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Discussion Starter #1
Bought my Mini Cooper S R53 in September 2012 after owning a mk2 Toyota MR2 for 9 years, ultra reliable


Here it is shortly after buying it


Within 2 days, stripes


Anthracite & chrome line Interior


Mark on rear light


Bit of Turtle Wax Safe Cut and it was gone


Spotted overspray on licence plate lights before buying, most likely the common rust hatch issue


New lenses


Checked spark plugs, 1 miss-matched plug


Sorted


Standard brakes were fine but not brilliant, so...






Brake fluid counter had never been reset, despite it being done 6 months before I bought it


Changed fluid and reset counter


Mini DVR-HD camera installed. Had a dashcam since 2008 (first one was actually a CCTV Hard Disk recorder with a bullet camera attached)


Changed the fuel filter


Transmission oil changed


I plan on doing an engine oil change between regular services


Despite the car having reasonable service history, I've been breathing in crap


Lot's of lovely new suspension bits, which turned out to be a little overkill as I found the spring cups & rubbers to be in much better condition than on previous suspension changes I've done
 

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It looks like you have done all the right things to keep your MINI in top shape. Love the colour combo, my first Cooper S was a Hyper Blue/White.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It looks like you have done all the right things to keep your MINI in top shape. Love the colour combo, my first Cooper S was a Hyper Blue/White.
Cheers, the post above was all within the first few months of ownership.
Since then I've spent thousands :eeksurprise: spent more money on it than the car itself cost, 99% of it not absolutely necessary either :big_grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Car was off the road for about a week after the suspension change from hell.

I've changed the suspension on a few cars now, all without any problem whatsoever.

It all started when I noticed the passenger side strut was slightly mushroomed. I'd heard of this before buying the car but never knew exactly what I was looking for until recently.
So, first thing... ditch the god-awful runflat tyres that are probably a contributing factor.

£500 lighter and I have some nice Continental Sport Contact 5's.

I like the ride & handling as is (just not the harshness of the runflats), but figured as I was approaching 80K miles and the mushroom then I'd best look at refreshing the dampers.
Decided upon Koni FSD and keeping the height the same (although if anyone has JCW springs, let me know ).

Immediately I find that the droplinks I got from Fleabay are for Minis up to 03/2002 despite going through the compatibility selection on the item page
Refunded, but the first setback.

Notice in the pic above that the offside spring seat is loose. Drop a line to Koni UK, continue with installation (as old droplinks came off without having to be cut ) and I doubt they'd send out faulty stuff.
Got a reply, they're faulty and they'll send a replacement, another setback and have to remove it, and then reinstall replacement!!

Reach the first Mini difficulty - there isn't enough clearance to remove the front struts and get them out of the hub without removing balljoints (not with standard springs at least), and my spring compressors weren't much good on such short springs. So I ended up installing it all piece by piece inside the wheel arch

Drivers side done



Passenger side took only a few minutes until I was forced to stop, the dreaded pinch bolt


What an unbelievably poor design.
Even when getting part numbers from realoem.com and looking at the diagrams, I couldn't believe there wasn't a simple nut on the end of the bolt.
This then caused a chain reaction of further pain...

After several hours of crying I decided a 2nd hand hub would be less painful than drilling it out.

So I started on the rears, effortless. Although I'm not convince that holding the shock absorber with a single bolt that's attached only at one side is very safe either


Back to the front, whole damper & hub removed


As expected from a mushroomed strut, a mushroomed top mount. To think, Mini could probably have solved the mushroom problem by using stronger top mounts


Wasn't expecting a bent droplink though


Got some under tower plates to prevent mushrooms in future (and to help fix the problem)


And some tower defenders, which personally I don't think will do anywhere near as good as the under tower plates, but got them mainly to help with the fixing


Test fit of defenders before the fixing, this pic shows the mushroomed strut tower next to the flat tower defender


