1st Gen "How To" Gen1 Justacooper Exhaust System Reference

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I am a proud first generation Cooper (non-S) owner and I’ve spent a lot of time and energy looking for a replacement exhaust system I could be...
  1. Steve
    Gen1 Justacooper Exhaust System Reference

    by Steve Wilcox


    Under Construction


    I am a proud first generation Cooper (non-S) owner and I’ve spent a lot of time and energy looking for a replacement exhaust system I could be happy with. Six systems, a handful of custom modifications and far too many dollars later I’m finally satisfied...nearly. Hey, I’m picky...and a little obsessive...I suppose. I also avoided the bigger brand names because I wanted something different, which may have played a part in prolonging my extensive and expensive journey. If you’ve spent any time at all searching for a good system for your own Cooper, you know how challenging it can be to find useful information.

    I took delivery of my MC in July of 2002 when the aftermarket was almost nonexistent. Thankfully many more companies market MINI parts these days, and even though non-S product lines are still pretty limited, there are more exhaust options available now than ever. So, the systems are out there, but how do you piece together enough useful info to compare and choose? This is my attempt to compile, and add to, the bits and pieces I’ve gathered over the years about exhaust systems to fit my favorite vehicle.

    This is a casual assemblage of data; nothing formal. I plan to cover as many systems and components as I can, but they come and go and some details can be hard to find while others are constantly changing. You’ll see question marks and other placeholders here and there, and some exhausts with no info at all…let’s call it a work in progress and I’ll update it as I can. I’ve also started an exhaust discussion thread <here> in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum. If you can help with missing information or you have an aftermarket exhaust you can comment on or review, please post and discuss in the forum and I’ll copy pertinent stuff back here. If I get something wrong or you can clarify or add fidelity, please let me know!

    Some of these exhausts are no longer sold. I’m including them since used copies come up for sale once in a while – some of these were good systems and sought after…and some are gone for good reasons… I should wave the “buyer beware” flag here. After all, as with anything else being sold used, you should always wonder why the owner isn’t keeping it; sometimes that’s a sign you don’t want it either. Do some research and learn what you can about condition, etc, before you buy or bid.

    Justacooper Model Year Info

    If you’re new to the game you may not realize there are some exhaust-related differences among the first generation non-S models, so let’s start with some general model and model year info (refer also to Nathan's Library article on R-Codes).

    The non-S MINI Cooper, MINI One and MINI One D (Diesel), were all designated as R50s, while the S was given the product code R53. For some reason all MINI convertibles (S and non-S) are R52s…go figure.

    There were a number of changes made throughout the Gen1 model production run (which ended with the '06 models), but I think the only change that affected the exhaust came along with the so-called "face lift" in July '04 when the rear hangers were altered (turned 90 degrees, I think). I believe the convertible (which also debuted in July '04, right?) has a slightly different exhaust configuration, and with some (all?) aftermarket systems you may have to specify "convertible" to get the one that fits – you vert owners need to be careful what you buy.

    So much for the preliminaries.


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]

    Aftermarket: A-G
    Aftermarket Systems: (A-G)

    Billy Boat

    Review: ?
    Price: ?
    Description: Stainless – 2 sections w/ a slip joint…other details elude me. I'm starting to think this one is disappearing…it wouldn't be the first. It's no longer listed on the Bavarian Autosport site (where I once found the pic below) and though B&B still have a pic of it on their website, they don't list it as available. If you find it (or any additional info) somewhere, please let me know.
    Pipe diameter: ?
    Weight: ?
    Video/audio:

    pic lifted (obviously) from Bavarian Auto - hope they don't mind

    [​IMG]


    Borla

    Review: _______
    Price: $668 (msrp)
    Description: Stainless, 3 sections w/ slip joints, muffler and resonator, 4" double-walled slash cut tip
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: 34.5 lbs (can anyone confirm this?)
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's a video clip (though the car has a Megan header affecting the sound).




