Our 1993 Mini Cooper Sent On Us A Ridiculous Hunt For Parts: Video

In which Tommy discovers the hard truth about running old cars, finding parts.

1993 Mini Cooper garaged
Won’t start: Tommy cranking, and cranking, and cranking the ignition to get the Mini running. Note the size of the ATV parked next to it. Who would’ve thought ATVs would get to be as big as cars? (Photos: TFLcar)

You would think finding parts for a 1993 Mini Cooper would be easy. After all, Mini sold 5.3 MILLION of these cars around the world through the years. But as Tommy finds out in this video, one of the biggest time sucks and sources of frustration is the hunt for elusive parts. A hunt made more difficult by the virus playing out across the world. It took months just to get this Mini working at all, and Tommy has three key items he needs to fix before the car runs reliably and safely: a new temperature sensor, new wheel bearings, and new tires.

The temperature sensor makes its lack of functionality known by the fact that the temperature gauge no longer works, and the engine won’t catch unless Tommy holds the ignition on for 90 seconds or more. But once it’s up to temperature, the car snaps to life instantly. The situation leads Tommy to believe that a bad sensor prevents enough fuel from reaching the cold engine.

Maximum Problems for the Mini Cooper

1993 Mini Cooper 1.3i engine
Tight fit! Deep inside the Mini’s 1.3i fuel-injected engine is a temperature sensor gone bad.

The wheel bearing issue makes itself known every time the Mini rolls down the street, with the wheels giving off a “whomp! whomp!” sound with every revolution. And the tires? They’re ancient, dry-rotted, and cracked.

The first step: To the Internet! After stops at TireRack.com, Seven Mini Parts, Mini Sport, Tommy finally strikes gold at Mini Mania. There he finds everything he needs (including a new set of wheels). He lines up a set of 165/60R12 Falken tires, wheel bearings, and that elusive temperature sensor. So far so good, the tires and the wheel bearings arrived, but the fuel sensor is still MIA. (Maybe Mini Mania is having trouble finding parts too?). At any rate, the lesson learned with keeping an old Mini on the road—or any 27-year-old or older vehicle—is patience. What you need to keep the vehicle running isn’t always ready to be found.

What’s Next?

Stay tuned for more updates and videos on Tommy’s Mini Cooper at TFLclassics. Our fingers are crossed that he gets it in ship shape and running reliably before winter sets in. Once he does, he’ll be on the hunt for a radio and reupholstering the seats.