$500 R53 Endurance Racecar Build - North American Motoring

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$500 R53 Endurance Racecar Build

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  #1  
Old 03-12-2018, 11:24 PM
angusp
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$500 R53 Endurance Racecar Build

Hi Everyone! I'm new to the Mini world but excited to be here!

I just picked up a 2005 Mini Cooper S for the bargain price of $500. I race in one of the $500 endurance series already and have been looking for a new car to prep/convert since my existing racecar is 100% track prepped and not street legal, which is a pain to store and move when living in the city. The plan for the MCS is to build it up and track prep it while keeping it street legal enough to drive to/from races. I have an almost $0 budget for performance parts, but an unlimited budget for safety items.

The 2005 MCS I picked up was listed on Craigslist as "no running", but all it needed was a fresh battery.
The Good: ~120k miles and regular oil changes, clean titled, no signs of accidents, no rust, new clutch 40k miles ago, good paint/body despite not being washed since 2007.
The Bad: Owner said the power steering pump is going out. He might be right, but the PS hoses are also leaking and it's empty on fluid. Windshield is toast (looks like a bear hit it). Interior is filthy+ratty and smells like the 8 different air fresheners it came with. Intake hose cracked and fixed with duct tape. Engine looks like it's leaking oil from at least the CPS and oil pan, maybe the rear main seal too.
The Interesting: External A piller trim covers and some plastic on the wiper arms look like they were melted?! Exhaust crackles and pops a lot under decel, I'm not sure if that's the stock sound? (Exhaust is all stock, 2 ***** intact).

First step is to get the car smogged and the A/C refrigerant removed then start stripping the interior, while working on replacing all of the normal wear items on the engine and removing anything unnecessary (A/C, heater etc.). After that this car will need a full 6 point rollcage installed, race seats/harnesses and all the other odds and ends that a race car needs.

My list of parts to replace so far: all fluids, oil pan gasket, crank position sensor seal, serp belt+tensioner, water pump+gasket, SC gasket+oil, spark plugs, oil filter gasket, one front strut mount, timing chain tensioner(?).

I'll be using this thread to log my progress and hopefully get some tips and pointers from the knowledgeable NAM community!
 
Attached Thumbnails 0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2653.jpeg   0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2656.jpeg  

Last edited by angusp; 03-12-2018 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 03-13-2018, 04:57 AM
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Looks like it'll be a fun build.
 
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Old 03-13-2018, 05:11 AM
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Looks like a great build...

Oh, the joy I could have with a new project like that...

Motor On!
 
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Old 03-13-2018, 05:30 AM
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Welcome to NAM.

500 bucks, not bad at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:06 PM
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The power steering pump might be replaced under recall.
 
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Old 03-13-2018, 07:49 PM
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We have a Cooper we considered doing this with. but with all the maint work you plan to do that puts you over the $500 budget.
 
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Old 03-13-2018, 09:34 PM
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I hate to refer someone outside of NAM, but check out TrackMini.com. Then come back here and keep us up to date on the project.
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:41 AM
angusp
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Thanks for all the pointers! I'll check out TrackMini too.

I checked the power steering pump recall, looks like I missed the 13 years by two months.

WMW; you can sell parts off the car to make back budget (but can't sell more than the car cost), so once I sell $500 in parts I will have a full $500 to spend. All the parts I'm replacing cost under $300 at the moment, so I have lots of headroom. Obviously you can't go with OEM parts for that budget but honestly the $500 rule is mostly to deter people who take the racing too seriously.

I made some good progress over the past two nights. All of the lower interior is removed, this car was truly filthy!! Carpet is gone and with it hopefully a lot of the smell.
Next I'll work on cleaning up the dash, controls and front seats so it's drive-able, then start work on the mechanical parts.
 
Attached Thumbnails 0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2668.jpg   0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2672.jpeg  
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:12 AM
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Try filling the power steering before concluding the pump is going out. If its as low as you say the pump won't run well. Just went through that with my son's mini. It was low and he was worried about the pump going out. Filled it up and its fine now.
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:37 AM
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YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSsssssssssssssssssssssssss sssss

I'll be living vicariously through you. I've raced in this series the last 5 years and it's been a blast. We took a FWD VR6 golf, raced it for a few years, made it RWD, raced it for a few years, and then turned it into a truck and raced it.

I've always wanted to try out a MCS, I think it COULD do well. But you'll likely get pigenholed into an uncompetitive spot in A-class unless you can do something unique with it.

Pleasepleaseplease let me know if you need an extra driver. Where are you located?
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:40 AM
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Oh, also. Delete the PS pump! Drain the rack, disassemble it, and replace the fluid with grease. De-power for the win and for one less thing to fail. We did this and have had massive success.
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:52 AM
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it's not too stiff when it's full of grease? Did you put in one of those delrin bypass plugs?

