View Single Post
Old 03-03-2018, 06:14 PM   #308
PC Perfectionist
jbenekeorr's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Leicestershire
Posts: 353
Thanks: 265
Thanked 788 Times in 166 Posts
Part 21 - Arm Ache

Hi all,

I thought we were about due an update.

There have been no further issues with the ABS so far, and the car appears to be performing well! I have mostly just been enjoying driving it recently.

After washing the car, I noticed the exhaust tips had got a bit grubby and lacked their usual shine, so I cracked out the Autosol and brought the tips, back boxes and central undertray back to a nice shine.

Quick picture after a wash

I tried out some Meguairs Ultimate Quik Wax which I got at christmas. It was actually still working well after 10 days which was impressive.


I recently went to Center Parcs, so this was a good opportunity to give the MINI a decent run (around 60 miles) which is acutally the longest trip i've done in it! The car performed flawlessly. It's not exactly relaxed on the motorway, as it sits at around 3000rpm and feels very 'urgent' like it wants to go! But it did a great job overall, defending its honour in the outside lane with the sales reps!

Dropping my bag off

I also met up with some of my old colleagues on the way home and shoehorned 4 of us into the car - the back legroom really is poor. All the more reason not to be the designated driver!!


As I now had a spare speedo/rev counter surround, I decided to get it painted to match the other gloss anthracite trim rings. As I mentioned before - it seems as though MINI never made a surround in this colour for cars with the Chrono pack.

I don't really like painting stuff as I have very little patience or skill

Anyway, I bought some BMW Sparkling Graphite paint from Halfords. This is (I believe) identical to MINI Dark Silver which is the dark grey colour you see quite a lot of R53's in, and also happens to be the colour used for the graphite interior trim.

I removed the small piece of black plastic in between the two gauges and set it aside, then wet sanded the surround to remove all the silver paint (I think I got a bit carried away).

I hung it from some speaker wire off the apple tree in my back garden, in an attempt to be able to spray all parts evenly, however it was too cold and too windy. So I resorted to my usual method of putting some newspaper down in the garage and accidentally painting everything in the vicinity including my own hand. I found that warming the paint and primer in a bowl of water helped them perform much better in the low temperatures.

I applied 3 coats of primer, sanding with 1200 grit in between coats. 3 coats of paint, and then several coats of lacquer - however I couldn't get much gloss from it which I later found was probably due to the lacquer itself which is Halfords' own and gets very poor reviews, so I ordered a different kind from Amazon which gave much more gloss after a couple of coats. I can see there's some considerable 'orange peel' in the finish (probably due to it being about an inch deep in lacquer now!) but i'm going to leave it indoors to harden for a week or so, to see if I can lightly wet sand it with 2000 grit and polish it up to get a better finish.

I will also paint the airbag ring and rear cup holder trim when I get round to it.


The only thing letting the exterior down was the condition of the wheels. I did get some quotes last year to get them refurbished in black and silver. The cheapest coming in at about 250. I simply don't have the money to spend on refurbishing them, so I had a look around online to see if there was anything I could do myself. The black part of the wheels is in OK condition, but the diamond cut shiny part was totally trashed on all 4 wheels - the lacquer has completely failed leaving them looking rubbish. I couldn't find any guides on polishing or re-lacquering them when I looked last year.

I spend a lot of time on YouTube in the evenings, and had stumbled upon a series of videos with a chap resurrecting a Daihatsu Cuore Avanzato (one for the Gran Turismo generation). A link to his channel:

Whilst binge watching his whole project, I found a video where he tackled the weathered diamond cut wheels on the car. The process was really simple - sand off the failed lacquer and diamond cutting marks, then polish the surface with metal polish and protect.

As my wheels were in such terrible shape, I figured that I had nothing to lose, and as the forecast was pretty bad - parked the car up and removed a wheel.

I bought an extra tube of Autosol metal polish from Halfords (lucky find in a bargain bin for 2 with damaged packaging). I couldn't decide between a polishing wheel for the drill, or a foam polishing pad. In the end, I just bought both. Links below:

Here are some pictures of the state of the wheels - you can see how badly the lacquer has failed. There are quite a few kerb marks on the very edge of the rims, however weirdly none of the 'kerb rash' you often see where someone has completely ground the whole face of the wheel along a kerb stone.

After experimenting with various different grades of wet & dry paper, I went with the following sanding process:

400 grit (later moved to ScrewFix's 320 grit paper which is far better to work with and cheaper than Halfords') to remove the lacquer and diamond cutting marks
800 grit
1200 grit
2000 grit

This process refines the initial scratches down to a point that it can be polished up to give a good finish. It takes a long time to sand each wheel to a standard i'm happy with, around 2 hours per wheel.

I then use the cylinder polishing wheel with some Autosol to bring it up to a shine. At this point, I inspect the surface for any marks which I haven't thoroughly sanded out, and re-sand anywhere necessary.

The black painted surface of the wheels is quite dull, so I just use some left over AG SRP with the foam polishing pad on the drill. This does bring up the black surfaces really nicely, but the size of the pad and the fact it's attached to a drill means it isn't a great solution - as the drill will 'grab' if the pad gets caught in between the spokes, almost ripping the drill out of my hands. This, coupled with running at maximum RPM under heavy load for extended periods has taken its toll on my long suffering Argos drill. After the pad catching in the spokes and stalling the drill one too many times - it began to make an awful noise! I believe it is stuck on the 'hammer drill' setting and smells terrible when it runs now - but i've shown no mercy and continued to run it at full speed and will do so until it dies! I also polish the inside of the wheel with SRP, just to make it look a bit more presentable.

After this, I apply a couple of coats of FK1000P to the whole wheel and reinstall on the car.

I decided not to try applying lacquer to the surface, as it seemed like a bit of a minefield trying to get one that would adhere to the polished metal surface properly, so I will see how it goes without any lacquer for now. I plan to just keep on top of protecting the surface and re-polishing if necessary.

I have done three of the wheels so far, however the snowfall has delayed me doing the last wheel. Here are some pictures of my work so far.

First wheel - test patch sanded

And polished - initial impressions are very good!


One afternoon later - first wheel is complete. So pleased with the outcome - a lot of effort but very little financial outlay!

Once this snow clears up, I'll be able to put wheel 3 back on the car, then remove and polish wheel 4. Luckily I have been able to press the Discovery into full service, and leave the MINI safely behind the gates until it warms up.

This is how it sits currently. My poor jack was completely covered until this lunch time

The MPG is showing no signs of improving... That may be my fault though

Thanks for reading.
jbenekeorr is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to jbenekeorr For This Useful Post:
Bustanut (17-03-2018), Cookies (03-03-2018), DC240S (03-03-2018), dchapman88 (03-03-2018), Disco Smudge (03-03-2018), JB052 (04-03-2018), JR1982 (03-03-2018), OldskoolRS (04-03-2018), Sicskate (03-03-2018), Starbuck88 (07-03-2018), ttc6 (07-03-2018)