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R50/53 - R50/53 New to me R53- clutch kit vs. OEM?

R50/R53 :: Hatch Talk (2002-2006) Cooper (R50) and Cooper S (R53) hatchback discussion.

R50/53 - R50/53 New to me R53- clutch kit vs. OEM?

  #1  
Old 02-26-2019, 09:09 AM
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New to me R53- clutch kit vs. OEM?

Hi all, I just picked up an R53 2006 Mini Cooper S with 80K mi. and a dead clutch as a project for my 15 yo son and I to work on together. The car shifts through all the gears but goes no-where. With the engine running you can shift through the gears without depressing the clutch. The pedal has normal travel/feel and the slave is articulating about an inch and is dry. The shift cables are attached at the trans and functioning through each gear on the selector rod. Very strange to me as normally with a shot clutch it's tough to get into gear whereas this is the opposite almost like the clutch is stuck engaged.
Inspection cover removed---furry!

The dealer quote for clutch replacement is a crazy $4,600:yikes:, indy quote is $3600 for factory setup with labor of 13.8 & 10.5 hours. As an alternative I see there is a Valeo brand Single Mass Flywheel Conversion Kit 52151203 that includes the flywheel for about $350-$405 with everything needed. It looks like a complete replacement setup and I'd like to get confirmation from anyone here if you have this how it's working for you or if I really need to go all factory including the $900 Mini flywheel. I'm also contemplating doing this myself and appreciate any insight from someone who has done this job. I know it's a very involved job and would spread it out over a few days and take my time. Alternatively if you have any references for a SF Bay Area indy shop that knows these cars and prices the labor more reasonably please share!
Thx, Dh

A few pics of it after a good cut and polish...not bad from 5 feet!

 

Last edited by dhr53; 04-23-2019 at 02:38 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2019, 09:25 AM
WayMotorWorks
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Congrats that looks like a nice project car since it is a checkmate.
We have done many of the Valeo kits and they are very reliable and cost effective. It will have a slightly softer pedal feel.
https://www.waymotorworks.com/valeo-...l-kit-r53.html
We also have been using these South Bend Stage 2 daily driver kits and been very happy as they had a better feel and lighter flywheel with more clamping force so they can handle more power and abuse.
https://www.waymotorworks.com/south-...t-r52-r53.html

Of course doing the rear main seal, fork bushings and stuff at that same time.

While doing it I would also replace the front control arm bushings and suspension since you will have the subframe out as they wear out every 40k, and the new powerflex won't fail again.
https://www.waymotorworks.com/powerf...0-r52-r53.html
 
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2019, 10:12 AM
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Valeo is a good brand (used them a lot in the VW world) and moving from a dual-mass (heavy) to single mass (lighter, but potentially noisier) will be a very positive change in driving dynamics and experience. Quicker revs, easier rev-matching, and as you're noticing, cheaper to maintain.

Dual-mass FW setups are for the average layperson who doesn't want NVH in their "almost-BMW." If your 15yo has 1% interest in HOW the car drives, he'll thank you for the upgrade as well. Pair with a lightweight flywheel (~13lbs) and it'll be great. The standard complaint here is that some folks don't like boosted cars to drop in RPM too quickly as it dumps boost, but it'll also build it faster now too. It's worth it.

Way's suggestion of skipping the Valeo and going South Bend is also a good one if y'all add any power to it or prefer a stiffer pedal feel.

Way - out of curiosity, is the Valeo one softer than a fresh OEM disc, or softer than a ready-to-replace disc? Asking because I gather that these stiffen when long in the tooth (opposite of what I'm used to).
 
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Old 02-26-2019, 11:27 AM
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Thank you Way and Pat for your very fast and helpful responses.!
I've always wanted a Mini S as IMHO it's the spiritual successor to my Mk1 Rabbit Gti (Pat I have a Mk1 Gti now and have been a VW guy all my life) plus my son used to shout out "Mini!" from his rear car seat every time he saw one for as long as he could talk. This one popped up as an "inexpensive" & fun project as he's now getting close to his license. I'm absorbing all I can and deciding if we want to tackle this clutch job or pay the big $ to have it done. Looks like a 10-14 hour job for a first timer and the ModMini YouTube videos have me feeling more confident. The big thing scaring me is whether the trans has an issue given the description of symptoms above. I'm concerned that the input shaft has somehow sheared a gear in the trans which is why it just spins with no wheel movement even with the car on jack stands. You'd think with a tired clutch I'd still get some movement of the wheels in first or reverse! The clutch material in my pic does point at least to a disc being out.Car is 100% stock and does not appear to have been beat on otherwise.
 

