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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Detroit MI
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R53 Mini Cooper S

I was thinking about picking up a MCS for a fun DD and to keep miles off the Alfa lease I currently have.

I know they have had some issues, but certain models where no worse that any other modern car.

I have found a few 2005/6 MCS JCW cars with around 50K under 8k, which seems like a lot of fun for the money.

Anyone here have first had experience with these lil cars?
Old 10-13-2018, 09:18 AM
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The Stick
 
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One friend loves them has one each for both he and his wife. Even both walked away from a semi hitting their mini.

Another was going to do the same until they drove a few seriously.
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Richard aka "The Stick"
94 928GTS 5 speed
05 Cayenne Turbo
Old 10-13-2018, 09:52 AM
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be here now
 
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Join Date: Jul 2009
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I had two of them, thermostat cracked draining all coolant with no warning on both.
Second one accelerated while brake was on scaring wife to death.
These were both new under warranty.....would not want one out of warranty.
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Rob....
'66 911, '74 911, '85.5 944, '69 914-6, '65 356C, '01 986, '04 955S, '97 993 C2S, '55 356 OUTLAW, '98 993 Cab, '55 356 Speedster, '06 955S, '58 356A, '96 993 C4S, '87 BD 911, '95 993, '06 997S
Old 10-13-2018, 09:55 AM
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Stick with the 05-06 models.
Teflon coated SC blades and the transmission bearing is much better.

I have an 06 as a DD, 142,000 miles so far after picking it up in 2010.
Outside of routine maintenance I had to replace the SC at 130,000 miles, upper motor mount 3 times (cheap and easy to replace) and the front strut mounts.

Water pump was replaced at 90,000 miles and again when I replaced the SC as preventative maintenance.

Current issue is the airbag light, passenger seat pad sensor replaced under recall but the airbag module in my car is shot.

Not worried about it since it does not affect the annual safety inspection in NC.

NA Mini forum is a good resource.

https://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/


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John D.
82 911 SC Targa-Rosewood
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05 Jetta GLI
Old 10-13-2018, 11:07 AM
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I was looking at a 50K mile MCS JCW thinking it would be a last and cheap fun.... the 6spd is pretty tough and the few known issues are not really that bad.
Old 10-13-2018, 11:14 AM
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Feelin' Solexy
 
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You probably already know, but the early S models (I want to.say through 2006?) Are supercharged and the later models are turbocharged. I have the turbo with LSD and the 6 speed manual, quite a thrilling car to drive hard. I did have a failed timing chain at about 80k and ended up picking up a factory rebuilt short block in the crate for about 3500 vs rebuilding the existing engine for about 3k. Different models have different weak points so read up on those, on mine it is fuel pump failure and timing chain tensioner.
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Grant
1974 Vespa Rally 200, 1974 Vespa Primavera 125, 1963 Solex 2200, 1938 Buick Special, 2008 Mini Cooper S, 2010 Mazda CX-9, 1986 VW Vanagon Syncro Westfalia, 1989 VW Doka Tristar - in the stable
1989 Porsche 944, 1973 VW Beetle - gone but not forgotten
Old 10-13-2018, 11:29 AM
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We bought one in 2003 and in 5 months had the John Cooper Works kit installed which made it a rocket ship! It had the sport Koni shocks, electronic traction control and moving headlights. Never had any issues at all and kept it for 10 years. Did the new (with Works kit) maintenance religiously and finally sold it in 2013. Ours was made right after they solved the splitting windshield issue and a couple other things. I used up a set of front brake pads every 14 months or so, used one set of spark plugs and changed oil/filter yearly with Mobile One.

If I remember correctly the super charged engines were made in Brazil for Chrysler to put in some little project car but was canceled. The vender was left with 20,000 or so engines so BMW got them for a good price? Try to find one with the Bose stereo system which can use an external MP3 player like a thumb drive or hard disk and sounds great!
Old 10-13-2018, 12:48 PM
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Did you get the memo?
 
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I had one, lots of fun but I found it to be very poorly made. Cheap materials and stupid build quality, I hated working on it. Remember that it’s a budget BMW, not a good combo.
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Matt J.
'09 RX-8 R3
Past: 911T, 911SC, Carrera, 951s, 955, 996s, 987s, 986s, 997s, BMW 5x, C36, C63, XJR, S8, Maserati Coupe, GT500, etc
Old 10-13-2018, 04:57 PM
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We have had one as one of our courtesy cars for the last 6.5 years. It has the equivalent of 70K miles on it now. Ours is the JCW version. The only repair we have done is a power steering pump. It gets regular maintenance and we have done the brakes on it once. I am not sure how well it gets treated by clients, as it is fun to drive, but has been very reliable. Far better than many of the the later models we see in the shop.

