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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys,
I've been a member on the forum for a couple of years and have finally gotten round to buying an R53 with dealer fit JCW kit in British Racing Green. The colour is not everyone's cup of tea but I like it (although it is a bit too dark).
I went to look at 8 or 9 over the last year or so and got fed up of looking, but the other day I was just browsing Autotrader and saw this one, which basically fitted the bill.
She's on about 92k with loads of service history. Had a new gearbox, clutch and flywheel about 12k with all paperwork to prove. The car is fitted with a 4-1 200 cell cat non res Scorpion exhaust which i hate. It was fine on the test drive but after a 180 mile drive home it drove me mad. The drone was unbearable.
This will either be getting modified with a resonator of some kind or sold.
It has been de-chromed but I want to get it closer to stock. The Xenons have also been painted black with a red upper light, but I would prefer stock (let me know if you want to swap your Xenons for mine).
Some of the interior trim has been poorly painted and i spent a good while cleaning some of it up. I will hopefully be replacing this with some new trim or repainting the current stuff in Audi Monsoon Grey.
I also intend to repaint the faded dash panels in BRG.
Ive cleaned the seats and steering wheel as these had gone shiny, they now look almost new. If i keep the car i can see a set of black Recaros on the cards.
Engine wise it's typical JCW but with a daft open air filter strategically placed for as much heat soak as possible.
The recently refurbed black wheels will be getting repainted in a silver similar to the original Mini mini lites )i think)..Im not a fan of black wheels.
She could go with a service, a s/c service, new pads and some new tyres..tyres are legal but mickey mouse.
Im gonna do some tidying over the next few weeks and try to resist spending big money, but this will include: rectifiying the small bubbles appearing beneath O/S tail light,
attending to some early rust appearing beneath both door rubbers,
respraying the scuttle as there is a fairly deep zig zag scratch that can't be buffed out.
I'll also be detailing the car myself.
The exhaust MUST be sorted in the next few weeks..It ruins the enjoyment for me. I don't mind loud pipes but i don't the dull bassy tone.
I have a history of mad cars and bikes and although the Mini will never be a monster (i don't want a stripped out track slag with a 2JZ running nitrous), if I do keep it in the long term, I want something that is pretty quick with go kart handling, so if i could get to 300hp-ish (if that's possible on these engines) I would be a happy camper.
the car is pretty grotty in the pics as it hasn't been cleaned after the long drive in a constant downpour!
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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Nice example mate, I love a BRG Gen 1 Mini (y)

Rust very common place on these, even good ones..... do just be aware that if the rear light cluster rust is more than just surface corrosion it'll probably cost a few quid to get it fixed properly. Might be worth pulling the lamp out and checking it out. You'll tend to find water likes to sit in the gap between the light cluster and the metal, water eventually gets into the seam where the outer and inner bodywork joins under the lamp and starts the rot that way. I bet every R53 will have some element of surface corrosion under the door rubbers too.....a liberal coating of lithium grease will probably be enough to contain it....is what I've done on mine and it seems all good. Both elements are just down to bad design....why BMW didn't place an outer seal on the lamp clusters and better design the door seals so they didn't become water traps god only knows.

You'll probably find the drone is down to the manifold and sports cat TBH. You might find if you graft a stock cat back on or install a centre res it'll probably be a lot more bearable. The cat isn't really the restriction on the exhaust side (it's the Mani) so you wouldn't stand to lose much if any power by putting a stock cat back on. Aftermarket sports cats don't tend to stand up so well to the facelift Minis overfueling either as I understand it (for the pops and bangs) so doing that might be a positive. I gather Scorpions are also quite loud compared to other similar catback offerings (such as the Milltek and genuine JCW ones) so that probably doesnt help.

300+ hp.....realistically you'd need to go turbo to get that sort of power reliably without obscene cost....going turbo is expensive but probably not as bad as going with a Harrop supercharger which I suspect would still struggle to get you 300hp without mammoth spend and mods. The stock M45 charger is probably only good for 250/260bhp at an absolute push.

A number of the guys on here have gone turbo and the cars are monsters.....maybe a bit of a shame in a sense as they lose the character the supercharger gave them (the whine) but performance wise on another level. The engines have their issues but generally bloody strong and can take 400hp no problem....probably more if pushed......however a 300-odd hp turbo'd W11will be a properly quick car by any standards. In fairness a well modded, set up M45 car will still be very fast.

Also as Macmike says, get rid of the CAI and put a JCW style airbox on it, a stock intake with a good panel filter would be much better than what's on it currently as all it will be doing is sucking very hot air kicked up from the manifold as it stands.
 

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Welcome from a fellow BRG owner!

Looks like a good find, plans you have sound fantastic for tidying it up and getting it back into shape. Looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

Not sure if you’ve had the sun hit the paintwork yet but when it does they’re much brighter, particular if polished and waxed, you really get the paint fleck show through.

