CravenSpeed Short Throw Shifter

New week, new mod! 

This week's addition was something I have done to every manual car I've ever had, install a short throw shifter. I installed the awesome adjustable CravenSpeed short throw shifter.

I was never a big fan, ok, hated, how tall the stock shifter was. It felt like I was shifting a NASCAR at times. The range of height adjustment for the new shifter is pretty amazing. I have it set to its lowest level and it is perfect. I can't imagine ever raising it. If I needed to, then you just unscrew a collar, pull up and screw it down to lock it. Pretty simple. 

You don't realize how sloppy and how big the range of shifting travel is on the stock setup until you get a new shifter. This shifter reduces travel drastically! I don't think my shift knob goes past the diameter of the little shift circle housing. I don't know the exact travel reduction but I'm guessing its about 30-40%.

One underrated feature of the new shifter is the supplied bushings. Those are a must install. They eliminate the loose sloppy feeling found in the stock shifter. When I shift it almost feels like a magnet is pulling the lever into gear. The slop and delay is gone when you shift between gears giving me a clean and accurate shift. 

Overall, besides lowering springs/coilovers and a rear sway bar, this is definitely a "must do Mini mod". The shifter is one of the most used parts in a Mini so might as well give feel back to the driver. The CravenSpeed adjustable short throw shifter does just that. 

Yes, the Mini is a go-kart already, but now its really a go-kart!!

Good-Bye Ugly Wheel Gap!

I've had my Mini close to a year now and ever since day 1 that horrible wheel gap bothered me. I finally had enough and got her lowered! 

Further Performance in Minneapolis did a very professional job of installing my Bilstein B14 coilovers and also my NM 22mm rear sway bar and end links. 

Granted it is still winter in Minnesota so my Blizzaks are still on but I can instantly feel the advantage of having a lowered Mini. The slop in the steering wheel is instantly gone. When I turn, it turns. The delay of when I turn to when the car turns is gone.

With the soft sidewalls of my winter setup, it is really hard to get a true sense of what the coilovers and swaybar will mean to handling but I'm pretty excited about the results so far. 

Once I get my summer rims and wheels on I will lower the rear a little bit more. Then drive the heck out of it!


Belt-Line De Chrome

I love my Mini but I'm not a big fan of all the chrome on the car. 

I had access to some gloss black 1080 vinyl and cut them into 3/4" strips. I cleaned and washed the Red Devil up to remove any grease and winter fun on the chrome and installed the vinyl.

I think I am going to keep the chrome on the front of the car but ran out of vinyl before I could do the taillight surrounds. I'll get to them soon.

The door handle overlays were from The look and fit great. 

How To Keep Your F56 JCW Tuning Kit Always On

My normal routine every time I start up my Mini was this; press ignition switch, turn on my radar detector, switch mode to Sport and finally press the Bluetooth activator button to open my John Cooper Works tuning exhaust kit on. 

That button press is awesome, it makes my Mini sound mean and I love how it sounds once that button opens the valve up. Mini "says" that the track mode is only supposed to be used for the track, not normal daily driving ......... rightttttttttt.

I along with other Mini drivers who have this setup have in one way or another experienced the exhaust valve randomly closing during drives. Mini doesn't know what causes it and theories have blamed the Apple Watch to rush hour traffic interference causing the valve to close. 

I always wished there was a way to just keep that exhaust on without having to press the Bluetooth button or getting a whole new exhaust. Searching the internet I found the solution I was looking for, and it takes 2 seconds to accomplish.

To keep your JCW valve permanently "on" follow these simple steps:
  1. Start your Mini. You will leave it on the whole time.
  2. Open the JCW valve on by pressing the Bluetooth remote 2x
  3. With the car on and valve activated, open the rear access panel located at the passenger side of the trunk
  4. Locate the exhaust control module
  5. Simply unplug the wiring harness
  6. Close the hatch and your exhaust will always be in track mode, no matter how many times you shut off and start your Mini
  7. Go for a drive and enjoy your Mini the way it should be enjoyed!

The solution was first posted here -

The Big Pair

The Big Pair
The Big Pair from CravenSpeed (pic from CravenSpeed)

I wanted to buy myself a Christmas present (like I actually need and excuse to buy a car related item) and was torn between The Big Pair chassis brace from Cravenspeed or a strut tower brace.

The Big Pair out of the box
My goal was to stiffen the Mini, coming from all-wheel drive cars not having power in the back really made my Mini feel like it is loose especially on fast sweeping turns.

I decided to go with the Big Pair because it looked just like what I needed to stiffen the chassis. I know a lot of people use strut tower braces but I always felt like those were more of a show piece than a functional piece. 

Immediately as soon as I opened the box with the Big Pair I was amazed. They are extremely stout pieces of aluminum! The pictures online don't do these justice. For a minute I thought I got the wrong parts because they were so big. 

Side by side.... wow.
Installation was very easy. The instructions didn't have the size of the socket and Torx bit I needed so it took a few trial and errors to find the right tools. The smaller brace needs an 18mm socket. The big brace needs a T45 (not a 40 like the instructions say) Torx bit. You use the original hardware so basically unscrew, replace, screw back and done.

Putting the original brace next to the Big Pair brace and you can truly appreciate how awesome these parts are. It's almost laughable that Mini would outfit the cars with those flimsy braces. I knew they were thin but never realized it until I had them in my hand. They were thinner than my iPhone!

I'm very happy I decided to go with The Big Pair over a tower brace. I know these will accomplish what I wanted for my Mini. Granted since its winter I won't really be able to test the lack of flex until the snow melts but I know it will stiffen the ride. 

CravenSpeeds Site