MINI Cooper Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My family has a Mini Cooper R56 with all the bit and whistles Mini offered back in 2008. We got it used with 20K km.
I love this car to death whenever I drive it BUT its really costly to maintain.
On the last two years, we paid around 2K (euros) to repair which is quite high considering that EVERY freaking time the same things break.
The car has been through a full engine rebuild 30K km ago (around a year ago? ).

I can give you the full list of repairs etc that I do to the car each time (it'll be a long one trust me).

Now, the family is tired of the car and wants to sell it for a new BMW 118i M and give the Mini to them for 500 euros.
BUT there is another way: I get to keep the car.
In order to fix the "limped mode" car I need a full engine rebuild (three mechanics agreed on that). The reason being that they don't really understand what's wrong.

I can describe the issue as it follows (before switching to limp mode):
  1. The car starts OK
  2. The car does not respond to throttle (immediately after hitting the pedal)
  3. The car goes through fuel like its a juice box
my local dealer asked for 1200 euro that will just fix the issue. Another local mechanic asked for 900 euro. Another local mini specialized shop asked for 999 euro.


But I saw that I can swap the N14 engine for a N18 engine.
My mechanic told me I need the following:

  1. 1.4K euros for the engine
  2. 300 euros for the wiring harness
  3. 800 euros for the labor

I am open to hear your suggestions about if the engine swap is a good idea (since I want to keep the car) OR if there is another engine that would easily fit my car (say a B58 BMW engine from the newer models).
What I am looking for is to maintain the "fun side" of the mini and to preserve the car on my family. It looks good, drives good, has been with me since 2009 and I love it to death (even if I hated it at first because we didn't get a E46 BMW)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Did any do a compression test?

Starts but throttle doesn't respond doesn't sound like a blown engine. Not saying it isn't very sick, just that those symptoms don't describe a blown engine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Did any do a compression test?

Starts but throttle doesn't respond doesn't sound like a blown engine. Not saying it isn't very sick, just that those symptoms don't describe a blown engine.
They pretty much said (all three of the mechanics from dealers and what not) that they can't know what's wrong. So they want to do a rebuild. The engine had a total service cost of around 5K euros in the last two years. So I don't want to even risk another 1K in the hope that this time they will fix it.

Also funny enough the engine seems like it's recovering on its own (?) we pretty much use the car now for going up and down the road on daily basis (around 2km) and it seems like its getting better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I looked around for an engine and I think that the N18 engine is the best option since it was natively mounted on the R56 chassis.

Please let me know if there is another engine that would fit my Mini and will be more reliable than the N14 engine that currently occupies space on my engine bay.

I also found LED lights that look like the new F series lights (GB flags on the back and LED rings on the front.)

Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
726 Posts
personally I'd just use the N14, it's pretty much the same overall, in fact has less systems than the 18, only one Vanos, no Valvetronic etc, only minor revisions in the chain system, the only significant attribute if you could call it such is that they have less of a carbon build up, that said, as I understand it, the later system denies the potential to catch and divert oil vapour, in favour of processing it in a more complicated and unchangeable way, resulting in it 'always' being ingested, that might need more research from individuals but for me I think, the N14 with better rods and other bits with better thinking applied to it's use and maintenance is just as likely a good engine if not better, there are performance cams for them, not for the other for example.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mebido157

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,221 Posts
the n18 and n14 are so different and swapping them comes with many pit falls, first off the ecu is different first can of worms the ecu is coded to the car the keys the body control module etc so not plug and play, if found a n18 cooper s its possible to change the wiring harness and car body harness and all ecu's from one n18 donner car but massive job all seats and out change the dash etc, cost thousands ,, better off forging the n14 engine fit hybrid turbo and intercooler better exhaust port the head fit fast road cams etc better conrods and pistons etc should push 280bhp,, and prob less hassle than a n18 with all the extra bits to go wrong like the vvt and extra vanos and sensors etc,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the n18 and n14 are so different and swapping them comes with many pit falls, first off the ecu is different first can of worms the ecu is coded to the car the keys the body control module etc so not plug and play, if found a n18 cooper s its possible to change the wiring harness and car body harness and all ecu's from one n18 donner car but massive job all seats and out change the dash etc, cost thousands ,, better off forging the n14 engine fit hybrid turbo and intercooler better exhaust port the head fit fast road cams etc better conrods and pistons etc should push 280bhp,, and prob less hassle than a n18 with all the extra bits to go wrong like the vvt and extra vanos and sensors etc,
My intention is not to tune the freak out of the car but to have a better daily driver with a bit more spark to it. Having said that, I found a N18 engine for 1.4K euros + full wiring 300 (keys I didn't ask).
Abut the seats I didn't even thought about that, but why would I have to take out the whole cabin?

