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Left hand drive Mini Truck

Discussion in 'Mini Lounge' started by dajeepman, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. DIYguy

    DIYguy New Member

    Well, i suppose it depends on a persons skill set. I have a background in welding fitting and engineering so, the mechanical stuff was not challenging however, since there are no guidelines available, it was frustrating at times... trying to make things fit. I guess i scratched my head the longest over the steering. This model has rack and pinion (no power assist). The pinion is pointed on an angle up towards the steering column. The easiest would be to find a lhd rack. Not. If u understand a bit about steering geometry, u cant just adapt any old lhd rack without having issues. The tie rod pivot points need to be in line with the control arm pivot points, along with the mounting elevation need to be correct. If they are not, “bump-steer” is the result. So, I decided to try and adapt the existing rack. If you rotate the rack 180 degrees end for end to get the pinion on the left side, you have a design that would move the wheels left, when trying to turn right. That is to say, the pinion is on the wrong side of the rack. I set the rack up in this position and just stared at it for a while. One Saturday morning i got this idea. I now rotated the unit in place so the pinion pointed at the floor. Now everything is in the correct orientation to function correctly.... except of course that the pinion was pointing the wrong way. How about if i remove the pinion, cut it and weld the “top” part onto the “bottom” (which is now pointing up). Ha! The pinion shaft would need a through-bearing rather than a drawn cup blind end bearing. This is what i did. Parted on a lathe, drilled and tapped for a centring screw, chamfered, welded, centre-ground and reassembled. I just cut the bottom cup from the bearing until i could get a new one. (Cost me $2o i think). Yes the larger pinion bearing is on the bottom now, but its fine. I bought a heavy duty bearing for the top (small end).

    Of course all the mounting brackets were carefully cut from the crossmember and welded back in their new home. I had to extend the steering shaft as well. It is at a rather extreme angle, however, it just works.
    (Now that i have just completed a suspension drop, im going to have to lengthen it again! Lol)

    oh yes, you also have to swap the tie rod ends as this model has them shaped to clear the rims. This is true for the stock rims but perhaps not if you have higher offset wheels.

    The other really challenging thing was the heater box location. I kinda figured that i would just find a place to mount it after i had all the other things moved. Not. It needs to go in its original location. This caused me to remove the pedal cluster for the hump teenth time and perform some major surgery on it to make room.

    If i ever had to do it again, i could do it in less than half the time. So much trial and retry. One strong bit of advice, tack weld things, put them all in place, then once satisfied, take apart and finish weld.

    The dash was time consuming as well. I spent almost three weeks of spare time with fibreglass, felt, bondo etc.

    Electrical, piece of cake. Harness comes in left side and runs across dash crossmember. Just fold it back in half and lengthen about 8 or 10 wires with solder splice. Everything worked perfectly first try.

    i do have pics of most things if there’s any specific interest in something.

    Gary from Ontario, Canada.
    Limestone likes this.
  2. DIYguy

    DIYguy New Member

    I used all the original parts. I didn't buy anything. Well, just materials. A bearing, paint, resin, felt, coolant, used some welding wire and gas, zip wheels.

    It took me a couple months Of spare time. Of course i work full time, and spend two hours/day travelling plus Home reno projects mixed in there. I did this just a few months ago. I have been driving it on the road, and off ever since with no issues at all. The dash was almost as long as the rest of it.
    Limestone likes this.
  3. DIYguy

    DIYguy New Member

    Thanks! :)
  4. Limestone

    Limestone Well-Known Member

    Amazing! At least to me! Yeah, I really would love to pics! I completely understand, the part where you suggested, tack welding first. Heck, we've all been there!
  5. DIYguy

    DIYguy New Member

    If this pic doesn’t scare you off, ur good to go.

    Attached Files:

    Limestone likes this.
  6. Limestone

    Limestone Well-Known Member

    Kinda resembles the mess I had a few months back!

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