This summer is flying by. Just yesterday I was getting ready for annual training at Fort Dix and now we’ll be off to the Monterey Historics in a few short weeks. Along the way, I had a chance to make a couple of mods to the Mini: a rear strut bar and the fog/brakelight mod.
Since I made the switch away from the runflats, I’ve been carrying a compact spare in the boot. Thanks to the nifty carrying bag I got from the Baglady, I have the spare, jack, and tools all in one convenient indi-blue package. It was previously secured by a complex web of bungie cords. I’ve been concerned what might actually happen to this +40 lbs package in the event of an accident or sudden stop. So I started looking for a way to secure it without throwing the weight into the seat-back. It finally occurred to me that I could get one of those strut bars for the rear and just tie the tire bag to it and the bar would take the weight of the tire and also strengthen the rear end. Win-win. I started looking at the usual Mini related websites and typically found one for around $130 but I didn’t want to spend that much, especially since I wasn’t really using it for it’s intended purpose. Once again, eBay came to my rescue. For about $70 delivered, I found what appears to be the same product. Installation took less than 10 minutes. The bar repositions the rear seats to a slightly more vertical position and creates a 1 1/2 inch gap between the seat back and rear package shelf, but when the hatch is closed you cannot really tell the difference.
You also lose some versatility by having the bar in the way of larger packages, but it comes out in just a few seconds with a 13mm wrench.