Archive for the “MINI Cooper” Category

How do you give yourself whiplash in one easy step?  Why, you simply step on the “clutch” of the loaner 2013 MINI Cooper S Step-tronic AUTOMATIC whilst driving at 35mph!!  Seriously that simple.

The rest of the story is that Kelly and Nyssa had Maggie out on a shopping run on a Friday afternoon when a red warning indicator came on the dash.  According to the MINI manual, it was an ABS/DTC failure and we were to contact our MINI Dealership as “your journey is over.”!!!  Wonderful quote.  MINI road-side assistance worked very well and the tow truck was right on time.  Only problem was I’d taken the tow hook out of Maggie (for whatever reason) and had to drive her up onto the truck myself.  Once we got to the dealership, it was too late for them to look into it, so they gave me a loaner for the weekend.  An automatic!!

The following Sunday, whilst drive about and pulling away from a stop light, I “shifted” the paddles and hit the “clutch” for second gear!!  Scared me at the time and didn’t start hurting until Monday night.  Neck was completely locked up all day Tuesday and part of Wednesday.  By Thursday night, started feeling better.  Up to the point where I pinched a nerve in my shoulder!!  Wasn’t ’til Saturday that everything was back to “normal”.

So, what did I learn from this?  The Footwell Body Control Modual of a 2010 JCW just doesn’t just fail and BMW was happy to split the costs.  Jolly decent of them.  Also, there is no clutch on a Step-tronic!!  And I won’t make that mistake ever again.


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So I gave Kelly a ride to work this morning and we get behind some go-faster Mustang which was red in color and had two broad, white racing stripes.  Naturally, I smugly call out “Poser!”, to which my loving bride responds with “I like that.”  WTF?!?!  Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!?  She goes on to say how it’s a Mustang, so it has to be cool and that she likes it better than a MINI.  Choking back my innate response of “Get the hell out!!”, I point out to here that I’d just seen no less than FOUR Mustangs at the intersection, they’re so COMMON.  To which she responds, “Yeah but it’s a Mustang, so it’s cool.”

Later, she asks “What are you doing going for Starbucks?”

My response: “Well, after that Mustang remark, I had to do >something< to get that bad taste out of my mind!!!


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Yup, as soon as it was announced, I bought the Bentley PublishersMINI Cooper Service Manual and it was delivered yesterday!!  I was so excited to read this that I didn’t take time to post as I was reading all the letters off the page!!  This massive tome is the only non-BMW published source of MINI knowledge, as neither Chilton’s nor Haynes has anything for the MINI.  Though it doesn’t cost as much as the BMW Service Manual, it wasn’t cheap but is excellent value for the price as this is a Service Manual vice Repair Manual.  The difference is that a repair manual takes you through typical, common automotive repairs, whereas a Service Manual pretty much shows you how to completely disassemble a car.  This lists all of the torque values as well as the special tools required for those finicky jobs, like compressing the pistons into the calipers for changing the brakes.  So, now I need to decide whether it is more cost effective for me to get the MINI Extended Maintenance Plan or do all of it myself.  Decisions, decisions.


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Tomorrow is the beginning of my first State-side MINI Run and I sure picked a good one!  The 2011 Blue Ridge Parkway Tour with the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club.  I am really looking forward to how this all goes because this will be a direct comparison to MITA08.  The snaps are here and that write-up is here.

The trip started off with excitement as Kelly and I needed to drop Ms. Spit off at her service department for some TLC.  However, her battery was completely flat and left me stranded!!  Haven’t had that happen in quite some time.  Even after Kelly caught up with me in Maggie and we tried to charge Ms. Spit’s battery, no dice.  I ended up having to push start her, twice!!  After that, we were able to make it to the shop, only to find that Lenny had run off for some errands and we had to wait an hour for his return!!  O_0  Eventually, we were able to get Ms. Spit dropped off and start wandering up to Waynesboro, Virginia, the start point for the trip.  We did hit a bit of rain which was so bad, I was at the point of pulling off when if (finally) abated.

We were able to get to the kick-off dinner before they started handing out the swag and before our dinners arrived but I would’ve liked to have been able to meet some of the other folks here.  That’s for tomorrow now.  Doing a walkabout of the parking lot here at the Hampton Inn, there’s another JCW that looks almost like Maggie and a WC50 but none of them have Dutch tags, or a Nordschleife, or a Hochenheim, or a Silverstone lap tag!!  FTW!!!


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Maggie's NC plateMaggie’s final North Carolina license plate has come in and I’m quite pleased.  In 2005, after I’d decided that a MINI was in my future, I’d looked on the NC DMV Custom Plate page to see if “Maggie” was available.  It was, along with “IMABLUR” and “IMA DOT” which I was also considering.  It wasn’t until we got back to NC this summer that I found out that someone’d already ordered Maggie, however, I was quite pleased that “Maggie 2″ was available.  And there ya go.  Maggie’s final plates.  Unfortunately for me, the custom license plate frame which says “My sons are Eagles” is no longer legal in NC as it obscures the state’s name on the bottom.  Gonna have to get that sorted out smartly.


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Last week, I learned that Maggie has a new trick.  Luckily for me, she demonstrated this trick >after< the biblical rains had ended.  Otherwise, this could’ve been bad.  Really, really BAD. Read the rest of this entry »

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It took a while but I was finally able to get all of the photos uploaded from our last trip in Europe.  Yup, there are a lot but it truly was an EPIC trip.  I really do hate to admit it but MIUK (Maggie In The UK) was a better trip that MITA08 (details here and here).  Over 9 days we went about 1200 miles driving across Scotland, Ireland and Wales and it was Awesome!!  Here’s an example of just how great the trip was.  Happy Snaps posted and details after the break.


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I had to take Maggie into the dealership to check out the unusual seat wear and they gave me a MINI as the loaner!!  Check out this color:

Yes, my friends, that is a MINI ONE!!  I’ve loved Motoring in my MINIs and I do believe that, regardless of the engine, the car will always have that zoominess to them.  I’ve now learned that the engine has a lot to do with how much zoominess you can enjoy as this MINI One is >almost< a gutless wonder!!  And I have learned what the middle button by the shift knob is for.

That button enables/disables the stop light pause effect where the engine will shut down whilst waiting at a stop light.  The way that works is after stopping at a light, put the car into neutral, hold the brake, release the clutch and the engine will shut off.  As soon as you hit the clutch, the engine will restart automatically.  Nice.  I like the effect, however, Maggie wouldn’t take to that too well as she’s got the Auto Sport module installed and it takes a few seconds for all of that to be activated.  Regardless, still a cool effect.  I’ll let ya’ll know how Maggie’s seat repair and engine lookee comes out.


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Back in the day, I’d get together with a crew of MINI owners in Germany and we’d do runs that Art had put together through the Odenwald, Schwarzwald and points in between.  A couple of times, we’d run out to the Nurburgring Nordschleife.  With Wednesday being the Dutch Liberation Day and a day off of work, Matt and I went with a couple of guys from work to give Maggie, Too her chance to run the ‘Ring.

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About a month ago, I picked up Maggie, Too, my 2010 MINI Cooper S John Cooper Works and figured it was time to share my thoughts on this new, wee beastie.

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