The Mini Shrine Tech Library
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Featured Technical Articles
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Buying a Used Vehicle
- Used Car Buying Checklist
- A great checklist when buying any kind of used vehicle, print this out and take it with you if you're considering a purchase.
- Used Car Buying Checklist (Printable) (pdf)
- A nicely formatted, printable PDF version of the SOL Used Car Buying Guide.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Awakening a Sleeping MG
- Checklist and procedure for starting an MG (or other similar classic British cars) that have been in long term storage.
- LBC Fact and Fiction
- 60 common LBC (Little British Car) questions answered by Motorhead Garages.
- What's a DPO?
- If you've ever bought a used car, you already know the answer!
- Car Lifts Compared
- Choosing a car lift for your home garage: buyer's guide to four post lifts, two post lifts, in-ground, and single post lift systems reviewed and compared.
- Leather Care for Classic Cars
- How to keep your leather seats from fading or cracking, repairing old or damaged leather, and proper leather seat care instructions to ensure they always look their best.
- Twist Drill Talk
- How to get the most from your drill bits in the garage, and how to sharpen, inspect and keep them in top working order.
Service and Repair
- Troubleshooting Guide for Classic Cars
- A step-by-step chart to help diagnose the cause of nearly any problem you might have with your LBC, and the corresponding solution.
Suspension and Wheels
- Mounting Tires the DIY Way
- How to change your wheel tires and tubes, and get a nice cardio workout for free.
Brakes and Clutch
- Bleeding The Hydraulic Clutch System
- A simple tip that might solve your clutch bleeding frustration.
- Bleeding Your Brakes
- How to replace the brake fluid and eliminate air bubbles from your car or truck's hydraulic braking system, known as "bleeding" the brakes.
- Quieting Brake Squeal
- Some tips on how to cure squeaky brakes.
Cooling and Heating
- Modern Automotive Coolants
- How engine coolant has evolved over the years, and what modern coolant is the best for our classic British cars.
Engine and Tuning
- Building a No-Leak A-Series Engine
- Sealing the BMC A-Series engine against oil leaks: Installation of the rear main cap, engine gaskets, timing cover seal and frost plugs.
- Make a Spark Tester
- Diagnosing a weak spark with a few bits and pieces from the junk bin.
- Oil Filter Study
- A good website showing what oil filters are made of, and good and bad components to look for.
- Piston Stop Cam Timing Tool
- Making a handy tool to find TDC accurately.
- The Gasket Basket
- Making your own gaskets: materials, theory and installation.
- Today's Oils and Our Classic Cars
- Presentation from George Morrison, independent STLE Certified Lubrication Specialist, at a Central Ohio MG Owners Club Tech Session regarding the use of modern oils in classic cars.
Carburetors and Fuel
- How To Blow Through an SU
- Notes on the use of the HS or HIF series SU carburetors in a forced induction turbo or supercharger blow-through configuration.
- SU Fuel Pump Troubleshooting Guide
- Troubleshooting guide for all classic cars and trucks that use SU mechanical (points type) fuel pumps.
- SU Fuel Pumps 101
- Basics on the types and operation of the SU fuel pump.
- Weber Carburetor Factory Settings (pdf)
- Stock settings for various Weber carburetors, a good starting place for tuning.
Electrical and Instruments
- Battery Storage, Fact or Fiction?
- Will leaving your battery sitting on concrete cause it to discharge?
- Car Batteries 101
- Testing, maintenance, troubleshooting and charging advice for the common automotive 12V lead-acid car battery.
- Dash Rocker Switch Repair
- Rehabilitation of the "Clear Hooters" type dash rocker switches common to many British cars of the 1970s such as Triumph, MG and Jaguar.
- Ground Point Preparation
- Removing corrosion from your car's ground points often solves all kinds of electrical gremlins.
- Pertronix Installation Secrets
- Pertronix Electronic Ignition (Ignitor kit etc) installation tips for vintage points type distributor upgrades, that aren't listed in the manual
- Servicing The Lucas Wiper Switch
- How to restore the Lucas Wiper, Washer, and Overdrive switch stalk from the early 1970s MGB and other British vehicles of similar vintage.
- Smiths Tachometer Servicing
- Common faults, part numbers, calibration and negative ground conversion.
- Understanding Alternators
- Operation and theory of the alternator, explained in simple terms.
- Understanding the Ignition System
- Operation and theory of the ignition system, explained in simple terms.
Interior and Upholstery
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 1 Introduction, Design & Prototype
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: Justification, Budget, Objectives, Donor Wheel, Design, and building a Prototype.
