My first job was to find a donor heater unit which was all in one, oppose the heater matrix and fan separate,
and after a bit of research found the MGF heater would be perfect. This also meant I could use the controls out an MGF
which meant I would not only be able to direct the air to either the windscreen, side window blowers, but inside the car as well,
while retaining the three speed fan.
Obviously I needed to customise it somewhat and this also required
the fan housing to be separated from the main body, as this would now sit under the drivers side wing and feed air in through the
existing ducting hole in the inner wing. In fact the biggest problem was not the choppingor rebuilding of the heater itself,
but fitting it in the mini's rather tight interior.
One of the first job after I had cut off all the bits I needed to, was to fabricate some new hose takeoff
pipes to point in the direction I needed them to go. For this I opted to use fibreglass, as if you place the main object in a plastic
bag, then apply fibreglass matting to the area round the hose take off, then place this in another plastic bag then suck out all the
air, you get perfectly shaped to fit pieces to work from.
The one shown in the pictures above was actually
the first air feed pipe, but later I found there wasn't enough room behind the dash for the thick round pipe, so changed it to oval
pipe and made a new one which can be seen in the later pictures.
Next I set about fitting the fan blower under the wing. This required some modification and sealing
to the wet, as the original blower was mounted in the car out of harms way where mine on a wet day would take the full force or it.
As you can see it's quite big, and only just fitted where I wanted it to, and as you can also see, this only works where it is because
the front is removable, and would never work on a fixed fronted car, as you could never get to it.
The air take off in the above pictures is the screen feed pipe, which sits on top of the heater and feeds
air to the screen distribution section. As my dashboard is made in three pieces, each has its own windscreen air vents so I
needed a way to feed all three at the same time, so I came up with one large pipe feeding a tube which would distribute air to all
This was made by the same vacuum technique out of fibreglass as it allows quite complex shapes
to be made easily and quickly, while weighing very little, and once painted look ok, despite the fact it will never been seen.
Next is the windscreen demister distribution unit, which is just a piece of fibreglass tube three inches
round, with outlet pipes joined on. It also houses the blower resistor unit, which is normally is fitted nearer the heater,
but as that had to be cut where this fitted and it needs to go in the air flow this was the only suitable place I could put it.
It seems the normal heater functions allowed the air to by default blow into the car, even when being diverted to the screen, but
as I had to change the layout and way the air is distributed, mine now blows onto the screen by default and even when direct otherwise
the screen still gets a gentle flow over it, which is useful and I have found keeps the screen clear while heating the inside of the
car at the same time.
Once all the feed tubes were complete, and as you can see I sprayed them dark gray, then it was time to mount
and connect it up to the car. Unlike in the MGF, the heater controls and heater are right next to each other, but mine were
about three foot apart so I needed to run new control rods to the flaps and water tap under the bonnet and longer wires to the fan.
The hardest part was getter the air hoses all in and connected up, and even with my bigger dash I had a job getting them to all go
where I wanted, but as nothing else was going behind the dash I could take up as much room as I wanted.
in place it fits nicely semi behind and under the dash and now I just need to make up a cover to match the rest, and its done.
This is the finished heater fixed in the car with cover over it, so it matches the rest of ther inside. So I guess the big question,
'It does it work,' and the answer is a definite YES. So far even on the coldest of days I have had all the windows
mist free and been toasty warm inside, even to the point I have to turn the heat down, as I get to warm, something the old heater
could never manage.