FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS It is hoped that this thread helps those new to MINI better understand the car. Those that already own a model may also find this thread as a useful reference point. This thread is not meant to be all encompassing of the MINI or the total information that we have here on Motoring Alliance (MA). So, this is what I have at time but will be supplementing as time goes and somebody comes up with some other good items to add. INDEX 0001 – What models are considered Generation 1? 0002 – MINI uses allot of abbreviations and/or acronyms, what do they mean? 0003 – I am thinking about buying a MINI, what should I look for? 0004 – How do I find out what factory options a car I am looking at has? 0005 – What do you do to find out whether a used car has problems? 0006 – My car did not have an Owner’s Manual, how do I obtain one? 0007 – What type gas should be used and what happens if I do not? 0008 – What type oil should be used and when should the oil be changed? 0009 – My car does not start, what do I do? 0010 – A yellow dash light came on in my car, what do I do? 0011 – What are "trouble codes" and how do I see them? 0012 – What are typical maintenance items for my car? 0013 – What tires and/or aftermarket wheels should I use? 0014 – Is there a way to determine what part number a specific item is on my car? 0015 – Is there any place where I can see wiring schematics? 0016 – There are allot of performance abbreviations, what do they mean? 0017 – Can I “reset” my ECU and see more engine information without special tools? 0018 – What is Front Service Mode? 0019 – How should I jack up my car to work on it? 0020 – My car AC is not working, what should I do? 0021 – What is a good suspension modification? 0022 – What is a good horsepower modification? 0023 – I need information on the fuses and relays, is there any? 0024 – Who can I buy parts from? 0025 – Are there DIY articles, videos, manuals etc for working on/repairing a MINI? 0026 - How do I check to see if my car has any recalls outstanding? 0027 - I am having OBD2 issues, what is a drive cycle? 0028 - I have an automatic transmission that is acting strange. Is there anything I might be able to do instead of having to take it to a shop? 0029 - At what temperatures does the cooling fans come on at, and, what other than temperature will make the fans come on? 0001 - What models are considered Generation 1? There are three models of the 1st Generation of MINIs. In 1994 BMW purchased the Rover Group and with that the Mini name. In 2001 BMW introduced the MINI to the European market with the American debut in 2002. You will note that we use MINI and not Mini. Generation 1 MINIs have a Tritec engines. Tritec was a Brazil based company with the engine being produced through a development by both BMW and Chrysler. Some Chrysler vehicles in Europe, the Neon and the PT Cruiser, used the Tritec engine. The MINI is assembled in Oxford, England. In America the three models of MINI are; 1.) The R50 has a non-supercharged (naturally aspirated) engine, production years were 2002 to 2006. You may sometimes see this car called a “Justa.” The R50 has a 1598 cc engine (approximately 114 HP and 110 P/F Torque) with a curb weight of approximately 2293 pounds. Transmissions are either a 5-speed manual or a CVT (continuously variable transmission). 2.) The R53 has a supercharged (forced induction) engine and is marked with an “S” on both sides as well as the rear trunk area. Production years were 2002 through 2006. The R53 has a 1598 cc engine (approximately 161 HP, 155 P/F Torque) with a curb weight of approximately 2513 pounds. Transmissions are either a 6-speed manual or an Aisen automatic transmission. One option for the R53 was the JCW option. JCW stands for John Cooper Works. John Cooper was English and involved with Formula 1. Cooper modified the British Motor Corporation’s Mini model to great success, the Mini Cooper was born. The JCW option package offered more horsepower (approximately 40 HP) at first and then later added some suspension changes. The GP was a limited produced model of 2006 and had some unique features in addition to the JCW package such as a larger intercooler, a more aggressive tune, different front suspension parts, unique graphics and no rear seat with a crossbrace being in its place. 