Monday afternoon, after getting the good news that I have shingles, my beloved MINI told me that we are no longer friends.
When idling in gear (clutch depressed), I can feel gear gnash. Shifting is very difficult. The car whines and groans. Boo.
We drove the car like that to Amanda's parents' house, and it was so bad by the time we got there that her mother suggested we borrow her car. I had to go back later with the truck and retrieve the car (thank God for my new winch!).
I put the issue out to the Internet last night, and the only suggestion I've gotten so far is that it's probably the throw out bearing. Frankly, that's better news than I'd expected, since the '02 - '04 Coopers use a piece-o-crap transmission made by Midlands. MINI switched over to Getrag in '05, but will not allow service departments to retro-fit the new unit to the old cars. I'm on my 2nd Midlands unit right now.
So the fix for the throw out bearing is to pull the entire front end off the car, pull the tranny, and spend the better part of a weekend nervous about forgetting something crucial. While I'm down there, I might as well replace the clutch.
But then there are some other problems with the car:
1. The driver-side sun visor is broken ($50?)
2. The left rear wheel-hub needs to be replaced ($230)
3. The windshield is cracked in 2 different places ($500?)
4. The front valence is cracked from an impact a couple of years ago ($400)
5. The steering rack is popping and grinding ($???)
6. The steering wheel is pretty badly worn ($350)
Now, I could luck out and find someone with a used front valence, or maybe the front from a red Aero Kit. I could also find a stock steering wheel from someone who's swapped to a racing wheel. But I'm figuring the total cost to keep my car running (and return it to near-new condition) is right around $2000. Yuck.