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  • RHD to LHD Conversion

    Hi -- new to the Forum, so I apologize if this subject has been tackled already.

    I'm considering buying a RHD Mini originally from New Zealand from a chap down in Auburn -- anyone know the car? Anyway, I asked a couple of local Seattle Brit car mechanics (both well-known to Brit Gurus but who shall remain nameless) about converting from RHD to LHD, and one said it's doable but expensive, the other said it's possible but very complicated and not worth the incredible expense. This is an early 70s, single pod car -- which I thought would be a relatively straightforward conversion. I would greatly appreciate any thoughts/opinions/advice/recommendations? Thanks!

    Jeff

  • #2
    Why not leave it RHD? There just isn't that much difference. And it's lots more interesting driving a RHD car! (Keep a spare steering wheel in the car for your passenger and they can pretend they're driving which is what everyone out there will think anyway!) What you DO want is good rear view mirrors that are mounted on the doors, not out on the fenders. Vision can be a problem when you're parallel parked if you don't have properly adjusted mirrors.
    Last edited by minied; 05-05-2008, 01:54 PM.
    Ed

    1972 Austin 1300GT - Mean Mr. Mustard
    1963 Riley Elf MkII - Baba O

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    • #3
      Hi, Welcome. I hope you get a car. On this change.....
      Fairly simple, really. The biggest thing is dropping the subframe down a little, but not all of the way for the rack. Then, the re-piping of your master cylinders. Consider buying a cluster of LHD pedals so that the change is more straightforward. Some "While your at it" kind of stuff could be looked at then too such as:
      subframe to body mounts
      power unit to subframe mounts
      full fluids replacement - remember the repiping of your brake lines and clutch line too i think.
      double checking exhaust system integrity
      extensive cleaning and degreasing - which it will most likely need.

      Question: Since "your" car is early seventies.... Does it have 2 large -ish ( say 1.25" or 1.50" head size ) or 4 smaller ( say 9/16" head size ) bolts holding the subframe to the bulkhead that the master cylinders sit on? I ask because occasionally the smaller ones will be a real bugger to remove, or will even break. You should plan on extra time when lowering your subframe in case you encounter these types of "opportunities for learning". For instance, I think it holds true that 2 large bolt equals rubber sandwich style of subframe mounting and 4 smaller bolts equals an almost metal to metal contact style of subrame mounting. - Thus my subframe mounts thinking above.

      Saw your MM post and the reply by a very experienced member. I think you'll find that many people would plan on one very full weekend to do this work - at a minimum. Also, I'll second the statement by one that you should discuss the possibility of having Chuck do the work with him. I guess it depends on your level of ability and experience. Since your car is 30-35 years old, many of my suggestions could need doing. Or you may just want to for safety and preferences needs. Perhaps consider a new separate post for Chuck to see discussing the poss of his pre-viewing your car prior to purchase? Just a suggestion.
      BTW, I know a guy in North Seattle who probably still has a LHD pedal set taken off of a mid-to - late seventies car. Should be a good swap for yours, if your car is really a 70's vintage car.

      Well, we'll certainly look forward to hearing more from you. Best regards,
      MSH
      All Together Now..... Everybody.......

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      • #4
        Nothing wrong with driving on the corect/ right side of the car! If you want a place to start looking for parts go to the link below. If you are free there is a club meeting at Chuck's house "see the fourm for when and where". Anyway driving on the corect/ right side of the car is a blast...lots of members drive there!
        Tim


        http://www.minimania.com/web/Item/FA.../InvDetail.cfm
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlemini/collections/

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        • #5
          Many thanks...

          ...to all who replied (and to all who may do so). If I go with this little guy, I'll probably keep it as is -- if I had no trouble handling my old RHD SIII Land Rover than a Mini should be no sweat. I've actually driven quite a few RHD Minis both hear and in Ol' Blighty, and it is "easy-peasy."

          In fact, I think I've driven this one, if it's the same car that was for sale by a previous owner up in Lynnwood about 2 years ago (I wasn't Mini-ready then). Here's the ad -- does anyone know this car?

          http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/car/663406099.html

          You can reply to me privately if you like ([email protected]).

          Thanks again!

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          • #6
            I always lobby to keep the car as it is, but mostly for practical reasons. Not worth the time and money to do the conversion. Usually the money could be better spend elsewhere.

            The early 70's, round nose cars are the easiest to convert of all. But don't believe anyone who tells you it can be done in an afternoon. I'd allow a minimum of a week end to do it properly-- including setting the toe out after the conversion. Don't forget that the wipers need to be switched as well.

            I've had the car in my garage. Don't remember what I did to it at the time. If you know the Lynnwood owner's name I may have records of work done.
            The more I know about Minis, the more I know I don't know about Minis.

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