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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys,

New boy here :cool:. My partner has just just picked up a shiny new 58 reg R56 Cooper, and I have to say, despite an irritating, tiny rattle in the passenger side B pillar, I'm thoroughly impressed. We're after an earlier, R50 mini as a second car also (I can't handle not having one, it's not fair!) and I thought being BMW they would be a safe bet, but trawling this and various other sites they sound like complete dogs?! Premature gearbox failure, pathetic clutches, dodgy electrics, cr*p power steering pumps, endless creaks and rattles.... I currently drive a '99 T BMW 316i Compact, it has done 120k and not a THING in the inside squeeks or rattles, it still has the original gear box and to be honest the car is like new, aesthetically and mechanically, so to say I'm shocked on what I've read on the mini would be an understatement. I'm totally scared off, are they REALLY that bad? They sound horrendous!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh and 37mpg out of a One seems to be the norm too..... is that correct?! Seems a little low when the stated combined MPG is 43...
 

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Rocking the F57
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17,719 Posts
No, they're not that bad....

Go for a post July 04 facelift model with the improved Getrag 5-speed transmissions, and you should not have a problem, on the whole they have been very reliable.

Pre July 04 cars had the midland gearbox (old Rover unit) and we're hit and miss. If you get a good one, they'll last forever (HWS in the USA has put over 250,000 miles on his), but if its a bad one it'll need a rebuild every 40k ;)

Remember this is a forum, and the majority of people only post when they have a problem, very few people sign up to a forum to sing a cars praises ;)

Just take a thorough test drive, and check it out ;)

Happy MINIing :D
 

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IJ 2009 - Team 81
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3,223 Posts
The official MINI mpg fiqures have always been the things of dream for me, my Cooper returns 35 on a daily basis.

Premature gearbox failure is a problem with the pre facelift cars, pre July 04, fitted with the Midland box. The later Getrag is a more reliable box.

Clutch problems have been known, I had mine replaced on a previous Cooper. This however can be down to the way a car is driven more than the part itself, which initelf is not perfect. My previous Cooper had been a shopping trolley before I bought it with lots of stop start driving, including a lot of riding of the clutch I suspect.

I read of power steering pump failure, but have never had one changed myself. Neither do I personally know anyone that has. So wouldn't liek to comment.

Rattles. Yes some cars rattle a bit, cabin squeek more than anything. Again this is worse on pre facelift cars where the dash was a of more complicated construction than the post facelift cars. From experience I have found the later cars to be much better on this front. And if you know where it's coming from then squeeks are easily sorted with some felt tape;)

The R50/53 is definitely no dog. Some would argue it's better built than the current model, which has been know to rattle/squeek a lot. As far as buying advice goes, buy the newest you can, preferably post facelift. Avoid anything that has been thrashed or neglected, as MINIs don't agree with neglect very well. My previous Cooper is testament to this, not my responsibilty I would like to add. Pick carefully, as you would any car, and you will be fine.

And remember this is a forum set up to help people discuss problem they may encounter with their cars. Amongst all the negative faults and fixes threads are thousands of threads about the good times:)
 

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British Racing Dirt
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579 Posts
had the power steering pump go on my pre-facelift R50 Cooper which BMW were very fair about and paid a huge chunk of the repair bill, despite my warranty being long expired. Other than that it has been the most reliable car I have ever owned.
 

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Now what have I done????
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OK, so there were some early production issues with my first One (Nov 01) and with my current Cabrio (Jul 04), but these have been completely overshadowed by the pleasure of owning and driving them, not to forget the privilege of belonging to a community like MINI2.

My One was by far the best cquality car I had owned until then, and I would have been happy to keep her if the Cabrio had not come along (in fact, I still regret that I didn't have the cash to keep both!)

I agree with MiniCabrio - as this is a place where owners tend to come when they have problems or queries, inevitbaly it will not be a true representation of all MINIs everywhere - there are an awful lot of owners out there who have no problems at all, of that I am sure.

Welcome to MINI2, and hope to hear soon that you have found the right model for you! And then you can come to MINI United next May!!! :D

Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies guys... unfortunately I don't think the budget will stretch to a post-facelift model, I'm looking arond £5500. I've seen a 52 reg One with only 37k on the clock, air con and pepper pack for that price, but to be honest the gear box thing is really worrying me.
 

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Ecstatic new JCW owner!
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My R50 (pre July 04) had no gearbox problems, but the power steering failure and premature clutch failure was a bit of a downer! On the upside lots of people have had R50s with no major problems...

PS Mikey - my R56 is a peach! ;)
 

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Rocking the F57
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17,719 Posts
Thanks for the replies guys... unfortunately I don't think the budget will stretch to a post-facelift model, I'm looking arond £5500. I've seen a 52 reg One with only 37k on the clock, air con and pepper pack for that price, but to be honest the gear box thing is really worrying me.
Lee (poppet) and I bought an R50 Cooper off eBay for £6k - needed a little bit of TLC, and had 40k odd on the clock, but that's running fine - now being driven by his sister.

If you find one that hasn't been thrashed, and get the gearbox oil changed to keep it all fresh it should serve you pretty well.
 

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Now what have I done????
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Thanks for the replies guys... unfortunately I don't think the budget will stretch to a post-facelift model, I'm looking arond £5500. I've seen a 52 reg One with only 37k on the clock, air con and pepper pack for that price, but to be honest the gear box thing is really worrying me.
Maybe you could consider an after-market warranty if you are that worried? The only probelm I had with my One gearbox was it could sometimes be a bit reluctant to engage reverse.

And with a One you can always upgrade the power a bit ;)

Ian
 

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IJ 2009 - Team 81
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3,223 Posts
After market warranty should put your mind at ease on the gearbox front, without stretching the budget too far. At the end of the day there must be a lot of midland boxes that haven't failed or their would be a lot more bad press about. Many used car reviews have no mention of gearbox failures.

Again it's down to choosing a good clean car that has been cared for.
 

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After market warranty should put your mind at ease on the gearbox front, without stretching the budget too far. At the end of the day there must be a lot of midland boxes that haven't failed or their would be a lot more bad press about. Many used car reviews have no mention of gearbox failures.

Again it's down to choosing a good clean car that has been cared for.
Wise words, a couple of hundred quid with Warranty Direct would allow the purchase of a pre-facelift car with no worries of huge gearbox bills in the future.
 

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Turbocharged Adventure
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With mixed driving i can average over 40mpg from my 2006 ONE. The build quality overall is very good, never had gearbox troubles or major rattles and mine has now done nearly 31000miles:D

Hope that helps somewhat:)
 

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GABY
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27 Posts
I have a 2003 MINI ONE.

The Gearbox on mine started to grind at 3000rpm after 30,000 miles which was replaced and the clutch was replaced as it was nakerd also.
I agree the best option would be to go for a ONE or Cooper after july 2004.

Hope that Helps!
 

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Don't forget that MINI have sold a massive number of cars. As such the problems you read of on here are representative of only a small proportion of the total.

I'm a pre-facelift R50 owner and absolutely love it. It's quite heavily modded - lowered suspension, various engine mods, optional extra aero kit, optional extra alloys, aftermarket exhaust, etc. It looks great, sounds great and goes great. My mate with an R56 prefers mine!

I have a cover with Warranty Wise who have a very comprehensive policy system which you can customise quite a lot - you can set the labour rate for claims and choose what you want covered. I've excluded a bunch of stuff I look after myself and pay £150 per year for peace of mind on the rest.
 
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