View Full Version : Mini FAQ

18-09-2005, 06:49 PM
The aim of this thread is to collect solutions to problems with the cars covered by this forum. Please PM any information to one of the mods who will add it to the thread.

17-11-2005, 08:26 PM

1959: at August the 26th was the great day: the Mini was presented to the public.
Names were: Austin Seven and Morris Mini Minor
Engine: 848cc A-series with 34 Horsepower. Other technical features: drum-brakes at front and rear, sliding windows in the doors.

1960: Countryman, Traveller, Van, Pick-up and Moke were presented to the public

1961: the first Cooper arrives in two versions: 1071 S and 997. The 1071cc engine is completely new designed and has 70 Hp. The 997cc engine (55Hp) is a derivative of the 848cc engine.

1964: Cooper 1071S and Cooper 997 are replaced by Cooper 970, 998 and 1275S.
The 998cc and 1275cc were completely new designed. The 970 was only for racing in the 1000cc class – so only 1000 cars were produced.
All models got the famous Hydrolastik suspension

1967: MK2 comes with a new backside. Bigger rear window and new rear lights are the signs

1968: production of the Moke is stopped. In different countries it will be produced under license.

1969: The Clubman arrives and the suspension gets back to the old rubber springs.
Engines: Clubman 1275 GT: 1275cc and 54 Hp, other Clubman models had 850cc, 998cc (with only 30 Hp!!), 1098cc and 1275 cc
The “normal” Minis had 850cc and 998cc engines

1970: MK3 comes with side windows which are operated by crank (as we know them from every modern car) and inboard door hinges like the Clubman had before.

1972 (MK3) Clubman 1275GT gets 12 inch wheels and 8 inch disk brakes at the front

1976: MK4 comes with front subframe beared in rubber-silentblocks and the 1098cc engine of the Clubman

1981: a major change was made to the Mk4. It got the A+ engine of the new arrived Metro.
Until 1989 the Mini was powered by the 998cc version of this engine (40Hp).

1983: the Production of Van, Clubman and Pick up ends. All three versions were powered by the 1098cc and 1275cc A-series engine (not A+).

1984: MK5… with the special edition “Mini 25” the first Mini with 12 inch wheels arrives.

1990: after a long time the Cooper comes back. Engine 1275cc with carburettor and 61Hp

1991: MK6: the first single point injection engine takes place under the Mini-Bonnet. In the Rover Mini Cooper 1,3i it powers up to 63 Hp

1993: Mk6: all carburettor engines are dropped. From now on every Mini had an injection. Engines: 1275cc and 53 Hp and 1275cc and 63 Hp (Cooper)

1996: Mk7: for the MY 1997 the Mini gets major changes.
The engine gets a Multipoint injection and a 2.71:1 final drive. Further it gets the radiator in front of the engine (older Minis have the radiator on the left hand side) to fulfil the EURO2 emission requirements.
All Minis have a drivers Airbag, side impact protection system and seat belt tensioners.

2000: after 41 years the Mini-production is stopped. The last Car is a red Cooper. It is stored at the Car museum in Gaydon.

17-11-2005, 08:27 PM

The biggest problem of Minis is corrosion. Minis corrode nearly everywhere. And if you think “newer = better” you are wrong. The last Minis (1996 onwards) are the most terrible rusters in the Mini history.

The great problem is the construction of the Mini-Body. For easier production all metal sheets are welded overlapping. This allows water, dust and dirt to move between the shells and cause rust and corrosion.

So if you want to buy one look for corrosion. “Hot spots” are:

-the front mudguards (weldings under the frontlights)
-the frame of the windscreen (under the rubber sealing)
-the doors
-the boot
-the battery box in the boot
-the rear subframe
-the door sills (the full length)
-inside the front wheel houses: the whole “wall” on the backside of the wheel house including the holes for the ventilation system
-the rear wheel houses in direction to the boot
-the metal between the front mudguards and the doors


The Mini-suspension is robust and makes no real reason for bothering. The only requirement it sets is to get lubricated every 5000Km = 3000 miles. Otherwise the ball joints and bearings of the upper wishbone on the front and the bearings of the rear swing arms will wear out.
The later Minis with 13 inch wheels also have problems with the wheel bearings.
These failures can easy be seen when one jiggles at every wheel in all directions.

