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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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Kudos to you for the cathartic posting and self-analysis. If you can't be honest with yourself and objective, you're much more likely to continue making the same mistakes.

You are not alone in wishing you could go back and undo some of what you did. I've had many, many vehicles (60? 70? more? Hard to even remember all of them now), and oh how I wish younger me had the wisdom and patience of older me....and hadn't squandered the resources I had at the time on foolish things.

I'm jealous of the garage. I am stuck with a single car, unheated, underpowered garage that's mainly used for housing my wife's R56 Mini Cooper S and storage of all my goodies. My JSW is relegated to outdoors....and the New England roads have been pretty harsh to the front end of it. The list of needs is growing, somewhat faster than I can keep up with - pano sunroof is f***ed and not quite closed, so I can't even take it through the car wash as often as I wish. But I'll manage through and take enjoyment where/when I can.

You are fortunate that you're the original owner. I wish that I could say the same.

Happy motoring -
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
I appreciate that and can certainly relate to your experience! It was therapeutic to write. It feels like I'm righting a wrong, in a way. All in all, I've grown to realize that as long as you're having fun with the car, nothing else matters. People have opinions, but that shouldn't matter much as long as you're enjoying yourself.


That's a great question that I'm excited to answer. I've used the same trash bag throughout this removal and hope to weigh it once done. Probably not as much as I'm imagining. Maybe like 20 lbs? But what's also making this a tougher job is the fact that I put two or three layers in spots. Lots of bourbon has been consumed removing this junk. I'm not pleased with my past self.

Good call on the gold/bronze. I've been thinking of that a lot myself. I've been considering it a lot, but will have to see the color palate when the time comes!


Thanks! I certainly sympathize with your garage situation. How's the Mini to drive? I'm such a sucker for a tiny, fast cars, which is hilarious because I'm 6' 1" and look enormous in my Fiesta ST.

Do you think the sunroof drain is clogged and keeping the roof open? A friend of mine had a similar issue with his Pontiac G8 and only figured it out once the interior flooded twice. Obviously, that's a totally different car, but who knows. Perhaps it's similar on yours?
Oh, the Mini is fantastic. Eventually I'm going to buy another one for myself.....probably the Coupe model, and definitely an "S". I've started something among family and friends with that car - there are now 3 more in the extended family, and a family friend just bought one for his wife to drive. My brother bought the 'original' reconfigured version, a 2005 S model. They were supercharged, and while I haven't had a chance to drive it (he's in SoCal) he says that it's like driving a car with a V8 in it. Tons of low end power. And the family friend, who has a 2015 (might be a 2016), is 6'4"....and says that he's got more room in that car than he has in the Highlander it replaced.

As for the pano roof, no - it's mangled. From what I can tell, it must have gotten stuck or misaligned and the motor has enough torque to cause the crappy metal brackets that the glass mounts on to twist. It's a horrendous design. I really wish VW had just stuck with the tried, tested, semi-reliable design they had been using for 30 years. Some clown somewhere thought it would be a great idea to have the rear seat passengers be able to look up at the sky, so this ginormous piece of glass has to be maneuvered up and over that.....SMFH. All service for sunroof requires removal of headliner and entire sunroof cassette from inside of vehicle, which is a 6+ hour labor op requiring multiple service techs.

Not always a good idea to consume while working on the car....can lead to additional errors that you find later LOL.
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
That's some great stuff right there. I'm in western CT. I don't recall EVER seeing a 'pick and pull' style yard here. It's sad, as some of my fondest memories of childhood were the days spent rambling around the boneyards outside Chicago with my father, as he was always in the middle of repairing one of the various Beetles he was driving at the time. I don't think he ever spent more than a $100 for a car when I was a kid.

