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Misfire at 54,000 miles

16 October 2014 - Filed under: Repairs

The MINI developed a shake and loss of power under load. At first I was worried that the clutch was slipping, but then the check engine light briefly illuminated. This did at least give me a good excuse to use the WiFi ODBII adapter I’d previously purchased and never really done anything with. The fault code revealed a misfire on cylinder 4.

Misfire

Coils or spark plugs seemed the most likely cause, however despite the car constantly shaking under load I couldn’t get the warning light to illuminate again, so moving the coils around to see if the misfire moved cylinders didn’t reveal much.

Euro Car Parts had the best price on the same Beru plugs that the MINI left the factory fitted with – £26 for a set of four. You need a slightly unusual 14mm 12point socket to fit and remove them.

I foolishly got tempted by a secondhand set of coils from Mintech spares. I didn’t want to throw too much money at the coils until I’d confirmed that they were at fault, so a secondhand set of four removed from a 2010 MINI for less than the cost of a single new coil seemed like a good idea at the time.

 

New parts

 

Fitting was simple enough, for some reason the Cooper and Cooper S differ in that the coils are covered by a bit of plastic held down by two T30 Torx screws. With that removed the connectors can be unplugged from the coils, they then pull upwards and out revealing the spark plugs. The spark plugs need to be torqued to 20NM. The original plugs didn’t look too bad, so I think the coil was at fault, a new set of plugs won’t hurt though. I might ask the MINI dealership to give me the new set of plugs the car is due to have when it goes for the final TLC XL service in 6 months.

With new plugs and the secondhand coils in place everything ran perfectly… Briefly. After a few miles one of the secondhand coils packed up resulting in a constant misfire on cylinder 3. I swapped it over with one of the working original coils and everything seems to be happy again. Lesson learned, don’t buy secondhand service parts. That said, they were cheap and allowed me to confirm that it was definitely the coils causing the issue. I’ll go ahead and order four brand new coils now that I know.

For reference the factory fitted coils are Bosch 0221504470, the spark plugs are Beru 12ZR6SP03. The Cooper S uses NGK plugs rather than Beru.

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New Foglights at 52,000 miles

19 July 2014 - Filed under: Repairs

Both foglights had filled up with condensation and corroded to the point that I couldn’t remove the bulb holder to replace a sidelight. Replacing them involved completely removing the front bumper, this was relatively straightforward although some of the plastic push-fit fixings had seized. In the end I drilled them out and replaced them.

New foglights

Two new-ish folights from eBay, some new wheelarch clips and some new bulbs cost £35. Not too bad!

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MOT and Tyres at 50,500 miles

19 May 2014 - Filed under: Servicing

Two new Dunlop SP Sport 01 runflats, fitted at F1 Oxford for £190.

MOT – passed with advisories for the existence of engine and under-tray covers for £50.

Cowley Road MOTs were a friendly bunch with better availability than the council depot. I’ll use them again.

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New car!

29 April 2014 - Filed under: Upgrades

The MINI’s replacement arrived this week. A car so ugly that the dealership had to break the appearance to me gently:

M135i

It’s a 2014 M135i. Quite a jump in straight line performance and refinement from the MINI, although nowhere near as much fun on a twisty back road.

M135i

The good news is I’ve still kept the MINI, sort of. Despite my fiancée’s car being a few years newer than the Cooper she prefers driving the MINI, so she’s now become the proud owner.

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Front discs and pads – OEM Options at 49,000 miles

15 March 2014 - Filed under: Servicing

The wear sensor for the front brake pads recently fired, I’ve covered 30k since I last changed them which doesn’t seem too bad. 

Unlike last time there are now lots of OEM options for the R56, I opted for Brembo painted discs and pads and a Pagid wear sensor. That saved about £50 over OE parts and the Brembo discs are slightly better finished. It will be interesting to see if the pads are the same/better/worse once they’ve bedded in. 

