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BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
3/2/19 7:09 a.m.

I think I would be one of those “helping” owners. I feel like I’m slowing myself down. laugh

Didn’t have someone to stand on the brake so my crank pulley is still attached. It and finishing the thermostat are on the list for this weekend, assuming the weather cooperates. 

I also sucked it up and bought the cravenspeed pulley puller. Hoping it will show up today so I can swap that pulley as well. 

Once the pulleys are swapped and thermostat is in, then I can put the car back together. Finally I’ll refresh all the fluids with Red Line synthetics. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/13/19 8:31 a.m.

So, progress...

The crank pulley was more of a challenge than I expected. The instructions say that heating the pulley in the oven will make it slide right on. Yea, that didn’t work for me. I eventually just bought a longer bolt and used it and the impact wrench to walk the pulley on. It was a process but accomplished the job. 

Once that was on I could start putting everything back together. It went mostly well except I broke a plastic clamp on a breather hose on the supercharger. 

Luckily another Mini owner who lives just down the road had a spare. From there it was just putting pieces back together in the right order and trying to remember where each but and bolt went. 

The biggest pain was hitting myself in the head with the belt tension tool. It left a nice knot. Other than that, the wires and getting them routed and reconnected. 

Ran it in the garage with the bumper and wheels off for long enough for it to get to temp. No issues. Drove it up and down the block a few times. Pulled over and checked. No issues, the car felt good. Drove it a bit longer, going up to a higher speed. And did get a tire pressure warning. Decided to head home and check the pressures. 

Came back to this. Seems to be an issue with the lower radiator hose/connection. Didn’t have it in me to take apart the car I just put together so I put it back in the garage. If the weather cooperates I will take a look at it Sunday morning. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/13/19 9:31 a.m.

Oh damn... I wish you had asked about that pulley. Those are cheap for a reason - very much NOT recommended for a street car. Or any car, really. The crank pulley is a harmonic balancer for a reason.  I've heard stories about those pulleys absolutely destroying the crank bearings. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/13/19 9:39 a.m.

I haven’t read anyone who actually experienced an issue. Lots of online arguments for and against the harmonic balancer, but all conjecture. 

I’d be interested in some facts. I bought it for the performance not price. The price was roughly inline with others. 

This isn’t a daily driver. Not sure if that makes a difference. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/13/19 10:55 a.m.

I got the comments from mechanics and tuner shops who specialize in MINIs. They won't install these. Even on track-only race cars. They saw too many catastrophic failures.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/13/19 7:16 p.m.

In reply to Ian F :

It was this thread that I used to help make my decision: https://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/drivetrain-cooper-s/287613-m7-speed-crank-pulley.html

Basically, M7 set themselves up to be flamed and no one could establish a case of a real world issue.  Maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. I don’t have any loyalty to M7, if I have an issue you’ll all know about it.

 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/30/19 2:09 p.m.

Managed to find time to take the car apart and put it back together again.  This was only after fighting for 3+ hours to try and get the hose and clamp back on the water pump without having to take the entire front of the car off again.  Eventually I gave in, pulled back out the impact wrench and took things apart.  The good news is that I'm getting much faster about taking the car apart and putting it back together.

Had a massive air bubble in the cooling system that took awhile to get out.  But I think that it is ok now.  Some steam came off the engine after the first test drive, but I 99% sure that was overflow just burning off the car.  Temp gauge stayed in normal operating range.

Drove it a bit further today, actually took it for an oil change (yes, totally got lazy here).  Side benefit was having someone else look over the engine and potentially point out anything wrong.  They didn't, but then again, I'm not expecting expert level diagnostics in a 10 minute oil change.

There is a weird noise coming off the right hand side of the engine.  I'm not sure if it is a problem, or a side effect of the new pulleys.  The noise is somewhere between a rattle / grind / metallic fan sound.  I hear it reverbing as I drive: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGUAPBdhB3s

Any thoughts on what that could be?

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/30/19 2:10 p.m.

Oldest approves of the mods after the test drive...

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
4/30/19 2:17 p.m.

And one more video with some small revs, you can hear the noise in the background...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZoFbOG2cKLQ

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
4/30/19 2:18 p.m.

M7 has been setting themselves up to be flamed since 2003.  They are pros at it. 

See?  Everyone laughs at me when I say taking the front of an R53 apart isn't a big deal after you've done it a few times.  Over the course of a weekend... 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/1/19 1:27 p.m.

Emailed m7 about the noise.  They replied fairly quickly that they think it is an alignment issue.

I was planning on taking it to a performance shop for a tune, so I'll have them check/adjust the alignment while they are at it.

Justjim75
Justjim75 HalfDork
5/1/19 9:08 p.m.

Brad, I'm in Montgomery and have just recently started autox and such.  If you need me holler, and if you haven't already you MUST try out Midpond.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/1/19 9:19 p.m.

Yea. Definitely planning on hitting up Midpond and lil’ dega as soon as the car is sorted. 

Also sourced some r56 calipers that I will be swapping onto the car to help with fade on track days. 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
5/2/19 7:04 a.m.
BradLTL said:

Also sourced some r56 calipers that I will be swapping onto the car to help with fade on track days. 

Larger rotors too?  This is essentially the JCW brake kit that was sold for the R53 (and fitted to Factory JCW cars). The one concern is if you have 16" wheels, apparently some of the factory wheels don't fit over the calipers. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/2/19 11:44 a.m.