I would have JUMPED on those seats. It's literally 4 bolts holding them in, as I'm sure you know......
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
BTW, good job on stepping up to the Ross Tech interface. I had the original for years and years, as I was driving C4 Audis/B5 Passats. When I went to scan codes on my daughter's new B6 Passat found that I couldn't do it, and was forced to upgrade to the current HEX V2 interface. I bit the bullet a little harder and got the 10 car license, so should be good for awhile LOL....
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
i am quite impressed with your journey and maturation. seems like you have the introspection part down pat... it's unfortunate that more people aren't more thoughtful... and self aware... the world would probably be a better place...

i sometimes miss the local pick-n-pull and scores such as the one you nabbed the other day... it really is a great feeling... especially if you know how much the dealer and or used part retailers want for the same parts you just got for pennies on the dollar. there are a few cars i've had that would not have stayed on the road as long as they did without the pick-n-pull... i am fortunate that here in portland there are 4 within a 30 minute drive... and that's not including the independent scrap yards of which there are too many to count...

i'm old now. many more trips around the sun than most of the ppl in this forum... when i got my gti i took a totally different approach... i made a commitment to myself to stop wrenching on cars myself... stop going to junkyards and searching all over god's green earth for parts... and instead... since i've had the car it's mostly been worked on by a highly regarded and reputable shop here in town... and i've found it to be quite liberating... the other thing i did... was get a car that was already done. all the parts in all the vw magazines that i lusted after for so many years... were on the car when i got it... and the work was done by a master mechanic... to a high degree of quality... not by a boy racer in his back yard... really it's made all the difference... i just don't have a lot of the problems i normally would with a gti w/ 170k on the clock... i was very lucky to have found a car with little to no deferred maintenance... where everything has been either significantly upgraded... or replaced with OEM parts.... very few ppl would consider me a man of means... so sometimes i have to wait until i have save enough $ to get some stuff done... like it took me 6 months to get the cash together to replace my front suspension... but luckily for me i don't need to use the car every day... and the suspension wasn't totally blown... so waiting half a year to get it done wasn't as much of a hardship as it might sound... now i'm saving up for a new clutch... gonna go stage 2 to match the rest of modifications that have been done to the drivetrain... it will probably be sometime in late spring early summer when that happens... again... my clutch is on the way out... but it's not shot... and i actually know how to use a clutch... so i'm not killing it when i drive... i think i should be able to make it without it pooping the bed on me before i can get it fixed.... (you can't see me but i'm knocking on wood)

i will admit to not being able to stay off the pick-n-pull narcotic... and i have been back since i got the gti... mostly for trim pieces... and other cosmetic items... stuff i could have easily ordered online... but i needed the fix...

i am jealous of your garage and commitment to DIY... this is probably one of the best threads i've read in this forum over the years... thanks for sharing your journey... will be checking in to see how you're doing from time to time...

p.s.

we had a car sharing service here in portland for a few years that had mini coopers... drove a bunch of them. was impressed... but i'm 6'5" and despite the ample head and leg room... the gti cabin feels a bit more open to me... but i was surprised how quick those cars were... bone stock out of the box.... i can imagine with some tasteful tweaks those cars would be a hoot to hoon.
The MINI is a race car right out of the box.

Funny story, when we were looking for a car for the Mrs., the dealer we were at had the 2007 Cooper S and a 2008 GTI, DSG. So we drove them both. The GTI had 10,000 less miles on it, a year newer...but the Mini blew it away. It's just such a different driving experience, and the car is just so.much.better......the quality of the build, materials, and overall feel is just way better than the GTI MK V. For instance, the headliner was falling down in the GTI, trim pieces not fitting correctly, interior lights blown out. The Mini is now 14 years old, and I have zero complaints with it. I've had one check engine light in 3 years of ownership, which was the HPFP. Meanwhile, I chase the MIL on the B5.5 Passat incessantly.

