Despite being a web developer I have until today never posted on a forum before, so please forgive me if I don't quite get the etiquette right - I'm sure I'll learn.
I've been prowling around this forum for months picking up buying tips prior to getting myself a Cooper S (Gen 1 R53) and subsequently looking for tips on modding etc.
To introduce myself, after having had original minis for 10 years or so from 17 I graduated via a TVR to a 911 which I've had for the best part of 20 years now and still own. Mechanically the 911 is still excellent (having had a full rebuild at 150k about five years ago), but the body is now beginning to go so I've taken it off the road and got myself a nice little blue R53 Cooper S Works. (Pic below with luck; although having some issues with how this works).
I got the Mini as I figured it'd be a bit of fun whilst I got the 911 back in shape, but am already finding that I enjoy it easily as much as the 911, and whilst I am unlikely to get rid of the 911, the little Min has certainly wormed its way into my affection over the last four weeks.
It is quite a high spec car: 04 plate Indy blue with white roof, chrome mirrors, aero kit, 18" split rims with Yokohama 215x35s, full 210 Works kit, JCW suspension, sunroof, Harman Kardon, Mini Disc (yes!), CD changer, Sat Nav, full leather, Xenons, allround black windows except the front screen, (a bit bling for me, but I'm getting used to it). It is quite low miles (60k) and in pretty much immaculate order both inside and out (as well as underneath and under the bonnet).
Since I bought it I have fixed a couple of minor things such as the brackets for the front spoiler, changed the oil and filter and fitted Powerflex bushes to the front arms, steering column, front anti-roll bar and the lower engine mounts.
The decision to fit the Powerflex bushes was made after the journey home when I found that when giving it a good stab of throttle at around 6k it jumped rather frighteningly left or right, something I ascribed to worn bushes on the front arms. Whilst I had the subframe dropped I thought I might as well replace the other bushes at the same time - something I am now regretting.
So I now come to my questions (of which I have many, but will keep most for later).
1. With regard to the handling, despite the addition of the Powerflex bushes (including the Motorsport kit) the handling under full power is still somewhat scary. The car rides on 18" rims with 35 profile 215 Yokahama Paradas which I suspect may be the cause of the issues. Under full gas the car will track left or right depending on the road surface - something that is quite unnerving and makes me only use full gas on smooth straight bits of road - bit of a shame really. Anyone got any ideas on what the cause might be? Anyone come across this before? I suspect it's what's known as 'bump steer'.
2. The powerflex engine mounts have revealed another issue - as they isolate the engine much less than the OE items the vibrations at tickover now transmit into the car in a most unpleasant way (especially if the aircon is on). Does anyone know of a way to increase the tickover rpm? It seems that (presumably in the name of emissions) the tickover is set a little low, but with the OE bushes the vibrations are isolated sufficiently. I can go back to OE bushes (and will if there's no alternative) but it seems to me that the idle speed is slightly low, which can't really be good for the motor and I'd rather correct the problem than mask it.
Appreciate your views and any other pointers and tips for ownership, modding etc.