    DUZ

    Review: _______
    Price: No idea, but I bet it's the most expensive MC exhaust available and, like the Saclam, you have to get it here from Japan…
    Description: Like the Saclam, I've never heard of anyone actually having one of these for an MC and I don't know ANYthing about them other than what you can see in the pics, but it's interesting and different (go ahead, take a look at that pic and tell me it ain't!).
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]


    Eisenmann

    Review: _______
    Price: There are 3 options, each with different pricing – see description and pics for explanation.
    $769 (msrp, fits as stock, direct bolt-on replacement)
    $1045 (msrp, central system with twin, center exit tips)
    $1068 (msrp, central system with 2 split (not center exit) tips)
    Description: This one is not a catback, it's closer to an axle-back. It won't replace the entire stock system…only the rear section. You cut your stock exhaust pipe, slip this one over the end of the mid-pipe section, and clamp it on. Since you use the front part of the stock exhaust, which has a resonator, this system has a resonator. There are 3 different versions. All are stainless. The simplest (and cheapest) version is a direct bolt-on replacement for the stocker, with an 83mm tip (don't know what it looks like – haven't found a pic yet). The other 2 are both straight-through central units with a mufflers that fit into space currently shared by your spare wheel (if you have one) and stock exhaust can. You also have to mount an additional hanger bracket, but it appears to use existing bolt holes (see the installation pdf). These 2 central units come in either a twin center exit (w/ 2 single-walled, angle cut, 70mm tips) or dual, split tips in the same size but straight cut. Also remember that if you plan to use a center-exit or dual exit exhaust, you'll have to do something about your rear bumper apron… One more complication: according to Eisenmann, all 3 of these come in either "Sport" or "Race," which affects flow (Race flows better), performance (better flow means better numbers) and sound (Race is louder, naturally).
    Pipe diameter: stock (I assume)
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I have an installation pdf (see attachments below) - I'm afraid it's in German, but the pictures aren't!

    There's a stationary YouTube clip here.


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]
    OEM/Stock
    The OEM/Stock Exhaust

    I imagine some of you who are just starting to think about mods don't know what your stock exhaust looks like yet. Here's a diagram from realoem.com – if you haven't found realoem yet, it's definitely worth a visit <click here>.

    Review: n/a
    Price: ________
    Description: Other than the tip it's not much to look at, but for most of us, if it's under the car and never seen unless it's on a lift, who cares? While most aftermarket systems are made up of two or three sections, the bulk of the stock system is all in one piece from the manifold to the tip. Keep this in mind if you decide to remove it - a bit heavy and awkward - best to have a helper or at least plan your attack before you start turning wrenches. Note also the shape as it works its way around the spare wheel/tire - the S has no spare - this should give you some idea of what you might have to do if you want a center exit exhaust. The original tip looks like the bottom of a Coke can – I'm sure you've already heard that story - MINI offers a replacement tip.
    Pipe diameter: 2" (I haven't had one for about six years, so I'm going on memory – is this right? Anyone...?)
    Weight: ~29 lbs
    Video/audio: n/a

    (this diagram and pic are of the original R50 exhaust)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]
    Aftermarket: H-L
    Aftermarket Systems: (H-L)

    Hamann

    Review: _______
    Price: $837 (for the version shown in the smaller pic below, from Bavarian Motorsport)
    Description: The Hamann systems appear to be axle-back (cut your stock main pipe and clamp the Hamann exhaust to the stock mid-pipe). There are 4 versions…I'll try to describe them, but some of this is guess work until someone chimes in with better info. I think they are all straight-through systems that run down the centerline and require you to remove your spare wheel (if you have one) and probably attach another hanger mount. 2 versions look like the pic below with 2 twin single-walled straight cut 70mm tips that exit the rear apron on the passenger side like the stock system (though it looks like you have to trim the apron a bit to make them fit). I think one of these 2 has raised lettering on the tips. The next version has the same type of tips but they're split, with 1 exiting from each side of the rear apron (again, requiring trimming of the apron). The description of the last version says it comes with "4 raised stainless steel tailpipes (70mm)" – I think that's 2 tips left and 2 tips right…probably.
    Pipe diameter: stock (I think)
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Helix

