Very overdue for an update here! Yes I’ve been very busy with our delightful now 18 month old Son Xavy Cooper! Getting a good start as a young ‘car guy’, he loves our Rotary Pick-up and points and says “TRUCK” whenever he sees it, AND he points to the hibernating 66 Cooper S in the garage and says “MINI”, so we’re off to a very good start!
In the meantime, we HAVE done a few projects, and I have continued to put short videos up on Cooper Road Mini’s YouTube channel… you get to those by clicking on the “Videos” tab above, nearly 150 in all, dealing with all sorts of automotive projects, fixes, and how-tos!
One of the most interesting, and with fantastic dyno results to boot, is the Austin Healey Sprite race engine I built over last Summer and Fall. I spent considerable time developing a fantastic package that included exotic Billet bottom end components from MED Racing in England, including longer, ultra light weight connecting rods and forged flat-top Omega pistons. I’ll talk about the details of this engine and the incredible power it makes, and show the ultra-trick aluminum head I built for it, with some very special components to allow more than 1/2 inch of valve lift with our nearly 1 1/2 inch intake valves!
Here is a short clip showing the bottom end and discussing the advantages of longer connecting rods:
These days CooperRoadMini is in a bit of a holding pattern as my lovely assistant is due to give birth to our son, literally at any moment now! Little Xaven (or Xayven?, Xayvyn?, Xavyn?….still working on it!) is due day after tomorrow as I write this. Perhaps to help in that regard, we are tempting fate by taking a picnic and the 4-wheel drive up to a nearly 8000 foot peak about an hour away. Yes we live in a wonderful place! We’ll escape early August 90s for spectacular views of several lakes and balmy 70s, and see if the terrain might help expedite Xavy Cooper’s arrival! OK, you can have some fun with our choice of middle name, but someday, he may inherit this mess!
Well, that’s the “life and times” update, but back to our title…. the question has come up again about whether it’s possible to pull the engine unit from a servo equipped Mini without disturbing the hydraulics. A ‘servo’ is what a power-brake booster is called for a Mini. They were installed at first only on the Cooper S models with disk brakes, different than most cars in that the unit is remote from the master cylinder. In the Mini, it is mounted on the right side of the tiny engine compartment, right in the way of getting to the clutch adjustment, and generally making many maintenance and inspection procedures much more difficult. That’s why I chose not to run one on my 66 S…. the pedal pressure is just not significant, even with late 8.4″ disk brakes and 13″ wheels with an early single line master. In any event, they are widely used and viewed as an upgrade from the S model.
So the answer is YES! In this short video taken just before I re-installed the engine in our last project, we can see how the servo unit is pulled up and tilted backwards with just a slight twist of the two brake pipes that connect it back to the three way junction on the bulkhead. I show a little trick for tightening up a small brake fluid leak…. finesse instead of brute force!
Finally, this last week I’ve been helping our friend Steven back in the great state of PA figure out what he needs to assemble the brake pipes to his Mark 1. He acquired the car in milk crates and coffee cans, so bits like the “three-way connector” are just “junk in a box”! Here you go Steven, you can see the layout of most of the engine compartment brake plumbing, and your car will be very much like this one!
While we don’t have a current guest project in the works at Cooper Road Mini, the question of fitting a Weber side-draft onto the standard engine configuration often comes up. I took this video when I was reassembling our friend Mike’s 67 Mark 1 to show how these end up being a bit of a compromise as they seriously crowd the instrument cluster in the center of the dash. Most classic Minis well into the 80s came with the iconic “center binnacle” speedometer. I’ve described these set-ups as “trying to suck the speedo out of the dash”, and you can see with the two slightly different DCOE 45 combos I have, how the one with the “OER” carb just WILL NOT clear the speedometer and bulkhead without some chopping! This is the same combo I was hoping to run on our previous project Moke, but it would have required cutting the bulkhead on a painfully original English Moke! There is a reason that lots of knowledgeable Mini folks just don’t like the Weber on a street car…. A race set up won’t be concerned with modifying the dash!