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Jumper K Balls
Jumper K Balls PowerDork
10/24/18 10:02 a.m.

Test fitting the new wheels and tires. Exactly what I wanted. Now to build two more!

Ransom PowerDork
10/24/18 11:51 a.m.

That looks not only fantastic, but absolutely right.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
10/24/18 12:02 p.m.

That's hilarious, I love it. 

I've got a single HIF44  on my Mini. The thing isn't happy, it's probably an air leak somewhere as it used to run better. One more thing to fix...

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/25/18 7:18 a.m.

You've done a great job bringing that Mini back to life!

Since you've been talking about EFI, I thought I'd mention Microsquirt is an option too.  I've got one on my Mini.  Mine is an early '80's-era with an A+ 1000 engine and originally had an HIF44.  Borla makes a throttle body that is a bolt-on replacement for SUs that I used with a 36-1 trigger wheel I got out of the UK.  I used a DeatschWerks inline electric fuel pump, GM-style crank position, coolant temp, and intake air temp sensors from DIYAutotune.  My son Jack did most of the initial install and tuning, so I'm a little foggy on additional details without checking all his notes.  I think he found a generic 4 cylinder single throttle body tune as a base and then we used the auto-tune and some manual work to get it dialed in.  I'll be taking it to the chassis dyno for a final tune one of these days, mainly to see the numbers because everyone asks (and I'll be writing about it for GRM or CMS).  

It's been a background project for us at Eclectic Motorworks, so it's a work in progress.  Right now, it still runs the stock distributor and I plan to elimate that and control the spark with the Microsquirt (maybe wasted spark with Miata coils since I've got a lot of those laying around?).   

The biggest difference with the EFI is probably idle quality.  It's much smoother and I can get it to idle down to about 600 RPM.  It's usually pretty hard to get that big HIF down below 800 or so.  When I eliminate the distributor, it will be smoother still since there is a lot of spark variation with British cars as the distributor drive and other moving parts float around.  My guess is that I'll see a little more torque--maybe 2lbs--and a little more power when it's on the dyno. 

If you're going boosted, you'll probably want a Megasquirt, but I thought I'd mention my approach for those who are interested.

Having said all of that, this has been a fun project, but a fresh distributor with the right curve and properly rebuilt SU(s) really work well and are a lot less work!  That's what we do with most of our customers.

RossD MegaDork
10/25/18 7:52 a.m.

Jumper, do you need a tiny turbo for a tiny engine? My plans changed.

Patrick MegaDork
10/25/18 7:54 a.m.

The wheels/tires are perfect.  That picture reminds me of the time i helped a mini guy reglue the chrome edging on his fenders in the parking lot at a cruise night because it came halfway off on his way there.  Same guy has a Moke too.  

Side note, sent you a message.

Jumper K Balls
Jumper K Balls PowerDork
10/28/18 1:29 p.m.

I pulled the car onto the lift two weeks ago and started my list of things that needed to be done

That was the first day. It was two columns by the time I was done.

Clutch master was first. The original had finally perished. Shame I dig these tuna can reservoirs. 

But now the clutch works!

The right indicator was intermittent. I wonder why? Hmm... the  "Sasquatch sighting" picture filter seems to have been engaged, sorry.


The car sat odd. Right rear was sacked out, the front sat nosebleed high and uneven with the hilos bottomed out. I pulled the hilos to inspect them and they were home made out of the original trumpets. 
That's cool. I would have done the same. Problem is one was almost 300 thousandths taller than the other. I cut the shortest one 0.200" shorter and then made the other the same length

And then I got to the rear brakes. To install the new Cooper S drums I needed to install the longer studs to go with them. The rear hubs were drilled out to 7/16" so the new studs wouldn't fit. I got a spare set of rear hubs, cleaned them up, installed new bearings and studs and installed them. Sweet! and then I attempted to reinstall the wheels. Someone had modified the wheel lug seats to be larger for some oversized mag lugs. Gah!  Custom wheel nuts again? No deal. That time could be better spent prepping the new wheels, amirite?

