Dragon Road Trip

I got the car packed and ready to go. By tomorrow evening I should be rolling through the Dragon with a few hundred other MINI enthusiasts. Should be a blast.
I drove the MINI to work this morning and my tire pressure monitor went on. No signs of a flat so far but it got me freaking out since I do not have the run flats anymore. I think my umbrella pressed the monitor button which triggered the light but if anything it was a great reminder to get some tire sealants for the long road ahead.


High Roller

The question is: "Why you would ever want to step up into a Miata?" All I can do is shake my head in disappointment..... and then point and laugh. HA!


$50 Fill Up

I was so glad to see a gas station as I rolled up with only 4 miles left on the OBC until I was completely empty. But as I left I wish I didn't need to fill up so much. This is my first fill up that reached the $50 dollar mark.... Ouch. And we haven't reached Memorial Day weekend yet when gas prices are outrageous.


MCS Wannabe

Ran into this guy yesterday with his dark silver vdub with centered exhaust. It gave me a a little laugh so I thought I would share it.


2 Years w/an MCSa w/Mods

So I had a few inquiries about my mods at my last CMMC outing.  They were from people who were about to take the plunge and start modifying their own MINIs but were still curious on some of the other details that are not so commonly discussed.  What was also interesting was that they sought me out because I had an MCS with an automatic transmission.  So I thought it might be useful to recap the things I have done and the experiences so far.

A Little History
I took delivery of my custom spec'd dark silver/black 2005 MCSa back in April 2005.  That was the model year that MINI first started offering an automatic transmission on the MCS.  I started right away with some minor interior accessories but I held off from doing any performance upgrades for a year just to be safe from any warranty issues.   Most of the mods I did my self but the engine mods were a bit out of my league and the last thing I wanted was car problems that could be blamed on the mods that were improperly installed.

Performance Mods
After a year of browsing the forums over at NAM and MINI2 I knew pretty much what I wanted to do. Nothing over the top but just the three most common things that people do to their MINIs; a pulley, intake and exhaust. I initially wanted the pulley for sure. the 15% reduction pulley seemed to be the most reliable from what I read. Although there was hardly any difference, the 17% and 19% had a few reports of running the supercharger a little too hot which would cause the component to fail sooner. Again, I wanted to play it safe so went with the 15% reduction pulley, aproximately the same size as the JCW upgrade.After reading even more, I found that since the supercharger is compressing more air it would be smart to upgrade the air intake. I had it explained to me with the analogy of sucking on a straw. If you are sipping a drink with a thin straw you need to work harder to get more of liquid through. If you increase the straw diameter, you then make it easier and faster to get the same amount of liquid through. The same concept applies air and the engine.  So I made up my mind to get an air intake upgrade as well.At the same time, with all that air going into the engine it needs to get out just as fast. The stock exhaust is good but is still restrictive so I started looking into replacing the exhaust as well. So in my mind it was not just a matter of throwing a pulley on, it was a matter of letting the pulley do it thing freely.  I opted for the Milltek exhaust for its great reviews and its similarities to the JCW exhaust upgrade.

Now the issue was who would do all this work for me and give me the peace of mind that is installed properly.  Again I turned to the forums and I found many reputable installers located all over the country.  Luckily Randy Webb of Webb Motor Sports was scheduling one of his last pulley parties in Chicago at the time.  I quickly signed up and had all three upgrades installed by him.So Far So Good
Currently, its been about two years since I had all that work done on my three year old MINI.  My milage is improved a little but it is relatively the same when compared to my pre mod figures, about 26 with short fast drives.  With the three mods, the car runs great.  Shifts are smooth and the engine is eagar to rev.  I have had no issues what so ever with the these mods.  The sound from the exhaust is pleasing, not too loud, and just enough louder to turn heads at high revs.  The supercharger whine is a welcome sound as well.  With the upgraded intake, the sound from the engine bay does travel into the passenger cabin a bit more but it's not obnoxious.  It's a nice way to get some audio feedback from the car.
Overall I can not be happier with adding the thing I did.  I would highly recommend doing these upgrades for some added fun around the bends.   It is definitely worth every penny.  Speaking of cost, you can find how much I paid for these and all my other additions here.