Oversteer/handling issue? - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 20th, 2006, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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South Africa Oversteer/handling issue?

Hi there..
Long'ish question on handling/how does the S behave?
Been driving a 2003 cooper S for about 6 months now.
Totally standard, 17 inch S lites, almost new dunlop 9000's at the rear, pretty old soon to be replaced pirelli euforia's up front.

Had a few "scary" experiences while driving at speed. Just want to know if this is normal and I should learn to expect/control it, or not?

On the highway, doing about 140/150kph, through fairly wide open bends, if i just tip the brake gently to slow down a lil, the car immediately throws itself into, what i think is, oversteer. In a right handed turn, all weight transfers to the left front tyre and the back feels as though its about to come around.
I'm guessing that this is expected, and yes, i shouldnt be touching my brakes even slightly through a bend at speed.
But the only reason this irks me is that, I've done similar speeds in previous cars and have never been/felt close to losing it.
Previously drove BMW E30 325 and E36 318..so i've always been a RWD driver. I could fling those cars through these same wide (not tight) bends on the highways at 140kph+ and brake pretty hard if i needed mid bend, and still maintain control. Not ever feel close to losing it.

Is this something I just need to get used to on the MINI or FWD cars in general? (ie: just dont brake mid bend, ever.)
I've had similar experiences at lower speeds, 100-110kph or so, and abt to miss an offramp, so braked firmly n turned toward the offramp, but the car felt dangerous when I did this, all weight transfers to the outer front wheel and just feels like im going to throw it into a spin. Never had this kinda behaviour from the 2 previous cars I drove, in similar circumstances.

Just feel it's a bit much, in a car with a reputation for handling. I've felt much more stable in the previous 3 series E30/36 that i owned. I even moved over from "my fast lane" for a MKV GTI yest , i just didnt feel too confident! I could brake fairly firmly, if needed, mid bend in those old 3 series bimmers. Just cant do it in my MINI.

Is this totally normal and expected? Just adjust driving style?
IF yes, can any adjustment to tyre pressure at rear/front help, if so what adjustment?

Or is it not normal at these speeds, with wide bends. Is it too much? What could cause it? maybe rear control arms, toe in etc may need adjustment? Don't want anything aftermarket as i'm trying to hold on to my warranty/motorplan.

Just wondering if its normal...and i need to be shot for wanting to brake
(need to brake sometimes though..sigh)
Thanks in advance for any input/advice/etc..

Goga


2003 Dark SIlver Cooper S
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2006, 07:15 PM
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i believe it was Sir Jackie Stewart that said, "You never press the gas pedal until you know you never have to take it off". Basically meaning you want to maintain an all around smoothness in your driving. I have driven AWD and FWD cars with the ability to make them oversteer just by lifting off mid corner (it simply takes the weight off the rear wheels in a very quick/exaggerated fashion). So, yes that is normal behavior. Here is some more of Sir Jackie Stewart's wisdom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCmJ3Ugmrro

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Boost, it's the #2 replacement for displacement
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2006, 07:19 PM
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I think the fact that the rear tyres are almost new but the fronts (which do most of the work) are needing replaced might have A LITTLE to do with the uneasy feeling... Can't say ive noticed any oversteer on my cooper if anything slight understeer.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 21st, 2006, 09:02 PM
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I've had a bad experience in the past by mixing tire manufacturers with a Honda Civic. Difference in tire wall stiffness between the Dunlops and Pirellis will cause the car to wonder in turns and act as you discribed. I'd get new Dunlops up front and see if you still have the problem. I bet it makes it better.

Alan
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Hi Guys, IMO there is too much rear brake bias on the Mini (unless your 4 up with half a ton of spuds in the boot). One answer is to improve the front brakes. Another is to increase rear end grip ,try a cold tyre pressure of about 25-27 psi in the rear. If you lock a rear (Ive managed it despite abs ) the rear will come round ,its very very scary as even letting off the brakes and steering into it takes a second or 2 to have effect. The reason being if the rear wheel is stopped and your doing 80mph the wheel cannot grip until its been spun upto road speed ,this takes time (feels like an eternity)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:01 PM
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Totally agree with Roland. Too much rear bias on the MINI. It also makes braking twitchy in a straight line if the road camber changes.

There is a roundabout near me that is cambered as you reach the roundabout and the road turns a little to the left before entering the roundabout.

If I come up there and brake the car turns itself left without me putting any force into the steering wheel.

It was acceptable in the 80's
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:07 PM
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i have had a problem with a 2 week old mini one, where when i brake hard coming off some speed it will sway the car,
any ansers to that :S
mark
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:31 PM
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United Kingdom Male View grantw's Solid Black & Body Color 1st Gen MINI Cooper S Profile
 
i think the balance of the mini uder braking is just right.. its alarming if your new to the mini, but once you know the limits (a good track day with an instructor is good for that!) then if for some reason you need to ram on the brakes you can also dial in a smidge of opposite lock.. the mini isnt a oversteery car, but the ability to get the nose to stick in and the tail to drift out (a little) makes it a great handling FWD car!
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:48 PM
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The MINI is a pretty short wheel base, especially compared to those other cars. Usually the MINI suffers understeer like a lot of front engine FWD cars. However its short wheel base causes the MINI to be particularaly twitchy (rear) under brakes, this is not helped by the high rear-ward brake distribution it has (I have found on occasion that the rear goes very slippy as the car applies rear brake pressure (to a light and under grippy rear) when all I really want is front brakes at that point. It does take a bit to get it to do it but this short base twitchyness is not unusual, it is not helped by the lack of drive to the rear to aid in correting it and the short base also means that its difficult to correct it in time too so it can be pretty hair raising. Also the MINI has very stiff suspention so the rear can feel a touch twitchy because of that as it hops and skips about a bit compared to some cars that will absorb or sit down onto the lumps and bumps of the surface. Plus run flat tyres offer poor grip IMHO and the stiff side walls cause the MINIs pronounced stiffness to be exageratted even more. These factors all added together will make the MINI 'feel' pretty twitchy at the back, especially compared to longer rear drive cars with 'less stiff' suspension like you are used to driving.

To be fair it only gets like that on poor surfaces and at higher speeds and when pushing on and touching brakes or oversteering at the last minute into corners. Smooth and progressive application of wheel, brake and throttle dial out a lot of these issues but it takes time to "learn" this if you have been driving rear drive salloons for a long time.

Good luck and enjoy

R

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 03:24 PM
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Yeah I must admit you get used to it and most of the time it's OK but I'm not sure how they got the handling the way they have. Certainly the classic never had these issues although the MINI handles similar to it.

Incidently changing to non runflats massively improves the cars skittish behaviour when cornering at speed. The problem seems to be that the suspension settings were done and dusted before the run flats were decided to be used on the car. This occurred very late in the development process and explains why the car is better on standard tyres.

The 2nd Gen car has been designed from day one with runflats so it will be interesting to see what non runflats do. Will it make the handling a little too soft? Anyway that's a subject for another thread.

It was acceptable in the 80's
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