22 March - 31 May 2004
I have done two out of town trips since my last Long Letter. The first was to MINI of Concord in Concord, CA for Cousin MINI's 10,000 miles Service on May 14. This is called First Service and Inspection by MINI and is done when the Service Indicator reaches zero, however; I had 10,733 miles on the odometer and 350 miles remaining on the Service Indicator when I arrived in Concord. The service part is simply an oil change and then they also inspect other components of the car. In addition, I wanted my windscreen replaced - denied, the dealership said that a small pit in the glass was caused by a rock that induced the crack. I wanted to have my discolored coolant flushed and replaced - denied, the coolant was tested and found to be within acceptable standards. I wanted my rattling driver side door glass fixed - not done, Concord did admit that this is a known problem and MINI has a fix for it but Concord did not have the parts on hand and have order them for me. I told them I was not going to drive over 400 miles round trip for them to install the parts but would hope that they would hold them for my next trip. I didn't even ask the obvious question, "If it is a know problem why don't you keep a stock of the parts to fix it?" If they had replaced the windscreen under warranty I would have had to leave the car for 24 hours to "cure" the windscreen sealant. Therefore, I had arranged to spend the night of the May 14 and 15 with Ryan and Brittni in their new house in Berkley, CA. I saw them a little over a year ago when I went to Concord the first time for a couple of warranty issues. At that time they were living in an apartment in Oakland but bought the 1920's style bungalow about 9 months ago. I had a nice visit, dinner and Sunday breakfast before driving back home on Sat.
The second trip was to Nevada City, CA for the Mini Mania Run. I attended this last year on both Sat and Sun and participated in the Car Show on Sat and the Run on Sun. This year I was able to only go on the Run but it was well worth it. We left Nevada City on CA 20 back toward Reno, the road that I had just driven down to start the Run. Joined I 80 for a few miles and then turned of at Cisco Grove and followed the old Highway 40 over Donner Summit to Truckee. The old summit crossing is much more spectacular than the new I-80 and I recommend driving this route if your ever in the area. The group was about a third smaller this year than last with about an equal number of Classic mini and New MINI. One of the Classic's was brought over from Salt Lake on a trailer just for the Show and Run. From Truckee (the end of the Run) the owner drove back to Nevada City, put the car on it's trailer and then drove back through Truckee again on his way back to Salt Lake by Mon evening. Another Classic had been driven up from Bakersfield, CA for the Show and Run. The owner and his wife were driving to Bucks Lake (near Quincy, CA) from Truckee and then back to Bakersfield on Mon. Both Classic owners very dedicated to driving their minis as much or more than the New MINI owners. Two of the New MINIs that participated still had temporary license plates on them; also owners dedicated to getting out for some Run fun.
The custom tail light saga has reached a conclusion - well almost. I received the lights the first week of May, almost a year since my first contact with the builder. On May 19 I swapped out the stock lights at the same time that I had a hitch and trailer light wiring installed. I'm very pleased with how they look but disappointed with the turn signal function. Because the LED draws a lot less current than the stock bulbs the turn signal relay (or computer) thinks that a bulb is burnt out and activates a rapid flasher to warn you. I had thought the builder was going to put in a resistor to keep this from happening but if he had done so then the turn signal LED would have lost it's brightness and defeated the reason for doing the conversion. I'm now in the process of 1) Finding the relay, this is more difficult than I thought and I am now almost sure that there isn't any relay. I think the turn signal flash is controlled by the BC1, a Control Computer, which handles the programmable features of the car. 2) Replace the relay or reprogram the BC1, if possible, so that it will not rapid flash when I have only the LEDs and/or LEDs and trailer lights connected. The saga continues but with a new working title, it is now the "rapid blinking" turn signal project.
Last but not least, I'll be doing another trip to Yucca Valley, CA on Jun 19 to pick up my Scad-a-Bout teardrop trailer. A report on that effort will be detailed in my next Long Letter.