I really like the electric setup on the r53 when doing autocross/hpde
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 09:55 AM
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Wow 500, well done.
 
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:03 AM
angusp
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Still undecided on the PS pump. 3 hours of track driving on a manual rack sounds pretty tiring, I'm currently leaning towards a junkyard PS pump and fan, with new hoses.

The car passed California smog this morning, so it's good now for another two years. I'll be keeping most of the emissions parts on unless they are easy to replace again in 2 years.

Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
I've always wanted to try out a MCS, I think it COULD do well. But you'll likely get pigenholed into an uncompetitive spot in A-class unless you can do something unique with it.
Pleasepleaseplease let me know if you need an extra driver. Where are you located?
Thanks for the enthusiasm and support! We currently race a Mk3 GTI, a RWD golf sounds awesome! Yes, the trick will be getting into B-class, especially with a clean looking 2005 R53. I'm working on a theme and bribery plan to help with that.

I'm located in SF, CA but might travel further for races once I have a street legal race car. We're usually looking for another driver, hit me up in a PM and let's keep in touch!
 
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:56 AM
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Cool! best of luck with your $500 build!
 
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by mega72 View Post
it's not too stiff when it's full of grease? Did you put in one of those delrin bypass plugs?

I really like the electric setup on the r53 when doing autocross/hpde
Not at all. The grease makes it easier than just depowering the pump or looping the lines because you don't have the pressure buildup of the fluid during operation.

At low speeds (in the pits) a bit of effort is required, but with 3 hour stints steering is the least of concerns when it comes to fatigue. Understanding the high rate of failure for the pumps on minis in general, coupled with the high rate of failure of all parts during a race of this type, I can't emphasize the importance enough. You'll essentially be bulletproofing the steering, each system you can do that to is one less thing to go wrong and take you out of a race.
 
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:38 AM
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Thought of a good one
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I drove on a dead PS pump for months on the street here in Portland, OR. Not difficult at all when driving. Parking was a different story. It was A LOT heavier under 15 mph but that was with the PS fluid.


After reading the rules on the cost of the car, you will need a very good BS story to get by or start off many many many laps down.
 
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:05 AM
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I put this on the other site as well put your VIN into this site and you will know exactly what your car came with from the factory and even the build date.
www.myminivin.com
It is spot on with options for both of my MINI's.
 
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:20 AM
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Small update; All of the interior except dash and door cards is out. Side airbags, sensors and controller are removed too. I'll be keeping the interior in this state until the cage goes in and focusing on the engine and drive-train work now.

There were a few tricky parts I found when removing the interior. If you're doing this as well, here's what I ran into;

Dead pedal: The metal/pad cover comes off with some force and exposes 2x 10mm nuts.
Accelerator Pedal: There's a tab on the left side center that needs to be pushed up, then the pedal assy slides left. Careful removing the bracket it connects so, I busted mine trying to get the bottom clips out. It's very brittle glass reinforced plastic.
Under-seat heater ducting: There's a nut that's recessed and impossible to get without a really short rachet/socket. I ended up rotating the whole piece 90 degrees so I could get at the nut from the side with a wrench.
Handbrake trim: Not sure how this is supposed to come out, there's a screw under the boot which I couldn't figure out how to get to, but my boot was torn so I just tore it up to get to that screw. Look up how to do this properly if you want to keep your trim.
A and C pillar airbag covers/trim: These have little one-way clips and some webbing to tether the trim in place when the airbags pop. The clips are a huge pain to pop so I suggest cutting the webbing with a good serrated knife. You can also just work the clips out but it is slower.
Rear view mirror: This just twists lefty-loosey and pops off, then there's a plug on the back.

My headliner was also full of leaves, so prepare for that with safety glasses and cover up the shift assembly so you don't get dirt and leaves in the lubed shift joint.

After getting the headliner out it's very clear to me how much of the roof the sunroof takes up. I need to remove the glass and block up the hole to meet the rule requirements, plus that whole assembly weighs 25 Kg. I'll be considering my options there while I push that problem out until before the cage goes in. The cleanest option so far seems to be a junkyard slicktop swap. The hardest solution would be to make a plug out of carbon/honeycomb composite material because #racecar, but that will easily cost more than the car.
 
Attached Thumbnails 0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2670.jpeg   0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2678.jpeg   0 R53 Endurance Racecar Build-img_2675.jpg  
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Old 03-17-2018, 11:34 AM
Spank
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This is awesome-- there was one R53 way back when that appeared in the series back in 2009 at "Gator o Rama" and it was hammered with "penalty laps". Then promptly blew up. It was never seen again.

