Jump to content

Bini Mandela: Slowly becoming less sh*te


Recommended Posts

  • mk2_craig changed the title to BINI MANDELA: p*le of sh*te R57 Cooper S. NEW PL8S !!!
On 4/15/2021 at 3:37 PM, mk2_craig said:

getting to the bottom of something fundamental like its many paintwork imperfections or why there was water in the footwells

Naturally we had water ingress.  I had assumed it was something daft like a seal that had become compressed and lost its shape over the years, so I didn't immediately twig that there was a problem with the hood at the C pillars:


This picture isn't entirely clear, but I took it standing at the passenger side rear of the car facing forward, and you can see that the forward part of the hood is loose on the rubber seal here.  I could easily slide my fingers in the gap, so it's not hard to imagine that during a downpour (or while stupidly trying to hose the roof clean) an enormous amount of water would come gushing into the car and most likely remain there.


And with the hood down, you can see something going on with the fabric.


This is the culprit - a metal-reinforced plastic section stitched into the hood which is clipped to a pivot on the inside of the inner wing (the metal bit still sitting on the pivot and just about visible behind the upper three holes)


Completely cracked away to fuck and just flapping around there letting all sorts inside the bodyshell.


Here's the other side, similar condition of course.  This was obviously highly unacceptable and needed to be dealt with STAT before the weather turned really shitty.  Repair kit time!


This is what's required.  Thirty sodding quid for a couple of odd-shaped repair sections plus eight rivets and washers.  


Doesn't look much does it.  To be honest, unless the plastic is made of a more pliable and robust compound, I don't doubt that the exact same thing is going to happen again a few years down the line, however I'm not springing for a COMPLETE NEW HOOD so this'll have to do.


I figured the job would be easier if the rear interior side trims were off, so it was out with the rear seats.  There were what I can only describe as swimming pools here.  I drained some of it by stabbing away some sort of rubber bung hidden under the sound deadening panels.


It then dawned on me that the entire carpet was utterly SODDEN so I went ahead and stripped the lot out.  The carpet weighed about twice as much as my wife and a fringe benefit of carrying out this work solo was that I received a nice cold shower of rancid filthy water when lifting it out of the car.


Here we go then.  Powered back the roof so that I could get at stuff a bit easier.



Harry Hacksaw and Ronnie Riveter were press ganged into assisting (Danny Drill making a cameo appearance too)


The official repair method says to unstitch the original plastic section, discard then rivet the new one direct to the fabric.  I had read elsewhere that it would be better to simply trim off what was damaged, then secure the repair section to the remains of the original, thus producing a tighter fit to the side of the car.



This brought with it the downside that the rivets weren't really long enough to go through both bits of plastic and the washer as well, plus it was quite difficult to secure everything together in the correct alignment without being able to place it on a solid surface.  Inevitably this happened:


Ronnie Riveter started acting up as well:


So it was time to bust out Ronnie's bigger and stronger brother Ricky:


Unfortunately this turned into a bit of a repair mission and I had to cobble together one working tool from two faulty ones.  By this time, and with the light fading fast I was starting to lose patience and after frantically hunting around for a couple of extra rivets to the correct dimension (ultimately successful, amazingly), eventually this stage was reached:


This seemed just about acceptable to me, given that the rest of the car isn't exactly a Concours d'Elegance contender.  


Above is the inner rear wing viewed from inside the car.  The metal clip on the pivot which holds the roof to the car is to the right of my finger and, as you can imagine, PRACTICALLY FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE to slide over the mounting point in the repaired hood - especially when the plastic section is twice as thick as the original.  Lord knows how they achieve this in the factory.  However I managed it somehow and the end result was a big improvement:


Seems to both sit and fold as it should, miraculously.  


