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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 01:59 PM
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Australia Looking to buy a Mini Cooper 03 / 04 ish

Hi Forumites,
No doubt this has been asked a gazillion times before, I had a quick search and didn't find much apart from a guy anting to buy supercharged mini on P plates, I wish him all the very best.

I am looking for anything to watch out for the Cooper / Cooper S model, looking around the 03 to 04 vintage, preferably an auto trans. Any specific years that were known to be a "bad year" The vehicle is for my wife. Found out they don't have a spare tyre and run some sort of "won't go flat tyres" sound expensive.

Spare parts, easy / hard? Sun roof(s) are they prone to leaking? Auto trans, any model to avoid? Engines, fully serviced how many klms are they good for?

Interiors, hard wearing, prone to rips? Squeaks / rattles? electrics, prone to any issues?

Any help gratefully received and thank you up front................
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Hi ya

Check out this link may be helpful for you
MINI Cooper Forum - FAQ & DIY: MINI DIY & FAQ - ALL GENERATIONS

I am not shore about the auto boxes, I would think you would get better MPG out of a manual box I here the auto's are quite heavy on fuel but I don't have first hand experience with them.
but my advice for the car in general is to get the latest one possible with in your budget. They changed some parts on some models around 04 so if you can get a car with a build date after July 04 if it's a cooper or one with manual gearbox.

The minis come with so many different options, so I would work out what you want and try and find a car with as many options as possible. There are to many to list.

Things I wanted on my MCS

Sat nav
Panoramic sunroof
A/C climate control
Limited slip diff ( a must for a cooper s I think )
Viability pack ( heated windscreen, mirrors, head light washers )
HK stereo
Leather seats (full or half)

But on a second hand car it's hard to find it all in one place I had to look a few to get my minimum but I am very happy with what I have.

Thing To look out for if you can

full service history plus bills of parts and work carried out
Front wish bone bushes,
power steering pump, do fail but you should be able to get them replaced by mini under a good will clam.
Gearbox noise,
cam chain, lifter rattles or supercharger rattles when cold start
Right hand top engine mount any oil stains on the chassis leg means it needs or has been changed.they don't last long, also check the lower engine stabiliser to
Clutch rattles and noise at idle and pulling away
Get the car started and test everything in the car works: windows drop when you open the door and lift when you close them remote locking etc.

Plus all the normal car stuff brakes, lights exhaust etc.
Drive it for about 30 min and play with everything electrical

Reading back it sounds bad but I have covered quite a few miles in my car never had a problem, and still love driving it.

Good luck and I hope it bring as much enjoyment to you as it has me


Hope this helps
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 04:38 PM
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All 1st Gen Cooper automatic models had a CVT transmission which if it fails will cost you more than the car is worth to fix.
MotoringFile MINI Settling CVT Class Action Suit
An automatic (Aisin) transmission wasn't available in Cooper S models until May 2005 builds.

In the case of manual transmissions 1st Gen Cooper models built prior to July 2004 had the problematic Midlands transmission. Cooper S models and later (facelift) Cooper models had the more reliable Getrag unit.
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 05:40 PM
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This R50/53 Buyers guide should also help:
MotoringFile MINI R50/R53 Buyers Guide
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Old Feb 21st, 2014, 10:23 PM
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Australia

Hi to all repliers,
Thanks for the valuable information, and the links, explains a lot, especially the price hike around 2005. The vehicle is for my wife and she wants an auto so no option here. I've also heard some horror stories around clutch changes and the ability to get access in the engine bay.

I dealt with a lot of Minis in my youth around the mid to late seventies, I suspect that things have changed quite a bit, however still a transverse engine inside a shoebox engine bay.

Can I assume that serviceability s good, there is no mention of any nightmares in this area, the old Mini was OK all things considered. Mind you never had air con and a power steering pump..........

Ok we're off t have a look at a couple todays so we'll see how we go. Again thanks for the replies so far.
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