Another one finally emerged at Sonoma's "Sears Pointless" Dec 2017 and it too put a big window in the block. It will be back, though. The owner is a long time NASA racer and recently sold his "real race MINI" to spend more time on the $500 series. I imagine it'll be racing next weekend again at Sears Pointless/Sonoma.

I've fielded many old A-series powered cars both mini and mini variants (Moke, America, MG Metro) and have been "building" an R50 (that's ballooned into 3-1/2 R50s) and just haven't been able to get past the parts-gathering phase. I started with a CVT car that I was going to convert to 6 spd, then got a 5spd car with bad motor, and now an accident damaged '05. Maybe an Italian Job theme?

Not to hijack the thread, but if there's anyone in the SoCal area who is up for being a part of the team/build for one of these 3 R50s, shoot me a message.

Back to my real point-- And you having raced for several years in the series already know this but I'm sorta posting for a general FYI/FAQ to others-->Don't worry about going over the $500 budget so much. Sure, keep tabs on what you sell, what you spend, and so on. But the reality is if you come to the series and show you have stayed in the Spirit of the rules, you'll be fine. Demonstrate that you "get it" either by coming up with creative bribes, coming up with a creative theme, or otherwise bringing a fantastic attitude with a heavy dollup of humility and you'll breeze through.

BTW, bribing TOTALLY will not help you if you really need it to. It's just part of the game and done in good fun.

Judging and classing is all 100% arbitrary, though, even if you document legitimately you spend just $200. You still may get a few penalty laps the first time out, you'll end up in Class A, and you'll be allowed to go and race your heart out.

Same if you spend $50,000: Net result is you'll be allowed to go and race your heart out. Don't let the internet tell you you have to do this or that or your car will get crushed or whatever. Just build what you want. Understand that you are there to have fun. Know that this is not REAL Real Racing. There are seasoned veterans out there "racing" with high school kids who only got their drivers licenses 3 months earlier, people who have never driven a manual transmission until they went out on track. The goal is to get everyone out on track and then back home safely.

I'll stop now. But Please PLEASE finish that R53 and have fun doing it.
 

Last edited by Spank; 03-17-2018 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 03-17-2018, 01:26 PM
angusp
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Nice to see you here Spank!. I'll have to find you next weekend at Sears Pointless, and the other mini guy too. I'm interested to hear how they put a hole in the block and if they were running any performance mods.

When you get one of those R50's going let me know and maybe we can do a duet mini theme for a race

The build is moving along but nothing too interesting right now. The title is transferred and insurance sorted, I'll putting in a new windshield in today then it will be properly street legal. After that the engine and front subframe will be dropped and the mechanical fun starts!
 
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Old 03-17-2018, 02:14 PM
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I'm hoping the (eventual) R50 will be put in Class B. I have never been in anything but Class C cars. Well, they stuck the old mini in B once after it won C and now that it's won C twice so I guess technically I have been in a B car because if I ever bring it back out it'll never be allowed in C again.

I'll be in the penalty box all weekend this go-round at Sears working for The Man. come say Hi.
 
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:49 PM
angusp
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Nothing too interesting happening on this build over the past few days while waiting for all of the new parts to come in and preparing a different car for a race this weekend.

- Got INPA and NCS Expert set-up, and "coded out" (disabled) a whole bunch of options that a race car doesn't need (seat belt gong, key in ignition gong, brake pad sensor etc). Still figuring out how to disable the airbag light with the airbag module removed.

- I hadn't driven the car since picking it up and gingerly driving it back to my garage, so I took it out for a quick drive. The engine runs smooth and shifts well, it pulls ok but I don't remember hearing any SC howl. The brakes are super crummy bordering on dangerous, probably from sitting for a few months or maybe I'm just used to daily driving with track pads. The ride was pretty rough/stiff, I think the rear struts may be going out, possibly the fronts too, or maybe the mini is just setup really stiff.

I ran a quick compression check after the engine was warmed up and saw 144, 140, 141, 146 which seems ok and not cause for any concerns at the moment.

- Took out the door cards and made some templates for lightweight covers (required by the rules if the window glass is kept, which it will be).


- Removed some of the crusty stickers from the rear window

(Before)


(After)


- I noticed this module on the left control arm, looks like a switch of some sort. I couldn't find it on realoem, does anyone know what it is, or what it does?
 

Last edited by angusp; 03-20-2018 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:27 PM
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Headlight auto leveler, car has hid?
 
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:37 PM
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Thanks! RealOEM confirms: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=31_0623

There's another thing I can remove after swapping to halogen lights
 
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