Forget Mileage, Let’s Talk Time

Discussion in 'MINI Focused Chat & Musings' started by BruceK, Jun 10, 2015.

  1. Guest - Welcome to the new Motoring Alliance Site! Steve, MCS02 and I were up until the early hours this morning working to get it done... as you can see it took us a bit longer than expected to get Phase 1 up and running. We are not 100% there.. its a journey. For site updates, "How Do I" and feedback please use the Announcements, How Do I, Feedback Forum (Links below). Like building a car.... its never done... and thanks for your patience

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  1. BruceK

    BruceK Active Member

    It’s not all about how many miles your car has, sometimes it’s about a long term, committed relationship with your car. Today marks 13 years that I’ve owned my 2002 Cooper S (although she was built 6 weeks earlier, the last week of April, 2002).

    I picked up my brand new MINI on a sunny Monday morning in Westchester NY, some 2,200 miles from my home then in San Antonio. Why the long distance purchase? When the MINI was launched in 2002 there weren’t any MINI dealers anywhere in the entire state of Texas, and there wouldn’t be any until a year or two later. At the time of the MINI’s launch, there were just 2 dealerships in the country selling the cars at MSRP. Both were owned by BMW corporate, and one was in Manhattan and the other in Westchester NY.
    Much like Henry Ford saying “you can have any color Model T you want as long as it is black”, something similar was going on with the Cooper S at launch. You couldn’t pick and choose the options or color -- if you wanted one of the first MINI Cooper S models, you had to take one of the three special build models that were available. I found a Dark Silver one with a white roof that loaded with virtually everything offered at that time, and I made long-distance arrangements to buy it.

    My wife and I flew to NYC, and took the train to Westchester. The day I picked up my car was the first time I’d seen a Cooper S in person, and I loved it. Yes, I bought it sight unseen, never having driven one. I followed the break-in recommendations to the letter for the first 1,200 miles on the way home. But at 1,201 miles, I put my foot into it and heard the supercharger whine for the first time. Intoxicating then, and still a thrill now.

    Once back home in Texas, it was a bit of a nail-biter living with a brand new car but with the nearest MINI dealer being 8 hours away in New Orleans. I was very relieved when local MINI dealer finally opened in San Antonio 18 months later. Since the MINI was a brand new design from a brand new company, there were plenty of issues with the reliability and quality of the car that the dealer had to address. Eventually, they all got everything taken care of and the car has been great over the years.

    My 13 year old MINI has been to 23 states, to places as iconic as Washington DC and the Grand Canyon. I’ve taught two daughters how to drive a manual transmission with that car (something every driver should know how to do – even if you own an automatic).

    How long will I keep this old MINI? I’m not sure. The car has 104K miles now, but I’m not putting that many miles on it anymore --- I commute by train or I work from home, so the annual mileage each year is under 5K. At this rate, I could keep it another 10 years and barely crack 150K miles. It’s cheap to keep, and easy to maintain. And to be honest, I still really like the car. A lot. I like the way it looks, I like the way it drives, and I find it’s still a little bit of a thrill getting into it and taking off. And I love putting my foot down and hearing the supercharger whine. When I climb in, it feels comfortable and familiar, yet still very satisfying. I don’t feel any urge to get a new car.

    Some random thoughts on 13 years of ownership:
    • The only time I ever had a flat tire (twice) was when I had runflat tires. When the original runflats wore out I was happy to replace them with conventional tires. Knock on wood, never had a flat in the 10 years since then.
    • MiniDave helped me tremendously two and half years ago with doing some maintenance/changes on the old girl. We did changed out the clutch and awful dual-mass flywheel for the a conventional one (the biggest improvement you can make on a Cooper S says me), put a new P/S pump in, added a 15% supercharger pulley (and changed out supercharger oil), put new bushings in the suspension, and did other stuff I’m sure I’m forgetting now. The idea was to do the things needed to keep my MINI going well into the future.
    • The suspension is mighty stiff on the ’02 Cooper S models (they softened them up on later model years), but I like it that way. And even now it seems just as tight.
    • The ’02 Cooper S models only came with a 6 speed. Because left feet need to be part of driving too.
    • I like that the first year car has some unique features, some you may not like, but I do. No brake pad sensors -- if you want to know about your brake pads, take the wheel off and have a good look! There’s no speed readout in the tach – if you want to see how fast you are going, look at the speedometer. What a concept! No big ugly drink holder -- your drinks either fit under the toggle switches or you don’t bring them. When did we all become so damn thirsty anyway?
    So, my car is now a teenager. Join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday.

    Here she is with my dog, Cooper.
     

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  2. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
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    Awesome, thanks for sharing.

    I posted about your experience on the M/A FaceTweetAgramTrist page.
     
  3. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Dec 22, 2009
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    The car was a joy to work on, since it's lived its whole life in a nice dry climate, none of the fasteners were rusted and corroded. Everything came apart easily and went back the same way.

    Bruce drove up from Texas to KC so we could work on it over Xmas break and after a week on the rack we drove it straight out of the shop, spent a few minutes at the alignment shop and he drove it straight back home to Texas, with no issues.

    Happy Birthday, Cooper!
     
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  4. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Great story... Thanks for sharing...:D
     
  5. Savvy

    Savvy Well-Known Member
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    Great story!
     
  6. IowaM1N1

    IowaM1N1 New Member

    Congrats! Thank you for sharing your story!

    My wife and I celebrated 13 years with her '02 R50 two months ago (adoption date: April 13, 2002, build date: Feb 26, 2002).

