Cleaning up a flat tow fail. - North American Motoring

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Cleaning up a flat tow fail.

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Old 11-20-2018, 09:02 AM
MINI_Jason
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Cleaning up a flat tow fail.

I will preface this with saying that I am not the one that destroyed the engine and transmission in this car. I am merely the fool that gave money for a R52 "Justa" with a destroyed engine and transmission.

The story is that the car was attached to the back of a couple's Class A RV, saying good byes at a family reunion created enough of a distraction that the couple's normal routine was not followed and the Mini was left in first gear. A some miles down the highway other motorists flagged them down informing them that their car was smoking. They took it to the local mini dealership who quoted them something like $8K to replace the engine, transmission and probably a few other things. They opted to sell it on CL and purchase another convertible and continue their vacation.

I bought it and planned to spend a couple of months acquiring the necessary parts to replace the engine and perform a 6 spd swap. A few years of occupying my car trailer later, I finally had 90% of what I needed to get started. FWIW the odometer showed 83K, but having been flat towed negated some of that benefit. I found an '06 6 spd with 60ish thousand miles pretty quickly and allowed it to wither away in a box in my garage while I debated the merits of a freshly rebuilt long block and a running pull with as many accessories as possible. Back in September I came across an ad on FB for a complete engine for $170 from an '05 R50 with a grenaded 5spd. I figured if nothing else, I will have two of each accessory and a rebuildable core. The engine ended up having good cold/dry compression numbers and didn't make any weird noises when checking compression, so we replaced a few seals and gaskets, mated it to the 6spd and into the car it went. Turns out that the parts list for the getrag 5spd to getrag 6spd swap is essentially the same as for the midlands swap.

At this point, I am bleeding the clutch away from buttoning it all up and having her back on the road.

How fast did the engine turn before failing? I don't know. However, assuming at least 55mph on the highway and if the engine held together that long, it saw close to 14k RPMs.

EDIT: I am trying to attach some pics of the damage, but and having some technical difficulty.
 
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:19 AM
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Wow. Quite a project you have on your hands! Looking forward to pics!
 
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Old 11-20-2018, 09:42 AM
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i don't believe in accidents

The story is that the car was attached to the back of a couple's Class A RV, saying good byes at a family reunion created enough of a distraction that the couple's normal routine was not followed and the Mini was left in first gear.
Quite a story. I can immediate imagine what that was like with a smoking Mini behind a Class A from a third person point of view.

When I am carrying out a task that leaves little room for error, I will not let myself to be distracted. That covers just about anything I do at the track, including loading and unloading the trailer. Likewise I apply this rule to others. I would not engage them in conversation when they are busy carrying out their endeavor. When you have a rig, like an RV with or without a trailer there are many things to check before embarking on the voyage. Adding something behind easily double the chances of what can go wrong. A system of check lists can mitigate these "accidents". Often a going through a checklist may not be practical, and I resort to using a mental checklist. I like to do what Japanese rail and subway personnel do, with a deliberate sequence of hand gesture while going through a mental checklist.



The mental checklist is not infallible but is better than nothing. It takes some time of repetition to develop until the sequence is etched into memory. Still our memory is extremely unreliable especially after a period of disuse. Most accidents are caused by human errors, so most are incidents.
 
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:20 AM
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There we go.

Pulled several larger bits of the crank case out of the radiator. Had a few pieces of piston and crank position reluctor (?) fall out as we were moving the engine around. Fan and intake manifold were chewed up by shrapnel. The harmonic damper has all of the rubber missing. I had a couple of dents in the fire wall. The transmission mounting flange was not only removed from the rest of the transmission casting, it was broken in a couple of places and included part of the casting for the axle seal.

Here are a few pics from before we pulled the engine and transmission from the car.




