Engine Bay Feed

Classic Mini - Wiring Spots and Lamps - Problems, Questions and DIY

 Paddy has had his WIPAC driving lights installed, but not wired, for about a year now.  It was about time to do something about that!  In the References section at the bottom of this post you'll find links to the UK The Mini Forum and a couple of people specifically for their help in educating me in the basics of automotive wiring.

Based on their help, I started out by modifying the WIPAC instruction sheet (below) with some specifics to my Classic Mini.

Driving Light Wiring Classic Mini - WIPAC - Color

Before starting the project I purchased all of the necessary pieces and parts . . . here's a list of most of those items:


Wiring Kit - Auxiliary LightsWiring Kit, Auxiliary Lights (RLFK200)

You should always use this kit when fitting auxiliary spot or fog lamps. Kit contains wiring and safety relay. Plugs match those on Rover Mini spot or fog lamps.

WIPACDriving Lamp Set, Wipac, w/ covers (S6007)

Wipac driving lamps. Chrome, all metal body, attractive chrome finish will compliment the chrome brightwork on your Mini. Sold as a pair; includes covers.

For mounting, order two (2) stainless brackets (XBU10046).


Miscellaneous Electrical Fittings:

  • 14-16 gauge electrical wire (if not using kit)
  • Assorted 14-16 gauge spade and bullet connectors
  • Assorted quick splice terminals
  • Terminal ring connector (to solenoid)
  • Heat shrink tubing (create wire loom)
  • Wire ties (Zip Ties) (fasten wires to body, etc.)

This project is VERY simple . . . once you've done it!  Know what I mean?  The first time is where all the mistakes are made and the education is gained.  In the references section of this post the reader can find some pretty detailed information.  My intention here it to simply provide a photographic journal of the project:

The first thing that I did was to plan out the installation using the wiring kit mentioned above. I basically created a wiring loom using heat shrink tubing while all of the wiring was loose and off the car.

IMG_2129     IMG_2130

Remember to always use a fuse and disconnect the battery when working on automotive electrics.   I chose to START by installing the relay (provided in the kit) on the inner wing and then worked my way towards the front of the car and lights.  I used zip ties to anchor the wires as I went.

IMG_2133      IMG_2138



Based on the wiring diagram, I needed to located the Blue/White High (Main) Beam wire that was conveniently located just behing the front grill.


Power was picked up at the solenoid junction.  Note the inline 15Amp fuse.


Then, connecting the lights with bullet connectors, which will allow the wires to be easily disconnected when it's necessary to remove the front grill.


The end result . . . . The low beams will come on without the driving lights.



But when the High (Main) Beam is activated by the foot switch all four lights will fire.




Thanks to Nev_Payne from the UK "The Mini Forum" for his brief but enlightening explanation and diagram for installing driving lights - click here

Thanks  to Cooper Man from the US "The Mini Forum ALSO for his MANY explanations and diagrams on lighting (and many other topics) - click here.

Wiring Spots And Lamps - Problems, Questions and Technical - The Mini Forum


  Spotlight Wiring Diagram

Classic Mini - Engine Bay Photos

 It's Winter and I'm getting ready to start a few projects . . . .but before that, I thought I'd take a few pictures of Paddy's engine bay to show the progress that's been made up to this point..



 Last Fall I decided to "clean up" the engine (motor) bay a bit by re-routing the fuel lines and upgrading the hoses to steel and wire braided.   I also swapped out the after-market plastic fuel filter for a glass one with a bit more bling.    The Lucas Sport Coil used to be located up on the firewall.  I've relocated it to the more common (for Mini) location to the front of the motor. 

                  IMG_4423   IMG_4422





 The oil breather can has been cleaned and repainted and a K&N breather filter has been fitted.  I removed the large hose that used to connect the breather to the carburetor for a cleaner look.  The stock tappet cover has been re-sprayed and new chrome bolts added.  The SU HS4 carburettor dash pots were removed during the last tuning and given a polish with some aluminum metal polish.


