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Mini Cooper (04) R50 - First one, some questions

1165 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  HazBaz1984
Hello all,

Just bought a bargain Mini Cooper, that appears to be in good nick. But have some questions regarding some issues with it that would be useful to have answered by those in know. It’s done 90k.

1. Car was manufactured in August 04. And is 54 plate (U.K.). Would it have midlands or getrag 5spd box?

2. The trifecta of lights is on - ABS, ASC and Tyre Pressure. This is intermittent. I was going to try putting 36psi in the tyres and seeing whether that solves it. It seems someone else has already been at the loom around the ABS pump so it might have been an issue in the past.

3. AirCon is rattly. But seems to work. Why?

4. Power Steering Fluid reservoir looks like it’s been spitting out fluid at some point. Very dirty and greasy. Could this indicate an issue with the PAS?

5. bottom of engine is wet with oil. And it has an active dripping oil leak. Will take it into garage next week so they can look over it. I know the Camshaft pos. sensor is a common spot. As is the oil pan. And possibly the main seals (but let’s hope not). Any ideas about this one?

6. No history with this car.... when would be a good time to do timing chain/major service? No noises/rattles, but might be good if it needs work on seals for the oil leak(s). Does it need water pump at same time? Should I do gearbox oil as a matter of course (this has probably never been changed). Will be doing plugs, oil, filters etc anyway. But would like to keep it running for another 100k if I can.

Any advice graciously received. Car is great. Drives like a go kart. Such fun. Cheers.
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Hi mate,

1: Boxes were changed to Getrag in July ’04, you lucky thing!

2: I’ll let someone else answer…but check brake fluid level, tyre pressure etc.

3: Probably hasn’t been used in a while, AirCon may need re-gassing. But if rattling, at least you know it’s working.

4: This is common - check the PS Fluid level. They do like to leak a bit. You’ll hear the pump whining when driving, and as long as you can feel the power steering working, it hasn’t failed. Yet.

5: Common oil leaks are Crank sensor O-Ring, rocker cover gasket, oil pan gasket…all of these could be contributing to oil collecting on the bottom of the sump. None of them are terminal but you do want to get on top of them in time. I believe crank sensor o-ring is most common, as well as oil filter housing gasket.

6: I think 100,000+ is good to do timing chain. Listen for ticks/rattles around top right of engine, that’ll let you know if things are off in there. The ‘timing chain death rattle’ will occur when the tensioner is failing…will make the engine sound like a diesel, if only intermittently. gearbox oil is definitely good to do, and quite easy…make sure you use MTF-LT-3 spec for those Getrag boxes…I bought Red Line D6 ATF, which is smooooooth.

I have an ’05 Cooper and have been nursing it back to health for the last two years - they are massively rewarding when you take care of them bit by bit.
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Thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail. Appreciate it.

Yeah, according to another chap, it can be hit and miss if it has either box, based on how close it was made to the switch. There might have been midlands stock left over. I’ll ask the garage to try and determine, maybe get the serial number. Hope it’s the getrag based on what I’ve read.

I do need to check fluids and tyre pressures. But apparently it is a common issue with the loom rubbing on the grommet where it comes through the firewall and shorting or snapping wires. I might get an auto spark to fix that.

AirCon does work. Just rattly. Didn’t do it on the test drive.... obviously.

No issues with PAS. Yet. Apparently there’s a cooling fan that gets gummed up and they overheat? Will have a look and give it a clean/test.

Thanks for advice re oil leaks.

Yeah. I’ll see how the leak assessment comes on. If the end seals are leaking, I’ll get the clutch and chain done eventually. Oils will be done next week.

Other than that, the car is great! Thanks again for the advice.
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No worries,

Easy way for the garage to tell if it's Getrag - the slave cylinder is at the bottom of the box, rather than on top.

I believe the R50s didn't generally come with the power steering fan on this side of the pond - mine doesn't have one. They'll have the holes for the bracket next to the lower engine mount, but that's it. Either way it sounds like your PAS is 'normal' for the age, just like the oil collecting on the sump.

Hope it goes well when looked over, good to hear it's driving fine! This guy is a godsend for generally getting to know and tackle problems on the first gens:

Hope you have many miles of happiness with it!
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Took the mini to my very competent mechanic.

Overall it’s in good shape.

1. ⁠Has the later getrag 5spd box. Hurrah. When changing the oil, quite a bit of bearing material on the magnets and in the fluid. But for a 90k car that’s no doubt seen a hard life, it wasn’t too bad.
2. ⁠ABS - codes are sensor related. He cleared them. They are back. So I might just buy new wheels sensors for the front, get them changed out and see if that solves the issue.
3. ⁠Pollen filter changed, and now the AC doesn’t rattle. And it WORKS! Amazed.
4. ⁠No issues with steering or suspension. Just needs an alignment. No fan on these models apparently. That is US only.
5. ⁠Lots of oil leaks.... but not crank seals. Yay. Heaviest leak from the oil filter o ring - metal housing which heats and makes ring brittle apparently. Mech said ‘well, for a £900 car, so long as you’re not going through 5l a month....’. Fair enough.
6. ⁠Said not to bother with chain as they rarely go on the mk1 minis. Apparently the newer ones with the Peugeot engine go ALL the time. At low mileage.

So all in all, good news!

Full service and it drives like a dream!
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