R53 Cooper S The Chili Rescue

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  • History:
    I purchased a non-running 2002 MCS as a project car in March 2022. It is Chili red with the white top. Body was in great shape for the 245k miles and the lack of rust/corrosion was remarkable for the Michigan area.

    I am the 3rd owner and the PO said he bought it with a blown head gasket, replaced it, and drove it for a summer before it died again.

    The battery was completely dead since the car had been sitting for over a year before I got it. After charging, I found that the engine was completely seized, to the point I could remove the balancer bolt with 0 movement.

    I proceeded by slowly removing components until finding the source of the issue. The #2 and #3 rod bearings were completely seized. Mains were in good shape and there was almost no metal in the oil. #3 piston was also very clean, indicating coolant intrusion. Head gasket was fine abs head appeared ok at first glance.

    in the meantime, I sourced a used short block locally,
    with much lower mileage. I started working on the head abs as I was lapping the valves, I noticed the very small cracks running from one of the #3 intake valve seats, all the way into the coolant jacket next to it. There were no heads locally available but I was able to source one on here (thank you to nuk3s)

    This tells me the head gasket was most likely never blown in the first place. The reason for the rod bearing failure was even more interesting. When pulling the filter, I noticed it was completely dry and sucked in. Underneath the filter, I found the plastic
    drainback valve just laying underneath. I assume this was enough to starve those bearings until they seized.

    After getting it all back together, I have been able to put about 2k on it, very fun to drive! I have done a lot to it but wanted to include a list and some
    images as well.
    • New to me short block
    • Rebuilt cylinder head
    • Supercharger service
    • Water pump
    • 15% Alta SC pulley
    • Colder plugs
    • Adjustable tensioner
    • Alta cold air intake (already there)
    • Alta car back (Already there)
    • Aluminum 3 row radiator
    • Wheels and tires (Already there)
    • Parking brake cables
    • New pads and rotors
    • Lower ball joints
    • Inner and outer axle boots
    • Engine mount
    • R56 seats (front and rear in redwood lounge leather)
    • Kicker component set (front) and Kicker 6x9 (rear)
    • Boss 7” floating head unit
    • Refinished the worn parts of the interior
    Mini 1.jpeg Mini 2.png Mini 3.png
  • Drivetrain Mods:
    • Valeo single mass clutch kit
    • Royal purple fluid
    Suspension Mods:
    • Adjustable coilovers (on the car when I got it)
    Wheels and Tires:
    • New wheel and tires (on the car when I got it)
    • Drilled/slotted rotors and new pads
    • 15% supercharger pulley
    • Alta cold air intake
    • Alta catback
    • Injectors
    • Larger all aluminum radiator
    • Low speed fan resistor mod
  • Interior Mods:
    • R56 seat (redwood red lounge leather) front and rear
    • Re-finished worn interior components
    • Boss 7" floating screen head unit
    • Kicker component set (front)
    • Kicker 6X9 (rear)

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