    Review: This is the first aftermarket exhaust I tried. Grassroots Motorsports ran a comparison of some of the very few aftermarket exhausts available back in late '02 or early '03 (can't remember) and found the Helix to produce the best numbers of any they tested. This exhaust looked great and the fit/finish was excellent. The sound quality was as good as any I've heard, but the quantity of sound annoyed a few of my neighbors (very quiet neighborhood) and I eventually gave up on it because I couldn't adjust to the in-cabin resonance boom in the mid-3K area.
    Price: n/a (no longer offered)
    Description: All stainless, 3 sections connected by slip joints, includes a resonator, straight cut double walled 3" (?) tip
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    JCW Sound Kit

    Review: Here's a short review on MotoringFile
    Price: $1100 (msrp)
    Description: This one is a kit, not just an exhaust – includes catback, intake mod, ECU remap and JCW badges – the intake remains closed like the stocker so no increase in sound at the front of the car, but it includes something I think is called a "sound pipe" to carry some sound from the intake to (and through?) the firewall (see the entire kit, including the exhaust, in the line diagram below). The exhaust is stainless, 2 sections connected by a slip joint and clamp, and includes a resonator, plus a dual-walled slash cut 3" (?) tip. The bottom pic below shows the JCW Sound Kit exhaust next to the stocker. NOTE: I've also found pics of a John Cooper Motorworks exhaust for the Cooper, but that appears to be a different animal coming in either a full but 2-piece cat-back (see the pic below the line diagram) or in axle-back form.
    Pipe diameter: stock (I assume)
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    (line diagram lifted from realoem.com)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    And a video clip here


    Larini

    Review: I own one of these and it's one of my favorites, partly because of the quality of the noise it makes and partly because of the fact that it looks different (see description re the tip) and there aren't many around (I haven't seen any others yet). It was a little loud for me with a bit of cabin resonance in the usual mid 3K range, both of which I decided were at least in part due to the lack of a mid-pipe resonator. I cut the pipe and added a large (6" diam) Magnaflow muffler in the space just aft of the header flange and now both quality and quantity of sound are excellent. Fitment is good because it's somewhat adjustable. This is a good thing because to get it lined up well I had to use a bit of persuasion. Fortunately, the can is attached to the rear mounting points using a large band/strap (see pics) which you cinch up once you get the tip where you want it. You leave the mid-pipe slip joint loose during this adjustment process and tighten that band clamp after you get the muffler/tip in place, aligned and tightened up.
    Price: $550 (I try to stick to msrp, but can't find it for this one and I can only find it offered by one online vendor at this time, so this is their list price as of 2 Sep 08.)
    Description: Stainless, 2 sections w/ slip joint, strap hanger for muffler allows some adjustment for fitment. Single-walled, straight cut tip – unusual in my experience as it's angled up slightly and has an outward rolled lip – bulk of tip is 3.5"; 4" max at the end due to the outward rolled lip.
    Pipe diameter: 2" (same as stock)
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

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    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]
    Aftermarket: M
    Aftermarket Systems: (M)

    Magnaflow

    Review: UKCooperR posted some great info plus add'l pics and videos here.
    Price: $610 (msrp)
    Description: Stainless, 2 sections, slip joint, resonator included, straight cut 4" tip
    Pipe diameter: 2.25"
    Weight: 25 lbs (?)
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    YouTube vids 1 2 3


    Megan

    Review: There are a few here in the NAM Reviews section. See also Mark's comments (and add'l pics) here.
    Price: $380 (msrp)
    Description: Here's a little-known fact about the Megan for those of you who missed it. The guy from Megan who put it together asked a bunch of MINI Cooper owners what we wanted in a catback exhaust. He even took our suggestions! As you might imagine, there was plenty of cooperation…imagine a manufacturer actually asking us how we would like something built! Then he found someone willing to volunteer his MC for prototyping and test fitting. Looks like the collaborative process worked – folks seem to like it…or maybe it's the relatively low price…probably both. Anyway, it's all stainless, 2 sections joined by flanges, muffler and bullet resonator, slant/slash cut 3.5" single-walled tip.
    Pipe diameter: 2.25"
    Weight: 31 lbs
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Stationary video clip here