As a consequence of this job my garage became semi-permanently stuffed to capacity with Bini interior bits, particularly that bloody shitting carpet which soaked me earlier.  Looking back I think that this was the point when the car's honeymoon, if one existed, firmly ended.  I had this thing hooked up on bungee cords for months draining into several buckets:


And, of frigging course, there is STILL water getting into the front footwells somewhere.  Further investigations were shelved and parking the car facing uphill has served as the workaround for the time being.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • mk2_craig changed the title to BINI MANDELA: p*le of sh*te R57 Cooper S. Roof repair >:-(

i feel your pain, years ago we had a Rover 820 coupe that was damp inside when i bought it.

just on the passenger side front footwell. and could i figure out where the water was coming from?

could i hell...

i had the interior out of that too. seats, centre consul and carpets.

turned out that all the sound deadening under the carpet was wringing wet through, and that took weeks and weeks and weeks to dry! the place i was working at had a small annex thing across from the main warehouse/trade counter building that while it belonged to the company wasn't actually used, other than for dumping the bins in, so i hung it up in there!

while it was drying i was still running the car, so it had the seats and consul back in, just no carpet, and all the drain hole bungs in the ashtray, as the water was literally sloshing about from side to side, we christened it "Lake Rover".

turned out it was the sunroof drains that were leaking, as they ran down the a-pillars and just before going into the sill assembly the drain pipes ran into another, slighly larger diameter pipe, thats where the water was getting in from. i rodded them out, before using plumbers putty to try and seal the joint.

that did work though, and when the carpet eventually went back in, i did have the feeling of a job well done, even though it had been an on going thing for months beforehand!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You might sense I was becoming rather pissed off with this thing, given that the number of known issues didn't seem to be getting any shorter after each problem was dealt with.  This felt like history repeating itself because ten years ago we were having endless battles with another blue British-built soft-top:


Which was also a bit like whack-a-mole, sort one thing out and another pops up. However, Bini Mandela was now running reasonably okay, and it got used from time to time over the winter with no real issues.  Other than the crappy original fit radio working when it felt like it. Not to mention a wholly substandard fan motor that didn't appear to do much other than make a load of noise (and certainly not blow any meaningful amount of air through the vents into the cabin) which may or may not be another fault to investigate and possibly rectify*.


Whatever.  The carpet had finally dried out after spending the entire winter getting in my way and generally being a pain in the arse hung up in my garage.  I took a morning off work and retrieved it:


As well as this little lot:


And engaged some assistance to disconnect the battery, reasoning that doing so might prevent the airbag light from coming on again after unplugging the wiring loom to the front seats this time.



Predictably, another defect made itself evident:


Though I was assuming this cowl panel needed replacing anyway, on the grounds that the rubber gasket against the windscreen was shot.  Maybe I can cowboy it back together instead.  Anyway, I pulled the battery out to inspect for leaks into the cabin, though nothing seemed to be getting in under here:


Interior reinstallation then commenced.  Nice dry and sunny day, so roof down to make it easier, obvs:







You get the idea.  Time was ticking away so I horsed on with this omitting to take any more photos, but reasonably quickly got everything back in with minimal quantities of leftover plastic/rubber/metal bits.

Battery refitted and connected up.  Engine starts ok.  Good!


Hello, what's this?

Hmm, front windows don't work.  Indicators neither.  Reverse lamps?  Nope, and the dipped beams are on permanently with ignition regardless of light switch position.  More importantly the ROOF is not working (and currently down).  Research the symptons and...


Ahhh CRAP.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • mk2_craig changed the title to BINI MANDELA: ITFFM8, BT

A better battery might be a more sensible starting point, or running some jump leads to another one.  I would have a look at the earth lead on the battery, I have often found that weird electrical nonsense can be traced back to a bad earth so hopefully it is something relatively minor like that.  

