.

In reply to swindrum :

I have a love/hate relationship with the seats. They totally fit the car, but I'm not a fan of tan interiors. But, when your ass is in them, you can't see how ugly they are...

I've considered replacing them, but I'd guess the cost would be more than I really want to spend. 

BFH_Garage New Reader
4/2/19 8:42 a.m.

The mini got a new shift knob... I need to pull the shifter and paint the whole rod, but couldn’t wait to see how this looked in the car. Probably going to pull the checkered floor mats out, they don’t exactly match. 

ddavidv PowerDork
4/3/19 8:07 a.m.

Fun reading through this. You did a lot of the same things I did with my '79 850.

Your driving light mount is brilliant. The 'factory' mounts force you to lose your aiming each time you want to take the grille out. Did you do the motor mounts yet? That was a bugger of a job.

I sold mine several years ago because it was needing a repaint and some significant body repairs that I didn't rate as cost effective for what it was worth...and I wanted to go racing. Which lasted about three years until the money ran out, LOL.

BFH_Garage New Reader
4/4/19 9:16 p.m.
ddavidv said:

and I wanted to go racing. Which lasted about three years until the money ran out, LOL.

No motor mounts yet... need to do them and the alternator. The regulator must be going bad, I'm getting spikes over 16 volts, which sends the amplifier into protection mode. 

But first we are moving into a new-to-us house... Everything is in boxes and needs to be unpacked, but I want to paint the garage first.

Everyone I know personally who tried to go racing ended the same way!

BFH_Garage New Reader
4/27/20 11:16 a.m.

Yikes, it has been a year since I updated this... not much going on, I did end up replacing the alternator due to voltage spikes. I also replaced the water pump, tstat, and coolant while I had it all apart. Other than that, I've just been driving it once or twice per week. 

I am planning an interior fabric update, using **gasp** VW van fabric... hoping to get the material in soon so I can take the seats for reupholstering. I am going to use the blue plaid below, I think it will brighten things up while still feeling vintage:


I also ordered up a short-shift kit because I can't seem to leave well enough alone. Plus going from a miata shifter to this was a dramatic change! I tackled the install this weekend, it had its share of challenges, beginning with removing these two pins:

That was a challenge, the instructions said to remove with vice grips... yeah, right. I ended up having to customize a small screwdriver to create a punch that would work...

Once the pins were out, the install was fairly straight forward, after cutting the original shifter to pirate three parts.

The old cruddy shifter top looks a bit out of place atop the new minisport piece. 


UNFORTUNATELY, neither of my shift knobs or the "stopper" nut that keeps them from spinning will thread onto the new shifter. Hind-sight says I should have verified that before doing all this, but I assumed it would all fit. Waiting to hear back from minisport now... Here is a photo of the two shifters side by side, you can see how theirs (the chrome one) moves the pivot point up.

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