1/17/2012 - MINI COOPER "S" RECALL
BMW is recalling several turbocharged versions of its popular Mini Cooper coupe and convertible to address problems with the water pump that cools the turbocharger, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
3/28/2011 - 2007 Mini Cooper for Sale
2/26/2011 - Fun with Gasoline
Fun with Gasoline 1
10/9/2010 - Performance Driving Experience (PDX)
Come and learn how to drive your car like the pros. The Western Ohio Region of SCCA is having a performance driving experience (PDX) the 15th at the near Lexington, OH. This will involve at least 4 on-track sessions in your own car, at your maximum comfortable speed (with passing restrictions of the other cars). You will have an instructor (like Tim Ross) who is experienced with the track and your type of car. There is an initial safety inspection and classroom session. The best way for more info. is to go to SCCA.com, then go to the link for the Western Ohio Region (WOR), then to the registration link for the PDX.
10/3/2010 - QCC club update
This is just a reminder to all members that the Queen City Coopers main communication method is through our Yahoo Group MotorCincy. Please make sure that you are registered on the Yahoo Group and set to receive the messages as emails or check the the Queen City Coopers website for more updates. When you get a chance, please send an email to QueenCityCoopers@yahoo.com with current email and update your email and other information on the www.queencitycoopers.com website.
MotorCincy Yahoo Group: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/motorcincy
Queen City Coopers website: http://queencitycoopers.com
Contact us: QueenCityCoopers@yahoo.com
2/6/2010 - Queen City Coopers on TV!
Queen City Coopers featured on STAR64 Great Lifestyles when they covered the Cincinnati MINI dealership road rally!
1/14/2010 - OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!
The CinciMINIs have voted to change their name to the Queen City Coopers! We are kicking off the new year with a bang!
1/6/2010 - The Planning meeting has been pushed to the 14th because of bad weather.
6/19/2009 - Fun With Gasolene -- Hail and Farewell
As COOPD UP hits 140K miles, It's owner is hitting the road. Last February I lost my job here in Cincinnati, and have been looking for a new one ever since. This search culminated last week with a great new job near Charlotte, North Carolina, which is a few more miles than I care to drive every day. So, with regret, it's adios to all my friends in the Mini Club. I will be reporting down in NC after the July 4th weekend. It will take a while to sell my house, so I will be showing up now and again.
It seems just a few months ago that Jim Black and myself met with Beth Schellenberger to start Cinci Minis. Little did we know how fast it would grow and how much fun we would have with our new Mini Coopers. Today, the club is in good hands with Greg and Gaby at the helm. I certainly have enjoyed every moment of it and I hope you have, too.
I'll be watching the website and keeping track of the club from down south. I will miss every minute of the drives and Motor Ins as well as all the happy times we spent together.
6/4/2009 - Next Event:
You asked for a different kind of Motor In and here it is! Sign up for this strictly fun event in the Event Schedule!
5/15/2009 - Fun With Gasolene 4: Tommy Dee Gets Tired
After all that about changing brakes, rust, and mallet wailing, (see below), I decided to get a spare tire, because I'm driving to Omaha this coming weekend and God knows what's out there. So I scoured the internet for a deal, and ended up with Mini Mania, who have delivered to my door a donut tire mounted on a pancake wheel, balanced and inflated to 60PSI. It's a 15" tire/wheel combo and I run 16" wheels, but that will do the trick in a pinch if I have to get to a tire place off RT.74. (To get to Omaha, you get on RT.74 and get off at Omaha 13 hours later).
The combo, which is very light weight, sits upright behind the back seat under the movable top shelf completely out of sight, taking up half of the width of the cargo space. I still can carry all the stuff I have in there now along with the tire (sitting in front of it) and leave room for 40% of the cargo I used to put there on trips, so the peace of mind is worth the hassle. I can also stand it up behind the driver's seat if I wanted to. Plus, I could also put it on the back seat depending on the situation. Bags are available to store the wheel and tire if I want to get fancy schmancy.
Braking news update: I keep it right behind me. I can put my seat back where I like it, which snugs the tire and wheel in place with no moving around. This allows three people in the car with no urgonomic distress. Or I may move it to behind the passenger seat on a long high speed road trip to avoid the extra ten pounds of thing behind me in a crash. (Or I may deside not to have a crash and leave it where it is.) The tire doesn't smell at all once you get moving and just a little when the car is parked in the sun. Which is more than I can say for myself.