Have a go at making a ‘hobo’ /Dave F airbox, there are guides on the forum, will help you to create an airbox that replicates the JCW airbox that yours would have had for a fraction of the cost. Will without a doubt help with running nicer due to heat soak as you say.

Get a project thread going. (y)
 

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....and straighten that heat shield ;O)

it isn't the manifold causing the drone, it's the shit catback.

the M45 will get over 270 quite easily,
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I actually laughed when I went to view the car and saw the hot air intake. Unfortunately, the owner didn't have the JCW aier box or any of the pipework...I was thinking about buying the Oranje Stealth box but its out of stock. I also need to source the OEM pipework from a breakers.
I removed the tail light yesterday and the rust seems pretty minor. It hasn't eaten it's way down or back thru the bottom of the void. I'll only know when the bodywork guy gets the wire wheel on it.
Although i essentially bought it on an impulse, I did see several at all sorts of random prices and this one is the best, even when compared to one i saw that was almost the price at a dealers last summer.
If I can get the exhaust sorted somehow then I can start bonding with the car. I don't mind a bit of noise..Last year I sold my 480hp forged Subaru Impreza Type R and that was loud, but not unpleasant or droning or obnoxious. It went from a burble to rumble to a roar, but on the motorway you didn't really notice it. I've also owned Ducati's for 20 years (although I decided to hang up my leathers last year) and they are in excess of 104db. I had to use db killers on track.
I am loathed to buy an entire cat back system...I'd need to have a think about that one, because I don't want to fall into the trap again of constantly pouring money into yet another car...Been there...As in: £4k gearbox plus flywheel, clutch, props and hub then decided I didn't like the car anymore ..then sold car...
 

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Nice car, always the best way to start! Lots of good advice here to follow so no point repeating.

I would suggest checking the rear bushes on the front suspension arms (see if you can rock the front wheels back and forth when its stationary), poly upgrades really are worth the effort.

These cars are fun to drive, more work than most modern cars, but that’s the attraction. Yes they have their flaws, but again that’s part of the attraction, they are never boring.

A nice R53 is worth hanging on to, it’s never going to make you rich, but newer cars (even Minis) lack the soul these have.
 

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2006 R53 Hyper Blue/White Cooper S
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I actually laughed when I went to view the car and saw the hot air intake. Unfortunately, the owner didn't have the JCW aier box or any of the pipework...I was thinking about buying the Oranje Stealth box but its out of stock. I also need to source the OEM pipework from a breakers.
I removed the tail light yesterday and the rust seems pretty minor. It hasn't eaten it's way down or back thru the bottom of the void. I'll only know when the bodywork guy gets the wire wheel on it.
Although i essentially bought it on an impulse, I did see several at all sorts of random prices and this one is the best, even when compared to one i saw that was almost the price at a dealers last summer.
If I can get the exhaust sorted somehow then I can start bonding with the car. I don't mind a bit of noise..Last year I sold my 480hp forged Subaru Impreza Type R and that was loud, but not unpleasant or droning or obnoxious. It went from a burble to rumble to a roar, but on the motorway you didn't really notice it. I've also owned Ducati's for 20 years (although I decided to hang up my leathers last year) and they are in excess of 104db. I had to use db killers on track.
I am loathed to buy an entire cat back system...I'd need to have a think about that one, because I don't want to fall into the trap again of constantly pouring money into yet another car...Been there...As in: £4k gearbox plus flywheel, clutch, props and hub then decided I didn't like the car anymore ..then sold car...
They really are great little cars, I've not ever had anything particularly mad but have had lots of cars (and get bored easily) and have to say hand on heart this is the first car I've had I've not tired of and enjoy owning, particularly driving as it is a riot. I had a 2015 Polo 6C GTi 3 door manual not too long ago and without doubt the Minis a lot more fun and engaging.

You'll probably find with these things it's really not all about power....they are quite small and light (c. 1140kgs) so with some minor mods even at low 200hp's they are pretty rapid little things. Max power with the stock supercharger really depends on a lot of variables (you're clearly a big petrol head so don't want to teach you to suck eggs) a really healthy car with full bolt ons and an excellent tune could we'll make 270+bhp.....I suspect most don't however. Dynos can be so variable of course so it becomes easy to start chasing numbers but if you go to the lengths to mod and tune one well and ensure its fuelling correctly when you do you'll end up with a plenty quick enough car.

They are all getting on a bit so will suffer with niggles.....mines pissed me off quite a bit recently as it just hasn't been running right but it's easy to forget the age thing and think it's testament to how well made they are (for the time) that most still look good even now.....they certainly seem to hold up better than most of its peers.