3.) The R52 is the MINI Convertible model has comes in both “Justa” trim (naturally aspirated) and the “S” supercharged (forced induction). Transmissions were similar to those of the R50 and R53 (see above). Production years were 2005 through 2008. The “Justa” trim had a curb weight of approximately 2568 pounds and the “S” of 2848 pounds. The “S” also offered the JCW option package. In 2005 MINI modified styling for both the interior and exterior of the R50 and R53. The 2005 and 2006 models and all of the R52 cars were known as “facelift” models. 0002 – MINI uses allot of abbreviations and/or acronyms, what do they mean? Here is a link to a thread on the matter - https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/mini-acronyms.65/ 0003 – I am thinking about buying a MINI, what should I look for? Below is a MOTORINGFILE link to an article on buying a used Generation 1 MINI. Issues such as rust, oil leaks and the CVT transmission are discussed. http://www.motoringfile.com/mini-r50r53-buyers-guide/ 0004 – How do I find out what factory options a car I am looking at has? Below is a VIN decoder that you can access and there are some other sites that provide information as well. http://myminivin.com/ 0005 – What do you do to find out whether a used car has problems? We suggest a Pre-Purchase Inspection or PPI. You would arrange to have the seller bring the car to either a MINI dealer or a known MINI service shop. The cost of the PPI is normally borne by the buyer. An inspection report would be issued noting any problems or issues. If there are problems or issues, the cost to repair should be considered during negotiations. I created a separate thread on Buying a Used Gen1 MINI and you can find more information on this matter by checking out the below thread: https://www.motoringalliance.com/threads/buying-a-used-gen1-mini.30829/ 0006 – My car did not have an Owner’s Manual, how do I obtain one? Go to the MINI USA site via this link where you can download a PDF: http://www.miniusa.com/content/miniu...r-manuals.html 0007 - What type gas should be used and what happens if I do not? MINI recommends that you use Premium Non-leaded Gas (91 octane). Modern vehicles have engine management systems (computers, aka ECU) that can recognize different octane of gasoline. Yes your car will run on a lower octane gas but there are problems with early detention (pinging) and/or early valve guide wear. 0008 - What type oil should be used and when should the oil be changed? MINI specifies a Full Synthetic SAE 5W-30 Motor Oil. MINI suggests a 12,000 mile interval for oil/filter changes. There is a How To video on changing your oil in item # 0012 below 0009 – My car does not start, what do I do? Lots of possibilities here but will try to address the most common in no specific order and some of the threads I have referenced will discuss several possibilities. 1.) Your MINI key has a coded chip within it. If the chip is not sensed by the ECU when the key is inserted the ECU will “immobilize” the car by shutting off the fuel so that it will not start. Post # 49 in the below thread has some good information on the matter: https://www.motoringalliance.com/threads/starting-issues-gremlin-junk.25678/page-3#post-338265 2.) The starter. The starter may be worn out or have connections loose. The starter has a solenoid that uses a low amperage relay to allow the high amperage cable from the battery to turn the starter gears that in turn turns over the engine. If the starter is removed you can normally take it to mechanic shop and have it “bench tested.” Here is at thread that has discussions on starter issues, https://www.motoringalliance.com/threads/100k-starter-issue.21058/#post-245187 3.) The engine ground strap may not be tight. The engine must be grounded to the body/frame as the engine itself is separated from the body/frame via plastic/rubber bushings. The main ground strap is located on the passenger side of the engine. Here is a thread on the issue: https://www.motoringalliance.com/threads/04-mcs-wont-start.9770/#post-88312 4.) The battery may be worn out or the connections are not tight. Here is a thread on the issue. https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...n-t-start.html 5.) The alternator has to provide at least 13 volts for the battery to charge. If the battery is not getting at least 13 volts when running, the alternator could be bad. NOTE: If you are going to disconnect the battery, disconnect the negative post first. Failure to do so may result in the Fuse Module being blown. 