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  1. #1
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    Mini Cooper

    I posted this somewhere else but this looks like a good place to post my Cooper mods!!

    Stock (25 days ago):


    (click on photos to enlarge)


    My best upgrades so far:

    K&N Cold Air Intake. Power seems to come on a little earlier now with less hesitation. But the real magic is the sound. Oh my, I never realized the engine snarl can be brought out by the intake. $135 at Ebay and it's worth every penny. Another great upgrade was $40 for Sylvania Silverstar headlamps. The original lamps were yellow and scattered. They Silverstars are much brighter with a better beam pattern. Next is the Wheelskins steering wheel cover for $30. The factory steering wheel looked plasticky and was slippery thus not a good match for the car's heavy steering. I took a big chance with this wheel cover since there's a big unsupported flap due to the steering wheel's design. It worked out perfect though as I Shoe Goo'd the flap in place. Red is cool. Yeah


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    Next MVP mods are the 5-star 16-inch wheels with Kumho SPT tires and painted calipers. Used mini wheels are cheap. Tires are not. I had to exercise a lot of will power to stop myself from getting those pretty S-lite wheels. Heavy wheels and tires are bad for performance, so I've learned. My new wheels are heavier than my 15s but they are way prettier and handle better. They're comfortable and quiet too. While I had the painting bug, I painted my lower grill black and the screw caps on my front plate red. My new Isotta shifter is way cool. It's no Whalen but it was only $20 new at Ebay!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    And now that my confidence was building, I went on to harder stuff. I installed a factory Ipod adapter. Nice integration! In my old car, I got so sick futzing with the Ipod while I drive. I always forget to turn it off too when I leave the car. My most daring work so far was installing factory racks. I drilled 8 holes on my roof and lived to tell about it. This rack is pretty and it is solid. It will serve me well during the biking season. Finally, the Borla exhaust is on. I was going to DIY it but then I heard my biking friend owns a muffler shop. I ain't no fool. I had a beer as he installed. Look ma, no spare tire. Saved 32 lbs!!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    And so there it is. My love affair with the Mini has begun. Thanks to NAM as your posts here have been invaluable. This post is my little thank you for all your feedback. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. M7 springs and Mintex pads are next in line. I'll post a couple videos I took today.


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    Sunny day in Norcal! Here's a few shots and videos. Sounds are from a Cooper with K&N CAI and Borla exhaust. Driver is my bud Derek.


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    https://mtbr.com/author/photos/cooper/mvi_5742.avi

    https://mtbr.com/author/photos/cooper/mvi_5747.avi

    regards,
    francois

  2. #2
    fc
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    Ok, update time.

    One of the bothersome things about owning a Mini is brake dust. The stock pads brake well but generate a lot of dust. The dust is particularly fine and hard to remove. If you like to keep your car clean and if your wheels are white, the pain is multiplied. So I knew I had to change my pads. Better performance perhaps but less dust please. My pick was Mintex Redbox pads. It gets generally good feedback. $55 complete, shipped from ecartoys.com is just too good a deal. I did the dirty job with a friend. We also changed the brake fluid to ATE Blue. After 300 miles, the brakes started squealing. I put on Mercedes anti-squeal behind the brake pads and it's all good. Power is very good and there is less dust. Also, the dust just wipes off easily with a soft brush.

    I am curious about Hawk Ceramic pads since folks say that's the king of no-dust. At $180 a set though, I'll have to see in 6 months if I'm still anal about keeping my white wheels white.


    (click on photos to enlarge)


