Mini Stops Running

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Wayne Gratiot
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Mini Stops Running

Post by Wayne Gratiot » Fri May 11, 2007 2:39 pm

(this topic was split from this thread)

Hi Steve. Thanks for the quick reply.

I haven't checked out the fuel pump other than what I said in the prior post and it is less than a year old and has been working fine. After the engine dies, it will sometimes start up with the key before I even get pulled off to the side of the road. It has been getting worse each time I tried a test drive. At first, I could be cruising along on the freeway at about 3500rpm and it would just die, but then either restart by just letting the clutch out and if the red ignition light came on and I had to actually stop, I could wait a few seconds and restart it with the key and continue on down the road. I could keep driving to get back home by keeping the revs down to about 2500, but now it will die repeatedly after only a short distance on the road again. Looking under the bonnet, I can see the clear glass filter is full of gas which made it seem like it had to be an electrical problem.

I have a Pertronix electronic ignition setup in the 12H5038 "45D" dizzy instead of points and also the Pertronix 3.0 ohm Flamethrower coil. I put the old blue Bosch coil back in and was going to try another test ride tomorrow morning with my wife following me to see if the Pertronix coil is at fault. I worry about getting the Mini back home since we live up a very steep street here in Summerland and so far I have been able to easily get back up the hill, but I didn't want to have to call AAA for a flatbed truck to get it home. Another thought was to put the points back in just in case it might be the Pertronix ignition module that is failing. The alternator is a new japanese model I ordered from Heritage Garage and I also have a new push-button solenoid. I had also replaced the ignition switch on the dash last year because it stopped working and I had to start the car with the push-button under the bonnet. I thought I had cleared up all the electric gremlins, but it looks like I have another one now.

How do I know if the fuel pump is overheating? It is mounted on the frame in the standard position near the right rear wheel almost directly under the left side fuel tank and the exhaust system is fairly close to it. It has worked flawlessly so far and taken me as far as Laguna Seca for the Historics last August and the Bishop Fall Colors Car Show in October.

The battery is fairly new also with a new ground cable in the boot. I also checked the engine to body ground up front and cleaned it and retightened it.

Don't know if any of this info helps in figuring out the problem, but I guess a point to point continuity check throughout the system would possibly solve this.

Oh, well. I'll try a test drive in the morning and see what happens with the old coil in.

Again, thanks for the reply and I hope to see you guys in Malibu on the 28th.

Wayne
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Post by Steve » Fri May 11, 2007 5:10 pm

How is the charging system? Is the battery getting a full charge? Does the car die or get weak if you turn on the headlamps while idling?

Electronic ignition modules rarely get intermittent. They usually die suddenly and without warning. That doesn't mean your Pertronix isn't at fault but I would start elsewhere. Installing points certainly couldn't hurt as a diagnostic tool.

I'd also check for loose connections. I had a similar problem on my TC once. It turns out there was a bad wire, not at the connector but in the middle of the loom! Reach under the dash and move wires around while you're driving. See if anything happens.

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Fri May 11, 2007 11:11 pm

Thanks for splitting the thread Steve. After I had rambled on so much in describing my problem, I wished I had not "hijacked" the Memorial Day Run thread and should have put it in the Technical Forum in the first place. I was so upset that I was going to miss the run that I just blurted everything out right there.

You seem to have hit the problem right on the head with all your comments. When I replaced the ignition switch on the dash, the wiring was a mess. The wire colors were not what they were supposed to be according to my Haynes manual and even under the bonnet, wire colors were not right. My best bet may be to replace everything with a new wire loom with everything new and the correct colors.

Before I try another test drive in the morning, I will drop the heater out of the way and carefully check out all the wiring connections and condition of the wires themselves. I then will go under the bonnet and follow the wiring from there to all the components involved and see what I find. I have a small stash of new wires of different sizes and colors and should probably replace what I can to make sure there are no bad wires like you mentioned had happened to you. This sounds like it may be the gremlin :devil: area and if it works, I may not worry about an entire new loom for the moment.

