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Unread 08-21-2017, 11:34 AM #1
agranger agranger is offline
MINI of the Month June 2009

 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
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MINI of the Month June 2009


 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW

Howdy all!

It has been a while since I've really posted here at Motoring Alliance. I was first obsessed with MINIs way back in 2004 when I first took one for a test drive. I was picking out options and making my final decision when I got laid off and the new car plan got put on hold for a year or so. In Dec 2005 I picked up a PW MCS (Jango) and spent 6+ years on a modding journey, being active in MetroplexMINI (Dallas, TX) and going to MOTD several times (I think I'm up to 4-5 times now). I'm a bit of a detailing nut and have some automotive OCD, which you will probably see in future posts.

Jango was the first Motoring Alliance featured MINI: https://www.motoringalliance.com/for...ne-2009-a.html

I sold Jango to a fellow MINI enthusiast when I moved to San Francisco a few years back and needed to become a 1 car family. The new owner and Jango were involved in an accident a year or so later and Jango was totaled. My friend got a beautiful R53 JCW replacement and, amazingly, I was contacted by the new owner of Jango in Panama! He bought the wrecked car and spent about a year rebuilding him! I helped out with lots of info on the mods and Ariel still sends me photos when he does new mods!

Ever since I got room to be a multi-car family again, I've gone to the MINI dealership to test drive every new model. Most haven't fit me (6'4" and 300+ lbs) comfortably and just haven't felt right. The new 2017 Countryman got me excited as I fit perfectly into it... unfortunately it just didn't feel very MINI to me. It is a beautiful car... it just didn't have that raw, connected -to-the-road feeling that I want from a sporting car. The options I wanted (fairly loaded JCW) also added up to the upper 40- lower $50k range and that concerned me. I could have a midsize Audi SUV for just a bit more and that purchase made a whole lot more sense. Plus I've got a 2010 Volvo XC60 that only has 48k miles, looks like it is brand new and has been maintained perfectly since it was new... I'd hate to lose that car and I won't get a fair trade-in on that value to me. What to do? I decided that the R53 is what I really wanted, but not as a daily driver... a 12 year-old British car that I need to depend on? Um.... no. But they aren't that expensive any more... and I can do most of the wrenching myself... Aw hell. That's it. The daily driver got moved to parking in the driveway and an R53 will take it's place!

On August 12, I bought a 2005 MCS JCW that I found on www.CarGurus.com. It has 86k miles, seems well maintained per CarFax and an inspection from CarChex (sends a mechanic out to perform an inspection) came back fairly clean (lots of paint chips and the typical oil pan leaks / PS line leaks). Davan, the previous owner, was quite sad to see the MINI leave his driveway, but a larger vehicle was needed as his family grew up.

Click the image to open in full size.

I'm starting a full refresh and update on the car, with a target end-date for the 2018 Minis On The Dragon (just under 9 months from the purchase date). I'm creating this thread to give a single place to post updates and tell the story.
__________________
Rufus: 2005 MCS JCW CR/CR/CR
Jango: 2006 MCS PW/PW/PW transferred to another MINIac

Last edited by agranger; 08-21-2017 at 12:06 PM.
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Unread 08-21-2017, 11:58 AM #2
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MINI of the Month June 2009

 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
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MINI of the Month June 2009


 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
THE DRIVE HOME:

I found the car on-line and after talking to the owner, having an independent inspection done by a mechanic and checking CarFax, I pulled the trigger and traded in some frequent flyer miles to get myself from Charlotte, NC (my home) to Austin, TX where the car was. I flew out on a Friday evening, got a good night's sleep in Austin and Uber'd my way to the owner's home. I gave everything a good once-over, signed the papers and handed over the check... away we go! It was great to be back in an R53 again and my first drive was short... a nearby drug store for snacks/drinks and an auto parts store for some basic hand tools, a compressor, Slime tire repair and some new front wiper blades (the old ones had turned up as bad on the inspection report and it was right). I got on the road, heading up to Dallas to have lunch w/ a friend and then to begin the long haul on I-20 through Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.

Click the image to open in full size.

Around 10pm on Saturday night I was 40 miles or so from my first planned stop for the night. As I was about to cross into Mississippi from Louisiana, I noticed the AC go warm/humid. Uh oh... I know R53s, so I immediately looked down to see the CEL on and the thermostat climbing quickly. Crap! Luckily I was right at an exit, so I ducked off the highway and into a decently lit parking lot (the only parking lot in the middle of nowhere) that belonged to an off-track betting shop that was still open. At least there were people around and I had cell service! I called to cancel my hotel and booked a new one in Vicksburg, MS, about 10 miles away. They gave me the name of a cab company owner (Roosevelt, who owned the 2-3 car operation) who came out to get me around 10:30pm that night and got me to the hotel. While I was waiting, I popped the bonnet and found the serpentine belt with a complete break... Oh well. I had stopped before all of the coolant had cooked out, at least, so I was lucky there!