    Ok another issue, my shifter is a little bit hard shifting. Sometimes it has a hard time getting in reverse. Sometimes, it's notchy getting into second. After reading a bunch, this seem to be a common problem with Minis. My solution, Redline MTL transmission fluid. $20 of fluid and a dirty DIY job later, it's done. It's shifting a lot better now. Issue solved as far as I'm concerned. Now that it's done, I can shorten my shifter. It's just too long. My solution is to get a hacksaw can cut about 1.75 inches off the rod. Cheap mod but if it doesn't work, I can get a short shifter kit. Luckily, it works like a champ!!!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    I have a new favorite mod. It is the R-speed 22mm rear sway bar. The Mini is the best handling car I've ever driven. People insist though that there's body roll and understeer. So I get the bar and install it myself. It took about 2 hours. Little test drive... then I go straight to the mountains. Holy smokes, this is an epic upgrade. First, when I yank the steering wheel left to right, there's hardly any body roll. It's like a go cart. Then I take a corner, a faster corner, a super-fast corner. The car is flat and turns like it's on rails. This has just become my favorite upgrade ever. It unseats the K&N CAI. The car is a new machine. The downside is the understeer goes away and there is a possiblity of oversteer. It turns out that understeer is a highly desired handling trait for the general public. The tail of the car will never swing out when the car plows into a corner, the driver instinctively backs off the throttle and everything is ok. For an enthusiast, this is not so good. The car can't corner as fast and there's more body roll. So is there any oversteer? Well, yesterday I took an on ramp at full speed. I backed off the throttle and I could feel the rear get a little loose. Ahh. I'll explore and learn the limits carefully.

    Next not-really-a-mod is Zaino. $100 for cleaners?? Well, who knew that geeking out on car wax could be so much fun? My wife made fun of me but I Zaino'd my car and I Zaino'd her Benz. Then she understood. Btw, if you don't know what clay-bar is, you owe yourself. It is the finest cleaning tool ever!!

    Finally, I put on a rear aero bumper. One of the things I covet most from the S is the nice rear bumper. Those two cavities with fake holes are the cat's meow. I got the rear aero kit and it's even better than the S bumper. I am a happy boy!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    francois

  3. #3
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    Hi Francois,
    I recently bought a roof rack and installation kit for my mini. The instructions are not very detailed ( maybe I'm missing some info) so I wondered where you got your instructions?
    Any help will be greatly apreciated.

  4. #4
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    Cure for Understeer...

    Left foot braking. Everybody who drives a sporty front wheel drive car needs to know this trick.

    http://www.rallyracingnews.com/lfb.html

    Basically, when you hit the gas, the car unweights the front wheels a bit and/or upsets the wheels (you only have so much force vector in one direction), making he car understeer. So dragging the brake pedal with your left foot while keeping your right on the gas fixes this. So when you apply gas, there is thrust at the front wheels, with brakes applied, that net force is near zero, or still pulling a bit. So, at the rear wheels, the brakes are still dragging. This upsets the rear wheels, and make them want to get a bit loose, which makes the car oversteer.

    Like this:

    http://www.wimp.com/mini/

    Be careful with this trick. I spun my GTi on a cloverleaf on ramp when I hit a wet patch, and nearly put it in the guard rail tail first. Practice it in an area with lots of room for error to get a feel for how it works. Gun the gas, and keep speed with the brakes in a sharp turn, and you'll feel it working.

    Don't kill anybody or yourself!
    Last edited by pimpbot; 04-25-2006 at 10:48 PM.

  5. #5
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    I just stubbled onto this thread. A few things to note.

    A 22mm rear swaybar sounds absolutely huge for such a short wheelbase car like the Mini. Enjoy with care. I have a 25mm on my Eclipse and can get loose rather easily. Agreed that a large swaybar on a fwd car is possibly one of the best mods. I'm putting a Quaife LSD into my tranny too.

    If your car uses Dot 3 brake fluid, you can use Ford Hi-perf brake fluid. It has a very high dry boiling point, not so good wet though. Think track days. Stainless steel brakelines will firm up your pedal feel a ton.

    Redline MTL. MTL will eat the syncros in my tranny so its recommended to use a mix rather than straight MTL. You'll need to check with the Mini guys if your tranny is sensitve to MTL. I use BG synchroshift for my car.

    Sounds like you been bitten by the car mod bug!

    -Sp

    ps, how are those brake pads now that its 6 months later?


    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Ok, update time.

