Drivetrain (Cooper S) MINI Cooper S (R53) intakes, exhausts, pulleys, headers, throttle bodies, and any other modifications to the Cooper S drivetrain.
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Aftermarket cam for daily driver? Worth it?

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Old 06-12-2019, 04:58 AM
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Aftermarket cam for daily driver? Worth it?

I've pretty much done all of the easy common mods to my 03' JCW.......I'm thinking about possibly adding an aftermarket "performance" cam. I've never really seen any dyno numbers showing where different cams add power in the RPM range, and where they lose power. For a daily driver, is a cam worth it? These cars don't have much power under 3,000rpms anyway......would a cam kill the power end torque even more? Will it kill MPG? Is a tune required for a cam swap?

Just looking for some info......thanks!
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 02:49 PM
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While a lot of aftermarket parts on all different cars will kill reliability and are generally crap. A Cam in an R53 won't hurt the daily driverness of the car. Yes it's true there have been some batches of bad cams, But that speaks true for OEM as well. Good Cam and a tune will yield some power with no loss in drive ability just a slightly higher idle that comes with the tune for the cam. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm yet to see or hear about someone selling a cam to the general population that has giant lope like some of the V8 cams out there and have no bottom end grunt. I'm sure any one of the cam dealers out there can make you that cam if you want.
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by R534life View Post
While a lot of aftermarket parts on all different cars will kill reliability and are generally crap. A Cam in an R53 won't hurt the daily driverness of the car. Yes it's true there have been some batches of bad cams, But that speaks true for OEM as well. Good Cam and a tune will yield some power with no loss in drive ability just a slightly higher idle that comes with the tune for the cam. Maybe I'm wrong but I'm yet to see or hear about someone selling a cam to the general population that has giant lope like some of the V8 cams out there and have no bottom end grunt. I'm sure any one of the cam dealers out there can make you that cam if you want.
Not sure if that kind of blanket statement is true. Lots of different cam manufacturers offer many different grinds of cams for street, race etc, etc. All with different lift, duration, lobe separation, etc etc....

There are R53 cams out there designed for track cars that only make power at high rpms....a cam like that would be horrible in a daily driver.

And some of the street cams I've seen make low end power, but overall only gain 10-12hp....and that's just not worth the trouble.

I was hoping to hear from some guys that are running an aftermarket cam in their R53. Nobody?
 
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Old 06-12-2019, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by IQRaceworks View Post
Not sure if that kind of blanket statement is true. Lots of different cam manufacturers offer many different grinds of cams for street, race etc, etc. All with different lift, duration, lobe separation, etc etc....

There are R53 cams out there designed for track cars that only make power at high rpms....a cam like that would be horrible in a daily driver.

And some of the street cams I've seen make low end power, but overall only gain 10-12hp....and that's just not worth the trouble.

I was hoping to hear from some guys that are running an aftermarket cam in their R53. Nobody?
While I disagree that it might not be worth it as I'd love to rev this engine without the feeling that I'm killing it and it doesn't like it. What cams are generally regarded as true streetable cams? That should be minimal changes in idle, noticeable higher RPM differences, no stalling/stumbing and def no CEL codes.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 03:59 AM
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I've driven cars that only make power way up in the rpms.......they are great on the track, but no fun on the street. For the street, you want a nice flat torque curve that gives lots of grunt all over the rpm range........you don't want power only at high rpms. At least I wouldn't. Especially from a dead stop....while your motor is taking it's time to spin up the rpms and gain power, the only lady in the Toyota Corolla next to you has already blown by you.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:51 AM
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LOL




.

I can't answer your question because I'm still an R53 noob, but it's also a topic I'm interested in and I have the same questions as you.

It'd be great to have dynographs from the same car but with different cams installed as that'd really give a solid idea of what to expect.
The closest to that I've seen is this one:



Found on a BVH thread but cam talk also,
here:
https://www.minitorque.com/forum/f24...ml#post2229282

.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:37 AM
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I've driven a lot of mini's with various cams. Newman, Grand Am race cam, Dominator, Shrick etc etc. From a driving it on the street stand point my butt dyno isn't tuned enough to feel the difference in any of them from low end grunt with the exception of the shrick which felt a bit down everywhere on the others. The Grand Am cam had a noticeably high idle. That was all. None of these are like dropping a Giant cam in a LS that feels Dead under 3k and surges while driving down the interstate. The fact that you have a blower and it cam pump 12 to 16 psi in at 2k rpm really makes up for that.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by R534life View Post
I've driven a lot of mini's with various cams. Newman, Grand Am race cam, Dominator, Shrick etc etc. From a driving it on the street stand point my butt dyno isn't tuned enough to feel the difference in any of them from low end grunt with the exception of the shrick which felt a bit down everywhere on the others. The Grand Am cam had a noticeably high idle. That was all. None of these are like dropping a Giant cam in a LS that feels Dead under 3k and surges while driving down the interstate. The fact that you have a blower and it cam pump 12 to 16 psi in at 2k rpm really makes up for that.

