Big MoT Failure - Mini John Cooper Works

Published on 8 January 2024 at 11:17

Regular readers will know the story of Noisy Noddy - my 2008 Mini Cooper John Cooper works, he's also known as Fast Noddy or Naughty Noddy. Well this week he is definitely Naughty Noddy, he has been very bad indeed. His MoT was due, I had thought it was the 24th, turned out it was the 4th so I had to find somewhere that could take him in quickly. I hate doing that, I always like to have a week or so to fix any problems that might come up. I knew there was a chance that I would get at least an advisory for it being noisy but nothing prepared me for the failure list I was presented with.

There were 5 separate failures all to do with the decat, I didn't know this but if a car comes out of the factory with a cat fitted it's an instant failure if it is removed. There were a whole load of other failures associated with that although oddly the tester could not give me the read put from the computer that shows all the measurements. It's academic, it doesn't have a cat and it must have one so the straight pipe has been removed and a new cat is on order. They are not cheap, you have to have an approved one, it's a small job if you have access to a lift, which I do but it is an expensive one.

There were then 3 failures all relating to a front brake caliper being sticky - a new one us under 40 quid and replacing it is not exactly rocket science - it's the sort of thing you have to expect on a 15 year old car.

At the front one of the side light bulbs had fallen out, it was still working but was pointing down at the floor, that needed pushing back in. At the rear one bulb was out, very strange that the bulb failure monitor hadn't noticed, it's usually very fussy. A quick clean up of the terminals sorted that one.

Then there was a broken door handle on the passenger side, I knew it wasn't working but didn't think it was an MoT failure, turns out I was wrong. It's a cheap fix - about 30 quid but getting to it is an absolute nightmare - it took about 2 hours to strip the door, getting the glass out was an absolute nightmare. It is retained by two screws that don't come out all the way, they are supposed to come out far enough to clear the glass but mine simply wouldn't. It took a lot of faffing about but I got there in the end and found that the cable that connects the handle to the door lock had corroded at the top and pulled through the plastic fork that is supposed to pull on the cable. It's a flimsy set up, a a new one is on order and will hopefully be here at about the same time as the new catalytic converter.

He didn't like the front number plate, which is discoloured in places, that was only advisory though as a tax revenue generating camera can still read it. He did mention the noisy exhaust, I expect it will quieten down a wee bit with the cat fitted. He spotted a slight oil leak, again advisory and that the front tyres were worn. I thought that was a bit harsh as they are nowhere near the wear marks yet.

The one I have the hardest time with though is that he said the handbrake was below efficiency, yet it will do a handbrake turn without too much effort, the wheels can quite easily be locked up so I just don't get that one at all. If you pull the brake up hard it will lock both wheels to the point where they skid so I can't see how they can possibly lack efficiency. On the mini the handbrake is done by the disc brake rather than having separate drums and he noted no problem with the calipers so all that leaves is the cable, which is operating perfectly. I have cleaned it all up, lubricated everything and adjusted the cable to give a more even pull side to side but that's all I can do.

The headlamp aim was too low on both sides, I hadn't checked it after having the front end off last summer so that's my fault, although I have to say they seemed about right to me when driving the car so I will just have to check and adjust as required.

Another biggy was a corroded front sub frame - Minis are well known for this. They are steel and they rot, they have areas where water gathers, my car spent quite a bit of it's life living near the sea, which won't have helped. I am going to have to see what can be done there, I think the rules allow it to be welded but the MoT guidance is a bit vague and open to interpretation. Replacing it is a very big job, a brand new one is 450 quid, a good second hand one is a quarter off that if I can find one locally.

So most of it is sorted now but the car will be off the road for some time as I wait for parts and then put it all back together. If there is one message to take away from all this it has to be don't buy a car with a decat - the difference in performance is tiny, it won't pass an MoT and buying a new one costs a bloody fortune.



Add comment


There are no comments yet.