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Padawan in Need of Jedi Master

  #1  
Old 05-25-2016, 12:49 PM
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Padawan in Need of Jedi Master

Hello! I'm copying part of my introduction thread below so you guys can get to know me better. I bought my R53 from my boss two months ago, who I just heard last week say that his "maintenance plan for all [his] cars is to drive it until something really expensive breaks and then sell it (thanks for telling me before I bought it, *******). I got an oil and coolant change, 2k miles, and a few repairs before the first thing exploded on me. Since the original thread in First Gear, the heat exchanger blew up (and threw lots of tasty oil into my coolant too) on me, and I have reason to believe the BPV is faulty. In short, the car that was supposed to save me a headache ended up being twice the headache (but also 1000% better of a car).

----BEGIN COPYPASTA----

My name is Stephan, I'm 20, and I go to ASU. My last car (2007 Ford Focus) had some prohibitively expensive transmission issues and my boss offered to sell me his 2003 MCS to "help me out"!

Sunflower (2003 MCS LY/B) originally lived in New Orleans, but got stored in a great environment for 4 years when its owner went to the military. I don't know why, but it ended up being sold at an auction. My boss' friend bought the car in 2009 and drove it for a year before selling it to my boss (who paid $12,000 in 2010), who drove it 50,000 miles in his 6 years of ownership.

107,000mi into its life, with 3 previous owners, a clean title, and a plethora of issues (leaky brake master cylinder and oil pan, chattering SC tensioner, broken driver window regulator/motor mounts), this particular Mini ended up in my hands! I'd love to meet and cruise with anyone in the greater Phoenix area! Looking forward to being a part of the community and learning as much as I can about this beautifully quirky car!

----END COPYPASTA----

Long story short, my boss did NONE of the required maintenance except for the timing chain between 55,000mi and 105,000mi. The car broke during finals and I had to buy a place in Tempe and bike to work because of it. My parents live in Glendale, so I am storing the car there to work on it. I'm going to be fixing everything that I can find wrong with her over the course of this summer, but I grew up with a handyman who hates cars, so my knowledge is limited although my wrenching abilities/interest are up to par. I know this is a long shot, but if anyone would be interested in helping me to diagnose the repairs and possibly perform some of the more intensive repairs (although DIY's are so damn well documented on NAM ), I would be eternally grateful.

My Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/sarom058, feel free to add me.
I'll be joining DMC/paying my dues at the beginning of June as soon as I get paid, so look out for another post there! I work M-F 8a-5p, so I'm free every day after 6 and all weekend. PLEASE HELP
 
  #2  
Old 05-25-2016, 12:53 PM
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Here's a photo of the abused on Tortilla Flats before it gave up its oil pressure.
\
 
  #3  
Old 05-25-2016, 10:37 PM
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Ugh, sorry to hear about all the problems and finding out about the lack of maintenance after the fact! Hopefully you'll feel it is all worth it in the end once you are able to get in some TLC. We're on our third MINI, had a 2005 MCS that was totalled by a red light runner and I've had the 2009 MCS since they day I got my casts off, hehe. We also have a 2007 MCS Convertible, JCW, that is more of the weekend toy/ride
 
  #4  
Old 05-27-2016, 11:38 AM
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Definitely!

I'm just ironing out my plans for repairs during this summer now--would anyone be interested in weighing in on the best order/methodology? I have a few DIY's saved for each job, but I've never had to dive this deep before! I would like to disassemble everything as few times as possible, so are there other things I should replace around the 110,000 mile point?

So far the jobs include:

Heat exchanger/seals R&R, coolant flush
Transmission oil change
Supercharger service
Water pump R&R
Fuel filter
Crank Sensor O-ring
R&R BPV to updated version, followed by VGS mod, use tap for VGS for boost gauge
Alta Tensioner
C/V Reboot
PowerFlex Bushing/Motor Mount Kit
BSH/TSW Upper/Lower Mounts
MSD Coil/Wires

The bushing install scares me the most. I don't have a press and probably won't be able to afford one--any ideas on how to press the bushings in?

As far as gaskets/seals, are there any seals (other than the obvious i.e. supercharger inlet/outlet) seals?

How important is changing the timing chain at this age? What about the serpentine belt?

Which parts can I save money on by going with an OEM-like (i.e. anything RockAuto) part? What about motor mounts? What's a good balance of NVH/performance? I pretty much have to replace everything that's rubber so feel free to get creative with the combinations! I have no context for how stiff/NVH-ey poly mounts are on this car.

If I'm able to scrap together enough for an S/C pulley, will a 17% pulley overheat with the stock intercooler setup in Phoenix summer? Should I get a heat range colder on plugs?

