The Morris Minor Traveller
Complete Ford 5-speed gearbox kit with short remote for the Morris Minor to a , we manufacturer all options available for the Morris including the CC and. ive got a moggy pick up and the diff has gone but we were contemplating with the idea of changing to the midget engine its still a 4 speed. On Sunday, April 29, , Mini Mania held it s first Nevada City Adventure event Being our first swap meet car show since our move, we weren.
Many were pessimistic about the radical car's prospects and especially the huge cost in tooling up for a design that shared no parts with any existing Morris product.
Lord Nuffield himself took a strong dislike to both the Mosquito and Issigonis, famously saying that the prototype resembled a poached egg. He particularly objected to the Mosquito's expensive and unconventional engine design. Whatever Nuffield's personal views, it was looking increasingly unlikely that all of the Mosquito's radical features could be implemented while maintaining an acceptable final purchase price and without incurring too much setup costs at the Cowley factory.
Thomas and Vic Oak drew up a plan to create a three-model range of cars using Issigonis' design - the Mosquito with an cc engine, a mid-sized model tentatively designated the Minor after a previous small Morris launched in with an cc engine and a new Morris Oxford with a cc version of the engine, all sharing different-sized variants of the same platform and with sporting MG and luxury Wolseley versions to achieve further economies of scale. There was also the matter of timing — there was a big rush by British manufacturers to get new models to market following the end of the war.
It was known that Austin was working on an all-new but conventional car which would be launched in The Mosquito was proposed for launch in and that deadline was appearing increasingly unlikely due to the untried nature of many of the car's features. This meant that several of Issigonis' proposals were reviewed — first the all-independent torsion bar suspension was changed for a torsion-sprung live rear axle and this was then substituted by a conventional leaf sprung arrangement.
All of Miles Thomas' suggestions for spreading the cost of developing the new car and broadening the design's appeal were treated sceptically by the Morris board and vetoed by Lord Nuffield. It became clear that the only way to overcome the personal and financial obstacles to the project was to adopt a lightly revised version of the Morris Eight's obsolete sidevalve engine. While Thomas had been battling for the Mosquito's future Issigonis had been settling the car's styling.
Although in his later career he would be known for very functional designs Issigonis was heavily influenced by the modern styling of American cars, especially the Packard Clipper and the Buick Super. The original Mosquito prototype, which drew Lord Nuffield's "poached egg" comment, was designed with similar proportions to pre-war cars, being relatively narrow for its length.
In latewith Cowley already tooling up for production, Issigonis was unhappy with the appearance of the car. He had the prototype cut lengthways and the two halves moved apart until it looked "right". It also gave the car distinctive and recognisably modern proportions — contrast with the Austin A30launched in but still recognisably pre-war in size and proportions. The last-minute change to the design required a number of workarounds — bumpers had already been produced, so early cars had ones cut in half with a four-inch plate bolted between the join.
It was widely expected that the Mosquito codename would also be the name of the production model, but Nuffield disliked it. There was also Issigonis' last-minute size increase and the fitment of the larger-than-planned sidevalve engine to consider - while still a small car the new Morris was no longer the ultra-compact economy car that it had been on the drawing board and the Mosquito name seemed inappropriate. Morris's marketing department wanted a reassuring name for what it worried would be an innovative, radical car that would be difficult to sell to a cautious public.
At the same show Morris also launched the new Morris Oxford and Morris Six models, plus Wolseley variants of both cars, which were scaled-up versions of the new Minor, incorporating all the same features and designed with Issigonis' input under Oak's supervision.
Thus Issigonis' ideas and design principles underpinned the complete post-war Morris and Wolseley car ranges, although not the same extent that Miles Thomas had initially proposed. After looking at it for a few months, I decided I better either get rid of it or rebuild it, and decided on the latter.
I found a major rebuild kit, very reasonably priced, with new pistons, bearings, lifters, cam gear, etc, and took the block and head into a machine shop to have it bored and the valves ground.
I found that Delta Cams, nearby in Tacoma, regrinds cams, and even offers a variety of grinds — at a very fair price. So I chose to have it reground with a little more zip to it than stock. This is when things start to get more fun - reassembling parts that you have cleaned up and refurbished or replaced as necessary.
I decided to paint the motor Chevy blue. The original carburetion on these engines was a two-barrel, progressive linkage Hitachi. Unfortunately, while they can be made to run well, these were built in the early days of emissions controls, so are encumbered with an amazing number of vacuum hoses, solenoids, and other smog-related complications.
