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:
- Really need to get a full detail done. Claybar, polish, wax.
- 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.
It’s Almost Like New (277,231)
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.
- I drive a MINI Cooper
- 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.
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.
Re: The New Clutch
The day after picking Roxy up from Eurotechs after getting her new clutch, I headed out on a drive with almost 40 others to the small town of Jerome. To get there, we drove a fantastic road called 12 Miles of Terror before continuing on through Kirkland Junction, Prescott and finally Jerome. Great scenery, great roads, and nice change in weather with rain and temps in the 60s. Added another 380 miles to the clock too.
The more I drive my car with the new clutch, the more I start to think that the last clutch job might not have been done quite right. Crunching into reverse and first has been the norm for me for at least the last 4 years. Those issues are now gone. She also seems to be moving better than before, possibly resulting in slightly better MPG. Not much, just a little. But, it could just be that new clutch smell. I don’t know. I am starting to think that the broken clutch fork is something that has been an issue on my MINI since before the last clutch was installed. Too bad I don’t have any kind of warranty, because that job cost me so much, it would be illegal for me to actually share it with you here.
Everything is working better than it was before. While I hate having to keep having to do these kinds of major repairs, my list keeps getting shorter and I do see a light at the end of this particular tunnel. The only major repairs that I have left is the oil pan gasket (stupid expensive) and power steering hoses (again, stupid expensive). Just need to build up the budget for those, since both, I expect, will cost over $500 each (the majority of that cost is the parts). Yea, like I said, stupid expensive.
One thing that I do like about these repairs is getting a new car back. A car that drives like she is supposed to. Run like she is supposed to and feel like she is supposed to. That part I like.
Less than 25,000 to go. How should I celebrate?
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!
Repair Log: 276,000-ish
Way back in August, 2009 my second clutch failed me on the streets of Temecula. I was just over 214K miles. Crevier to the rescue, blah blah blah.
Fast forward to, oh, I don’t know, last week. When down shifting, Roxy starting making this really nasty shudder. It started getting worse this week, so naturally, I ask Jerry at Eurotechs if he can take a look. Everything was checking out until he got her up on the lift, which is when we discovered the lower motor mount was shot. Hoping that was the cause of the dreaded shudder, a new part was procured and replacement scheduled for today.
Part installed, Jerry takes her around the block, but the shudder is still there, no matter what he tried. It’s determined that the issue was the clutch and he gets Roxy back on his schedule as soon as he gets the parts. Everything is ok until I go to drive home. After forcing her into first, she started rolling forward with the clutch fully depressed. Reverse behaved the same way, but in, um, reverse.
So, yep. Bad clutch. Lucky for me, I actually “broke down” at my mechanics shop. But it put me in a bit of a jam, transportation wise. So Jerry, being the kind of guy that he is, tossed me the keys to his MINI for the weekend until Roxy gets fixed up! Awesome!
I completely blame Phoenix for this outage. There really is no such thing as “highway driving” in Phoenix. If you are on the highway, it’s on a road full of people that just love to stop, then go, then stop, then go. If you aren’t on the highway, then you are on city streets. Streets with signals that aren’t timed, so you catch them all red. Not only does ADOT not know how to spell algorithm, they also have no idea what it means. For the record, Phoenix is also the only other city in which I will not give you a hard time for owning a auto transmission. I’ve actually encouraged it to a few people. I mean, come on, it killed my clutch in 65k -ish miles.
I’ll be sure to report back when Roxy gets home.