Our tech experts answer all your Mini technical queries.
I’ve just bought a 1989 Mini 1000 with the two-clock binnacle in front of the steering wheel. On the first day the rear lights and reversing lights both failed. The front side lights and headlights are working fine, as well as all indicators and brake lights. As the brake lights are working it suggests that it’s not the bulbs. All lights were working when I took delivery of the Mini. My thinking is that it could be a connector somewhere? There’s no obvious link electrically between the rear lights and reversing lights, I don’t think. Maybe it’s a fuse? I could re-wire both circuits, but any clues before I do this it would be greatly appreciated. Steven This could well be age-old corroded fuse box issue. On your 1989 car, the reverse lights should be powered from a feed coming from the top fuse in the fuse box via the reverse light switch. The tail lights are powered up by a feed from the bottom fuse in the fuse box. So if there is any issue with the fuse box, which is a regular occurrence on older Minis, then there will be issues with them working.
Whatever fuse box you have, they are subject to the same issues – corrosion and general degradation. A good clean may help, but if in any doubt, the whole thing is easily replaced. This is simple enough; remove each cable/connector in turn, labelling each one with a tag of masking tape to mark its position as you go and taking note of what fuses go where according to their rating. A camera phone could also come in handy here but the pics will need to be clear. The fuse box on your car should be are held on by two self-tapper type screws easily visible down the centreline of the body. Undo these and the box will come
“Whatever fuse box you have, they are subject to the same issues – corrosion and general degradation”
away from the bulkhead.
While you’re at it, be sure to check all the cable terminals/ fittings/connectors by holding the cable and giving the connector a good tug to make sure it’s sound, free from corrosion, and the wires haven’t decayed/corroded into uselessness. If replacing the connectors ensure they are fitted with a proper crimping tool. Once fitted, repeat the tugging test. Do it until you get it right and always use connectors that achieve a fully-covered connection. The fuse box can then be fitted with reference to your notes.
It’s relatively easy to replace a fuse box.