0010 – A yellow dash light came on in my car, what do I do? The MINI has two different monitoring systems. If there are issues with exhaust emissions, the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will come on. The second system monitors engine electronics and if there are issues, a round EML light will come on. These lights could signal a problem as simple as a loose gas cap to as much as a major problem with the engine or exhaust emission system. When these lights come on there is a corresponding trouble code created in the ECU. Trouble codes are discussed below. 0011 - What are "trouble codes" and how do I see them? When either the yellow SERVICE ENGINE SOON or EML light is on, it means there is something wrong. You can take the car to a dealer or most auto parts stores where they will connect an OBD2 Scanner/OBDII Code Reader to a port below the steering wheel. The Scanner/Reader will connect to the ECU and provide the “trouble code(s)” (such as P0138) so that it can be determined where the problem issue is. You can buy a Scanner/Reader and determine the codes yourself. A dealer will normally charge to read the codes; an auto parts store may provide the service for free. Once there is a code that involves the O2 sensor, and even after you may "reset" the ECU, there are instances where the car must be driven a certain amount of times before you could have your car inspected. This is called a “drive cycle” and you can read more about the matter in item # 0027 below. A list of Gen1 OBD2 codes can be found in the thread below: https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/1st-generation-mini-ecu-codes-chart.48/ 0012 - What are typical maintenance items for my car? If there are no service records with the car most members here would change all the fluids; engine oil, brake fluid, clutch fluid (same as the brake), engine coolant (antifreeze), power steering fluid and the transmission fluid. Drive belts, brake pads/rotors, air filters (both engine and the car interior) and power steering hoses should also be reviewed and replaced if wear is present. Other issues that have been noted by many members here are; 1.) Crank Sensor O-ring. This $5.00 rubber washer seals the crank sensor that is located on the engine behind the radiator/cooling fan. This o-ring will flatten out and oil will start to run down the front of the motor. From postings here, the o-ring can flatten out in as little as 30,000 miles 2.) Water Pump. The water pump on the “Justa” is driven by the drive belt on the passenger side of the engine. On the “S” the pump is driven by the supercharger. At 70,000 miles the pump has seen better days. 3.) On the “S” there is a belt tensioner that has small shock absorber type piece. This piece along with bushings wear out. Replacement is approximately 40,000 miles. 4.) There are three engine mounts, one on the driver side at the transmission, one on the passenger side and one underneath the engine that connects to the car frame. These mounts have either rubber components or fluid that wears out/down over time. The passenger side mount on the “S” can wear out in 30,000 miles. 5.) The crank pulley/harmonic damper has a rubber layer that over time will break down and the pulley can split apart. The rubber is affected by both time and weather. 6.) The shock towers may mushroom due to the force of the wheel absorbing road bumps. There are now aftermarket stiffeners that are sold to mitigate the issue. The 1st Generation cars are all at least nine years old; the oldest models from 2002 are approaching 16 years old. Rubber components all wear out with age. Some basic How To/DIY threads are below: Change Oil - https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/r50-r53-oil-service.86/ Replacing the Serpentine Belt - https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/replacing-the-serpentine-belt-on-an-r53-mcs.69/ 0013 - What tires and/or aftermarket wheels should I use? Just about everybody has an opinion on Tires and Wheels. A simple search here on MA will provide many reviews by members here. Tire Rack is also a good place to get some information on this matter. 