BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

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Will01
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BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:35 am

Hi Guys
I thought i would also add in a project thread about my wife's car. Some of you may know but my wife (luckily for me) is a little bit of a petrol head aswell.
She is a fond lover of old classic Mini's, however when looking a few years ago we did decide a more modern car would be more suitable.
To start with she did start looking at the Cooper models, however with a bit of encouragement from her boyfriend at the time(me) she did decide to get the S model. Big smiley face especially when i got to drive it.
Ok i know some of you may say its not a real Mini, however i have to defend it, as it is a great car. Best thing of course so does my wife. She has taken really good care of it for the past few years and the car has rewarded her with countless trouble free motoring. It now has over 90k miles on the clock and still drives great, but now we are finding that more and more bits need to be attended to.
I hope to keep this thread up to date as possible alongside the other projects.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:43 am

In the last year the 10year old exhaust has started to give us some bother. A few months back the front downpipe and catalyst broke apart from each other whilst we were driving. Suddenly you notice its not soo quiet anymore and your ears are bleeding with the noise of a car running a foot long exhaust. A replacement manifold and catalyst were then re-fitted. Now however the rear boxes have all but given up their fight against the rust. When i phoned BMW for a standard replacement i was shocked at the price they put forward so now we have started to go down the Aftermarket route.

Now a Scorpion exhaust has been ordered and with any luck should be fitted on the weekend. On first impressions it does look like a nice exhaust, it is not a piece of art but is at least functional and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Therefore it should hopefully give us plenty more trouble free miles.
I have already taken a video with the standard exhaust and will do the same with this new one once it has settled in. Maybe i will attach a link if people are interested. Hopefully it doesn't ruin the vehicle character, but only time will tell.

Next few items will be done to help improve airflow around the standard intercooler. I have noticed on a spirited drive that it does tend to suffer with heat, which greatly affects performance. I maybe even will try a different intercooler or water spray to help. Main thing is the car has to stay civilised as my wife needs to use daily for her commute.
We are also looking at giving the car a good freshen up in time for its 100k mile birthday. So i will also look at some fresh new brakes and giving the car a real good service. I hear that the superchargers really need an oil replacement at 100k miles, so i will also be looking into this as they are sealed from the factory.
Any advice from anyone?
Last edited by Will01 on Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:47 am

Just a few photos of standard exhaust removed (in a bad state) and new Scorpion stainless exhaust.
Happy with the fitment which was relatively straight forward, it is louder than expected but as with the one on the Alfa it should quieten down over time and loose some of the raspy ness and a bit of the low down boom.
My wife is happy so that is the main thing, the one thing she did say however was the exhaust now drowns out the supercharger whine. So she wants me to make the supercharger whine a bit more, so a smaller pulley will be put on order with a different length auxillary belt once it needs changing. That also means i need to get on with planning how to cool the intercooler more efficiently.
After giving the car a good thorough drive the car does feel more responsive in the higher revs and there seems to be a little extra grunt right at the bottom of the rev range say 1000-2000rpm.
I do have a before and after video which i will look into adding a link to. I will also do another video in the next few months after the exhaust has had time to bed in.
There's not going to be too much engineering work by ourselves on this car, but some of you out there may appreciate anyway.
Attachments
DSC_1212.jpg
New Scorpion Stainless system
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Tail pipes
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Old exhaust removed in a bad state
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boxes leaking badly
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Unusual exhaust box arrangement from BMW? Its all one piece, no wonder its so expensive
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New exhaust fitted, it really is a tight fit. But it does look neat
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Sneaky shot from behind, really needs a good wash
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Nobby
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Nobby » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:21 pm

OOh that standard exhaust looks awful. I believe its a common problem for the multi layers to rot off and rattle like inappropriate. Stainless should outlive the life of the car
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:47 pm

