So Close


When last we met, we were discussing the replacing of the transmission. Parts list built and order, transmission sourced, the whole bit. Everything was on track for Roxy to spend Thursday and maybe Friday at Eurotechs with Jerry. I only needed her to go a few more days.

Roxy, as it turns out, had other ideas.

Driving home Monday night, she stopped going under her own power, kinda. I was able to find 2nd and 5th, I think, which was enough to get her safely off the highway to await a piggy back ride on a truck (see above). Got her to the shop and unloaded and then Jerry took a look. Turns out, it was only the shift cable coming disconnected. Since she was there, he attached it “good enough” to move her around to get parked. As I type this, she is still there, parked in the row reserved for cars that are getting big repairs.

In the meantime, I get to spend some quality time with Alice. Everyone in AZ knows Alice. She’s a modded R53, currently under the care and feeding of the Summer’s. They are kind enough to let me use her while Roxy gets sorted out this week, so a HUGE shout out to them! Of course, with every car borrowed, besides a full tank of gas and a car wash (not the $3 wash either), will be the photo shoot. I’ll share those once done, hoping for sunset tomorrow.

For those of you wondering how long I have gone for this to happen, check it.

I don’t care who you are, that’s pretty damned impressive right there. Updates as they become available.

(1) Comment|Posted in Project: Roxy on 4/23/2014

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

Tech Prep for #swminifest


Heading to Southwest MINI Fest this weekend? Want to make sure you are in the loop for all updates and always know what is going on? Here are a few things that you can do.


Relax. I know you don’t use Twitter and don’t want an account. That’s cool. Here is how you can get instant updates without an account and for free. Bee tee dubs, this also works if you already have a twitter account. You will need to have a phone that can receive text messages. Any phone, not just smart phones. Here is what you do:

Send a text message to 40404 with the words follow swminifest.

That’s it. From that point forward you will receive instant updates via sms. Works on all phones and even works if you are already following @swminifest on Twitter.

The Schedule

The schedule page is really clever. There are map links to almost all of the events. Bookmark it and create an icon on one of your home screens for quick and easy access.

Hopefully these will help you get the most out of the event. That and sunscreen and plenty of water (it is the desert after all) and you’ll be all set! Can’t wait to see everyone this weekend.

(0) Comments|Posted in MINI Events on 3/26/2014

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