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Just bonding with my piñon mini...


 
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Chris205
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 20:40    Post subject: Just bonding with my piñon mini... Reply with quote

Hi,
Just taken delivery of a fresh imported pinin mini. The engine and gearbox seem really sweet but because of a steering wobble, I am having to replace the front ball joint which is having to come from Mitsubishi. Looking forward to enjoying this little beast as my runaround once this is sorted. The car is immaculate despite being 18 years old. It’s an auto and looks smart in grey and blue.
The mpg is a little disappointing at around 32mpg so I have lost some weight by taking off the spare from the back and fixed up an inner tube which now sits under the cover. I carry a tyre inflator foam instead. Now I am the same as every other new car on the road I guess! Now I seem to be getting around 36. When you only have 660cc’s to play with, it all counts!
I am sure the question of tyres has been covered before. I can see enough of the Japanese manual to work out that both 175/80 R15 and 185/65 R15 can be fitted. I presently have the 185/65’s which do look a little small. My question is will I do better with the 175/80’s? As well as these I note that 195/65’s will also give more mpg and better top speed and the latter are more easily available.
I would really appreciate any advice any member can give on this and look forward to communicating with you.
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peteinchad
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi - and welcome.

There are a couple of Mini owners on here - hopefully they will respond to your questions soon.

Enjoy your new truck.
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JPB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, if yours is a 20 valve DOHC turbo, then well done for getting over 30mpg out of it! My '97 mini is a single camshaft 16 valve one and even that manages 37mpg as an absolute best. It's the nature of the beast; no centre diff which is fine as you won't need 4wd on anything other than really poor, loose surfaces and, unless you fit freewheeling front hubs, everything from either side of the transfer case is in constant engagement from the hubs right back to the transfer case, lots of mechanical drag equates to lots of fuel being slurped down when compared to a typical 2wd kei. Thinking though; is yours not a 4 speed one? If so, then make sure that the (overdrive) 4th is working as my 3 speed one may not be at risk of a broken gearbox for many years to come, but it only does around 10mph per 1000rpm which makes its absolute top speed a shade above 60mph, though I find myself being kind to the poor wee thing and sticking to 56 (90 Kph) which means that I can sit between the trucks on longer journeys and that's fine as I can hear my tapes at that speed and the tiny truck actually feels quite smooth and refined - compared to my Reliant engined Allett grass cutter. Laughing But we surely don't buy these things for their speed. That addictive noise maybe, but the speed that people expect to come with the 7000 rpm howl from the tailpipe? It's a bike you want for that.
Ball joints are available from Megazip too, so check their prices next time you need parts and, if yours was the other one that GLC sold recently, then you shouldn't have to pay for the parts & labour on a component that ought to have been knocked back at the time of the test. Give them a call, they're good that way. Wink

Tyres should be 175 at 80%, mine also had 185/65s fitted by GLC as they are substantially cheaper than the correct size, but my daily car, a Toyota bB, uses a 185/65% as does my neighbour's Citroen Solo motorhome, so repurposing the "wrong" tyres from the mini won't be difficult. The 185/65%s also fit modern Corsas and the neighbour on my other side has one of these so a bidding war may yet ensue! Laughing
I asked a question in the relevant section regarding availability ofthe correct tyres and, although nobody on here was able to offer an opinion on this, I'll be going for the Yokohamas that were specified as original equipment since the Nankangs are only slightly cheaper and they get a poor rating for both wet road use and economy, though the extra 6% you'll gain on top speed will be offset by either of the 175/80% options' much poorer (dismal, actually!) economy rating. Plus the 185/65% rubber does make for better comfort (yes, they're shorter but because they're wider, the walls are much softer on the narrow rims than the 175 would be), this is fine as the 185 is (just) within the rim's range of tyre sectional widths, but it all comes down to how much you intend to use the car and whether you want to get it properly muddy! Forget anything in a 195, they're way too soft in the walls if fitted to a 4.5 inch rim and would make the handling feel rather sloppy. I've tried sets of wheels from a variety of Toyotas that use the same pitch and that share the mini's centre bore and this is what I've found and also why, for now at least, I'll be sticking with the 185s at 65%, though a 185/70% would be closer to the correct circumference and is available in a variety of van tyres, reinforced sidewalls and very durable as well as tolerant of any steering misalignment, but next to no use if you want to go offroad and trust me, you will, but get that chassis and underside treated - in Ensis V, Dinol-Protectol products or something from Bilt Hamber which is well regarded for its effectiveness - first as the factory rust protection isn't there because no Keis were ever officially exported and Southern Japan uses no salt, so doesn't get anything beyond the factory epoxy primer underneath and nothing in the sills, chassis legs, doors or thae vulnerable double skinned areas between the outer sill and the rear arch,especially on the nearside which has no liner as the fuel tank lives on the offside.

