Clubman Estate Rear Door
The rear doors on the Estate needed some careful consideration as I wanted a different, more practical system. The windows in these doors are quite small, have no heating elements in them, cannot be easily kept clean from road dirt and having 2 doors leaves a very wide central 'blind-spot'. I thought about welding them together and cutting a larger window in them, but two doors together are quite heavy and may cause a problem. In the 60's some one piece glass fibre doors were available, but they were very simple and I never saw one which fitted well. Then one day when I was travelling behind a Reliant Robin Estate, I saw what might be the answer - the rear door was almost flat, but had a small swage around the window aperture and a proper recess for the number plate light - and a heated rear window! It is also very easy to fit rear wiper system for better improved rear visibility.
It was some time before I found another which I could measure and when I did, it wasn't very far away from the Mini sizes - true, the curve was too severe, it was too tall and surprisingly, not wide enough, but at least they are made from glass-fibre. I always did like a challenge, so I bought one from a guy in Liverpool, but with no heated rear window - oh! well, I'm sure I'll find one of those sometime.
The first task was to separate the inner and outer skins with a hacksaw blade. The outer panel was then quite flexible and would easily conform to the shape of the Mini. I band-sawed a couple of lengths of 3 by 3 inch timber to the same curve as the rear of the Estate and then screwed the outer skin to these, one at each side. The next stage was to lay up 4 layers of glass-fibre matting with resin to increase the width - this would also 'fix' the curve to what was required. Once everything was cured, I dug out the securing screws and removed the wooden formers.
Final sizing was done only after fitting a pair of original Mini hinges, so that it could be checked at each stage.
The next step was to re-attach the inner skin and this was done by laying up strips of chopped strand matting with resin, bit by bit until the whole of the edges had been secured.
Inside view of the rear door before final finishing, showing the minivan type slam lock, secured to a bonded in piece of aluminium
The position of the wiper motor needed careful measurement to avoid the blade sweeping incorrectly. This shot also shows the rear number plate lamp unit taken from the Sportpack Cooper.
The Honda Civic wiper motor body needed to be threaded 5/8 by 24 TPI to accept a standard wheelbox nut
the reassembled motor with securing nut and nylon spacing collar.
Machining the 72 splines on the motor shaft adaptor, using a screwcutting tool on its side and indexing with the dividing head
The splined piece before drilling for the securing grub screw. It was then parted off as finished.
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