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I have been thinking long and hard about how to put this up, or if to put it up, but I felt that the plus sides get so much press on MINI2 that is was about time for me to talk openly about it. I know there will be some users out there thinking I am knocking it, or some that will probably flame me for this, but I have something to say and I think other people that are considering it need to know the real MTH experience, and not just all the stuff that gets people excited. ;)

First of all, I must say that I have been running MTH for almost a month now, and I do love the power increase I have got from this cheap modification. I also love the way the car feels and runs from changing the ECU software. :D

But there have been a few things that have got me thinking that perhaps I should return my car to standard, and also inform those that also are running it or considering MTH of my experiences. :confused:

I guess the fears of running MTH started before I even uploaded the software, and I don't mean to talk badly about those that are offering this service to buyers, as it is the buyers choice to take the risk of this upgrade. I must say that the whole communication from MTH is very poor, I know that they are busy but when you e-mail them replies are few and far between if you get any. Yes there is AlexN on this site helping people out, and I must say he has been a great source of information to many users, and I dare say the reason why MTH has got so much interest on this site from users. But when I had issues with the set up on my laptop it got me thinking, there is no phone number, no direct contact with MTH, so what if some thing goes wrong with the car due to MTH? There is no come back, just a website so with this Mod you are totally on your own. What if there was a huge failure, it could be very costly, and it would all be out of the users pocket as BMW certainly wouldn't want to get involved. :rolleyes:

Anyway, I went ahead as have many others, I had issues when uploading to the car, the first attempt didn't work, the excitment then left me and the fear came back. As the first upload failed the car would not start :eek: , I made a second attempt which was successful thank god, and the car fired up with a strong smell of fuel that had gone into the system from the first attempt.

Almost a couple of weeks passed and I was loving the smoothness of the car :cool: , the extra top end and more torque feeling low down, the car sounded even better than ever. Yes it works, it gives more power, there is no doubt about that and the car feels so much better, so there is no hype behind it. :D

But on a journey home from work one evening, I was giving it some, as normal, I wanted to get past someone on a dual carriage way, was in 2nd, and pulling good, I was driving watching the road and the revs hit up to about 7000 as I was about to change up, the car died :eek: , all power was lost, thankfully there was nothing behind me as I am sure if there was I would not be looking out my window to see my car. Warning lights came on the dash, I checked the left lane of the dual carriageway and made my way into it. Still with no power, I thought I was going to have to stop, well not going to have to, but the car would, so I switched it all off, whilst still moving as I also had the fear that the car wouldn't start if I waited to stop. Then turn the key back, and popped her back into 2nd, the engine fired, and I was able move, I obviously took it easy as I still had the emissions light on the dash. Thankfully home wasn't all that far away and I drove at an easy pace home till I could check out what had happened. All seemed ok, apart from the Emission light staying on, anyway, I left the car to rest for a few hours and then went and tried it again the light had gone off thankfully. :rolleyes:

It was a scary experience :( , so I wanted to find out more about what had happened to my MCS, and what risk the MTH was to my car short term and long term.

I did a lot of digging and reading on this site and few others, asked a few friends that work in the motor trade, contacted another tuning company and a friend in the engineering industry for their views on how the MINI engine works and how tuning the engine effects it. Boy there is a lot of info out there to read through and shift to get to the bottom of whats going on under the bonnet.

Basically I found out that the rev limiter was hit, the engine died then the fuel from the point where the engine dies has gone straight through the engine and off onto the exhaust manifold, where there are sensors which monitor and adjust fuelling through the injectors. What you have is a gush of neat petrol sloshing around in yout exhaust system, thus causing the Emissions light to come on. Anyway the light comes on, and it recognises too much fuel, so limits the fuel pump and injectors quite severely, which is why the car took a long time to fire up again. In real terms its probably less that a second, but it seems like minutes. Why the engine died, is down to the software as it doesn't manage the fuel as tightly as the standard software, as I have seen a friend hit the limiter before on standard software and all it does is reduce the fuel and the car keeps running. So with MTH you need to be a lot more careful not to hit those high revs as tempting as it is and as much as the car keeps pulling.