Also, when you mentioned an overheating coil, I forgot to say that the Pertronix coil I just replaced with the old Bosch coil had leaked a lot of oil thru the center screw where the lead wire from the dizzy plugs in. I had noticed a bunch of oil on the coil and upon pulling the lead off, found that it was soaked and oil was coming out of the screw area which was loose. I tightened it with a screwdriver and the leak was stopped. I don't know how much oil was lost, but that may have led to it's overheating and eventually failing as you had also suggested in one of your posts. When I started the engine with the old Bosch in it now, it actually felt like it had more power and zip. Since I was waiting until Saturday to try and go down the hill for another test drive, I haven't found out if that is the problem either.

With all the info and direction you have given me now, I will check out all this stuff and let you know what happens.

Thanks again for all the help :thumbs: and if I figure it out, I will probably head down for the Supercar Sunday in Woodland Hills on the 27th and then to Malibu the next morning for the Mem. Day Run. I have really been "Jonesing" to get back on some curvy roads since this happened and while Gran Turismo 4 gives me a lot of satisfaction, it just ain't the same!!!
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Post by Steve » Sat May 12, 2007 9:53 pm

A new wiring harness is always nice, but it's a pretty major undertaking. My Y-Type came with a bunch of wiring chewed up by rats in the previous owner's garage. I bought a new harness but in the mean time patched it up with several bright yellow lengths of wire. Three years later the new wiring harness is still on the shelf and the car is still on the road! :roll:

Sounds like you have the right idea though. Get in there and clean / inspect / tighten every connector you can find. A sporting goods store that sells guns will have a small brush perfect for cleaning female bullet connectors. Use some emery cloth on the male side. Once clean, put a small dab of di-electric grease on the connector and put it back together. This should keep things working well for many years. :thumbs:

As for the coil, I would hesitate to put the leaky one back in the car. I haven't seen a serviceable coil sold for many years but perhaps there is a way to "refill" yours if it was really a matter of a loose cap. Or perhaps Pertronix will warranty it?

Let us know how it goes on the test drive!

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Sat May 12, 2007 10:55 pm

The Bosch coil was working fine when I got the car and the only reason I got the Pertronix coil was because I was buying their electronic ignition setup. The Bosch is not very pretty and is a faded blue at this point and I wanted everything to look nice under the bonnet so the new coil sounded like a good move.

This brings up another point about the Pertronix coils. The first one I got didn't even work and I ordered another one that worked fine. That was the one that turned out to be leaking thru the screw and I bought a third one and put it in just to be sure. Of course, I checked the screw on that one and it was tight. That one was in the car for over a year and was fine until the casing at the point where it was held in the mounting bracket wore through and was leaking oil right out the side. I had been down in the Santa Monica Mts. running Deer Creek Rd and a couple other roads and on the way home the Mini started to sputter if I tried to accelerate. This was just past Pt. Mugu and it kept running worse and worse so we stopped to see what was going on. We could see the oil dripping, but couldn't see where it was coming from. We continued on to my friends house in Oxnard and it died just before getting there and wouldn't restart. Luckily I had the second coil that had the loose screw in my box of spare parts in the boot and after putting that one back in, it fired up immediately and worked great until this recent mess. After getting the other one out of the bracket, it was really hot and you could see the oil bubbling out of the side.

That makes it seem possible that the Pertronix coil I just replaced with the old Bosch coil has failed also. 0 for 3 isn't a very good record and I have seen comments about other Pertronix failures online before. On the other hand, could a faulty wire (or two) be the underlying cause of all my woes. This is where I am at this point and after all the advice and info you have given me, I am hoping that the old reliable Bosch will solve at least part of the problem and I still am going to replace the main wires between the ignition switch and the components under the bonnet.

I'll definitely post the results and not leave this thread hanging with no answers in the hope that my mess may help someone else down the road with the same problems.

Bye for now, Wayne
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Post by Steve » Sat May 12, 2007 11:14 pm

Sounds like a poorly built coil to me. So long as the Bosch coil measures within the "safety range" for the Pertronix, it should be fine. If I recall correctly it should be 3 ohms, but I would check the owner's manual for the Igniter for that.

I doubt that a wire could ruin a coil but anything is possible. I'd imagine that you could have a weak spark, but that doesn't sound like a symptom you're having. If it stops running again, make sure there are no hot wires, including those going into the coil. Warm is fine but hot could point to a problem.

