Section: R52 (Conv.)
Sep 28th, 2010
Tuesday the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into potential power steering problems of the 2004-2005 MINI. The site lists this as involving MINI “Coopers” but we believe this could likely include both the Cooper and the Cooper S given that the agency says that this could involve about 80,000 vehicles. continued →
Mar 22nd, 2010
BMW has a history of producing enormous amounts of parts and sitting them on shelves for many years. However when it comes to accessories long-term availability is something less than a certain thing. And when it comes to a new brand and a new sub-brand within it, you can imagine BMW was relatively safe with their production numbers. This all means that those R50/R53 JCW parts that you’ve been lusting after since 2005 have quickly dwindling inventories and could be gone within the year. Perhaps the most telling example is the full leather JCW steering wheel. According to our sources there are only two new examples left in the US parts system (dealers or warehouse). We’re told that invetories aren’t much (if any) better in Europe either. The leather/alcantara version (see our review here) is also in short supply but we’re told is in slightly better shape.
Other than the steering wheel we’ve also been warned that the R50 JCW aero kit (and to a lesser degree the R53′s) has dwindling numbers and could be gone soon as well.
Perhaps the most sad personally is the leather dash that we lavishly heaped praise on a few years ago. Most of those unique stitching color examples are gone and the black with contrasting red leather we reviewed is very low in numbers as well.
The worst part? MINI has no plans to produce any of these accessories for the R50/R53 again. They will simply become sought after collectors items on the best examples of first generation New MINIs.
+ MF Review: JCW Alcantara Steering Wheel (R53) / MotoringFile
+ MF Review: JCW Leather Dash / MotoringFile
Nov 18th, 2009
Ah the CVT. The answer to all of our problems. Its step-less shifting was to be both good for performance and economy while giving you a wafting cloud like experience. That is until it fails costing the owner $8,000 to replace. It’s been a huge frustration for quite a few R50 owners who opted for the CVT over the manual with many failures happening just around the time the warranty expires.
One automaker who also embraced CVTs around the same time period is Nissan. In fact they are still putting them in cars while MINI has very publicly shifted back to torque converter automatics. And as you’d expect there are many Nissan owners with similar CVT failures. So much so that Nissan has just announced a doubling of it’s warranty to 10 years or 120,000 covering the CVT. In addition to that Nissan is also reimbursing owners who have already shelled out thousands on replacements overly slushy slush boxes.
At this point MINI hasn’t acknowledged the issue and it’s not clear that they will ever do so. However if you’ve had your CVT fail on your R50 MINI, make sure you’re voice is heard both at your local dealer and at MINI USA corporate. BMW has a history of eventually taking care of large scale issues. We have no idea if this will be one of them but it’s certainly worth taking up the ladder so to speak.
You can read the corporte letter to CVT owners from Nissan at Autoblog
Detailed Technically Assessment on the CVT / MotoringFile
Random Thoughts on MINI Loaners and the CVT / MotoringFile
MF Review: 2003 MINI Cooper CVT / MotoringFile
May 16th, 2009
Let’s say you missed the boat on ordering park distance control or bought your R50/R52/R53 MINI without it used and suddenly realize it’s a must have. While it can be retro-fitted, it’s not easy. Luckily MINI has a solution. It’s the new license plate based PDC. And as you can guess, installation is a little simpler. If you park in tight quarters in an urban environment, it may be worth taking a look at.
This should be available at any MINI dealer in the US (via special order).
[ Rear Plate PDC ] Official MINI PDF
Feb 23rd, 2009
We’re reposting this Ask MF originally from last year due to a number of similar questions we’ve gotten over the last few weeks.
This week’s “Ask MotoringFile” comes from Dave M and is quickly becoming a very common question:
I have a 2008 MCS on order and am relatively new to the MINI world. I couldn’t help but notice everyone using these code names for different models of MINIs. What does it all mean?
MINI models follow a similar system to the (seemingly ancient) BMW model internal naming convention. Since we often talk about different models (sometimes in the same story, paragraph or even sentence), using the internal model code-names is often the easiest way to quickly identify what model of MINI we’re referring to.
The first generation of BMW MINI’s started with the R50 which was meant to be the coupe version of the car. However once that model number was established BMW decided to produced a higher power version called the Cooper S. Because the development work was started later it was given a different code-name – the R53. The R52 was actually conceived before the Cooper S and thus has the code-name R52. And for those wondering, the R51 was a concept that never made it past the conception stages.
Feb 18th, 2009
A very interesting story over at BBC sent into us recently concerning Power Steering issues on R50/R53 MINIs.
BMW’s customer service told Heather this wasn’t a common fault, which is surprising because we’ve heard from dozens of other Mini owners who’ve told us they’ve had exactly the same problem, and have had to fork out anything up to Â£800 for the repair.
Not a common fault? Show of hands to those of you that have had power steering problems. As it turns out, we are not alone.
Matt Pike is an independent Mini mechanic, and a supplier of spare parts. He says he can barely keep up with demand for replacement power steering pumps: “At least 60 per cent of our regular customers have all had pumps changed. And we’re getting at least two calls a day from people after power steering pumps because they’re such a big failure. I’d say it’s the most common problem we have with the Minis.”
Jan 12th, 2009
A sad ending to a great car. Here’s what happened courtesy of AUSmotive.com:
Ever wondered what happens if you drive your car over a mattress and just keep on driving? Well, wonder no more, as a thoughtful MINI Cooper S Cabrio owner has done the experiment for you.
As you can see from the pictures the result is not pretty (thereâ€™s two more pics after the jump). The owner had not long collected the car from a western Sydney dealer when she reportedly drove over a mattress of some description. Not realising something was wrong she kept on motoring. Soon enough, though, there was a distinct smell of smoke. The driver pulled to the side of the road and within minutes her new car was in flames and just as quickly it was a smouldering wreck.
+ Beds are burning / AUSmotive.com
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