20 Years is a Pretty Good Run

I have just remembered that recently I hit my 20th year in the MINI community. 20 years. Jesus, that’s a long time. While I haven’t had nearly as many MINIs as most of you have (on my fourth), that’s still quite a few cars to own over the span of that many years.

Started a club. Started a podcast. Worked on MotoringFile. Got to do some cool shit.

And, at the end of November, that all comes to an end when I put the F56 up for sale.

I already wrote about this over at donburnside.com. I’m just making it official here. And by official I mean to let you know that I have posted the F56 for sale. If you are interested, hit me up and mention that you read about it here! When, and if, the time comes, for us to be a dual car household again, I seriously doubt that second car with be a MINI. More on that later. At least before…

dbmini.us expires. It has been 20 years. I rarely post here and the archives and really janky and that content is less that ever green unless you happen to be driving a very high mileage R50 or need a hackish way to fix a convertible top. We have had some fun tho, haven’t we?

This will also mark the end of dbmini.us. Well, the end of new content. The domain is set to expire next July and this time, I’m going to let it go. Like I said, 20 years is a good run. And besides, I rarely post, even when I do, it rarely gets read or commented on. The value, for me (and probably for you) is gone.

Not only that, but it is really time for me to stop promoting MINI for free. I’ve been doing this for a very, very, very long time. The last time I benefitted from free promotion for MINI was 2014 for MTTS. Since then, they have ignored any attempts to contact them unless I’m riding on the MotoringFile coattails. That’s a lot of work for zero return.

The 2016 MINI Superlaggera?

As the kids say, tell me db got a new MINI without telling me he got a new MINI? If you know you know.

After the window completely delaminated for the 2nd time in the roadster, I was done. With 105K miles on the clock, there were also some issues that needed to be tended too. To be honest, I never really liked that MINI, so I really didn’t want to spend $6k on repairs (including a new top). My search started back in June and I was looking for a unicorn. Not, not a dark silver/white R53, but a current generation MINI, 2016 or newer, meeting most of the following:

  • Manual transmission
  • H/K Stereo
  • Needed to be an S
  • No sunroof

Like I said, a unicorn. But I was patient and I keep looking. I had to expand my search to include Tucson, San Diego and Vegas to even get manual transmission cars to show up! I also wasn’t expecting to be able to meet all of my expectation, but alas, sitting on the lot of a Hyundai dealership in Cottonwood, Arizona, I found the MINI I was looking for!

It is a 2016 and we are referring to it as a super light for a reason; besides HK, this MINI is stripped. No heated seats, no backup camera, no PDC, no LED headlights. Nothing. No, it doesn’t have that either. Seriously stripped. And it’s perfect. While I would have liked to have heated seats, for this MINI I’m ok without. And, it’s in very good shape for a 5 year old car with 60k miles. I’ll be taking it down for an oil change and check up soon along with motor mount replacements.

I had to give it a windscreen (dealer paid) and still have yet to actually correct the paint with machines as there are a couple of spots that need polish, but claybar, wax and 303 to get it through the rest of summer will do the trick.

On the off chance that you missed it, we started up White Roof Radio again. There are 3 brand new episodes in your feed. And I’m jonesin for MINI event. If you hear of anything fun happening in Arizona, leave a note below!

Repair Log: 95,000

A quick review does show me the last repairs done on this MINI, and here I was today, hanging out in the shop with Jerry, thinking it was lost for good. Whew. While I’m failing lately at being a blogger, it’s good to know that I’m still keeping this going as a journal, somewhat.

Anyway, everything has been problem free since the last time Hank spent time in the shop. And having the back window delaminate from the top. Besides that, problem free. Yep.

Oh, except the air conditioning system crapping out. Luckily, this literally happened during the last week of moderate temps in Arizona, so I’ve been able to wait this one out for a bit. Also lucky that this did not throw an anxiety inducing error message on the screen, unlike the constant reminders for service, the occasional tail light outage and the brake light. Wait, brake light?

I just had brakes done a bit more than a year ago. Oh, must be the rears. A quick call verifies and I make my service appointment with that in mind. MINI on the lift, examination of the brakes on all 4 wheels shows no brake job is needed. Further investigation shows that the error is for the front brakes, which are practically brand new. This is an error that was on a timer. WTF? Are you fucking kidding me? This wasn’t triggered by a sensor, this was triggered from something like X miles or power cycles or fuel cap removals? All of that anxiety to drive me into the shop (where this car will end up anyway) for no reason? So not cool.

