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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 2004 R53 has a front suspension rattle. It happens when I drive over badly repaired roads. When the road surface is smooth and in good condition, A-Road, Motorway, there is no rattle at all.

The Dampers, ARB drop links, Strut top bearings, front wheel bearings and upper ball joints were changed around 5 months ago. This didn't cure the rattle. I've double checked everything is done up tight.

The car steers just fine, changes direction like a fly and there are no knocks or clonks when doing slow full lock turns.

I've had the car in the air and the bushes seem OK to me when I give them nudge with a pry bar. There is no play when I move the wheels, everything seems nice a firm.

The only thing I can find is that the ARB has some side-to-side play (5-8mm) in it when I disconnect the Drop links but this movement does not seem commensurate to the noise I'm experiencing.

I have a recording of it but was unable to upload the mp3 file.

Anyone any ideas that might point me in the right direction or is a case of 'They all do that sir ...'
 

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Mine had a rattle when I got it. I managed to tighten the nut on the top of the strut quarter of a turn and it stopped. Sounds like you've already tried that though.
When I had an e46 it had a rattle over bumps and it was a universal joint in the steering column 馃
Cheers
Rich
 

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2004, R53 MINI Cooper S. (Pre-facelift)
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Hrm...

These are just Ideas...

My money would be on one of your tie rods being lose;
since there are no strange behavior coming from the suspension, just noise.
sometimes these produce a knocking sound when going over bumps and steering
when not properly tightened.

How about the lower control arm bushing?
Are you sure one of the bushings isn't torn or worn?
Sometimes it's hard to asses the health of them since they are obscured by the
lower control arms and the lower control bushing housing.

Maybe take a look at the screws that attach the sub frame to the chasses, maybe one of the screws has backed off
or wasn't torqued properly during your previous service.

And finally...
And this is not likely given your symptoms...
Maybe take a look at your wheel bearings, sometimes they do and produce funky things and noises you wouldn't guess they are causing.
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies.

The steering column suggestion is interesting as at some point it does appear to be further up the car rather than down if you get my meaning. something to investigate.

Now its stopped raining I'm going to see if I the strut top bolts will take a quarter turn

I can rule out the tie rods these have been replaced and I've checked them for tightness twice.

It could of course be the lower control arm bushings, and I've got a set of Poly bushes to ready to fit, but surely if they were so bad to be rattling like this the handling/steering would be affected?

Sub Frame bolts to chassis are worth checking, when I was under the car they looked as if they had been removed at some point in the car's life. There is a gap in the service history from 2008 until 2018 but the MOT history doesn't reveal that the car failed on them at any point. They may or may not have been replaced. I'll check them anyway.

Front wheel bearings were replaced when I changed the Struts and drop links.

The oddest thing though is that to me the rattle appears to be worse when the car is cold, after a 30 mins of driving I'm sure it becomes less, although of course I might just be used to it by then and an aural filter has been applied!
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The ARB bushes are the prime suspects, with the wheel off and a jack pushing the suspension up so it鈥檚 loaded there is 5-8mm of side to side play in the ARB. it is side to side only though, I can鈥檛 get it to move up and down and I can鈥檛 see what it might be rattling against To cause the noise?
Subframe is coming off once my scissor lift arrives so I can poly bush.
I did suspect the hydro engine mount but there is no evidence of a leak, of course it may all have leaked out years ago and the mess cleaned up by previous owners, and there is a gap between the rubber and the top mount.
 

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2005 R53
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If you undo the top nut attaching the motor mount to the bracket and jack the block up a little so it'soff of the rubber, any free movement in the engine mount bolt into the rubber means its basically fooked. Mine looks fine on the car but I can bend the bolt back easily so it's very broken. Just waiting on a new bolt to arrive so I can replace it!
 

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2004, R53 MINI Cooper S. (Pre-facelift)
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46 Posts
The ARB bushes are the prime suspects, with the wheel off and a jack pushing the suspension up so it鈥檚 loaded there is 5-8mm of side to side play in the ARB. it is side to side only though, I can鈥檛 get it to move up and down and I can鈥檛 see what it might be rattling against To cause the noise?
Subframe is coming off once my scissor lift arrives so I can poly bush.
I did suspect the hydro engine mount but there is no evidence of a leak, of course it may all have leaked out years ago and the mess cleaned up by previous owners, and there is a gap between the rubber and the top mount.

Yeah dude...
I for one would be shocked if your sway bar bushings are causing a rattle; (You seam to call them ARB bushes, I think we are talking about the same thing)
more so with no strange dynamic behaviors.

And on second thought;
I concur with Mysticarl... the hydraulic motor mount could very well be the culprit of a rattle with no dynamic alterations.

let us know how it goes.
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep, Sway Bar or ARB - Anti Roll Bar - in UK.

I've investigated the Hydro engine mount and the rubber on the top, where the large nut attaches, is barely visible. I have a replacement ready to go in, just waiting for the new Torx bolt to arrive, I fully expect the original one to snap when I remove it!
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Update. Replaced the Hydro engine mount, it was shagged out, lots of movement in the rubber.

On the test drive the car is smoother on the throttle and a little quieter, but the initial rattle is still there.

The lower rear engine mount is not torn or perished, but maybe a little too easy to move with a pry bar, so I think I'll change that out next.
 

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I feel your pain here with this as I to have a knocking/rattle noise which I am chasing down after replacing everything there is. only difference with me is im running air ride which puts all the components under a lot more stress than than normal suspension
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It passes the time, and the MCS isn鈥檛 our daily driver. the car drives really well apart from the annoying rattle, I鈥檓 going to drop the front subframe soon to poly bush it so maybe I鈥檒l find the answer then?
 

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Mini Cooper S R53 2004
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah dude...
I for one would be shocked if your sway bar bushings are causing a rattle; (You seam to call them ARB bushes, I think we are talking about the same thing)
more so with no strange dynamic behaviors.

And on second thought;
I concur with Mysticarl... the hydraulic motor mount could very well be the culprit of a rattle with no dynamic alterations.

let us know how it goes.
Changed the lower rear engine mount today. It really needed doing, the rubber in the larger end had split.
I can now hear the original rattle more clearly! I鈥檓 getting there slowly.
 
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