Greetings from the Sunshine State - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 2016, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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Greetings from the Sunshine State

Hi all,

Hello and thanks for having me. Just started looking at buying my wife a used Mini for Xmas and I'm here for advice on what models are best avoided, things to look for in a used Mini, etc.

Cheers!

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 27th, 2016, 06:24 AM
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Hi monojoker and welcome. For the best mini experience I'd fully recommend buying a generation 1 Mini R53 which is a Cooper S (2002 -2006) avoid the generation 2 cars as they are piles of shyte and your hand will never be out of your pocket trying to keep the thing on the road.

The generation 1's are bullet proof and the sound of the supercharged engine is great.

Have a look on YouTube and search for "modmini" as he does a wee buyers guide on the mini

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 2016, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome then I'm looking in the right place already. How many kms is TOO many on the series 1? Most of the cooper s models around my price figure have 150-170,000 on them. Do the normally aspirated 1.6s last longer than the S models? What are the r53 convertibles like, does the body integrity stay on as they get older? At the moment I'm thinking Cooper s around 03 year model just has to have the big sunroof as it's the next best thing to a convertible with not as many drawbacks/compromises...

Thanks for the reply and info!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 2016, 04:50 AM
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Try to look for an R53 from 04-06, If you choose a sunroof, check it to see if it opens smoothly, they are expensive to fix if not maintained. 150-170,000 km in Australia would be considered mid mileage cars. Issues with the R53 as they age like the R50 would be a tendency for the timing chain tensioner to start sticking but its an easy DIY fix. Worn engine and gearbox mounts, again, easy repair. Due to the redesign of the front strut tower mounts, the towers can be domed (mushroomed) due to hitting large potholes and worn shocks, new suspension (shocks) and under tower indurators ( Under Tower Indurators - CravenSpeed Online ) will fix this. Check for leaks around the PS Hoses, leaks around the Thermostat housing, Oil leaks around the crank sensor housing (easy fix, on the front of the engine and often diagnosed as a leaking sump gasket). Can sometime leak on the oil heat exchanger (oil cooler) and allow water into the oil system and vice versa.

What you will be doing if you buy an R53 is change the engine oil and filter, air filter, serpentine belt (need a tool to release the belt), spark plugs, gearbox oil (every 50,000km), change the oil on the Super Charger ( every 50,000km) and It has two reservoirs and requires to be taken off the vehicle, again a simple job. Whilst your changing the gearbox oil and SC oil, you may as well replace the coolant, use the BMW stuff as its not expensive in a 50/50 mix with deionised water.

A very good source of information, especially for DIY repairs is Modmini on YouTube for his Gen 1 videos. If you have an R53 and your looking at a new clutch, a Valeo Single Mass conversion is good value for money and is covered on Modmini's videos.

A rattle on cold startup will indicate a minimum of a sticking timing chain tensioner (mentioned before) or may indicate new timing chain guides (requires a camshaft locking tool and Modmini covers this in his cylinder head gasket replacement). Very robust engine if it has not been flogged to death and reliable, like all engines regardless, does require regular servicing and maintenance, a lot more frequent than the BMW schedule but will benefit with a reliable engine. Any issues nipped in the bud early will see cheap and easy repairs, left to fester will result in greater expense.

I own both an R50 and R53, 02 and 06 respectively and both are over 200,000km. Yes parts wear and I do all my own repairs and service and have saved a small fortune. If you choose a Gen1 Mini, consider buying the diagnostic cable (blue) with software from BMW DCAN OBD USB Diagnostic Fault Code Cable - This Lead allows full Coding Programming and Diagnostics for your BMW D-CAN , the software works best on XP based computers (laptop) but will work with a virtual machine on systems upto win7.

Also consider buying the Bentley Manual for the Gen 1 series as it is worth the expense in the long term.

Best of luck
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 1st, 2016, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Well I couldn't ask for much more info, awesome reply thanks! Time to scour gumtree and carsales and secure a mid km r53.

Cheers.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2016, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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OK I've started looking and found a few but before I go looking seriously can someone have a look at what I've found in this thread and some specific questions about repairs:

Edit: curses I can't post a URL to "other sites" - I'm linking to a thread on these very forums - any way I can still post it?

URL would ideally go here

Thanks again
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2016, 07:44 AM
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Hello and welcome to the site! You've came to the right place - lots of knowledgeable people here who can help you when you get what you're looking for. Good luck with the hunt and ask away if you need any info.

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 2017, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hunt over, car sourced. Now to put some pics up in the Garage
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 8th, 2017, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monojoker View Post
Hunt over, car sourced. Now to put some pics up in the Garage
Looks good monojoker. Just a quick heads up. The convertible Cooper S (and all convertibles) are R52's. Most bits for the R53 MCS will obviously fit, but there are a few differences. Principally, exhausts are not interchangeable and a few body parts, around the back end.

Overall it will be a great drive, mine puts a smile on my face every time I drive it.

Welcome

Minialf
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