One of the reasons why Japanese vehicles started to be more reliable than their British counterparts, was in my opinion, the great attention paid to the fitting detail and routing of various components. Nothing was left flapping in the breeze to vibrate itself to death or chafe against another component. Whilst building up the Mini Clubman Estate, I wanted to follow this method, in the hope that I could 'engineer out' some of the notorious unreliability. From time to time I needed some form of plastic clip to hold something in place on the body-shell during build up. Take for instance, the battery cable on the Mini - it was held originally to the sub-frame with some rather weedy looking plated steel brackets. On the '99 Cooper which I dismantled for parts for the Clubman Estate, these had done 5000 miles and only 1 winter, yet were already rusty and not really fit to be re-used without re-plating. So I looked around the workshop for a suitable alternative, and found a short length of white square section guttering. I band-sawed a couple of strips about 20mm wide and dressed up the edges in the vice.
Straight from the Band-saw!
Using the heat gun (hot-air paint-stripper), this material rapidly takes on the consistency of chewing-gum and can be manipulated into any desired shape. I used a drill shank of the same diameter as the battery cable, and with hand pressure, curled the plastic strip around the drill, leaving a shape like this:
The next stage is to heat one face of the bracket and then position the whole assembly in the vice, with very little pressure, and then reset to the final shape. It is then a simple matter of cutting and shaping what's left before drilling and de-burring.
I then chose to hold the brackets to the sub-frame with stainless nuts and bolts. These brackets are far stronger than the originals, cannot chafe and short-out the cable and need no further protection. This method can be used for all sorts of clips and brackets for such as petrol and brake pipes and also wiring harness clips. I know that 'P' clips are commercially available, but they are often not strong enough or exactly the right shape for the job - these can be custom made for any application.
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