Another good source of parts is a fella over in south west Scotland, somewhere by Port Patrick. He somehow manages to sell o/e parts at below o/e prices but I've not yet had anything from there and cannot currently find his eBay handle. Embarassed
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JPB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops! That should have read "Slight", not "any" (steering misalignment), which was left on from a previous version of that post.. Mad
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Chris205
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:46    Post subject: Pinin mini bonding etc Reply with quote

Wow... Great result and thanks to both for responding. Yes it is the one from GLC. I'll give Richard another ring to see if they will help me out with the costs of replacing the ball joint. When I called him ealier his response was that their warranty only covered engine and gearbox! That wasnt quite what I had hoped for! I shall retry now that I am on the forum and see where we get...
Thanks for the info on tyres. I'll follow through with a visit to my tyre shop in the next couple of days. I also need to get the underside proofed with the products you mentioned.
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JPB
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 11:32    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm surprised that you got that response from the garage, after all; a vehicle that was MOT tested before it could get its uk plates - and can't have been far since that test - would generally be seen by VOSA as having been in much the same condition at MOT time as it is now! Wink

Tactful application of that sort of logic usually works with the trade, as long as we (their buyers) and they (the people who rely on us to feed their families) are both a little flexible, then we generally find a morally satisfactory solution to the odd wee things that can be found in any car that's purchased used. I was and am pretty lucky with my tiny truck, the low mileage (under 38000 at the time of purchase, a trouble free 2000+ since) is always a potentially good thing as long as the maintenance has been kept up the way it has on mine. I did consider the blue & silver one at CMC (Muck Tatty's their business name on eBay) before going for the potentially less practical (on account of the ultra low gearing, but as these engines are built to run at north of 6k rpm all day long I really shouldn't worry about that) earlier car, but for some reason, the newer one that was much more local had no space for my 36" inside legs or my size 11 feet and the older one from 400 miles away did.. Plus I was unable to resist this "face":



He's a wee charmer and I get a lot more respect from users of dull, modern cars when I'm driving that than I do in the daily. Funny old world, is it not. Cool

Since buying the mini, I've been looking at older examples of the full sized Pajero and might just have to have one of those to keep the 3/4 scale working model of one company. I'm into most weird JDM cars, but these Mitsubishi trucks, although not as weird as my usual fare, have a certain something about them, not least the friendly nature of other owners I've met since buying my tiny one. Which brings me on to this:



Which is one of the wisest investments that anyone can make if they own or want to own one of these very likeable forms of transport. Smile
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Chris205
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 14:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to update the forum on my 'bonding' with the Pinin mini...
All is going well despite the initial problem with the ball joint. Absolutely no result at all from GLC which I found pretty disappointing. They maintained that the guarantee covered engine and gearbox only, end of discussion! Nul point for their follow up service and care!
The car is really great fun to own and drive for my local trips around Suffolk country lanes. Being so small and nimble I can get through traffic and parking is a doddle. When I read through the documentation in detail I discovered that the Japanese documents at least showed the mileage and date on each service sheet. A bit of conversion to miles from kms and it has a full service history! I followed advice from forum members and had the mini completely waxoiled. Both ball joints have been replaced, engine and gearbox oil changed and brakes checked out. The beast now runs on Yocohamas 175/80R15 with a good cross country tread. Tracking was way out and that is now fixed. Rawlinsons in Bury St Edmunds can find me any spare parts I need and I use a local garage to do any work which they are delighted to do as the car is so easy and simple to work on. Oh and of course I have joined the POCUK forum!
Now I'm waiting for the winter weather when the mini should come into its own Smile
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JPB
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 0:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, glad the mini is working out for you, but disappointed that GLC wouldn't help with the ball joint issue. I was going to trade mine back to them against the SWB 3.5 V6 full scale Pajero that they currently have on their site, but don't feel like giving them the business seem to have been treating another customer unfairly, so I'm keeping mine instead and as it's all dosed up with Ensis V, it's looking likely to last. Waxoyl is better than nothing, but only really works on factory fresh finishes, however most Minis seem to be imported in a pretty much as new condition in any case, so if yours was as clean as mine underneath the Waxoyl may do the job for now. Don't miss the internal area between the rear valance and its closing panel, that's likely to be a massive breeding ground for rust worms if not thoroughly dosed with protective goo-fadge, since the forward facing part of that section has breather holes in its vertical component but no way for any filth to get out again. Mine now has a row of five oval slots along the flange where the closing panel joins the valance for this very reason.. Wink

