How To: Remove the Cooling Fan Assembly
by M/A member BoostCzaR53
We all know of the wayyyyy too common fan assembly issues with the mini cooper (R50-53) models. I have devised my own assembly removal method based on years of ASE experience and, well, common sense.
This isn't a HIGHLY DETAILED step by step but it really should help ya out and I can have it all done in under an hour.
Lets begin with tools:
Ratchet ( 3/8 preferred, and a 1/4 as well )
6-10" Extension ( 3/8 )
8mm socket ( 1/4 inch w/small extension )
13mm socket ( 3/8 )
T30 Torx Bit/Socket (I have a master set, but you can get these at your local parts store)
Medium length pry bar, or long FLAT head screwdriver
#2 Phillips Head screwdriver
Flat Head screwdriver
Pair of normal pliers
Pair of Diagonal cutters
Small catch pan/drain pan/bowl?
Mini approved coolant, or BMW coolant. I use Pentofrost because I worked with a German technician who supplied me with a bunch of it. Its Audi approved, so I am game for it.
I did all of this without air tools which could have possibly cut about another 5-8 min off my time, but no air tools are required for this R&R.
Here we go....your basic BONE STOCK 02 MCS! Or R53 as the purists call it. Note: Those with Aero Kit bumpers will find the bumper cover removal process differs, this may also apply to the stock bumper on the non-S MC, but the rest of this how-to should be the same for any R50-53.
Now according to AllDataPro, the service manual calls for over 2 hours to do this. It wants you to remove the radiator and condenser (for those who use the Bentley Manual, you'll find the same instruction in there). I think that's quite ridiculous!
Start by pulling the car up on ramps (if you have them), putting the front of the car up on jack stands or, like I did, just use the driveway timbers as a jack. Muahahaha!
Regardless, if you do raise the front of the vehicle in any manner just make sure it's properly secured and rear wheels are chocked in some manner! Consider yourself warned: I am not responsible for your "I crushed my chest" threads.
Anyways, lets get the front of the car elevated slightly, don't need much. Start with popping the hood first. You are going to want to turn the wheels full lock one direction or other, doesn't really matter which direction, so you can reach 2 of the bolts that hold the bumper cover in place.
Under the front of the car below the grill you will find about 8-10 screws along the bottom, just below the chin of the front bumper. Mine was missing a few so I had 2 on each corner, and 3 along the front, yours may vary. (see picture for reference and remember, this is an R53 with the stock bumper cover)
Take your #2 Phillips head screwdriver and remove these screws!
Once these screws are removed, you have 4 more left to remove the entire bumper cover!
YOU WILL NEED TO REMOVE THE 2 OUTSIDE 8MM BOLTS, AND THE 2 T30 TORX BOLTS BEFORE THE BUMPER COVER IS FULLY RELEASED! THEY ARE LABELED IN THE PHOTO BELOW!!! TO GET TO THE 8MM BOLTS YOU MUST GO FROM THE BOTTOM WHICH IS WHY I HAVE THE WHEELS TURNED FULL LOCK SO YOU CAN REACH THEM. (if the text on the pic is hard to read, the 8mm bolts are marked with vertical black arrows, the Torx bolts are at the upper yellow arrows nearest the black arrows, one on each side)
Once you have removed those you will be able to remove the front bumper cover, but CAREFULLY READ THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH BEFORE TRYING TO PULL IT OFF! You should be able to grab near the center of the bottom and LIFT UPWARDS and then off as there are 2 clips in the top that hold it in place so it will continue to hang there when all the fasteners are removed. DO NOT pull it away from the car yet because you need to unplug the turn signal and temp sensor (and fog light, if you have them) connectors from the back of the cover or they will pull out themselves via breaking, or tearing the wires! (see picture for location reference) The cover isn't very heavy but it is large and somewhat awkward to handle. Because of the difficulty keeping this bulky item off the ground while you're fiddling with the fiddly little connectors on the back, you may want to enlist the aid of a helper for this step, should only take a couple minutes.
Here comes the bulk of the hand tool use!
Upon removal of the cover you will see a metal crash bar (technically called the "bumper carrier"), which is not in picture here because I already removed it before I took this picture.
I have circled below in red -- forgive me I know the picture references are crude -- the 10 (13mm bolts) that you will need to remove to remove the front crash bar! You will need that extension here!
Grab that extension and that 13MM socket and strap em together! Remove all 10 circled bolts/nuts here, and slowly remove the crash bar to make sure that no harnesses or wires get tangled in it!
Once the crash bar is removed, you are left with this....
Now we are to loosen up this fan shroud/condenser/radiator setup as a single assembly.
In the picture shown below you will see 2 circles in red, in these circles will be 2 push pins, just simply grab those diagonal cutters and pull the center pin out, and once it pulls out, pull the whole piece out with the rubber pieces with holes in them that are still present in the picture!
Now with that done, we need to detach the top radiator hose from the neck of the radiator. My hose has an aftermarket worm clamp on it so I used a screwdriver to take it off, yours might still require pliers because it is the OE squeeze clamp. Be careful to make sure the coolant isnt piping hot when you start to do this, and that there isn't any pressure on the system. If not sure, just slowly loosen the coolant reservoir cap to relieve the pressure on the system. Slide that catch can / drain pan / bowl / whatever you have handy underneath the passenger front side of the car relevant to the radiator hose position to catch that coolant!
Now that you have the radiator hose detached, the whole assembly should have some play to it. Try putting your hand on her and softly pulling forward to see if you have the same amount of play as pictured below -- WAIT -- NOT YET !!! BE SURE NOT TO PULL TOO HARD OR TOO FORWARD, YOU WILL KINK OR DAMAGE THE AC LINES! THE LINES I AM SPEAKING OF ARE PICTURED BELOW (second pic below)! THEY ARE DOWN AT THE DRIVER SIDE BOTTOM CORNER OF THE AC CONDENSER!
If you have this much movement with the radiator/condenser/fan assembly then YOU ARE READY TO REMOVE THE FAN!
I dont have a good picture shot of the clips so bare with and use common sense and good vision to see these on your own vehicle. THEY ARE CIRCLED IN RED BELOW!
Take that handy prybar or long screw driver and pry those clips at the bottom of the fan assembly open so the fan assembly should slide straight up and out of the car! UNPLUG THE FAN OBVIOUSLY! REMEMBER: THE BOTTOM CLIPS ONLY NEED TO BE PRIED OPEN SLIGHTLY, THE TOPS ONLY SLIDE STRAIGHT UP!
IF THIS HAS ALL GONE CORRECTLY FOR YOU, THEN YOU HAVE THAT OLD FAN ASSEMBLY OUT AND HAVE A NEW ONE READY TO GO IN, OR HAVE THAT NEW RELAY READY TO WIRE UP!
For installation just reverse removal procedure, and be sure to tighten the radiator hose back up and properly fill the reservoir off and bleed the coolant system for a few minutes, WITH THE HEAT ON FULL BLAST TO AVOID HEATER CORE AIR BUBBLES! The upper radiator hose has a bleeder screw in it as you can see in the picture of the radiator hose I have in this thread!
ANY QUESTIONS DONT HESITATE TO ASK! THIS TOOK ME AN HOUR TO DO WITHOUT AIR TOOLS!