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Article: Regaining Oil Pressure After Long-Term "Mini" Storage


Posted on 9th March 2012

This original article was previously published by Seven Enterprises in our Spring 2012 mailer.

Regaining Oil Pressure After Long-Term "Mini" Storage

by Mike Kearney
Seven’s Service Shop Manager

Every Spring we get a few calls from Mini customers who want to know the best way to get oil pressure to the crankshaft after the car has been stored for a period of time. It really takes only a few months for almost all of the oil to drain out of the oil pump. This situation can cause the pump to lose its prime, and then it will not be able to create the suction necessary to pull the oil from the pick up to the pump. The crankshaft would then have to run dry for some time, which can cause catastrophic damage to the bearings.

The solution is simple: all you need to do is re-prime the oil pump. I know you are saying “Isn’t that buried deep in the engine?” The answer is “yes”, but the pump is readily accessible from the outside. If you follow these steps, you will have oil pressure in just a few seconds.

  • Step 1
    Remove the spark plugs from the engine and put transmission into fourth gear.
  • Step 2
    Remove the banjo fitting (large bolt) or oil cooler hose that goes into the block at the upper end of the external metal oil pipe that passes behind the distributor (PIC 1). Then loosen the other end of the pipe at the oil filter housing, and swing the pipe away from block (PIC 2).
  • Step 3
    Using a small funnel, start to put oil into the block at the threaded hole where the banjo bolt was removed at the upper end of the metal oil pipe (PIC 3, PIC 4). While putting the oil in the block, push the car backwards. Even though it is still in 4th gear, it will be easy to push with no engine compression. This action will draw the oil into the block and directly into the oil pump to prime it. Repeat this action a few times and then replace the banjo bolt and tighten both ends of the oil pipe, using fresh copper washers (AED0172) at the banjo bolt end.
  • Step 4
    Take the car out of gear and make sure it is in neutral. If the oil level is satisfactory on the dip stick, you can now start to crank the motor over to achieve oil pressure. When you see signs of oil pressure either by the gauge moving or the light going out, you can stop, put the spark plugs back in, and reconnect the ignition wires.
  • If you don't have an indication of oil pressure after 30 seconds of cranking, check all the fittings that had been loosened to make sure they are tight. Try again until you have pressure.
  • Step 5
    Once you know you have oil pressure again, start the motor. We like to see close to 90 PSI at the gauge when first starting the motor cold. As the engine temp goes up we like to have 40 PSI minimum at idle and somewhere near 70 PSI at 3,000 RPM and higher. These are just guidelines and are ideal settings for a fresh engine.

Happy Motoring!

To see this article in PDF format, please click here.

Questions or comments about this article? Please don't hesitate to contact our Classic Mini experts!

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