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Discussion Starter #1
I took delivery of my Mini in Sept 01, after which I had to call the Fire Brigade out do to smouldering......The grass on my drive was sticking to the cat/manifold and burning. I have since been told that I must not go anywhere that incorporates driving over or parking on grass. Not a problem at the moment as the grass is not growing, but, what are we all going to do in the spring. BMW say that this problem occurs in all low suspension cars, but I don't see any TVR's or Lotus with the problems at the car shows I visit.
 

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Would we be right to assume you've been on Watchdog? or was that somebody else with the same problem and answer?
 

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i never had the problem with the Lotus
many a Lotus day at Brands Hatch involved dozens of Lotuses parked on the grass verges

think someone is feeding you some billy bull!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
smouldering !!!!

Yeah, that was me on Watchdog, and I have been told by BMW that its a problem unique to me and there's nothing wrong with the design, but, they will not write to confirm to me that it will not catch fire at any time because of this problem. I am now keeping a keen ear to the ground to see if the problem arises with anyone else as people begin to visit boot sales etc.....I'm not happy driving around a car with £25 fuel in it and 2 kidz in the back !!!!!
 

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To operate properly the catalytic convertor needs to reach a temperature in excess of 400 - 800 degrees Celsius, which would explain why there is a risk of fire!

It does state in the manual that you should be careful of parking on grass. It generally isn't a problem but it is something to be aware of.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
but, monsta, the major problem is that this occurs with me just driving up my driveway which is 200 metres long, the grass is less than 2" long, I am aware that the cat runs at that heat, but I ask you, acar that I've paid £13k for that I can't use when the grass grows !!!!
 

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monsta said:
To operate properly the catalytic convertor needs to reach a temperature in excess of 400 - 800 degrees Celsius, which would explain why there is a risk of fire!

It does state in the manual that you should be careful of parking on grass. It generally isn't a problem but it is something to be aware of.
that would explain why we never had problems with the Lotuses
we took out the Cats for more power :D
 

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songsungblue said:
but, monsta, the major problem is that this occurs with me just driving up my driveway which is 200 metres long, the grass is less than 2" long, I am aware that the cat runs at that heat, but I ask you, acar that I've paid £13k for that I can't use when the grass grows !!!!
So you're telling me that if you start the car (engine cold) you can only drive 200m before the grass starts to burn?

Ask for another MINI to see if it happens.
 

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songsungblue said:
but I don't see any TVR's or Lotus with the problems at the car shows I visit.
On a Lotus the exhaust/Cat is behind the rear mounted engine. And on a TVR the Cat is fitted immediatly in front of the engine before the exhaust go under the car.

Not your point I know but I have heard of similar problems with long grass from most major manufacturers VW Ford GM etc.

Griff
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Basically what happened in the Autumn is that I would drive the car down the lane and about another mile to the school, by the time I reach the school, there is an intense smell of 'bonfire' in the car, the 1st time it happened I parked up, lifted the bonnet to be greeted by plumes of evil smelling smoke. The 2nd time, the smoke was less, but the bonfire smell greater. I believe that the loose or damp grass/hay etc sticks to the cat, then by the time the cat heats up it begins to smoulder. My husband owns a Daimlar, this is lower than the Mini and doesn't have the problem. I wonder how many people will suffer when attending Spring/Summer events that include grass parking, cos lets face it at most events you are expected to park on the grass. I love my mini. but if BMW can't give me a guarantee that it'll not be a dangerous problem, What Then ?????? Sell It...I don't want to, I waited too long for it !!!!!
 

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I understand you point but without know what your drive is like it is hard to say. Any chance of seeing a photo of the offending grass??

Does this happen everytime? Or just on occasions?? My exhaust used to smell when I first got it, how many miles have you covered in you MINI now??
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No offence taken my dear !!!!, I've now covered 6800 miles in the car. The driveway has mostly since been dug out by a mini (hahaha) digger, in order to aleviate the immediate problem, but, what about car shows, boot sales etc ??????. It was definately smouldering grass, I went to the dealership and saw the underneath. It appeared to have picked up loose grass/hay etc, not the stuff that was attched to the ground and growing !!!!, so perhaps farmers (not that I am one) should steer clear of buying minis or driving them around harvest time hahahaha
 

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It does seem to only be you that is suffering with this. We have seen many problems on MINI2 and this is the first one to do with the cat.

I think the best way to test it is to go to a Mini Show this year with some other MINIs and see whether it happens to them as well! Take a photo or video it and then go back to BMW and get a new Cat fitted.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It does just seem to be me, but then this problem only occured in Sept/Oct, there may be more occurences when the grass starts growing in the Spring, lets face it there's alot more Minis on the road now than there was last Autumn
 

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Grass fires have been a problem ever since the catalytic converters were mandated. I thought the MINI has a heat shield, but perhaps it needs to be redesigned. I'm not positive, but I think I read that the MINI has two CATs, one at the exhaust manifold and one toward the rear, but I could be mistaken. The front one would explain the strong burning smell from the engine bay.
 

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I think it's a rare problem.

It is not MINI specific, and does apply to all cars with a low Cat. Some of our Oz and USA visitors (where they actually get HOT summers) are far more aware of this than those of us used to damp old British weather.

As you can see from this news article: http://www.mini2.com/news/news.php?id=71

I took a MINI off the beaten track, on hot and sunny days, and had no problems at all with the cat catching the grass etc.

I take it that despite all this the MINI has won your heart, or I guess you would be an ex-MINI owner?

:)
 

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My mini scrapes the exhaust over speed bumps, so must be one of the lowest cars on the road. As for grass, I have been to loads of shows and have never smelt fire from my car or any other.
:D
 

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songsungblue said:
....the major problem is that this occurs with me just driving up my driveway which is 200 metres long, the grass is less than 2" long, I am aware that the cat runs at that heat, but I ask you, acar that I've paid £13k for that I can't use when the grass grows !!!!
Cars in the US have had catalytic converters since 1975 and the fire risk of driving through (or parking on) tall grass has been publicly well known here since that time. So the fire risk is not in any way unique to the MINI itself.

You mention that your driveway grass is only 2" tall. I think everyone will agree that the MINI has more than 2" of ground clearance, so what you seem to be saying is that your driveway has a pair of wheel tracks with a raised center portion bringing the 2" tall grass up much higher than the level of the ground where the tires travel. In my opinion you do not have a car problem, you have a driveway problem. The MINI is not designed to be an off-road vehicle and that is essentially what you are asking it to be.

So, instead of getting rid of the MINI, why don't you consider altering the construction of your driveway so it is less "off-road"? Perhaps re-grade it to remove the pronounced center hump, or something similar? :)
 
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