0014 – Is there a way to determine what part number a specific item is on my car?Yes, below are links to Real OEM and ETKBMW that have information on all BMW and MINI parts. Once you select the model, year built and month you are able to bring up “templates” that reflect the various parts and fasteners along with the MINI part number. https://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do https://www.etkbmw.com/ 0015 – Is there any place where I can see wiring schematics? Yes, below is a link to new TIS.com. https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/ 0016 – There are allot of performance abbreviations, what do they mean? Below is list of a few you may encounter: ABS – Anti Lock Brake System A/F – Air Fuel Mixture BBK – Big Brake Kit BPV – By Pass Valve at the Supercharger on a S model BHP – Brake Horse Power or the horsepower at the engine crankshaft CAI – Cold Air Intake that is an aftermarket part that changes the air filter box CAM – The engine cam shaft that controls the opening/closing of the valves CAT – The Catalytic Converter Cat-Back – the portion of the exhaust system that starts at the CAT and ends with the muffler tips CC – An oil catch can, also known as a OCC CEL – Check Engine Light CF – Carbon Fiber DSC – Dynamic Stability Control ECU – Engine Control Unit or your car’s computers EGT – Exhaust Gas Temperature EL – Elapsed Time Header – an aftermarket exhaust manifold IAT – Intake Air Temperature IC – Intercooler Lambada – An Air/Fuel measurement LSD – A Limited Slip Differential NOS – Nitrous Oxide or also known as N2O OneBall – An exhaust modification where one of the OEM mufflers is removed OBD – On Board Diagnostics that for the MINI is a OBDII (also OBD2) type system Porting – enlarging either the intake manifold, intake engine ports or the engine exhaust ports Pulley – The replacement of the OEM Supercharger pulley with a smaller pulley; 15, 17, 19 or 21 P/W – Power to Weight Ratio Schroth – Make of Racing Harnesses Schrick – a manufacturer of engine cams TB – Throttle Body WHP – Horse Power at the wheel WOT – Wide Open Throttle 0017 – Can I “reset” my ECU without special tools? Yes and below we tell you how. With the key in the ignition, but in the off position, press and hold down the odometer reset button with one hand, while holding the button down, switch the key in the ignition to position 1 (first click) with the other hand. The screen will have a number and the word “tESt”. Scroll through the numbers by pressing the odometer rest button, through to 19 and wait a moment. (Note: the number order is: 1,2,10,19) The message will say 19 "L i-off", flash to "L i-on", and back to "L i-off" again. When "log i-off" appears, press the odometer rest button again. You are now in the system. Scroll through to 21. tESt and wait a moment. 21.0 rESEt will come up. Press the button once. Your gauges will now make some sounds and movements. Once the lights come back on start your car. You have now reset your ECU and your MINI is now ready to relearn the new mods and your driving style. 0018 – What is Front Service Mode? In order to access portions of the motor or transmission, the car must be placed in Front Service Mode. Modmini is a well known individual to 1st Generation MINI owners. He has a series of YouTube Video. Below is a video on Front Service Mode that he prepared. 0019 – How should I jack up my car to work on it? Here is another good Modmini video on jacking and supporting the car. 0020 – My car AC is not working, what should I do? If you are not able to work with a wrenches then you should take the car to a mechanic or automobile air conditioning expert. If you are able to use wrenches, below is good video on determining what is wrong with your AC. 0021 – What is a good suspension modification? There are numerous suspension modifications that can be made. Springs can be shortened that will lower the car. Different shocks, suspension bushings and stiffeners can all be installed. Many here will say that as the MINI is front wheel drive, the car does have “understeer” meaning upon entering a corner the car has a tendency to go straight and not turn in sharply. A rear sway bar can reduce the understeer to a more neutral condition. There are numerous discussions here: Rear Sway Bar -https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/r50-52-53-rear-swaybar-install-video-how-to.74/ Strut Springs - https://www.motoringalliance.com/articles/replace-strut-springs.67/ NOTE: Any time the suspension is changed, the manner in which the car handles may be impacted. A noted racer/auto crosser here has said that when he had the stock swaybar installed he never spun out during an autocross. With a heavier swaybar he has spun out more than once. 0022 – What is