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7 things you'd only know about the MINI (first generation) by taking it apart

7 things you'd only know about the MINI (first generation) by taking it apart

The first-generation MINI is nearly twenty years of age, and while that may make you feel immensely old (sorry about that) it also means that the MINI is now a prime example of bargain motoring.

And with bargain motoring, there is of course the desire to do as much of the work as possible yourself.

The MINI is a simple car to work on, and with your Haynes Manual to hand, you can tackle most jobs. However, it never hurts to have a bit more information, so here are some insider tips we picked up when putting the manual together…

01 Sump Plug

01 Sump Plug

When changing the oil, you’ll notice that the sump plug has a built-in sealing ring. Even if this looks okay, it’s best practice to change it, as it can cause problems later if it’s reused.

02 Auxiliary Belt

02 Auxiliary Belt

You’re going to need to use a special tool in order to compress the tensioner, there is no other way around it – without it, the job can’t be done. However, you don’t need the specialist MINI tool, as others available. Also, once compressed you can lock it in place with a 4mm bolt.

03 Front End

03 Front End

After removing the front bumper and bumper carrier, the complete modular front-end assembly can be moved to the service position using a couple 8 mm x 100 mm studs. This greatly improves access to the front of the engine, without having to disconnect any coolant hoses etc.

04 Fuel Tank

04 Fuel Tank

Got an issue with your pump or fuel filter? Be aware that the MINI tank has two level sensors. The pump is integral with the left-hand side sensor, and the filter integral with the right-hand side sensor.

05 Fuel Pressure

05 Fuel Pressure

If you’re going to be doing any work to the fuel system, make sure you activate the vale at the left-hand end of the fuel rail, as this will release the pressure within the system.

06 Inertia Switch

If your MINI suddenly stops running, check the inertia switch. It’s in the left-hand rear corner of the engine bay. It’s designed to work in the event of a crash, but in the real-world aggressive potholes or bumps can activate it.

07 Windows

07 Windows

After replacing the front door window, the pretension adjustment can be checked using a piece of paper: Open the door, and then slowly close it so that the door lock clicks over the first position on the catch. There should be a gap between the door edge and the vehicle body.

In this position, the top of the window should be just touching the door seal. This can be checked by placing a sheet of paper between the top of the window and the door seal.

With the door closed in the ‘first click’ position, it should be possible to pull the paper from place with light resistance.