1st Gen R53 Cooper S Possibly buying today

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by jamey, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. jamey

    jamey New Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    2
    0
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Hi all, this is my first post and i do apoligize in advance for not searching past threads for answers but i am extremely short on time as i am planning on buying the mini today.

    here's the low down:
    2003 Mini Cooper S with 89,000 miles. owner has owned for about 16 months and is selling with plans on buying a newer model. The overall shape looks to be in good condition but it isn't without it's flaws. The headliner is coming down in the back, and there is some general wear on the interior.

    I test drove it yesterday and overall I was pleased but did have a few questions i wanted to get an outside opinion about.

    1. when i test drove, the car made a whining noise when i turned the steering wheel. The owner said it was just the mini's electric steering. Is this true or should i be wary of this?

    2. when i first went to turn out of drive way (wheel turned somewhat sharp) and accelerated the car made three quick knock sounds. no idea what this was as it didn't do it as speed around curves and stopped after the third turn from dead stop.

    3 . is there anything I should be aware of with buying a mini of this year and with 89k miles on it?

    4. I'm getting it for 7,200.00 is that a good deal?

    I'm getting this as a second vehicle for my wife as we just moved to hawaii and need a second car (military only ships one)

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Mr. Jim

    Mr. Jim Mudshark
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 22, 2010
    3,390
    1,213
    113
    North Carolina
    Ratings:
    +1,221 / 0 / -0
    Hello and welcome! The only thing that whines is the supercharger! Sounds like maybe a powersteering pump ready to bite the big one.

    I'm sure the others will chime in soon for the rest.

    Cheers
    Mr. Jim
     
  3. AXO

    AXO New Member

    Nov 25, 2010
    91
    0
    0
    Wellington, Florida
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    I second the steering pump. I am not sure about the knocking......? (Maybe bushings)
     
  4. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    25,144
    10,033
    113
    Writer
    Short North
    Ratings:
    +10,050 / 0 / -0
    Don't think I would buy that MINI today until a tech checks it out fully. From what you write it sure does sound like there are some issues.

    Be wary, ask the seller for service records and see if the power steering pump or fan has ever been replaced. It does not whine.

    Any kickback in the steering wheel when that happened? Crawl underneath and inspect those CV boots, make sure there is no grease on the outside of them and they are not torn. Also could be be front control arm bushings, again check the service history and see if they have ever been replaced. If not I'll wager they need replacement.

    Check the tops of the strut towers under the hood to make sure they are not "mushroomed" In short all the bolts should be facing straight up.

    Check the coolant catch tank, look at the seams to make sure there they are not cracked, they have a tendency to split there.

    As much as I hate to point people off this site check out this Buyers Guide. MotoringFile » MINI R50/R53 Buyers Guide

    Welcome to M/A and thanks for joining.
     
  5. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    5,146
    1,300
    113
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Ratings:
    +1,300 / 0 / -0
    ^^
    Good advice Nathan.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Administrator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator

    Apr 23, 2009
    12,156
    3,162
    113
    Maryland, USA
    Ratings:
    +3,164 / 0 / -0
    Best advice on ANY car with that kind of age and mileage is to have a tech look at it first, esp. if you have concerns. I know that's not always an option when you're in a hurry.

    I don't mean to disagree with others, but your description of the steering whine sounds like mine and I've had it since I bought it new in '02. I even remember there were many people asking back then (on another forum) whether that whining was a sign of a problem and the overwhelming consensus at the time was that it was, indeed, normal and heard by all. It's not loud on mine so I only hear it when stationary or at low speeds, but it hasn't changed one iota since I drove it off the dealer's lot. I remember hearing the same thing on my test drive in their demo MINI in May '02 and I noticed it again in my own car on a drive just this week.

    As to your other questions, good advice above so far, and I don't know anything about the price.
     