Comments from Paddy's Engine Builder - 1380cc Engine - Torque Gain

From - Bill Gilcrease - Mincomp's Corner (May 1997)

No racing to talk about at the moment, so let me talk a bit about 1380cc motors.

Engine bayI am deluged with “what’s the deal with 1380s?” or “Why?” Well the answer starts out quite simply, “bigger is better,” referring to more cubic centimeters (CCs) or in big car terms cubic inches. The basic fact is that with all things equal except fore bore size a 1380 will have about 15 HP more than a 1275. But the real advantage is the torque gain. (Torque is what pins your head back of the seat when you accelerate.) Once, again, all other things being equal a 1380 can give up to 25ft. lbs. more torque than a 1275. The real significance to the increased torque is that it allows your beloved Mini to become a rather comfortable freeway cruiser by lowering the RPM that are required at any given speed.

Building a successful 1380 is not just as simple as boring it for the larger pistons. In most every instance I have found that a cam designed for the 1275 just does not work very well in a 1380. Now I can sit here and wait for miscellaneous hate mail/Faxes/phone calls about that statement or the next one I’m about to make. In 1991 or 1992 I had one motor on my dyno playing with this cam thing and in the end I came up with a spec. that turned that 1380 to life. Up to that point I must admit that I never could see what all the hype was about but after I was done with this project I was a believer, at least in the 1380’s I was building.

I guess the whole reason I got into writing about the 1380 camshaft thing was because I just finished up a job here at the shop that was a duplicate of several that I do over a year’s span. People call me or bring in their prize 1380 that they or someone else built for them stating “I expected a lot more.” Well I advised them on what I believe the fix to be, and why.

The bottom line here is that every time I have done this cam change the customer has left smiling because he has gotten what he originally expected, and quite often more than he hoped for!


Previous Blog Post: Stages of Tune

How To: Adjust Classic Mini Valve Clearance / Tappets

"Saxo-Fiesta-Mini" on The Mini Forum UK has prepared an excellent How To: Adjust Valve Clearance / Tappets article. 

Here's how it starts:

This is  Short guide on how to adjust the valve clearance or as it's know by many
adjusting the tappets

Time: takes roughly 20 mins obviously may take more time if you have less experience working with push rod engines

Note: Ensure this is done from COLD


  • 1/2 inch (or can be done with 13mm) spanner    (with early pressed steel rockers its 7/16 spanner
  • 1/2 inch (again or can improvise 13mm) deep socket
  • 3/8th ratchet
  • feeler gauge / blades
  • 21 or 22 mm spanner
  • Large flat headed screw driver

Click HERE to read the complete article on The Mini Forum UK


Stages of Tune - Classic Mini

Mini Performance ManualHaynes Mini Performance Manual by Tim Mundy

Simply the best "must have" book for Classic Mini performance and modification info. Covers just about everything from engine mods to digital clocks. Disc brakes, steering, gearboxes, interior, suspension, body work, special editions-every mod you can think of. Haynes "Mini Perfomance" by Tim Mundy

The following excerpt helps define the various stages of performance tuning in a Classic Mini.  Paddy was elevated to the Stage 4 tune in July 2010 by Mincomp Racing in Costa Mesa, CA.

Stage 1 kits

Stage 1 kits are available from just about every Mini specialist and are a very worthwhile fitment.

The kit consists of:

  • an uprated exhaust manifold which can be either a Cooper freeflow or an LCB, depending upon the kit supplier and engine size,
  • an uprated inlet manifold, a K&N airfilter or similar,
  • plus a richer carburettor needle,
  • and a decent exhaust system which is usually a Maniflow or an RC40.

Most kits claim around a 20 per cent improvement on a 998cc engine. In a MiniWorld/Keeping Your Mini Alive (KYMA) test we managed to get 51 bhp from a 998cc Mini which was standard apart from electronic ignition using a kit from the Mini Shop. The exercise certainly backed up the claims.