Fixing in progress




Fixed


Replacement hub arrives. Looks nothing like the one in the photo on fleabay. Complete with brake disc, thanks!!!! I know why they gave me a free brake disc, because they know what a pain removing the retaining screw is, thanks again Mini, poor design.
Also, wheel bearing on the replacement looks like it's from the Titanic. So I'll simply remove mine and put it on this one Will take a lot of leverage, so need a 13mm socket to fit my big ratchet, and Halfords only seem to sell 13mm bi-hex sockets and it promptly rounds the nut of the last bolt.
Right, I'll take the easy option and put on a new wheel bearing

£26 later


Nearly ready to go, at least I'm close to getting the car back on the road


Give the car a short drive, grinding/scraping noise from passenger front wheel. Immediate thought was the dust shield, then the ABS light came on along with the flat tyre and traction control
Could be abs sensor from the hub from the Titanic, or cheap-ass wheel bearing

And I think I find out why most wheel bearings are £50+
I think I must have knocked it against the drive shaft upon installation, but if I did then only slight. What is the magnetic ring made from? paper?


So, decide to bite the bullet as I need the car working, and purchase a genuine abs sensor and wheel bearing, mainly because they had it in stock so I could get the car back on the road.
Sensor was just over £100, bearing £160


And with that, the warning lights are gone and the car is back on the road.

The rear shock absorbers, with 78K miles on them, were knackered, I could push down the strut pistons on the rears and they never returned.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
And after only 8 months of ownership, I just couldn't resist modifying it. It's a very expensive hobby.

Changed the grille for a black Aero one. The part for the upper bumper needed modifying for it to fit the standard bumper.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A combination of aching arm on long journeys, lack of storage space and getting old lead me to getting an armrest.
Not often seen on fleabay, so I got a new retrofit kit from BMW/MINI, £200








Doesn't exactly solve the storage issues though, it's tiny inside
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Coming up to it's first MOT in my ownership, and exhaust rust had already been an advisory on the previous two MOTs
Got a price for a new OEM exhaust from the dealership, £600 (parts only).


So, do the sensible thing and get a Scorpion exhaust for £450, much cheaper than OEM, and it won't rust


Had change the exhaust on my MR2, very very easy on a mid-engined car :)
Wasn't sure about this though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
New exhaust mounts & bolts from MINI costing around £100.

The suspension overhaul a few months ago in which I replaced a LOT of components, the ONE item I skimped on was getting cheap fleabay droplinks, and of course one of them failed and started knocking - after only 5 months. So I've bitten the bullet and paid £120 for genuine ones knowing I'll get at least 8 years out of them


Mr Angle Grinder came out to play with one of the exhaust bolts


Removing the old exhaust from the rubber mounts had me stumped for a while. Very difficult to remove due to the knobbly bits on the oem hangers and very limited space lack of space to get your hands in.
My top tip here is to remove the metal strap around the backboxes, as the hangers are attached to the strap itself - gives much more space to get at them now


Removed at last
 

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Discussion Starter #9
New mounts (I found out old ones were actually in good condition)
Plusgas squirted everywhere from removing old mounts




Passenger side exhaust pipe was fouling the battery cover


Turns out the cover isn't symmetrical


After a bit of tweaking


Result


Unfortunately the tailpipes were too close to the bottom of the bumper, so ended up putting washers underneath the rear inner mounts. Access to the rear outer hangers weren't possible without removing the exhaust, and I didn't want to remove them anyway as these commonly shear.
Fortunately just adjusting the inner mounts worked a treat




The idle is a little tame compared to the Mongoose exhaust I had on the MR2, but the pops and bangs this does when lifting off at 3,000rpm more than makes up for it :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The car passed it's MOT.
And it's the first ever MOT this car has had in it's life with no advisories - speaks volumes for 'typical' Mini owners!!

Bought more stuff for some (preventative) maintenance...


As I've no idea when the last coolant change was done (it has been done as the coolant is red) I thought I'd tackle that.
And for good measure replace my expansion tank, which is fine, but it's 8 years old and is a common Mini component failure.

