alex
alex UberDork
8/19/20 5:07 p.m.

We added a '13 R56 Cooper S hardtop (hatchback?) to the fleet about 9 months ago, and after having completed my first road trip up to the vintage races at Road America a few weeks ago, I've formed a solid bond with the car. I'm a pretty committed convert at this point. So, time to start screwing with it now!

Well, I already did, a little bit. Before we bought it (from a friend) I ordered up a set of light 16" wheels and non-runflat tires to help mitigate the crashy ride from the stock 17" runflats, which was frankly pretty terrible over sharp road irregularites. Fortunately the new wheel/tire package did a great job on that front, and lower unsprung weight is hardly ever a bad thing.

I'd like to throw a few things at it to sharpen up the drivetrain a bit. I'm considering one of the throttle-by-wire inline controllers to tighten up the pedal response, but for about the same money I could stick on one of the ECU piggyback controllers (NM or JB+ I think) and free up a little power, too. If you had about 300 bucks to spend on a plug-in, where would it go first?

I'm also starting to look at replacing turbo plumbing for some freer flow, along with an intake, but it all has to remain OBD emissions friendly. Any recommendations on that front (including "don't bother," honestly) would be welcome.

Fun part about this car is there seem to be a good amount of off-the shelf parts available, which has never really been the case for any vehicle I've modified in the past. But there's another side to that coin, so some direction and first-person experience would be most appreciated. 

I'm still not comfortable with The Wave, though...

(Also...hey y'all. It's been a while.)

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/19/20 5:24 p.m.

If it still has the stock shocks, dump them as fast as possible.  I put Konis on mine (12 S) and to say it is transformed is an understatement.  Not longer does it crash and bounce, it actually has a pretty nice ride now, and it corners so much better too.  As big of a transformation as the tires are, the shocks do even more.  It should have come this way from the factory.

I have not done much on the power side of things yet, and my next addition will probably be a lsd.  Even with traction control it pretty easy to spin the unloaded wheel under acceleration.  

And I'm with you, I have owned it going on 4 years now, and every time I think its time to move on, I have trouble finding something to replace it with.  Not the most trouble free car out there, but it is fun in a way that is difficult to match in other cars.

alex
alex UberDork
8/19/20 5:35 p.m.

In reply to racerdave600 :

Good to know about the shocks. This one has a pretty easy 70k on it, so these shocks still have some life in them, and I would rate the ride as tolerable now, so I'll hang onto them until they need to go, but that'd definitely good to know the aftermarket can sort the ride a bit further. (I honestly can't believe anybody bought these things after driving them on those runflats; the ride was just atrocious.) Are you running full coilovers or stock springs still?

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
8/19/20 5:44 p.m.

I replaced the stock shocks on my R53 with Koni FSD shocks and was very impressed by them. I also did the 16" wheel switch for the same reasons you did.

ojannen
ojannen Reader
8/19/20 6:54 p.m.

How much power are you looking for?  I have heard that you start melting pistons before running into the limits of the turbo/intake system.

Source an OEM or better limited slip diff for when you need to do a clutch job.  They need clutches all the time so get one soon.

alex
alex UberDork
8/19/20 7:15 p.m.

In reply to ojannen :

My personal street car ideal is 10lb/hp, but I'm not sure 270hp is terribly attainable without running afoul of the local emissions inspections (they're OBD based), so as close to that as possible, really. But I'm more than happy to start small and build in increments--this is going to be a DD for the forseeable future, so everything has to be very reliable. 

Good thinking on the LSD, that's worth keeping an eye out for.

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
8/19/20 7:20 p.m.

Before you do ANY mods check the rules.

1 silly mod might put you in a class you don't wish to run.

alex
alex UberDork
8/19/20 8:19 p.m.

In reply to bentwrench :

Good thinking, but (at this point) I don't think I'm going to be using this as a real competitive racer of any kind. Occasional track days and autoXs for fun and edification, but nothing serious. Good looking out, though!

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
8/20/20 8:50 a.m.
racerdave600 said:

If it still has the stock shocks, dump them as fast as possible.  I put Konis on mine (12 S) and to say it is transformed is an understatement.  Not longer does it crash and bounce, it actually has a pretty nice ride now, and it corners so much better too.  As big of a transformation as the tires are, the shocks do even more.  It should have come this way from the factory.

