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?

Nope.

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

DSC_0066

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

Updates

Current mileage: 277,918

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

Suspension

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.

Headlights

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

It’s Almost Like New (277,231)

spare

It’s been an exciting month of MINI repairs here at White Roof Radio HQ (West Coast), let me tell you. Started with the lower motor mount, moved on to the clutch, water pump and rear main seal and ending (hopefully) today with a new set of tires. As they say, when it rains, it pours.

Driving to the gym on Saturday, out of nowhere comes some kind of sheet metal-like material. Before I could zig, zag or zug out of the way, the passenger side front tire was already on top of it. And it must have had some kind of giant hook or very sharp edge because that piece of whatever tore a 6″ gash in the sidewall of that tire. I pulled over to a parking lot and parked, surveyed the situation and went to work.

Luckily I have 2 things on my side.

  1. I drive a MINI Cooper
  2. I live in the United States

Add those 2 things together and what do you get? A spare tire! And, for the 2nd time in 10 years, I got to use it as the photo above shows. It was a little low on air, but I was able to get that taken care of after installing it and I was able to get her home. All of this transpired at about closing time for my normal tire store of choice (who isn’t open on Sunday), so I wasn’t able to get any kind of replacement done this weekend, and I couldn’t drive on the space saver waiting for replacements.

I have, instead, done something I don’t think I have ever done; purchased tires from CostCo. Adding to the list of stuff I haven’t done before, I had installed Bridgestone tires. Turanza Serenity Plus Performance H/V.

tire

Not a bad looking tire, comes with an 80K mile warranty (I doubt they will last that long in AZ) and all of the coverage that CostCo provides. Bonus is the $70 coupon I was able to use, so I was out the door, installed, for less than $600 for a full set.

But I didn’t need a full set, really. For those of you that haven’t used CostCo for tires, they are really particular about installing tires. To start, they aren’t really keen on installing plus size tires on any car (I run 205/55r16, stock is 195/55r16). They also will not install tires unless the load and speed rating match. Which means I had to buy 4 new tires.

Now that my car is practically brand new, I’m feeling confident about reaching 300K miles. And I’m feeling confident about not having to spend a bunch of money on her at least until the end of the year. Unless the antenna is expensive. Yes, I managed to break that today while giving her a quick scrub. If it’s not one thing is my mother. Sheesh.

(0) Comments|Posted in My MINI,Project: Roxy on 7/28/2013

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”.

etmule

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