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  #1 (permalink)  
Old Dec 9th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Exclamation Buying Advice

Hi guys

I will be buying a Cooper S in the new year.

Struggling on what to get... either the Supercharged one (which I have driven) or a Turbo.

My budget is around 7000.

I will be upgrading the cooper with a performance package. I'm not sure whether to buy one with a package pre-installed or have it done myself as I'm worried it'll have been absolutely hammered and could be unreliable.

I'm looking for a Grey or Black model with some nice chrome/black alloys and with all the specs, like SatNav, Chili Pack and Leather interior.

In terms of mileage and age - what would you guys recommend?

A second opinion would be great.
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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Avoid the 2nd generation R56 model, the engine is a big pile of poo.
Constant timing chain issues that could destroy the engine.
It also suffers badly from choking.

Get a late supercharged R53 and you won't go far wrong
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Old Dec 9th, 2013, 12:14 PM
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Thanks Johnny. Better to be safe than sorry!
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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Hey GuyKitch

FYI - I bought an '06 R53 S hatchback with the 6 speed manual transmission just 12 months ago. Like you, I had worries about whether it would be reliable and robust given it had the factory fitted JCW 210HP kit already on it.

It had 120,000klm on the speedo when I bought it but was in immaculate condition otherwise. So I took the chance and bought it.

Love it. My friends love it. My family love it. The whine of that supercharger when you gas it is just awesome. I often say to my friends that driving it is the most fun you can have with your clothes still on! ;-)

Adding something like the JCW 210 HP kit makes a big difference to the stock S in terms of acceleration, but there are plenty of aftermarket options for an R53 available if you want more oomph that will probably cost you less.

We've got 2 other stock R53's in the family (an 02 S and an 04 S) and they are also great fun to drive.

I can't comment about whether you should go for the later series Mini with the Turbo or not - I will leave that for other members who have one to comment on their experiences.

Tips:

1) Would strongly suggest if you're wanting an R53 to try to find a good example with a well documented service history. Ask to see the service history documents and see what has been changed, how often and what other repairs has been done to the car. Unless you're a mechanic yourself, I wouldn't touch any Mini R53 or R56 that has little or no service history no matter what the current owner or saleman says.

2) Listen very carefully to the engine as you test drive the car. Get to know how the engine "should" sound and compare carefully.

3) Look at the colour of the engine oil on the dipstick. If its thick & black, then that engine's not had much love. Remove the oil filler cap on the crankcase and look at the underside of the cap. Peer inside the engine top cover whilst you've got the cap off - look for sludge or deposits of black oily buildup. It should look fairly clean inside.

4) Check underneath for oil leaks as the R53 engine is notorious for leaking crank seals around the flywheel area which can be a real pain in the wallet to fix.

5) Suggest take a friend with you to act as a second pair of ears & eyes. You might miss something whilst you're in deep conversation with the owner or salesman. It can often be good to double-check what you think you saw / or what you think you heard with your friend over a coffee afterwards.

6) Look at the tread-wear pattern on the front tyres (run your hand over the tread surface and feel for sharp edges) and look at the inside and outside edges of the tread. The wear pattern can give you an indication of how the car has been generally driven.

Otherwise, from what I've read the R53 engine is pretty bullet-proof and should be capable of doing high miles if its not been abused and kept well serviced.

Good luck with your search. :-)
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Hi jj

Thanks for your advice, great stuff. This has pretty much convinced me to got for the R53, preferrably a 05/06 though.

My dad has a 04' R53 too. When we go and look at buying, we can take his and compare. His is mint and runs sweet, I've driven it. It's in perfect condition.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by GuyKitch (original)
Hi jj

Thanks for your advice, great stuff. This has pretty much convinced me to got for the R53, preferrably a 05/06 though.

My dad has a 04' R53 too. When we go and look at buying, we can take his and compare. His is mint and runs sweet, I've driven it. It's in perfect condition.

Thanks for your help!

Forgot to mention that here in Australia, for a fee we can also engage a Roadside Service organisation (such as the NRMA here in NSW) to do a technical inspection of the car and give you a written report on its condition before you buy.

If you're in the UK, there's possibly something equivalent to that type of service that you can buy too. Might be worth thinking about if you're not 100% sure about the condition of the car you're looking at.

Good luck and let us all know what you end up buying.
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