Otherwise Mini sold a pack called “extra Chilli” which was an option on the R56.  It consisted of a special boot mounted kit lovingly crafted in a handmade leather pouch containing a litre of Shell’s finest V-Power Nitro and an exclusive to Mini box of Swan Vestas.  At the time it wasn’t popular as it retailed at £799 but it is proving a popular aftermarket add on


Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Parky said:



I'm not going to lie, I did ask my wife to check how much we had this heap of crap insured for - taking it to a secluded location and cutting my losses seemed like a worthwhile course of action at this point.  It struck me as a reasonable solution to the problem of a car with a roof stuck in the lowered position, especially seeing as my garage:


Which had relatively recently housed a motorcycle AND an XR2 along with all manner of other junk, was now firmly blocked by a trampoline that had mysteriously migrated from the lawn to the driveway, as well as various plastic storage sheds and assorted garden-related crap that my wife had subtly accumulated since I sold the Fiesta three years ago.


I couldn't face the graft involved in clearing enough of this stuff out to create a Bini-shaped hole and also shifting the contents of the drive somewhere else, so plan B (At 4.30pm the day before Good Friday) was to go and bother our friendly mechanic to see if he might be familiar with the electrical issues we were suddenly presented with.  Naturally he was delighted* to see me, and did no more than a 5 min quick diagnostic plug-in before offering to look at it in more depth "first thing Tuesday" - in other words free undercover parking for the Easter weekend.  A small win there at least.


At lunchtime on Tuesday I returned to find that the garage had managed to get the roof back in the raised position (I had attempted to follow the emergency procedure as outlined in the missing owner's handbook, but couldn't suss out how the securing latches could be made to manually grip into the windscreen frame) and received a vague report about the car not being able to detect the power windows.  Further investigation would need to be carried out by main dealer or a BMW specialist with the correct kit, though very pleasingly I wasn't charged anything which again was some consolation.


I noticed that the driver side window wasn't in the fully raised position, which means I must have had the door open when the battery was disconnected.  I started to wonder whether this fact could have caused the body control module to have a brain fart and go catatonic, though a weekend of online reading about BINI faults had me reasonably convinced that the 11-year-old battery was probably not helping the situation, despite it always being perfectly capable of starting the car even in the depth of winter. 


I'd also more or less concluded that it was possible to remove the module from the car and have it "reflashed", which (due to not being able to identify anybody local who'd admit to knowing anything about the phenomenon) would involve sending it away, though I didn't want to do that and have EXACTLY THE SAME THING happen again so I resigned myself to the fact that a fresh battery would minimise the risk of that occurring.  A friend suggested that the cheapest supplier was actually the RENNER agent so I headed down there to be relieved of £177 while I waited for it to be fitted and - hopefully - correctly "registered" to the car so that some intelligent charging program bollocks could be updated in the car's on board computery system.  Where were you when you heard the Duke of Edinburgh carked it?  I was sitting on a showroom sofa between an unregistered Clio and a Dacia Sandero demonstrator watching the BBC News channel.


Anyhow.  Once back home I put away the spare cans of petrol that I had been massively tempted to pour over the damn thing, then endeavoured to extract the module from the footwell and see what it looked like:


TEH INTERNET reckoned that a lot of these become borked by dint of the shit location at a convenient junction of multiple water ingress routes.  I wasn't convinced that this was the primary source of the problems, though there was a fair helping of green death on the connections:





Gulp.  I consulted an electrician mate, who reckoned I might get away with it if I grabbed some cotton buds and white spirit, then carefully cleaned off the worst of it.  This had things looking a little better:


I then purchased a repair service from my online auction website of choice, from a company that seemed to have plenty decent reviews from disgruntled owners of R56 series cars, which at less than thirty sheets seemed worth a gamble (if not successful, I would be into the rather more uncertain territory of purchasing a compatible secondhand part and having THAT re-coded too).  I wrapped it up and on arriving at the post office became extremely annoyed at the package weighing a mere 10 grams over the half kilo threshold that joyfully adds an extra two quid to the cost of shipping.  Arsehole Jersey Post w@nkers.