The set of steel wheels I got included two banded out to 6.5", one at 7.5" and two stockers at 4.5". The 7.5" was disregarded. Obscenely wide for a 165.

So a few genuine 4.5" Cooper S reverse wheels were sacrificed in the name of awesome

These things are freaking STOUT! 0.125" thick. That made it easy to run down to the steel yard and get some 1.5"X0.125" cold rolled flat.

Into the slip roll

And we get some hoops.

Tack it up on the jig with a dial indicator base to ensure it is as true as can be within reason.

Multiply by two

Then switch from MIG to TIG to finish it off.

I used Harbor Freights finest quality white gloss powder coat to seal completely cover them and then some Duplicolor " Chrysler Stone White touch up paint on the faces to match the roof.


Had them wrapped with the Yoko A008's I bought months ago, popped on the hubcaps and ....


I am so stoked! I feel like it is finally my car now. The stance is aggressive without being too "stancey" 


dropstep UltraDork
10/28/18 2:10 p.m.

It looks awesome with the stance and wheels. These tiny cars are neat.

Nitroracer UltraDork
10/28/18 2:15 p.m.

Nicely done!  A lot of work just went into those wheels alone!

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
12/23/18 12:35 p.m.

I really enjoy this car. After going through a few dozen needles I have finally hit a point where it is a riot to drive and the fuel gauge never seems to move. Yes, I replaced the sending unit wink. I am getting like 3 weeks of daily driving on an 18 dollar fill up with premium.

And this is where the project switches gears and perhaps goes a little awry.

You know how you bench race and spit ball swaps with buddies? Well, sometimes they take you more seriously than you take yourself and show up with stuff that sort of forces your hand.

And that is how I now own a Swift GTI drivetrain.

I have been fascinated by this motor for years. It is so damn cute. 

And it is one of the few modern swaps in a mini that allows you to keep the cone suspension.


So....  Anyone got any tips on rebuilding the G13B? It seems parts are either really expensive through proprietary vendors or disconcertingly cheap through Rockauto.


eastpark Reader
12/23/18 1:41 p.m.

Paging Zomby Woof / Suprf1y: He’s got a lot of experience with them, IIRC...

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
12/23/18 1:51 p.m.

In reply to Jumper K Balls (Trent) :

My spitballing turned into dad and my challenge car. 

However, in your case id be very tempted to leave well enough alone. 

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
12/23/18 2:58 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

However, in your case id be very tempted to leave well enough alone. 

I am inclined to agree. However I am hitting a level of dissatisfaction with the gearing and would love an overdrive. I figure 4 grand to get a 5 speed shipped to the US then the necessary power upgrades to be able to use the taller gears..... 

The 5 speed attached to the G13b is probably what I am most excited about.

I have some messages out on a replacement sub frame to modify. Ideally it would be a reversible swap . Plus, not to spoil any surprises but Ransom is in the middle of a deal on a Wolseley Hornet without a drivetrain and if I could help out a good buddy with my fresh A series it would give me some warm fuzzies . 

Plus, the car would be an autocross weapon with the swap and still return great fuel economy. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/23/18 3:37 p.m.

Maybe a taller final drive?

If someone were to say... get another classic Mini... would you willing to duplicate those wide wheels?

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
12/23/18 5:07 p.m.
Ian F said:

Maybe a taller final drive?

If someone were to say... get another classic Mini... would you willing to duplicate those wide wheels?

I would think the meager and I will guess optimistic 60hp I am pushing would suck all of the fun out of the car if I swapped the 3.44 gears for 3.1 or 2.98.


And sure. If a set of stripped wheels were delivered to me I could make them wider. Sandblasting them to bare steel requires as much time as the banding process. 


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/18 7:41 p.m.

I haven’t heard of that conversion. I like it. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
12/23/18 9:34 p.m.

The swift engine is a brilliant little thing.  My only objection is that it is getting to be rather long in the tooth. How much longer are you or the next owner going to be able to get parts for it even for maintenance? 


Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/18 10:14 p.m.

