Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS - North American Motoring

Go Back  North American Motoring > MINIs in General > Mini/MINI BUILDS
Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS >

Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS

Mini/MINI BUILDS Showcase your Build Talents.

Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS

  #1  
Old 02-26-2019, 04:38 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS


So after the dreaded timing chain issues with my wife's 2008 VW GTI our relationship with the car was soured. She drove my 2003 E46 Touring for 3+ months and was ready for her own car again. Her requirements were a manual transmission, fun to drive, and reasonably inexpensive as we can't really afford a car payment right now. Enter Grumpy. Grumpy is a 2003 MINI Cooper S that had been floating around the "buy here, pay here" car lot I work at. He had been to the dealer for his recalls, but hadn't been the most well cared for little guy for the past few years. Work was trying to purge some of the older Euro stuff due to the cost of maintaining them, perfect! She has always liked MINIs, and with a bad coolant leak, Grumpy couldn't even drive himself to the auction without some attention. So I got the OK to do an inspection to see what was needed and price out parts. A deal was struck, parts were ordered and the process began to bring Grumpy to his new home. He had endured bad plastidip customization, maintenance neglect (I'm sure he saw conventional oil and low grade fuel), and a general disregard for cleanliness. Time for some love! Here he is as we found him.

 
  #2  
Old 02-26-2019, 06:58 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
The first task was to address the major issues noted when I looked the car over. First and foremost was the coolant leak. I had been told it needed a waterpump, fortunately that was not the case. It was simply a blown out bypass hose. In the process of replacing the bypass hose I discovered why there was a serious lack of oomph, the bypass valve was toast. It appears the spring is broken, as the butterfly just flops around. Add that to the list for future consideration. Current concerns are making it drive safely and pass PA inspection. Fortunately the previous owner did not cook it by driving it without coolant, so I progressed with Grumpy's salvation. In went a new battery, all new brake pads and rotors were installed, 4 new snow tires went on the plastidipped and rough wheels, broken exhaust hangers were replaced and holes in the exhaust were welded shut.

Next began the cleaning. He got a quick bath and vacuum by the lot before we brought him home, but he has been slowly getting to the point where we feel more comfortable driving him and time (and weather) allow.

During the first round of saving Grumpy.

When we first brought him home.


This was a clean microfiber before I began cleaning the inside.
 
  #3  
Old 02-26-2019, 07:23 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
The missing a-pillar trim was all cracked and broken and actually flew off on the highway, so a new one of those was in order. It also threw a CEL for a p2270, bank 1 sensor 2 stuck lean. A quick drive with a scan tool revealed a very slow to respond downstream O2 sensor, so one of those was ordered up. At this point my wife had been driving Grumpy for about a week, and he hadn't yet recieved the moniker of "Grumpy," yet. The name was born when she informed me one day that her MINI was a "grumpy old man." She came to this conclusion because he is very hard to get into reverse. Honestly, all the odd gears seem awfully far forward, as well, so there is something going on there. Today I noticed the drivetrain seemed to be thumping around a bit with harder throttle transitions, so I'm think so worn mounts are throwing the shifter out of alignment. Anyways, that's how he got his name. We determined he has the soul of an old Mini, and he is grumpy about being stuck in this new tangled body. Lol!

That brings us to the present. The O2 sensor has been replaced, a new a-pillar trim has been installed, and the aftermarket HID setup in the fog lights has been replaced with properly functioning halogen bulbs. We'd also been having trouble with the right factory HID low beam. I swapped bulbs side to side, I swapped ballasts side to side, and the right one continues to be the problem. There is corrosion on the ballast connector, so that may contribute. And why did they seal the ignitors inside the housing?! So rather than hemmorage $$ on trying to fix the HIDs, and since the headlight washers don't matter to us and were already disabled, we ordered up a set of the Depo black trim/black housing projector lights for it. The fit is ok, the trims are a bit smaller than the factory lights, so there are some minor gaps around the edges, but it could be worse. I'd give them an 8/10 for fit and finish. They need aimed, and eventually a bulb upgrade for the low beams, but at least there is now reliable lighting on the front end of Grumpy for his inspection on Friday. CEL has been off for 3 trips of around 20 miles, I'll have to to scan it for pending codes and monitors tomorrow.

