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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I'm the original owner of one of the first MCOs sold in the US and wondering what to do. This is an early build car (older style front suspension) with 190,000 miles. The clutch died and the dealership offered a ripoff price to replace it (and likely the flywheel). Local shops aren't much cheaper. I have another car so the Mini has been parked 3 years.

The good news is it had been quite reliable, easily passed smog test every time, body is in great shape. The only engine parts replaced were the vibration damper and alternator around 180,000 miles (obviously a lot of highway miles).

One mechanic warned me the car is a "grenade," as parts are removed to reach the clutch, more and more parts will break and need replacement. Since almost everything is original, there's a lot that can go wrong.

So the conflict is this, of course I like the car, want to fix and drive it, but will I end up regretting it once new problems come up (esp. if they result in engine or Midlands 5 sp rebuild)?
 

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Thanos, its a days work the first time to change the gearbox and install a new clutch and flywheel. Not a hard job and you would only need to replace the flywheel if it is badly overheated or scored, If it has mild hot spots, you can get it machined and be good to go. Modmini on YouTube has an excellent 2 part DIY for the cooper R50 clutch. There is nothing wrong with a midlands gearbox (easiest of them all to refurb as parts are readily available as long as the casing isn't damaged). The Mech (or claims to be) who said the car is a grenade has most likely no idea on how to work on a Mini or wants to charge like a wounded bull and bend you over in the process. The Midlands has a bad reputation due to lack of regular (30,000 mile oil changes) maintenance, are often laboured in 5th gear which stresses the heck out of the layshaft and bearing, or flogged to death by boy racers who cant afford an R53.

John Tee in the UK has a company which is very highly regarded and does a complete change over in a few hours with no issues so there goes the grenade theory !

minigearboxes.co.uk and has associates in the US.

If you can do DIY, I would highly recommend the over engine beam Modmini uses (I use one) as it makes working on the Gearbox/Clutch a lot easier than supporting the engine on a hydraulic jack and give you more room to work.

My R50 is a DEC-01 build and has 213000 plus km on the Orig gearbox (midland) and its second clutch and just had a spirited but sensible drive on a good twisty road on a club day outing today and never missed a beat and held its own with 28+ Cooper S's
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input. Yes, I've seen the youtube videos on how to replace the clutch, that in itself doesn't bother me other than conceptually, I have to dismantle half the car to get to it (time to fix those leaks I've been ignoring!). It's that I'm dealing with a car that has 190,000 miles (304,000 kms) and has been sitting for 3 years. Last time I started it was early July, tried again this weekend and battery is dead, can't even jump it. Overall what I'm afraid of is I replace the clutch, only to face another large problem a few months later.

Good point about checking NAM. I keep thinking how easy you guys have it, talking about clutch replacement for £600 -1000. Ha, the prices here are $2-3,000! Even going to independent shops doesn't help much because we get lumped into "European" or "German" car mechanics.
 
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