    One of the bothersome things about owning a Mini is brake dust. The stock pads brake well but generate a lot of dust. The dust is particularly fine and hard to remove. If you like to keep your car clean and if your wheels are white, the pain is multiplied. So I knew I had to change my pads. Better performance perhaps but less dust please. My pick was Mintex Redbox pads. It gets generally good feedback. $55 complete, shipped from ecartoys.com is just too good a deal. I did the dirty job with a friend. We also changed the brake fluid to ATE Blue. After 300 miles, the brakes started squealing. I put on Mercedes anti-squeal behind the brake pads and it's all good. Power is very good and there is less dust. Also, the dust just wipes off easily with a soft brush.

    I am curious about Hawk Ceramic pads since folks say that's the king of no-dust. At $180 a set though, I'll have to see in 6 months if I'm still anal about keeping my white wheels white.


    (click on photos to enlarge)


    Ok another issue, my shifter is a little bit hard shifting. Sometimes it has a hard time getting in reverse. Sometimes, it's notchy getting into second. After reading a bunch, this seem to be a common problem with Minis. My solution, Redline MTL transmission fluid. $20 of fluid and a dirty DIY job later, it's done. It's shifting a lot better now. Issue solved as far as I'm concerned. Now that it's done, I can shorten my shifter. It's just too long. My solution is to get a hacksaw can cut about 1.75 inches off the rod. Cheap mod but if it doesn't work, I can get a short shifter kit. Luckily, it works like a champ!!!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    I have a new favorite mod. It is the R-speed 22mm rear sway bar. The Mini is the best handling car I've ever driven. People insist though that there's body roll and understeer. So I get the bar and install it myself. It took about 2 hours. Little test drive... then I go straight to the mountains. Holy smokes, this is an epic upgrade. First, when I yank the steering wheel left to right, there's hardly any body roll. It's like a go cart. Then I take a corner, a faster corner, a super-fast corner. The car is flat and turns like it's on rails. This has just become my favorite upgrade ever. It unseats the K&N CAI. The car is a new machine. The downside is the understeer goes away and there is a possiblity of oversteer. It turns out that understeer is a highly desired handling trait for the general public. The tail of the car will never swing out when the car plows into a corner, the driver instinctively backs off the throttle and everything is ok. For an enthusiast, this is not so good. The car can't corner as fast and there's more body roll. So is there any oversteer? Well, yesterday I took an on ramp at full speed. I backed off the throttle and I could feel the rear get a little loose. Ahh. I'll explore and learn the limits carefully.

    Next not-really-a-mod is Zaino. $100 for cleaners?? Well, who knew that geeking out on car wax could be so much fun? My wife made fun of me but I Zaino'd my car and I Zaino'd her Benz. Then she understood. Btw, if you don't know what clay-bar is, you owe yourself. It is the finest cleaning tool ever!!

    Finally, I put on a rear aero bumper. One of the things I covet most from the S is the nice rear bumper. Those two cavities with fake holes are the cat's meow. I got the rear aero kit and it's even better than the S bumper. I am a happy boy!


    (click on photos to enlarge)

    francois

  6. #6
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by SinglePivot
    I just stubbled onto this thread. A few things to note.

    A 22mm rear swaybar sounds absolutely huge for such a short wheelbase car like the Mini. Enjoy with care. I have a 25mm on my Eclipse and can get loose rather easily. Agreed that a large swaybar on a fwd car is possibly one of the best mods. I'm putting a Quaife LSD into my tranny too.

    If your car uses Dot 3 brake fluid, you can use Ford Hi-perf brake fluid. It has a very high dry boiling point, not so good wet though. Think track days. Stainless steel brakelines will firm up your pedal feel a ton.

    Redline MTL. MTL will eat the syncros in my tranny so its recommended to use a mix rather than straight MTL. You'll need to check with the Mini guys if your tranny is sensitve to MTL. I use BG synchroshift for my car.

    Sounds like you been bitten by the car mod bug!

    -Sp

    ps, how are those brake pads now that its 6 months later?
    The swaybar is the best mod ever! The body roll is gone. Also, understeer is gone too as turn-in is just a joy now. This car takes corners like no other. I have some lowering springs here but there's no need to install them now. Sometimes I fear that the rear is gonna break loose on me at the limit. But, I've driven the car as hard as I want and it's stayed put so far.

