A Few Extra Days

Made a stop today to check on Roxy’s progress. Or, rather, Jerry’s progress with her. So far, so good. Our man is pretty thorough, as you can tell. He even took the time to clean the transmission while it was out of the car! Holy smokes.

Tearing things apart, he tells me everything looks as good as it should. The issue was that the clutch plate started to separate. He showed me what that meant (super awesome) and explained why it’s a problem (super awesomer). Let me look under the car where the subframe (currently on the floor) and transmission usually reside, and I’m amazed at how tidy everything still is.

Besides the clutch, he discovered the water pump was leaking. It’s getting replaced. And, since everything is apart, a new rear main seal too. Just in case. Along with a laundry list of other seals and misc. parts that didn’t really need to be replaced. Because that’s how Jerry rolls. He just tells me what he is doing. Doesn’t ask, just says “this is getting done” and that’s that.

Re-assembly in progress, I get a message, and it’s bad news. Turns out that the clutch fork, a very key component in the clutch actually working, has a very slight crack. The crack itself isn’t so much a problem. The fact that it caused the clutch fork to become bent is the problem. Also a problem since there is a very good chance that they only place to find a replacement (after a very short search) is Germany, where they have 30 of them in a box.

UPDATE A quick call to our man, Mr. MINI Parts himself, Colin at MINI of Ontario earlier today found the required parts (and it’s associate bushings and whatnot). Those parts are now in a box on a UPS truck somewhere between Ontario, CA and Tempe, AZ. You can say it’s nice to know people. BTW, MINI of Ontario should always be on your go-to list of places to find stuff for your MINI. I mean, Colin had the Olympic scuttles, in stock!

Meanwhile, I am getting to spend some quality time with the Eurotechs “Mule”.


An Electric Blue, 2004 R53, riding on a some sweet wheels and airbags. Yea, we’ll be talking about that car in the very near future too!

(1) Comment|Posted in My MINI,Project: Roxy on 7/8/2013


Most of you saw this already. For those of you that didn’t, here it is. 275,000 on the odometer.


Only 25k to go. I have a feeling it’s going to happen pretty quick.

(2) Comments|Posted in My MINI,Project: Roxy on 6/7/2013

Check-In: 273,556

‘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.

(Read on…)

(0) Comments|Posted in My MINI on 5/12/2013

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!

(4) Comments|Posted in My MINI on 5/4/2013

Update: 272,233

The latest piece is keeping Roxy going to 300K miles is to fix the small oil leaks. This week, it was replacing the valve cover gasket and the spark plug gaskets. It’s another on the long list of things that I should have done a year or more ago. Since I started smelling burning oil, I figured sooner or later was best.

I was going to do this myself, but again, small clips and other things that can potentially break and drive my frustration level through the roof kept me from doing it. I was able to watch the process and snap the photo you see here, once the valve cover was removed. Still nice and clean, no staining on the metal, no gunk build-up, nothing. Probably looked pretty close to this when it was new.

The old gasket was beyond done. It had gone from being a flexible piece of rubber to a hard piece of rubber that had zero flexibility and zero ability to actually do what it was designed to do. The new piece (and accompanying spark plug gaskets) is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Still have one more leak to tackle, but it’s a bit more of a procedure. That would be the oil pan gasket. I’m going to try to double that up with the power steering hoses (both of which need to be replaced) as soon as the budget allows. Those hoses are ridiculously expensive, as is the oil pan gasket. Not to mention the labor involved for both of those repairs. Probably close to $600 to have it all done, if not slightly more.

Also new to the list is a front brake job. Turns out, the $35 Centric rotors can be good and can be bad. The set I have now are bad and have already warped. Not an issue most of the time, but I can definitely tell when trying to stop at speeds above 50mph. I’m going to try to spring for something nicer this time, possibly even going back to the Power Slots that I loved. I’m also hearing that the OEM rotors have greatly improved since I last used them (2004) and am thinking about giving them another shot.

Open to suggestions unless you are suggesting a big brake kit, which is both out of my budget and out of my budget (big brakes require big wheels, I can’t afford either). I’m a fan of EBC Green Stuff pads with the Power Slot rotors, but always up for suggestions. Comments are open, let me know what you like!

(3) Comments|Posted in My MINI on 3/24/2013