I then wanted to know how does this effect my MCS long term.

Yes the engine in the MINI is very solid, and as we know JCW are able to give kits for 210bhp, and more. But its the other bits that sit on and work with the engine that will wear and fail quicker when tuning your car. But the difference with MTH is there is no garage fitting it, there is no company giving you a back up should there be a failure. It all comes down to you! When buying JCW and other companies like BBR for example, these companies do loads of testing, to check that their kit is not going fail, and that it is tuned to individual car, should the car fail you have someone to go back to. The weak points when under stress are the cylinder head and valve gear and the rotating bits that hang off the engine, the water pump bearings and impeller, cam and crank bearings. Hydraulic valve gear also does not like to be over revved, so the redline can be breached, but not for too long in one session, and over time they start to give up the ghost.

The other thought that then crossed my mind, was emissions, the MINi engine is tuned to meet strick emission test in the countries where is sold, with a re-map it is doubtful that these are even given a second thought, so what happens when the car is due an MOT (this when the car reaches 3 years old in the UK, and emissions are checked for our overseas readers;)) will it fail? Will long term damage be done to the CAT?

Anyway, after finding all this out, and still being in love with extra power the last thing to consider has to be insurance. What happens should I have an accident? The software is not covered by insurance so the car isn't and yes sorry the software can be seen, it is a myth that ECU re-maps are not detectable, and yes it is fact that more and more insurance companies check to see if cars are chipped/tuned, especially if they have a few after market parts on them like intake or exhaust. Could I really afford to cover all those costs of my car and anything else should the worse happen?

I guess what I am saying is yes MTH seems like a cheap and easy (well sometimes) Mod for anyone to do, but have you really thought about the full details, the full cost that this could cost you? I know I didn't and I am now trying to decide do I keep on with it, do I keep my money on this gamble, or do I go back and wait till I can afford the power in a responsible way? :confused:

I hope this posting gives others something to think about other than the fact that is very long (I did add some smilies to break it out;)), and helps to aleast make those buyiing MTH consider the other aspects other than the increase in power from their MINI. :)
 

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I'd considered installing MTH but had similar concerns.

Same goes for all tuning imo atm.

I was planning on telling my insurers. The quote came back at an extra 30% above what I was already paying.

I'm holding off til more people have done more miles with it :D
 

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MINI2 No.1
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I've read several reports about the OneClick for the MINI One also causing the car to cut out at or very near the rev limit, no doubt for the same reason. I'd be worried about that happening big time, as I'm no stranger to the upper rev range!

What are you doing then Rakey? Going back to standard? Getting another kit/upgrade instead?
 

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Yatta!!
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It's not a product I've ever given any thought to - but even I found this post one of the best I have read on MINI2 all year.
IMO a fair and balanced consideration of the issues from someone who's been there and done it. :)

As for what you do - TBH the times a car becomes no fun is when you think you can't trust it. No-one want's to set off on a trip wondering if they might make it without breaking down. Maybe it's time to look at the Hartge / GGR / BBR / West etc gang?

Or go all the way down the list to the Works kit :eek: :)
 

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Clio 197 R27
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Cheers for that info Rakey, a lot of the questions that you have asked were on my mind as I was considering the MTH on my car. I think ill stick with mine as standard for the time being. BBR 220 is tempting at £1295 but think my insurance company will laugh when I ask how much!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Paul Mullett said:
What are you doing then Rakey? Going back to standard? Getting another kit/upgrade instead?
At this moment, standard seems the obvious and sensible thing to do, but its hard to give the power up, I keep planning to do it after the weekend, but then there is always another weekend after that one:rolleyes:

In an ideal world I would love to test drive BBR 220bhp and JCW 210bhp, and see how the finances are, and do a proper conversion that has been tested and has some kind of fall back on should an issue arrise, but I have not read of any on these two.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
nickbardsley said:
Cheers for that info Rakey, a lot of the questions that you have asked were on my mind as I was considering the MTH on my car. I think ill stick with mine as standard for the time being. BBR 220 is tempting at £1295 but think my insurance company will laugh when I ask how much!
thanks Nick, now you know why you struggled to catch me the other week;)
 

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Thanks rakey thats a really useful piece of nonbiased opinion and I really respect you for telling it how it is!