Last edited by dhr53; 02-27-2019 at 03:02 PM.
  #5  
Old 02-26-2019, 02:49 PM
minniedryver
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Another thumbs up for the valeo kit. I ended up replacing a bunch of seals and the water pump while it was apart. Also did tie rods, ball joints front sway and serviced the supercharger.
Oh yeah, and since the supercharger was out...I put a 17% pulley on it.
My slave leaked on re-install so that got replaced too.
And coilovers.
And a rear bar to match the front.
Funny how a clutch job turned into a 2-weekend project!
 
  #6  
Old 02-26-2019, 02:55 PM
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Personally all that depends on whether you want to spend the time on it or not.

My primary concern is that if a shop pulls it apart and finds out it's a blown trans, you're now out significantly more than finding this in a driveway / garage - this allows Craigslist, eBay, etc., to be utilized to source a suitable replacement.

And if it's a DIY, you can spend the labor fees in a few goodies instead (pulley and plugs, for instance) and have a vastly more enjoyable experience for the dollar value spent.

However, if you're in a life position where paying the labor is significantly more time-valuable vs money-concerned, then find an Indy shop local to you that'll be ready to accept a trans you source (for presumably less than they could offer). This is where the first sentence comes back into play.
 
  #7  
Old 02-26-2019, 05:50 PM
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What is it that you are showing in the last photograph?
 
  #8  
Old 02-26-2019, 10:46 PM
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I just bought an 06 MCS in December. I knew the clutch was going, so that was factored into the purchase price. I'm capable of doing the work, but already have a project car, so the boss ordered me to have a shop do it.

I went with the Valeo clutch kit, and couldn't be happier. I highly recommend it. I paid for 18 hours of labor at a local indie shop where the owner and the head mechanic both have built MINIs. My "while you're in there list included rear main, input shaft seal, crank position sensor seal, low speed fan resistor, water pump, SC service, oil pan gasket, power steering hoses, coolant hoses, and control arm bushings. Probably a few other things I forgot.

I'm glad they got to do all that work, and I just got to come by and inspect the job. It all depends on what your priorities and budget are. Your quotes are a lot higher than what I ended up paying, but I sourced all my parts myself.

I would not let my local dealer within 100 yards of my car, but yours may be different. They're all overpriced.
 
  #9  
Old 02-27-2019, 07:27 AM
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I put in a Valeo clutch around a year ago...and it's been great. Might lighter pedal that the OEM clutch. Lots of people use them.
 
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  #10  
Old 02-27-2019, 08:36 AM
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Ill third for the Valeo kit. Ordered it from WMW with all the extras. I did the clutch throw out arm bushings and threw in a LSD while the thing was all apart, on top of the regular replacements for a subframe drop. You will love the car when its all back together and will probably not want to give it to your son!
 
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  #11  
Old 02-27-2019, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by dhr53 View Post
Thank you Way and Pat for your very fast and helpful esponses.!
I've always wanted a Mini S as IMHO it's the spiritual successor to my Mk1 Rabbit Gti (Pat I have a Mk1 Gti now and have been a VW guy all my life) plus my son used to shout out "Mini!" from his rear car seat every time he saw one for as long as he could talk. This one popped up as an "inexpensive" & fun project as he's now getting close to his license. I'm absorbing all I can and deciding if we want to tackle this clutch job or pay the big $ to have it done. Looks like a 10-14 hour job for a first timer and the ModMini YouTube videos have me feeling more confident. The big thing scaring me is whether the trans has an issue given the description of symptoms above. I'm concerned that the input shaft has somehow sheared a gear in the trans which is why it just spins with no wheel movement even with the car on jackstands. You'd think with a tired clutch I'd still get some movement of the wheels in first or reverse! The clutch material in my pic does point at least to a disc being out.Car is 100% stock and does not appear to have been beat on otherwise.
I agree, at least in terms of vehicles recently(ish) released.

On that note, pics of that A1 please? :D
 
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Old 02-27-2019, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by JAB 67 View Post
What is it that you are showing in the last photograph?
That's where I removed the inspection cover on the trans. I circled a little bit of what I think is clutch material collecting at the top edge.
 
  #13  
Old 02-27-2019, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by veedubpat View Post
I agree, at least in terms of vehicles recently(ish) released.

On that note, pics of that A1 please? :D
It's heavily modified in/out as you can tell. I'm hunting for a 100% stock one in Silver/Blue but they are hard to come by these days.