I woke up early on Sunday morning and got looking into things. I found a cluster of auto parts shops a few miles away that opened around 8-9am, so I walked to an ATM (cash is king when you are stranded), had a big breakfast at a Waffle House and hiked my way to the auto parts shops to be there at 8am when a few of them opened. I can tell you that even at 7:30am, walking in the 99% humidity of Louisiana in August isn't fun. Luckily, the first parts store I went into had a JCW belt on the shelves! I bought the belt, some coolant, a tool set in a blow-molded case and the largest pry-bar they had in-stock... of course I don't have the tensioner pulley tool yet, so I'm going to have to become innovative.

Click the image to open in full size.

Roosevelt picked me up and took me and my assorted purchases to the car and I settled in for a long morning. It took a few hours, but I was finally able to get the belt tensioner locked back so I could get the new belt on. I give each pulley a twist (praying that the stock crank pulley isn't the problem) and find that the idler pulley bearing is seized. Ugh! I went into the AC of the OTB shop and started making calls. The third shop I call has the part on the shelf!!! How I found parts for a 12 year old MINI in rural Mississippi on a Sunday morning, I have no idea! Some deity must have been looking out for me! I bought the pulley on-line for in-store delivery and called Roosevelt one more time. He picked up the part and drove it out to me while I got everything put away and ready to go.

Click the image to open in full size.

About 15 minutes after he dropped off the pulley, I had everything back together and the car was running like a top. Unfortunately, that was about 1pm on Sunday afternoon, so I had lost 1/2 a day of drive time. Luckily, my hotel felt bad for me w/ my car broken down, so they gave me a super, super late check out... I was able to grab a quick shower after the several hours of rolling around in the dusty parking lot before getting back on my way home.

I had hoped to be home Sunday evening, but that wasn't going to happen. I made it to the north side of Atlanta when I gave out and decided to pull over for the night. I finished up the last 200 miles early the next morning and was to work by 10:30am!

Click the image to open in full size.
__________________
Rufus: 2005 MCS JCW CR/CR/CR
Jango: 2006 MCS PW/PW/PW transferred to another MINIac

Last edited by agranger; 08-21-2017 at 12:08 PM.
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Unread 08-21-2017, 12:21 PM #3
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MINI of the Month June 2009

 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
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MINI of the Month June 2009


 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Interior Cleaning:

Ugh... the interior of Rufus is pretty dirty. The previous owner took it to a local detailer a day or so before I picked him up (very nice of him!), to see if they could clean up the inside and I can see that they tried, but I don't know if the red fabric seats can be salvaged. If they tried really hard and this is as far as they got, it doesn't look good.

I bought a gallon of upholstry cleaner from the Chemical Guys and took the interior apart. The front seats came out, as did the e-brake console and the rear seats (thanks YouTube... I never would have figured out how those rear seats came out without some video help). I ran a test spot w/ a carpet cleaner and the upholstry cleaner and got some good results:

Click the image to open in full size.

The right side is where I cleaned things up. The left is the 'before' photo and that big black stain in the middle is where capillary action carried grease and dirt away from the cleaned area. It looks like the cleaning will work out!

I'm about 1/2 way through the interior bits now... completed all of the black carpeting, the rear boot carpet and the rear seat floor... front seats and other bits as the week progresses.

Rufus speaks American!

I mentioned above that Rufus is a Canadian import. That means that, when he was delivered, he spoke in some weird distance unit called a kilometer and about temperature in Celsius. Here in America we speak 'murican, so Rufus had better learn the local language before someone tries to send him back home!

The previous owner had installed a speedo face that measured in MPH (to comply with US regulations and title it in TX). I made a quick trip out to Hendrick's MINI in Charlotte and after 1 hour of tech time ($105), Rufus was reprogrammed, showing distance in miles on the odometer and in all of the OBC calculated fields (est MPG, etc). They also flipped the auto AC over to display in Fahrenheit. Unluckily, this wiped the OBC memory and my local state inspection shop was unable to do an inspection on the car... oh well. Once I get the seats back in, I'll drive it 60-70 miles or so and I'll try again.