5/3/2009 - Fun With Gasolene 3 - Braking a Mini
Yesterday I took my car over to Bill DeVore Motors to have the brakes changed. It was a highly instructive three hours. I came armed with Hawk brake pads and stock rotors from AJ-USA who charged me only about $50-$70 a rotor. Free shipping and $30 off my total bill. My rotors after about 138K on the rears and 90K on the fronts were suffering from the usual incredibly corrosive atmosphere that attends the braking systems of cars.
Bill had a super selection of tools - garage jack, air-driven wrenches, drills, and so forth - which helped get the job done more quickly, but except for a power drill, we could have done it with standard hand tools (and a rubber mallet). The design of the Mini brake system is straight forward, with front and rear procedures about the same. There is an extra step with the fronts, due to the width of the front discs, but this added little to the overall time to change them over. Bill had done his rears already and took immediate charge. North American Motoring had complete pictured step by step instructions which we referred to on occasion, but the process was straight forward and logical, and slightly easier than the brakes on the Miata (although less so than on my old Fiat 124). Bill also had a $20 Harbor Supply caliper retraction kit made in China that allowed us to retract the calipers, without which we could not have done the job. It handles BMWs and Miatas as well.
However, I was constantly reminded of my Maintenence Manual for my dear departed TR-3, which ended virtually every reassemble step with the immortal phrase "apply anti-seizing compound before reassembly". Anti-seizing compound prevents gaulting (ultra hard to remove bolts due to over tightening, and rust fouling, preventing loosening of bolts and nuts without damaging them.) It also removes 20% of the time and effort nessessary on the next job. On COUPD UP, my wheels were stuck to the rotors, which meant we had to hammer them off with a heavy mallet, my rotors were struck to the hubs, bolts were generally speaking hard to remove and worst of all, on the Mini, the brake rotors ware attached with a bolt to make them easier to position along with the wheels on original factory assembly. They cause nothing but trouble after that. These bolts are SPAX bolts. SPAX tools are not part of the average garage tool set. Bill had them of course, but one bolt was so badly corroded to the disc, had we had to drill it out (again, Bill had what we needed.) I found that another one of these had already been broken off at Performance Alignment when I had my pads changed there. I would suggest that if you manage to get your SPAX bolts off, don't put them on again, or at least coat them liberally with brake lube before putting them back on again. They are unnecessary for the brake system to function and are only there for assembly conveinence at the Mini Factory. The wheels automatically hold the brake rotors in correct position.
The moral of the story is this. If you haven't removed your wheels in 40K miles or so, or have driven over the winter, you (or the garage you go to) will probably not be able to remove them without wailing on the tire with a dead-blow mallet. If you have a flat, this will be a real problem, because you may hurt your wheel trying to remove it or not be able to remove it at all. Adding anti-seizing compound to all the surfaces where the wheel touches the rotor will solve this problem.
Mini disc brake calipers are designed to slide on two pins to equalize braking pressure in operation. They are removed and reinstalled when changing pads. These get fouled with gunk and must be cleaned with a solvent such as "PB Blaster" and lubed with brake system lubricant (as should everything else) . If you don't, the brake pads will wear unevenly because the caliper won't center itself correctly.
God knows how much money Bill saved me on labor, doing it ourselves at DeVore Motors. Thanks, Bill.
3/21/2009 - Cabbage Lips O'Grady Captured
Congrats to Tim & Bobbi for winning the 2009 CinciMINIs Leprechaun Run and taking home Cabbage Lips O'Grady for safe-keeping until 2010!
12/17/2008 - Fun With Gasolene -- COOPD UP at 130,000
Well, COOPD UP has reached the magic 1-3-0 K mark.
It just got new tires after putting on 87K miles on the old Bridgestone Potenzas. Since they changed available sizes, I went with TOYO Prox 4's, which are not as good. They may not be as good in snow new as the Potenzas were old. The TOYOs also give very little road surface feedback, which is slightly disconcerting when cornering hard.
I took it to The Sports Car Store, in Florence, KY. It was good to spend some quality time under the car. Everything seems to be in good shape down there. I do have some maintenance. My left muffler hanger has rusted out in two places and will be replaced. The right side is fine, and unrusted, which is slightly strange. I have an oil leak coming from the rocker cover gasket. It's oozing right now and I will keep an eye on it for the time being. It's relatively easy to fix, but there's a lot of things to take off and put back on compared to other cars. Besides, the MINI is an British car and British cars have protected their undersides from the elements for the past 100 years or so by excreting oil the same way Vasilene protects from diaper rash (and for similar reasons).