Just one of those unlikely things... you might want to clean the fuse box contacts and replace the fuses.

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Sat May 12, 2007 11:23 pm

More good info. Thanks. I'll check all those points too.

Yes, the Pertronix coil is a 3.0 ohm unit and I had actually used the Bosch for about two months with the Pertronix ignition module before the shiny new Pertronix coils came into the picture.
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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Mon May 21, 2007 12:38 pm

AS I mentioned in the Memorial Day Run thread, I haven't kicked the gremlins out of the Mini yet and I still think the problem lies somewhere in the helpful hints that Steve gave me. With the Mini being my only car and "daily" driver, I have been limited in what I do and am stuck at home all day since my wife needs her car at work all the time.

Due to a long-planned 3 day trip to Yosemite this last weekend, I didn't have any chance to spend more time with the poor Mini, but I did have fun driving a little rental Chevy Cobalt up the coast to Santa Marguerita and out on the very fun Hwy 229 and Hwy 41 all the way to Oakhurst where our motel was located. This was the first time I had been to Glacier Point and the view is incredible. On the way back yesterday, we went around Bass Lake where they had a classic boat show this weekend and then west from North Fork to O'Neals and then past Friant and Millerton Lake and finally down to the Clovis area before hooking up with Hwy 41 again. Of course, I had to scare my wife on Hwy 229 again and finally back to the coast where she drove us back home to Summerland. So at least I got to have some curvy road fun this weekend while the poor Mini got to sit under the car cover and do nothing.

Even though I scare my wife a lot, she said she really enjoyed taking all the cool back roads on this trip and wants to do it again later this year. I highly recommend going that way instead of the boring I-5 truckfest and the time really flies by. Anyone for a British car caravan to Yosemite sometime? That would really freak out the average tourists to see us motoring by.

Wayne the Mini-less One
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Post by Steve » Mon May 21, 2007 1:20 pm

We can't have your car sitting dead like that. Am I going to have to round up a posse and come up there for a "get Wayne's car running" day? Don't think I'm kidding, either. Surely a Mini owner or two has a few spares we can bring along? How does Wednesday or Thursday sound?

We may be driving a group of T-Series MGs through Yosemite (east to west) in July on our way back from Utah. I'm really hoping it works out! I also agree fully about the back roads. Taking I-5 when you're in a hurry is fine. But not taking the back roads of central California in a classic Brit car is a crime!

I scare my wife in the canyons too, but it's all good in the end. :)

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Mon May 21, 2007 2:54 pm

Steve, I have to tell you I literally started shaking with excitement reading your post. I have been so frustrated and down in the dumps with this problem that I even told Bonnie that I would go ahead and sell my precious Mini and get a Honda Civic like hers just to have a newer and "reliable" car. She knows how much it means to me and said "No way! You get so much joy out of the Mini and we will work thru this."

So my lack of knowledge as to what is wrong and how to fix it has been driving me crazy. The engine and tranny built by Graham Reid and his guys at Heritage Garage have been great and it has just been the little things that I have gradually been getting fixed that keep the Mini off the road.

I would gladly pay whatever it takes to solve this and make the run with you guys next Monday and just need to remount my camcorder's tripod between the new seats again and film the whole run as I always do. By the way, if anyone wants a copy of any of the last two years British car runs or MOALA club runs, I would be happy to make copies. I have some good shots of a lot of you guys including the time mentioned before where we passed each other on New Years Day.

I also would be glad to donate the Cooper S twin SU and manifold setup from the 970S motor that was in the Mini when I bought it and even the engine itself. When I bought the Mini, the engine had suffered a tiny crack between cylinders 2 and 3 on both the block and head where the headgasket had failed. Graham checked the engine out when I took it down to him to use the full-synchro tranny under it on my new 1310 he built. He said it could easily be sleeved and upon checking the crank, found it to be in great shape along with the pistons, bearings and con rods which were "back-cut lightened" by Bob Kearney at Fortech who built the engine. The crank is "standard-standard" and could easily be used again. I would be glad to have it come back to life for someone to use since it is such a rare motor and getting me back on the road is all I really want. I also have the Cobra bucket seats that came in the car just sitting here if anyone could use them. They would need to be reuphostered since the thin blue fabric on them had been gradually wearing out and tearing, but structurally they would just have to be mounted to whatever car they would be going into.