Ours will need a clutch soon as one person who had it for a few days claimed to know how to drive a manual transmission. I think they learned on our Mini...

Fit and finish isn't great, and the car has a few interior rattles, but has been reliable.

Cheers
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Old 10-13-2018, 05:02 PM
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See my sig, original owner of an 06 MCS, rare Checkmate edition. 192k miles.

Nuisance areas have been right side engine mount, replaced multiple times with oem then aftermarket mounts, and a small vacuum leak that has proved impossible to completely resolve. Be prepared to replace thermostat, water pump, belt and belt tensioner. MCS engine compartment is very tight so working in it can be tricky. Also have replaced clutch once and flywheel damper once with aftermarket.

Those things aside, car is a blast to drive, it is extremely responsive. Have an aftermarket intake that has the side benefit of increasing SC noise on acceleration; sounds like a jet, it’s addictive.

As previously said, look at 05 and 06 builds. Get a car that is as stock as possible, however JCW is not a value performance option. The MINI aftermarket has been plagued by crappy products.

NAM can be a good resource, but there is bad info along with the good.

Good luck in your search.
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Paul
82 911SC - 3 yrs of fun
06 MINI Cooper S - current fun
Old 10-13-2018, 06:01 PM
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Oh hey Paul.
Old 10-13-2018, 07:30 PM
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be here now
 
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You do know there is a MINI discussion forum right here on Pelican.
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Rob....
'66 911, '74 911, '85.5 944, '69 914-6, '65 356C, '01 986, '04 955S, '97 993 C2S, '55 356 OUTLAW, '98 993 Cab, '55 356 Speedster, '06 955S, '58 356A, '96 993 C4S, '87 BD 911, '95 993, '06 997S
Old 10-13-2018, 09:56 PM
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I'm with Bill
 
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If you pass on the JCW please PM me the details.

They are very hard to find.

IMHO the best R53 you can get outside the GP.

I have owned 2 JCW's and my son has an 06 MCS all 3 were R53's. All 3 were rock solid reliable outside some typical wear and tear items as mentioned above and basic maintenance.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
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Old 10-14-2018, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colingreene View Post
Oh hey Paul.
Fancy catching you here! You can certainly provide some R53 wisdom to the OP.
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Paul
82 911SC - 3 yrs of fun
06 MINI Cooper S - current fun
Old 10-14-2018, 05:30 PM
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Got it, and very happy with it so far. I'll get some pics up asap. It is a very clean car, and the trans makes me hate the 915 even more!! lol
Old 10-22-2018, 10:31 AM
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I'm with Bill
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geronimo View Post
Got it, and very happy with it so far. I'll get some pics up asap. It is a very clean car, and the trans makes me hate the 915 even more!! lol
The JCW?

Enjoy!! If it has the stock rims and runflats ditch them, put on some lightweight rims and normal sticky tires and it will transform the car.

Once you find the point of understeer, then think about a stiffer rear swaybar to dial that out.

Remember they come to life over 4K RPM's once over 4K the smile on your face will be hard to wipe off.
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1978 Mini Cooper Pickup
1981 BMW 320i
1991 BMW 318is - w/ M50 2.8 swap
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser - Black Betty
2014 BMW i3 Giga World
Old 10-22-2018, 10:54 AM
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Did you get the memo?
 
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If you hate your 915, try a full Rennshift kit. It absolutely transforms the shifting performance, particularly if you do the full kit including the coupler. With some fresh Swepco it's a night and day difference and worth every penny.
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Matt J.
'09 RX-8 R3
Past: 911T, 911SC, Carrera, 951s, 955, 996s, 987s, 986s, 997s, BMW 5x, C36, C63, XJR, S8, Maserati Coupe, GT500, etc
Old 10-22-2018, 11:19 AM
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but the full rennshift is about the price of a cheap mini cooper.
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Old 10-22-2018, 12:54 PM
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I find it amazing how much patience some people have when it comes to the reliability of a car, and how little I have.
Old 10-22-2018, 01:59 PM
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Had one, its someone else's problem now. Lots of fun, but unreliable and a pain to work on. Lots of problems, but when it started drinking a quart of oil every 1000 miles I had enough. Almost had to give it away. They are cheap because of the reputation, do yourself a favor and stay away.
Old 10-22-2018, 02:00 PM
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