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 2 Choosing Wood, Making Blanks
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: choosing lumber for making the wheel, material list and cost, design and making the blanks for the halves, cutting segments and making splines, gluing the hexagons
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 3 Machining the Halves & Rounding
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: making a router table, marking the wood, cutting the shape of the wheel and center groove, assembling wheel halves and rounding
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 4 Fitting the Wood to the Steel & Finger Grooves
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: fitting the wooden wheel to the steel frame, cutting space for the spokes, making finger grooves with a wood file
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 5 Attaching to the Steel Frame & Finishing
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: fastening the wooden wheel to the frame with epoxy, clamping, finishing hand sanding, mother of pearl inlay, wood stain and varnish
- DIY Wood Steering Wheel: Part 6 The Finished Product & Conclusion
- How to build your own wooden steering wheel: the finished steering wheel, final thoughts and total time and cost tallies (Final Part)
- Low Cost Cockpit Sound and Thermal Insulation
- How I made low-cost thermal and sound insulation for my car's interior, and a comparison to Dynamat Extreme.
- New Veneer On A Wood Dash
- Refinishing the wood dash on a Triumph Spitfire
Body and Paint
- BMC/BL Paint Codes and Colors
- BMC and British Leyland car & truck paint color options from 1964 to 1978, with names, paint chip sample, and paint codes for makes such as MG (MGB), Triumph (Spitfire, TR6), Austin (Mini), Austin-Healey (Midget), Morris Minor, Riley, Wolseley
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #1 Prep Work
- The first part of the series on automotive bodywork, Prep Work, covers basic preparation before painting such as rough sanding, applying and sanding filler, applying and sanding primer, and fixing high spots.
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #2 Sanding Jamb Areas
- Part 2 in this series on automotive bodywork, Sanding Door and Hood Jamb Areas, covers "jambing", basic sanding technique, supplies like sandpaper, Scotchbrite and blocks, sanding technique, cleaning and paint masking tips.
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #3 Painting Jamb Areas
- Part 3 in this series on automotive bodywork, Painting Door and Hood Jamb Areas, covers Tools for Automotive Painting, Fixing Paint Runs and Overspray, Block Sanding Final Primer, and color hold-out (even color).
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #4 Final Paint Prep
- Part 4 in this series on automotive bodywork covers Final Body Preparation, Masking the Body, Masking Curves and Letters, Masking Cracks and Tight Areas, and Final Air and Solvent Cleaning.
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #5 Painting
- Time for Paint! Part 5 in this series covers Mixing Automotive Paint, Automotive Paint Systems, Painting in Your Garage, and Painting Tips.
- Car Bodywork 101: Lesson #6 Undercoating
- The final part of this automotive bodywork tutorial series covers undercoating your car and final words on bodywork and painting.
- Color Sanding Instructions
- Supplies list and method to get an excellent finish after repainting your car.
- How to use Body Filler on Repair Panels
- How to blend in a new body panel with filler and block sanding for a perfect paint job (Bodywork for Beginners Series)
- Build a Body Rotator
- The ultimate low-buck body restoration aid (mirror)
- Media Blasting and Air Compressors Explained
- How to choose the right blasting equipment for car restoration; sand, slag, alox, and glass beads; gun and nozzle selection and air compressor buying guide.
- BMC A-Series Engine Codes
- Mostly complete list of cars fitted with the BMC A-Series engine, 1952 to 1999
- Bolt Torque Specification
- Universal torque specs in ft-lbs for SAE Grade steel hex bolts.
- British Car Production Figures
- Total production data for all British makes and models.
- CO% to Air Fuel Ratio (AFR) Table
- Handy chart for CO based tuning.
- Standard Threads Reference
- Table comparing UNC, UNF, USP, BSW (Whitworth), BSP (Pipe) and Metric threads.
- Triplex Window Date Code
- If your car has the original Triplex windows, you can read the date code and estimate when your car was assembled using this secret decoder key.
- US-British Technical Terms
- Translations of terms with different meanings on different sides of the Atlantic.
- Vandervell Bearings Reference
- Reference sheets for Vandervell high performance bearings in B-Series and A-Series engines.
- Wrench and Socket Reference
- Reference table of US (Imperial), Metric and Whitworth wrench sizes.
- BMC Crash Test Video 1960s
- A series of videos showing BMC crash tests from the 60s. Shown are the Mini, 1100, 1800 and MGB models.
- Secrets of the SU Carburetter
- Video tutorial on inspection and rebuilding of the SU carburetor(s) fitted to MGBs prior to 1975, Triumph, Jaguar, Mini, Austin, Morris and many other British cars as well as classic Volvo and Saab.