I was still faced with the issue of the not-quite-closed OSF window, which a quick test with a watering can proved was not weathertight.  This risked putting us RIGHT BACK WHERE WE HAD STARTED with a sodden carpet which would do wonders for my rapidly deteriorating mental health.  I figured it would be possible to run 12 volts direct to the window motor, so it was off with the door trim (a strange two part affair on these cars, held* on by about a thousand robust* trim clips) to see what was what:



Ah yes.  The bottom two cables looked thicker, so in for a penny in for a pound I elected to just go right ahead and hook these up.  I pulled the battery from the Renner 19:


And since I really couldn't be bothered to hunt around the place in order to locate some suitable connections to crimp onto fresh cable of ample length, I shortened the job by borrowing some wires from my old Dukes of Hazzard musical air horns that have been sitting in the garage for a decade and a half, lifting the battery onto the faithful Kikstep, and VERY gingerly aiming the exposed terminal into the multi-connector:


BZZZT!!  Success.


Will the footwell module be deemed beyond repair?  Will it get lost in the post somewhere over the English Channel?  Will I lose my sh!t completely and set fire to the car at last?  Tune in next time to find out!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • mk2_craig changed the title to Bini Mandela: F*CK YOU, BINI. F*CK YOU
1 hour ago, Rusty_Rocket said:

Did you try plugging that module back in after you'd cleaned the terminals?

I must confess the thought hadn't crossed my mind, I had pretty much already convinced myself that the module was suffering from some sort of voltage spike-induced amnesia and had latched into a state reversible only by someone who knew what they were doing. Seems a common enough episode so I was fairly sure what we were encountering would turn out to be the same thing.

46 minutes ago, Sham said:

I showed her this thread.

Great! When's collection?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • mk2_craig changed the title to Bini Mandela: Slowly becoming less sh*te

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Zelandeth
      Well I've been meaning to sign up here in forever, but kept forgetting. Thanks to someone over on another forum I frequent poking me about it recently the subject was forced back into my very brief attention span for long enough to get me to act on the instruction.

      I figure that my little varied fleet might bring you lot some amusement...

      So...we've got:

      1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate (now fuel injected, as I reckon the later cars should have been from the factory...).
      1989 Saab 900i Automatic.
      1987 Skoda 120LX 21st Anniversary Special Edition.
      1985 Sinclair C5.
      2009 Peugeot 107 Verve.

      Now getting the photos together has taken me far longer than I'd expected...so you're gonna get a couple of photos of each car for now, and I'll come back with some more information tomorrow when I've got a bit more time...

      Firstly...The Lada. Before anyone asks - in response to the single question I get asked about this car: No, it is not for sale. Took me 13 years and my father's inheritance to find the thing.

      Yes, it's got the usual rusty wings...Hoping that will be resolved in the next couple of months.


      Next, a proper old Saab. One of the very last 8 valve cars apparently, and all the better for it. I've driven two 16v autos and they were horrible - the auto box works sooooo much better with the torque curve of the 8 valve engine. Just wish it had an overdrive for motorway cruising...

      Next up a *real* Skoda...back when they put the engine where it belongs, right out the back. In the best possible colour of course...eye-searingly bright orange.

      Seat covers have been added since that photo was taken as it suffers from the usual rotting seat cloth problem that affects virtually all Estelles.

      Then we have possibly the world's scruffiest Sinclair C5...

      Realised when looking for this that I really need to get some more photos of the thing...I use it often enough after all! We have a dog who's half husky, so this is a really good way of getting him some exercise.

      Finally - again, I really need to take more photos of - we have the little Pug 107.

      Included for the sake of variety even if it's a bit mainstream! First (and probably to be the only) new car I've bought, and has been a cracking little motor and has asked for very little in return for putting up with nearly three years of Oxford-Milton Keynes commuter traffic, before finally escaping that fate when my housemate moved to a new job. Now it doesn't do many miles and is my default car for "when I've managed to break everything else."