Scary on the motorway though! Argh!

Was thinking about doing this but I had the same reservations as you and didn't fancy just fiddling with my egine, I don't know half of what its capable of doing to it! Good or bad!
 

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Clio 197 R27
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Rakey said:
thanks Nick, now you know why you struggled to catch me the other week;)
That explains it! out of interest, I wonder if they would do a remap without touching the rev limiter? Still doesnt solve the issues of whether the car can reliably run with the extra power but it would give you peace of mind that it doesnt matter if you accidently hit it, rather than being scared of it! :D
 

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hey lightbulb head....
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i think there are quite a few reports of reprogrammed ecu's cutting the car out at higher revs! if you look back to the pages of this months issue of go mini, the tunit ecu upgrade on the diesel kept cutting the engine out at over 4000 rpm, i think they said something about the air intake not working properly, but this is obviously because the ecu isnt telling it needs more air fuel mixture etc.

i have a cooper and pretty happy with the performance with the typhoon K&N and the scorpion/playmini exhaust same as pauls that hes got on his s! when i finally decide i want more power and when the insurance allows, i will get an s with a jcw 210 bhp, which unless u are racing on a track, i think is quite sufficient for any roads in the uk!

there will be plenty of people out there who will still be insistent on trying the ecu upgrades and maybe they will be succesful in gaining good performance, but i havent had mine done, and dont really intend to!

the only upgrade i would recommend is for one drivers to get an ecu and immobiliser from a scrap cooper and replace thiers so they get cooper performance, as the only difference is the ecu in the two engines, but again its not something ive tried myself so its best left to someone who has done it to comment on it!
 

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Thanks Rakey :) One of the most helpful posts I've read on this site; fair, reasonable and balanced. Lots of detail but easy to understand.

I must admit that I thought about the chip myself and came to pretty much the same conclusion as you.
 

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Cornish Boy
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Same Thing

Rakey,

The same thing happened to me just after I installed the software, I hit the new revised 7200 limit and the car dropped into limp-home-mode. I managed to stop the car with the check engine and eml light on. I was really worried and stopped the engine, no laptop with me and the thought of the BMW man with a HUGE bill loomed.

I restarted the car and the check-engine went out but the EML (emmissions) light was still on. I drove home and downloaded the map from the car and emailed it to MTH - just to see if they could see a problem with it. I also sent a PM to Alex and he replied that only one other person had seen this and a new map was installed and it was fine. I got a reply from Franz overnight with a new map with a lower (standard) rev limit. I restarted the car after a couple of hours and the EML light was out and it drove fine.

I uploaded the map the next day and it was fine, I hit the rev limit @ 7000rpm and the cut-out was exactly the same as the standard car. I hit the limit in a number of gears (on a private test track) and all was fine.

I took the car to the stealer a few days later, I left the MTH software on and he didn't spot it or mention. The fault code was a 'throttle sensor' error and they cleared it and gave the keys back. This does seem in-line with what Rakey was saying about what was happening.

I must admit I was worried about this at the time but I got a good response from Franz and he supplied a new file with lower rev limit and it worked fine. I felt that the backup I got from both Alex and Franz was fine and I managed to keep the software on the car.

I must admit that until I dropped the new map on the car I was a little worried driving it as I felt that the rev limit could be hit at any time and limp-home mode is dangerous!

Now that people like GTT are entering the 'fray' I feel that they will provide the backup that this software needs. If you go for a full upgrade from Roland I believe that he will provide the warranty on the software as long as you go for his upgraded 'bits'.

regards

Paul
 

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ITS RAINNIN' SIDEWAYS
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good post. i'd be interested to hear from anyone with a legal background regarding liability once a re-mapped car is sold on. does the person who applied the mod have any legal liability if the car fails after its been sold on? or does this fall under the 'sold as seen' catch all that would apply to the mechanical condition of the car?
 

