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Mowog's Guide to Doing It Yourself

One of the most essential items you'll need when working on your Mini is a workshop manual. These manuals will guide you in the dismantling of your Mini and, more importantly, how to put it back together again. There are currently three different workshop manuals available for the Mini, ranging from the basic and cheap Gregory's manual to the comprehensive and expensive Leyland workshop manual.

Gregory's

The Gregory's Maintenance and Repair Manual is available in two editions for the Mini - one for the early round nose model and one for the Clubman. This manual is quite cheap at around $30 and is readily available at most car parts shops and automotive departments in large stores (ie KMart, Big W, etc). The Gregory's manual covers most of the major and minor operations involved in maintaining and repairing a Mini with step by step descriptions and photos. However they tend to be a bit concise on details when describing some steps and gloss over some difficult bits with the simple sounding statement 'Remove part xyz' when the only way part xyz is going to move is with a sledge hammer.

For some operations the descriptions in the Gregory's manual are a bit impractical. Just about every operation involving the engine and transmission have as the first two steps '1. Remove bonnet.' and '2. Remove engine and transmission.' when the operation could quite easily be carried out with the engine still in the car. The manual does not cover every variation of the Mini available and only has a small specifications section.

Leyland Concise

The Leyland Concise Workshop Manual is the factory's equivalent of the Gregory's manual. It costs $35 and is available from Mini parts suppliers and motoring bookshops. The manual provides step by step instructions to perform most of the repair and maintenance operations on a Mini. All instructions are accompanied by highly detailed hand drawn diagrams which makes understanding the operation of the various systems straight forward. This manual was produced by Leyland Australia and therefore includes the Australian modifications in the main text and not as an appendix. Being a factory manual it contains a complete service guide as well as specifications for all cars available in Australia.

Even though the manual was released in 1978, it concentrates mainly on early model cars with later model features, like rod change gearbox and inner CV joints, tacked on as appendices at the back. One annoying feature of this manual is the way it refers to tools by their Leyland part numbers. Instructions regularly say 'using service tool 18G 1099' when what they mean is 'using a pair of pliers'. A number of services tools are described in the back but it covers only those service tools that were developed in Australia.

Leyland Complete

The Leyland Complete Workshop Manual is quite a substantial volume, being over twice the size of the other two. It costs $60 and is available from some Mini parts suppliers or can be ordered from motoring bookshops. This manual contains everything you will need to know about fixing your Mini. It has complete specifications on every model of Mini ever released, including complete body alignment specifications. The manual also includes 19 pages of service tool pictures, so you can work out what tool they are talking about and 21 different wiring diagrams, so there should be one matching your car. This manual was produced by Leyland UK but includes an Australian supplement at the back.

Which one should you buy? Well, it depends on what you want to do. If you only want to do the occasional repair job then the Leyland Concise Workshop Manual is the best buy. It contains enough information to keep you out of trouble with those straight forward repairs. If you want to attempt major repairs then I suggest that you get both the Gregory's manual and the Leyland Complete Workshop Manual. The Leyland manual should be kept in the house where you can study it before attempting a job and the Gregory's should be kept in the workshop where it can provide a quick reminder to the steps involved in the job as well as any basic measurements involved. As the Gregory's manual is cheap and readily available, it is no drama to throw it out and buy a new one when it's covered in to much grease to read.

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