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!
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!
Notes and updates
So, right. A few more minor things have been completed to help my journey to 300K come to fruition.
During the Phoenix Tech Day at Eurotechs, while Todd was busy installing graphics, I had Roxy up on the lift for an oil change and to have the oil drain plug re-sleeved. Seems time before my last oil change, the re-installation of the drain plug cross threaded the holes. Jerry kinda fixed it at my last oil change and it’s been on his list of things to correct on my car. So it has been.
Something that has been bothering me for sometime is the drip rail. It has just been looking pretty shabby. A question to ask about replacing it came back with some of the most ridiculous pricing I have ever heard. Almost $400, just in parts, to replace that. So it was suggested that I plasti-dip it, which I did. A week in and it still looks fantastic. I also plasti-dipped the scuttles (which are overdue for replacement). Before any of you jump all over me for this, stop. I’m not having it, it’s already done. It’s not like I plasti-dipped the wheels or the entire car. I’ll report back on how it holds up. (Read on…)
10 years later
For the nerds out there, some crazy stats.
- Approximately 550 car washes
- About 200 quarts of oil
- Over 10,000 gallons of gasoline
- 2 clutches
- 5-6 complete sets of tires
- 4-5 sets of brakes
I’m working my way toward 300,000 and hope to hit it during MTTS2014. Oh yea, she will be making that trip.
Thanks and Happy Birthday Roxy. You still look as hot as ever!
It’s Just a little dirt
Hit 270,000 on the odometer last week. The thousand miles before included some great trips, including one out to Southern California to wish SCMM a happy 10th birthday and a trip out to the drags here in AZ. I didn’t run, this time, but am seriously considering it before they close the track at Firebird Raceway.
Also, much more recently than that, I drove a friend out to the Peralta Trailhead in Arizona. He fancies a long hike and was out for almost 48 hours enjoying the Arizona mountains. He cut his trip a little short due to a very uncommon rain pattern. It’s been raining in AZ for almost 4 days straight. Very strange.
The road to the trailhead was your typical unmaintained county road. All dirt, mostly washboard, very much due for a grading. After a few days of rain, it was nice and muddy, also being made up, in sections, of red clay.
We already know that the MINI is great in the snow, but did you know it’s pretty ok in the mud too? Sure, I had to turn DSC off more than once to keep the tires spinning and momentum going, but Roxy pulled through like it’s what she was born to do.
Don’t be afraid to drive your cars! Get them dirty, take the road less travelled. It’s a machine, and it’s what they are meant to do. What they were built to do. What they like to do. Enjoy the slide show of a very dirt MINI below.
I owe you guys more stuff. About the drags and upcoming events. Stay tuned!