    Milltek

    Review: There are a couple comments from goaljnky here in the forum thread.
    Price: $699 (msrp?)
    Description: Stainless, 3 sections with slip joints, includes a resonator, double-walled tip that apparently comes in more than one shape ("Meteor" and "Special" according to the Milltek website, though I don't know which is which – compare the first pic to the others)
    Pipe diameter: 2.13"
    Weight: 27 lbs
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Drive-by vid of a MINI One with a Milltek –- sounds great, though I think at least some of what you hear is from an open intake

    stationary clip here, and here's another of the same MC -– stationary clip from inside


    Mini Mania

    Review: ________
    Price: n/a (no longer offered)
    Description: ________
    Pipe diameter: ________
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]


    Minspeed (previously MyMini)

    Review: _______
    Price: $450
    Description: Stainless -- 2 sections w/ slip fit joint –- once available either with or without a resonator in the mid-pipe (if you check them on the Minspeed website you'll see "Choose from a resonated front pipe or straight front pipe for a little more bark!") but I think the resonator section is no longer available -- angle cut, resonated, oval tip (3.5" x 3").
    Pipe diameter: 2" (same as stock)
    Weight: 26 lbs (non-resonated version)
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    Stationary vid clip of "Sport" version (that should mean the non-resonator version)


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]
    Aftermarket: N-R
    Aftermarket Systems: (N-R)

    OBX

    Review: ________
    Price: ________
    Description: ________
    Pipe diameter: ________
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    Stationary vid clip here


    PlayMINI

    Review: ________
    Price: ________
    Description: ________
    Pipe diameter: ________
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    slash tip
    [​IMG]

    titanium slash tip
    [​IMG]

    "TT" tip
    [​IMG]

    YouTube vid
    and one on a MINI One
    and another
    and one more


    Quicksilver

    Review: _______
    Price: _______
    Description: Comes in 2 versions. The "Sports" system is pictured below and fits as a direct bolt-on replacement for stock. The "Super Sports" version is a straight-through system that exits the center of the rear apron (need to switch to the S apron or accommodate it some other way) and requires removal of the spare (if you have one) and addition of at least one more hanger mount (I assume, haven't seen one yet). Stainless, 2 sections w/ slip fit joint, no resonators, double-walled straight cut inward-rolled 3.5" tip.

    Quicksilver claim the following sound levels (A=stock, B= Sports, C=Super Sports)

    900rpm --- A 72dB -- B 74dB -- C 75dB
    3000rpm -- A 81dB -- B 84dB -- C 90dB
    5000rpm -- A 92dB -- B 96dB -- C 99dB

    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: 17.6 lbs (Sports) and 15.4 lbs (Super Sports) -- I have a hard time believing these weights, but they came directly from Quicksilver
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]


    Remus (1-sided)

    Review: Motoringfile review.
    Price: $601 (I think that's msrp)
    Description: This is an axle-back system. You cut your stock muffler off, leaving the remainder of the front of your stock system as a mid-pipe. Then you attach this axle-back Remus system to it using a slip joint and clamp. It's all stainless (I think) and, since it's just an axle-back, it's a single section. Oval tip 3.82" x 3.15". There's a LOT of info in Octaneguy's installation How-To article (here).
    Pipe diameter: same as stock
    Weight: ?
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Some good info in the installation discussion here

    Stationary video clips here and here


    Remus (2-sided)

    Review: Here's a good review at MotoringFile (complete with sound clips!).
    Price: $1,187 (msrp?)
    Description: Repeating from the 1-sided version above, this is an axle-back system. You cut your stock muffler off, leaving the remainder of the front of your stock system as a mid-pipe. Then you attach this axle-back Remus system to it using a slip joint and clamp. It's all stainless (I think) and, since it's just an axle-back, it's a single section. However, in order to fit the driver side part, you need to lose your spare tire/wheel and hanger plus modify the heat shield. You also have to add another hanger bracket and cut the rear skirt to accomodate the second tip. Tips are round 3.15" each.
    Pipe diameter: same as stock
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]


    Rogue

    Review: ________
    Price: n/a (no longer offered)
    Description: ________
    Pipe diameter: ________
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]


    RSpeed

    Review: This was my favorite catback. I thought I was going to put in a turbo and figured I needed wider pipes so I sold it.....and now I'm bummed. Here's most of a review I wrote elsewhere while I still owned it:

    Looks: The tip looks a lot like the stock tip, so it's hard to detect visually unless you look at the can itself hanging a bit below the bumper apron. The stock can is dull silver/gray while the RSpeed (like most) is polished stainless. It looks great...if you like that sort of thing - I would prefer the can itself be painted a dull black.