A friend grabbed them for me when he was collecting parts to put his Mini back together. Not sure if he grabbed the rotors as well. Even if I have to buy new rotors, $40 for the calipers is a good deal. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/3/19 8:01 p.m.
Ian F said:
BradLTL said:

Also sourced some r56 calipers that I will be swapping onto the car to help with fade on track days. 

Larger rotors too?  This is essentially the JCW brake kit that was sold for the R53 (and fitted to Factory JCW cars). The one concern is if you have 16" wheels, apparently some of the factory wheels don't fit over the calipers. 

It was just the calipers. So, I’ll have to get rotors, pads and lines. My wheels are 17s so I think I’m good there. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/4/19 1:33 p.m.

Finally able to drive it to the local cars and Coffee this morning...

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/4/19 9:30 p.m.

Short term exhaust solution...

 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
5/12/19 8:26 a.m.

I’ve got about 40 miles of intermittent driving since putting the car back together. 

It’s a noticeable and improved performance. The car has a lot more torque from start. Pulling away in first gear is a lot easier and smoother. The sound is very nice. With the intake and pulleys there is a gasp noise when you start off and then the whine of the supercharger comes in strong. Even moderate shifting will chirp the tires when  changing into 2nd. 

Temps seem to come up faster, this be because it’s not winter, but hold stable. In theory the new thermostat helps with heat generated as the engine. Undecided if this makes any difference. It is the most concerning mod I did this round. Installation was a massive pain and I had very little room to work to get it back in. 

The rattle from the pulley doesn’t seem to affect driving, but does bother me. I need to get up the energy to take the car apart and fix it. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
6/16/19 4:07 p.m.

Finally got to go play today. Spent the morning at Midpond for their track day. The car did remarkably well considering the minimal setup and prep. This was my first time out in this car at any real speed and my first visit to this track. The first lapping session was just sighting in. Also it took me several attempts to actually figure out how to get the video to capture. I managed about 35-40 laps before I broke something. 

 

 

The fastest cars there today we're running laps in the 45-46 second range. I was managing 49s even with my eco run flat tires. 

As far what is broke, I think it is just the pulley tensioner. As I came around the back straight and hit the gas, there was a skipping our a intermittent loss of boost from the supercharger. I let off and pulled off the track. As I was pulling into the pits, I could hear a ticking sound. I had fear of a rod/valve. Looking at the engine though you could clearly see the tensioner bouncing with the ticks. So, not fully diagnosed but it doesn't seem tooooo bad. 

Despite that, it was a great time and the car handled surprisingly well. 

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
10/21/19 1:59 p.m.

So, I've done a terrible job keeping this thread current.  In my defense, after breaking the car at the track day I let it sit for awhile.

Eventually though, some Mini club friends put together a tech day and I sucked it up and bought the part to fix it.  The issue was the belt tensioner, and after we got it off we could tell the damper on it had completely blown out and failed.  I bought a mid-range 3rd party OEM style replacement.  I didn't go to the bottom of the barrel and get the $70 one, but I didn't pay the BMW premium of $300 either.  

Replacing it was ok-ish.  It took 2 of us about 90 minutes to complete, with at least 30 of that trying to get a single bolt out (an offset wrench would have saved a ton of time, but we didn't have one).  It also could have been done with one person, but 2 made it a lot easier than constantly switching from top to bottom to get the old one out and the new one in.

This weekend, after buying a new battery, got to take it out for a Mini club run.  Ended up being about 13 of us altogether and about a 2 hour cruise through the hills of central Alabama.  Took my oldest to co-pilot and he had a great time.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
10/29/19 5:39 p.m.

Drama strikes... fairly small and very likely self-inflicted...

I was meeting a friend for lunch and thought that I might take the Mini in the nice weather. Cranked up without any concerns, but as I started to pull out of the driveway I heard: flap-flap-flap-flap...

I assumed a belt failed but there was no issues other than the noise. Needless to say I parked in the Mini back in the garage and drove the appliance to lunch. Later I popped the hood to try and diagnose the issue. The belt did not seem to completely fail, but instead seemed to cut off 1/8 of an inch on the outside. I found some shrapnel under the car. I'm guessing it's due to a mis-aligned pulley, again guessing from when I installed the supercharger pulley. When I put the pulley on, I had the entire supercharger out of the car. It is very possible that there is 1/8 off in the travel.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
11/11/19 2:54 p.m.

Got out and looked today and the belt is fraying and splitting. Any thoughts on the cause?

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/11/19 3:41 p.m.

Usually caused by one of the pulleys being out of alignment.  Check the supercharger reduction pulley is installed correctly.  Unfortunately, due to the tight confines, it's not easy to get a straight edge in there to make sure everything is in the same plane. I'm trying not to automatically blame the aftermarket crank pulley, but that would be my next guess if the alignment checks out. They really were known to cause problems in the R53 engines.  Like I said previously, all of the MINI techs I know will refuse to install them as every one they did in the past has come back to haunt them.

BradLTL
BradLTL SuperDork
3/28/20 10:08 p.m.

So not being able to run around has given me time to get back into the garage and look at this again. 

Today I managed to get the car apart and lifted the engine to get to the pulley. I was greeted by a bad motor mount, and now have that part on order. 

I'm not really sure how to check the alignment on the pulleys. Any thoughts?

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