First Mini: 2005 R52 Convertible - Thoughts, Opinions, and Advice Appreciated

Discussion in 'Starting Line - New Member Introductions' started by jchmini, May 1, 2015.

  1. jchmini

    jchmini New Member

    May 1, 2015
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    Hi All! First, let me say "Thank you!", the motoring alliance and other mini forums have gotten me a great start on my new project. Not sure why it took me so long to join; but I'm glad to finally be on here..officially.

    I found myself scouring Craigslist for a Mini one day, and came across a 2005 R52 convertible/Hyper Blue Metallic/Blk&Gray Leatherette with 84k miles on it. Initially listed at 5k and advertised with a bad transmission and struts...I thought it looked like a good project (not knowing in depth of the CVT issues)...

    When I went to look at it, the top wouldn't go down, so I ended up picking up my Mini for $2,750. Aside from the mechanical items, the car is in really great shape for the age and mileage. It hadn't been driven in almost a year due to the fact the transmission was "broken".

    Known problems when I purchased the car:

    -Transmission wouldn't shift out of first gear, had the "xP" "xR" "xD" notations when putting it into gear. I didn't know what this meant at the time of purchase and assumed the CVT was busted.

    -Check engine light was on

    -Two tires were bald and gouged

    -The convertible top wouldn't retract passed the sunroof position

    -The battery was on the fritz

    -Rear brake and reverse light were out

    -One or more of the struts were bad (or so they were told)

    -Possible oil/coolant leaks; albeit the seller stated they had spent as much time/money on it as they cared for and didn't know the extent.


    With that, I embarked on bringing this Mini back to life. After signing the title, I headed straight for a new battery, Chevron (BMW) Engine Cleaner, and two new tires (gouged/bald) to match the recently replaced rears.

    A new battery and securing the convertible trunk latch got the top back in working order. Pulling the codes, I got P0070, ambient temperature sensor. The gauge showed the external temp. as -40 degrees. This was my first goal, get rid of the "Check Engine" light. Looking for the sensor, or harness, it was nowhere to be found. I finally was able to find the wire in the headlight assembly, albeit the pigtail and sensor were missing. $50 in parts later, and clearing the codes, the temperature now shows properly and the "Check Engine" light is no longer illuminated.

    With some diligent research and expertise on the forums, I was able to find another case of the CVT in the R52 experiencing similar issues. The seller had told me they took the Mini to "European Auto" repair shop, whom took out CVT and put it back in and said it had a leak...I believe this is what triggered the car to go into "learning mode". In short, I followed the reprogramming instructions of shifting the gears back and forth and letting the car decelerate from ~55MPH on it's own. BAM! The x's went away when the car was in gear, and it smoothly started shifting in/out of all the gears (especially the low ones). I was baffled. I couldn't believe I went from a definite 3-6k repair to the car being operational.

    I next focused on the struts, the ride was rough, they've never been replaced, and later learned the strut mount on the drivers side had cracked. Luckily, I didn't have any mushrooming yet. I had driven the car about 300 miles at this point to run out the old gas, refuel with the highest octane available in my area, and ensure that the transmission reset wasn't temporary.

    I searched all over for what kind of struts to put this guy, and I almost went with the only ones available locally, Monroe (yuck) because I'm normally impatient. I ended up purchasing a set of Koni FSD's for the Mini. I don't really have a place to do this kind of work (apartment garage), so I called around for labor prices. Oddly, Mini Denver was the cheapest quote on labor for installing the struts ($510). Once I realized the mounts would also need replaced, I opted to try the install myself..and was successful! Mini of Denver also had the cheapest price for the strut mounts I could find (OEM), and gave me an additional 10% off...and had them in stock.

    Tab so far:
    -Mini: $2,750
    -Battery: $180
    -Two new tires: $260
    -Koni FSD's: $540
    -Front and Rear Strut Mounts: $429
    -Pillar mount Cup Holder replacement: $65 (orig was broken and pillars marred underneath)
    -Ambient Temp. Sensor and Pigtail: $60 (over paid on this one)
    -Aux Input Cable: $30
    -Second Key: $68
    -Blue Caliper High Heat Paint: $10
    -Peel Coat Matte Black Paint for Rims: $20

    I obviously got a little excited with "finishing touch" items before ironing out all the mechanical issues.


    After the strut installation, I took it in to Mini for an alignment and an proactive oil change. I thought all would go smooth, but I was in for a real slap in the face. The ended up giving an estimate of $6290 to repair the things they found on the car; and didn't even do the alignment or oil change because there was no value whilst broken.


    HERE'S WHERE I NEED ADVICE!!!

    I'm conflicted on how to proceed, do I ditch the Mini and cut my losses, or do I take a stab at fixing the problems...I don't mind putting additional money in it as it's in good shape and when the work is done I'll have a sweet weekend car!