Thanks so much Pat and friends for all the feedback on the Valeo clutch. I'm leaning towards doing this with the help of my son as a garage project as I'm frugal and hate paying book time labor and stealership prices or being upside-down on a vehicle. I'd also prefer to have time to source a transmission on my own if that turns out to be the case. I'm assuming once I drop the trans I can spin the input shaft while in gear and hear things moving around to confirm it's good.
 

Last edited by dhr53; 04-23-2019 at 09:48 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2019, 09:59 AM
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Kamei X1 widebody?

Looks splendid :thumbup:
 
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Old 02-28-2019, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by veedubpat View Post
Kamei X1 widebody?

Looks splendid :thumbup:
Zender Z20 with Callaway Turbo system! It's very fun but not something to drive around in all the time! Hoping this Mini will make a good option!
 

Last edited by dhr53; 02-28-2019 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 03-09-2019, 05:09 PM
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I installed the Valeo also and really like it. I did it myself and have never done a clutch job. It was very straightforward with all the videos on YouTube. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Way and changed things out as Way suggests at the same time.
 
  #17  
Old 03-12-2019, 11:31 PM
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RE: Independent repair shops. . .

The OP requested any references "for a SF Bay Area indy shop that knows these cars and prices the labor more reasonably" (than the dealer).

I can think of at least two shops depending on where you are in the Bay Area:
Edge Motorworks, in Dublin is excellent http://www.edgemotorworks.com/
Edge Motorworks in Mountain View (sister company) is also very good http://www.edgemotorworksmv.com/
I have had work done at both (service & some mods), and they are very good with suspension also.
(FYI: The Mountain View location is directly across the street from Dinan)
Unfortunately, Bay Bridge Motors in Oakland has recently closed, so I can't offer a third.

The Valeo clutch assembly is a solid performer up to 230HP in my experience. As others have said, it has a light feel, but that's a characteristic rather than a negative.

Just my 2¢
 

Last edited by Mini_Crazy; 03-13-2019 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 03-13-2019, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Mini_Crazy View Post
The OP requested any references "for a SF Bay Area indy shop that knows these cars and prices the labor more reasonably" (than the dealer).

I can think of at least two shops depending on where you are in the Bay Area:
Edge Motorworks, in Dublin is excellent http://www.edgemotorworks.com/
Edge Motorworks in Mountain View (sister company) is also very good http://www.edgemotorworksmv.com/
I have had work done at both (service & some mods), and they are very good with suspension also.
(FYI: The Mountain View location is directly across the street from Dinan)
Unfortunately, Bay Bridge Motors in Oakland has recently closed, so I can't offer a third.

The Valeo clutch assembly is a solid performer up to 230HP in my experience. As others have said, it has a light feel, but that's a characteristic rather than a negative.

Just my 2¢
How about Mini Werks in San Carlos. Andrew, the owner is an honest and straightforward guy. A buddy of mine is getting his clutch done there this week. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive either.
 
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Old 04-23-2019, 09:53 AM
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Thanks for the thoughts and referrals much appreciated! Can anyone suggest a way for me to confirm my trans is good without removing it with my clutch issues as described? Also how can I confirm if my trans has the LSD that I think t he Checkmates came specd with? If I can confirm the trans is good I am moving forward with the project if not I am likely going to pass it on as having to replace both will get way outside the bounds of our budget. Thanks!
 
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Old 04-23-2019, 10:24 AM
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Use mdecoder.com to see what the build was when it left the factory. You’ll need the last 7 digits of the VIN.
 
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:07 AM
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Thanks ZSM looks like I have a locking diff (I assume this means LSD). Now need to figure out if I can confirm my trans is OK without pulling it to determine if I'm just dealing with a clutch job. Thoughts anyone?

Originally Posted by dhr53 View Post
Thanks for the thoughts and referrals much appreciated! Can anyone suggest a way for me to confirm my trans is good without removing it with my clutch issues as described? Also how can I confirm if my trans has the LSD that I think t he Checkmates came specd with? If I can confirm the trans is good I am moving forward with the project if not I am likely going to pass it on as having to replace both will get way outside the bounds of our budget. Thanks!
 
  #22  
Old 04-24-2019, 07:08 AM
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J + G in San Rafael installed a single mass Valeo with flywheel for $1968.30 last January.
Good guys with the proper accents. Near Best Buy.
Lots of five star reviews and British car specialists.
(415) 457-2403‬
 
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