New trim

Headlights before

After Depo headlights

Here you can see some of the fitment issues
 
  #4  
Old 03-03-2019, 04:34 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Grumpy passed his PA safety and emissions inspections without issue. Now it's on to other matters to improve his driving manners. That includes replacing the failed bypass valve and sorting out the odd shifter position. I'm leaning towards an engine/trans mount issue as the drivetrain seemed to be thumping around a bit when I was driving Grumpy last week. Reverse is almost impossible to engage as the shifter seems really far forward. Even first gear kicks out on occasion. No grinding during engagement, only on clutch engagement if the trans isn't fully engaged. Just more time I need to find to look at things.
 
  #5  
Old 03-03-2019, 05:31 PM
WayMotorWorks
WayMotorWorks is online now
Vendor
iTrader: (10)
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 9,315
Thanked 317 Times in 286 Posts
Congrats it looks like you're well on your way.
 
__________________


HOTCHKIS | DDM | CRAVEN | AKRAPOVIC | NM ENGINEERING | MEGAN | FORGE | IE | OS GIKEN | POWERFLEX and more
  #6  
Old 03-03-2019, 06:10 PM
MrGrumpy's Avatar
MrGrumpy
MrGrumpy is offline
5th Gear
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Washington state
Posts: 935
Thanked 101 Times in 96 Posts
Congrats on rescuing poor Grumpy! I feel a kinship with him already, lol. Nice work so far, keep us updated.
 
  #7  
Old 03-07-2019, 03:12 AM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Last night I had a little time and dove into the shifter issue. In the end I found two problems, one easily fixed, one not so much. I'm really starting to like how these cars are put together. I was worried about pulling the air/PCM box, but it was a piece of cake and the shifter cables are right there. First problem was obvious, the rubber bushing where the one cable connects to the transmission is toast. Fortunately the way the cables run it pushes the cable end down over the linkage instead of popping it off. Looks like new cables are in order. While messing with that I noticed the cause of our shifter alignment issue. The other cable was not seated properly in the guide bracket. Simple enough I popped that one off the trans and out of the bracket and got it back in place where it should be. I tried to give the broken cable end a temp fix, but just didn't have enough time for the "fast drying" window weld to set up. I figured it was worth a shot. Lol! Shifting issues are sorted, now. No more issues engaging reverse. It would barely engage, and sometimes wouldn't, and would grind horribly when you let the clutch out. It made it sound like we didn't know how to drive a manual trans!

Two problems, with the forward one being the most obvious.

Don't mind the window urethane all over the broken, just note the other cable is now seated in the guide bracket properly.
 
  #8  
Old 03-13-2019, 03:20 AM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
A big thanks to Derek86 for hooking us up with good, lower mileage bypass valve! Now to grab some vacuum hose to do the VGS mod while I'm in there installing it. I also got a better aim on the new headlights. The left looks good, but the right needs a bit more fiddling. I also need to get some fresh fluid in the trans, it's a bit stiff to row through.
 
  #9  
Old 03-13-2019, 05:49 AM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,017
Thanked 102 Times in 97 Posts
Great you save this wonderful car! And I love its name...
As you are finding these are great little cars and with just a little TCL they will reward you and your wife with many miles of smiles. I have a friend with a Liquid Yellow JCW who has put close to 300k miles on it. That is really enjoying the car.

A couple other things to consider as you are saving this car - The transmission oil should be changed periodically, the upper engine mount has been known to fail and people have changed the supercharger oil.

Here is a link to a thread by a person who very much enjoys his Gen I MINI. He very much enjoys his car, does his own work and does a great job of documenting what he does. It may provide guidance as you proceed to save this car.
https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...n-project.html

Keep us posted as this project evolves and how you and wife get to enjoy it.

 
  #10  
Old 03-13-2019, 09:27 AM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Thanks for suggestions and link! Trans fluid is very near the top of the list, and I do plan on servicing the SC oil before too long as well. All the mounts check out good, and that upper mount looks to be recently replaced. I'm an auto tech, so I'm not too scared to dive into things head first. I just try to make sure I've got plenty of time as I usually need to drive the car home!

My wife is thrilled to have the gear lever working properly, and I'm sure she'll appreciate when I get the fresh oil into the trans, too. He's solid enough to save, but rough enough to be driven every day in all weather. He probably won't ever see a repaint, but we've talked about possibly doing a wrap.
 