I agree the original exhaust was fubar. One of the boxes the worse looking one had giant holes in it! The pipes have been saved to use as mock ups for another project. The rest is going straight in the metal scrap bin.
I am glad to say the Scorpion exhaust has started to bed in nicely. I have noticed that the average fuel consumption has dropped since it has been fitted. However I believe this is down to my wife getting a little carried away, I don't blame her as it sounds really good high up the revs on wot. Hopefully with any luck that may improve as she gets used to driving it economically for her daily commute.
Only comment really is that stones tend to get caught between the twin tail pipes and sometimes you can hear them rattle a little, I hope to fix this with a little rubber spacer that will take the heat, if this isn't possible I may try to enlarge the holes on the bracket that hold the tail pipes together and space them apart a little more.
So far we can recommend the Scorpion as a good alternative to the standard system.
It does help alot knowing that it is Stainless Steel and should out live the car, one less thing to worry about.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:01 pm

So after alot more miles of driving the exhaust has probably now settled in. It still is pretty loud, but those people that have been in the car say it suits the car when you are pressing on a bit, however it is too loud if you are just taking it easy through town. The supercharger belt and bushes still need to be looked at, so we will be fitting slightly smaller reduction pulley. This should give a little more whine and bit more punch, not sure how much effect it will have on the exhaust note, but time will tell.
The only other thing i have noticed is the exhaust pipes have slightly rotated a wee bit and you can see they are no longer level. When i get some time i will take another look at it, maybe just tweak the support bracket at the back to make it look better. I am not going to add pictures at the moment as the car is filthy, its mainly because the roads this time of year are in a proper state. It was quite funny as my parents in law came to visit, they washed the car for my wife, we went into town (13miles away) and by the time we got there you couldn't read the number plate!
My wife has got used to it and has no complaints, so all is well. I can always hear her pull up outside so it gives me a chance to switch the TV off and pretend to do housework when she walks in the door.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:11 pm

So just another update with Catherine's Mini.
Another set of tyres were required on the car as we run them for as long as we legally could down to approx 1.8-2.0mm tread. So we decided to keep with what we know and stuck with Kumho Ecsta tyres. I can't remember exactly what they are but we found they work very well on the car and still are much better than the run flats that are originally fitted. If i remember correctly the fronts had covered ~13k miles and the rears had lasted ~28k miles which i fell is very good when it does get the odd little bit of abuse from me.
Whilst the tyres were being changed i took the opportunity to check out the condition of the discs and pads and noticed they were getting low.

We then recently had a brake wear indicator pop up on the dashboard, which we knew was coming. But that means we now need to buy another wear sensor. The old discs were in very bad condition and i don't think have ever been changed from the factory so have done very well. The pads are also probably still the originals, but it is very strange to see that the discs have worn more than the pads! Still about 4mm of pad left. In my other cars i have worn the pads right down to 1-2mm so obviously BMW like to give you much warning of impending brake problems.
Anyway i always like to upgrade when replacing parts so decided to buy some Grooved discs and some Mintex pads. I found a company MTEC online who seemed to be recommended by other fellow mini drivers on another couple of forums. The discs & pads were priced very low and because money is a little tight i decided to purchase. I have never had any issues with Mintex pads, but the discs to me are unknown.
Unfortunately the dics which were delivered were drilled and grooved. I personally do not like drilled discs, but for the type of driving this car gets i am not concerned. Catherine is very easy on her brakes.
I think in the future however i will not buy such drilled discs again as the machining is not up to scratch and pretty poor. Some of the drill holes actually drill through parts of the casting webs between the solid sections of the vented disc. I would prefer grooved only, however the brakes needed changing and we don't have more time to get it sorted.
I suppose they do look like good brakes when you peer in between the wheel spokes, but we will just have to see how they run.

One last thing i did notice from the instructions was that they recommend the grooves to be pointed in one direction only. Whereas with previous grooved discs i have always had the choice depending on how rough the user feels the grooved should be rotated e.g. if the groove is reversed it is more abrasive etc etc. Funny thing was i did notice i had to swap the front disc around because i noticed i fitted it one worng side straight after taking the picture. All in all i reckon it took an easy 3-3.5hrs to do all 4 corners, which wasn't bad as i was taking my time and chatting with my wife whilst i was doing it.
Attachments
DSC_1678.jpg
Rear discs
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Front discs, please ignore the grooves running in the wrong direction. Straight after taking the photo i noticed this and had to take it off and swap it with the other rotor. This was as recommended in the instructions.
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Nobby
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Nobby » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:25 am

Looking good.