So, in closing, I would love to take you up on that offer for help any time that would work for you. I can buy anything that is needed to get it done and would provide pizza, burgers or whatever for lunch too.

Also, for anyone into racing video games like me, I have 100% completion game saves for all Gran Turismo 1 thru 4 with 999 cars in the 1000 car garage in Gran Turismo 4. Just bring a Playstation 2 memory card and I'll fix you right up. Also have the original World Rally Championship full game save among others. That is a very fun game with the Logitech Force Feedback steering wheel and pedals.

Thanks again for the great car guy attitude in wanting to help a fellow British car guy in time of need. It means more than you can imagine. :thumbs:

Wayne
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Summerland, CA. 93067-1502
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Post by Steve » Tue May 22, 2007 1:04 pm

Pizza? Oh that's it... I'm rounding up the posse! It may be tough to getting anyone to come along on a week day, but I'll see what I can do. Worst case, I'll come up myself to give it a go. I'm not an electrical wizard by any means so no guarantees!

Now... if you ever consider selling the car you love again, I'll come up there and slap you. Unless your wife has already done it for me, that is! ;)

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Tue May 22, 2007 1:22 pm

Great!!! Thanks, Steve. I think we can reason it out and isolate the problem area. I have just been too scared to screw something up without enough experience and create more problems than what is going on now. I know the Mini is not a very complicated car in general, but the electrical and fuel system combined is what was freaking me out. It has to be something pretty simple and probably just needs your British car knowledge to reason it out.

Whatever the result, you will be able to count on me to help you or any of the other guys in the future in any way I can. Even if it's just helping with simple cleaning, prepping kind of stuff. At least I could take some of the minutes and hours off a lengthy project to save you time in the end.

Thanks again, Wayne
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Post by Steve » Wed May 23, 2007 11:38 am

The posse is small (only two of us) but weekday posses are always smaller than weekend posses. ;)

How does tomorrow morning sound?

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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Wed May 23, 2007 12:50 pm

That would be great, Steve. With just two of you to decide what kind of pizza you want, it should make that an easier decision. :lol:

Before I forget, my wife reminded me to tell you I want to fill up your gas tank before you leave here and don't fill up down there any more than you will need to get here so I can really fill it good.

I just ordered a new coil and mount, dizzy cap and rotor from Heritage and that will be here tomorrow also. I had found the small black plastic vacuum line from the carb/manifold to the dizzy lying against the head and melted all the way thru and Doug at Heritage said to just go to any auto parts store and get one. So, if that's a possible problem, I'll see if Bonnie gets home soon enough for me to borrow her car and go get one. For the moment, I just cut out the burned section and taped it together with black electrical tape and think it sealed well; but of course, that won't stay that way.


Thanks again, Wayne
Last edited by Wayne Gratiot on Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Wayne Gratiot
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Post by Wayne Gratiot » Sat Jun 02, 2007 10:23 pm

To end this thread on a very happy note, Steve and Gary came up and after checking all kinds of electrical possibilities, they isolated the problem to be a faulty fuel pump. When we went on a short test drive to see if it failed, Gary rode with me and Steve followed in "Cedric". When it failed, they both knew it was the fuel pump and Steve got under the rear of the car and banged on the fuel pump with a socket wrench and sure enough the barely year old AUF 214 clicked a few times and got more fuel to the carb and we were off and running again. It took us a while to get up our steep hill to get home and after stopping and banging on the pump about 5 to 6 times, we had to steal some gas from Cedric and pour it directly into the fuel filter under the bonnet to give the carb enough to get up the driveway and safely parked.

The next day, I went to Moss and got a solid state Facet pump and made the switch. The Mini started right up and has been fine ever since. I got to join the Memorial Day Run and had a great time.

A huge thanks to Steve and Gary for the time and distance they had to drive to come rescue me and get me back on the road. It's one of those moments in life a car guy never forgets. :thumbs:

Wayne
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