I suspect if you catch that corrosion early it shouldn't be too much of a problem, I have a similar thing though far less minor going on with my passenger side rear lamp and the metal underneath seems just fine. Believe water eventually manages to get into the seam sealer that's placed in the void and corrosion starts at the join and begins to spread through the surface...left too long it'll just eat through of course.

The exhaust should be easy enough to sort out, expect with a resonator in the centre section it will be more bearable..don't think scorpions are crap, just by all accounts quite loud (y)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your response Pipsy...It's given me hope! Yeah, im over the monster power thing and am much more about handling thrills and acceleration...Top speed doesn't interest me, but I would like something that gives me a bit of a tickle... It's the same old story for anyone who's grown up on big motorcycles...they effectively ruin cars for you!!

My concern with the motor is that I don't want to have to dump money on reverse engineering stuff like the exhaust because it's dead money. These systems are knocking on for £1000 to replace, so much money for something so seemingly trivial...but not trivial...
Obviously I've bought the car secondhand so if it had been mine I would never have bought such a droning exhaust, but I'm 100% certain, loads of other people will see this as the holy grail (there are plenty of youtube videos to suggest that).
I'm too old! I had an Impreza about 12 years ago with the Blitz Nur Spec R exhaust. I fekking loathed it and felt a right numpty pootling over the speedbumps outside Tescos with the thing grumbling and roaring like i was exiting Pit Lane...
Every time i took my foot off to let the car roll over a speed hump it would be popping and banging. Unfortunately the seat was already at it's lowest setting, and any further back I would have needed a periscope to see where i going...That exhaust lasted about a week.
I bought the car in spite of the exhaust and managed to sell the pipe, but it was the unneccessary grief I had taken on, simply to make the car acceptable.

This mini will never be a daily, but I don't want to either dread getting in it, or feel like a old man racer/plonker driving it, or get irritated by it...totally defeats the point.

Anyway....I think the resonator is about £180 ish from scorpion so I might give that a shot. It's aggro that I didn't forsee tbh. If that resolves it- happy days...If not, then I'll withhold judgement. Im not going to change the entire exhaust I know that much.

The Plan B would be to hang on until after Christmas and then sell on in spring, having done just a few miles..I can't have a car for a week or two and then get rid..That's ridiculous!!! I haven't even got the V5 back!! Never mind how dodgy it looks to a prospective purchaser.

Sometimes, I can be a right bell end.
 

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2006 R53
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If you want an exhaust that suits you perfectly then go custom. I've had a couple done and £350 is ball park

Sent from my SM-G986B using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I could Astroboy but past experience tells me that I will be travelling back down the rabbit hole and opening up a can of worms. Scorpion offer a resonated centre section which replaces the centre non res section. I think I'll give that a go, but as has been previously mentioned, if the real problem is actually the 200 cell cat, then for me, it is game over. Im not buying a new manifold for it just to get rid of the noise and not going through the aggro of getting one made. Powerflow are based in my city but I was told that custom pipes typically run at about £1000...then you're into remapping blah blah just to get rid of that fer-hookin noise...
If it comes to that, I'll get rid.
On the short test drive it wasn't that bad, just a bit loud, but typically these things calm down once warmed up, but it was the long drive that killed me, and any revs on the over run causes huge air pressure inside the car. You can actually feel the pressure on your ear drums..the exact same sensation you get when diving or during a flight.
Like I said, when i cracked open the window, my ears popped!
 

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That must be some exhaust on your car if it's causing air pressure in the car. Did it come off a 747 or a Saturn V?
 

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When I bought mine the exhaust had no silencers just a cat. It was truly awful so I can empathise with your description.
I fitted a topgear cat back. Quality and fitment were excellent. Though theyve gone up in price now. Still had a nice sound but more in keeping with my tastes.
 

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Thanks for your response Pipsy...It's given me hope! Yeah, im over the monster power thing and am much more about handling thrills and acceleration...Top speed doesn't interest me, but I would like something that gives me a bit of a tickle... It's the same old story for anyone who's grown up on big motorcycles...they effectively ruin cars for you!!

My concern with the motor is that I don't want to have to dump money on reverse engineering stuff like the exhaust because it's dead money. These systems are knocking on for £1000 to replace, so much money for something so seemingly trivial...but not trivial...
Obviously I've bought the car secondhand so if it had been mine I would never have bought such a droning exhaust, but I'm 100% certain, loads of other people will see this as the holy grail (there are plenty of youtube videos to suggest that).
I'm too old! I had an Impreza about 12 years ago with the Blitz Nur Spec R exhaust. I fekking loathed it and felt a right numpty pootling over the speedbumps outside Tescos with the thing grumbling and roaring like i was exiting Pit Lane...
Every time i took my foot off to let the car roll over a speed hump it would be popping and banging. Unfortunately the seat was already at it's lowest setting, and any further back I would have needed a periscope to see where i going...That exhaust lasted about a week.
I bought the car in spite of the exhaust and managed to sell the pipe, but it was the unneccessary grief I had taken on, simply to make the car acceptable.

