My Ride for a Day

This guy is mine for 24 hours. I specifically requested a Cooper even.

A few things have been going on for the past few weeks. Let’s play catch-up! To start with, Bruce has been leaking like a sieve, needing more than 1 gallon of coolant over than past week and change. Secondly, I have been running an experiment, still trying to figure out the best way to drive this MINI with the automatic transmission.

For the last week, I have been making an attempt at moving the lever to the left. Not hitting the sport button, not turning off DSC, just moving the lever to the left. Oh, and then activating manual mode by moving the shift lever forward or backward. And, I have to admit, that it has made things markedly better. While throttle response is still horrendous, doing this has shown some improvement. Not quite enough to get me to stop wishing that this rubbish slush box was a manual, but enough to shut me up about it. Mostly.

Not sure exactly when the coolant leak started, but 2 weeks ago day after tomorrow, I actually had the overheat message on the screen. a quick stop to let him cool down and dump in some Prestone (shut up, I know), and I was back on the road without issue and have been ok since. Except for the very strong smell of coolant after driving to work or home. And the extraordinary use of coolant over the course of that time.

Since I’ve needed to have the Nav looked at since I bought this MINI, and since there is a dealer directly across the street from the office, and since I was beyond needing an oil change, I figured I would take him to the dealer. Extended warranty is covering the coolant leaks (thermostat and oil filter housing). The Nav is toast and would need a replacement head-unit to work correctly again. Oil has been changed. Oh, and I was told that one of my tail light assemblies would have to be replaced due to it getting melted at some point and causing an occassional brake light error.

While this is one of the best R5X MINIs I have even driven (and 1,000% better than Bruce), I’m still sticking by my previous comments in stating this is the MINI quality forgot. I know it’s something we have been talking about quite a bit on the show, but I thought another mention here wouldn’t hurt. I’m afraid of this MINI, which is something I thought I would never say. 90k miles on the clock and while I have already fixed the major things that are going to leak (typically), I can only sit back and think “what’s next?”.

It’s Been a Year

The last 12 months have been pretty crazy over on my side, capped off by buying a house in a new town. I am still in Arizona, still driving Hank and still making White Roof Radio. Here are a few updates, really quick.

Hank has been problem free, mostly. Still in need of rear brakes. Now, seeing an odd fluid on the driveway that stays longer than water but vanishes completely once dry, and the heater hasn’t been working correctly. Yes, I said heater because Arizona has been cold AF for the first part of 2019! He is due for an oil change and I’m hoping to have these issues looked at.

White Roof Radio has been on hiatus, as I’m sure you have noticed. With the buying of the house and all of the fellas being super busy at the end of last year and the first part of this, it’s been hard to nail down some time. I can tell you that we will be making a new show next week! There is a lot to talk about and we are all excited to get back to it.

And, if you are reading this, dbmini is no longer broken. I’m having issues with WordPress lately and trying to find something that I can replace it with. For the time being, dbmini will be running a stock theme directly from WordPress.

Finally, you might have heard that it’s time for me to move on from Hank. Almost 90K miles, still in really great shape. I think it’s time to let someone else enjoy the top down motoring. I also think it’s time to go back to #cooperlife, complete with a manual transmission. Sure, the S is awesome, but since 80% of my driving happens under 40MPH on straight roads, it’s wasted on me.

Stay tuned to WRR for a new show next week as I mentioned!

Cry Once, Cry Hard

Quote courtesy of Mr. Benham.

It’s not very often that a car needs tires and brakes at the same time. In all of my years of driving, I’m 100% sure this is the first time it has ever happened to me. While I didn’t really need tires, as it turns out, I did. Front brakes only this time instead of the full round to save a few bucks. Rears are ok and can be done later.

Due to weather and other circumstances, I went ahead and let Jerry do the front brakes. Usually I would have done this myself, because it is a fairly easy job. I’m now reminded of the other reason I do it myself; to save money. It’s a good thing I had it in the shop for that, as something else happened this week that needed to be repaired.