    Here's the tally of repairs from Mini:

    Replace Right Front CV Axle $950.40
    Engine Coolant Flush $157.00
    Replace Transmission Fluid $255.78
    Replace crank sensor o-ring $31.09
    Replace dip stick o-ring $30.70
    Replace oil pan gasket $728.15
    Replace valve cover gasket $201.31
    Replace transmission left axle seal $557.20
    Replace/Add Power Steering Fluid $0.00
    Replace front left wheel speed sensor $214.42
    Replace Left Brake Light $31.05
    Replace right reverse light $31.98
    Replace power steering supply, suction, and return lines $976.65
    Replace lower radiator hose $234.44
    Replace bypasss hose above lower radiator hose $117.39
    Replace bleeder/coupler assembly $102.53
    Replace Engine thermostat $286.20
    Replace start inhibit switch $332.55
    Replace passenger occupancy airbag sensor $1,051.22

    So Mini of Denver seemed like a great deal for a few parts and strut swap, but this bill is a little outrageous! I definitely wont spend 6k plus on this Mini on top of the almost 6k I've already put in. So I priced out just the parts...

    Replace Right Front CV Axle $75.00
    Engine Coolant Flush $30.00
    Replace Transmission Fluid $100.00
    Replace crank sensor o-ring $4.00
    Replace dip stick o-ring $4.00
    Replace oil pan gasket $20.00
    Replace valve cover gasket $35.00
    Replace transmission left axle seal $60.00
    Replace/Add Power Steering Fluid
    Replace front left wheel speed sensor $20.00
    Replace Left Brake Light $4.00
    Replace right reverse light $4.00
    Replace power steering supply, suction, and return lines
    Replace lower radiator hose $35.00
    Replace bypasss hose above lower radiator hose $18.89
    Replace bleeder/coupler assembly $17.50
    Replace Engine thermostat $40.00
    Replace start inhibit switch $205.00
    Replace passenger occupancy airbag sensor Recalled

    Labor is a huge chunk of it, as I believe some of these repairs require extensive disassembling. After the struts, I feel confident I can probably take care of most of it myself..just not sure I have a place to do it. I believe my R52 qualifies for the Power Steering extended coverage and it definitely qualifies for the Airbag Passenger Recall (my light is on).


    Just wondering what the communities opinions are on how I should proceed? Ditch the Mini now, do repairs myself (or as many as I can and have recalls repaired at Mini)...or, do some of the repairs and have Mini do some of the repairs that are more complex....


    I love this Mini and it has a lot of potential, but I'm just not sure where to go from here!

    Attached some pics, all cleaned up, and the rims and calipers painted, haven't done the hubs yet..


    I know this is verbose, but any Mini experts are greatly appreciated!!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Steve

    Steve Administrator
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    Apr 23, 2009
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    First, thanks for registering and welcome to the forum!

    You're right, that could be a fun car if you get the bugs worked out. These things are worth a bit of effort. Another $6K+ is a lot, though, but it looks like you're on the right track with your idea of at least splitting up the labor, etc. My guess is some of those things are also unnecessary at this point and you could at least prioritize what's important now and gradually get it closer to done and fun OR ready to sell. As to where the line is where you'll have gone too far and will sell at a loss, I have no idea. Definitely put the recall items at the top of the list.

    Unfortunately, you may have picked a less than ideal time to post up and ask for this sort of advice as a lot of our experts are out of touch at the moment at The Dragon. Hang in there, though, and if useful advice doesn't come along soon take a beat and bump it next week when the rest of the gang will be back.
     
  3. minintrigue

    minintrigue Active Member

    Sep 30, 2009
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    Known issues that may or may not need immediate attention: PS hoses, oil pan gaskets, crank position o ring sensor, passenger airbag sensor was just issued a recall.

    Do the control arm bushings.

    Do the fluids yourself.

    I had an R53, and my current R52 has many of the same issues. Not urgent. Their goal is to make it like new. ..
     
  4. clifforddward

    clifforddward Active Member

    Dec 2, 2013
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    Most who have had their R50, R52, or R52 Minis for more than 80k miles have had to do the majority of your list. I tackled about 85% of your list as a part of a major overhaul I did in my driveway last winter....if you are mechanically minded and willing to buy and work to the Bentley manual, you can do this work yourself.

    You'll likely end up needing several hundred dollars of tools....I bought about $500 of specialty tools to make the job easier, and ended up saving myself at least several thousands of dollars of labor cost..

    Control arm bushings may be better to farm out.

    Many of these things are done at the same time as you'll have the front end disassembled to do the work.

    It took me about 6 weeks of mostly weekends and some evenings to do my Mini...so you'll need alternate transportation.

    I suspect the the $75 cost you are referring to just the CV boot to be replaced as the cv axle itself will cost much more.
     
  5. jchmini

    jchmini New Member

    May 1, 2015
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    Hi All,

    Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

    I too agree that the Mini dealer is wanting the make the car "as new". I would also like to do this, but not at the cost they quote or right away...and I want to find an equilibrium of cost to value for this Mini.

    It's a second car that I obtained to be a project, so it doesn't necessarily have to be driven, although with summer almost here, it will be hard to keep this convertible off the road!

    I replace the strut mounts and struts myself, in the basement garage of my apartment complex, however I doubt that I can do much more in there without getting some complaints.

