‘Twas the Sunday before AMVIV X and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for me writing this blog post about a few things.
Wait. That didn’t quite work. No matter.
AMVIV is this week. Roxy and I will be heading to Vegas on Thursday with a few other Arizona MINI peeps. Fluids are checked and full, tire pressure is good and she will be getting a bath on Wednesday. I also had a few other things checked out and changed that I wanted to share.
This was long overdue
A few years ago, my headlights started to discolor. Slowly but surely, until they ended up almost completely yellowed and hazed over as you can see above. More than once I had the lads at the car wash do what they could with chemicals, but it was only a temporary fix. Time for the tools!
About a [long time ago] I picked up a kit that 3M makes for fixing this. Cost was $20 at Harbor Freight. It contained multiple levels of sanding pads, including a wet sand disc, and some 3M polishing compound. The kit also included the green masking tape you see above.
The process was pretty simple. Attach the roughest pad to a disc attached to a drill and sand all of the discoloration off. Then, stepping down in roughness between steps, polishing it until it’s clear. The entire process was pretty simple and only took about an hour. I’m more than pleased with these results.
I doubt any of you have headlights as faded as mine, but perhaps you have a friend or relative. Trust me when I tell you the only way to get the lights clear is to actually sand material from the lenses. Chemicals alone might give you a temporary fix, but to keep them clear, you’ll need the big guns.
I’ll report back after a month or so to see how they are holding up!
Repair Log: 273,003
About a month a go or so, when applying brakes at highway speeds my MINI had this very annoying chatter. A quick ask around confirmed my suspecions; warped brake rotors. I was hoping it wasn’t so, since I just did the front brakes a little more than a year ago, not even 20k miles. But, sure as anything, when I removed the centric rotors they were both slightly warped. The left (driver) side more than the right, but they were still both warped.
So, new rotors were installed. Upgraded this time to some Brembo’s. They aren’t fancy, let’s call them OEM+. And, as I have done since I have been putting brakes on my car, a fresh set of EBC Greenstuff pads were installed because I’m weird. I didn’t fancy the idea of installing new rotors with the old pads (that still have a ton of life in them), so I have stored those to be installed when this set wears out.
Since I was there, tire rotation was in order. A quick check of fluids and a wash to finish things off before heading to Scottsdale Pavilions for the weekly car show.
I keep telling you guys that front brakes are about the easiest DIY job on the planet. Not quite as easy on the R56 as my car, but still easy enough to give it a try yourself. For me, it’s a flathead screwdriver, a 16mm socket, the star socket that I forget the size of, a jack and about 30 minutes to get the job done. Parts this time were a little more than $200. Sure, that’s a lot for parts, but when you look at what a dealer charges (almost $800), or you local shop charges (about $60 less), it’s worth it to figure this one. I still leave the rears to a professional since I don’t have the fancy tool need to open the calipers, but I still bring my own parts so I only have to pay labor.
The MINI Paceman & JCW GP
I finally got the chance to check out the new MINI Paceman last weekend at my local dealer. It was Penny brown (as pictured above) surround by clever marketing collateral.
And I didn’t like it.
Sure, I sat in it. It was like the Countryman. I didn’t sit in the backseat because, well, I just couldn’t be bothered. It was nice enough on the inside I suppose.
My issue comes when looking at this MINI from the outside. To better illustrate when I’m about to be on about, let’s check out another photo.
I wish I would have snapped a pic of the car at the dealer because I now know why this car is always photographed at this angle with a busy background. There is something about this MINI that just looks weird.
Look at the bonnet and front bumper in the photo. Is it just me, or does it look really, really long? Longer than the Countryman to be sure. Out of place long. Awkwardly long. Maybe it’s the extreme slope of the rear roof line?
And that roof line. It’s a pretty extreme slope in person. So extreme I had people tell me they thought the rear of the car looked like a Pontiac Aztec. I don’t think it looks that bad, but it also looks weird.
To me, the overall proportions of this MINI aren’t pleasing to the eye. I’m sure that the front half of this MINI has the same overall exterior specifications as the Countryman. I just wish I could see it that way. I mean the front of this is like a ’79 Ford Grenada.
This is definitely a MINI that looks better in photos. At least it does to me.
I haven’t had a chance to drive this MINI yet and seriously doubt I ever will which is too bad since I’ve heard good things about the driving dynamic. I just don’t like the way it looks. Am I the only one that is seeing the bonnet this way? Let us know in the comments!
I also got the chance to finally see the new GP. Sat it in and everything. We’ll add this to the list of cars I will probably not get the chance to ever drive (I’ve never driven the previous gen GP either), but the interior is really nice. The seats are amazing and wish I could have them in my MINI now. The leather dash is also a nice touch, along with all of the other GP changes to the interior. The graphics are ridiculous and the roof numbers are just lame. I’m also not a big fan of the wheels, but I really like this MINI otherwise.
Comments are open. What say you?
Letters and Decals
Over at Google Plus, there is a discussion going on about the new raised lettering we are seeing on the Countryman and the Paceman. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen anywhere else (MF, NAM, MA, Facebook, etc.) and the comments are running more toward hate than like.
Before we go any further, please take a minute and refresh yourself with this post from late last year.
Now, to move forward, re: the raised lettering. Personally, I think it’s really cool and like it a lot. Can’t wait to see MINI introduce this ‘feature’ on other models across the range. I can understand that you don’t like them. That’s totally cool with me. But to threaten to not buy a MINI or to switch brands because of this? Or to decide to not buy a car because of a decal (that is there or not). Really?
I understand that you have a short fuse and the slightest thing sets you off and over the edge. That’s cool. But to base your decision on whether or not to purchase a vehicle that costs north of $27K on such an insignificant detail is truly absurd. I would bet that, with a short length of dental floss, those letters could be removed in less than 15 minutes before you even pull of the dealer’s lot.
It’s cool if you think the car is too expensive (I do). It’s cool if you don’t like the way it looks (I don’t care for the Paceman, but that’s for another post). It’s cool if you don’t like the interior, the lack of features or support for Android phones. All of that makes sense. Hell, you could even think the car is too small to be safe (yet another post). Those are valid reasons to not want a car.
But, plastic raised letters and decals? That’s just dumb.