Well, Iím almost done. All that remains is securing the lower heat shield and re-installing the upper heat shield followed by a good engine cleaning. Letís just say this project hasnít been easy and it didnít take me 5 hours as many have said it could. Iíve got closer to 10 invested in this project. Iím a novice shadetree mechanic and prefer to take my time. Iíve found that speeding through any repair only leads to frustration and headaches so Iíve learned to take my time. The more experienced mechanic would surly finish this in 5 hours or less.
Iíll overview my experience below to coincide with other write-ups that have previously been done. Every car is different and each present its own set of challenges so I figure sharing these will only help pay it forward. Iím sure more of these repairs will be attempted by MINI owners as this OEM part is clearly flawed by design and waiting to fail.
First, I wouldnít recommend buying the OEM replacement and risk doing this again. Get a good aftermarket stainless steel braided line from any one of the companies mentioned above. I went with Detroit Tuned and was happy with the line I received. It was more expensive than custom ordering a line to fit but less expensive than the OEM. And it took the risk and guesswork out of getting the part right the first time.
Second, get a new exhaust gasket to go between the turbo and downpipe. $10 from the dealer is worth the peace of mind knowing an exhaust leak wonít happen from reusing the old.
Before you begin, make sure you have the proper tools handy. This prevents chasing down tools and dragging this project out longer than necessary. This is based on first hand experience
Metric wrenches (the longer the better)
Metric Sockets (Regular and Deep Wall)
Ratchet with various size extensions
Reversible ratcheting metric wrenches (not a requirement but it would have been REALLY nice to have)
Oxygen Sensor Socket (I borrowed mine from Advance Auto)
Long Breaker Bar (My car was assembled by a Gorilla!)
PB Blaster (penetrating solvent)
Lots of elbow grease and patience
Other common tools
1. Top heat shield comes off.
a. The top 3 10mm screws are easy but the front 3 screws are a completely different story. I had to tape my short wrench to a 12Ē ratchet extension to reach the middle and drivers side screws. The torque on these wasnít much so the masking tape held up fine. I had to remove the drivers side screw from below but the middle and passenger side I was able to remove from above. TIP: Loosen the bracket holding the O2 sensor wire and rotate it up slightly to fully extract the passenger side screw.
b. Use the O2 sensor socket and breaker bar to remove the top O2 sensor from the downpipe. Give it a shot of PB Blaster if necessary. I tried an adjustable wrench but I couldnít get the right angle to get a good bite. I donít think it would have done any good anyways. This sensor wasnít coming out without some serious leverage.
c. Now work the heat shield free the grips of the engine and move on.
2. Use the O2 sensor socket again to remove the lower sensor from the downpipe.
3. Remove the V-Band Clamp connecting the downpipe from the rest of the exhaust. The bolt on mine had a good coat of rust. A wire brush and a little PB Blaster cleaned it up before I cracked it loose using a deep wall socket and a breaker bar. Did I mention a gorilla assembled my car? Use whatever method you can to expand the clamp enough to slide it towards the rear. This is a crappy design in my opinion. I used two screwdrivers and inserted them through the bolt holes in a crossing pattern and pried it open that way. Once you mess with it a bit, youíll get the idea. This didnít work so well getting it back on. I had to use some channel locks and strong muscles to work it back into place.
4. On to the lower heat shield now. Not quite as bad as the upper. From below the car, remove the 4 screws holding it to the other heat shield that is mounted to the engine. It has 2 screws on each side that are identical to the ones from above. Donít try and remove the heat shield just yet. Let it hand there for a bit longer.
5. The downpipe has a bracket welded to it that secures it to the engine. Remove the two nuts that secure this bracket to the engine. Theyíre in a vertical position. Once those are off, just above it are two copper nuts that hold two more brackets to the engine block in a horizontal position (these brackets are what the downpipe bracket was attached to). Loosen these brackets by removing the copper nuts halfway. Youíll need a deep wall socket.
5. Time to separate the downpipe from the turbo. Here again I used a deep wall socket and breaker bar. For me, two of the three studs came out. The top stud stayed in while the nut came off. For others, the studs stayed in place and just the nuts came off.
6. Work the downpipe off the stud(s). Since youíre no longer attached from below, you have the ability maneuver the downpipe quite a bit to get it free. Just maneuver the heat shield around to give you enough clearance to move the downpipe to the left. Once free, remove the downpipe from below the car and set it aside. TIP: Pay attention to which direction the gasket is facing and which stud the oval shaped hole is on for a worry free gasket re-install.
7. Remove the lower heat shield from below the car as well. This can be done without having to flex it or bend it in any way. I was able to maneuver it past hoses and other obstacles pretty easily.
8. Time to remove the last heat shield.
a. Youíll first have to swing the turbo support bracket thatís attached to the engine out of the way. Remove the bolt that attaches the bracket to the engine block. If you can, loosen the other end of the bracket but donít remove it. Again, the gorilla that built my car really didnít want this bracket to go anywhere. I couldnít get a socket on this bolt and I couldnít get a wrench to budge it either so I grabbed hold of the bracket and pulled with everything I had. After several pulls, I was able to get it to move over about 4 inches.
b. Finish removing the copper nuts from earlier and the two screws holding the top of the shield and itíll fall right out.
9. At this point I removed the OEM feed line from below the car and followed the directions provided by Detroit Tuned to install their aftermarket line.
10. Use brake cleaner to remove any dirt and oil on the heat shields and wipe down any areas in the engine compartment that have oil on them. Mine was heavily covered with oil so I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up.
11. Put it all back together in reverse order.