Which Konis did you opt for? 

As a serial purchaser of Bilstien sports the ride of my R55 is what I would consider "normal" but the missus objects to it and my plans to address that have been mostly centered around looking for some 16" wheels that will fit over the brakes.. At 80k I have been thinking new dampers are probably in order anyway. I'm ok with keeping the BBS wheels if I can reduce the boobie jiggle another way.

Pelican offers the Koni Sports for all corners and the "special active" only for the fronts. I believe we have a commercial account with them so they would be the easy button.

AxeHealey
AxeHealey Dork
8/20/20 9:10 a.m.

It's been a while but I did a handful of mods on my R57 (S convertible of the same generation). I did some track days and autocross with it. I also went with lighter 16s and dumped the run flats for stickier tires.

You seem focused more on power but since others have suggested the shocks, I'll say that the single best driving mod I did was a Hotchkiss rear sway bar. People told me a bigger bar in the back completely transforms the Mini and it definitely does. My only warning here is running poly bushings on a daily gets old once they start squeaking/rattling/whathaveyou. 

I did some sort of short shift kit, don't remember which one - probably not worth it. I remember the stock shifter being pretty good. 

Changed the spring in the BOV - again, probably not worth it but I dunno, maybe. It was cheap and super simple.

Lowering springs - couldn't tell you which ones for sure but I'm pretty sure they were Eibach. I just scoured the forums looking for experience for a little drop and good ride quality.

I also did the Alta boost tube. I remember that seeming to make a difference but can we really trust the butt dyno? Could have just been better sound removing that resonator.

Probably not too terribly helpful but I tried. 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/20/20 11:29 a.m.

In reply to Trent (Generally supportive dude) :

I went with FSDs, so still on stock springs.  I can't stress enough how much this transformed the car, they are that good in this application.  For track work you may want something different, but maybe not.  My issue with Bilstiens is they are far too harsh on compression, not great in rebound.  What you end up with is a crashy car that is nervous at the limit and on imperfect roads.  

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/20/20 11:32 a.m.

In reply to alex :

I am still on the stock springs.  I have been kicking around making it more of a track car, and if so, all of this will probably change, but for around town, stock springs and good shocks (and tires) make a huge difference.  

scooterfrog
scooterfrog Reader
8/20/20 6:30 p.m.

In reply to racerdave600 :

yours looks exactly like mine and I've never seen a picture of one or in real life one that looks like mine for me it's almost time for me tires. I've got the 16 inch run-flats and I'm really not sure if I should what I should do. Since I bought mine all I've done maintenance that stereo

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
8/20/20 7:11 p.m.

Killing cones for the first time Sunday

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/21/20 10:08 a.m.

In reply to scooterfrog :

I love the color!  It looks different depending on the light, everything from dark grey to brown.  

Ditch the runflats.  I've had a couple of different sets on mine.  P7s and Pilots.  I went with a set of Faulkens this time around.  They aren't as nice as either of the others, but are still better than runflats.  I do have a new set of RE71s in the garage and a couple of sets of wheels.  

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/21/20 10:09 a.m.

In reply to bentwrench :

Interested to hear how it does!

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
8/21/20 11:05 a.m.
racerdave600 said:

In reply to bentwrench :

Interested to hear how it does!

I think the car will do better than the driver......

It's bone stock except for a stiffer rear sway bar.

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/21/20 11:29 a.m.

In reply to bentwrench :

It still should be fun!  I had been planning on taking mine out this year, but first Covid, and then a neck surgery sidelined me this year.  

bentwrench
bentwrench SuperDork
8/21/20 12:43 p.m.
alex
alex UberDork
8/23/20 3:16 p.m.

Thanks for the recs, everybody! 

For what it's worth, I'm running Firestone Firehawk Indy 500s and I've had no complaints in about 5k mi so far. I'm always a little nervous about performance tires as dailies, but these things are great in the wet so far, and even got us through last winter just fine, even though I was prepared to swap the OEM all-seasons back on.

Aside from backroad mobbing I haven't done much with this thing aside from bomb around the city and the road trip to WI and back. I'm hoping to get it on track and/or amongst the cones before this season runs out, just to get a baseline.

It's been so damn long I've had a car worth photographing, I need to go scout some locations...

dxman92
dxman92 Dork
8/23/20 4:17 p.m.

Rear sway bar gets my vote.

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