I have always wanted a Mini Cooper and I finally found a great one. I bought a 2011 Clubman that only had 3800 miles on it. Because I was looking for a good deal, I used a great app on my Android Thunderbolt called ‘Craigs List Notifier.’ Install this app and enter whatever it is you are searching for and whenever someone posts, it let’s you know by placing a notification on your menu bar. Very cool app. Because Coopers are sort of hard to find in the area where I live, getting the exact dream Cooper was a bit difficult. This Craigs List app would let me know when a Mini Cooper Clubman was listed on Craigs List and when the right one popped up, I was the first to pounce on it! The one I bought did not have all of the features I wanted but I knew I could add the amenities myself. For example, one of the options on this car is a rear view mirror that has an integrated HomeLink remote for your garage and/or gates. Since I have 2 gates and a garage door, this is a great feature for me in that it helps prevent having multiple remotes rattling around. Unfortunately, the Cooper I bought did not have one of these mirrors. I looked for this part online and was stunned to learn that they are $300 – $400!
Because I had done this modification on my previous vehicle (2003 Nissan Frontier), I decided to do the same to my Cooper. You can buy HomeLink transmitters on Ebay for less than $40 in most cases and can usually find them in either a tan or black color. I found a black one for $34 and decided to install it in the center light and sunroof control area.
The control area was easy to remove as the outer part simply snapped into place. Underneath the decorative outer part was plastic piece held in by two screws that held the internal parts all together. Since the lights were in this area, I had easy access to the one electrical requirement: a 12 volt power source that is always on (meaning, even when the car is not running, the power is on). Using a test light, I was able to easily figure out which wire to tap into. I grounded the switch to the bolt that holds the visor in place.
Mounting the HomeLink unit took a little bit of consideration. The HomeLink unit was a tight fit and I needed the buttons to mount to the decorative control piece without any obstructions. I used a Dremel tool to remove some of the structure on the inside of the unit to to allow room. I was very careful to avoid scratching or marring the decorative cover and once I was happy with the position of the unit, I put it all back together.
Programming the HomeLink is very simple and I found a videos on YouTube or follow these instructions.
The complete project took me about an hour and I am very pleased with how it turned out!