1st Gen JCW Refreshing Rufus - 2005 MCS JCW

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by agranger, Aug 21, 2017.

  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

    Site Announcements "How Do I" Feedback
  1. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #1 agranger, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    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/forums/featured-mini/872-agrangers-jango-cooper-flags-mini-month-june-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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #2 agranger, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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!

    [​IMG]
     
  3. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #3 agranger, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
    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:

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  4. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #4 agranger, Aug 21, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2017
    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:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
    Lifetime Supporter

    Nov 27, 2013
    182
    67
    28
    Winston Salem NC
    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.
     
  6. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
    Premium Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    8,504
    2,288
    113
    Bend, OR USA
    welcome back to the R53 family!
     
  7. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #7 agranger, Aug 22, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    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. :D

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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! :D

    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.
     
  8. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator Premium Supporter

    Jul 31, 2009
    7,347
    4,001
    113
    Hay great story. Nothing like an R53!!
     
  9. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
    Premium Supporter

    Dec 17, 2009
    1,559
    286
    0
    Glorified spreadsheet jockey.
    Austin, TX
    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.
     
  10. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    21,278
    11,286
    113
    Burbs of Philly, PA
    Welcome back. Nothing better then a Chili Red R53. :thumbsup:
     
  11. fishmonger

    fishmonger Active Member

    May 13, 2015
    611
    227
    43
    Madison, WI
    Got to do the same thing on our red R53 - ugly stains on the red fabric (same as yours), but in our case the foam below the fabric is disintegrating (Florida car...)

    My guess is to salvage the seats, I have to take the covers completely off and try to re-do the top layer of foam. Not sure I can pull that off without searching youtube for days and days to educate myself, or just pay a local shop. If I do pay that shop, I'll just have them replace that red fabric with red Alcantara...
     
  12. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #12 agranger, Aug 23, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
    $900 will get you a full leather setup... up to $2k if you go exotic leathers and cool stitching. That was my fall-back position, but I'm really happy that I've got the $2k to spend elsewhere. I knew a dealership that would order cloth interiors for new R50/53s back in the day and then apply these kits because the leather was so much nicer and they could do some cool things (I might have gone for a diamond-stitch effect for the inserts).

    https://www.leatherseats.com/home/

    [​IMG]
     
  13. fishmonger

    fishmonger Active Member

    May 13, 2015
    611
    227
    43
    Madison, WI
    actually, I hate leather seats. Short of the stuff they put into BMW M3's I've never touched a leather seat I actually liked. I would not pay extra for it. My "Vinylette" leatherette gray Mini will get proper racing seats, harnesses and a roll cage in the near future, so I will need to stomach the plastic on my butt a little longer.

    Apart from being a bit dirty, our red Mini has fantastic seat fabric (better have that at 30k miles on the clock), it's just that a decade in Florida has turned all the foam parts in that car to crumbs. Headliner was the first thing that had to be replaced. Even the foam at the bottom below the tailgate inside the car that acts as an exhaust air filter or whatever is completely gone in that car. Turned to dust. And the seat cushion top layer seems to have taken a hit, too. So what I may end up doing is take off the fabric/leather covers and try my luck at replacing the foam or add a fresh 1/2 inch top layer of high density foam. Clean the covers while they are off, then put it back together. Should I fail, then this car will be the first to get some Sparco or OMP seats :D
     
  14. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #15 agranger, Aug 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    I'm still pondering that, but I was leaning towards the Megan Euro Street coil-overs. They seem to be well reviewed and well built and have more than enough options for me. They can be found for $900 and come with adjustable camber plates... I could barely get a new set of shocks/springs/fixed camber plates for that.

    It's a 12 year old car with 80k+ miles on it, so I'm going to need to do a pretty substantial refresh under there to get to a dependable car plus upgrades with a mind towards performance (but not up to a race car). Front end-links (adjustable), Rear lower control arms (adjustable), ball joints (replacement), tie rods, new engine mount and lots of bushing replacements and powerflex bits (including the LCA bushings, if they haven't been swapped over by someone before me).

    Those Greene coil-overs a beautiful! Worth thinking about, but pricier and probably more serious than I need. Sometimes spending a bit more for quality is a good thing.