      I'll fill in some more details tomorrow - I warn you though that I do tend to ramble...
    • By Peter C
      Woke up this morning, had a little time before I had to leave the house for work, had a quick look at what’s new for sale on Retro Rides and saw an ad for a W124 200E manual, located 15 miles from home. I had no intention of buying a car today but I had to have it! I called the seller and arranged a viewing.
      2 x rusty front wings (TADTS)
      1 x rusty rear arch
      Needs a polish
      Tracking is out because new track rod end was fitted for MoT
      Engine has oil leak/s
      Good points:
      It’s a W124 200E!
      5 speed manual transmission
      New clutch
      Brand new MoT
      Superb MoT history
      4 x as new Continental tyres
      Last owner for 15 years, her husband before that for 4 years
      Very tidy MB-Tex interior
      Drives well
      All electrics work
      The dealer kindly delivered the car to my house but I managed a pez station shot on route:

      Remove front wings, cut away rust and apply plenty of wob.
      In-situ similar repair for rear arch
      Clean and polish
      Service engine
      Adjust tracking
      Leave patina and enjoy the car as it is
      I will update this thread once progress is made.









      Hopefully these two will become good friends.

    • By juular
      Old car - check
      Full of rust - check
      Siezed engine - check
      Cheapest on the internet - check
      Bought sight unseen - check
      No space for it - check
      Poo count - 1.5
    • By Peter C
      I bought a lovely Mini Cooper S from @Sunny Jim which my wife and I collected yesterday. See here:
      The Cooper made the 250 mile 4.5 hour journey to Buckinghamshire (from North Wales!) under its own steam but all was not well under the bonnet. The fresh air vents were providing anything but fresh air, I was choking on oily fumes. I stopped on route and wiped a lot of oil from the rocker cover and gently kept going, keeping the engine revs below 3k.
      Before you read any further, I have absolutely no qualms about the car or the deal I made with @Sunny Jim I bought an 18 year old car with 120k, sold as seen, of course there will be problems! 
      I investigated further this morning. There was oil all over the front of the engine and on top of the exhaust manifold shield.

      I went to remove plug lead No 2 and it came off in two pieces, the metal connector has split from the cable.

      Next I removed the sparkplugs. Plugs 1 and 4 were a little moist but plugs 2 and 3 were sinking in engine oil.

      The rocker cover gasket and plug well seals were obviously knackered, a typical R50/53 fault. 
      To get the rocket cover off...

      All this had to be removed. It's by no means a difficult job but it was time consuming. There is a bit more space under the bonnet of my W123 & W124!

      I've bought a new set of leads £18 and I'm picking up the gasket set tomorrow morning (£40). Hopefully the whole lot will go back together without any issues.
      Look at this engine, it's hard to believe that it's done 120k miles in 18 years. Everything under the rocker cover looks mint!

      In other news, to replace a blown brake light bulb I had to remove the entire light unit. How stupid. Modern* cars ehh?

      The annoying rattle from the tailgate was silenced with a 4 inch length of insulation tape, wrapped around the lock catch.

      I do like a clean exhaust pipe. Or two. Out came the Brasso and I am pleased with the shine.

      And finally, I've noticed that the small lights in the front bumper flick on randomly. According to the experts on a Facebook group, the presence of LED bulbs is upsetting the system.

    • By vulgalour
      Fackin oops.

      My goal was not to buy any more cars but with the Lanchester out of action while we work through it and make it safe to use, and the Princess out of action and needing the engine to be removed (a job I am procrastinating about, and when I'm motivated am thwarted by schedule and weather conflicts) it was getting more obvious that I needed some personal transport.  Something basic and reliable that I know my way around, that's going to be cheap to buy and run.  This is an ideal candidate, on paper.
      Whether I really can just use it as An Car or will end up getting all finicky about making it nice remains to be seen.  I just want some hasslefree pootling for a few months and normally Maestros are just that.
  • Create New...