I had my power steering cooling fan replaced a while back. One evening, the car would not start. I turned off the ignition and tried again. The car started. This is the warning from the car that the fan fuse has blown and the the fan has been sanded down by dust and dirt and needs immediate replacement. And I mean immediate. If not, the power steering pump will overheat and catch fire and so will the rest of your engine and your wallet. Since the car will drive fine after the fuse blows, owners can easily be lulled into complacency. Sure enough, the fan could barely turn. The fan is mounted such that it draws as much dirt into itself as it possibly can, pointed as it is forward and down like the intake nozzle of a vacumn cleaner. The replacement fan has a shield that comes with it that stops pebbles, but not dirt. The whole design is dumber than dirt, which is unfortunate, since dirt is its steady diet. Every MINI owner should have this fan checked regularly at each oil change. It's easy, just spin the fan. Any resistance and replacement is vital.
I also had my oil changed at The Sports Car Store and found that my BMW-supplied MINI oil filter would not go on. It would go on the cap, but the cap would not screw on the main fitting. The filter was badly shaped and stopped the cap from being replaced. They went with a German aftermarket one they keep on hand that slipped on much better and was better made to boot at half the price. A smooth replacement was quickly made. The replacement filter came in a yellow box, but I forget the name. They worked on the car next to a Bentley and a Rolls Royce, a Jaguar XK 120 Coupe, a Porche 911, a Mercedes, and a SAAB. Not bad company.
On the subject of rocker cover rusting. Bill DeVore has found rust on our MINIs. I would bet that it is present on all four year old cars that are driven regularly. It's found under the weather stripping at the foot sill. Bill thinks it has something to do with the drain located at either side of the sunroof at the front of both sides. It's easily found if you retract the sunroof. I plan to wait until it stops raining and snowing, the car drain dries out. Then I'm going to squirt a pint of Marvel Mystery Oil down each drain. If water is getting into the top weld of the rocker panel from the drain, Mystery Oil will follow the seam as well. I have my doubts that this is the problem. Since the rust is on the outside of the seam, it may be that the trim piece is wicking water and holding it there. If so, the problem can be solved. Sanding and repainting will not cure this problem. Only a barrier of rust stopping chemicals will do the job. There are products that turn rust into another compound. This will work if you can get at the rust. I plan to consult with Sir William sometime during the Christmas break. I had a Fiat 124 Sport, so I am an expert and an implacable foe of rust.
COOPD UP remains a super car with very few (and very minor) problems. I couldn't be more pleased with it after all those miles.
2/10/2008 - The Clubman is Here - Two Clubmen meet The Clubman - The Greg and Tom Report
I swung by Cincinnati MINI today with our very own Tommy D to check out the new Clubman. We ran into Rick Kilburn & John & Carmen Elliot out there as well. The first thing I have to say is that you have to see it in person. Something you do not get from pictures is scale. In a picture, MINIs can appear the same size as any other car. When you see that the Clubman is almost as tiny as the Cooper, then the longer lines diminish. IMHO, it actually looks smaller than the Cooper from the back because of its new design. The Clubman looks
Tommy D here:
What we have here is the first sports car/Shooting Brake in many years. Aston Martin used to make them. Volvo made one. Now Mini has brought out just about the most trendy new car since the original New Mini. This love child from a chance meeting between a Mini and a Mazda 3 MazdaSpeed is going to be a major major winner.
This new Clubman is a solid sender. It is a true 4 seater, but the guy behind the driver has to scoot over after he gets by the suicide door on the curbside. Plenty of room ‘fore and aft, with good foot room also. I can easily sit behind myself, which I wouldn’t recommend to just anyone. The car is faster than Coopd Up by quite a lot, even with Greg in it. The lines are better than the smaller brethren, the two back doors are tres cool, and the carrying capacity is about double than the std. Mini. It’s a little quiet, even under acceleration, which I didn’t quite like, but it’s fast enough to generate a whole bunch of torque steer. The C’man looks good from all angles. Both of us liked the silver treatment on the aft corners, which harks back to the original Clubman.
Greg and I were scoping out a Blue and Silver model being brought in by a “55 vintage babe who said, “No no boys, this is all mine”. Unfortunately, she was referring to the car (no matter what Greg thinks). She bought it right there for 30 G’s. Clubmans can be had for about $24 G’s, (I can be had for far less). I predict that more Clubmans will sell than all other models combined. In this case there is no penalty for the larger car that I could see. They are going to be flying out of the dealership.
1/28/2008 - We're Loaded For Bear!
CinciMINIs had a great planning meeting at The MINI Store last week. As usual, The MINI Store went all out to make our meeting a success, and boy, was it! We've loaded in all the main events for the year so you now can plan ahead to join us for events throughout 2008. Just check out the Event Schedule. You'll see that there's something for everyone virtually each month. The group has certainly come a long way in just a few years. Our participation has never been greater and many members stepped up to lead events, which gives the Planning Team time to think up even better things to come.
