Articles from agranger

  1. Wilwod Dynapro Caliper Rebuild

    I've run my Wilwood front brake BBK for 2 years and 25k miles with a handful of track days on 'em. Before that, they were on a car that was tracked very regularly and only God knows the abuse they suffered there (you know who you are, Graham! :D ). I've noticed one of 'em sticking a bit... especially after a hot track session. The caliper would drag the brake pad on the rotor and I'd get a slight pull and a 'chirp' at a regular distance as I moved forward. It was time for a rebuild. I was...
  2. Timing System Service (Chain Tensioner & guides)

    The R53 has a couple of parts in the timing chain system that can be easily serviced. The tensioner can become stuck in the closed position, causing timing chain rattle (and I'd assume, premature wear). The guides can break over time as well, causing rattle (and premature wear). Here's a guide to the refresh, which you can do in your own garage in 2-3 hours.
  3. R50/52/53 Rear Swaybar Install - Video How-to

    Video How-To of installing a Swaybar on the R50/52/53 MINI.
  4. Replacing the Serpentine Belt on an R53 MCS

    The serpentine belt on your R53 MCS is a critical component in the engine. It passes power from the motor to the air conditioning compressor to keep you comfortable, the alternator to keep your electrics running and to the supercharger, to give you a boost of power. A broken belt can leave you stranded on the side of the road, so it’s a good idea not to neglect this tiny strap of rubber!
  5. How to replace a clutch slave cylinder and bleed the clutch

    I did a lot of searching and found a few references on other MINI websites, but I never found a comprehensive guide on how to replace and bleed the clutch slave cylinder. This is a part that frequently fails on R53 MINIs (I'm on #4 in 4 years / 51k miles right now and carry a spare in the back of my car... I've sold this spare at cost twice to fellow motorists and had to use it once myself).
  6. Supercharger Oil Service + Oil Pan Gasket

    The primary purpose was a supercharger oil check/refill... It’s an MCS only job that should be done every 80,000 miles or so for those of us with supercharged engines. I'm a bit early, but I had the time to do it now, so why not? I’m also very protective of my scheduled play time... I would hate to lose track time or fun time at an event like MINIs on the Dragon because of a break-down, so I tend to do more preventative maintenance than most… you have to figure out the cost/benefit for yourself.
  7. JCW Steering Wheel Install - R53

    MINI has an official dealer install guide, but it's AWFUL! It has one good diagram in it (which I shamelessly copy and paste, below), but the rest is crap and the leave out a bunch of steps! You can find it here: [URL][/URL]
  8. Powerflex Transmission Mount Bushing Install W/ Upper Engine Damper Replacement

    R53 Powerflex Transmission Mount Bushing Install w/ Upper Engine Damper Replacement. You don't have to do both of these jobs at the same time... you can do one or the other. They both start the same way and are very similar, so I'll give you instructions like "If you are only doing job X, you can jump to step Y now". Disclaimer: I'm not a trained mechanic. I don't play one on TV. I'm just a guy who is handy with tools and isn't affraid to dig around a bit in the engine bay for simpler...
  9. How To Top Up Ac Refrigerant In An R50/53jango

    Jango, my 2006 MCS (R53), and I have been driving the streets of Dallas, TX for almost 6 years. I’ve never found the AC to be quite up to the task of dealing with full Texas summers, but until this year, I’ve been able to put up with it. It’s usually only screamingly hot here for 30-40 days in July and August and the AC will at least make the drive to and from work tolerable, though not particularly pleasant during these hottest days. The British and Germans just don’t understand Texas summers.
  10. My Aggressive Maintenance Schedule For An R53 Or R50

    Everyone has a different idea of what appropriate maintenance is and everyone has a different use for their car. Everyone has a different level of comfort with the risk of not replacing some items at regular intervals vs. waiting for a part failure (or near-failure). Everyone also has a different long-term goal for the car as well (3 year lease and turn-in vs. driving the same car for 20 years). All of these factors play into a maintenance schedule.
  11. Replacing The Crank Pulley

    The crank pulley on an R53 takes power from the crank and supplies it to the serpentine belt, in turn feeding the alternator, AC compressor and Supercharger/water pump. It is a rubber-filled damper and this part is known to fail on the R53 around 80-100k miles (or 72k miles in my case). When mine died, I lost AC cooling, then got the battery/charge light on the dash, then overheated the coolant and had it boil over the coolant expansion tank, causing a nasty steam to rise from the cowel...
  12. Crank Sensor Seal Replacement

    On almost every R53 that I’ve seen lately, the crank sensor is weeping at least a little bit of oil. When it is just barely leaking, you will get a growth of a black oil and road grime on the front of the engine block that looks like cauliflower gone very bad. As it gets worse, you will find oil running down the front of the engine and blowing back along the bottom of the oil pan. Luckily this is both a cheap and easy fix with a few tricks shared with me by the great techs at MINI of Dallas.