  7. jamey

    jamey New Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    2
    0
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    sadly we have decided against this mini. I called the local BMW shop to get an overview of past maintance records on the car, and they had no major records and nothing at all past 2007. The tech told me the whining was probably the steering unit going bad (1k to replace) and that I should honestly expect a clutch change in the near future with it being around 90k miles (2k for that job), and he also told me that the average supercharger life is about 120k and that would be very expensive.

    so, after speaking with them I called the owner and asked if he would have a problem letting me take the mini to the BMW shop to have them look it over. I offered to leave a certified check from my bank made out to him just for CYA. He said that he would not be ok with me taking the car, AND also told me his schedule was much to busy to drive it down there himself when i asked if he would mind driving it then. soooo alot of bad news vibes from that guy!

    So if your shopping around for a mini on Oahu stear clear of this one! 03 Mini Cooper S
     
  8. Steve

    Steve Administrator
    Staff Member Articles Moderator

    Apr 23, 2009
    12,156
    3,162
    113
    Maryland, USA
    Ratings:
    +3,164 / 0 / -0
    I'd say you made the right choice. Here's hoping you can find another in better shape. :Thumbsup:

    Good luck.
     
  9. Johngo

    Johngo New Member
    Supporting Member

    May 18, 2010
    1,671
    200
    0
    Art Director
    Sugar Hill, GA
    Ratings:
    +200 / 0 / -0
    That sounds like you were definitely on your way to getting screwed over. Good choice!

    Yours is out there. No worries! :Thumbsup:
     
  10. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    5,146
    1,300
    113
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Ratings:
    +1,300 / 0 / -0
    Good choice! It's never a good idea to get in a hurry when buying a car and it's even more true with a used one. If someone selling a car will not or cannot let you have the time to get it properly inspected the game is over then and there, walk away and forget about that one...

    Good luck on finding the right one!
     
  11. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    25,144
    10,033
    113
    Writer
    Short North
    Ratings:
    +10,050 / 0 / -0
    The karma was not right for this one, keep looking if you have the luxury of time and the right MINI will find you.
     
  12. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
    19,281
    9,827
    113
    Retired old fart
    Hooterville Ohio USA
    Ratings:
    +11,330 / 2 / -0
    Lots of great MINI's out there jamey. Keep looking & you will find yours.
     
  13. Justa Jim

    Justa Jim Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 6, 2009
    7,422
    1,678
    113
    Ratings:
    +1,678 / 0 / -0
    Actually "it will find you". :Thumbsup:

    Jim
     
  14. AXO

    AXO New Member

    Nov 25, 2010
    91
    0
    0
    Wellington, Florida
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0
    Cherers to you Jamey for not making a rash decision... The right Mini will come along...
     
  15. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
    Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    1,339
    1,676
    113
    IT - Complex business systems in the cloud
    Delta, BC
    Ratings:
    +1,948 / 1 / -0
    If by whining noise, you mean something that sounds like an electric motor, then I will disagree with others here. There is a whining electric motor noise that you can hear when the windows are rowed down and you're not going that fast. It's not that loud. Having said that, the pre-2005 MINIs do have a habit of power steering fan motors blowing out due to debris getting caught in them under the car, so look carefully.

    I would, however agree with others here that, given all the other issues, you probably made the right choice to wait until the right MINI finds you. Keep looking. There are other MINIs that are in really good shape out there. Most of us absolutely baby our cars. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Rae

    Rae Club Coordinator

    Oct 14, 2010
    907
    77
    0
    teacher for severely/multiply disabled students
    Oregon
    Ratings:
    +77 / 0 / -0
    I had a similar experience looking for my perfect GP, she has found me, and we have many plans for a long term track relationship! As far as power steering pumps go, ask if they've put on the upgrade kit, it's a baffle thingy that keeps crap from getting sucked in. Worth the $150 (installed), and a sign that the car's been meticulously cared for :) good luck!
     
  17. Eric@Helix

    [email protected] New Member
    Motoring Alliance Founding Sponsor

    May 4, 2009
    1,154
    1,257
    0
    Shepherd
    Philadelphia
    Ratings:
    +1,257 / 0 / -0
    OP, might I suggest that you take any potential MINI to a MINI specialist in your area for a pre-purchase inspection. It'll be the best one hour of labor you ever spent. Good luck!
     

Share This Page