Ah yes, it's that time of year again, and Satan has concocted a new treat to destroy our waistlines:

That's right...I'm the proud renter of 4 boxes of GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! two of the new Pinatas and two of Samoas. The Pinatas are a new flavor, and they're very tasty: Sweet, not too heavy, and (unlike Samoas) they don't make you want to eat 15 at a time.

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And now, for posterity, the Saga of me, The Pup, and the brake pads.

Everyone knows I love autocross. It's fun, it's addictive, and it's not TOO hard on your car (first one in Lex is March 21st, mark your calendars!) Anyway, I compete in a very restrictive class, H-stock. Basically, you can't change much on your car except for wear items: Tires, shocks, clutch, and brake pads. Anything else, and you're bound for STS or Street Prepared, classes where a regular MINI's going to get its butt handed to it in short order.

'Newaz, the brake pads that come with MINIs from the factory are alright (they survived 10 autocrosses last year and were only 1/2 worn-out), but they make an inordinate amount of brake dust. BMW chooses 'em b/c they're very soft, quiet, and good when cold. However, they just don't cut it much when hot. So, I got a spanking new set of these babies:

No dust, and they're better when hot.

Now, I've never changed-out brakes before, but how hard could I be, right? :) Well, this was last Thursday. I was taking my MINI up to Cincinnati on Saturday for its 25,000 mile inspection (yup...had it like 1.5 years and already 25k....), so I wanted to get the pads changed before then. I had also worked a 14 hour day on Thursday, so I was in JUST the frame of mind to be working under a car using one dim lightbulb in my garage that has no power outlets (yet another reason I NEED A HOUSE!)

So I follow this procedure, and other than fogetting to torque-down the floating caliper (had to take the wheel off again and do it...), everything went famously.

Then I take the brakes out on the highway and discover a couple of things:

  1. My car doesn't like to stop

  2. When it does stop, it makes an ungodly amount of noise

Realize: I'm tired, high on brake cleaner, and grimy. And my car's busted. I've tinkered with cars a bit over the past few years, but I've never felt completely defeated. At that point, I felt like I'd been kicked in the nuts. I had this vision of me walking into S&S Tire in G'town and begging them to fix what I'd done....

. . . .

But, of all my qualities, I'm more stubborn than anything. So, I ditched work at 3 the next day (I'd already worked 57 hours that week...), asked for help from the powers that be at NAM and gone by the auto parts store. Their advice was twofold:

  1. Rough-up the rotors a bit so that the pads can bed-in properly

  2. put some anti-squeal coating on the backs of the pads

So, I took the whole works apart (familiar territory by now...I even figured-out how to use a jackstand as a afro-engineered 'brake caliper holder'), and did as I said. Didn't cure the squeal, but it did help the pads bed-in. She stops like a champ now.

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God help me when I get ahold of that rear swaybar I'm wanting. I'll probably destroy the whole rear subframe trying to get that installed....

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