a good performance modification? There are numerous performance modifications that can be made. A Cold Air Intake (CAI) can increase the amount air going to the engine. Larger injectors can be installed but in some instances the ECU would need to “retuned.” The engine cam can be changed and on the “S” the supercharger pulley can be changed to a smaller diameter that will increase the amount of boost going to the engine. The exhaust system can be changed as well. You can find discussions on numerous Mod threads here: https://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/tuning-and-performance.23/ 0023 – I need information on the fuses and relays, is there any? Yes there is, the below thread provides information on both: Engine compartment (driver side next to Air Box) F1 - 5A Digital engine electronics control unit F2 - 20A Digital engine electronics control unit/Ignition coil/Cylinder 1-4 fuel injection valves/Crankshaft position sensor (From K6300 87) F3 - 15A Camshaft position sensor/O2 sensor before cat/O2 sensor after cat/Solenoid valve, fuel tank ventilation/Relay K19 control power (From K6300 87) F4 -15A Tank Leakage diagnosis pump F5 - 5A Relay, engine cooling electric fan (From K6300 87) F6 - 30A ABS/ASC/DSC control module F7 - 30A Magnetic clutch for AC compressor via relay K19 F8 - 30A control power K69923 Relay, electric power steering pump cooling fan/Switch unit Heating & A/C blower F9 - 20A BC1 (X11177 2) unit via I01136 and I01137 (Relay front wiper motor fast/slow and Relay front wiper motor on/off) F10 - 15A BC1/Left fog/Right fog/Switch panel via K47 These "FL" fuses are accessed by turning the engine fuse box upside down FL1 - 50A Feed to F14, F31, F32 (BC1,Heating & Air con blower, cigarette lighter) FL2 - 50A Feed to F1, F2, F3, F4, F19, F20, F21, F22, F23, F24, F25, F26, F27, F28, F37 (BC1, steering angle sensor, clock, instrument cluster, navigation, on-board monitor, wash/wipe, horn, audio system.) FL3 - 40A Convertible top control FL4 - 100A Electric Steering control unit/Hydraulic pump FL5 - 50A Feed to F15, F16, F17 (Sunroof, aerial antenna, rear wiper) FL6 - 40A ABS/ASC/DSC unit FL7 - 50A Feed to ignition switch FL8 - 50A BC1 (X332 20) Headlight FL9 - 50A DME unit and Switching unit 2-speed blower via I01135 (Relay electric engine cooling fan) FL10 - 50A K416, Relay heated front screen FL11 - 50A Switch unit, 2-speed blower heating & air con FL12 - 50A BC1 (X332 17) Headlight F01 - 5A Engine Control Module (ECM), Convertible top control Module F02 - 20A ECM, ignition coil, fuel injectors, crank position sensor F03 - 15A Engine control F04 - 15A Engine control F05 - 5A Engine cooling fan F06 - 30A ABS/ASC/DSC F07 - 30A Air Con compressor F08 - 30A Heating A/C blower, EHPS cooling fan F09 - 20A Windscreen wipers F010 - 15A Parking lights Passenger compartment fusebox F1 - 30A BC1 (X332 3) power windows LH F2 - 5A Steering angle sensor F3 - 5A Digital clock/Outside mirror fold-in control unit F4 - 5A BC1 (X254 27) Constant power F5 - 5A Control module for instrument cluster/Diode (From Electronic immoblizer control unit) F6 - 5A Brake light switch/Clutch switch module/Electronic immobilizer control unit EWS F7 - 5A BC1 (X254 36)/Rain sensor F8 - 5A Turn indicator/low beam switch F9 - 5A Control module for instrument cluster F10 - 5A Navigation computer/On-board monitor control unit/Radio control unit F11 - 5A K119, Relay, rear washer pump/K5 Relay, front washer pump F12 - 20A Ignition switch to heated seats F13 - 5A Reversing light switch/CVT switch F14 - 10A BC1 (X332 14) Constant power to interior/reading lamps F15 - 20A Sunroof module control unit F16 - 30A BC1/Rear window w/o antenna or Wave trap 1 w/ rear window antenna via K13/ Heated rear screen F17 - 15A BC1 (X254 43)/Rear window wiper motor via I01142 (Relay rear wiper motor) F18 - 5A Hall sensor driver & passenger buckle/Multiple restraint system (MRS system) F19 - 30A BC1 (X332 7) power windows RH F20 - 20A K96, Fuel pump relay 1 F21 - 10A Control module for instrument cluster F22 - 15A On board monitor control unit/Navigation computer/Eject box F23 - 20A K5 Relay front washer pump/K119 relay rear washer pump F24 - 5A Electronic immobilizer control unit/Horn for antitheft alarm system EWS F25 - 30A Headlight washer pump via K6 F26 - 10A Automatic transmission F27 - 15A Radio control unit/CD Changer/Amplifier F28 - 15A Volute spring/Right horn/Left horn via K2 F29 - 5A Heating and AC control