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Old 05-18-2013, 12:21 PM   #1
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Mini Toad? Please Share Your Experience...

Hi All,

A fair amount has already been posted on this topic, but not much recently, so as a Mini Cooper toad advocate, I thought I'd reboot the conversation.

We have toad a 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S (4 door) 6 spd manual for several thousand miles with our Discovery 36t DP, "Maxine". We pull the Mini 4-down using a Blue OX Aventa system coupled with a Brake Buddy classic.



Observations:

1. No steering wheel lock--late model manual shift Minis are meant to be toads. This was a happy accident, mind you; we owned the Mini before we purchased the Discovery. But no steering lock is such a convenience, I don't think I'd push a motorhome with anything that didn't have that feature.

2. We do not use the Mini lighting system (or any power). Instead we have LED brake/tail and running lights mounted to a luggage rack on the Mini's roof. I also added an LED brake/tail light bar that mounts magnetically to the rear hatch.

3. Mini 12V dash plug does not have the amperage to run the Brake Buddy. Instead, I use a portable 12V power system that will provide reliable juice for a long day of braking.

4. We can unpack, connect/disconnect and stow all the Blue Ox towing gear in less than 5 minutes, including lights, etc.. What I really like is that once it's disconnected, the Mini doesn't have a big bracket grafted to it's front end. Everything is hidden behind the lower front grill. I do have to use a 6" drop hitch to keep the Aventa towing arms level. Based upon what I've seen in my travels, I think level towing arms is a safety rule often overlooked by MH owners.

5. Our Mini weighs 3200 lbs, which is fairly light. Even still, I wouldn't think about towing it without supplemental braking. The Brake Buddy really helps with the stopping distance, especially if it's a panic stop. I'm sure other supplemental braking brands would do just as well. Besides, supplemental braking is the law most places, and I wouldn't want to jeopardize any insurance claim, should I ever be unfortunate enough to have an accident.

6. I have had warranty work done on my Mini at the dealership where we purchased it, and no one has ever mentioned the modifications made for towing. I suppose if the warranty work was due to my installation of the towing hardware, then we'd have to have a conversation about coverage qualification, but several visits later and not a peep from the service department.

7. The Mini odometer does not register any miles towed.

8. We are averaging 10 mpg with the toad (5.9 Cummins ISB).

That's our experience: Mini Cooper toad = no complaints.

Please share yours.

p.s. Our Discovery is dubbed "Maxine" because she's a Maxi towing a Mini.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:29 PM   #2
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Guess I'll chime in here as you've had no other responses !!

As you can see we also tow a Mini -- we purchased it used for the purpose of using it as a toad for our HR Vacationer 30 SFS -

We purchased the Blue Ox products - Alpha Tow Bar, baseplate and Patriot Brake System. DH installed the baseplate. It hardly shows at all in the front grill area. Our Mini Cooper "S" weighs about 2600 lbs. It is a manual transmission 6 speed. We use a 4" drop hitch.

DH set up a small battery in the trunk area of the Mini that the Patriot Brake System is connected to thus alleviating any power drain on the Mini. DH also did not want to cut into the wiring for brake and turn signals for towing so he has lights set up on the back cargo shelf of the Mini. Very easy set up and take down.

Our 2007 Mini requires the "key bob" in the dash slot for the steering column not to lock up while towing. We are not 100% certain about the odomoter while under tow as we have towed it approximately 1200 miles and we did not check it.

We love the Mini - it is a fun car.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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We also towed a Mini for several years. Ours was a 2005 S Convertible. Loved that car. Fun car with lots of pluses. We would have kept it but our twins just simply outgrew the back seat.

We're looking at toads again, but we will probably go with a Wrangler Unlimited this time.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:06 PM   #4
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We tow a 2007 MINI Cooper S. Ours has the key fob which releases the steering for towing. Our odometer does turn the miles when towing. We do not use a suplemental braking system. Tows great, braking not an issue. Lots of fun once we get to our destination. Would recommend the MINI as a tow vehicle anytime.
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Old 05-20-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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Thanks to all for sharing your Mini toad experiences.
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Old 05-21-2013, 09:37 PM   #6
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We have a 2006 MCS convertible with six speed manual. Steering wheel is unlocked as long as the key is left in and in the off position. However with tow lights hard wired with diodes, the brake lights do not come on unless the key is at least in the accessory position. So, we have a hot wire from the coach to keep the battery charged. The odometer does not register when towing. We use an SMI Duo Stay n Play supplemental braking system and Roadmaster Stowaway towbar. All works great behind our 2013 Itasca Sunstar 35F.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:29 AM   #7
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Using Mini Lights

