RE: Mini Cooper S (R53): PH Buying Guide

RE: Mini Cooper S (R53): PH Buying Guide

Author
Discussion

Elmariachi

17 posts

19 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Really like these and seriously looked at buying one, but was put off but the many tales of woe relating to serious and expensive engine failures. Shame.

fantheman80

192 posts

9 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Ben Lowden said:
Holy thread revival! This is a comprehensive update of a PH Used Buying Guide originally published in 2014.
Indeed, I thought I was reading Evo's website for a minute ( they publish reviews of cars with todays date...but are much, much older)

dukebox9reg

1,466 posts

108 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Elmariachi said:
Really like these and seriously looked at buying one, but was put off but the many tales of woe relating to serious and expensive engine failures. Shame.
The R53's dont suffer from engine failures really. Thats the R56 with the N14 engine.

The Tritec engine is fairly simple and solid. Single cam 16v and forged from the factory. With it just being simple though it is dreadful on fuel (and CO2) and therefore expensive to tax for what it is.. Mid 20's economy if your lucky.

The engine can suffer a bit with leaks like any other 15yr old engine. Sump gaskets have a habit of leaking and its not the easiest job to replace as a lot of stuff is bolted to the sump. Noises from the camchain tend to be just the tensioner (which is peanuts) unlike the R56 which means your expecting a big bill.

Lowered cars can pop their driveshafts a lot and brakes are truly truly crap. Parts are cheap though.


nunpuncher

1,829 posts

85 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Elmariachi said:
Really like these and seriously looked at buying one, but was put off but the many tales of woe relating to serious and expensive engine failures. Shame.
Really?

I've had mine 2 years, used daily and never let me down. Been active in the owners groups all that time and have seen very few engine failures.

If you do see one that's broken it's usually down to some cack handed amateur fitting a load of performance "upgrades" while ignoring the usual (easily fixed) oil leaks or an old, cracked expansion tank. If the cooling and lubrication is sorted they are strong as anything with quite a few owners near or over 200k miles.

I take it the price in the article hasn't been updated from 2014? My well sorted 90k mile 02 sadly needs to be replaced with something bigger and I'd say it's worth less than £2k never mind £5k.

Leins

7,658 posts

108 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Absolutely love my GP1, 70k miles and still going strong



It’s a standard car, other than a set of additional gauges for battery and oil temp and a couple of carbon bits. I’m the second owner, had it for over five years now, and I’ve never had a car that I enjoy driving on B-roads more

I binned the RFTs for a set of MPSS, and did a refresh of the brakes and suspension, LSD oil, etc, and it’s just a superb little car to throw around the place. I personally use 10W-60 in mine, and it hardly uses a drop

It does like a drink of petrol though:


DaveyBoyWonder

823 posts

134 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Elmariachi said:
Really like these and seriously looked at buying one, but was put off but the many tales of woe relating to serious and expensive engine failures. Shame.
Weirdly I've been looking at getting one due to their seemingly pretty solid nature (and problems seem pretty easy/simple fixes in the main).

the_hood

578 posts

154 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
DavidLScott said:
If you are buying a Cooper S or JCW, why would you care about fuel consumption?
Strange question. It's not as if it has a AMG V8 engine under the bonnet. It's a very small car with modest power. The mpg seems low for what it is.

A1VDY

3,348 posts

87 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
nunpuncher said:
Elmariachi said:
Really like these and seriously looked at buying one, but was put off but the many tales of woe relating to serious and expensive engine failures. Shame.
Really?

I've had mine 2 years, used daily and never let me down. Been active in the owners groups all that time and have seen very few engine failures.

If you do see one that's broken it's usually down to some cack handed amateur fitting a load of performance "upgrades" while ignoring the usual (easily fixed) oil leaks or an old, cracked expansion tank. If the cooling and lubrication is sorted they are strong as anything with quite a few owners near or over 200k miles.

I take it the price in the article hasn't been updated from 2014? My well sorted 90k mile 02 sadly needs to be replaced with something bigger and I'd say it's worth less than £2k never mind £5k.
Sold one around 3months ago.
In very good overall condition, a few marks in the paint here and there Inc some road rash on the bonnet, interior was spotless and had mostly main dealer history, 80k miles. Drove without fault.. £995.
Admittedly we didn't have it for more than a couple of days..

howardhughes

468 posts

164 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
After 8 years Im still the proud owner of my red R53 JCW. The Saprco Milano JCW Front seats were best upgrade. Expensive, but worth it. I love the car and have just recently purchased a new set of BBS R90 wheels direct from BMW.
The car is a direct copy of the Chilli red one in the Italian Job. For me this car represents fun, speed and plenty of character. Albeit, its age it still can shame many a car three times is price. I just love it.


s m

19,946 posts

163 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Leins said:
Absolutely love my GP1, 70k miles and still going strong



It’s a standard car, other than a set of additional gauges for battery and oil temp and a couple of carbon bits.
That looks great Leins thumbup

I’ve got a Cooper at the moment but probably after another Cooper S next year

J4CKO

32,079 posts

160 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
The guide still says "Available from £5000", can only assume thats a throwback to its original 2014 details, loads of these from a couple of grand.