Anyway, still trucking. Cooler now thanks for the new AC unit. Thankfully covered by my extended warranty company, who I am sure is not happy about agreeing to cover this MINI. I think they are out close to 5K at this point. Or, rather, I have saved close to 5K at this point.

Next up, road trip to Vegas in March. Listen to the show for details!

MINI Roadster Rear Window Repair

I own a car with a canvas top. I knew this particular job would be dangerous when I took it, but I didn’t know to what extent, until this happened.

Roadster Window delaminating from the top

Fearing the worse, I check with the dealer about a repair. No go, as you would expect. I posted in the R59 Owner’s Group on Facebook and someone had luck getting theirs repaired by an upholstery shop, and a few have done the repair themselves. So, I start call upholstery shops.

Since this is one of the things not covered by my extended warranty, I’m out of pocket for any of it. A few calls around town tell me the repair will cost $600 – $950, replace will cost $2500 – $6000. Since all of those options are out of budget, I voted to go the repair route.

After seeing posts on Facebook, and watching this Canadian do the exact fix to 4 seater in Mexico, I ffigured it was time to give it a go. Actually, it was time to give Amazon about $90, and then complete the repair.

Repairing convertible rear window, MINI Cooper Roadster

To start, these videos are extremely helpful:

His technique is solid and you get an idea for what is involved.

Here is a list of the items that I ordered/used during the repair.

  • Blue painters tape
  • 3M Window Weld
  • 3M Primer
  • Suction Cup Clamps
  • Cheap foam 1/2″ paint brush. Daubers are overkill unless you have them already
  • Straight Edge Razors
  • Gloves, nitrile/latex/rubber (dealers choice)

If you follow the video, you’ll be good to go. I wanted to leave a few notes concerning this here that weren’t covered in the video.

  • The Window Weld is nasty stuff. Gloves are necessary, as is covering the Window opening with painters tape. I didn’t do that, now I have little bits of Window Weld on the canvas.
  • Pillows are amazingly helpful to keep the glass mostly in place while you setup the clamps.
  • Good ventilation is required. Garage door open with a fan would be best.

Suction clamps holding things in place. Note the pillows.

It’s not perfect, nor is it 100% water proof, but the window is secure. I have a few minor leaks that I will have to go back at with some window weld once more to see if it stops the leaking, and I’m sure it will. I’ll be keeping an eye on it and will report back any weirdness. Also, as usual, comments are open, AMA!

My Ride for a Day

This guy is mine for 24 hours. I specifically requested a Cooper even.

A few things have been going on for the past few weeks. Let’s play catch-up! To start with, Bruce has been leaking like a sieve, needing more than 1 gallon of coolant over than past week and change. Secondly, I have been running an experiment, still trying to figure out the best way to drive this MINI with the automatic transmission.

For the last week, I have been making an attempt at moving the lever to the left. Not hitting the sport button, not turning off DSC, just moving the lever to the left. Oh, and then activating manual mode by moving the shift lever forward or backward. And, I have to admit, that it has made things markedly better. While throttle response is still horrendous, doing this has shown some improvement. Not quite enough to get me to stop wishing that this rubbish slush box was a manual, but enough to shut me up about it. Mostly.

Not sure exactly when the coolant leak started, but 2 weeks ago day after tomorrow, I actually had the overheat message on the screen. a quick stop to let him cool down and dump in some Prestone (shut up, I know), and I was back on the road without issue and have been ok since. Except for the very strong smell of coolant after driving to work or home. And the extraordinary use of coolant over the course of that time.

Since I’ve needed to have the Nav looked at since I bought this MINI, and since there is a dealer directly across the street from the office, and since I was beyond needing an oil change, I figured I would take him to the dealer. Extended warranty is covering the coolant leaks (thermostat and oil filter housing). The Nav is toast and would need a replacement head-unit to work correctly again. Oil has been changed. Oh, and I was told that one of my tail light assemblies would have to be replaced due to it getting melted at some point and causing an occassional brake light error.

While this is one of the best R5X MINIs I have even driven (and 1,000% better than Bruce), I’m still sticking by my previous comments in stating this is the MINI quality forgot. I know it’s something we have been talking about quite a bit on the show, but I thought another mention here wouldn’t hurt. I’m afraid of this MINI, which is something I thought I would never say. 90k miles on the clock and while I have already fixed the major things that are going to leak (typically), I can only sit back and think “what’s next?”.