NB: Regardless of which way the grooves go, its normally the vanes inside the discs which dictates the direction they should be fitted. Yes its a giveaway with the drilled bits or grooves, but the vanes should direct air from the outside inwards when spun in the direction of wheel travel. Oddly enough some performance Audi RS models have discs which are bi-directional.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:21 pm

I completely agree, however these are also cheap discs and the vanes point from the centre of the disc straight out. Therefore internally there is no direction of rotation.
The direction of rotation for the grooves does a little bit change how it contacts with the pads and how rough the scraping effect is to deglaze.
They look ok, but compared to the Brembo discs i have on my Alfa there are technically inferior. However we not too bothered as they worked out a better price than the OE replacements.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Thu May 29, 2014 11:59 am

So we recently had MOT, its funny but the car had felt a little wobbly and not 100% planted after we had fitted the new discs and pads. I asked the garage to have a look when i dropped it off, before we even went for the MOT we found one front wheel bearing was completely shot! Therefore needed replacement obviously. Otherwise the car was fine and passed, which is always good news.
However since then i have taken the car for a good hard drive and i am really not happy with the brakes, when you are giving it alot of abuse. The brakes end up with alot of fade and you end up standing on them and putting your foot to the floor before it will stop. It is fine on normal driving but just cannot keep up with spirited driving. I completely lost brakes after only 5miles on some country back roads! I not entirely convinced this is down to the pads because i used to have these on my big old heavy Alfa which took alot more abuse. I do think the disc design is not allowing the disc to dissipate the heat properly. I am sure i will have to replace pads or discs again soon so i will try swapping either out and putting this theory to the test.
Its fine for now if not driving hard but will need to change if i end up using for my daily commute in the next few months.

My wife and I may end up swapping cars for the short term when she is on maternity leave as she will need something more sensible! for taking baby everywhere. I wil therefore end up using the Mini more for getting to work, unless the Capri is finished in time?????
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Nobby
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Nobby » Thu May 29, 2014 7:44 pm

Change the brake fluid first. ATE super blue is my first choice and is good enough for fast road use and it's easy to see wen the new stuff comes through (as it's blue) . When was it last changed?
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Fri May 30, 2014 11:24 am

We will definitely bechanged the fluid, although i will be tying this in with fitting some braided hoses as the rubber will be more than 10years old and has probably gone a little soft. It made an improvement to my Alfa when i fitted braided hoses.
I did look at superblue and orange (apparently you switch between the two so there is contrast in colour to help with bleeding time and again) a while back for my Alfa, however getting hold of it for sensible money did prove a little difficult in the end.
Even just putting in new fresh good quality Dot4 will make an improvement as i am sure the fluid on the car has been in there from the factory!
I will however take another look into the ATE super again just in case there is someone local-ish to me that i can get it from.
Thanks
Will
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:01 pm

So i can't remember if i mentioned this before but the Mini has felt very sluggish for quite a while which was very odd. Everyone would expect it to have more grunt, but i have found you really need to wind it up to get it going.
We actually did a scientific test (race) against my Corsa 1.2 to see how well it is performing and i can say that at no point did i feel that the Mini was outrunning my Corsa!!
After not having enough time to check it we did a long 1000mile journey in the car to visit family in south of England and then drive back home again. After driving for 250 miles the car suddenly would get its performance back and it felt like the car had another 50hp and drove how it should, everything got better including consumption etc(you could hear the difference).
Then after a few short journeys down south the car got sluggish again? This continued the whole week after long journeys and then short journeys. In all that time i was constantly filling up with water as we were losing coolant somewhere??
Anyway after getting back home my wife was driving to work one day and when she turned the car off noticed that there was a noisy bubbling sound coming form the engine. The expansion bottle had split open and let out all its coolant onto the exhaust manifold. Great!
I filled the car up and drove it home the 25 or so miles. Funny but it never got hot once or boiled over, so i can only imagine the cooling is very good etc.
Anyway after getting home i did a hot compression test with WOT(wide open throttle) and no plugs in.
Unfortunately this showed up a potential big problem. All cylinders were reading ~11 bar except cylinder 1 which was more like 8!
After this i then repeated with oil in the cylinders, all of the readins went up slightly and equally across. This tells me that it is most likely not down to rings and more something like headgasket or a leaking valve seat(burnt maybe??).
At the moment i am going more with headgasket as i think the expansion bottle split could be down to excessive pressure in the cooling system which has caused the breakage.
Awesome!
This needs fixing asap, but a job has to be done properly so, next course of action is to remove the cylinder head and give it a good check over. A headgasket set will be sourced and i will maybe take the valves out and re-grind. Obviously being aluminium i am also going to have to get the head skimmed.
Does anyone know if the head bolts are the re-useable ones?
I am also going to take the opportunity to repalce the timing chain as i think this is quite common to replace at 100k-120k miles.
It might also be worth changing the water pump aswell.
Then supercharger will be reomved and the oil needs changing every 100k miles so its another good excuse(as long as it is in good condition. This is a pain because it is factory sealed, but this is not going to stop me. We will also be fitting new pulley (smaller for more boost) replacing the serpentine belt and reaplce the tensioner bushes with powerflex items as these usually get soft and cause tensioning problems on the belt.
Cooler plugs will be fitted due to more boost and everything will be given a really good clean and service.
This is not what i need just before our first baby is born, but we both need cars so it needs to be done.
Any advice?
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:43 am

