Quick fix to mini restoration.

I’ve loitered around here for quite a
while. I’ve found some very useful info on here, so thought it’s time
I contribute :slight_smile: In turn, I’d be very grateful for

I sold my previous car once I started
working from home:

I still needed a cheap car and was
looking for something which would be a little fun too. Not much would
match the previous car’s power, but I wanted something to throw
around our crappy UK roads. A member from the other forum kindly took
me for a quick spin in his mk1, and I loved seeing how it handled,
all with great simplicity.

I started looking and stumbled on this
R-LTD. Luckily the owner didn’t know it was a ltd edition :wink:

It was mechanically sound, but was
filthy in every place you could imagine. The previous owner, a
mechanic, had fixed an engine smoking problem by changing the valve
stem seals. I checked the car as best as I could, it drove fine, and
there were no signs of any smoke. Unfortunately, this quickly changed
after a few months of ownership. I was known as the smokey bandit as
I left my home to go anywhere. It smoked on every startup, and I knew
I was going to have to open up the cylinder head after a few checks.

The original plan was to take apart the
head and check to see what the exact problem was. The original plan
has stayed the same, but I’m now doing more and more because my brain
keeps repeating ‘Well now the car is stripped this much…’

I’ve seen numerous threads documenting
a rebuild and the comments, advice and criticism seem very helpful.
I’ve decided to add my own thread, so I can gain some helpful advice
as I’m no expert.

Anyway, I’ll start with some pictures
to show how the car was when I bought it. Oh, and did I say it was a
little filthy? :stuck_out_tongue:

As I didn’t plan on doing a mini
restoration, some of these pics were taken mostly using my phone, but
I’ll attempt to take better photos of upcoming work.

The rest of the car isn’t much better:

I have no idea what the guy was
thinking when he put this in… It’s melted too!

The upper part of the dash has lost
it’s black paint in parts



I tend to enjoy making a car look the best it possibly can with a thorough clean, so I wasn’t put off too much when buying this car… even if the drive home was mostly me wondering where I can rest my hands!

The cleaning began:

I really like these mats, they really suit the car. Anyone know if they’re still available?

Will get these refurbed in the near future. Not too sure what they do about the lip on the rim.

Notice the waves in the bumper? Quite a few bits have been resprayed on the car, and all not too well. Will sort this out once I start on the exterior, most likely a new bumper.

Fitted central locking too. As standard with electric windows, but no CL, lol.

 The mats are very durable, give them a good wash.

A satin black plastikote rattle can will get that dash top looking like new.  You can do it in situ with some basic masking-off.

 I’ve got a set of chequered mats like that on my RS.  They’re a bit scruffy though, anyone know whether or not they’ll be ok in the washing machine?

 Love the Skyline!

I have to admit the interior bits aren’t to my taste, but it is nice to see an '5 being saved. The wheels look good already - but you could refurb them yourself if you have time.

I’ve given the mats a decent wash, but a new set would be great. I’ll look into the satin paint once I start on the interior. I’ll start posting the recent work with the engine bay.

I used some carpet cleaner, sponge and an aqua vac. They turned out quite good, but I have carpet missing from the usual areas. Not too sure about putting them in a washing machine as they become quite heavy once soaked and one side is fairly water proof.

I removed the cylinder head and removed all the valves to find the problem. This is the moment when Rod Grainger’s book helped. I found the valve stem seals had indeed been renewed, but they were not placed in the correct places. The inlet seals were on the exhaust and the exhaust on the inlets!!!
I knew the overall problem was going to be down to some bad workmanship when I started finding silly things under the engine bay. First were the cam sprockets, which were labelled ‘I’ and ‘E’ but put on the wrong locations. I found a screwdriver near the fuse box, and not far from that, I found a 4” bolt wandering around! The previous owner was a mechanic who works on light goods vehicles. He can’t be much of a mechanic given these mistakes!

