What are people running for ignition coils?

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by beken, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    My car is coming up to 260,000 kms (a bit over 161,000 miles). My car has been getting a bit of a knocking issue at hard acceleration, and a bit of a warm engine starting issue of late. Pulled my spark plug wires recently and the ignition coil connections are all a bit corroded. Not just #3. Cleaning them helped a bit.

    I suspect it is time to replace the original coil pack and spark plug wires.

    What are you using right now? I am leaning to sticking with stock original equipment...at least for the coil pack.

    I have heard some not-so-good stories about the MSD coil, along with the mounting bolt issues. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    I have also heard not so good things about MSD coils. I'd get an oem one. I've had good luck with NGK wires, oem would be good too.

    Most likely it is your wires, I'd replace those first.
     
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  3. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    OEM and only OEM as nothing more is needed. I know of several cars with 3, 4, 5, and one over 600 whp and they all use the OEM coil and wires.

    Look at it this way, the OEM stuff lasted 161,000 miles and you will not get better than that from the aftermarket parts. (Coil and Wires)
     
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  4. 00Mini

    00Mini Well-Known Member

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    OEM.
     
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  5. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    OEM in all but one of my cars. The OEM of that one is on the shelf and will go back in when I have time. In the meantime, there's a $39 Subaru coil in the car that happens to be more or less identical to the OEM. Bought it in the desert hundreds of miles away from a Mini dealer when the car wasn't running right back in 2014. Never had an issue since. Funny that this "Subaru" coil does corrode on the right rear contact just like the OEM coil does.
     
  6. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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  7. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    Okay....OEM coil it is.

    As it turns out, it is more likely that my alternator was getting ready to die than the original coil pack. Since it has died.

    So.....since my car is now at the dealership, I asked for a quote before doing any work so here we go.

    1) replace alternator. Aftermarket one by Denso (The Denso one is $400 CDN less than the MINI Alternator and they have had good experience with this one and is the only aftermarket alternators they would recommend)
    2) replace top passenger side engine mount
    3) replace belt tensioner (if needed)
    4) replace belt with JCW belt

    Total estimate came out to under $2000 CDN (that's about $1200 USD) labor and taxes included. This includes a MINI Club/"you drive an old MINI " discount on parts and labor.

    Is this a fair price?
     
  8. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Most shops in my area charge about $100 U.S. for labor. So say you have about $500 or $600 in parts it looks like they may be billing out 6 or 7 hours in labor.
     
  9. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    doing this in my garage, it would be parts only. $500 US with a new Denso alternator, but I'd go for the rebuild kit a lot less expensive: The kit is $52.30
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IDL75II/


    A fully rebuilt Denso can be had for $270
    https://www.amazon.com/Mini-1st-Alternator-Rebuilt-DENSO/dp/B0159OX79M/


    New Tensioners go between $55 and $80 at Amazon or Rock Auto - it has been my experience that they are all more or less identical

    belt ~ 16 or so, and get the right one based on your pulley - for 15% this one (JCW is for 13%, but may be the same length, not sure. My 17% pulley needs a shorter belt than the 15%, so I'd triple check that belt before taking a JCW belt)
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000C2SIXC/

    couple hours of work. Belt and tensioner can take 2 hours if you haven't done it before. You also need the belt removal special tool.

    I haven't done an alternator service with the rebuild kit, but swapping it out is pretty quick once in service mode. I'd do all sorts of other things like SC service and pull the radiator for better access, but a pro shop won't need much time to get that alternator out of there and replace. No radiator removal needed, I think.

    Labor estimate is about right, but I think you could do a lot better with parts.
     
  10. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for this. That all sounds about right.

    He quoted me $550 CDN (that much less than $500 USD) for the new Denso alternator. I didn't know they could be rebuilt. My car is 15 years old, so I didn't think it necessary to get the OEM MINI part at MINI pricing.
    This will be my 2nd replacement of the tensioner. But the service advisor said they will check to see if it really does need replacing. He said by experience, they are finding that they don't really need to be replaced as often as a lot of people are suggesting.
    I have a 15% pulley, so he said a JCW belt would fit. Interesting, he wanted to borrow my tensioner tool they don't have one at the dealership. He said the stock pulley doesn't need to tensioner tool to change the belt. But a reduced pulley, they need to use it. I did not know that. The service advisor seemed fairly knowledgeable on servicing modded MINIs.
     
  11. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    My risk an overheating engine only to save a few bucks on such a basic part. Easy to replace, cheap. I plan to replace mine every 20k miles at the latest. 160k miles and only one replacement so far? Anyone telling me at that point that "nah, it'll be find another couple of years" really doesn't know these cars or wants you to come back for a much bigger repair job. I've had a belt slipping and smelled that burnt rubber on hard throttle with a tensioner the previous owner had swapped about 40k miles before I got the car. It wasn't totally broken, but it was on its way.

    No tensioner tool at the dealership? I have no idea how they would change a stock belt without it. One of my cars came stock and there's no way we could have installed a new belt without the tool. I call BS on that comment. Maybe there's some special secret way to get a belt on the car without that tool, but I don't see how a larger diameter pulley would make that an easier task. I recommend looking for a shop that doesn't have to borrow the most basic R53 tool in the book.

    A new Denso alternator is about $430 US, which I think is a rip off. These rarely break completely, just the things found in the rebuilt kit can go bad. Lots of alternator rebuild videos on youtube. If you have a hammer, a few sockets of various larger sizes (for pounding on bearings) some big screw drivers, maybe even a table vise (or a Harbor Freight tool store nearby), you can do the rebuild on the kitchen table.

    Or save yourself the rebuild hassle, and get one that's been rebuilt by pros - not sure if you can get stuff from Rockauto in Canada, but they sell rebuilt OEM Denso alternators for the 2004 Mini S for $148.79 after core return refund. Just a lot of shipping charges to add to all that but man, less than $100 for a full rebuild job with 12 month warranty. I think I'd skip that kitchen table rebuilt and buy one there myself should I ever run into issues with mine.

    https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=988410&cc=1430887&jsn=316

    A brand new 120 amp (more output than OEM) Valeo is #230.79, in case you want to run some serious lights and big ass stereo.
     
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  12. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for your insight.
     
  13. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    No tool? Odd!
     
  14. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    I brought mine in and it turns out they do have one.

    My thoughts are if I didn't have one, they would quote me an hour to install the belt. If I did, they tell me they have one and charge me 20 minutes labor to install a belt. Just my conspiracy theory.
     
  15. beken

    beken Well-Known Member
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    So, my alternator has been replace. I also had a new belt tensioner and a new JCW belt installed. Two weeks on, I was just thinking this morning that the engine still runs super smooth and quiet. All the noise and strange sounds that I thought was because the engine was getting old and worn and the coil pack going, was all coming from the tensioner and alternator about to die.

    Since the coil is still the original coil from the factory, I'll probably still replace it later in the year. But it seems to be running very reliably still. No misfires.
     
  16. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    OEM coils are best and designed / made for the MINI unlike the aftermarket Screaming Demon and MSD coils which were made for the Dodge Neons. The MINI’s “Siemens ECU” that was made specifically for the MINI is very sensitive to voltage. Using the cheap aftermarket coil like the ones above has been known to fry the OEM ECU or BCM of both. Not worth the risk.

    OEM coils are worth the cost and are very reliable and used in custom built MINI’s making well over 350+ whp.
     
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  17. BlwnAway

    BlwnAway Well-Known Member

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    I'm still using my original coil... 225k+
     

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