Minis with rubber mounted front subframe could have problems with these mountings. After 60.000 Km = 40.000 miles these mountings could be worn out.
This can be diagnosed when one opens the bonnet and tries to steer fast but in little angles to left and right. If the mountings are worn out, the engine will move to the right and to the left…


The engine is also quite robust. Oil losses are normal, but this does not mean that the oil should run out of the engine like Niagara Falls.
Make a test drive and try to listen to the engine sound. Singing and razing noises are no good sign. The intermediate drive (from crankshaft to gearbox) may have damages and that’s expensive to repair.
Also have a look on shiftability of the gearbox. If shifting from 1st to 2nd or from 3rd to 2nd causes cracking noises the synchronizers may have damages à expensive to repair.
Check if oil pressure rises up in a normal time (oil pressure warning lamp) and listen to abnormal noises.


Electric failures are not rare. Lucas the Lord of darkness is everywhere where cables can corrode. The Mini electric has the problem that cables lie open and could be flooded by water.
Check all lights and so on to get an impression of the state of the electric. Electric check is as easy as at every other car.

I would suggest to check the Mini like every other car and additional to that, check all points, mentioned above.

17-11-2005, 08:29 PM
The intervals of Mini - maintenance are shorter than at a modern car.
Remember: the engineering is 46 years old and in former times cars were maintained more often than today.
If you do the maintenance right on time and proper, you will have a lot of driving fun.

Every 500Km = 300 miles

Check level of engine oil; the difference between MAX and MIN is 1 pint
Check level of coolant
Check tire pressure

Every 5000Km = 3000 miles or 3 month

Check the electrics (lights, Horn and so on)
Check level of hydraulic fluid in the clutch operating system
Check level of hydraulic fluid in the brake system
Check everything under the bonnet and under the car for damages
Lubricate the front and rear suspension (grease nipples)
Lubricate the hand brake operating cable
Adjust the rear drum brakes
Change oil (4.8 litres) and the oil filter (15W40) and check the magnetic oil plug for splitters. Only smooth splitters are allowed – no big metal pieces
Check engine bearings: jiggle at the engine and try to move forward and backwards. The engine must not move!! Otherwise change the upper engine bearings (from engine backwards to the partition wall)

Every 10.000Km = 6000 miles additional to the above mentioned

Check air filter and change if necessary
Check spark plugs and change if necessary
Check Fan belt and change if necessary
Check the bearings of the steering gear

Every 20.000Km = 12.000 miles (additional to the work at 5000Km)
Change air filter
Change spark plugs
Adjust valve clearance at the engine

17-11-2005, 08:35 PM

- engines are burning some oil. every Mini engine (A-series and A+ series) burns a little bit of oil. Because of that you have to check every 500Km = 300 miles.
is the Oil -level in the engine too low, the gearbox may get damages (engine and gearbox share the same oil)

- oil viscosity: BL, Austin and Rover recommended 10W40 for the Mini. But nowadays 10w40 contains friction reducer for petrol saving.
These friction reducers handicap the synchronizers in the gearbox (they need a little bit of friction) and damages them.
So I use 15W40 for everyday-use. Its good enough.

- oil change: it must be done every 5000Km = 3000 miles. So use cheap oil, it does no harm to the engine as long as it fullfills the API SF Norm or higher.

- the suspension must be lubricated with lithium soap grease every 5000Km = 3000miles. there are 6 grease nipples at the front and two at the rear suspension

- valve clearance of the engine must be adjusted every 10.000 to 15.000Km = 6000 to 9000 miles.

-spark plugs: do not use Bosch plugs!! The engine needs Champion or NGK plugs.
examples are (for the 1300cc engine) Champion RN9Y, Unipart GSP4462 (=Champion RN9Y) or NGK BPR6E
Do not use Unipart GSP 2002 spark plugs because these are manufactured by Bosch

every maintainings (change airfilter, spark plugs, lubrication, oil change) must be done correctly and if so, the Mini will be very reliable.

17-11-2005, 08:36 PM

Minis have rust problems. To avoid early damage, the Water drain holes in the door sills (i hope its the right word) have to be clean.
There are also holes in the floor under the A-pillar, which must be checked every 5000Km = 3000 miles.
Mostly Mini corrode on the front at the mudgards (weldings) and underneath the seal of the windscreen. Thats very critical because the windscreen can fall out...
The problem at the windscreens affects only Minis, which are produced from 1990 onwards.
The door sills are also critical.
And have a look at the rear subframe, the boot and so on

A very important issue is jacking the car up.
at the front of the door sills are plates which are welded on the floorpan. These plates look the jacking-up-reinforcements. But they are not!! Jacking up the car at these spots damages the floorpan.
Jack the car at the front endings of the door sills, where they merge into the wheel arch.
At the rear end of the sills are also such plates. These can be used for jacking up because the rear end of the car is much lighter than the front.