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Now what have I done????
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Rakey - I say congratulations for an excellent and well-balanced article - it puts the whole thing into clear perspective, and should help folks thinking about MTH or any other "informal" modification to consider carefully the full implications. Losing power is a particualrly scary thing to happen at any time, and heaven knows what it must do to your confidence in your car.

Good luck, whatever you decide, and thanks again for the comments

Ian
 

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hey lightbulb head....
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a friend of mine that works at my bmw dealer said that bmw now have a facilty on there machines to detect ecu map deletion and replacement! "go in with warrantee issues and if they detect ecu malfuntion or modification they will just send you back out the door" were his exact words
 

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AWOL
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Rakey said:
I have been thinking long and hard about how to put this up, or if to put it up, but I felt that the plus sides get so much press on MINI2 that is was about time for me to talk openly about it. I know there will be some users out there thinking I am knocking it, or some that will probably flame me for this, but I have something to say and I think other people that are considering it need to know the real MTH experience, and not just all the stuff that gets people excited. ;)

First of all, I must say that I have been running MTH for almost a month now, and I do love the power increase I have got from this cheap modification. I also love the way the car feels and runs from changing the ECU software. :D

But there have been a few things that have got me thinking that perhaps I should return my car to standard, and also inform those that also are running it or considering MTH of my experiences. :confused:

I guess the fears of running MTH started before I even uploaded the software, and I don't mean to talk badly about those that are offering this service to buyers, as it is the buyers choice to take the risk of this upgrade. I must say that the whole communication from MTH is very poor, I know that they are busy but when you e-mail them replies are few and far between if you get any. Yes there is AlexN on this site helping people out, and I must say he has been a great source of information to many users, and I dare say the reason why MTH has got so much interest on this site from users. But when I had issues with the set up on my laptop it got me thinking, there is no phone number, no direct contact with MTH, so what if some thing goes wrong with the car due to MTH? There is no come back, just a website so with this Mod you are totally on your own. What if there was a huge failure, it could be very costly, and it would all be out of the users pocket as BMW certainly wouldn't want to get involved. :rolleyes:

Anyway, I went ahead as have many others, I had issues when uploading to the car, the first attempt didn't work, the excitment then left me and the fear came back. As the first upload failed the car would not start :eek: , I made a second attempt which was successful thank god, and the car fired up with a strong smell of fuel that had gone into the system from the first attempt.

Almost a couple of weeks passed and I was loving the smoothness of the car :cool: , the extra top end and more torque feeling low down, the car sounded even better than ever. Yes it works, it gives more power, there is no doubt about that and the car feels so much better, so there is no hype behind it. :D

But on a journey home from work one evening, I was giving it some, as normal, I wanted to get past someone on a dual carriage way, was in 2nd, and pulling good, I was driving watching the road and the revs hit up to about 7000 as I was about to change up, the car died :eek: , all power was lost, thankfully there was nothing behind me as I am sure if there was I would not be looking out my window to see my car. Warning lights came on the dash, I checked the left lane of the dual carriageway and made my way into it. Still with no power, I thought I was going to have to stop, well not going to have to, but the car would, so I switched it all off, whilst still moving as I also had the fear that the car wouldn't start if I waited to stop. Then turn the key back, and popped her back into 2nd, the engine fired, and I was able move, I obviously took it easy as I still had the emissions light on the dash. Thankfully home wasn't all that far away and I drove at an easy pace home till I could check out what had happened. All seemed ok, apart from the Emission light staying on, anyway, I left the car to rest for a few hours and then went and tried it again the light had gone off thankfully. :rolleyes:

It was a scary experience :( , so I wanted to find out more about what had happened to my MCS, and what risk the MTH was to my car short term and long term.

I did a lot of digging and reading on this site and few others, asked a few friends that work in the motor trade, contacted another tuning company and a friend in the engineering industry for their views on how the MINI engine works and how tuning the engine effects it. Boy there is a lot of info out there to read through and shift to get to the bottom of whats going on under the bonnet.

