ASK THE EXPERT
Our tech experts answer all your Mini technical queries.
I have a question around engine numbers. I have been offered a Minivan which is suppose to have a Downton-tuned engine in it. The problem is that I cannot find any reference to the engine number, RKM1114E****. I thought it might be a South African 1275 E motor but the oil filter is not high on the block. The head is a cooper S head with the 11 studs. Also the clutch housing has a funny extra rib near the breather that I have never seen before, could this be an A-plus end cover? I would value your thoughts for an ex-pat in Australia.
All we can tell you from what we know is that ‘RKM11...’ numbers were used as the later factory reconditioned Silver Seal engine numbers. More than that we can’t say as we have no references to go by. It’s certainly a pre-A-plus block, but the clutch housing is likely to be A-plus as you suspect. Answers on a postcard!
My Clubman saloon appears to have a crabbing problem. All the suspension components have been checked or changed (new complete rear subframe assembly and radius arms) and the front tie-rods are straight. It also has new subframe mountings, a new steering rack and new track rods, with everything else looking to be in order. In order to straighten things back up I wish to buy adjustable bottom arms, adjustable tie-rods and rear camber brackets with tracking adjustment and get things set up at my local alignment centre. Please can you recommend which parts to go for, and what tracking and camber/caster angles to specify? I’m going to visit an alignment place to have it sorted but I thought best to give them some recommendations. It’s on 12-inch wheels, if that makes a difference. Bernie If your car really has a proper crabbing problem, fitting adjustable suspension components is probably not going to straighten it up enough. Crabbing is caused by a badly repaired or restored body shell. The car may have been in a hefty front end shunt that has distorted the bulkhead, or the rear may have suffered a similar fate. It could be that subframe mounting repair panels or maybe even a whole new heel-board have been fitted poorly, meaning the rear subframe is not square to the bodyshell. Misalignment can also happen when the sills and floorpans have been replaced, possibly all at the same time,
“Misalignment can happen when the sills and floorpans have been replaced, possibly all at the same time”
without any bracing of the shell used to prevent the whole body distorting. The cheapest way to check any of this is to carry out the plumb line check, as detailed in various manuals, including the genuine original workshop and Haynes versions.
All you need is a good flat floor, four axle stands, a plumb line, some chalk, string and plenty of patience. Alternatively, the expensive way, unless you have a friend of a friend that has one, is to get the car checked on a body jig.
I’m trying to fit a set of Hi-Lo adjustable suspension trumpets and new rubber springs, but I’m struggling to remove the offside front top suspension arm pin. Both nuts have been undone and the front lock plate too. Does the pin need to be pushed forwards to get the arm out? No matter what I try, it won’t budge at all even though the shaft is spinning freely. Any help would be much appreciated.
The retaining plate fitted to the front end of the shaft is fixed in place by two 7/16-inch AF-headed bolts. The lower right one has a nut on the back so you will need a spanner to undo this. With the main shaft retaining nuts also removed and the load taken off the top arm by compressing the rubber spring using a suitable tool available from most Mini parts vendors, there is no reason why the shaft should not come out with a little persuasion – especially if it’s rotating freely in the arm/bearings.
To do this, use a large pry bar on the rear end of the shaft, leaving the retaining nut fitted so it is just off the end of the threaded shaft section by a couple of threads to save damaging the thread ends. It is not uncommon for the shafts to seize in the bearings through lack of servicing/greasing, but they do not rotate freely if this is the case. It could be that a big step has been worn in to the shaft by the bearings, but using a decent pry bar as prescribed should be able to deal with that.
I need to change the gear selector oil seal on my 998cc Mini Chelsea. The new one has arrived and there is a
“The aluminium spacer was fitted to later-model cars to help delay the leaking of that oil seal”
sort of rubber gaiter, a metal washer with an O-ring set in it, and an oil seal. My question is how do I get the old metal washer out? And where does the rubber gaiter go? The engine is out of the car and I would like to get this done before it has to go back in.
The aluminium spacer (what you are calling the metal washer) was fitted to latermodel cars to help delay the leaking of that seal. Prior to that, with the seal fitted in its position as per manufacture, a void was left behind the seal. This void would fill up with oil, and once the seal became worn, oil would seep past it and drip on to the ground. The solution to this before that spacer was fitted was to fit two, if not three, seals in to the gearbox, thus filling up that void. The spacer with its external O-ring was the factory’s answer. The main problem is that it’s pretty difficult to get it out without stripping the diff casing from the back of the gearbox – impossible in most cases. There is a method of doing it, but it still needs the right-hand diff side plate removing, and could be a major problem waiting to bite anybody doing it carelessly. You’d be better off leaving the existing spacer in there and just fitting the new seal.
The convoluted boot fits between the gearbox and selector rod coupling. The idea was to try and fend off road grime and dirt from the seal area for as long as possible. However, these boots often don’t seem to last all that long, as they are not usually a good fit on the shaft. Many don’t even bother fitting them.
The exact origin of your engine is not always straightforward to find out.
The retaining plate.
Checking the car’s alignment.