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Meet Poppy, Dave's 1st gen MINI Cooper S Convertible


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Just some more recent pics of Poppy, although she's pretty much going to be locked up in the garage until the salt is gone from the roads. Will come out for the occasional wee blast on sunny winter days as I don't have to panic that she'll dissolve into a pile of rust at the first sight of salt like Mindy my old mx5 lol

driver side front low2.jpgPoppy pass side high.jpgPoppy rear2.jpg


 And a wee photoshop of how she'll look after her first wee round of mods are done

silver wheels and grill.JPG

Plans are:

  • Get a photo of the new Pioneer head unit I fitted!
  • Refurb the wheels back to silver
  • Fit the brand new red MINI centre caps I bought
  • Fit a chrome grill (not a fan of the red colour coded grill they come with)
  • Fit genuine MINI stainless spotlights with covers
  • New full exhaust (probs stainless Powerflow, same as DD's)

Before all that though, Stripping out the airbox, ecu etc to get to the gearbox linkage. Bought a new pin to replace the one thats there and causing the stiff gearchanges. Also while all that is out, going to fit a new thermostat and housing. Her engine is not staying at operating temp, dropping down to the first quarter on the temp guage so thermostat is gubbed. Have already bled the coolant system which helped slightly, but might as well get that done over winter while she's tucked up. Also replacing the coolant expansion tank as its going that yucky brown/yellow colour, and they are well know for failing. So want that done so she's match fit coolant wise. Need to replace the o2 sensor too (only £15 so no biggy!). Other work planed is to bleed the slave cylinder for the clutch as its a bit heavy, so want to see if bleeding it solves it. If not, easy enough to replace the slave cylinder on these so that will probably also get done anyways. Then full service and general check over ready for spring time. MOT is due in end of March so want her bob on by then. Got some big runs planned and weekends away in her next year so really looking forward to it. Really enjoy driving this wee car, love it sooo much! Did love wee Mindy, and glad we had one, but have to say this wee Poppy is a worthy replacement in every single way. 


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Although I quite like the black wheels, think you're going down the right route with the silver and for the grill as well... Mockup looks top! 

Plenty to keep you busy over winter there mate :-D

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Thanks mate, yes, deffo prefer the chrome and its a well known fact that Dave loves chrome on his cars lol.  Just think the black on the wheels hides the style of them  whereas the silver really makes the shape and style of the spokes stand out.

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  • 4 months later...

Meant to update this but never seem to have the time lately! Ok, so I did remove all the gubbins to get to the gearbox. pin fitted, all the mechanism greased up as it was pretty dry. Also noticed the wee rubber gaters on the ends of the gear selector cables had came away a bot and cables looked dry/rusty. Sprayed tons of WD40 inside them, then waited a few days and sprayed silicon grease in them. Wee test drive and she did feel a lot easier to change gear. I then decided to bleed the clutch slave cylinder too, which seems to have helped slightly. At least Gayle is now able to drive her.


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Also, bought the new thermostat, coolant resevoir and hood treatment stuff to re-proof the hood.

renovo - new exspansion tank - new thermostat.jpg


Getting to the thermostat is a pain as there's so much you need to remove to get to it. Same stuff you need to remove to get to the gearbox, so least I know how that bit all comes apart. On top of all that there's brackets/wiring/hoses and sensors to get out first. Done it though, and only got one pic of the bit the thermostat is at! lol

fitting thermostat 1.jpg

The black bit in behind that bracket is the thermostat housing. Got the new one fitted, coolant replaced and then the bleeding of the system done.


Test drove and the temp guage now sits at half way, where it should, so well pleased



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Next up, as the MOT was due, I wanted to get the exhaust changed. Had got a price from a garage for getting a new standard steel one fitted but it was going to be over £500! The garage themselves even said they couldn't believe the price of it! They did suggest I could get a stainless stell one for less than that and they would fit it for me but I initially wanted a standard one.

So, found a place on ebay selling brand new oem spec exhaust for £315. Advert had 3 to 5 day delivery so went for it. 11 days later it arrived, and it was squashed falt at one end!!! Totally fubar! 

20220309_damaged exhaust pic1.jpg


Was totally raging so emailed them to complain. Took them 2 days to respond, then started the pantomime of wanting pis of damage etc then emails back and forward before they finally said they'd get a replacement sent. Asked if this would be next day delivery as I'd waited so long already for it but they said no, they can't get that type of delivery cheap enough because of the size/weight (which I found out was bullsh**).