    I'm trying to lay out my steps to restoration. So far, this is my general order of things (though there is some cross-over, based on my availability and whim... sometimes you just feel like doing a particular job right now):

    1: Purchase / Retrieval / Inspection / Registration
    2: Interior refresh: heavy cleaning/detailing, replace missing bits, new mats, style changes (something fun for the dash coming), new gauge faces, new parking brake handle. Repeal/replace the existing tint (seriously wavy, faded, worn)
    3: Exterior: Repaint of several bits. Style changes, most bordering on the black-out / dechroming of the car. Lots of touch-up painting and polishing. Tail-light and headlight polishing / defogging & probably Joey modded.
    4: Tires / wheels: Discussion going on here: https://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/mini-stuff/29882-choosing-wheels-so-many-choices.html
    5: Suspension: a substantial refresh of parts and bushings, coil-overs and bits necessary for proper alignment (light drop, not slammed. Rear sway upgrade. Probably the TSW X-brace underneath and a strut tower brace for mushrooming (and overall coolness).
    6: Engine: It's a JCW so I probably won't upgrade it much, but it does need a thorough update of rubber/plastics/seals/fluids/filters. I'll probably do my supercharger oil change service in the how-to section, along with a fresh crank pulley (83k on the stock unit is pushing it, IMHO) and probably tensioner assembly, idler pulley. New thermostat and housing.
    7: Brakes: A BBK front and rear, if funds allow after everything else. The brakes are fairly fresh (pads/rotors within the past year) but are uninspiring, especially after I got used to the Wilwood setup in my first R53.
    8: Transmission: The clutch feels OK to me, but 99% of my miles have been on the highway so far. Transmission fluid change. Probably shift bushing replacement and a short-shift kit.

    I'll get my first real assessment drive this weekend once the seats are re-installed... I've gotta put 100 miles or so on it to get some data in the computer for the inspection on Monday morning. I had the distraction of just trying to get the car home and all of the parts that I brought along with it, stacked inside (a lightly used set of aero skirts came home with me too).
     
  15. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    21,278
    11,286
    113
    Burbs of Philly, PA
    Colin (Greene Performance) will build you whatever you want. He only uses the BC bodies for his coil overs everything else is custom and you get Swift springs. :thumbsup:

    Meagan's are junk and fail a lot. In the end it's better to buy a good set of coil overs once then buy two sets in the end. Ask me how I know. :eek:
     
  16. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    Good to know! I've also thought about just getting a good shock/spring combo (Koni Yellows used to be the standard way back). I had the KW v2 coil-overs on Jango and was impressed. They are a bit cheaper than the Greens on first glance, but need camber plates added, bringing the prices very close.
     
  17. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    21,278
    11,286
    113
    Burbs of Philly, PA
    Yup, I have custom KW V2's and Colin got me a great deal on Swift springs for them. I was going to ditch the KW's but Colin insisted that I just swap the springs first before he would sell me his coil overs. That fixed my issue as the KW V2 springs were beat and very soft.

    I already had and still have Helix adjustable camber plates so I did not need them when I got rid on my crappy Koni coil overs. The coils kept binding because of a poor spring design by Koni. I have no idea why Koni did not use regular straight coil over spring on their rear shocks. They used a bee hive shaped spring that always coil bound.
     
  18. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
    Premium Supporter

    Apr 22, 2009
    1,536
    399
    83
    Project Manager
    Charlotte, NC
    #20 agranger, Aug 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017
    Holy crap! I remember paying $150-200 at a stealership parts desk some while back. It wound up paying off as I was in for some other electrical troubleshooting a month or two after I put it in and the tech called me: "I'm sorry Mr. Granger... I've got some bad news. Your waterpump is leaking." I replied "Nope... that's EXCELLENT NEWS! That pump is only a month or two old... here's the purchase # from where I bought it from you. Looks like you guys get to fix it for me for free!" I heard him clicking away on a computer for a minute and then said "Yep. You are right. We will get that fixed for you under warranty. No problems. Thanks!"

    I appreciate the link... no point in stripping the engine down to have the supercharger in your hands and not replacing the water pump. Hell... at $50, that tensioner assembly becomes a wear item to be replaced every 3-4 years!
     

Share This Page