So......for a guy who daily drives his mini and doesn't track it.....is swapping cams a good idea? How much power do you actually gain? Out of all those cams you listed...which one did you like the most?
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:25 AM
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I've had Minis with different cams and the best mod for the $$ is the pulley. Then the cam and head.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:25 AM
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I must admit that I like the lumpy sound of a big cam...



...but I'm unsure how an aggressive profile would be for a daily driver?

And,
if getting a mild cam for an everyday car, would the time/investment/reliability even be worth it?
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Oldboy Speedwell View Post


I must admit that I like the lumpy sound of a big cam...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfRdQpgojoY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J4CX1DIDkU

...but I'm unsure how an aggressive profile would be for a daily driver?

And,
if getting a mild cam for an everyday car, would the time/investment/reliability even be worth it?
That's my main concern. I don't want to kill it's daily driver manners in exchange for 10hp way up in the rpms. I would be better off putting a 25hp shot of nitrous on it. My car spends 90% of its life on the highway driving to and from work. Sure, I would love some more power for passing cars, stuff like that.....but not if it's going to kill MPG....and give me other issues.

I've read that some guys get check engine lights after a cam install...and even after a custom tune, that cant get it to clear. How common is that?
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by IQRaceworks View Post
That's my main concern. I don't want to kill it's daily driver manners in exchange for 10hp way up in the rpms. I would be better off putting a 25hp shot of nitrous on it. My car spends 90% of its life on the highway driving to and from work. Sure, I would love some more power for passing cars, stuff like that.....but not if it's going to kill MPG....and give me other issues.

I've read that some guys get check engine lights after a cam install...and even after a custom tune, that cant get it to clear. How common is that?
Honestly, it all depends on your idea of a daily driver, I daily drove my car with a BVH (which is notorious for moving your power band above 3k rpm) for close to 140k miles. But 90% of that was hwy, so I didn't miss the lack of low end to gain the high end.

Most mild cams for the Mini, while making a small amount of HP, will for the most part simply move the power band in the rpm range. While the more aggressive cams can also add noticeable HP throughout their power band.

As for tunes, the more aggressive the cam, the more necessary and difficult the tune, and many of the milder cams, while benefiting from a tune, it won't be a necessity. Many of the stories of problems with cams and tunes are on '05 - '06 models because of software changes from BMW/Mini, so you'll probably be fine there, but unfortunately it will probably still be a carp-shoot, if you're not tuning.

My suggestion would be as always, for what I think you're looking for, the Thmpr Adjusted Cam Gear, for the stock Cam, a small increase in HP, and more importantly torque (there is actually a noticeable difference with the butt dyno), from 2700 to redline, easy install, no tune, and about ½ the cost of a Cam.

Here are my results with Virtual Dyno after only swapping to the ACG, all the conditions were as close as I could get them, this is with a STOCK cam and with the Sprintex.
OEM Gear
ACG
(bottom graph is boost only, wanted to show, that's not where the power came from)





 
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the info. After looking at your dyno graph, I think I'm just going to keep things they way they are. It's not worth the time or money to do a cam (or just an adjustable cam gear) for 2-10hp and 7ft/lbs of torque gain. I would think that just the fluctuation of outdoor air temps would affect power more than that. Maybe I am better off with a small wet shot of nitrous.....say 25hp.

Now, if I had to pull the motor to rebuilt it....sure, I might do it just because I already had it all apart.

I'm shocked that more power and torque gains are not achievable with a cam swap on these little motors. I guess I'm just used to the GM LS motor that are seeing 80+ hp gains from nothing but a cam swap.

If I could only find a way to shoehorn an LS into my mini.......
 

Last edited by IQRaceworks; 06-13-2019 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by IQRaceworks View Post
So......for a guy who daily drives his mini and doesn't track it.....is swapping cams a good idea? How much power do you actually gain? Out of all those cams you listed...which one did you like the most?
RMW's dominator. Good powerband all the way through. I own a LS6 and I feel like the stock cam is to lumpy on that thing. I like a nice smooth idle and a big power band so if that helps your decision based on someone who thinks a stock GM cam is to big.
 
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