So I decided not to use the stock intake setup. The next alternative was a Weber DGV setup, which is a generic 2-barrel downdraft carb that can be adapted to a wide variety of engines, either with stock manifolds with an adaptor, or aftermarket manifolds, such as those offered by Cannon.
Then I investigated the possibility of a single side-draft Weber DCOE carburetor, which I love the looks of, and would be about the right size for a cc motor. Unfortunately, the only manifold that I could find seems to need a special exhaust manifold to be able to fit under the intake manifold.
So I scratched this idea too. Since I was intrigued with the British origin history of this motor, I decided that I would see if I could make a pair of SU carburetors work. The problem is that there are no manifolds on the market for this adaptation. I found out later that there were some twin-SU-style manifolds made by Nissan for this series of motors, but they are few and far between. So I decided to cut the original Datsun manifold into two stubs, and weld SU-pattern flanges onto the end.
I discovered that the factory manifolds are slightly different fore and aft, so ended up cutting two manifolds and using the same end of each. After the flanges were welded up, the only other modification was to lengthen the linkage between the carbs a little bit. How did I get off on this tangent? When I rebuilt the carbs, I bought a master rebuild kit that included new throttle shafts with bushings. I had a local machine-tool-sharpening shop make me a special piloted reamer to bore the carbs for the bushings.
After measuring though, I found that all the slop was in the throttle shafts, not the carb body, so replacing the shafts tightened everything up fine without installing the bushings.
I've since found the same thing on another pair of similar carbs. Lesson learned was that the shafts wear instead of the body on HS2s, so don't waste time and money trying to rebush - just get new throttle shafts.
Once I had assembled the motor, I decided to make an adaptor for my engine run-in stand so that I could fire it up and break it in a little. I even got fancy and installed a muffler on it to save what little hearing I have left.
The muffler was originally intended for a Massey Ferguson tractor. Amazingly enough, the motor fired right up, and actually ran well with the SUs.
It idled even better when I installed a cross-over tube between the front and rear manifold sections. Now that the motor looked pretty British, sporting its SUs, I screwed an Austin plate left over from my Mini onto the valve cover to further the deception.
I start to ponder various target vehicles. I finally settled on a Morris Minor. I had driven a couple of these through the years, and appreciated how civilized and practical they were. Sort of the British version of the VW Beetle.
BMC literally sold well over a million of these cars over the years. The more I investigated Morris Minors, the more I became attached to the station wagon, or "estate" version, called the Traveller note the extra L. They had the capacity and the expertise from the T-series wood framework.
The Morris Minor Forum
The Traveller was so popular, that it remained in production after the sedan production was stopped. The final Traveller rolled off the assembly line in The basic Morris design was so good, production lasted almost 25 years.
They were available as two and four-door sedans saloonswagon, pickup, and van versions. The vans were used by the postal service in England. Found one, and drove it home! The Traveller had about 88, miles, was left hand drive, and presumably, until recently was owned by a church.
It sounded perfect to use it as-is, after a few mechanical upgrades. I decided to take a chance on driving it back to Seattle from south of the San Francisco bay-area. I packed up a bunch of tools and spare parts, and my son Ben took a couple of vacation days to accompany me on the quest. The seller agreed to meet us at the airport. After initial discussions about whether the car was roadworthy, and the seller saying "absolutely," when he learned that I planned to drive it home he insisted that I sign an agreement holding him harmless if anything went haywire on the way home.
After we arrived at the San Jose airport early in the morning, we waited anxiously for him to arrive. Eventually we see the woody coming down the road. In retrospect I can see how the pictures he provided were posed with the bad spots out of the sun. Fortunately, he was mostly correct in his description of rust.
Pre-purchase shots like this can hide a lot of ills After a two-minute orientation of the car, he speeds off with his wife in his Jaguar, and we amble off with the Morris. I had calculated that 55 MPH would be 4, RPM, so we could probably cruise at that speed once we got out of town, but that was pushing it a little. The car started to have a shake at about 53, even though the tires had been recently replaced and balanced.
The rear seat folds down to make a commodious flat storage area in the back, so there is plenty of room for our luggage and tools. We even felt confident enough to stop at a Costco for a couple cases of whiskey. The mirrors, mounted on the front wings, look neat, but don't provide much visibility, and the rear view mirror inside the car looks straight into the posts in the middle of the back doors. However, if you move your head around, visibility is great in almost any direction.
The Traveller needed frequent gas stops. And we find that at every gas stop, it liked to have another quart of oil.
It was burning enough so that we felt compelled to leave some windows open at all times because of the fumes, and as the trip progressed, the back doors and windows got covered with an oily film. The hearty little Traveller motored along without problems and we rolled into my driveway after three days on the road without the need to get out a single tool! We got a lot of thumbs-up along the way, and enjoyed the trip.
