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Hi,

Just a quick question - it might also be a bit daft but I'm curious.

I recently bought an Airtec front mount to fit to my 2003 cooper s, and I'm aware that the aircon needs to be removed. As far as I can tell its just the aircon rad that needs to go to make space for the intercooler. As I'm very limited on time at the minute - and I'm not too fussed about saving weight - can I just remove the aircon rad (with aircon degassed of course) and leave all of the pipes and the compressor on for now? They will be removed at a later date, but just wondering if it would cause me any issues to just leave it all on? I don't plan on turning on the AC obviously, but if I did by accident would there be any problem?

Cheers.
 

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That’s what I did with my install literally removing the aircon rad, cable tied the lines in place and left everything as is. I plan to remove the other bits in the future when I pull the engine.

It won’t cause an issue turning the aircon on, well it hasn’t in mine
 

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Also, if the experience of driving my turbo converted R53 is anything to go be prepared to sweat to death. Carry water. Lots and lots of water.


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Discussion Starter #5
That’s what I did with my install literally removing the aircon rad, cable tied the lines in place and left everything as is. I plan to remove the other bits in the future when I pull the engine.

It won’t cause an issue turning the aircon on, well it hasn’t in mine
Be prepared to do a lot of cutting. It’s not an easy install and takes a lot of cut a bit try it, then cut more if needed. Give me a shout if you get any questions on the install.
Thanks for the info. I know its required to cut the top plastic slam panel, is it also required to cut the front metal crashbar? I bought the intercooler brand new but second-hand and the guy didn't send any instructions with it. I have emailed Airtec to ask for some but they haven't gotten back to me yet.
 

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Also, if the experience of driving my turbo converted R53 is anything to go be prepared to sweat to death. Carry water. Lots and lots of water.


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The price we pay for cooler intake temps :laugh: Truthfully I was going to buy an uprated top mount but this came up brand new but second hand for £450 which is barely more than a top mount, so I went for this instead.

But yeah, I expect it to get hot, especially on track. Daily driving though, I've been driving a turbo Volvo 940 without aircon for the past year so I'm used to it daily by now haha.
 

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the ac won't actually turn on with no gas pressure fwiw, there may be a very small amount of oil in the pipes that the ac system uses in case you see anything
 

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Thanks for the info. I know its required to cut the top plastic slam panel, is it also required to cut the front metal crashbar? I bought the intercooler brand new but second-hand and the guy didn't send any instructions with it. I have emailed Airtec to ask for some but they haven't gotten back to me yet.
I can try take some pictures of where you may need to cut. From memory you take a chunk out the crash beam, plastic slam panel, underside of the bonnet and the back of your front grill. if you have a larger bonnet scoop that may need trimming as well.
 

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If you remove the zircon pump all together you can run a very small belt, I've done this for a few year and i have a new smaller belt left over if your interested, but that will depend on what size pulleys you are running.
 

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The wording may not flow perfectly as pulled from a number of thread updates but here is it pretty much step my step

Stripped down the front end ready for the new parts to go on. Top mount removed, aircon gas removed and then aircon radiator removed:

Strip down by James Baker, on Flickr

Airtec front mount intercooler with yellow accents to match the brakes and interior bits. This should see the inlet temps plumit:

Airtec front mount supplied by Orranje Performance by James Baker, on Flickr

I also picked up a yellow Pro Hose intake hose to match:

Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr

Once stripped down this is a very simple install using the original mounting points from the stock air con radiator which is no longer there. I wanted to mock up the install, hence none of it is bolted down, clamped in place etc as I just wanted to see where I needed to cut:

Airtec front mount supplied by Orranje Performance by James Baker, on Flickr

Out came the dremel, tried to be as neat as possible, not too much cutting:

Airtec front mount supplied by Orranje Performance by James Baker, on Flickr

After this photo I also cut the rubber trim that sits on this plastic panel so that can go back on and also sanded down the edge of that first cut. Next job is to tighten it all up and work out what needs cutting from the underside of the bonnet and hood scoop. Scoop needs trimming as the aftermarket larger scoops extend further back than stock ones and hit the new piping from what I have seen.

I will also chuck that intake hose on.

Next it was on to cutting metal, please excuse the messy edges, I didnt take any pics after I tidied them up and painted them with touch up paint:

There are lots of pics of what you have to cut for an Airtec/GRS front mount so hopefully someone finds these useful:

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

With the scoop and grill removed, you can see why you need to trim those bits:

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

Putting things back together:

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

Here is how much you have to cut away the crash beam to give enough exposure:

Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr

Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr

The finished product, including the cabrio braces in body colour. I also have spare inlet manifold and intercooler horns which will be going matt black when I fit the head etc as they stand out in this pic:

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

Airtec front mount by James Baker, on Flickr

If you are thinking of going for a front mount on an R53, please note its a simple job to get the front mount fitted, the hard work is the cutting and adjustment to get the bonnet to close, its not a job for the faint hearted and does take some work to get it fitted. Once done, hopefully its worth it, will let you know how inlet temps look tomorrow.
 

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With how close the top right angles are to the grill, if you dont shave the backs of the grill, it will pop out when you slam the bonnet. I used an angle grinder as it had a larger surface to run across the back of the grill where the two would meet. Do it neatly and you will never see it from the outside. You could also use a dremel or even a sanding block if you have a lack of tools:

Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr

You dont see any of this with the bonnet up, I had to sit on the engine and look back to get a decent photo
Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr

Untitled by James Baker, on Flickr
 

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Quite a high destructive cost to consider in exchange for the few seconds IAT may be 56 degrees or more.
 

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Quite a high destructive cost to consider in exchange for the few seconds IAT may be 56 degrees or more.
Thats why I always tell people that ask me what I think about it, had many pm's from people thinking its a simple bolt on process. The fitting process isn't for the faint hearted and the buyer really needs to way up the benefit vs what you cut away. Saying that if you removed the intercooler and went back to a top mount setup, the only visual cutting you would actually see is the front plastic panel, everything else is hidden. That could be replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thats why I always tell people that ask me what I think about it, had many pm's from people thinking its a simple bolt on process. The fitting process isn't for the faint hearted and the buyer really needs to way up the benefit vs what you cut away. Saying that if you removed the intercooler and went back to a top mount setup, the only visual cutting you would actually see is the front plastic panel, everything else is hidden. That could be replaced.
Thanks so much for all the info! It'll help a lot. There is definitely a lot more to cut than I expected but that doesn't phase me really.

Thanks again!

And your engine bay looks awesome by the way :thumbup:
 

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Quite a high destructive cost to consider in exchange for the few seconds IAT may be 56 degrees or more.
At Brands hatch race weekend in April this year my car was 50-60⁰ range for the entire time I was on track as was rockingham, silverstone and donington last season before the cams etc. Dont get me wrong, they were nice days weather wise which wont help.

Two of the other minis in my series have also confirmed they were also in the 50s throughout the races and they are just running exhaust, intake, 15% and a GRS TMIC and all are moving to a front mount now.

The moment you're up the ass of another car on track it spikes massively as well.

Hoping my GRP bonnet doesnt need trimming like the stock one. That might prove difficult!

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