    The brake pads are awesome. After a few weeks, the gray dust will be noticeable on the white rims. I get my big soft brush and wipe it off. the stock pad dust was noticeable after 3 days. And it wouldn't wipe off. I had to wash it off.

    Wax on, wax off...

    fc
    IPA will save America

  7. #7
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    Here's the mini mods I'm looking forward to.

    Sorry, the Daily Show's coming on or I'd post a bit more than this link.


    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006...ybrid_mini.php

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    White wheels and don't like brake dust... that was a mistake.




    Probably the cleanest my wheels have ever been. The front wheels are typically several shades darker than the car. The AP brakes in the front dust a lot, but I've got no problems with it.

    Thinking about selling it for something a little more bike-friendly. It really only comes out of the garage about once a week anyway.

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    The only mod to my '05 MINI...

    is the roof rack. Good thing it doesn't interfere with the moonroof. It is the same color scheme as yours. I get some nice comments with both bikes up there...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    is the roof rack. Good thing it doesn't interfere with the moonroof. It is the same color scheme as yours. I get some nice comments with both bikes up there...
    Nice. I see you have the Thule rack. I bought the factory rack since it was on sale ($100 without rails). Then when I got it, I discovered, I had to drill the roof or pay the dealer $400 to install it.

    So I laid off the beer for a night and drilled out some sheetmetal. The results are amazing since the rack doesn't touch the roof as it sits on studs anchored to the frame of the car.

    francois
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Sweet! Very clean looking system. It took a while for Thule to get the feet to market, but it was worth the wait. Very solid though not as solid as the factory mounts. I now have the fork ups for the front wheels mounted and had to move the rear feet back a bit and grind down the bolts as Thule made it so you can only attach them with the bolt head up. Wouldn't have been an issue if I could have mounted them bolt head down. I doubt they took the moon roof into account.

    Very sweet MINI you have. Great mods.

  12. #12
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    That's not a Mini...

    ...this is a Mini.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Frank Tuesday
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    Since you now have the sway bar the lowering springs might not do that much for handling but I think, since you have them already, you should install them. I think you will be happier (esthetically speaking) with the lowered stance.

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    Can't argue with that. That's certainly a mini! Really nice one too.

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    Why didn't you just get a S to start with?
    pUt Da LiMe In Da CoKe YoU nUt


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    Don't know about Francois, but I didn't see the need for any more power than what the MINI provided and I prefered the increased fuel mileage and less cost overall (including less auto insurance).

  17. #17
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raghavan
    Why didn't you just get a S to start with?
    My plan started out as a commute car. Less money, best fuel economy.

    But as it turned out, I really like the car. If I had to do it over and could save more pennies, I'd probably get an S. Steering this car is just brightens up my day.


    Quote Originally Posted by 2 Wheel Fun
    Since you now have the sway bar the lowering springs might not do that much for handling but I think, since you have them already, you should install them. I think you will be happier (esthetically speaking) with the lowered stance.
    I have the lowering springs but I hear that they won't do much for my handling. It'll make the ride harsher too. Installation is not cheap and it'll cost more if I don't like it. The big rear sway bar is really the ticket for this car. Final thing is I take this car to some dirt trailheads and its just high enough right now.

    francois
    IPA will save America

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    The best upgrade would be the John Cooper Works package. It has a bigger supercharger over the S and should be around 200 hp or so. Plus it's warrantied by BMW.
    pUt Da LiMe In Da CoKe YoU nUt


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    Just wanted to post this pic of a lowered Mini. If I drove one this is the one I would want to be driving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raghavan
    The best upgrade would be the John Cooper Works package. It has a bigger supercharger over the S and should be around 200 hp or so. Plus it's warrantied by BMW.
    Well, that's one opinion...

  21. #21
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    What a great thread

    Francois,

    I have a '03 Mini Cooper S... super fun to drive. On the MINI owner's website you can find it as "Sprinter" from Boulder, Colorado. Here are the mods I have done so far.