Mine is still on its 185/65 road tyres but they seem fine in the snow so far, not that we've had more than a few inches yet and that only on the tops, so not really an issue when the main rôle of mine is as a means of getting parked when I find myself in Edinburgh or Newcastle and the daily Toyota is just too conventionally proportioned to be truly as easy as my old Smart was in town, though the Paj does have the Smart licked on manoeuvrability thanks to a 26 ft turning circle vs the shorter Smart's 34 feet. I will  be fitting some 185/80 all seasons van tyres, having discovered that the Yokohama Geolandars are only imported in very limited quantities and besides, the 185s won't rub and will suit the car's gearing just fine - once I get to the bottom of which dry joint in the gearbox side of the control unit is responsible for the otherwise perfect gearbox's current naughty phase. I've eliminated mechanical, hydraulic and cable adjustment errors, so it's "only"  bandhead  bandhead  bandhead the light current side of things that can be causing the bother and all of the terminals are good, but the control unit does respond to freezer spray.

Your post was timely as it helped me to concentrate on why I like mine so much, I had considered selling it but it always gets a good reception at car shows, even when it's placed by the marshalls between two concours specimens of some of the finest conventional classics around. It also has much more leg room than a Discovery 2 I very nearly bought recently. Embarassed
The Disco was only considered after most of the second generation, full sized Pajeros I've so far chased after turned out to differ from my own concept of "never welded, totally rust free, perfect inside and out.." etc. but the fact is that I don't fit in a Discovery and even in the tiniest Pajero, my legs don't reach the toeboard with the seat in my usual driving position and the larger Mitsubishi is the still on my wish list but good ones seem to stay with their loving owners for many years and I totally understand why.

Cool
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Chris205
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 11:40    Post subject: bonding with the mini Reply with quote

Hi again, Thanks for all your advice re the waxoiling. I'm pretty sure the job was done thoroughly but to make sure I'll be cleaning off the undersides just as soon as they start salting the roads round here.
I'm very pleased with the Yokohamas I fitted. I found them on line and bought them direct. They were shipped in from Germany and as I recall came to about £80 each. I then paid £60 to have them fitted but sold the old 65's for £80 so it worked out well. They look better as they seem to fill out the wheel arch yet still leave plenty of room around for normal play. Ride is better and I seem to get an improved cruising speed. Economy is about the same surprisingly and I'm still getting 30 mpg.
It was clear that the car had been in the hot Japanese sun for its lifetime as both headlights were fogged. After a quick visit to U tube I managed to sort them out with paste polish and toothpaste! Also the interior overtaker mirror appeared to be crumbling and dropping little plastic 'bits' all over the fascia. A coating of clear varnish has resolved that too! Just a couple of minor electrical issues to resolve such as the rear window heater not working 100%, I suspect a weak connection somewhere. Also someone has bypassed the interior lights fuse and fitted a fog light, maybe to meet UK standards(?). I'll need to address that. Cool
Mechanically she is fine. I do notice however that on cold mornings the gearbox takes a little while to warm up leaving the change up especially from 1st to 2nd with a bit of a 'jump', this gets better pretty quickly but I am wondering if maybe the oil might be too thick. Would the half shaft nuts need inspecting? Any ideas?
Hope to send some photos but I just got a new HP computer which doesn't seem to like the Google photos taken with my phone...don't you hate tekkie gizmos??
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