A bit like TT Mk1 these last well on the whole but develop niggles as they get older, but can only see prices going one way. I remember original Minis being super cheap. I know some will say its "Not a proper Mini", yawn, well to most folk original Minis are a distant memory, nice thought or an irrelevance, for anyone in their twenties, thirties and even forties now, these are the Minis they grew up with on the whole and to them they are a Proper Mini.

Supercharged, manual and good fun, good looking and robust, cant see how these wont attain classic status, buy now whilst they are just cheap old bangers.Too numerous and rust resistant maybe to go like 60s Cooper S's but they definitely have a loyal following. Buy a half decent one I reckon it will be depreciation proof and still modern enough to use every day, all year round.


sdiggle

132 posts

50 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
This website is so low-rent these days. Regurgitated from 2014 and not updated properly. Wow.

Leins

7,658 posts

108 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
s m said:
That looks great Leins thumbup

I’ve got a Cooper at the moment but probably after another Cooper S next year
Thanks s m. Will you go R53 again?

the_hood said:
Strange question. It's not as if it has a AMG V8 engine under the bonnet. It's a very small car with modest power. The mpg seems low for what it is.
Incidentally, I have one of those engines too, and it’s nearly as economical biggrin

J4CKO

32,079 posts

160 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Leins said:
s m said:
That looks great Leins thumbup

I’ve got a Cooper at the moment but probably after another Cooper S next year
Thanks s m. Will you go R53 again?

the_hood said:
Strange question. It's not as if it has a AMG V8 engine under the bonnet. It's a very small car with modest power. The mpg seems low for what it is.
Incidentally, I have one of those engines too, and it’s nearly as economical biggrin
Like the old Jesus water into wine thing, these turn petrol into whine.

Maccmike8

30 posts

14 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Very accurate article.
One thing omitted is later R56S front brakes are a huge upgrade over the R53S.
Also fit a thick rear anti roll bar and a proper LSD.

geo1905

55 posts

24 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
I notice many comments regarding run flat tyres, most of them highly critical. It is true that they cause a harsher ride, are relatively expensive and cannot be repaired once punctured. But, set against that, they allow the driver to keep going, albeit at reduced speed, for a reasonable period of time until they can drive home or to the garage for a replacement. Would you really want your wife, girlfriend or daughter to be faced with a flat (non runflat) tyre, perhaps late at night, maybe in a remote area, with little or no mobile phone signal, armed only with some "gloop" to squirt into the tyre ? Really ?

s m

19,946 posts

163 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
Leins said:
s m said:
That looks great Leins thumbup

I’ve got a Cooper at the moment but probably after another Cooper S next year
Thanks s m. Will you go R53 again?
If I can find a really nice late one - don’t mind the new one eithet

J4CKO

32,079 posts

160 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
geo1905 said:
I notice many comments regarding run flat tyres, most of them highly critical. It is true that they cause a harsher ride, are relatively expensive and cannot be repaired once punctured. But, set against that, they allow the driver to keep going, albeit at reduced speed, for a reasonable period of time until they can drive home or to the garage for a replacement. Would you really want your wife, girlfriend or daughter to be faced with a flat (non runflat) tyre, perhaps late at night, maybe in a remote area, with little or no mobile phone signal, armed only with some "gloop" to squirt into the tyre ? Really ?
So put up with a horrific ride all of the time based on a hypothetical situation where a female is in mild peril ?

Depends entirely on your usage, my wife doesn't tend to frequent the moors at night, we told her about that, the sheep population has recovered nicely and zero American tourists have gone missing since.

Leins

7,658 posts

108 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
geo1905 said:
I notice many comments regarding run flat tyres, most of them highly critical. It is true that they cause a harsher ride, are relatively expensive and cannot be repaired once punctured. But, set against that, they allow the driver to keep going, albeit at reduced speed, for a reasonable period of time until they can drive home or to the garage for a replacement. Would you really want your wife, girlfriend or daughter to be faced with a flat (non runflat) tyre, perhaps late at night, maybe in a remote area, with little or no mobile phone signal, armed only with some "gloop" to squirt into the tyre ? Really ?
I can’t express how bad these cars suffer with RFTs, especially on the GP 18” wheels. They’re firm on standard tyres, incredibly “crashy” on run flats. There’s also a lack of feel in comparison for me too

I can only talk for myself, as no one else drives the car, but I’m happy to accept the chance of being stranded for a while. I’m not sure how many people these days are purchasing R53s for their daughters, given even the newest are now nearly 15 years old. I take the point if that was the case, but the trade off otherwise just wasn’t worth it for me

dukebox9reg

1,466 posts

108 months

Thursday 15th October
quotequote all
J4CKO said:
The guide still says "Available from £5000", can only assume thats a throwback to its original 2014 details, loads of these from a couple of grand.

A bit like TT Mk1 these last well on the whole but develop niggles as they get older, but can only see prices going one way. I remember original Minis being super cheap. I know some will say its "Not a proper Mini", yawn, well to most folk original Minis are a distant memory, nice thought or an irrelevance, for anyone in their twenties, thirties and even forties now, these are the Minis they grew up with on the whole and to them they are a Proper Mini.

Supercharged, manual and good fun, good looking and robust, cant see how these wont attain classic status, buy now whilst they are just cheap old bangers.Too numerous and rust resistant maybe to go like 60s Cooper S's but they definitely have a loyal following. Buy a half decent one I reckon it will be depreciation proof and still modern enough to use every day, all year round.

They do rust like like the classic mini's. Boot lid is one of the worst offenders