With a little help from a friend, the Mini chugged back into life today after what has been an extended (read embarrassingly over extended) lay up. When it caught, it sounded like it was running on just a couple of cylinders – any choke or any movement of the throttle, caused the engine to die. While I was running through the mental checklist of what could be wrong – and more importantly, how much it was going to cost – the motor continued to leap about on its mounts. It’s a good job my brain works slowly, as it gave the other cylinders plenty of time to make up their minds, and thankfully, they decided to join the party. As heat spread through the engine, the tickover settled and after ten minutes, was happy to be revved. Nice.
Buoyed by this little success, I turned back to the Crab which had only been stirred from its slumbers a couple of hours earlier. The brakes have been giving trouble, and as they’re of the single cylinder variety, there’s no room for error. The master cylinder has been rebuilt (for the second time) and although now leak free, the pedal remained spongy. A marathon bleeding session was in order.
First, the rears. At first I thought the fluid was just milky from trapped air, but after leaving it to settle in the catch bottle for a couple of minutes it quickly began to separate. I’m guessing that the fluid has been topped up using whatever was to hand, so there’s a good chance I was seeing what happens when you mix silicone, synthetic and oil based brake fluid. No option but to change the fluid completely.
At the front, mixed fluid was spiced up with the remains of the failed master cylinder seals. It’s a bit shocking to see this much black debris in the catch bottle, but fingers crossed, that’s the last of it.
With a firm pedal and the car pulling up square and even, I started to think that the Crab that I was considering to be fit for little more than spares a couple of weeks ago must be getting close to taking a trip to the MoT station. So I took the offside rear passenger door off – well, what else is an engine crane for…?