Stage 2

To go from Stage 1 to Stage 2 is a case of fitting a modified head. In the case of 1,275cc engines this will probably mean retaining standard valve sizes. A carburettor needle change will usually be required too.

Stage 3

Stage 3 involves fitting a larger-valve head and uprating the carburation.

Stage 4

Stage 4 and beyond will involve a cam upgrade. This requires the engine to be removed from the car and a full engine rebuild which should include strengthening the crankshaft and balancing all rotating components.   


Book Source:  Amazon.com - Haynes Mini Performance Manual  


Below is Paddy's 7/29/2010 Stage 4 Engine Modification Invoice

  Mincomp Racing Services Invoice

Classic Mini Engine Bay - Crankcase Breather

Crankcase breatherI'm finding that Classic Mini's are really, really hard to define by their Mk I, II, III and later model designations.  Because Mini's were built from 1959-2000 with few major changes to their body shell and sub-frame structure . . . .they've become the "Mr. Potato Head" of automobiles.  By swapping out a few key body parts (including the VIN plate) a late model Mini can be titled as a much earlier model.        

When building or creating a "tribute" Mini one of the main things that builders will do is basically strip out all of the modern power assist and environmental components that were added to late model vehicles.  

In the case of "Paddy", I know that he was built by Mini Racer Dyrk Bolger , owner of Classic Motor Works, in Winnipeg CA.  I contacted Dyrk and he confirmed that he did built Paddy for a client and that the car was later sold to an owner in California.  Dyrk said that he put in a crate 1275cc Series-A engine in at that time.  In California,Bill Gilcrease of Mincomp Racing rebuilt the existing engine into a high-performance 1380cc unit.  

Here's where it gets interesting as a new owner . . . 

I have the build sheets (invoices) for the work that was done a Mincomp which are extremely helpful in trying to understand what is stock and what is not both in and on the engine. 

Paddy is VIN'd as a 1973 Mini 1000 but presents himself as a 1966 Mini Cooper S because of changes to the bonnet and boot, as well as other visible attributes like the grill, tail lights, and engine bay.  That's what really drew me to this particular vehicle.  It's modern but looks classic.  And I want to keep it that way!  

There are currently some things that are not right about the engine bay and over the next year I want to try to correct those issues.  Some of the most obvious things are the aftermarket K&N air filters and non-original fuel lines, hoses, and breather connection.    

1380 Engine Bay

The crankcase breather is circled in yellow above and has a large rubber hose running from it up to the rear of the K&N carburettor filter.  I think this all looks a bit cluttered and will need some "sorting out".    But first I wasnt' to sure what the breather DID (?) and I've see other photos of classic Mini engine bays where there was a K&N filter on the breather tube with no hose running to carburettor.  What was right? 

I did a search on the UK Mini Forum and found an interesting discussion on how the system works and why the hose SHOULD be connnected to the carburettor. 

Here's a snippet from that discussion:

It doesn't go anywhere, it just doesn't form in the first place. The sludge is the result of water oil and fuel collecting as a mix in the crankcase and getting plastered all over the hot metal. The gas does not flow out on it's own. It collects, and while the air does manage to get out the crud that's in it tends to stay behind. The pressure in the crankcase is higher with the system disconnected, mainly because the inside of the engine consists of many different connected chambers. You get different pressures in different regions. If you don't like the thought of it, it's just because you don't really understand what's going on. All it is really is air with some oil, a tiny bit of fuel and an amount of water vapor. It's very similar to exhaust gas. It enters the carb after the jet and just flows through with the mix already travelling through it to get burned off. The rocker cap has a small vent in it which limits the amount of air which can be drawn through the engine, which increases the depression inside the crankcase and limits the amount of gas travelling through the carb. Whether you like the idea of it or not every single road car engine in the world uses the system and it works well. It is technically a requirement of the regs to prevent the C**p inside your engine being released into the atmosphere.