  #11  
Old 03-13-2019, 01:16 PM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,017
Thanked 102 Times in 97 Posts
Sounds like Grumpy is in good hands and is getting back to its old glory.
A wrap sounds fun. We’ll want to see pictures of that if/when it is done.

A lot of people go with the Red Line transmission oil when they change it. Just a thought.

One last (maybe ) suggestion is that the MINI shocks are less than great. If you are considering on changing them, here is another thread to check out:
https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...fsd-vs-b4.html

And my wife loves driving her MINI, too.
 
  #12  
Old 03-13-2019, 03:05 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
It's got at least one KYB on the front, but the rest may still be original. They aren't wasted, so they aren't a priority at the moment. I'm definitely a Koni and Bilstein fan, I've had both and they always please. Currently running Koni yellows with H&R race springs on my E46 and it rides amazingly well for race springs. Very comparable to my wife's bone stock 2008 VW GTI. I had Bilsteins with another set of H&R springs on my 1997 VW Golf and they always struck me as firm yet comfortable, not bouncy, much like the Koni pairing on my BMW. I've been hearing a lot of good things from the E46 crowd about the FSDs so we may give those a try down the road. This car won't likely see autocross or track time, though, so as long as the current ones aren't broken...
 
  #13  
Old 03-14-2019, 04:57 PM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,017
Thanked 102 Times in 97 Posts
That poor MINI. One new shock?
Sad... One more reason it is great it is being saved.

Here is my take on the shocks - the FSDs are a bit soft (don’t know about their replacements). Had them on my first S. They ride really nice and handling is good for street conditions. But, they had less control than I feel is needed for track and autocross. I like them on our Base Cooper, but notice that they crash in pot holes. Another “but”, though, as I want to check that the bumper stops were installed. If I had an S I would probably go with the B6s based on my experience with the B8s and the description on their web page.. I love the B8s on my S, but it is setup for the track. But the B8s might be a bit much for the street. The B4 have gotten good comments in that thread I posted a link for, but I have no experience with them. Your comment about the Koni Yellows is typical of what I generally hear. Great shocks.
 
  #14  
Old 03-14-2019, 06:07 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Yeah, and a somewhat "great" price to match, but worth it for the tunability. I have a set on my 1982 VW Rabbit Convertible project and it's incredible the difference between full soft and full stiff just bouncing the car in the garage. I picked up the set for the BMW when TireRack had them on sale. I just don't think the MINI will see the type of use to warrant them, though. Soft is ok, it's a daily commuter, albeit a really sporty one! I have images in my head of my wife darting through Harrisburg traffic like Charlize Theron in The Italian Job!

Weather looks pretty decent this weekend so hopefully I can get the bypass valve replaced. Just need to pick up some vacuum hose to do the VGS mod at the same time.
 

Last edited by Yjsaabman; 03-15-2019 at 09:45 AM.
  #15  
Old 03-15-2019, 05:14 AM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,017
Thanked 102 Times in 97 Posts
Originally Posted by Yjsaabman View Post
Soft is ok, it's a daily commuter, albeit a really sporty one!
That is why we have them on our Base Cooper.

Originally Posted by Yjsaabman View Post
I have images in my head of my wife darting through Harrisburg traffic like Charleze Theron in The Italian Job!

That was quite a scene.
And that may just happen yet again!
 
  #16  
Old 03-15-2019, 06:49 AM
I like mini clubman's
I like mini clubman's is offline
4th Gear
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 301
Thanks: 0
Thanked 34 Times in 31 Posts
Love the rebuilding of your mini. Subscribed
 
  #17  
Old 03-15-2019, 08:36 AM
Eddie07S's Avatar
Eddie07S
Eddie07S is offline
6th Gear
iTrader: (1)
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 4,017
Thanked 102 Times in 97 Posts
Oh, one more maintainance item - the serpentine belt; consider replacing it, just because you don’t need it breaking.
 
  #18  
Old 03-16-2019, 01:51 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
The progress continues towards making Grumpy less grumpy! Today I replaced the knackered original bypass valve and did the VGS mod to give it post SC vacuum/boost reference. All in all pretty straight forward, took a little over and hour including the R&R of the intercooler to perform the VGS mod. In the end I only needed about two feet of 5/32" vacuum hose as I teed into the hose right at the FPR. I ran the hose under the intake manifold since I had the SC outlet and bypass assembly already out of the way. It was a little tricky with a pair of standard needle nose pliers, but really not too bad. And it would be silly not to take the intercooler off, IMO, as it only takes about 10 minutes and a T30 torx bit. Replacement valve came from a 2006 JCW with about 70k miles on it. Seals nicely, spring strength feels good, etc.

