shadetree30 Reader
7/15/14 11:29 a.m.

I'm probably acquiring an 03 MINI. I would like to ask the collective brain trust about things to watch out for.

trigun7469 HalfDork
7/15/14 11:57 a.m.

Only purchase a Manual

shadetree30 Reader
7/15/14 12:21 p.m.

Oh, that's definitely the plan.

evildky Dork
7/15/14 12:24 p.m.

Thermostat housings and gaskets are a big problem. Electric power steering , and a/c seem problematic. The manual trans main input bearing becomes an issue when raced repeatedly.

Box_of_Rocks New Reader
7/15/14 2:18 p.m.

Check the bottom of the door sills (up behind the moulding)for rust.

Check the shock towers for "mushrooming" - that's where the front end has hit hard and deformed the top of the tower upwards.

ultraclyde SuperDork
7/15/14 2:22 p.m.

everything between the headlights and the taillights.

tjbell New Reader
7/15/14 3:40 p.m.

S or standard? S model has water pump problems because it is driven off the supercharger and the PTO gears leak and become dry causing no water pump spinny and gets real hot real quick, electronic P/S pump fan goes, then the pump itself dies, mushrooming strut towers can be solved with a 2x4 and a BFH, ditch the 17" runflats and get a 15% pulley


shadetree30 Reader
7/15/14 5:50 p.m.

In reply to tjbell: It will be a standard

Donebrokeit Dork
7/15/14 8:07 p.m.

Your wallet. Had an 2004 "S" stick back in 2005 with 30K miles and still under warranty, I swear the berkeleyer was in self-destruct mode. I owned the car for three mounts and the car spent six weeks in the shop, hope you have a lot of time and ca$h on you hands.

But it was a hell of a lot of fun to drive between tow truck trips.


Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
7/15/14 9:49 p.m.

When looking for a R53, it's generally best to get the latest car you can as they made continual tweaks and improvements throughout the life cycle. About the only thing they made worse was the engine mount, which was switched to a hydraulic filled version that leaks and doesn't seem to last long. Other than that, they were still trying to work out some bugs in '03. An '03 is what the ex- has, so I became quite familiar with them and as soon as the car was out of warranty, I did pretty much all of the work on it. However, it's an easy enough car to work on that after we broke up last year, she was confident enough to tear the car apart herself to do some maintenance (she really hates mechanics...).

Aspen Reader
7/16/14 9:42 a.m.

There is another common rust area which is below the tail lights. Also the license plate light trim is prone to rust underneath. The front end bushings and ball joints tend to get sloppy around 75k to 100k miles. Look for oil leaks from the oil pan and crank sensor.

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