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winniecruise View Post
We have a 2006 MCS convertible with six speed manual. Steering wheel is unlocked as long as the key is left in and in the off position. However with tow lights hard wired with diodes, the brake lights do not come on unless the key is at least in the accessory position. So, we have a hot wire from the coach to keep the battery charged. The odometer does not register when towing. We use an SMI Duo Stay n Play supplemental braking system and Roadmaster Stowaway towbar. All works great behind our 2013 Itasca Sunstar 35F.
I considered similar brake wiring on mine, but ruled it out because of the requirement to have the key/fob in for the lights to work.
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Old 05-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #8
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We have towed our Cooper S six speed for the last five years with no problems. We have run flat tires and can hook up in 2 minutes or less (especially if it is raining.). DW takes care of the inside and I do the outside. We have had many good times with the Cooper, including driving The Tail of the Dragon in TN, and many of the winding roads in AZ. The supercharged engine is a driver's delight.
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Old 05-28-2013, 09:50 PM   #9
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Greetings all!

I'm new to the irv2 Forum and just bought a 32' v10 Holiday Rambler to get launched in the retirement world.

I also have a Chili 2009 JCW. Love the car. I drive Mini a lot - hence, the 106k on the clock.

I really want to flat tow Mini but BMW says 'no'.

Worse yet, there's a guy who makes his living repairing only Mini's in the Detroit area (Chad) - one of the Mini wizards around. He told me he rebuilt 2 R56 6-speeds for $3000 each this past year that had been flat towed. He said he'd never do it.

I really want to tow Mini. As a former manual transmission engineer, I understand the technical issues with the transmission.

Have you guys done anything special with trans lube or something else to mitigate the design challenges?

I really do want to pull Mini behind the Holiday Rambler.

Mini's look great behind Class A's!

Thanks

John
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:38 AM   #10
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GR8DaysAhead:

So your 'guy', what is the issue he sees flat towing a Mini six speed? We've had no adverse experience doing so, nor have we taken any extra preventative steps with the tranny.
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Old 06-01-2013, 11:11 AM   #11
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I've also had no adverse effects of towing a mini. In fact I don't think I've even seen a post on this site stating any major issues with towing a mini. My Mini has diodes that are directly connected into the mini electrical system. I have towed up to 7 hours without an auxiliary battery with no issues of power drain.
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Old 06-01-2013, 12:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GR8Daysahead View Post
Greetings all!

I'm new to the irv2 Forum and just bought a 32' v10 Holiday Rambler to get launched in the retirement world.

I also have a Chili 2009 JCW. Love the car. I drive Mini a lot - hence, the 106k on the clock.

I really want to flat tow Mini but BMW says 'no'.

Worse yet, there's a guy who makes his living repairing only Mini's in the Detroit area (Chad) - one of the Mini wizards around. He told me he rebuilt 2 R56 6-speeds for $3000 each this past year that had been flat towed. He said he'd never do it.

I really want to tow Mini. As a former manual transmission engineer, I understand the technical issues with the transmission.

Have you guys done anything special with trans lube or something else to mitigate the design challenges?

I really do want to pull Mini behind the Holiday Rambler.

Mini's look great behind Class A's!

Thanks

John

Last year when we shopped for the gear to tow a Mini Cooper, none of the manufactures had a baseplate available for the Mini Cooper JCW -
The John Cooper Works have a different front end. You may want to check on this in case something has changed.
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:10 PM   #13
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We also tow a mini. We bought the Mini specifically to be our toad.
It is a 2008 cooper S convertible (old body style/chassis)

It is manual transmission.
We tow 4 down using Blue Ox Aladdin Tow bar with 7" drop hitch
(towbar almost level)
Tailight wiring is entirely independent running off the motorhome. These bulbs and sockets were added into the taillight housing on the Mini and work perfectly.
Key needs to be in ignition, we keep it in the OFF position. Steering is unlocked, miles do not run up.
We use Roadmaster Evenbrake which does draw power from the Mini but doesn't seem to be a battery drain.

We've towed about a dozen times and about 2500 miles so far including a recent trip from Florida to Massachusetts.

Tows like a charm, can't even tell it's there without looking in the rearview camera.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:01 PM   #14
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I also tow my Mini and think its the perfect toad.... See attached picture... It's a 2003 5-speed with 150K on it and I tow it four down.... Never had a problem with it... Don't know it back there....

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