Also replacing Front Lower Control Arm Bushes with poly ones, makes sense to replace inner ball joints too (outers already done) and ARB bushes with OEM.


Attempted the coolant change, gave up as I couldn't remove the undertray that sits under the radiator.
So I di yet another oil change (this is the 2nd one I've done between the scheduled ones).


New stereo fitted


 

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Discussion Starter #11
Another common Mini problem, streaks on the windows


A whopping £76.39 for the pair


Sorted it
 

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Discussion Starter #12
New (to me) dash camera installed, Blackvue DR500GW HD.
The old Mini-DVR HD was superb during daylight, but not fantastic at night. The Blackvues are fantastic at night.

Anyway, I inherited this after someone drove into the back of the wifes car (footage from the front only camera was good enough to prove what actually happened in the accident) - but she's now bought the new Blackvue DR550GW-2CH that has a 2nd camera facing rearwards.

I'm planning on keeping the Mini-DVR if I can figure out best to mount it in the rear.




And a few days later...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnQefVLOQa4
 

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Discussion Starter #13
And the damage from that accident, new trim for bumper & bonnet comes to £45.97


Small dent on edge of bonnet, under the trim, very minor, no paint damage


And, all sorted, hooray for clip on plastic trim
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Creating a little more room, need to fit a lot of future Mini progress


Despite making space, it still took THREE trips to/from the dealership




£1000 worth of plastic!!


 

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Johnny, why do they get streaks on the windows - mine has.
Snap ...was wondering the same ...

also Johhny I have a quick question in relation to the rear bumper plastic trim ( centre piece) , my old exhaust got a leak and managed to melt a hole through the rear bumper lower trim , I have purchased a replacement however I am a complete idiot when a screwdriver etc is involved , my question is this ..
How easy is this trim to replace ? can I do this without taking the whole rear bumper off ? I know its not just a case of unclipping the trim as there are 2 screws ( one at each end of the trim ) ..any advice would be greatly appreciated as for the last couple of months I have had a £70 boxed piece of new trim staring me in the face saying "come and have a go if you think you are hard enough !! " lol
 

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Discussion Starter #18
also Johhny I have a quick question in relation to the rear bumper plastic trim ( centre piece) , my old exhaust got a leak and managed to melt a hole through the rear bumper lower trim , I have purchased a replacement however I am a complete idiot when a screwdriver etc is involved , my question is this ..
How easy is this trim to replace ? can I do this without taking the whole rear bumper off ? I know its not just a case of unclipping the trim as there are 2 screws ( one at each end of the trim ) ..any advice would be greatly appreciated as for the last couple of months I have had a £70 boxed piece of new trim staring me in the face saying "come and have a go if you think you are hard enough !! " lol
TBH I'm not sure.
It's mostly clips holding that trim on, but there does appear to be a couple of small bolts that attach to the side trim pieces.
See below in my post where I have the standard rear bumper on the ground to fit my Aero kit...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Got the Aero kit painted


Painted behind the upper grille


For some reason, the Aero skirts have a lot less clips than the standard skirts




This pic is before I cleaned properly the bumper trims, so colour match of black textured paint isn't great in this pic


Rear bumper off


Standard vs Aero rear bumpers, this highlights the newly painted parts are a little lighter


Even though I already have washers under the exhaust mounts, I'll need even more as the Aero rear bumper sits closer to the exhaust


All fitted




Getting it painted cost me £330.

The Aero kit is of not fantastic quality (it's genuine BMW/MINI)...

Side skirts - why fewer clips?

Front bumper - no proper place to attach temperature sensor WTF, the fixings on the underside are near impossible to get to (mind you, they're not much better on the standard bumper), no mounting points at back of bumper for number plate screws like standard bumper.

Rear bumper - WTF is that bodge of a bracket? Why couldn't it be the same as the standard bumper?
 
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