    Like you, we have no inclination to get rid of it and it has been amazingly reliable (with a few minor exceptions). Also like you, the mileage accumulation rate in the last 5 years has really slowed -- we also have low 100s (just turn 110k actually).

    I always wonder how many of us original '02 owners still have our '02s. Certainly cannot be a very large number.

    Attached is a recent photo after the Spring detailing. Still looks great!
     

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  7. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Welcome to M/A Greg!
     
  8. WolfGTI

    WolfGTI New Member

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    From one 2002 original owner to another - Happy Birthday!
     
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  9. BruceK

    BruceK Active Member

    Thanks guys. I have also been wondering how many older MINIs are still with their original owners. With the first couple of years of production and the teething problems associated with bringing a brand new car on the market, it was sort of trial by fire getting everything working as it should have. I think that if you made it through that, you either wanted run away from MINIs altogether (or buy a newer one), or you developed a strong bond with that car.

    Dave, the dog's name is Cooper.

    But my MINI, (should I admit this here?), doesn't have a name. Neither does my classic Mini. In fact, of the 7 classic Minis I've owned, only the first one, which was my first car, had a name. It was named "The Box" reflecting its basic shape.


    .
     
  10. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Welp.... With all your trials and tribulations.... You could have named your MINI "Dog".... But instead, I'm glad you named your dog "Cooper"... That was a much better choice...:D
     
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  11. watkino

    watkino New Member

    Sep 2, 2013
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    Great Story, thank you for sharing.

    I was on the waiting list for a year before I got my 2002 MCS just like yours (MRSP, but I paid 500 bucks for a key chain!)

    Mine has 168K, original clutch that I taught both son & daughter on. Like you wanted them to know how to drive stick (and helped keep them off the cell phones) We have been all around the New England area with it.
    With help from this forum and others I have done most of the work on it myself and hope to tackle the clutch job before winter. (unheated garage in Saratoga Springs, NY)
    Keeler MINI has been great to me, could be the 2009 Clubman S & 2011 Countryman S All4 I bought from them too !
    But seriously, Brian the parts manager and his staff have really helped me out getting the right parts with a decent discount and repair help.

    My wife wants the 02 MCS "running or out" so it can't stay on the jack stands long.

    Highlights

    - P/S pump sent out to be cleaned and put back in (fun when done in winter, and her car was outside!)
    ( MINI Corporate refunded me the 200 I spent)
    - new alternator
    - new starter ( help from here when I messed up the wiring)
    - new hubs / rotors
    - 1 muffler (drivers side) "upgrade" to put off new exhaust expense
    - new water pump / replace SC oil (long time on jacks for that)
    - normal maintenance

    I need a lift for the garage, keep telling the boss about all the money I have saved on labor. No dice yet. Patience and PB Blaster working so far.

    It is a daily driver (@ 80 miles round trip to work) and I do really still love the car.

    Thanks again for your post, made my day and I just had both my wife and daughter read it too.
     
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  12. Ernesto

    Ernesto Club Coordinator

    May 16, 2009
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    My Cooper will be 13 in August (built June 10th)..

    Mine does see snow and salt, but is a weekend car the past few years since my work commute is now walking and train. About 86K miles..

    Hope to catch a few people form here at MINIs on the Mack this August!!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. BruceK

    BruceK Active Member

    I should have know better than to brag about my '02 not having brake pad sensors.

    Guess who can tell his car needs new front brake pads (and rotors!) just by the glorious sound of the pad backing plate scraping against the rotors?

    It's like the automotive equivalent of chalk on a blackboard (you see kids, before the days of whiteboards and smelly markers, cavemen like me used to use chalk and scrape it on flat slate rocks hung on the wall of schoolrooms...)


    .
     
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  14. bmwr606

    bmwr606 New Member

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    my sonoma 4x4 pickup will be 300,000 miles and 19 years old 12/2015

    my cms all4 will be 4 years old 3/2016
     
  15. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    My Mini is 35 years old now, and it's anybody's guess how many miles are really on it - but the speedo says 5500 (as in 105,500) :D
     
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  16. cristo

    cristo Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    #16 cristo, Oct 18, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
    Feb/March 2003 build (sticker says March, VIN indicates last week of Feb)
    which makes him over 12 1/2 years old.
     
  17. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    Really? You live in a time warp or something?

    Math not your strong suit?

    Typo?

    :biggrin5::biggrin5::biggrin5::biggrin5:
     
  18. cristo

    cristo Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    Sorry, ... 2003. Time flies when you're flying in a MINI.
     
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  19. BruceK

    BruceK Active Member

    Actually, when I removed the front calipers it turned out I had some pad material left, but not much. So it must have been my imagination that the pads were down to the backing plates and hitting the rotors. As it turned out, the rotors were past their prime so I replaced them too. So my general timing was good. I got about 65K miles out of the EBC Greenstuff pads, which is probably more a reflection on my driving than on the expected pad life.
     
  20. caseydog

    caseydog Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2012
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    My MINI CooperS is only eight years old. I am looking forward to the ten year mark in 2017. My office is on the second floor of my house, so my MINI doesn't get a daily beat-down in stop and go Dallas traffic. It rests comfortably in my garage until I need to go somewhere. It also gets pampered with regular maintenance and service by Sewell MINI, arguably the best MINI dealership in the country.

    I would love to celebrate thirteen years with my MINI.

    CD

    BTW, my next-door neighbor's dog is named "Cooper." I don't know why, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with my car.
     

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