Parts for today's projects

Someone's previous efforts...slightly better than the Plastidip remnants around the cowl.

Intercooler out of the way

Vacuum hose removed from the FPR. You can reach in from the valve cover side with the needle nose pliers, as well.

SC outlet assembly removed and vacuum hose routed under i take manifold. I forgot a pic of the bypass out on the bench with the source nipple capped off.

Vacuum hose attched to the diaphragm on the replacement bypass valve. I actually cut another 2-2.5\" off the hose before final reassembly.
 
  #19  
Old 03-16-2019, 01:59 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
A test drive ensued and success! Low end throttle response is improved while it pulls harder at higher rpm. There is still a slight bog when you dump it at lower rpm, but it's much less pronounced. I may try clearing the adaptations with a scan tool and see how it goes. Again a huge thanks to Derek86 for the bypass valve!

So what was the problem with the original one? Let's open it up and see!


Oh! The spring is in three pieces...

...and one of those pieces poked a hole in the diaphragm.
 
  #20  
Old 03-17-2019, 01:42 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Grumpy gets new shoes!

So I found a set of BBS RS844 on Craigslist for cheap with the caveat that on wheel was damaged. Seller said it's not repairable, but all tires were good, etc. So @ $200 it was worth picking them up, even if we have to replace one wheel. Well, the tire that was on the damaged wheel was run low on air way too long and the tire is junk, but it was still a good enough deal so they came home. They are a little rough, mostly just clear coat peel on the lips, some minor imperfections on the faces. We have a plan to refinish them anyways, though they would look right at home on the car as-is. Lol! I think I'll still take the wheel to see if it can be repaired before biting the bullet and spending more than I've spent so far on a single reconditioned wheel. Just a sub-project in the greater project! Tires are one size up @ 215/45R17, but should fit ok since the suspension is all stock. They also aren't the best and are a bit old, but have been stored inside and still seem reasonably soft. I did find a replacement for the one that is junk.



Bent...

...and cracked.
 
  #21  
Old 03-17-2019, 02:05 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
And because no wheel post is worth while without at least a mock up...

The sun was not helping me, here...
 
  #22  
Old 03-17-2019, 02:56 PM
cooper48's Avatar
cooper48
cooper48 is offline
4th Gear
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: DFW
Posts: 325
Thanked 41 Times in 40 Posts
These are the same wheels that came on my MC40. I do have a spare wheel that is in decent shape. The center is really good but I've sanded down the rim to eliminate some curb rash. If you're having the wheels refinished (they'll machine the rims smooth), it would be a good one with which to start (and it's not cracked). I'll part with it for $75 plus shipping cost if you're interested. I'm also running 215s with stock suspension and they're fine with no clearance issues.
 
  #23  
Old 03-17-2019, 03:52 PM
Yjsaabman
Yjsaabman is offline
1st Gear
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Posts: 43
Thanks: 0
Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by cooper48 View Post
These are the same wheels that came on my MC40. I do have a spare wheel that is in decent shape. The center is really good but I've sanded down the rim to eliminate some curb rash. If you're having the wheels refinished (they'll machine the rims smooth), it would be a good one with which to start (and it's not cracked). I'll part with it for $75 plus shipping cost if you're interested. I'm also running 215s with stock suspension and they're fine with no clearance issues.
You might just have yourself a deal, my friend. Thanks! Joining this forum has been the best thing I've done since we picked up Grumpy. What great people I've encountered on here! I'll shoot you a PM about the wheel.
 
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
MADNESS Autoworks
Classic Mini Talk
0
10-14-2014 12:42 PM
R53
Interior/Exterior
12
03-30-2010 03:54 PM
howsoonisnow1985
Tires, Wheels, & Brakes
21
09-07-2009 08:33 PM
cooperkid
Stock Problems/Issues
8
07-24-2005 11:57 PM
Rick-Anderson
Off-Topic
20
02-07-2005 04:50 AM


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Quick Reply: Project: Grumpy. Saving a 2003 MCS


Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

© 2019 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
 
  • Ask a Question
    Get answers from community experts
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: