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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,


I have recently acquired myself a cheap(ish) White on Blue R53 Cooper S. I have been looking to replace my track focused EG Civic with something that can be used as an all-rounder. This car was up for sale and I managed to get it at a very good price prior to an inspection. So with what I thought was a good price I went down with some optimism, and checked it out. It drove well, but the car was rough everywhere. I would love to show you guys pictures, but stupid me didn’t take any when I got it, and forgot to download the ads pictures as well. I was too excited to get stuck into it :)

After getting it home, a few things became apparent after the 30min drive that really didn’t show up on the test drive, and a few things already known. As we all like lists, here is one with the issues:

Cosmetic:
  • Bonnet has 2 dents and a small crack with a bit of rust
  • A pillar covers are cracked (assuming poor fitment after a new windscreen)
  • Rear bar has been hit by something red, thinking skip bin.
  • Horrid 17" wheels fitted (with shot tyres)
Interior:
  • Multiple air fresheners (always a sign of something)
  • Roof lining coming apart (common on a lot of early 2000s cars)
Mechanical:
  • Coolant leak
  • Bearing noise coming from supercharger / water pump area
  • Overflow bottle and cap look like they could use replacing
All in all not a huge list of things to get going on and was quite happy to get stuck in.

So into the garage it has gone, and I like to start with the mechanical first. I want to be able to drive this fun little car. I removed the front of the car to gain access to all the stuff I need to inspect.

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A relatively easy job, was expecting a fight. From this the Alternator, Supercharger / Water pump and Intercooler have been removed.

I had purchased a new water pump as I knew that getting to this point; it was going to be worthwhile to replace it. And I was right. It looked like when taking tensioners and belts off that this car was not subject to this level of maintenance. So a new tensioner and idler pulley have been ordered.

As seeing the water pump was notchy in its operation, I turned to the supercharger service. I have only owned NA and Turbo cars so superchargers are new to me, so I am going to get it looked at today by people that know :) I can report that there was no oil in the rear compartment of the supercharger, so hopefully it hasn’t caused any damage.

So with a few parts ordered (tensioner, idler pulley, expansion tank, spark plugs) for the service, I have also purchased an Alta 15% pulley kit for my first modification. Thought as it is out of the car, might as well install it.

With the build waiting for parts and inspections, I looked at the 15" rims on the Civic and test fitted them to see if they would clear the front brakes. They did and now I have some good tyres that are legal to drive on.

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Apologies for poor potato pictures, the garage is awesome in sucking the light.

Next update will be the health of the supercharger, and the waiting on parts still :p
 

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Hey mate, welcome. Im also from Oz, Melbourne, Vic and also recently purchased an early 04 R53S. Was also cheap and a little rough around the edges. Doing similar to you and sorting out the little issues.

Shameless plug, I also more recently bought an 03 parts car to raid parts from and then wreck/part out. Pretty sure it has good a pillar covers on it, If you want to replace yours or need any other used parts, id be more than willing to do good prices and post.

Am also very interested in what you find with the SC as the parts car also has a noisy one. Am considering trying to investigate/rebuild it myself and keep as a spare.


Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well had the supercharger checked out, and there is no sign of it being bad. Which is a good win. So I will carry out the service on it and should be good for another 150,000 KMs.

In preparation for the 15% pulley, I have been researching how to remove the standard one off the SC. Without the tools, many people have been cutting them off, which to me sounds risky. As I don't have any pullers (which I really should have anyways) I was thinking there should be an easier way. I came up with 2 pry bars to wedge it off. As the SC itself has some great casting for this to happen. Was a great success.

Now waiting for the very slow postage system here in Australia to deliver my other parts, hoping to get it up and running by Saturday. It's a tall order, but would love to make this track day :p.

Thanks minijim, I will keep you in mind when I start tackling the cosmetic side of things :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So everything finally rocked up. And I had a clear weekend to get to work and try to knock over everything.

Replacing the tensioner and idler was fairly easy, then putting on my Alta 15% SC pulley was an easy job too. Then I had 3 hours of struggling. Getting the SC in was faily straight forward, but the water pump was difficult. I try to do things with removing as little as possible, but had to unbolt the pipe from the TB ot the SC to get the water pump in. If I did that off the bat would have been a lot easier.

The drive belt is such a pain in the preverbiale without the tools. Taking it off was ok, but putting it back on was a nightmare. Im surprised that I got it on in the end. And the replacement top hose I got wasnt flared at each end, so it was the same width through the whole pipe, which is not ideal as it rubs against everything. Will have to order one from BMW because I know this one will fail at some point.

But from the couple of setbacks, I got the rest of the car put back together and started it up. Running like a dream. The bearing noise has completely gone, so the SC service or the replacement water pump fixed that issue right up. Now I just need to do an oil and filter change and find a hose for the new expansion tank. Thats what you get for getting something cheap of eBay, something that has things that really shouldn't be on it.

So going to do the last couple of little things and rebleed the system, as it seems to take ages to get the air out. I have cracked the top hose plug and it bubbled away for ages. And I might have to investigate the fan not coming on too, so hopefully thats not a hard fix.

But all in all happy with the "service" and cant wait to get driving it more.
 

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I bought one of these tools from Ebay, well worth the $26 investment. Works good and seems robust. Saved a heap if messing around.


What size belt did you go with for the 15% pulley. My car had a 15% on it when i bought it and the belt was recently changed by previous owners mechanic, i couldn't see a hole showing on the tensioner so i did a bit of research and bought a 1368mm belt. The belt that came out was a 1385. Put the 1368 in, looked good, hole was showing. Checked again 2 days later and could hardly see the hole any more after the belt settled. I have now replaced it with a 1360 and its bang on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I bought the SC Pulley kit off Car Mods Australia, so it came with the correct belt. I would have to go home and check what size it is for you and let you know. I might just invest in that tool at that price. I must be honest, didnt look for the tool on eBay mainly because I was looking at stores to get it.

After driving it to work yesterday I heard the water noise behind the dash again. Had a look through here and have come to the conclusion that the thermostat is likely at fault. Considering the state of all the other parts, this seems logical, so have ordered a replacement. Also purchased a set of OG Mini wheels, as I really am sick of looking at the horrid ones on it now. I just need to get a set of tyres for them and have got a OEM set of bolts coming also.

I have also ordered a full set of brakes to overhaul, and coming from Japanese cars, I have had to learn different brands to get all the performance parts for this car. But expanding my knowledge base is always a god thing.

I plan to take a few pictures today of the car as it is now out of the garage.
 

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Re: the water noise. Could still be a bit of air in the system. Does the heater blow hot constantly. My car had been recently serviced by a lube mobile idiot and had a coolant flush. System was still full of air and temp was fluctuating. I let as much air as possible out from the bleeder but it was still slurping and carrying on, the level in the reservoir was dropping over the next few days while the remaining air was working itself out. Eventually settled and has been fine since. Mine also had a collapsed thermostat, was stuck open and taking forever to warm up and not getting to full temp. Now its full temp within 5 mins. Good thing about the minis you dont have to dump the coolant to do the tstat.

I know what you're saying about jap cars and parts. In used to looking at brands like project mu, winmax etc for brakes, although I've settled on pagid rsl29 (only ones that last). I've got an R33 Skyline, similarly to your Honda its gone a bit too far towards track car than street, the mini has been slightly heading in that direction too but im going to stop now (famous last words). I was forever changing brake pads, wheel/tyres, wings and splitters for track days with the R33, now i just leave it in track spec and drive it once a week between track days and the mini is on daily duties. The mini won't ever see the track. Too slow compared to a close to 500hp skyline but awesome fun on the street and it's been great to be able to use full throttle and power without fear of sliding off the road, breaking a gearbox or losing my licence.

What brake pads did you end up getting. Whatever i have in the mini now feels like wooden brake pads that inspire nothing but fear if i need to stop quickly, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah I didnt fill it slowly, and thats probably why, I did have all the bleeders open but I will be going over it again to get the air out of the heater box. Best to replace everything that can cause issues, this car hasnt been taken care of much.

The mini will see track, I know that this is how the Civic started and "famous last words" here too, I want it to be something I can take to C&C or meets without being cop bait. I ended up getting red stuff EBC pads to begin with. The local track, Malalla, is very heavy on braking and needs a good setup otherwise you can constantly lap at speed. I have a while till the next track day so I will see how it goes on the street. But the standard pads and disks arent too bad, but can always be better.
 

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i'm in middle of doing r53 john cooper works car have head off and doing all stem seals and valve seats and timing chain have also recon the super charger as well got a KVS pulley on it also satin blacked all the super charger and allow inlet and intercooler as you know what they say shiny for show and black for go will help move some heat, the car has 100,000 miles on it and was burning a lot of oil from valve stem seals as only on the backs of exhaust valves black crud pics below, i got a Nielsen aux belt removal tool £14.95 bargain works a treat, i aso bought the headgasket kit with all head bolts and timing chain all in one off ebay £107 all in, also put seafoam on to all 4 pistons left it for 4 hours and all were same level when came back to it so that all good, also replacing the water pump and thermostat and oil cooler etc,, also got a high lift road race cam to fit it for £210 which will raise the revs and power from 4000 to 7000 revs band once back together will be remapped to suit the cam see what we can get out of it,
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's a big project Mike. Awesome work! We here in Australia don't have the aftermarket support you guys have for the mini. We can import but it just gets out of hand price wise. That's why a lot of people here have Japanese performance cars that are built up.

I would like to do head work to a car as that's the last thing I think I haven't done. Was going to build my B16A Honda head but got the mini instead :)

When the car needs it, I will be doing what you are doing, as if something needs fixing, might as well improve it.
 

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this is all for a mate/customer so mates rates and in my spare time, i like the honda stuff its very good gear have done a few super charger mods in past to a few and standalone ecu and injectors before over 300 bhp from a vtec engine is good fun as has you still get that surge when vtec kicks in but its just more manic, also done same trick to mazda mx5 320bhp at rear wheels with a hybrid twin scroll turbo lol, i'm planning a N18 cooper s project soon see what power can be made from it just need to find one thats been blown up so i can rebuild and rework the motor in a few ways,, they put same engines in peugeot RCZ and that makes 269bhp out the box
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Some good builds there. I spent way too much money on the EG. I really enjoyed the experience but it was not going to be able to be driven. Full suspension, B16A out of a Japanese CRX, Haltech ECU and good brakes. I did all the work and was happy with the result. I just need more room too for that type of car.
 

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looks good right colour as well, back in late 90s i had a sierra xr4i v6 six efi engine and done a twin turbo set up on it with ported and gas flowed heads bigger valve double valve springs and a better profile cam shaft and bored out to 3.2 litre with forged rods and pistons etc, also had a bbrs conversion on the turbos where a little green button on the dash press it and the thing would spin its rear wheels at around 80mph, down side was it destroyed gearboxes and diffs for a past time sometimes to much is just to much lol, back then i done all kinds of Frankenstein cars,, has a 1974 datson 100A i stuff a alfa sud 1.5ti engine and gear box in to could drive it on the right between understeer and over steer all my mates had rs 2000 escorts and rs turbo's etc and non could catch me in it, look back at it and think bloody hell i survived that whether it was luck of skill who knows lol, then i also had bikes most of my life cdr fireblades and gsxr1000s but gave up about 10 years ago as i was always first to where ever me and a few mates would ride out to red mist
 

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The laws here in Australia are not conducive to high levels of modification. And with the police targeting anything performance wise we always run the risk when we drive our cars with extensive modification. But in saying that, we do buck the system a bit and the car culture is still decent. So cool stuff you see overseas, we instantly go "yeah that would get crushed if I drove it here"

I am looking forward to see how the mini goes. I haven’t driven it much as it still needs work but would like to see how it is received at a track day and out and about in normal driving conditions. Minis are not really considered sports cars here as the price tag and stigma they were bought by the wealthy as a fashion statement when new.
 

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the uk since the tory party start destroying the country with cuts to police etc chances of getting caught for anything makes its easy to do what ever you want here present, and the way its going with all the car makers leaving this country and using brexit as reason added to this the climate stuff that coming,,,, think cars will be just a battery and a motor soon lol
 

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Been a while since the last update. Job change will do that too you.

Found that the tensioner had decided to go loose because of my ALTA tensioner stopper being installed the wrong way. Silly me. So with the car in the garage, thought it be the best time to really get this thing finished off. So reinstalled the tensioner right, did the outstanding oil change with new filter and bleed the coolant again. All went well.

Managed to find good tyres for the original wheels. Toyo Proxes R888. Had to go 215/45 R17 for the good price but shouldn't be much of an issue. Before bolting these on, I replaced all the brake components. Well all apart from the front pads. Can't seem to find any decent performance pads that's readily available. So the hunt continues. Miss purchased Red Stuff pads thinking they were fronts but were rears, so installed those and thinking the Yellow Stuff pads were MCS ones turned out to be JCW.

So going to bed the brakes in tomorrow, give it a wash and I might actually take some decent pictures to share what it actually looks like now :p
 

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I was thinking that, would have to get new rotors too though lol. And I'd hate to know how much those calipers cost.
 

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Oh this car is such a hoot to drive. Those R888s really make this thing go nuts.

I was all ready to start driving it more often but the tensioner is gone back to making a horrid clacking sound again. Thinking it's the shock so have ordered an Alta replacement.

With the new tensioner shock, I have also ordered a shifter knob adaptor as my knob keeps on popping off under spirited driving.

So with these items coming, she is back in the garage :(

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Its been a while since I have updated this:

Noise coming out of the engine was the Supercharger. After replacing everything around it, I managed to get my hands on a younger second hand unit. Now we have no horrid noises coming from the engine bay.

When sourcing the Supercharger, I managed to get a great deal on some racing seats with rails. So picked them up and now we have a working car :)

On the 8th, I did my first track day in the Mini. It was faultless. The only issue I was having was huge over steer with high tyre pressures. But once that was sorted, times got quicker through the day and ended up faster then the Civic with all the suspension modifications. Granted it was on semi slick tyres, but the car just feels much better at my local track.

I have managed to find a set of R56 MCS brakes for the front at a cheap price. So now I just have to get some disks as miss ordering the R53 JCW pads has now come in handy.

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