Brembo Disc

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Tax and Insurance at 48,000 miles

30 January 2014 - Filed under: Servicing

I was expecting an increase this year after my windscreen claim. The renewal came through at £259, almost £100 less than last year! 

Increased my mileage from 7 to 10k a year, still couldn’t get close to the price anywhere else.

Tax was £125 this time.

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Puncture and New Tyre at 44,500 miles

18 October 2013 - Filed under: Servicing

Wood screw in tyre, well done to Newbury Tyre and Exhaust Centre for sourcing a replacement Dunlop SP Sport 01 Runflat the same day for the reasonable price of £104.

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New rear bumper at 44,400 miles

5 October 2013 - Filed under: Repairs

Back in 2009 someone decided to use the rear bumper of the MINI to feel their way into a parking space. I had the damage repaired by a ‘smart repair’ company. Initially the repair was flawless, however over the years the paint on the repaired area started to pit. I’d also picked up a couple of scuffs around the load area of the boot from careless passengers. None of the damage was bad enough to justify the cost of having the whole bumper resprayed, but it was a bit annoying.

I’d set up an alert on eBay for rear bumpers in the correct colour, generally most of the bumpers for sale were in worse condition than mine. Eventually my luck was in, an immaculate chilli red rear bumper not far from home, removed from a 2008 Cooper when the owned purchased the aero kit. The auction was won for the princely sum of £30, bargain!

Bumper replacement

Bumper replacement

Fitting the new bumper was relatively straight forward, the instructions are located in the TIS Documents section, prefixed with ‘RA BUMPER’. The replacement bumper came complete with the lower black trim, however the donor vehicle wasn’t fitted with parking sensors, so I had to swap the trims around. This was probably the fiddliest bit of the whole process.

New bumper fitted

New bumper fitted

I’m very happy with the end result, the new bumper seems to be a great colour match to the rest of the car, the donor vehicle was a similar age which might have helped.

I listed my old bumper with an honest description of the condition on eBay and it sold for a similar price, so time aside the whole exercise cost very little.

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New Windscreen at 41,800 miles

4 June 2013 - Filed under: Repairs

A large crack appeared in my windscreen whilst the car was parked, I couldn’t see any chips or other obvious reasons for it to go.

As is always the way with these things I was hundreds of miles from home, it was a bank holiday and I was due to go abroad the following day. The claims department of my insurer only work weekdays and Autoglass were doing ‘essential maintenance’ and couldn’t take bookings.

Cracked!

Cracked!

A week later things went much smoother, Equity were quite happy to cover the cost of a MINI branded OE screen rather than the cheaper OEM replacements usually supplied and Autoglass found me a next day appointment at their Oxford branch.

I was a little apprehensive about using Autoglass, a different branch made a terrible job of refitting the doorcards of another car I owned after it was broken into. However I really can’t fault the job done by the fitter today, everything is perfectly fitted and he also replaced the black plastic A pillar trims and all of the rubber moulding.

Hopefully Equity won’t increase my premium next year for a glass claim, although given the sums involved for modern windscreens I suspect they’ll have to cover the cost somewhere.

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TLC XL at 40,600 miles

13 May 2013 - Filed under: Servicing

Oil, filters and brake fluid service. The last time I was in my local MINI garage I enquired about extending the TLC service pack and was told I couldn’t because it was over a year since the first service pack expired. However I was offered it instead of the £220ish they wanted for the service when I took the car in today, makes sense as it covers the next big service as well.

So, quite a big bill for an oil service (£275), but I don’t begrudge it too much as it’s the first service I’ve paid for since buying the car 4.5 years ago.

Had a new Cooper D for the day:

Cooper D

Cooper D

Can’t make my mind up about the diesel, a revvy petrol seems more suited to a small hatchback and accelerating up to 70 takes a bit too long and too many gear changes. However around town the diesel is quite fun, possibly better than the petrol.

Other costs since the previous update:

Tax – £120
Aux Socket – £15 (developed a short)
Insurance – £358
MOT – £55 (passed, no advisories)

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