Because you guys always want to know, the tires are Yokohama YK740 GTX. 60K mile warranty and so far, even with the candy coating still on them, they work really well in wet and dry, have a good ride and are quiet. After a few hundred miles are on them, I’ll try to find a stretch of twisties to try them out on.

Brakes are stock this time around. I’ve been hearing bad things about EBCs that have been recently produced so, to keep things simple and because #notracecar, I stuck to stock.

Fuel pump is stock too. Oh, wait, right, I didn’t tell you about that. I filled up on Monday and had the smell of fuel for a few days. I mentioned it to Jerry and he dropped the tank and pulled the fuel pump. The car didn’t think there was a leak, but there was one. Smaller than a pin hole. New one was sourced and installed the same day. This was warranty work and I’m glad for that. I replaced the low pressure fuel pump in Roxy if you recall. It was some time ago, but I remember the part cost about $200 from the dealer and the installation was pretty straightforward if you had 3 hands. That part for my car has doubled in price and with labor it was over $700 to fix.

Jesus. When did cars get so expensive?

Anxiety, Part I

As you might have heard during the latest episode of White Roof Radio, I’m really having some anxiety over owning a MINI. I’ve been driving these cars since 2003 and never have I had these feelings toward any of the MINIs I have ever driven. I’m sure a good part of that anxiety is caused by this damned nanny screen.

Every little thing that goes wrong with this car causes all manner of error messages, lights and sirens. Every. Time. I start the car. Not helped by the fact that I really don’t like MINI Connected and never use it, but that’s a topic for another day.

Another reason for the anxiety started with my most recent break-down. This is the first time a MINI has left me stranded on the side of the road during the summer with 115 degree temps. And, I was exposed to these delightful temps for the better part of 5 hours. This is something that I really do not want to happen again.

The issues I have, besides the nanny screen this car has, is the fact that this is a 2013 MINI Cooper with 80,093 (as of 8/20/2018) miles on the odometer. We all know that I have officially entered the danger zone for this make and model of car. While I have an extended warranty that will remove the sting of a major repair like something going wrong with the top, or the inevitable turbo failure, there still exists that possibility that this could happen and leave me stranded in hot weather, in the middle of the Sonoran desert or both. That is something that is truly making me crazy.

What’s the fix? Getting into something newer would do it, but as I’m stuck with Hank for another year or two, I have some time to plan. Which brings me to the other point I made on the show; I think it’s time to leave the MINI brand.

That last part hurts and it hurts a lot. And this will be a topic for ongoing discussion I am sure. The short version is that I can no longer afford to buy a new MINI and can no longer afford to support care and feeding of a late model MINI. And, I really don’t have the time for all of the care and feeding the older cars require.

I’m looking for a replacement for Roxy. I want a car that I can put 300K miles on, drive for 10 years and only have to worry about wear and tear items. I no longer want a car where trim pieces come off in the car wash. Where mirrors fall off. Where interior bits fall off. Where very expensive mechanical failures are not the exception, but the norm. I love the car and I love the brand, but neither of those things love me back. To that end, I am pretty sure it’s time to move on.

Change my mind. Comments are open below. Comments on Facebook will be ignored (it’s a new thing I’m going to be posting about on the nerd blog later this week.)

I was waiting for this to happen

Let’s all be honest. I own a 2013 MINI Cooper with a turbo. Definitely not the pinnacle of vehicular reliability. After owning the roadster for a little more than a year, I finally got to be stranded on the side of the road due to something that had stopped working so bad he wouldn’t even run enough to get off the freeway.

Now that I am part of this club, are there hats?

Luckily, it wasn’t anything too major. Turns out, the fuel filter housing was cracked and caused all of the fuel remaining in the tank to not be available to the engine, rendering me, essentially, out of gas. Of course, I feared the worst; turbo failure. Because 2013 R59. I am glad to not be part of that club right now.

Otherwise, besides coming up on needing brakes and tires soon-ish, and not being able to drive with the top down because I’m a sissy and can’t handle that when the temps are over 110, this has been a blast to drive!