    Power: Cat back exhausts for the MC don't generally improve tq or hp by much, but the RSpeed does better than most. I haven't yet seen any completely independent dyno tests on the RSpeed, but the few sheets I have seen show it improving hp as well as the best and producing the best tq curve I've seen yet.

    There are really only two other obvious benefits to an aftermarket exhaust change for MCs: weight savings and (hopefully) improved sound. Since the MC has only one can, there's not a huge amount of weight savings available.

    The most noticeable change then tends to be sound - in quantity and/or quality. "Improvement" in this area is highly subjective - I may like what you hate and visa versa - but I can at least give you my (subjective) view.

    Sound: The RSpeed sounds FANTASTIC to my ear; PERFECT for an MC. Since I drive an MC power (though plenty for me) isn't the main reason I find myself grinning nearly every time I really get into it. In fact I think the RSpeed sound + tq/hp combo may be as grin-inducing to me as the MINI's world-class handling. Also, ZERO DRONE!

    Sound compared to stock: Quality: much better at all throttle levels. You'll love the burble. Quantity: near stock level at idle and while behaving yourself - quite a bit louder as you open the throttle.


    Price: n/a (no longer offered -- if you find a used one for sale and in good condition, SNATCH IT UP!!!)
    Description: All stainless, 2 sections w/ flanges, includes a resonator, tip is double-walled and looks quite a bit like the stock Coke/beer can tip, no "R Speed" markings anywhere (just says MINI on the tip, very stealthy)
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: 24 lbs
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's a video clip - it's not mine, it's produced by R Speed…hope they don't mind I posted it


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]
    Aftermarket: S-Z
    Aftermarket Systems: (S-Z)

    Saclam

    Review: _______
    Price: I can't find a price, but I'm betting this one costs many dollars…if you can get it here from Japan…
    Description: Ok, this one's just for fun. I've never heard of anyone actually having one of these for an MC and I don't know ANYthing about them other than what you can see in the pics…just can't resist posting.
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    another version?
    [​IMG]


    Scorpion

    Review: _______
    Price: _______
    Description: _______
    Pipe diameter: _______
    Weight: _______
    Video/audio:

    pic lifted (obviously) from Bavarian Auto - hope they don't mind

    [​IMG]


    Supersprint

    Review: Here's a MotoringFile review
    Price: There's a lot of variability in price on Supersprint kit, depending on how much you want of what … I'll try to explain. In addition, I've not seen another brand where street prices are so different than msrp; I often see Supersprint street prices at half of msrp.

    Price for a full system (side exit, including the round tip as seen in the first pic below) varies depending on whether you get the mid-pipe with a resonator (~$1100 msrp) or without a resonator (~$900 msrp).

    You can buy the muffler section by itself and, I assume, cut your stock pipe and attach the Supersprint muffler section to your stock midpipe with a slipjoint and clamp. The side exit muffler section (which includes the round tip) is ~$720 (msrp). There's also a center exit version at ~$630 (msrp). The only center exit version I've found (the $639 msrp version) comes with a plain exit pipe and you have to buy a tip separately. Unfortunately, the tips look pretty expensive to me with msrp in the $350-420 range.

    I'm sure there are other options, this is just a sampling.

    Description: All stainless, 2 section catback systems or axle-back muffler sections with slipjoint and clamp attachment to your cut stock midpipe, many tip options for the versions that come without them. Like other center exit systems, you have to remove your spare tire/wheel, etc.

    There's a good installation section on ProMINI's site here (don't miss the button at the top of the page for an inside the car sound clip).
    Pipe diameter: Looks like stock diameter.
    Weight: ________
    Video/audio:

    [​IMG]

    Center exit version installation - note remnants of spare wheel/tire hardware.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    There's a vid clip (stationary) of a center exit version here.


    Others: Blue Flame, Magnex, Powertone, Stebro


    [NOTE: If you have questions or comments, please visit this discussion thread in the 1st Generation MINI :: Tuning & Modification :: Cooper Engine & Drivetrain forum.]

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