Just as your MINI runs on gas, our fuel is your dues. It's time for dues. $25.00 for the year is the best bargain in town and your financial support is absolutely necessary to keep us up and running. If you have not sent in your check for 2008 please do so ASAP.
Annual membership fees are due each year by January 31st.
12/4/2007 - Fun with Gasoline 2 -- Tom Draper
My First 109,000 Miles or How I Cured a Slight Case Of German Nut-Ball Engineering.
“Coopd Up” was adopted by me in August of 2003. A green over green model with a sunroof and no other options. Every time I saw something that I wanted, it was already on the car as standard, unnecessary, or too much money to be worth it. (Luckily the British leather seats were not available when I ordered the car). I started the process when I was living in Pittsburgh, with the legendary Amy Childers doing the honors on the sales end of The BMW Store. By the way, the “BRG” green that is advertised by BMW is actually “Moss Green”, a color that Sterling Moss, the great British privateer race driver, applied to his race cars. It was a standard color on the last of the original BMC Minis at the end of their production life.
When I entered the BMW Store, I parked down below in front. I was greeted by a distinguished gentleman of decidedly continental bearing in a while lab coat, looking like he had just finished bringing the Frankenstein monster to life, and weaving around all the silver $80,000 machinery.
“Kan I hep you?” he asked.
“Well I am looking at the Minis,” I replied.
“Ah, za Minis are upstairs,” he said. “Vat made you interested in za Mini?, he asked.
“Well, I had a Triumph and I thought I would get another British car,” I answered.
“Za Mini iss a Cherman kar!” he exclaimed, turning on his heel and walking away.
It’s true that I had had a BRG Triumph TR-3 for many years and my new Copper S cured my slowing escalating LBC (Lack of British Car) syndrome. I was a little nervous that the car would combine the worst of two worlds – British car reliability (or lack thereof) and German complexity. In the event, my fears were unfounded. Coopd Up has had virtually no mechanical problems. That’s not to say that I haven’t spent some money on the car in upgrading performance and eliminating nut-ball German engineering faux pas.
First to go was the original nut-ball cold air induction system that, much like a soda straw, can under certain circumstances funnel large quantities of H2O, as opposed to 02, into the interior of the engine causing inter-cylinder mayhem and the installation of a heretofore superfluous second motor. In its place appeared a K&N Typhoon induction system (AJ-USA.com) that still gathered cold air, but not via a dangerous closed system.
At 45,000 miles I got rid of what was left of my god-awful nut-ball run flat tires and replaced them with regular Bridgestone Potenzas, one size large than spec. Everything improved. My CD player no longer skipped, my ride was smoother, my cornering better, my tires quieter, and my tire life expectancy doubled. I have rotated the wheels once at 35,000 miles and the wear was even and hardly noticeable. I don’t believe in constant tire rotation if the tires are wearing smoothly. Since the Mini seems to hold its alignment super well, I leave things alone. I expect to get at least 70,000 miles out of them. I’ve picked up two nails with the Potenzas, but the inflation monitor has done its job, alerting me in time to get to a tire store for a patch. I do carry an electric tire pump and patch kit, hoping never to use them.
When I got my Potenzas, a concurrent check of my brakes disclosed that all that brake dust was not coming from the pads so much as coming from the brake rotors. This ridiculous condition was being caused by over-aggressive German nut-ball brake pads. The condition was so bad that I had to replace my front rotors at 40% brake pad life. Good ol’ US of A Hawk pads (again from AJ-USA.com) cured this condition and eliminated most of the brake dust in the bargain. Now I stop smoothly without having to worry about my head going through the windscreen and last check of brake pad life on the fronts indicates I have 70% pad life left after 65,000 miles.
I’m happy to say that The BMW Store has always treated me well, even when replacing my hatch latch twice and my entire sunroof module at 65,000 miles (both for free). I also use Performance Alignment for brake, wheel, and alignment (oddly enough) and am always pleased with the result.
My next modification was a pair of dark silver diagonal stripes on each side of the car. They were put on unprofessionally by a professional who really didn’t know what he was doing. But because I was there for the whole process, things ended looking fine. The stripes have made the car look lower and longer. Best of all they have increased overall acceleration dramatically by micro-disrupting the laminar air flow along the sides of the car, thus decreasing skin drag 12%.