    @clifforddward, I too have also bought a significant amount of tools to work on the Mini when it came to the strut install. I still saved on the labor (~550), which paid for my tools.

    @minintrigue, thanks for the info! I know that there's an open recall on the passenger airbag sensor and the power steering (extended warranty), but I haven't found any recalls on the hoses, oil pan gaskets, crank position o ring sensor. Do you have anymore info on that recall?

    For the FR axle, I have found the CV assembly online for less than $100...am I missing something? It seems like the axle is rather inexpensive when not purchased/labored at the dealer...


    It's still kind of odd to me how Mini says I have all these leaks, as I don't see any fluids in my parking spot or notice any increased temps. or power steering issues. I do notice the front right axle clunks at time..am I doing damage by driving the Mini ?


    Thanks so much for your replies, so excited to be apart of the Mini community!
     
  6. M1N1

    M1N1 Well-Known Member

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    Welcome.

    If you are going to do any of the work yourself, a Bentley manual is an absolute must have. Also, get to know Steven at eMINIparts.com
     
  7. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Welcome, thanks for joining Motoring Alliance, the FUN and Friendly MINI Community.
     
  8. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    For the Axle please get an OEM one. The Rock Auto and the like rebuilds are junk.
     
  9. jchmini

    jchmini New Member

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  10. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    That can't be OEM at that price!

    The MINI part # is 31-60-7-574-868 with an MSRP of about $580

    eMINIParts or one of the many M/A sponsors discount the MSRP.
     
  11. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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  12. jchmini

    jchmini New Member

    May 1, 2015
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    So it's the general consensus that the OEM axle is worth 5x as much as a non-OEM replacement. If I'm going to do the work, I want to make sure and use the right parts, but that's a lot of extra cash for OEM.
     
  13. N2MINI

    N2MINI MINI of the Month

    Dec 4, 2009
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    Just keep in mind what the car is worth and what your plans are before dropping more money into it. KBB claims that car is only worth about $5600 for a Non "S" car.. If you plan to keep it for years then I say spend it if you have it, but if not, bale out now..
     
  14. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    #15 Dave.0, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
    Welcome to M\A the FUN MINI site. :Thumbsup:

    OEM axles are overpriced and still fail. and at $700 - $850 a side they are crap.

    Just buy a set of Jan's axles $850 for both sides, yes 2 better made axles and be done with axle issues. They are better built than OEM and all the cheap rebuilds and even better then the DriveShaftShop axles.

    Jan Brueggemann
    Contact Jan @ RMW (949) 464- 7691 (RMW1)
    Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
     
  15. INIMINI

    INIMINI New Member

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    How about Blimey's page?
     
  16. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Lots of good info / advice for you mull over and Welcome to Motoring Alliance the onlyest MINI Forum you'll ever need !!
     
  17. jchmini

    jchmini New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate the warm welcome and advice on the Mini.

    @N2MINI, I definitely agree that it's important to keep in mind what the Mini is worth. KBB shows me somewhere around $6500 with the prem, sport, and cold weather package and mileage (just under 85k). On one side, I can't find any for sale that are less than this, private party of dealer. The flip side, I paid $2750, and I'm already at about $5,500 including state tax, registration, tires, struts/mounts, and the miscellaneous items I mentioned initially.

    I see more value putting the work into this one, since I've already started, and I'll hopefully end up with a far superior Mini than comparable ones on the used market.

    I honestly will drive the car about 2500 miles a year, if that. I'm trying to prioritize the list of things to do first.

    *Recalls (passenger airbag sensor)
    -Mini said that it wasn't my pump that was failing it was the reservoir, return lines, and suction that need replace, thus they won't cover it.
    *Axle(s) and seal(s)
    *Fluids & Leaks --curious if they just listed all "suspect" items, or they really found leaks in all of the items listed.


    Thanks again for the all help! Not driving the Mini at the moment, but looking forward to getting it back on the road ASAP!
     
  18. N2MINI

    N2MINI MINI of the Month

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    As we all know a car sitting a lot is just as bad or worse on some parts/seals then one that gets driven quite a bit..Your car has been driven roughly 8000 miles a year since new. Mine has been driven 15,000 miles a year since new.. Just an example not trying to prove anything but got to thinking I have an '06 R52 with almost 150,000 miles and haven't had to do hardly any of the items your dealer claims your car needs. I'm sure if I took it in and said what all does it need well yeah it could use a lot of stuff replaced just based on age/mileage but not because it's worn out. I had to replace the axles at 100,000, along with a tranny fluid change, and been thru 3 or 4 Thermostat gaskets, and a couple of OEM Motor Mounts and needs a new one now, but that's it, and the first 6-7 years it got driven pretty hard, doing Auto-x, VIR events, BMW Center stuff, along with the usual Club drives, and Dragon twice a year.. KBB claims my car is only worth about $3600 and less then that as a trade depending on how you rate my cars condition.. So if you spend the money to fix up the car you might as well drive it more often.. Which is a good thing!!!
     
  19. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    The true value of a MINI can never be measured by a book! :biggrin5:
     

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