New Battery:
My local Autozone was running a $20 rebate on batteries and the old one was over 4 years old (in TX heat, that means it was due to expire some time last year). Rufus now has a shiny new battery.
__________________
Rufus: 2005 MCS JCW CR/CR/CR
Jango: 2006 MCS PW/PW/PW transferred to another MINIac

Last edited by agranger; 08-22-2017 at 02:08 PM.
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Unread 08-21-2017, 12:26 PM #4
agranger agranger is offline
MINI of the Month June 2009

 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
agranger agranger is offline
MINI of the Month June 2009


 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Emergency Kit:

Those of you who know me, know that I'm a bit crazy about preparedness. I always have a first-aid kit, tools, Slime, tire plugs, etc in the boot of my car. In the MINI, I frequently keep small spares like a belt, and a few other bits and pieces that I collect along the way, just in case.

Because this is my first time having a 3rd car in the family, I had to get a new bag to hold all of my crap and Aaron over at www.Outmotoring.com had a nicely sized one. Since I was ordering a bunch of other stuff (to be documented as it arrives and is installed), I picked it up, along with a tow strap, a new first-aid kit, some granola bars and bottled water. Some emergency cash, the tool kit from my unplanned belt adventure in Louisiana and some other miscelaneous stuff is now riding in style:

Click the image to open in full size.
__________________
Rufus: 2005 MCS JCW CR/CR/CR
Jango: 2006 MCS PW/PW/PW transferred to another MINIac

Last edited by agranger; 08-21-2017 at 12:32 PM.
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Unread 08-21-2017, 05:28 PM #5
Canusrufis Canusrufis is offline
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Welcome back! Look forward to reading your post once again. And, FWIW, what other car but a R53 is worth trouble shooting in a rogue parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Part of its mystique.
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Unread 08-22-2017, 11:12 AM #6
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
welcome back to the R53 family!
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Never do anything that you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics. ......

If it uses lipstick or a dipstick, it's gonna give you trouble

2004 EB/W R53 with stuff
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Unread 08-22-2017, 02:00 PM #7
agranger agranger is offline
MINI of the Month June 2009

 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
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MINI of the Month June 2009


 
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Bits and Pieces:

I got some satin black spray paint as there always seems to be something that needs a bit of touch-up. Right now the CD Changer bracket and a handful of interior screws are drying in the garage.

I'm hoping to get the rest of the seat upholstery clean and things put back together again tonight.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

I got drug down the rabbit hole of modding websites this morning... I've got a good plan on suspension together and I'm puzzling over wheels in another thread. I'm also pulling together the deep engine service bits. It's quite the list!

I think a box from Outmotoring is arriving today! A new antenna base and stubby antenna (the previous one was damaged in a garage door accident - previous owner), a brake light flasher (I'm all about safety), a light-in-sight (a fresnel lens to help tall folks like me see traffic lights), some new floor mats (the circle/gear design rubber ones that were with the car weren't bad, but I prefer carpet under my heel when I'm driving and fresh mats really clean up an interior). Oh yeah... a belt tensioner tool and a JCW key-ring because, well... just because!

EDIT: The upholstery came out great! It took me 4-5 hours, but the seats and carpet look almost new. I've gotta get the car put together soon and get 75-100 miles on it this weekend as the computer memory was cleared when I had the metric/english unit conversion done (and possibly again in the hour or so while replacing the battery) and my local shop couldn't pull enough data to do the state inspection so I can get Rufus registered in NC. The previous owner was nice enough to lend me his TX plates for a few weeks for the drive home. I need to get that done so I can get those back! Oh well. I've got an early inspection appointment at my local MINI dealer for the inspection... just to be safe. If I can get that done, I can hit the DMV early on Tuesday and be done with it.
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Rufus: 2005 MCS JCW CR/CR/CR
Jango: 2006 MCS PW/PW/PW transferred to another MINIac

Last edited by agranger; 08-23-2017 at 09:33 AM.
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Unread 08-22-2017, 02:32 PM #8
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Hay great story. Nothing like an R53!!
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Unread 08-22-2017, 03:13 PM #9
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JCW: because fast is fun!
 
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JCW: because fast is fun!

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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Very cool. I'm sorry we couldn't connect when you were in town for your JCW as I picked mine up Friday night from the Austin MINI dealer.
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Unread 08-22-2017, 07:12 PM #10
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Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW
Welcome back. Nothing better then a Chili Red R53.
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05 MINI JCW "The Mistress"
RMW Powered, Helix built w/ Meth
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RMW: http://www.revolutionmini.com
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