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Drivetrain R53 Engine Dampers - Yay or Nay?

  #1  
Old 02-07-2019, 05:47 AM
Oldboy Speedwell
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R53 Engine Dampers - Yay or Nay?

I'm still getting to know my MINI and I recently saw in a picture a mod I was unaware of, and came to find out it was a TSW ETD.

I didn't really know how much "rock" the R53 motor has because I never witnessed it. On my older cars with an actual throttle cable it was easy to stand there and modulate the the rpm's and see everything but the fly-by-wire throttle on an R53 would require someone else in the car revving so I could peek in for visual observation --- or mounting a camera in the bay which never crossed my mind.

So my question is:
Engine Dampers - beneficial or bullshite?

I'm tending to think it'd be beneficial and have been looking into it, but there is so much experience here I thought I'd post on the topic and hopefully get some feedback from more well-seasoned R53ers than myself who've actually installed and experienced these things.

There a 2 options currently available.

VIP offers a "dogbone" design:

http://www.vipcustomparts.com/engine%20parts%20page.htm

I found a really great engine bay video of it in action,
and it's interesting to watch!


Then there's the TSW design which seems to be the more popular choice as far as my research reading on NAM has led me to believe.

The TSW product is no longer available,
but WMW still sells the brackets:

https://www.waymotorworks.com/tsw-texas-speedwerks/

Sourcing an NRG damper to go with them is easy enough as they're readily available.

Here's a viddie of the TSW design in action, though not exciting as the viddie above because it's all at rest,
it's still interesting.


Interested to hear any feedback concerning this mod.

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:17 AM
MINI33342
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The first option is better than the next, BUT the best is to get a better torque bar (lower engine mount) and an upgraded upper engine mount.

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...k-engine-mount

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...iant=906436459

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...nt-gearbox-end
 
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Old 02-07-2019, 08:13 AM
Oldboy Speedwell
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Originally Posted by MINI33342 View Post
The first option is better than the next, BUT the best is to get a better torque bar (lower engine mount) and an upgraded upper engine mount.

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...k-engine-mount

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...iant=906436459

https://www.greeneperformance.com/co...nt-gearbox-end
Ah!

Very good point.
It had escaped my attention that the dampers were likely developed back before the Vibra-Technics uprated mounts came on the scene,
and perhaps they were like a band-aid fix for the stock mounts?

I do have the TSW upper version (similar to the Vibra-Technics) motor mount installed, and have poly bushes for the lower and trans mount but haven't installed those yet.

I do really like the look of the Vibra-Technic torque link and may end up getting one if I think the poly bushes don't give me what I'm looking for.

Thanks for your reply!
 
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:38 AM
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I put a VIP dogbone on mine shortly after purchase. Noticed an immediate difference. Never regretted it.
 
  #5  
Old 02-09-2019, 07:14 AM
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#JAB 67 -- curious to know what difference you noticed? Vibration, torque transfer, etc.?
 
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Old 02-09-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldboy Speedwell View Post
I do have the TSW upper version (similar to the Vibra-Technics) motor mount installed
So you already have an upgraded upper mount. Is the TSW stiffer than the OEM mount? If it's already stiffer (like the Vibra-Technics), then an additional upper engine damper won't make much of a difference. The add-on engine dampers were made to compensate for the spongy OEM mount.
 

Last edited by rkw; 02-09-2019 at 10:08 AM.
  #7  
Old 02-09-2019, 04:48 PM
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Controlling engine movement with an engine damper (or torque brace) is a "nice to have" until you install a header, then it becomes more vital, at least to the survival of the flex joint. (Ask me how I know. )

I have tried all the ones listed so far. Currently I am using a combination of Vibratech/Powerflex/VIP. If I was starting over again, I'd say that unless you are over 230HP, the Vibra-technics right-side, combined with the Powerflex (street) inserts for the lower mount and transmission mount would be a great cost-effective combination, with minimal increase in NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness).