So the progress so far is that i haven't done anything else with the car except drive it the odd short journey to get her warmed up and double/triple check the previous compression results.
I did purchase one of these OBD readers and connected with external device so i could monitor some of the car settings live.
From this i did notice that the car is making and holding boost very well throughout the rev range, this helps to confirm that the bypass valve is still in good condition.
Another thing that really surprised me was that on both of these short runs the car drove superbly and had full power and pulled very well in every gear. Apart from the coolant leak the car performed very well and the coolant would not leak until stopped. I made sure i kept an eye on the temperature gauge so as not to damage further(hopefully)
As a first port of call i have ordered a new aluminimum coolant expansion bottle and a new standard pressure relief cap along with a new thermostat and housing.
The car will be driven and wrmed up and checked again and we will carry out a hydrocarbon check on the coolant to help confirm headgasket.
Also the aluminium tank should means i don't have to expect another coolant bottle to split open along the glued seam.

I am still awaiting prices on parts for headgasket change, but at least we can start checking other items whilst we wait.
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Will01
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Re: BMW 2003 Mini Cooper S

Post by Will01 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:56 am

So i have now changed the Expansion tank and pressure cap at least so far, still waiting on other parts.
I needed to repalce this anyway so i could run the car back up to temperature so i can measure for combustion gases in the coolant. Still awaiting on this test kit also.
In the end i bought a tank off a seller on an internet auction site and the price is quite reasonable and to my surprise the tank is baffled aswell slightly. It seems to fit well in the space and looks better also.
I was also starting to get worried just in case the new tank would not have mushroom type ends on the pipe fittings.
It is very important that there is this widened end because these systems work under pressure and if it wasn't there eventually you could have a hose blow off even with a hose clip.
The standard cap also fits nicely onto the bottle and seams to seal well, i now notice that after the car gets up to temperature the new cap is dumping pressure, so i think this is due to over pressurising system from headgasket still.
There no point stripping the car down until the parts have arrived.

As for the headgasket parts, i phoned the Mini parts dealer in my local BMW garage and although many items i have brought from them are reasonable, i cannot say this for headgasket etc.
They wanted to charge ~£100 for a headgasket and then a further £200+ for the other gaskets i needed and £50+ for new bolts and studs etc!!!
However a Mini parts specialist would supply a full gasket set & upgraded ARP head bolts etc for alot less. Plus the ARP bolts are re-useable and of better quality. I don't think it takes a genious to work out what i have purchased! The money saved has gone on other servicing items and upgrade parts e.g. smaller reduced supercharger pulley and new belt and bushes etc.
Attachments
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Std tank in situ
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Nicely discoloured and might be able to see where coolant leaking from split seam
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DSC_2167.jpg
Close up to show seam which splits open and loses coolant
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DSC_2168.jpg
Quick comparison between standard & upgrade
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Close up with fitted in situ
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New tank fitted now makes the rest of the engine bay look very manky. Oh well in time as other things break we will upgrade these also
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