    First: 22mm Alta swaybar (yours is better...lighter...but mine is 2 years older before they made hollow ones). ALL front wheel drive cars come factory pre-programmed with understeer so that unskilled drivers, when they get out of control and lift the throttle, gain traction again and can drive. This upgrade from the stock Cooper S "sport package" 19mm made a HUGE difference. Essentially the car is neutral now...slide it through corners and all 4 wheels slide together. Depending on throttle/braking you can alter which wheels slide first. I am sure upgrading from a Cooper suspension was tremendous!

    Second: iPod cable for $35 from BMW... which mimics the AUX input and I wired it (thanks NAM!) down the A/C vent to come out in front of the shifter.

    Third & Fourth: 15% reduction supercharger pulley and cold air intake from Randy Webb at Webb Motorsports Went from 168 HP to ~195 or so for about $500. HUGE difference in driveability (better low end power/torque), lots of supercharger noise, you can hear all the mechanical stuff in the engine and the supercharger whine, and much much faster...you can now get yourself in real trouble if you're not careful. Still won't beat most cars off the line, but that's not why you bought a MINI is it? Take it into the twisties and very few cars can keep up. Which leads me to the best upgrade...

    MINI-FINI SportLink and Bike Rack. If you want to secure your mountain bikes and not on the plastic (WTF were you thinking BMW/MINI?) raingutters so you can drive the MINI like it should be driven, this is it.
    Now I can drive fast up the canyons to mountain bike trailheads and not worry about my bike falling off my car (or my rack falling off with my bike on it!)
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by MINImtnbiker
    Francois,
    MINI-FINI SportLink and Bike Rack. If you want to secure your mountain bikes and not on the plastic (WTF were you thinking BMW/MINI?) raingutters so you can drive the MINI like it should be driven, this is it.
    Now I can drive fast up the canyons to mountain bike trailheads and not worry about my bike falling off my car (or my rack falling off with my bike on it!)
    I have the Mini Fini Bike Rack. I am nervous about hanging a bike on it bythe top tube. Most tubing, these days, is butted, so the top tube will be thin walled at the balance point. I used a seat-to-stem mounting bar for my old bike, but my new bike hangs too low with it. I am not sure what to do.

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    My 09 Clubman with factory mini rack.

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    I've been thinking about a Mini for a while and was just wondering if anyone here has any experience with this rack for the Mini:

    http://new.minimania.com/web/Item/G2...OPER%20AND%20S

    It mounts to the frame of the car through a couple of slots that get cut in the bumper. So it doesn't touch your paint and you don't need to mount a hitch.

    Here's a pic of it mounted to the car. It's the one in the lower right corner.

    http://new.minimania.com/web/Item/G2...OPER%20AND%20S

  25. #25
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    Check out mini fini. I've used their sport link with a thule T2 for several years, just transferred it from an 07 to a 10. You have to cut a couple holes in the rear bumper but as long as you measure twice, cut once its fine. Very stable.

  26. #26
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    I use to own the older one made by Rover (MPI) before BMW bought them out in 2000 (pic attached)

    I am been thinking about the newer mini cooper S, how is the reliability on those newer ones (2002 -2004) ?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mini Cooper-aut_3020.jpg  


  27. #27
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    I wanted a Cooper S in the worst way, but with a 5 year old, need rear doors. I thought about taking my mom's old van and getting a Mini as a fun car, but couldn't justify the cost for a play car (esp. since I could source a killer e30 for the cost of an "S"). I ended up compromising and picking up a '10 Fit Sport..... now Mini releases the 4 door!!!!! Argh!

  28. #28
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    with...

    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Bob
    I wanted a Cooper S in the worst way, but with a 5 year old, need rear doors. I thought about taking my mom's old van and getting a Mini as a fun car, but couldn't justify the cost for a play car (esp. since I could source a killer e30 for the cost of an "S"). I ended up compromising and picking up a '10 Fit Sport..... now Mini releases the 4 door!!!!! Argh!
    All wheel drive!!


  29. #29
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    BMWs AWD sucks compared to Audi...
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  30. #30
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    True...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah
    BMWs AWD sucks compared to Audi...
    At least the A4 and up.

    Better than nuthin.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah
    BMWs AWD sucks compared to Audi...
    There's a price to pay with AWD (trust me prior to the Fit I had an A6 Avant Quattro). I'm fine with FWD

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