This mini will never be a daily, but I don't want to either dread getting in it, or feel like a old man racer/plonker driving it, or get irritated by it...totally defeats the point.

Anyway....I think the resonator is about £180 ish from scorpion so I might give that a shot. It's aggro that I didn't forsee tbh. If that resolves it- happy days...If not, then I'll withhold judgement. Im not going to change the entire exhaust I know that much.

The Plan B would be to hang on until after Christmas and then sell on in spring, having done just a few miles..I can't have a car for a week or two and then get rid..That's ridiculous!!! I haven't even got the V5 back!! Never mind how dodgy it looks to a prospective purchaser.

Sometimes, I can be a right bell end.
[
Thanks for your response Pipsy...It's given me hope! Yeah, im over the monster power thing and am much more about handling thrills and acceleration...Top speed doesn't interest me, but I would like something that gives me a bit of a tickle... It's the same old story for anyone who's grown up on big motorcycles...they effectively ruin cars for you!!

My concern with the motor is that I don't want to have to dump money on reverse engineering stuff like the exhaust because it's dead money. These systems are knocking on for £1000 to replace, so much money for something so seemingly trivial...but not trivial...
Obviously I've bought the car secondhand so if it had been mine I would never have bought such a droning exhaust, but I'm 100% certain, loads of other people will see this as the holy grail (there are plenty of youtube videos to suggest that).
I'm too old! I had an Impreza about 12 years ago with the Blitz Nur Spec R exhaust. I fekking loathed it and felt a right numpty pootling over the speedbumps outside Tescos with the thing grumbling and roaring like i was exiting Pit Lane...
Every time i took my foot off to let the car roll over a speed hump it would be popping and banging. Unfortunately the seat was already at it's lowest setting, and any further back I would have needed a periscope to see where i going...That exhaust lasted about a week.
I bought the car in spite of the exhaust and managed to sell the pipe, but it was the unneccessary grief I had taken on, simply to make the car acceptable.

This mini will never be a daily, but I don't want to either dread getting in it, or feel like a old man racer/plonker driving it, or get irritated by it...totally defeats the point.

Anyway....I think the resonator is about £180 ish from scorpion so I might give that a shot. It's aggro that I didn't forsee tbh. If that resolves it- happy days...If not, then I'll withhold judgement. Im not going to change the entire exhaust I know that much.

The Plan B would be to hang on until after Christmas and then sell on in spring, having done just a few miles..I can't have a car for a week or two and then get rid..That's ridiculous!!! I haven't even got the V5 back!! Never mind how dodgy it looks to a prospective purchaser.

Sometimes, I can be a right bell end.
Mate nature of the beast with us car people to suffer from bellendary from time to time (y) :ROFLMAO:

I guess the thing with the R53's particularly the facelifts is it's not like they are all that quiet even with the stock system...they still make a bit of noise and pop and bang like a gooden still.....change the exhaust it gets louder, change the Mani and decat and it's turning it up to 11 🤣

I reckon you should look into getting a cheap stock manifold and cat from a breakers, have the stock cat cut out and have it grafted to your manifold. Any good mechanic/exhaust place should be able to do that for you and also stick the resonated section onto the scorpion. Be a lot more tolerable then I expect....is always going to be loudish because of the manifold but should contain most if not all of the drone.

I've got a non res Milltek catback on mine with the stock cat and manifold and TBH it's probably a bit louder than I really wanted but have to be honest as it's bedded in and sooted up it's much much better. Would like to at some stage put a Janspeed manifold on it with the stock cat (they call it a Tomcat after the guy that came up with the idea) but reckon I'll be looking to resonate the centre section if I do.

Definitely don't write of the car because of it tho as it's all absolutely sortable one way or another, really fun cars with a really good community on here, is all worthwhile I promise 🤜🤛
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Cheers for your responses folks.
I feel more encouraged now that a local exhaust builder reckons it can be sorted fairly inexpensively. I'm taking it up there on Monday for him to eyeball and hopefully be getting it modified next week.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That must be some exhaust on your car if it's causing air pressure in the car. Did it come off a 747 or a Saturn V?
If you imagine a Saturn V rocket at full thrust inside a steel can full of ball bearings that gives you an idea what it felt like driving past Toddington Services.

It's not just the excessive volume as such but the drone...There is some sort of mechanical harmonic resonance with that pipe mated to that engine hanging from that body shell...

The owner did say that he was driving from London and going up North but had to swap cars with his mate when he got to B'ham because he couldn't take it anymore...

I thought he was exaggerating, turns out he was under playing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Forgot to mention but when I stopped at a Services my mate got out of my other car laughing and said something like, 'mate, that ferkin car..you can hear it from miles away'...
 
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