Not the Noise I Wanted to Hear

roxy on the lift

New axles have been on the list for quite some time. Associated with bad axles are noises. Noises that I got used to hearing and knew what they were. Noises that I didn’t really worry too much about, since I knew replacements were ready and waiting.

2 days before I started hearing a new noise. Actually not new, it’s one that I heard 10 years ago. It’s the noise of a dying Midlands transmission. At least I’m pretty sure. Really noticeable, now, in 4th and 5th at highway speeds, its like a high pitched whine/clicking noise. It is hard to describe. Trust me when I say it is not pleasant.

Plans A and B have been put into place. I’m pretty sure plan B will be the more inexpensive route and, at the same time, yield the best results. I just don’t want to activate Plan C yet unless absolutely necessary. And, really, I won’t know more until Jerry gets her back on the rack to drive test and hear the sound and check everything out.

So close. Less than 9k miles to go and that damned Midlands decides to crap out. Still, in the grand scheme of things, 10 years and almost 250K miles is pretty damned impressive for anything. My fridge isn’t even that old!

Updates as they happen.

(7) Comments|Posted in My MINI,Project: Roxy on 4/18/2014

On the Way to 300K; 290,900


(more photos in my flickr stream)

This week I will pass 291,000 miles on my MINI. Actually, should be happening on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest. Everything is going as expected and very little has changed. Up next? Axles (this week) and time to refit some track day tires on the extra wheels. More about that in a coming post. Finally, I’m hoping before summer is in full spring to get the oil pan gasket taken care of.

Already done? Besides a complete exterior detail (or, my version of said detail), I had all of the windows re-tinted. Window tint was the first mod I did on Roxy, going 35% all the way around. That was 11 years ago. The tint had faded and was scratched, and tint technology has come along way since then. Now, all of the windows are again tinted 35% (this time legally, suck it California) with ceramic tint. Supposed to block 75% of the heat coming into the car. I have tested it, and it’s like this.

You know what it’s like to open an oven door to check the cookies? Rolling down the window on the sunny side of the car with this tint is exactly like that. Amazing but true. So glad I got this one redone.

Also on the short list is new windscreen. This one is also long over due, but I’m hoping this week.

Re: new tires. Yea. Because race car. Stay tuned for more!

(0) Comments|Posted in My MINI on 4/14/2014

My Next MINI

It’s getting close to that time gang. Just miles away from 290,000 on the odometer, I’ve been giving some thought to what my next car will be. Of course it will be a MINI, but the real question is what MINI is it going to be?

An F56 perhaps? I really dig that car, even though I haven’t seen one in person. I think the F56 Cooper is going to be very interesting and can’t wait until I get to drive one. But, and this is a pretty big but, will I buy it?


Played the early adopter once before. It’s a game for the young and prosperous. I don’t have the time to potentially make frequent trips to the dealer for whatever the issue du jour is. Not saying it will happen, but MINIs first generation history isn’t the greatest. Can I get an amen? This is a car I would love to get as a late model 2015 or 2016, but 2014? No thank you.

Instead, I’m thinking R56. Used, of course, to save a few bucks. For reliability, and because I don’t like buying turbos, I’ll go ahead and stick with the Cooper. I’m hoping for a late model (2010 or newer) with under 70k miles. I would like to have HK, would like to not have a sunroof and color would be nice (no blacks or grays). And, I’m not going to be a snob if I find the right MINI and it has an automatic.

If I can talk a bit more trash about the R56, I’ve spent a fair amount of time in an R56 Cooper with an automatic. To be honest, it’s boring. It lacks power, it lacks acceleration, it lacks excitement. Everything that this car is about, quickly removed by one of the most expensive options on the sheet.

Here’s the thing. As bad as this transmission is, the photo above tells you my reasoning. That shows that so far, year to date, my average speed is less than 30 MPH. To give you an idea how that happens, my daily commute is 23 miles each way. In the morning, it takes me 45 minutes. In the afternoon, I’m lucky if I can make it in 45, usually it’s 60 – 75 minutes.

If I continue with this kind of driving with my manually equipped car, no doubt the clutch I just replaced will have to be replaced again sooner than I would like. And, if I’m honest, I’m tired of paying for clutches due to shitty traffic. The last one was because of Phoenix, the one before because of Temecula. The one before that because of normal wear and tear.

This isn’t something that I will be doing any time soon. I’m going to wait until I hit 300K in Roxy before I get serious.

(5) Comments|Posted in My MINI on 3/15/2014

Next up; 2014


Odometer, 01/19/2014 – 287,000

Big year. Gonna be a HUGE year! Woofcast #500 is coming up in February (22nd), Southwest MINI Fest is in March, about the same time the F56 launches and MINI Takes the States is happening this summer! This, of course, doesn’t include MINIs in the Mountains, The Dragon, MINIs on Top or any others that I haven’t mentioned here. Oh yea, and a track day! (Read on…)

(3) Comments|Posted in My MINI,Project: Roxy on 1/20/2014


Current mileage: 277,918

It was brought to my attention on Facebook that I’m behind in my updates to you guys.


A little more than 10K miles ago (almost a year) I did a full suspension upgrade. The short version is super sport struts, HK adjustable rear sway bar and some Eibach springs. I will say that it’s been a fun upgrade, but if it wasn’t for the moon-smooth roads here in Phoenix, I would have rolled back to stock springs by now. Just a little too bouncy for my liking, if I’m honest. I’m thinking about taking the sway bar to full soft to see what that does for the ride and handling. If that doesn’t help, then I am thinking about going back to stock springs. If you are thinking about doing springs or coil-over’s, you would be wise to asses the quality of the roads you drive most often.

All of that said, it sure is fun! Turn in is so much tighter and on a warm day, with DSC off and my foot in it, I can generate a little bit of lift-off oversteer on the street!

Plasti-dip rain gutter

I’m not going to post a photo, but trust me when I tell you that after an entire summer, still looks like new. Very pleased with the results! No further plans to plasti-dip any other parts of Roxy for the time being.


After a summer, I have noticed that are starting to yellow, slightly, again. I’m going to hit them with some 00 steel wool, and maybe a little more polish, to see if I can get rid of that yellow. I’m thinking about upgrading the newer lights too.

Everything else is exactly as it should be. Actually, a little better than it should be, as you would expect. I am waiting for cooler temps to come back around, for a few reasons:

  1. Really need to get a full detail done. Claybar, polish, wax.
  2. I’m ready to get my idle back to normal.

Oh, I don’t think I told you guys about that one. In an effort to help eliminate the dreaded shutter with the A/C on in my car, I got Jerry to boost my idle, ever so slightly (about 200RPM). Between that, everything being new and a very good cleaning of my throttle body, it has helped tremendously! I am ready for it to be back to normal, but I’m not even going to think about that until the temps are back into the 90s on a regular basis.

(1) Comment|Posted in My MINI on 8/12/2013