Basically I found out that the rev limiter was hit, the engine died then the fuel from the point where the engine dies has gone straight through the engine and off onto the exhaust manifold, where there are sensors which monitor and adjust fuelling through the injectors. What you have is a gush of neat petrol sloshing around in yout exhaust system, thus causing the Emissions light to come on. Anyway the light comes on, and it recognises too much fuel, so limits the fuel pump and injectors quite severely, which is why the car took a long time to fire up again. In real terms its probably less that a second, but it seems like minutes. Why the engine died, is down to the software as it doesn't manage the fuel as tightly as the standard software, as I have seen a friend hit the limiter before on standard software and all it does is reduce the fuel and the car keeps running. So with MTH you need to be a lot more careful not to hit those high revs as tempting as it is and as much as the car keeps pulling.

I then wanted to know how does this effect my MCS long term.

Yes the engine in the MINI is very solid, and as we know JCW are able to give kits for 210bhp, and more. But its the other bits that sit on and work with the engine that will wear and fail quicker when tuning your car. But the difference with MTH is there is no garage fitting it, there is no company giving you a back up should there be a failure. It all comes down to you! When buying JCW and other companies like BBR for example, these companies do loads of testing, to check that their kit is not going fail, and that it is tuned to individual car, should the car fail you have someone to go back to. The weak points when under stress are the cylinder head and valve gear and the rotating bits that hang off the engine, the water pump bearings and impeller, cam and crank bearings. Hydraulic valve gear also does not like to be over revved, so the redline can be breached, but not for too long in one session, and over time they start to give up the ghost.

The other thought that then crossed my mind, was emissions, the MINi engine is tuned to meet strick emission test in the countries where is sold, with a re-map it is doubtful that these are even given a second thought, so what happens when the car is due an MOT (this when the car reaches 3 years old in the UK, and emissions are checked for our overseas readers;)) will it fail? Will long term damage be done to the CAT?

Anyway, after finding all this out, and still being in love with extra power the last thing to consider has to be insurance. What happens should I have an accident? The software is not covered by insurance so the car isn't and yes sorry the software can be seen, it is a myth that ECU re-maps are not detectable, and yes it is fact that more and more insurance companies check to see if cars are chipped/tuned, especially if they have a few after market parts on them like intake or exhaust. Could I really afford to cover all those costs of my car and anything else should the worse happen?

I guess what I am saying is yes MTH seems like a cheap and easy (well sometimes) Mod for anyone to do, but have you really thought about the full details, the full cost that this could cost you? I know I didn't and I am now trying to decide do I keep on with it, do I keep my money on this gamble, or do I go back and wait till I can afford the power in a responsible way? :confused:

I hope this posting gives others something to think about other than the fact that is very long (I did add some smilies to break it out;)), and helps to aleast make those buyiing MTH consider the other aspects other than the increase in power from their MINI. :)

Great post mate, well balanced and written well...
 

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Interesting post.
Is it possible to re-map back to standard easily?
If so, and I'm not condoning this, you might be able to change back should any warranty claims arise. Of course before taking your car to the dealer :confused:
I'd actually never encounted MTH before :rolleyes:
 

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dalboyne said:
Rakey - I say congratulations for an excellent and well-balanced article - it puts the whole thing into clear perspective, and should help folks thinking about MTH or any other "informal" modification to consider carefully the full implications. Losing power is a particualrly scary thing to happen at any time, and heaven knows what it must do to your confidence in your car.

Good luck, whatever you decide, and thanks again for the comments

Ian
Apparently it does not happen "at any time." It happens when shifting past the factory redline.
 

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Yatta!!
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Rob. said:
Interesting post.
Is it possible to re-map back to standard easily?
If so, and I'm not condoning this, you might be able to change back should any warranty claims arise. Of course before taking your car to the dealer :confused:
I'd actually never encounted MTH before :rolleyes:
Don't know if this is the case but I would expect the engine management system to keep a log of software updates & changes.
 
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