 
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:32 AM
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The most dramatic part is how the transmission bell housing that looks worst than a warship hull that had been torn apart by a torpedo. It is an automatic or Midland R50? There must be a hell of stress imparted onto the front tires towing at highway speed in first. I agree the drivetrain must had seen 14,000 RPM. I have not seen ever a class A MH cruising on the highway at 55MPH. All passed me as if I was standing still in my Sprinter based MH. I cruise at around 60 MPH on flat.
 
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Old 11-20-2018, 10:33 AM
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A non-running R52 arrives and prepares for a new heart.


It turns out that the Mini's battery was too low for my charger to recognize and charge. In order to get enough charge on the battery to use for testing, I used a spare battery as a buffer. This battery will now work well enough until I am ready to start driving the car.
 

Last edited by MINI_Jason; 11-20-2018 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 11-20-2018, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by pnwR53S View Post


The most dramatic part is how the transmission bell housing that looks worst than a warship hull that had been torn apart by a torpedo. It is an automatic or Midland R50? There must be a hell of stress imparted onto the front tires towing at highway speed in first. I agree the drivetrain must had seen 14,000 RPM. I have not seen ever a class A MH cruising on the highway at 55MPH. All passed me as if I was standing still in my Sprinter based MH. I cruise at around 60 MPH on flat.
it's an 05, so it should be the getrag 5spd that replaced the midland.
 
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:33 AM
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Wow what a story. That block and the bell housing on the transmission, never seen one cracked and damaged that bad. Looks like a MINI engine pushing 500HP and then exploded.
 
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:36 AM
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WOWSERS!

Great job getting it back on the road.

Motor On!
 
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:08 AM
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Nice shot at ORP.........


Originally Posted by pnwR53S View Post
Quite a story. I can immediate imagine what that was like with a smoking Mini behind a Class A from a third person point of view.

When I am carrying out a task that leaves little room for error, I will not let myself to be distracted. That covers just about anything I do at the track, including loading and unloading the trailer. Likewise I apply this rule to others. I would not engage them in conversation when they are busy carrying out their endeavor. When you have a rig, like an RV with or without a trailer there are many things to check before embarking on the voyage. Adding something behind easily double the chances of what can go wrong. A system of check lists can mitigate these "accidents". Often a going through a checklist may not be practical, and I resort to using a mental checklist. I like to do what Japanese rail and subway personnel do, with a deliberate sequence of hand gesture while going through a mental checklist.



The mental checklist is not infallible but is better than nothing. It takes some time of repetition to develop until the sequence is etched into memory. Still our memory is extremely unreliable especially after a period of disuse. Most accidents are caused by human errors, so most are incidents.
 
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Old 11-28-2018, 02:17 PM
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Wow ! Just....Wow! The damage in those pictures is just amazing. Holy hell, how did they not notice? Lol.
Good on you for bringing it back from the dead!
”Honey, I think I just heard a screech and loud bang from behind us, did the Mini blow up?”
”Nahh, it’s probably just something we didn’t secure in the cupboard....everything is fine!”
 
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:57 AM
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lol, that was the conversation i bet.
 
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Old 11-29-2018, 01:18 PM
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Assuming that the radio wasn't just loud enough to cover it up. "Honey what was that loud noise?" "Which noise? Probably just another annoying commercial."

In their defense, some of those class A RVs have a fair amount of sound deadening at the rear of the RV, and things like walls in between, so folks don't have to listen to that "noisy" diesel engine in the back of their RV. I have a 40ft Bus that we are planning to convert to an RV and with just an open interior in it, I can still barely hear the engine run. Turn on the blower motor for the A/C and it drowns out most noise from the back of the bus.

On a more related note, it's occurred that on other engines, when you replace a cam or crank position sensor, there is a re-learn procedure. Since I've technically replaced both, is there such a procedure for these engines?
 
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:36 PM
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Took her for a spin this morning to fill the tank. Trip was about half a mile total. I started to make it a longer trip, but I got some weird, loud clunks from the front end. I thought that I got everything tight, but the noises indicate that I must have missed something. :/
 
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