1st Gen R53 Cooper S A Tale of Two Tuneups

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by Nathan, Mar 17, 2010.

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  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
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    It's been awhile. The plugs and wires have about 7k miles on them, the coil about twice that. Mind you, the car was not running bad, well save for the few little glitches that pop up when running exceedingly rich. Call it way over the top maintenance but with all the around town driving the MINI see's since the Jeep was sold I figured it was time. Ordered plugs, wires and a coil from one of the esteemed sponsors of this site. Quickly the UPS man brought the goods to my door.

    A humorous aside. The box full of goods from Sponsor X carried the tape label of yet another M/A Sponsor. I thought it was funny and a good reuse of packing materials.

    Put all the new stuff on yesterday replacing the OEM I/C I was running with the GP I/C that was sitting on the kitchen table. The old plugs looked decent, no real problems there. Well, one little issue. The spark plug tube seal on Cyl 3 is probably shot. There was a little oil on the plug shoulder. The threads and electrode are dry. I've ordered new seals, might as well do them all if I am in there, and a valve cover gasket to be installed on the MetroplexMINI DIY Day (Thank you MINI of Dallas), conveniently planned just before MOTD. I should thank whomever set that date... Also ordered new rubber grommets for the coil bolts. They are all dead, beyond dead, falling apart bit of dried out rubber is more like it.

    All went well, new plugs were treated a schmear of anti-seize and torqued to a snug 22ft/lbs. A dab of dieletric grease on the coil and plug ends of the wires. Lastly the air filter got a bath and new coat of oil.

    That was Tune Up 1. Tune Up 2 was decidedly more fun.

    There is really no place where a MINI can stretch it's legs around here in the center of all things flat and filled with sprawl. Some of the best "corners" are off ramps. I happened to be headed out to one of the many MM.org Happy Hours. There is a a route I can take that includes a decently twisty part of highway, for this area. Couple that with light traffic, an itchy throttle foot and an One Series looking to feel its oats as well lead to an impromptu Italian Tune Up.

    Damn my MINI is quick...
     
  2. RonsMinnie

    RonsMinnie New Member
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    Driving my MINI after a good DIY job is always a very rewarding experience --- It's just a great feeling to know you have completed the job well and I gotta admit I probably enjoy working on the MINI about as much as I do driving it.

    And that Italian tune-up is so fun.
     
  3. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    Is an Italian tune-up every weekend bad for my car..........
     
  4. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

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    :lol:

    For those who don't get the joke:

    [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_tuneup]Italian tuneup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

    An Italian tuneup usually refers to a process whereby the operator of a motor vehicle runs the engine at full load for extended periods in order to burn carbon buildup from the combustion chambers and exhaust system. It is performed after a traditional tuneup and often accompanied by an addition of fuel system cleaner to the fuel tank. It is particularly useful for vehicles that are only operated at low speeds on short journeys, and for diesel vehicles prior to emissions testing.

    History

    The origin of the Italian tuneup comes from Ferrari. Owners would use these performance cars as daily drivers and never run them hard which causes the engine to build up enough carbon inside to affect performance. Mechanics would perform a "tuneup" by driving several laps around a race track to get the engine hot enough to burn out the built up carbon. Cars before the advent of modern engine lubricants and fuels, often had a 'de-coke' by hand, after removing the cylinder head, as a scheduled service operation.
     
  5. versus

    versus Active Member

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    It's always fun getting the hands dirty, then stretching the legs. Thanks for the history lesson Nitrominis :Thumbsup:
     
  6. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    I used to work on Ferraris and Porsches and such back in the late 60's - early 70's and I can attest that these cars did get carboned up badly when puttered around town by the average Johnson County doctor......

    The best (and most fun!) cure was to change the plugs and head out to the (then) new stretch of bypass around the south side of the city and nail it - repeatedly - till it ran sweetly again. I have a picture from that era of my hands on the wheel of a Ferrari Daytona coupe, the tach is at 7500 and the speedo says 175 - that'll get her cleaned out in a hurry!

    Said doctor used to always marvel at how much better his car ran after we "tuned" it up.....but a month or two later he'd be back for another. I think that's where many high performance European cars got a bad rap in that time, it wasn't that they were hard to keep running right, you just had to drive them the way they were intended.

    Same with early S model 911's with fuel injection. They were set up a bit rich so they wouldn't hole a piston when driven *ahem* agressively and used to foul those very rare and expensive platinum tipped plugs in only a few thousand miles. The cure? See above.....lather, rinse and repeat.

    I had an Air Force captain who had brought his back with him after being stationed in Germany, after my first tune up on his car, I got all the European car business from that base from then on......you did have to have the valves set really accurately on the 911's to get the most out of them, I used a dial indicator instead of a feeler gauge - worked a treat.

    British cars were the worst about getting coked up, I think it was a combination of long stroke low RPM engines that were driven slowly and a lot of oil use, but you did have to pull the heads around 50K and decarbon them.....
     
  7. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

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    MiniDave ...... I see you are a fellow shadetree Mechanic...:cornut:
     
  8. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    I don't do much outside anymore, I prefer to work in my garage! :D

    But yes, I started by taking vacuum cleaners and lawn mower engines apart when I was but a lad, and it's been downhill ever since....

    See my Cardomain site for my latest (but not last) bit of lunacy....http://www.cardomain.com/ride/505677

    And unfortunately, it's a disease my son seems to have acquired too....http://carnuts.us/forum/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=258
     
  9. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

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    What no "blown" small block v-8s in MGA's or 225cuin in "B's"? I am just a bit radical! :lol: Those are nice projects of you and your sons! :Thumbsup:
     
  10. goaljnky

    goaljnky New Member

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    What are these low speeds you speak of? :idea:
     
  11. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

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    The walk at low speed to your MINI before driving it...in your case..:lol:
     
  12. Tom2112

    Tom2112 New Member

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    Those are the speeds that people without Mini's drive around corners. :lol:
     
  13. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Well, when I was 16 my best friend and I (mis)spent our summer putting a junkyard 283 bored out to 301 with twin WCFB Carters in a '59 English Ford Anglia, we used a Mustang differential and a powerglide with a very short driveshaft in between....it went like a scalded cat, but trying to turn or brake was....well, interesting....
     

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