1st Gen "How To" Lighten up! R56 cast aluminum rear trailing arm conversion for the R50/53 MINI

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One of the best places to reduce weight to improve handling and ride is where there is unsprung mass. This includes wheels, brakes, and suspension...
By Ryephile · Jan 24, 2018 ·
  1. Ryephile

    Ryephile New Member

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    Sully submitted a new Article:

    Lighten up! R56 cast aluminum rear trailing arm conversion for the R50/53 MINI

    Read more about this article here...
     
  2. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    I just went online to price the parts for this job. Unless you source trailing arms and ABS sensors and bracket used, that $750 price tag moves up to $1150.

    That said - anyone know if Helix still sells that referenced part? Do I absolutely need that? I can't find it on their website. Doing research elsewhere now to get more info on what that adapter actually does before I spend any money on an upgrade my car doesn't really need... but when did that ever stop me before :D
     
  3. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Helix does sell them, but so does DT. I sourced my trailing arms from Colin Greene (Greene Preformance). My arms came with everything (junk yard take offs) I needed except some nuts and bolts which I got from my local MINI parts guy. No need to use old bolts twice. Colin also media blasted them for me before he shipped them so everything looked brand new.

    My friend picked also picked up his set at MOTD this past Spring from ALLMAG for a decent price. Below you will find a link to R56 trailing arms for $169 each from Dustin at ALLMAG.

    https://www.allmagautoparts.com/collections/mini-cooper/r56+axles-and-suspension
     
  4. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    FYI- I am ocd so I also replaced my brake cables with new R56 cables. You can “rig” the R53 to work but why not do the whole job right the first time.
     
  5. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    actually, a pair of these arms with brake sensors can be found for $99 shipped. can blast them myself, not a big deal, but good to know the part that isn't a Mini off the shelf part or take-off can still be sourced. Having that stuff custom made would complicate this job more than I care for. And absolutely right about those bolts - most of these are torque to yield and cannot be used twice, like caliper mount and wheel bearing mount bolts

    Never thought about the brake cables. good to know. That whole job, should I decide to do it, will include Powerflex bushings on the main trailing arm bracket, as well as a second set of control arms from Helix to match the lowers. Brand new wheel bearings as well - fronts are new as of 2000 miles ago
     
  6. clifforddward

    clifforddward Active Member

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    Did the R56 parking brake conversion when I did my trailing arm conversion...a simple few hour job when done at the same time.
     
  7. cristo

    cristo Well-Known Member

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    Be careful with the bolts.
    The threads are easier to strip on the
    aluminum trailing arm than the steel one.
     
  8. cristo

    cristo Well-Known Member

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    This advice of course also applies to
    everyone with a later model MINI that
    already has the aluminum trailing arm.

    Be careful with that lower bolt when
    changing the rear shocks.
     
  9. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    I got all new hardware and did not use the old bolts.
     
  10. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    #10 fishmonger, Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
    Just an FYI - Helix does not offer the shock adapter any longer. I was told I could just run R56 shocks, which doesn't help much when you have $$$$ coilovers on the car made for an R53. Interesting that all the ebay auctions selling "conversion kits" state "will only need Helix Adapters to make this kit complete" ...

    I need some more detail on those parts - aren't they more or less cone shaped washers at a particular angle? Not really the hardest thing to draw up in the emachineshop.com CAD program and have them made. Heck, I could become the new source of these parts if it turns out nobody else has them any longer.

    Before I do that, I'll check with Way, since he sells a conversion kit including adapters.

    edit - WMW sells the part. Not cheap, but I need it and it beats custom fab rates

    https://www.waymotorworks.com/wmw-rear-shock-spacers.html $40 shipped
     
  11. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Yeah $40 is steep but they are a specialized part. I either got mine from WMW or Outmotoring I forget.

    Are you sure Chad at Detroit Tuned does not have them?
     
  12. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    don't know about DT - it's not on their web site under suspension where one would expect this (but I found 5 different air lift shock kits for the slammers...) . Perhaps they have a stash, but I found it at WMW first. They were fast to answer my question after I found their kit but couldn't locate the bushing. They called it something different in the kit that didn't bring up the item listing.
     
  13. Sully

    Sully Administrator
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    Hmm.. this I didn't know. Is that specific to the MINI? On my BMW's I've reused the bolts many times. I do use locktight on them. I knew head bolts were one time use..
     
  14. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    I read about that on some Brit Mini forum. Maybe not the same bolts, but always a good idea to replace that stuff.

    Also many BMW brake pad / rotor kits come with new bolts in the same kit, threadlocker already applied on these, clearly meant to replace that hardware after you open the calipers up.

    I don't know for sure of these bolts on the caliper bracket are TTY bolts, but if they are they are designed to stretch when torqued, and they won't rebound to original size after that. DOn't try that a econd time, although I am sure you could re-use those bolts with Locktite a few times unless you over-tighten them, but it's the freaking brakes and bolts are cheap.

    I learned how elastic those bolts are from a Tundra rear caliper bracket bolt that I tried to loosen but then got that righty tighty lefty loosy thing all wrong. Big breaker bar with extension pipe and no success, before I realized that I was going the wrong way. When I got that bolt out, it was about 20% thinner in some areas but it didn't fail. That stretch is part of a their design to tighten stuff on that one single use.

    http://collision.alldata.com/online2help/shopOps/Inspection_Forms,_System_Checklists_and_Customer_Questions/Answers_to_Common_Customer_Questions/Engine/Why_should_torque-to-yield_head_bolts_be_re-used.htm

    GM seems to use TTY bolts on caliper brackets and wheel bearings - see

    http://safebraking.com/brake-tech-torque-to-yield-caliper-bracket-bolts-on-gm-vehicles/

    I can find a lot about GM using this on many of their vehicles, not much for Euro brands and nothing about Mini. Guess locktite the old bolt and call it good. I did that with the Wilwoods on this car up front, and they are still tight. Just being anal here with the all new rear stuff, just replace everything!

    In fact, I am thinking of pulling a perfectly good rear anti-roll bar and putting in a new one while I have all this stuff off the car. That rear subframe could also use a sand blasting and new coat of paint in some areas. Suddenly the project is getting quite large...
     
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  15. Sully

    Sully Administrator
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    Agreed - if they are stretch bolts, only use once. I just hadn't heard that, granted I was working on old(er) junk.
     
  16. Sully

    Sully Administrator
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    I know this all to well... scope creep. :D
     

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