It's a lot newer than the engine currently in the car!

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/24/18 8:22 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

True, but I'm betting they made a lot more Mini engines than Swift GT engines.

In reply to Jumper K Balls (Trent) :

Ah... 3.44 -  I didn't realize the gearing was already that tall.  I'm not sure what the final drive was in my old Mini, but it would be in 4th gear by 40 mph.  And then continue to scream to 80+.

It'll be awhile before I can get another Mini, but I'll let you know. Thanks.

NOHOME UltimaDork
12/24/18 10:54 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

It may be newer, but I bet parts for the A series will be easier to get than those for the Swift 1300.


Probably a sign of my age, but when I contemplate any swap into a classic car, I want to install an engine that is classic in it's own right. If I put a ford or chevy small-block into a classic, I can be confident that the resulting car can be maintained pretty much forever. If, on the other hand, I were to install the latest bleeding edge techo-rice-warhead I might have a  very fast car, but withing ten years it will no longer be relevant because nobody will know or care about the once amazing warhead. Classic small-blocks on the other hand, will be cool forever. Kinda like flatheads.

Oddly enough, I have not yet accepted the LSx line of engines into the classic tent.



Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
12/24/18 11:37 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Right now in the shop I have a mid 60's V4 Lancia motor, two Packard straight 8's, 2 stroke two cylinder Excelsior, two Ferrari Columbo V12's, A one of 180 produced Abarth Bialbero motor and a few other notables. I'm pretty sure getting another 20 years out of a mass produced Suzuki should be a cakewalk wink.


They were also built in much larger numbers worldwide than we got in North America so, worst case scenario it would just require importing from other countries, which I have been doing with the A series anyway.

wheelsmithy SuperDork
12/24/18 12:01 p.m.

I had a Swift GTi, Loved it. I think that's a great engine for a mini. 100hp, 80 some odd ft/lbs, H beam rods. Nice. 

'twould be a thing of beauty.

NOHOME UltimaDork
12/24/18 12:05 p.m.

One of the first build threads I ever got hooked on was Bugzuki

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/24/18 12:51 p.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Oddly enough, I have not yet accepted the LSx line of engines into the classic tent.

The logic definitely makes sense, but that last bit made me laugh. I think it's because the engine is still (sorta) in production. Kind of like the Miata, if it had gone away it would be a classic but because it perseveres it can't reach classic status. The LSx engines are over 20 years old now. There are classic Minis newer than that!

And yes, the support infrastructure for the A series is strong. Probably because they need parts so often! To me, the nature of the A series is a big part of the character of the classic Mini. Mine is snorty and eager and makes all sorts of entertaining noises. It's also a bit of a pain in the ass. If my engine ever suffers a catastrophic failure I might consider a swap, but personally I've never considered pulling it to swap in something else while it was working.

Jumper K Balls (Trent)
Jumper K Balls (Trent) PowerDork
12/30/18 1:25 p.m.

So yesterday I tore down the Suzuki motor

Hopes are not too high. Stored for years without a spark plug, looks pretty rough. Start by draining the ....... ugh.

About 1.5 gallons of water came out before the oil did.  Was it from poor storage or something else?

Hmm. No thermostat in the broken and RTV'ed together housing. This thing has most likely overheated a few times.

Yep. Failed headgasket

And some rusty bores in the offending cylinders. Used a ball hone to clean them up enough to remove the pistons.

Crank is perfect. The main and rod bearings looked brand new. I thought they must have been recently replaced but was assured by a friend, tuner and Honda expert James that, that is just the way Japanese engines are.

The cams have a bit too much rust to run them as is. Trying to decide between looking for replacements or sending them to Delta for a regrind.

Doing the washing up after. 


So it looks like the block needs a rebore and new pistons. earlier referenced friend has some 75mm Honda pistons he thinks will work. Installing Honda or later Vitara pistons is apparently a thing for these motors. James is also insistent on forced induction. I have argued that too much power would be "over egging the pudding" and useless in a chassis with 165mm wide tires.  We will see how this pans out

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