module/Sensor interior temperature fan F30 - 5A Instrument cluster F31 - 30A BC1 via K4 (X253 23) Heating & A/C blower F32 - 15A Front cigar lighter via I01151 (Relay cigarette lighter front) F33 - 10A ABS/ASC/DSC unit F34 - 10A Digital engine electronics control unit direct and via K96/Eng management main relay F35 - 5A Mirror adjustment switch/Electrochrome rear view mirror/Windscreen washer jet heater/Outside mirrors F36 - 5A K416, Relay Heated front screen F37 - 20A BC1 (X332 1) Central locking F38 - F39 - 5A Alternator/Electric Steering control unit/hydraulic pump F40 - 5A Control module for instrument panel/Switch panel/Steering angle sensor F41 - 5A Park distance control unit/power to K69923, Relay fan steering control module/pump F42 - 0024 – Who can I buy parts from? There are many sources for MINI parts, both OEM and aftermarket. MINI dealers, auto part stores, Amazon and EBay all sell parts for 1st Generation MINIs. As with most purchases, the buyer needs to be informed on both the source of the part and the company that is selling the part There are also some good Small Business Vendors that we look toward. They have excellent service and you can talk to real person as well as the BOSS. Detroit Tuned - https://www.detroittuned.com/ Greene Performance - https://www.greeneperformance.com/ Helix Motorsports - http://store.helix13.com/contact-us/ Out Motoring - https://www.outmotoring.com/ 0025 – Are there DIY articles, videos, manuals etc for the working on/repairing a MINI? There is an immense amount of information for those that work on their MINI vehicles. 1.) In a couple of threads above Modmini, an owner of several Generation 1 MINIs, has prepared numerous videos on repairing. A YouTube search of Modmini will reflect these very handy videos. 2.) Bentley Publications is a company that specializes in service manuals for the majority of automobile manufacturers. They have a manual specifically for the Generation 1 MINIs with 1440 pages along with 2208 photos, illustrations and diagrams 3.) You can also find How To/DIY articles in our Tips, Tricks and How To Articles: https://www.motoringalliance.com/forums/tips-tricks-and-how-to-articles.564/ 0026 - How do I check to see if my car has any recalls outstanding? Below is a link to the MINI USA site where you can enter your VIN and determine whether your car requires recall servicing. http://www.miniusa.com/content/miniu...rt/recall.html 0027 - I am having OBD2 issues, what is a drive cycle? There are instances either the CEL or EML lights will be activated with associated codes. The ECU requires the car to be driven after resetting and/or repair – Drive Cycle. The ECU will not completely eliminate a code until this is accomplished. You may not be able to accomplish this in one drive so several days may be required. 1.) Start the engine. Let the engine idle for at least two and one half minutes. During this time the Evap Leak Detector will be evaluated. 2.) After the car has idled per above, place in gear and accelerate to 20 to 30 MPH for at least three and one half minutes. During this time the O2 sensors will be monitored. 3.) After accomplishing step # 2, accelerate to 40 to 60 MPH and maintain a steady speed for at least 15 minutes. During this time the catalytic converter efficiency is monitored. 4.) After accomplishing step # 3, idle the car for at least five minutes during which the Tank Leakage Monitor will be monitored. 0028 - I have an automatic transmission that is acting strange. Is there anything I might be able to do instead of having to take it to a shop? There is a chance you can reset the transmission module. The link below will provide information on how to try. https://us.autologic.com/news/mini-c...ion-adaptation 0029 - At what temperatures does the cooling fans come on at, and, what other than temperature will make the fans come on? The Mini Cooper Coolant systems functions as follows; low speed fan switches on at 221 and the high speed switches on at 234 (see Celsius values at end of this paragraph). When the AC is on, the low speed switches on when the system pressure is at 116 PSI with the high speed switching on when the system pressure reaches 261 PSI. The high speed fan will run without the AC being on if the set point of 234 is reached. On the Gen1 car, you can bring up the coolant temperature inside the car (will read in Centigrade) with the set points being 105 and 112. The cut off is 7 F below the cut in.