I'm glad the trip wasn't much longer! But, I wanted to do the swap so that it is easily irreversible if someone wants to bring it back to stock some day. This would be a bolt-in operation, and would still have ample power for most needs. My Bugeye Sprite has this motor along with a 5-speed, and is happy at freeway speeds, but it also weighs about pounds less than the Traveller, and is more aerodynamic both have a frumpy way of aerodynamics.
I decided to go ahead with the Datsun swap. I found that the Datsun swap has been done before, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, so there were some helpful tips on-line. Also, a local friend, Russ, inspired me with his Datsun-powered Minor Saloon. His car has a similar Datsun motor, but with an automatic transmission. Engine Installation The Datsun motor is a good fit into a Morris Minor, except that it is very tight in length.
The cutout is only necessary to get the engine in and out, once the motor is in place, the engine sits behind the cutout. Here I'm welding in the filler panel I made motor mounts that bolt to the Morris frame, and use the stock Datsun rubber mounts.
They bolt a few inches to the rear of the original mounts, with one side higher than the other. This is what they looked like in raw fabrication state The stock oil filter looked like it would need part of the frame flange cut away for access, but I found a small filter same as John Deere Gator that installs without any modifications to the Morris. Everything else bolts to existing holes and no other cutting or drilling is required. As a result, the car could easily be restored to the original motor if desired - it would bolt right in.
However, I think you would have a hard time enjoying the original motor after driving it with the conversion. I made an aluminum filler panel and had it welded in place. For supporting the transmission, I made brackets that use the original Datsun cross-member and rubber mount.
This picture shows the engine mounts at the bottom, and the transmission mount at the top. The "wings" allow the original Datsun transmission crossmember to be bolted to the existing holes in the frame that were originally used for the Morris transmission mount. For the clutch linkage, I made a bracket that mounts to the transmission, and also uses the original clutch linkage point on the frame.
Same idea as the original Morris, but I changed the geometry a little bit so that it increases the leverage. It works very smoothly and the clutch is pleasant to use. For the speedometer, I bought a kit from Rivergate the folks who make the adaptors for Datsun transmissions into Brit-cars that has an angle drive and speedometer cable to mate the original speedometer with the Datsun transmission. The angle drive can be configured with different gear ratios to make the speedometer read correctly.
I ended up with a 1. I visited Pull-A-Part wrecking yard, and brought home a few boots. One of them worked fine with the original trim ring. Alternatively, you could cut the gear lever, and weld it beside the stub so it would come out in the center, it's that close.
I tapped the original Morris gear shift knob for metric threads, and it screwed onto the Datsun gear lever. I like it when you are at low RPMs when cruising, and the 5-speed is a big step in that direction with its. The powered series of Sprites and MG Midgetsfrom the mid '60 to early '70s have a 3. Earlier Spridgets used 4.
Pull the floating axles out a few inches on each side, then unbolt the center section and install the new pumpkin. This all went smoothly, I only had to make a slightly different bracket to mount the Tee for the brakes. However, later, when time came to fill it, I realized that there was no filler! As it turns out, the Morris had the filler on the front, but the later Sprites had the filler on the rear. To temporarily solve this problem, I carefully measured the correct amount of lube, then filled it from the vent at the top.
Morris Minor - Wikipedia
Later, I drilled and tapped a hole into the differential housing for a plug. I'm really hoping I got all the metal chips out of there! Incidently, the outer axle shafts are sealed with a paper gasket AND an o-ring. And they don't leak. I was surprised that they were using o-rings in those days - wish they would have used that technology other places in the car.
Might have made a big difference in the British car industry. I read a couple places on the Internet that one could swap the rear axles with stronger Sprite axles. I tried that, only to find that the Sprite axles are a couple inches shorter than the Morris axles.
The Datsun driveshaft bolts right in! By the way, between the 5-speed and 3. And it easily pulls it.
Exhaust The exhaust manifold on the Datsun motor comes out pointing towards the chassis rather than the hole where the exhaust originally resided. To remedy this, I cut the exhaust manifold at an angle, rotated it around so the angles added up to make a fairly sharp bend, then had it welded up. Actually, I thought it would be welded, but they brazed it instead.
I would have guessed that the melting point of brass is too low for an exhaust system, but it seems to be working fine in practice. The only initial glitch with the exhaust was that when the clutch was pressed almost all the way down, the pedal hit the exhaust pipe - easy mistake to make. Also, initially we used a 14" muffler right under the drivers foot area. It sounded good going through the gears, but had a bit of a drone at highway cruising speeds.