5 days later it arrived, and took it out to garage. Then realized........wrong bloody exhaust!! Went apeshit as by now the MOT had run out so buggered up my plans. They then started a right royal run around, taking ages to reply, then wanting pics of this exhaust and swearing blind this was the right exhaust fir the car. They then got sarcastic and replied "We're sorry you don't know how to fit an exhaust to your car"! Cheeky bastids! Quickly told them I was indeed very much capable of fitting an exhaust to my car and had done so over more years than they have probably been alive. I then said what I can't do is fit an incorrect exhaust to a car it is not made to fit! Then they wanted it returned and wouldn't refund until they had the whole lot back again. I argued the case this wasn't acceptable due to it now being over 3 weeks since I first ordered the bloody thing, and as they were gonna use the same slow courier once again I wanted the refund done so I could go get another exhaust. Eventually raised it with ebay who looked through the correspondence between us and issued my refund there and then. The exhaust only got picked up 2 and a half weeks after that!


Anyhoo, went and bought a stainless steel Malian sport exhaust. Ordered it Monday, came Tuesday (who knew, aparantly you CAN get next day delivery on exhausts!)


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New exhaust is here!

new Malian exhaust arrived!.jpg

To get the old rotten exhaust off, you need to remove the extra bracing the convertible has underneath. Unfortunately the torx bolts that hold it on were seized solid. Paul and me spent hours trying to get them out, but 5 of them moved roughly 3mm then seized (wouldn't even go back in let alone come off!) and one would not move at all. Tried heat etc, nope, wouldn't move. In the end I had to spend over £120 on an impact wrench gun. This too took a bit of time to get them to move, but it did after about 30 seconds on each of them get them all out, including the stuck solid one!

Old exhaust then came off ok, only the rear rubbers were a pig to get off. New exhaust went one easy peasy, but did notice that there didnt seem to be enough clearance between the exhaust and the damn brace bars. I bought a length of 6mm steel flat bar and made up my own spacers to go between the main brace and the chassis, which gives perfect clearance now.

We pic of my fabricating skills lol

bracing spacers.jpg


2New exhaust fitted.jpg

All fitted and tested for leaks....None present! Decent bit of kit to be fair and was actually cheaper than the duff oem spec standard one I bought. Sounds quite nice too, jury's still out on whether I think it's too loud as not driven her yet (see below for why!) but just listening to it in the garage Gayle is a hug fan of the sound! Will get a video once she's running again (again, see below for more!)




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While testing for exhaust leaks (all clear on that front!) Gayle noticed steam coming from the engine bay. Here's where things take a turn for the worst.cry.gif1 I initially though it was the work I'd done on the thermostat and new coolant tank, thinking there had maybe been spilt coolant that was maybe burning off. 

After looking underneath the front and tapping the under tray, loads of coolant started falling onto the garage floor.


Had to then completely strip the whole front end off the car to get to the radiators to check them. Got the old one removed which was gubbed on the bottom and alo leaking at the top right corner. Got the new one ordered and arrived next day from PartsInMotion.co.uk (highly recommend!). Got the fan etc removed from the old one and fitted to the new one but can't get it fitted yet as more problems found. :( Upon further checks, found that the prev owner looks to have hit a high kerb on the left side front when in one of the supermarket carparks. Did notice a slight ripple on the very bottom of the bumper in that area when we bought her but didn't think too much about it tbh. It has busted the main radiator (which I've already bought), but also the air con radiator is bust too. The impact, although small, has been enough to move the radiator momentarily upwards and inwards, meaning the fan has just nicked the two top hoses too. they haven't punctured, but both have a wee chunk out of them. Totally gutted, but hey ho, it's been a fun wee car to work on so far. 

Unfortunately I'm skint until pay day so she's still in a thousand bits on the axle stands. Gonna replace the two hoses (one goes onto the thermostat so means I now have to strip all the gubbins out in the engine bay again to get to it!!) just to be super safe. Once I get the parts it should only take me a day to take the rest apart and fit all the new bits and put her back together. Here's a few pics of how she currently stands! Oh, and can also see the new coolant expansion tank, looks so much better than the manky old one which was ready to fail.

old radiator out.jpgold radiator out2.jpgold radiator out3.jpg

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Bloody hell! What a mare. Hopefully once that's sorted there'll be nothing else hiding. 


Everything I hear about minis and parts seems like they're a minefield. 


New exhaust looks decent though mate - always nice to get a little upgrade disguised as a repair :-D

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