I guess I'm just wondering what you guys would do in my situation. I don't have much knowledge via experience, so I have absolutely ZERO intuition when it comes to how I should go about tackling these repairs. I'm sort of trying to minimize how much I spend, while still taking the few extra bucks (within reason) to replace failed components with their better aftermarket brethren.
 

Last edited by sarom058; 05-27-2016 at 11:47 AM.
  #5  
Old 05-27-2016, 12:06 PM
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Wow...you are going hog-wild with spending $$ to matain that car....
Most items are typically run "on condition", meaning they are inspected, and replaced as worn....
And one correction...
There is NO TIMING CHAIN ISSUES ON THE R53...they are good for 90%+ of cars for the life of the motor....not sure why it would have been done...
I might suggest you step back...it's ok to spend $$ on a car you like...
But you don't have to spend $20,000 on a car that sold for $25,000 new....
Keeping a car reliable does not have to be a OCD affair...a good local shop can tell or show you which items are ok, and which need to be done....even do the ones that are too "Scarry" to diy.
 
  #6  
Old 05-27-2016, 06:30 PM
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Supercharger service
Alta Tensioner
MSD Coil/Wires...

Lots of controversy on these items

What about the serpentine belt?

You should inspect it, or change it if you're not sure if it's been done recently. You'll have to change it if you install a pulley.

If I'm able to scrap together enough for an S/C pulley, will a 17% pulley overheat with the stock intercooler setup in Phoenix summer? Should I get a heat range colder on plugs?

17% might be too much, especially if you don't have 93 octane in Arizona. Colder plugs are a must with a pulley.

I guess I'm just wondering what you guys would do in my situation...

Inspect it for maintenance issues that need immediate attention, then drive it for a while and get to know the condition of the car before modding and replacing everything. The Gates OEM belt tensioner on Amazon is supposed to be a great deal if you need a tensioner.
 
  #7  
Old 05-28-2016, 01:23 AM
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R53 mini

Hi Sarom058! There is a wealth of information on our site regarding maintenance and upgrades for your R53. I just bought one myself a month ago! Plus, our staff has 47 years experience with Classic and New MINIs.

http://new.minimania.com/Search_Resu...enance/default

Here's a great maintenance list:

http://new.minimania.com/MINI_Routin..._I_and_II_2344

Please let us know how we can help!

Drive Hard. Drive Safe. Keep Grinning.
 
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  #8  
Old 06-01-2016, 01:41 PM
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Clarification

Okay, so I know it's a lot of stuff, but there's actually that many things wrong with the mini. I've been lurking on the DIY & Stock Problems/Issues sections and am preparing to buy the parts starting this coming week. It's not about keeping my car "reliable," it's about fixing the plethora of issues that the previous owner neglected to fix. And honestly, nothing seems "too Scarry to diy" with how well documented everything is on NAM. I have all summer to get her working again.

I know I have a tendency to ramble, but I'm asking for concrete advice regarding what else to take a look at/repair while I'm disassembling my car, not to be told to "step back and go to a shop." There's at least 10 hours (very conservative estimate) of cumulative labor, and as a college student who isn't rolling in cash, my only option is to fix it myself. Why would I go to a shop when I have such a robust forum at my disposal?

I guess I wasn't the most transparent regarding WHY these things need to be done.

The heat exchanger has cracked and the coolant overflow tank is full of contaminated full with gross foamy oil, hence the "Heat exchanger/seals R&R, coolant flush."
The transmission is not smooth when going into gear, hence the transmission oil change.
ALL (I repeat, ALL) of the rubber bushings have failed. The steering wheel shakes at speed, the wheels move 2-3" when kicked, there are audible "dings" when driving over expansion joints on the freeway, etc. Motor mounts have all failed as well, so I'm replacing the upper and lower with poly ones, and replacing the other two with OEM-like ones.
The car has 110,000mi, and the supercharger has never been serviced, so I figured that needs to be done too. While the supercharger is off, shouldn't the water pump be replaced too? And while the belt is off, wouldn't it be a great time to add a pulley? Isn't it also a good idea to change the ignition system at this point too?
The car splutters and has a tough time starting, and the fuel filter is cheap and easy to do, so why not try to knock that out too?
I also read that hesistation below 3k rpm can be contributed to a bad BPV spring, so I was going to install one of the later r53 BPV's that I found on the marketplace with the supposedly better design to try to eliminate that? While I'm doing that, I'd love a boost gauge, and they're cheap, so why not do the VGS mod and add a boost tap?