I do agree though - while the seating position is fine inside the Mini, the GTI definitely has more cabin space. I grew up driving MK I Rabbits, though...so used to the feeling of being confined.
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
Don't quote me on this....but I'd be willing to gamble I could put a pair of VW front seats in the back of the Mini. It's crazy how much room there is in that vehicle when you fold the seats down.
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
That damn rust never sleeps.... might want to check out if wire wheeling down to bare metal will cause more issues in the future because you are removing the corrosion finish that is bonded to the metal.
Man, I miss that galvanized steel that Audi was using back in the 80s. I had an 87 5000S Quattro, took it out to 285,000 and gave it away in 2002, not a spot of rust on it. The driveline was perfect, still had the original clutch....but everything else? Yeah, it was falling apart. Headliner, heater core, non-functional AC, all bushings, fuel pump fittings (that one had a pump mounted underneath the car, near the right rear wheel....so dumb), fuel lines, exhaust hangers, oh and of course a MIL that wouldn't go off so no go on emissions test.
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
yup. my 92 100cs quattro's body will live on long after everything else on the car dies... i actually checked it on carfax the other day... thought for certain it was in a junkyard somewhere by now... but she has a new owner who's committed to keeping the car on the road... reached out to them on fb and gave them all the info i had on the car. 1 of 277 imported that year in that color with a 5 speed. loved that car.
Oh boy....I'm not sure I would have moved on from one of those. Super hard to find with the manual trans.

I've had a handful of C4s, starting with a 92 100CS Quattro Avant, silver over gray. Bought it used with about 90K on it, took it out to 210 before the heater core went. Tranny wasn't good, and again....MIL that prevented it from passing emissions, so sent it away. Also had three C4 sedans - wrecked the first one, the other 2 lived long and fruitful lives. The first one was fine until I hit a muffler carcass at 60 going down the highway, punched a hole in the trans pan, and just decided it was time. The last one was a 97 that was suffering from a bad cylinder head. Was told it had a stuck thermostat when I bought it from a friend, replaced it, and then after starting and driving it had a persistent valve noise. Replaced the lifters, and when doing so found the front left cam journal was horribly scored (near the #4 cylinder). No idea how that could have been other than oil failure. Again, this one also surrendered to the emissions failure....bad EGR valve, O2 sensors, and cats.

The last one I had I seriously was going to keep. 95 Avant, Pearl White over black leather. Bought it with a blown heater core and had been sitting for a bit, also wound up having a bad fuel supply line under the car. I bought it for cheap, $700 with three sets of brand new tires along with it....and then it sat in my driveway for several years and got worse. Finally got around to fixing the fuel line, and it started right up....sounded beautiful. Fixed everything else and put another 100K on it. Was never going to sell it, but then the exhaust fell apart at the converter....and when I inspected it for repair, it was the proverbial "Pandora's Box". The short story is it would have required removal of the cylinder heads to fix it, as the fasteners were all either completely gone or so rusted that removal was impossible. At that point, I was looking at thousands of dollars and weeks of time I didn't have to repair it...so sadly parted ways. Figures, as this was the only one of the 6 that had NEVER had an issue with the mother lovin' MIL......
 

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11 JSW TDI • 09 B6 2.0 TSI • 03 B5.5 2.8 4Motion • 07 MINI COOPER S, "The Chili Pepper"
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188 Posts
Side note, you guys are killing me with these Audi stories. I've always wanted a C4 Avant and then swap in something nuts. Deutche Auto Parts just profiled a dude who threw in the 5.2 V10 into his.
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The C4 was a great platform. Huge engine bay afforded plenty of room to do all sorts of things. I just wish that the original drivetrain had been something that had more modding options.....the original 12V V6 motor was a fine highway cruiser, but a dog off the line. Virtually nothing was offered to improve upon it. At least the next generation, the 30V V6, did wind up getting an aftermarket supercharger marketed....although it was quite expensive, at $5G for the bolt on kit.

The S6 Avant was a true gem. That motor was virtually bulletproof and could very easily be taken out to 700 HP....although anything over 300 was really unnecessary.
 
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