1st Gen R53 Cooper S Soot on rear bumper - engine rebuild?

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by fishmonger, Nov 24, 2015.

  1. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2015
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    Looking at a used 06 JCW 1300 miles away from home. I had it inspected and the report, other than revealing lots of oil dripping from the bottom of the engine (dip stick tube my guess based on 15 images, so no big deal) the report also indicates very low oil level on dip stick, plus noticeable soot buildup on rear bumper, license plate, etc - photos show fresh and older spots of dark matter back there. My '05 MCS does not have that issue whatsoever. JCW exhaust tips also appear totally black inside and out.

    The report suggests this is due to excessive oil consumption of the engine. Is that what you would think, too?

    If that is the case, what kind of $$$$ does it take to rebuild this engine? My guess is that this is prohibitive, unless the vehicle is dirt cheap, right?

    I can PM the report link with photos if you're curious, do not want to post publicly.
     
  2. Eric_Link

    Eric_Link New Member

    Sep 28, 2015
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    I dunno, mine are black and sooty and oil consumption is normal. The n14 does use some oil in normal operation. It could also be running rich for a variety of reasons (o2 sensor, maf, air leaks)
     
  3. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Unless the price is right I'd walk away from this one. A new short block will run about 4-5 grand plus labor.

    Then again, if this is a color / option setup that you are really into then go for it.
     
  4. caseydog

    caseydog Well-Known Member

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    Maybe it is a MINI Diesel. :D

    My 2007 tips are black beyond cleaning, but soot on the bumper and rear plate seems a little scary, to me.

    CD
     
  5. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    I walked away from it. 1300 miles from home, no compression check possible, no oil on the dip stick (so even if the car does run rich, WTF level maintenance). Filthy inside, paint rubbed through from bike carrier, basically a used up car. It had all the features we were looking for, and the low rez autotrader images were inviting, but the entire picture is just wrong. Plenty more Minis out there.
     
  6. Eric_Link

    Eric_Link New Member

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    Yeah, not a good car to get into if maintenance was ignored. Had some issues to work through on mine and it would have been cheaper to get a lower mileage newer one in the end. But it's all good now... Although the mini is named fritz, if that tells you anything!
     
  7. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
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    I believe you did the right thing. Stuff always looks better in pictures. Keep searching you'll find your car. Better spend more up front for a good car.
     
  8. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ Amen !!!
     
  9. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    I spent $8k on my dark silver Mini (much nicer, and even in person I found nothing wrong with it), and by now I have spent over $4500 to "fix it" and get it to where I want it to be. And that engine doesn't use up a drop of oil, has always seen Mobil 1 and frequent changes, etc.

    The JCW I was looking at allegedly had "brand new seat covers, looks brand new inside" when the photos from the inspector showed stains as if they were using the car to haul dead bodies around that had been in the sun too long. I was going to put in Sparco Evos anyway, but it just was another sign of lack of care, lack of honesty in the vehicle description, or just a very different concept of what looks clean and new....

    I am German (passport-carrying born and raised there) and what I consider clean may be a little different, but 6 inch sized dark stains on all red cloth seats probably qualifies as filthy in most cultures.

    I can afford a Mini that's far far nicer, would pick up a 30k mile enthusiast driven JCW for $13k in a heartbeat, but they are difficult to find (before somebody else snags them up). Everything I've found over the last 6 months just isn't worth buying for what people want, or it got away (perfect red/white 32k mile 06 JCW in Portland a month ago).

    The car I was looking at here was almost identical, but almost 80k miles, and the condition turned out to be the opposite. Massive curb rash, dents in quarter panel, paint rubbed through from bike carrier, chips and scratches on every panel, and then the stuff that really made me back off. Even at $5k, I would probably not care to pick up that vehicle.

    Now, perhaps there is black volcanic ash in the area and the car is perfect, but I am not the one who is going to gamble. Been screwed over by dealerships with alleged certified vehicles in the past that turned out to have been in wrecks, etc.

    So now I am a super cautious buyer, but here in the salt belt I pretty much cannot buy a nice Mini within a day's drive to the south. The only JCW I found in Chicago that's remotely interesting had burst brake lines and all sorts of other rust related issues.
     
  10. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    The dipstick showing little or no oil was all you needed to know. Honest dealers are few & far between. You were very wise to have someone check it out for you.
     
  11. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    It is actually possible the car checker didn't push the dip stick in to the bottom. I made the same mistake first time around, but it all was for the better. Just the photos from the inspector alone are reason to walk away. It really shows that there's just not enough detail in your common autotrader or cars.com image to see what is actually for sale.

    Buying cars long distance is difficult, but there are pretty good tools out there. Once you have the VIN of a car, you can do the Vin decoder to know what's really under the skin, and then you run a quick free history scan at motosnoop.com (why pay carfax of the other guys when most of what they do is public record?)

    We have been looking for a car for almost a year now, and more seriously for the last month. In that period I have come across many cars that were totally misrepresented, even by dealers. Just yesterday I found a nice '05 JCW in LA that at first glance looked like a nicely kept enthusiast car (with mods that are common in this crowd). Price looked almost too good for the low 50-some thousand miles. Clear title, etc - I run the VIN through motosoop and MAJOR issue detected - frame/unibody damage, title rebuild this summer. Meh.

    But all of this searching will eventually lead to the right car. Since the Mini in Albuquerque didn't pan out, we found another one in the same colors (red/white), '05 MCS with 29k miles, no sunroof, red cloth/leather seats, one owner in the south, who only drove it in the month of the year she was in the south, while for the rest of the year it remained in air conditioned storage. Almost too good to be true, so we will send another inspector out to get to the bottom of this. If it checks out, it is well worth the 120% blue book asking price, which in this case is still a grand less than the oil burner JCW in Albuquerque was listed for.
     
  12. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Good luck, hope you have found a winner. :fingerscrossed:
     
  13. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    so far so good on my most recent find. Owner had an '82 911 before the Mini. The Mini is the second car to a 7 series BMW. Considering another carcheck, but given the low miles, I may just gamble and drive down there with my truck, get a uhaul trailer, check it myself, last second decisions mayb, but the way this car looks right now I am going to buy it. It has full maintenance records from a dealership, with only a door opener cable replacement, thermostat housing replacement, Oxygen sensor replacement and passenger airbag sensor recall. Dealer did an inspection during that recall just a few months ago and the car came out all good.The rest is oil changes and new tires 4k miles ago. I'll keep you posted.

    Peter
     
  14. Eric_Link

    Eric_Link New Member

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    Sounds like a good one!
     
  15. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    Going to pick up the 29k mile '05 Mini this weekend in Florida. Unmolested R53 goodness. No sunroof, red/white, with red/black interior.
     
  16. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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  17. Eric_Link

    Eric_Link New Member

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    Sweet mini you must be stoked!
     
  18. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    Now that's one extremely nice R53 !!
     
  19. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Nice and that is the faster color!:D
     
  20. mrntd

    mrntd Well-Known Member
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    Looks like a great find. Looking forward to seeing it at the Dragon.

    But I loved the line "Mini Cooper "S" is owned by a retired snowbird lady" Really a little old lady from Pasadena. Okay maybe not Pasadena.:D
     

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