RB-MINI: What kind of controversy? Should I go with the WMW Tensioner bushing set instead? If the acceleration is "bouncy," do I need to replace the entire unit?

I guess my biggest questions (please keep in mind my limited funds, so let's be conservative) are:

1. Advice/parts recommendations for replacing all bushings. PowerFlex look cool, but I'm afraid it'll be overkill, I don't autocross or race, but I love canyon carving! I do not have a press, so what's the best plan of attack in my sitation?
2. Is ignition something I need to worry about right now, or can I just install the 15% pulley and wait until there's sign of ignition issues?
3. Can changing the S/C oil actually cause harm? Is there any damage I should look out for?
4. What is a good balance of NVH/performance for the bushings? Can I just replace suspension bushings with the highest-rated cheap OEM-like ones on PelicanParts?
5. What specialty tools should I buy instead of ghetto-rigging a workaround for said tool? The whole belt removal tool seems easy as hell to mimic with a socket for a fulcrum and a pry bar for leverage.

Sorry that this is so long--thanks for reading all the way! Any and all advice will be heavily appreciated.

--Stephan
 

Last edited by sarom058; 06-01-2016 at 01:46 PM. Reason: political correctness, clarity
  #9  
Old 06-02-2016, 10:43 PM
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Quick summary of what I remember reading, but if you search the threads you'll find more detail. Maybe ZippyNH can add his opinion on these items as he's a long time member and has a lot of knowledge on these cars.

Supercharger Service - Do it to prevent further damage, or don't do it and just replace it when you have an issue. Service takes a lot of time and if you don't have any damage, you might cause an issue when you put everything back together. If it ain't broke...

Alta Tensioner - From another thread posted by WMW, "the problem with the alta tensioner is it is fixed and does not change tension based on load like the tensioner is designed to from MINI so while driving sometimes it will be too loose, sometimes too tight and sometimes just right."

A good alternative to MINI is supposed to be an OEM Gates tensioner which can be found on Amazon for less than $100.

MSD Coil - The factory MINI coil is good up to 300HP. The MSD has supposedly led to blown up ECU's, and was not originally designed for the MINI so the mounting holes are slightly off. The MSD housing and/or the cam cover sometimes crack. A lot of recommendations are to save money and keep the stock coil, or just buy another stock coil if yours is bad.

Wires - I don't think there's much controversy with wires, but the factory MINI wires are also supposed to be good for high horsepower MINI's. If you want to add some bling, or need new wires, aftermarket wires should work, too.
 
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Old 06-06-2016, 01:31 AM
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R53

Originally Posted by RB-MINI View Post
Quick summary of what I remember reading, but if you search the threads you'll find more detail. Maybe ZippyNH can add his opinion on these items as he's a long time member and has a lot of knowledge on these cars.

Supercharger Service - Do it to prevent further damage, or don't do it and just replace it when you have an issue. Service takes a lot of time and if you don't have any damage, you might cause an issue when you put everything back together. If it ain't broke...

Alta Tensioner - From another thread posted by WMW, "the problem with the alta tensioner is it is fixed and does not change tension based on load like the tensioner is designed to from MINI so while driving sometimes it will be too loose, sometimes too tight and sometimes just right."

A good alternative to MINI is supposed to be an OEM Gates tensioner which can be found on Amazon for less than $100.

MSD Coil - The factory MINI coil is good up to 300HP. The MSD has supposedly led to blown up ECU's, and was not originally designed for the MINI so the mounting holes are slightly off. The MSD housing and/or the cam cover sometimes crack. A lot of recommendations are to save money and keep the stock coil, or just buy another stock coil if yours is bad.

Wires - I don't think there's much controversy with wires, but the factory MINI wires are also supposed to be good for high horsepower MINI's. If you want to add some bling, or need new wires, aftermarket wires should work, too.
Here are some great articles, info on parts, tuner info, upgrades, belts, pulleys, and Supercharger fluid on our website!

http://new.minimania.com/Search_Resu...percharger/All

Drive Hard. Drive Safe. Keep Grinning.
 
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  #11  
Old 06-13-2016, 01:12 PM
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sarom058
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First round of parts/tools ordered!

Anything else I should get before diving in?

Is the GKN CV grease a good OEM replacement?
What would be a good hose clamp kit for various projects? Not sure what a good range of sizes/brand would be.

I'd like to do Operation VGS and a boost gauge soon too!

Update: Just bought 6' of rubber vacuum line and t-fittings! Gonna be disassembling the front end on my Mini this weekend! Any and all advice on the work would be appreciated!
 

Last edited by sarom058; 06-14-2016 at 09:24 AM.
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