There are other reasons to change engine mounts, chief among them is the notoriously leaky right-hand (or "Upper) engine mount. My dealer replaced two under the original warranty, and then I started looking for ways to stabilize the engine without introducing excessive NVH.

I added the original TSW damper, and didn't find it to be particularly effective (two rubber pucks inside the cylinder in the picture to limit travel), and it broke after six months. At that point, I added Powerflex inserts into the stock lower-link and the VIP damper up-top. That was a big improvement in the engine moving-around under accel & decel.

My third right-hand mount lasted much longer than the first two, and I think that was thanks to reducing engine movement with the Powerflex & VIP pieces; but once again failed with leakage. At that point I bought the TSW right-side mount as a replacement for OEM. This is the one that looks like a couple of polyurethane cones mooshed together. It worked, but NVH was increased enough to have the dash constantly buzzing at idle. After a couple months of that, I switched to the Vibra-technics right-side mount and never looked back. It's stiffer then OEM, works well, and less NVH than the TSW mount. That was maybe 5 years ago, and it has worked well up thru 230HP.

More recently I upped HP once again (284HP now), and at that point switched from street Powerflex inserts in the lower link to "race", and quickly switched to the Vibra-technics replacement link, because engine movement had re-appeared. (Part of this is the FX400 clutch, which is much more abrupt.) I am considering the Vibra-technics transmission mount (it's a pricey piece).

As always.... your mileage may vary.
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:17 AM
Oldboy Speedwell
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Originally Posted by rkw View Post
So you already have an upgraded upper mount. Is the TSW stiffer than the OEM mount? If it's already stiffer (like the Vibra-Technics), then an additional upper engine damper won't make much of a difference. The add-on engine dampers were made to compensate for the spongy OEM mount.
Yes, it's the mount similar to Vibra-Technics. It's the first thing I installed after purchase.

The previous owner had said he installed a brand new OE mount but after I had the car inspected after purchase at WMW it turned out to be leaking,
so I got myself one of the TSW mounts.

https://www.waymotorworks.com/tsw-en...6-r50-r53.html

Thanks for the reply.
 
  #9  
Old 02-10-2019, 06:29 AM
Oldboy Speedwell
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Originally Posted by Mini_Crazy View Post
Controlling engine movement with an engine damper (or torque brace) is a "nice to have" until you install a header, then it becomes more vital, at least to the survival of the flex joint. (Ask me how I know. )

I have tried all the ones listed so far. Currently I am using a combination of Vibratech/Powerflex/VIP. If I was starting over again, I'd say that unless you are over 230HP, the Vibra-technics right-side, combined with the Powerflex (street) inserts for the lower mount and transmission mount would be a great cost-effective combination, with minimal increase in NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness).

There are other reasons to change engine mounts, chief among them is the notoriously leaky right-hand (or "Upper) engine mount. My dealer replaced two under the original warranty, and then I started looking for ways to stabilize the engine without introducing excessive NVH.

I added the original TSW damper, and didn't find it to be particularly effective (two rubber pucks inside the cylinder in the picture to limit travel), and it broke after six months. At that point, I added Powerflex inserts into the stock lower-link and the VIP damper up-top. That was a big improvement in the engine moving-around under accel & decel.

My third right-hand mount lasted much longer than the first two, and I think that was thanks to reducing engine movement with the Powerflex & VIP pieces; but once again failed with leakage. At that point I bought the TSW right-side mount as a replacement for OEM. This is the one that looks like a couple of polyurethane cones mooshed together. It worked, but NVH was increased enough to have the dash constantly buzzing at idle. After a couple months of that, I switched to the Vibra-technics right-side mount and never looked back. It's stiffer then OEM, works well, and less NVH than the TSW mount. That was maybe 5 years ago, and it has worked well up thru 230HP.

More recently I upped HP once again (284HP now), and at that point switched from street Powerflex inserts in the lower link to "race", and quickly switched to the Vibra-technics replacement link, because engine movement had re-appeared. (Part of this is the FX400 clutch, which is much more abrupt.) I am considering the Vibra-technics transmission mount (it's a pricey piece).