Next came a good English driving light. I bought a repro Made in China Lucas Flamethower and installed it on a modified stock grill light mounting, drilled out to accept the Flamethrower. The Sports Car Store in Florence did the wiring. Of course, being a British product, it leaks – in this case, water gets into the light when it rains. Silicon sealer may have solved the problem. I mounted the light on the left side of the car, which achieved the desired asymmetrical look I was after. It puts a massive amount of light out in front of the car. Because the light is incandescent, it also puts out a beam of heat that rivals the global warming death ray which hits the earth occasionally from the planet Mongo. I also added a white ‘50’s style number roundel on the hood (bonnet) offset to the right to give Coopd Up a jaunty new look.
Now, on to my second 100,000 miles.
10/15/2007 - Sign up for upcoming events. Here's how!
Log in. Then go to Event Schedule. Click on the event you want to participate in. Sign up by following the instructions.
10/10/2007 - Welcome to the new CinciMINIs website!
Welcome to CinciMINIs
Now that you have bought one of the coolest cars on the planet, it’s time to have some fun with it!
CinciMinis is a group of Mini enthusiasts that get together to go on drives, enjoy good food and conversation, and share Mini info.
We come from all backgrounds. Some of us own or have owned other sports cars. Some of us just bought our Mini just because they like the looks of the car. No matter. You’ll find lots of people in our group of 120 plus members with which you can share stories and information to maximize your Mini experience.
Some of our cars are surpassed 100,000 miles, some are brand new. We know what to modify, what to leave alone, and where to go to get the most out of the car. Some of us use their car in competitions, most just like to get together for a weekend cruise. We often join other clubs to go on drives to interesting places or just to get some ice cream – kids are always welcome.
Come out and enjoy the fun. We’ll be glad to see you and you’ll be glad you did!
We hope our changes to the site will make it a little bit easier for our members to stay current on our events and also make it easier for the core members to administer the site and communicate to all of you as well. Check out our events page!
9/19/2007 - Fun with Gasoline
Fun with Gasoline 1
Mini Meets Draper’s Two Rules of Car Ownership
The new Mini is a truly unique car. It combines reasonable speed and tenacious road holding with an amazing carrying capacity for a car its size. It provides a very reliable machine, avoiding as it seems to do, the downsides of nutball German over engineering and traditional dreaded British automotive assembly quality. In fact, it also seems to violate Draper’s Two Rules of Car Ownership”.
“A specialized car can do about 80% of what a standard car can do, but a standard car can only do about 20% of what a specialized car can do.”
In other words, a sports car can be pressed into service to provide almost everything a standard sedan can do, but a sedan can do virtually nothing that a sports car can do.
The Mini seems to break this rule because it is so utilitarian when it has to be. I’ve gotten chairs, TVs, and an entire boxed Miata dashboard into in my Mini, not to mention a group of four big guys who soon stopped grousing about the “clown car” they were about to ride in once we got started.
This is because the Mini acts like a sports car without actually being one. A true sports car is a two seater with a removable top. It has little in the way of creature comforts or reliability. A perfect example of a true sports car would be by dearly departed ’56 Triumph TR-3. When it was cold, you were cold. When it was raining, you got wet. You were at one with the elements whether you liked it or not. Not so with the Mini. You can be at one with the elements by making, using little electric motors, various parts of the car disappear. With the TR, those parts were not there to begin with, and had to be added. Why, with the Mini, a heater is even standard. Not only that, the Mini can out corner virtually any sports car built before 1985, and stay with almost any 4 cylinder car on the road today. Not bad.
“Within reason, the slower the car, the more sport in the car”.
My brother has a Corvette. It looks nice, but it’s so big, driving it feels like you are driving the state of New Jersey. Moreover, in many ways, the car is boring to drive. This is because it is faster than you are. Whatever gear you are in, you can’t drive the car to its maximum potential for more than two seconds without being illegal. Since in sixth gear, the engine fires once every 60 feet, the car goes down the road half asleep, bored to tears with its driver. Meanwhile the Mini can if it wants to, also go illegal in two seconds (OK, four seconds). So it is a fast little sucker, without being boring in the slightest at any time, while keeping its driver essentially unknown to the local constabulary.
Finally, The Mini is a truly historic car. There are plenty of other small cars around, but the new Mini started the third small car revolution. The first was started by the MG TC. There you had a small car that was cooler than any other car on the road, but it was also slower than any other car on the road. The second small car revolution was started by the Beetle. Then you had a small car that was reliable and somewhat fun, but it was at most, just small. Now we have the third small car revolution. Not only do we have a small car and a reliable car, we have a car that can run with the best on the road. A car that is cooler than almost any other car regardless of price.
CinciMINIs is not a club or a non-profit organization and carries no insurance of any kind. All individuals participating will be held liable for their actions.