Here’s what I had in front of me, whilst wondering whether I should take more apart to reveal more mistakes… I thought maybe I’ll find a nice impact wrench he left in there too… I didn’t though :frowning:

While I pondered what to do with the rest of the engine bay, I ordered all the parts I needed and had the inlet manifold and cam cover sandblasted. A nice coat of Simoniz Engine enamel brought them back to an original finish.

I noticed there wasn’t much left in the engine bay. The paint work was terrible. It also looked like a radiator threw up all over the bay at one point. I found a few rust spots, so I decided I’ll make the engine bay bare and give it a nice coat of satellite blue. Takes a while removing everything…

You can’t see very well in this pic, but the main number plate was held by almost a million self tapping screws… a little more airflow to the radiator I suppose…

Emergency Roadster water supply…

A few of the parts…

Lightly sanded, and rust treatment started.

 I can’t believe he left tools in the engine bay!

The rocker cover looks good, really good (I want!)

You’re a man after my own heart. Definitely not afraid to have a go yourself are you?

Great thread, I’ll enjoy following your progressThumbs up

Cracking thread, I’ve been threatening an engine-out refurb for a couple of years now, just to get everything under there as shiny as can be, your pics may have just tipped me over the edge.

Keep us posted mate. Thumbs up

I hope to buy a classic in the future and do a full restoration. This was the perfect opportunity to have a practise and do a lot of learning!

In the eyes of most of the audience here, your car is already a classic. I have had two very knowledgeable MX-5 specialists tell me very recently that supply of good Mk1s is drying up now and that good examples are definitely worth hanging onto.

That £1,500 respray for mine is now looking more tempting …

Given the unpredictable weather, I’ll be leaving the engine bay paint until I have time which coincides with decent weather. I started getting busy with a garage full of parts. Several boxes full of nuts and bolts (yellow/black boxes above) all looking cosmetically tired, were crying out to be restored or replaced. The original finish for most items were either yellow or olive drab passivated. Looking around to see what others had done, I noticed you could buy kits and plate at home. I enjoy doing as much of the work myself as possible, and considered this to be a good skill to add. As I do for most DIY procedures, I looked into the differences between an industry procedure and one done at home with a few buckets and chemicals. Aside from the quality of the finish, which varied depending mainly on preparation, there was one main concern which the industry has it’s methods of dealing with. This was hydrogen embrittlement. I’m still not completely familiar with the entire procedure, but my understanding is, the effects of hydrogen embrittlement are directly related to the yield and tensile strength of the nut or bolt. Given my uncertainty, and the only conclusive tests involving breaking nuts and bolts, I looked for a local plating service.

I found a place not too far from me. After a quick chat about hydrogen embrittlement, I was told bolts at and below an ‘8.8’ strength, which includes almost all nuts and bolts on cars, do not suffer a great deal from hydrogen embrittlement when plated. Any higher on the strength, and they need baking to remove signs of hydrogen, which then brings possible annealing into the process. An added bonus was I didn’t need to do any prep, as I was told they’ll remove all deposits and rust :slight_smile:

The negative aspect of third party plating is the necessary inventory as this is not done piece by piece. It’s quite time consuming and even once you get all it back, you’re crossing your fingers everything is there!

Enough talk, here are some pics:

Photographs of all the involved pieces helps when sorting… so does an entire inventory of all nut and bolt sizes.

Some of you may have noticed some of the items didn’t plate very well. This is a good indication of bolts which are heavily rusted, and are prime candidates for replacement. Once all the plating is completed, I’ll have a good idea of what needs replacing. I’ll be discussing plating kits with my local plater soon. Possibly some testing of tensile strength before and after plating to prove DIY methods depending on the number of factors involved.

Nice! Most of them turned out very well. Maybe soda blasting some of the more heavily corroded items might have helped?

I was quite happy with the work. A few of the pieces which were quite rusted, I shot blasted to check how corroded they were and you could really see why the initial cleaning stages didn’t touch the rust. The process carried out by the plater is a good filter to sort out the pieces to be replaced. The structural integrity is questionable when there is this much degradation, and so it makes much more sense to replace them.