As always.... your mileage may vary.

Excellent post!

Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience.

I'm still stock JCW 210 besides a 2% ATI crank pulley that the previous owner had installed. I've been having much fun as it is for the time being,
getting to know it and such, but eventually I'll start some modding as the temptation is too great.

284hp is highly impressive and I bet your car pulls like a beast!

Regarding the street Powerflex in the lower link,
did you use the black insert?
https://www.powerflexusa.com/shop/pr...?category=1447

I have read that some people leave it out for reduced NVH --- I was on the fence and was gonna install without at first to see how it goes, but now I think I'll go ahead and use the insert and then make judgement.

I'm not too worried about NVH outside of the rattle inducement as you talked about --- I still need to tear all my interior panels off and line them with foam + medical tape to try and reduce rattles.

I've got lots of parts/projects piled up but I've been waiting for spring until I start doing everything. I've had the car since April 2018 and outside of normal maintenance haven't really done any major teardown resto type of stuff, but I'm looking forward to sorting it out proper as well as adding my own personal stamp.

I much appreciate your detailed reply, thanks!
 
  #10  
Old 02-10-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldboy Speedwell View Post


284hp is highly impressive and I bet your car pulls like a beast!

Regarding the street Powerflex in the lower link,
did you use the black insert?
https://www.powerflexusa.com/shop/pr...?category=1447
I believe the Powerflex lower link bushing you are looking for is this one, PFF5-107 (rather than the number you listed):
https://www.powerflexusa.com/shop/pr...?category=1447

If you are comfortable with the NVH of the TSW mount, you can go with the "race" (or black) inserts. The street version for the big-end is a huge improvement, and it's easy. (Changing the bushing on the small-end of the link provides little or no change.)
Consider doing gearbox insert also, but stay with the street version until you need something more. (Lots of folks have done all three Powerflex bushings over the years, and then reported that they "backed-down" on the gearbox end from black to yellow, or yellow to none.

Oldboy Speedwell said: "284hp is highly impressive and I bet your car pulls like a beast!"

Yes, in understated Brit-speak: "Acceleration is brisk."
I think of it as less "beast" and more "torque-monster" with more than 200ft# of torque from 3000RPM to redline, and a peak of 230ft# @ 4400RPM. (Stock was 162ft# @ 4000.) And yet it looks fairly stock under the hood. I love driving it.
.
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Mini_Crazy View Post
I believe the Powerflex lower link bushing you are looking for is this one, PFF5-107 (rather than the number you listed):
https://www.powerflexusa.com/shop/pr...?category=1447

If you are comfortable with the NVH of the TSW mount, you can go with the "race" (or black) inserts. The street version for the big-end is a huge improvement, and it's easy. (Changing the bushing on the small-end of the link provides little or no change.)
Consider doing gearbox insert also, but stay with the street version until you need something more. (Lots of folks have done all three Powerflex bushings over the years, and then reported that they "backed-down" on the gearbox end from black to yellow, or yellow to none.
Dang, I hope I got the proper bushes, I did notice that there seemed to be 2 different designs for some reason - both of them listed as "diagram reference #7" so I thought they were the same thing?




Originally Posted by Mini_Crazy View Post
Oldboy Speedwell said: "284hp is highly impressive and I bet your car pulls like a beast!"

Yes, in understated Brit-speak: "Acceleration is brisk."
I think of it as less "beast" and more "torque-monster" with more than 200ft# of torque from 3000RPM to redline, and a peak of 230ft# @ 4400RPM. (Stock was 162ft# @ 4000.) And yet it looks fairly stock under the hood. I love driving it.
.

