Cars, Humor
Comments 10

Thanks Mini, for getting sick before the dead of winter.

Team WideEyedFunk spent 5 hours in the garage Saturday, transplanting the Mini Cooper S’s failing electronic thermostat housing. It wasn’t quite freezing outside and I could feel my toes for most of the afternoon. Sure, some nice folks at the Mini dealership could have done it for us, and I could have stayed all warm and toasty on the sofa. But, the WideEyedHousehold is cheap.


The sick Mini.


Team WideEyedFunk support staff.

We suited up in chilly weather gear, prepared the surgery table, and started the multi-hour Mini evisceration. First the air box came out. Good thing we had a new air filter ready, the old one was caked with Buffalo street filth. Poor Mini was feeling asthmatic.


Surgery table.


The Mini’s sinuses were crusted with urban decay.

We unplugged a couple of vacuum hoses, a bunch of electronic stuff, and yanked out the wiring harness box. We drained most of the antifreeze out of the engine. Messy, like pumping a stomach. Then, the WideEyedSpouse leaned deep into the engine and unhitched six hoses from the thermostat housing. Some went to the turbo cooling system, some feed the heating system somehow, and a really big one shot back into the water pump. That one vomited some nasty when it came undone. The old thermostat housing had caked up leaky holes marks all over it. I was driving a Mini that was ready to puke out its guts all over some busy, probably rainy, highway. Poor Mini. Poor me.



In less than an hour (listening to iTunes radio playing hipster songs) we plonked the new housing on, shoved the hoses on, plugged in the vacuum hoses, reattached a bunch of electronic things, put the air box back, and zip tied the crap out of anything loose. The WideEyedKitchen sacrificed the iced tea jug for mixing the Mini soup, er, antifreeze and we fed the little guy some juice.


Transplant complete.

In an act of great bravery, we zipped down a dark and rainy Main Street to pick up our large pepperoni. The Mini held strong. Go Mini. Go Team WideEyedFunk. Wish us all luck when the water pump goes – and please, think warm thoughts in that wish. None of us feel like cranking apart the passenger side of the car to transplant that in January. But we’ll do it. Because we’re cheap. And because we want the Mini to feel ok.


  1. That is the craziest thermostat housing I have ever seen. Not the normal bell housing that sits atop a normal, spring type thermostat that located conveniently around the top of the engine This housing was an electronically controlled junction point for all the cooling lines for the entire engine…inconveniently located on the side of the engine underneath a mass of wiring, the air intake, and the vacuum lines for the turbo. The hoses were all positioned to make removing the spring clips as difficult as possible. Apparently the plastic thermostat housing and water pump normally go out at around 50,000 miles. Well, the thermostat is replaced…hopefully the water pump will last. At least that will be easier to change when it does go. Was it worth it? You tell me. Price to to have the dealer do the work…$600, cost doing it ourselves…$121 for the thermostat housing and gallon of Mini coolant. Sure, it took 5 hours, but I love working on cars. All in all…a nice day fixing the car with my most favorite work buddy the WideEyedFunk, hanging out with the dogs, and listening to cool music on itunes radio. Plus I managed to come out of it with no major cut s and no broken bones, just some minor abrasions and bruising.

    • It wouldn’t be a WideEyedHousehold repair if someone wasn’t sporting contusions, abrasions, or plain old wounds at the end.

  2. OK I get the dis-assembly part. It’s the re-plugging, re-attaching, re-fixing and plonking back together that always swamps my abilities (or patience?).. And who knew all those weird parts even existed? I’m a little jealous. I mean that.

    • We cheated of course. I labeled everything and took pictures with the digital camera so there’d be no mysteries on the reasembly. Of course, the Spouse has that strange aptitude and we knew we could always get a tow to the dealer!

  3. danny says

    Machines are alive. One needs to love the machine. Care for it. Listen to it when it tells it’s operator something is wrong. And there is great pleasure in personally preserving the machine’s longevity. And it is happy. And it treats the operator well. Mutual respect. Symbiosis.

  4. Momtowideeyedspouse says

    The average Joe would hide any leftover parts under the lawnmower, not to be found again until spring. Great job wideeyed team!

    • Heh, the leftover parts are actually bits of broken plastic clips. Car designers should give some thought to using a little less plastic in the engine compartment! But hey, that’s why someone invented zip ties!

  5. Dwain says

    I hate nuts and bolts and working on cars. I’m a hammer and nail guy. You can fix mistakes by pulling the nail out or bending it over.

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