Car Mechanics (UK)



 I am finding your project MINI Clubman of great interest as I own an R53 MINI Cooper S purchased new some 15 years ago by my son but passed to me after seven years as their family grew.

My wife and I have driven it ever since and

I have done all the servicing since taking it over.

It is the model before your car but also in red! It lives outside and also suffered from similar lacquer peeling and faded bonnet duct like yours has. Not so sure it is a stone chip issue alone that has caused the problem as I suspect bird droppings also to blame?

Removal of the duct is likely to break the bolt fixings in the duct as they are poorly mounted. Whilst new ducts are available they are in primer only. I repaired the fixings with Kwik-weld and made sure the bolt threads ran free before it went to the paint shop. The whole bonnet and scuttle was re-sprayed in the original colour about 10 months ago and has been fine. New BMW bonnet stripes were used as no one else makes them with pinstripe edging incorporat­ed and I wished to retain the original look.

The front grille also needed to be removed. This seems to be a one shot fixing with the plastic grille backing plate fixings attached with the thread cut by the very basic nuts. Some came off easily others just snapped. Spares were still available from BMW for a quite reasonable £35, considerin­g a new ducting would have been nearer the £100 mark.

We are nearing 90,000 miles and it still drives well but the ride seems a bit hard, so will consider the special Koni dampers you featured on a Cooper S recently. It has never let us down but front/rear wishbone bushes were replaced with polybushes at about 45,000 miles and one front driveshaft and wheel bearing at about 65,000 miles. I have also fitted complete Pro-drive stainless steel brake lines throughout due to issues with rusting. I think the £250 spent was worthwhile to prevent any further problems.

There is a slight engine oil leak, though drips are few, so the engine gets a clean-up after the regular yearly oil and filter change. Likewise the plastic thermostat housing was split. I think these were not sympatheti­cally fitted in original assembly.

This was done some 40,000 miles back and has never re-occurred. Strange these two problems seem common to both types of engines fitted (supercharg­er and turbocharg­er).

I feel the BMW MINIS will become classics like the original Minis did.

Peter Harrison

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