Jollygood brisk indeed I'd reckon.
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:51 PM
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I noticed on my '04 R53 that it looks like a factory torque arm attached to the passenger side motor mount at the top and then connects to the left inner part of the body in the engine compartment, my '06 R52 JCW does not have this "mounting piece"

Can anyone explain why? I don't have any pics right now, we are buried in snow at this time....looks like it could be added to the R53, but the large aluminum mount that bolts to the block looks different, along with the motor mount itself. The holes are there in the inner body panel

Bryan
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 05:34 PM
Oldboy Speedwell
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They changed the design for the 05/06 cars.

This pic from Pelican Parts shows the older style:



Looks like a retrofit would be possible as you say, adding that piece to the 05/06.
 
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:19 PM
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From 2002 thru early 2004 model year the right-side mount casting is different than Dec2003-on, in addition to the torque-link/damper component.
Here are links showing both:
Early: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=22_0066
Later: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=22_0098

I don't know if it is possible to retrofit the earlier mount components to a later car... Anybody??
I believe the VIP damper does use the same (unused) threaded holes near the strut tower to attach their mounting bracket on later cars, where part #8 in the first diagram was attached.

Here is what that VIP unit location (with Vibra-technics) looks like on mine:

.
 

Last edited by Mini_Crazy; 02-10-2019 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Added picture
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:41 PM
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Thanks guys for the info on the older mounts. If I can find a wrecked early car with this upper setup still there, I may try to fit it into my '06 R52....the holes for the mount are there in the inner body panel.

Bryan
 
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Mini_Crazy View Post


.

Absolutely love that GP intercooler!!!!

Wish they'd come down on the price a bit because I'd deffo get one.

MINI does odd stuff with their pricing, I read at one time that the GP i/c was much more affordable and then they upped the price for some reason.

Another weird thing I noticed recently that in Dec/Jan is online MINI part dealers selling a brand new JCW supercharger for $1,200 (part# 11657556981) and I contemplated getting one just to sit on the shelf for when mine bites the dust but unfortunately I had other pending financial obligations that wouldn't allow me to drop such a big chunk. Just recently now that I have the greenbacks ready I checked again and the price is back up to $2,000...

...waitaminnit!
I just checked again and they're back down at some places!
My local dealer is back down to $1,184:
https://parts.miniofkennesaw.com/pro...657556981.html

Flow MINI has it for $1,079:
https://www.minipartsdirect.com/oem-...er-11657556981

Are those brand new superchargers?
Or are they rebuilt units?
 
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Old 02-11-2019, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldboy Speedwell View Post

Absolutely love that GP intercooler!!!!

Wish they'd come down on the price a bit because I'd deffo get one.

MINI does odd stuff with their pricing, I read at one time that the GP i/c was much more affordable and then they upped the price for some reason.
I bought my GP intercooler kit (complete w/diverter & brackets) in 2007 for ~$400 delivered from Switzerland. It was a lot of money at the time (still is), but that looks almost cheap compared to $2000 quotes for same today. (At the time you had to prove you owned a GP to buy one in the USA.)
Matt Richter (who posted as "Dr Obnxs", and wrote for Mini magazine) said he had bought one from an eBay "Swiss connection" for a great price. I PM'd Matt to confirm he'd received what he expected, and then ordered mine. Instrumented testing shows that the GP intercooler performed better than any of the aftermarket units available at the time, particularly in recovery from heat-soak.
Water-to-Air units are more effective, but they certainly don't have that "plausably stock" look that I like under the hood.
 

Last edited by Mini_Crazy; 02-11-2019 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 04:27 AM
Oldboy Speedwell
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Yes, it is quite a bit of money, but $400 for a GP i/c is a total bargain and you made a great grab to get one while the gettin' was good!

It blows my mind how much they're asking now, quite ridiculous $$$$.
I doubt they sell many of them.
If only they made it within reach they could sell a boatload of them I think.

I've already pretty much decided when the day comes for an i/c upgrade on my car I'll go with an Airtec as I favor their design.

I'm familiar with Dr Obnxs because like you I'm absolutely MINIcrazy and have sought out back issues of MC2 magazine because they're great to have and fulla fine articles.
I've accumulated a good stash of them and his column was one of the best.
 
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