Maybe I could buy a whole car for parts then? Making the process more easy for my mechanic.

Also I am guessing that all the bits you mention above (which I applied bold to) are custom parts? Wouldn't that make the engine and the car less reliable and more costly to maintain? I am asking because I have no experience in the matter.

N14 with better rods and other bits with better thinking applied to it's use and maintenance is just as likely a good engine if not better, there are performance cams for them, not for the other for example.
Again, modding an engine that in the last two years made a bill of 2K euros in repairs (not maintenance) sounds risky to me simply because it was not a reliable engine in the first place.

Are there any good parts I could use (from 3rd parties) that would make the N14 more reliable?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,221 Posts
when mini's are built at factory when ordered they have a number of wiring options to suit different cars with different options, so if mismatch anything the car will throw fault codes a lot of wiring runs under the carpet and behind the dash, , any fault codes linked to engine management will throw car in to limp modes, also a lot of garages dont like working on cars that have been modified with wrong engines and ecu's as it makes so much harder to fix things. better off buying a honda as dont tend to suffer from the faults these cars do
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
better off buying a honda as dont tend to suffer from the faults these cars do
So you think it'll be a wiser thing to sell the car completely?

also a lot of garages dont like working on cars that have been modified with wrong engines and ecu's as it makes so much harder to fix things
I'm glad about that but since my mechanic was offered to do this for me, I trust him that he will keep on fixing my car for the years to come. I've been a good customer anyway.

Thank you for all your replies BTW and @ExclusiveWorkshops for the info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,221 Posts
So you think it'll be a wiser thing to sell the car completely?


I'm glad about that but since my mechanic was offered to do this for me, I trust him that he will keep on fixing my car for the years to come. I've been a good customer anyway.

Thank you for all your replies BTW and @ExclusiveWorkshops for the info.
if your mechanic thinks he can do it and make it work then all the power to him nice to know what had to be done to get it all to work for future ref
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
HUGE UPDATE
Apparently my Mini has the N12 engine in it not the N14.
Please advise on how to proceed: should I put a N18 in there or the N14?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
So your car is non turbo then?
N12 = non turbo
N14 = Turbo

The companion engine that's newer would be the N16.
2011+ engines
N16 = non turbo
N18 = Turbo

I'm with Mike. Changing engine models is a large undertaking, and I think you'd have to change way more parts than just putting the same model of engine back in.
If you are thinking of going non turbo to turbo (N12 to N18), I think you'd end up changing almost all the parts in the car. (fuel, exhaust, ECMs....lots)

An N12 core isn't horrible money, and then you can swap the good parts to it, but any sentence with the words "swapping the engine" in it is not a small undertaking, especially if you are paying someone to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So your car is non turbo then?
N12 = non turbo
N14 = Turbo
Yes! My car is non turbo. I checked the VIN.
Funny enough, my mechanic said that he can install a turbo on my engine BUT I think it's a huge strain to my already faulty engine.

I'm with Mike. Changing engine models is a large undertaking, and I think you'd have to change way more parts than just putting the same model of engine back in.
I didn't even know it would that much of a huuge change simply because I thought that the chassis is similar, the engine would not be that different. However I was mistaken (I am not a mechanic, just a software engineer).

An N12 core isn't horrible money
What does that mean? I'm sorry but English is not my Native language.

but any sentence with the words "swapping the engine" in it is not a small undertaking, especially if you are paying someone to do it.
Yeah to be honest I just wanted to fix the engine and put some extra horsies in there. Instead of modding the engine I thought of changing it woudl be more ideal since I want a good fun daily driver not a track-specific(-optimized) car.

So the engine is pretty much dead.I tried adding fuel cleaner since I filled my tank and try to drive it around. It didn't make any significant difference: Once the engine started getting hot, the rough vibrations started appearing once again.
Sad.

However what's also sad is that my local dealer said it would take the car for 500 euros. I think that the car is worth more even in that state since it's in pretty good condition with not-that-many km (103km on the dash).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
(fuel, exhaust, ECMs....lots)
Well, like I said, I found the engine and the wires that are required to make the changed. Funny enough, I didn't find an ECU unit to swap out. Maybe I should though, since from my research (youtube videos and other posts) the N18 models also have a "sport" button (?) and make different "notification" sounds. I owned a F series JCW for a couple of months (loaner) and I loved the noises it made when you didn't put on your seatbelt etc.

I was able to find a full exhaust for 300 euros but that's kinda not what I want.

Also, I wanted to look for JCW parts to match the N18 but that's kinda tough by itself. For starters, I can't find any crashed JCW mini's in my area to buy and salvage parts from. Also, space is a huge deal in my area and I dont have a spare parking space to dump a crashed - donor car.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top