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Old Jul 21st, 2014, 10:49 PM
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United-Kingdom Pre-Road Trip Tips please!

Hello!

I’m new to posting here, but have looked for the "house rules" and hope not to be breaking any. I've been an enthusiastic forum reader for the past few months and have now bought a 2005 R52 Mini Cooper S convertible which my partner and I have plans to take on a 4,000ish mile round trip through Europe. Route is: France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and Belgium, and we depart in about a month.

I’ve had a search through the forums and have picked up some invaluable info on things not to forget, so thanks for the tips so far. However, after a brief flicker of the temperature light last weekend (more details below) I’m now thinking it might be a good idea to have a specialist give a few important components a once over before we set off. The car has a “full service history” with over 9,000 miles until the next one is due (according to its computer) but I understand there’s a whole host of issues which might jeopardise our trip regardless.

We don’t want to spend unnecessary hundreds, but likewise don’t want to be 1,000 miles in and blow a gasket, for example. Something like that would spell “game over”. With that in mind, (i) I’d be really grateful if people could offer their view on the most important pre-flight checks to perform, either by me or a local specialist.

On a specific note, (ii) I could also use a brief bit of info re the temp light issue. We took the mini for a brief run down to Bristol last weekend. It was the hottest weekend of the year and really great fun. However, I noticed that when we’d pulled over briefly the temperature light (not gauge, factory nav) flicked on briefly. It later did it again for a few minutes while in traffic. Each time the light went out again pretty shortly after resuming driving at speeds above 10mph. Upon inspection, the coolant reservoir was bone dry, so I picked up some coolant from a nearby Halfords and topped it up to “max” line. I allowed the engine to cool for at least 15 mins before pouring in the mixture, but it only took about 1L before reaching “max”.

Today I checked and the reservoir was empty again. This suggests a leak to me. However, I’ve seen other sites mention that the coolant capacity is 6L, so is there a possibility that it just took some time for the coolant to filter into the system, or is it most likely a leak? Looks like reservoir bottles, radiators and thermostat housings are weak in this model, so may be culprits.

Only other relevant bit of info is that just prior to heading to Bristol we had the garage we bought the car from fix the auto aircon unit, which had a faulty compressor. I mention this on the off chance that they may have removed the coolant and forgot to top it back up again.

Cheers in advance for taking the time to read. I hope to be able to contribute some info regarding getting green algae out of the convertible roof shortly (fingers crossed tonight’s third ordeal with Auto Glym has finally solved this issue, but will have to check the roof once fully dry in the morning).

I've attached a pic of the car (not the roof algae!) for those that appreciate that sort of thing.
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Last edited by StuJohns; Jul 22nd, 2014 at 09:23 AM. Reason: To clarify R52 is a MCS
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Old Jul 22nd, 2014, 10:48 PM
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Hi and welcome to Mini2!

If the coolant got low their may now be air locks in the cooling system which must be carefully bleed out. This takes time and patience on Mini's but is essential, search Mini2 on 'bleeding' and lots of info should come up. Also check all the common leak points you mentioned like thermostat housing for leaks if level still drops.

If the heater ever blows cold when set to hot this indicates very low coolant in the system so stop driving asap.
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