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Air Filter Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Air Filter Replacement

Time:

15 min

Tab:

$15

Talent:

*

Tools:

Screwdriver

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)

Parts Required:

Air Filter

Hot Tip:

Replace pollen filter as well

Performance Gain:

Better airflow into your fuel injection system

Complementary Modification:

Install cone filter or cold air intake
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

Every 10,000 miles or so, you should change the air filter in your MINI. The air filter protects the fuel injection system and the air intake system from dust and debris that can be sucked in under normal operation. On the MINI, the air filter is contained in a bubble-like housing that is located in the front left side of the engine compartment.

Removal begins by first removing the hose clamp holding the upper, rubber intake hose to the air filter housing. The stock MINI hose clamps use a special tool to remove and reinstall the clamp. However, you can use a small flat-head screwdriver to undo the hose clamp. In our case, we simply replaced the clamp with a traditional screw type. (See Figure 1) Next, pull the rubber intake hose off the air filter housing (See Figure 2)

At the front of the air filter housing, there are two T25 Torx mounting screws that hold the front edge of the housing cover in place. As you loosen the screws, the cover will detach itself from the lower housing. (See Figure 3)

On the left side of the airbox cover, there is a plastic box holding the terminal for the jumpstart connection point. Push the box up and it will pop free of the housing. Carefully move the box to the left up and over the "finger" that supports it on the airbox. (See Figure 4)

Now lift the airbox cover up and off the car. You will see the old filter underneath. Pull it out of the lower housing and inspect it. Typically, if it's full of dirt and dust, it's time to replace it. (See Figure 5) It's also a good idea to clean out the lower airbox cover with a rag if there is a lot of dust or dirt. (See Figure 6)

Place the new filter in place, making sure that the orientation is correct. The pleated side should go on the bottom. Wipe off the inside of the airbox cover and place it over the mounting tab located on the back of the lower airbox cover near the firewall. This point secures the airbox cover in the back.

Now, pivot the airbox down at the front and tighten he two screws. Be careful doing this, as the threads are plastic and can strip out easily. Take the jumpstart terminal box and reposition it over the "finger" on the side. Remember, the finger goes in-between the two cables underneath the box. Slide it all the way over to the right and press down to lock it in place.

Re-attach the upper airbox hose at the front and make note of the rubber tab on the front. This tab fits into a notch on the front of the airbox. Make sure they line up correctly and either use the special BMW tool to re-tighten the OEM hose clamp or use a regular screw type hose clamp to secure the hose. (See Figure 7)

On the R50 MINI Cooper, the procedure for changing the air filter is essentially the same, except that the airbox and also the fastening screws are in a different location. Like the "S" models, loosen and remove the two T25 Torx screws and carefully pull the hinged cover off the airbox.

Now, on the R55/R56/R57 MINI, the procedure for changing the air filter is a little different. For the Cooper models, you'll need to loosen the four Torx screws around the perimeter of the airbox housing and also the 10mm bolt holding the upper airbox cover to the valve cover (See Figure 8). At this point, you should be able to lift the cover off and replace the filter element inside (See Figure 9). The replacement procedure for the MINI Cooper S models is basically the same except for the attachment of the upper airbox cover.

Remove the plug going to the mass airflow sensor and also loosen the hose clamp directly in front of it. Now loosen the four Torx screws along the front edge of the cover (See Figure 10). The airbox itself is hinged at the rear, so that when you lift the cover off, it will release. Directly underneath is the filter element. Simply pull the old one out, wipe down the inside of the airbox and install the new filter element (See Figure 11).

For the MINI Cooper there are basically two different types of air filters--the stock paper or cloth air filters and aftermarket units. These aftermarket units utilize an oil-soaked fabric to achieve freer airflow. The bottleneck for airflow in the MINI engine is not necessarily the air filter. The primary advantage of the aftermarket units is that you usually only have to purchase one, and it will last the life of your car.

No matter what your friends tell you; these aftermarket filters will not add any significant horsepower to your engine. Many tests on a dynamometer have revealed that the freer flow air filters do not suddenly "create" horsepower out of thin air. If you install one of these filters into your car and "swear" there's more horsepower, then have a friend do a blind test for you. Have him switch the filters in and out at random and see if you can tell the difference. This is what is commonly called the placebo effect: perceiving significant gains in performance just because you added a "performance part."

The downside to using these aftermarket filters is that they often do not filter as well as the factory units. The bottom line is that you need to carefully research any aftermarket filter before you install it into your car. I personally prefer to use the stock OEM cloth/paper filters to ensure maximum filtering and protection. Whichever one you choose, make sure that it filters as well as or better than the original MINI specifications.

Loosen the hose clamp holding the upper air hose to the air filter housing.
Figure 1

Loosen the hose clamp holding the upper air hose to the air filter housing. The OEM MINI hose clamp uses a special tool to remove and re-attach the hose clamp, but a flat blade screwdriver will suffice in removal. In our case, we simply replaced the hose clamp with a traditional screw type.

Next, pull the rubber hose off the upper air filter housing.
Figure 2

Next, pull the rubber hose off the upper air filter housing.

Loosen the two mounting screws (green arrows) to gain access to the air filter underneath.
Figure 3

Loosen the two mounting screws (green arrows) to gain access to the air filter underneath.

Pull the jump start terminal up out of it's holder on the side of the air filter housing and slide it off the finger on the outside.
Figure 4

Pull the jump start terminal up out of it's holder on the side of the air filter housing and slide it off the finger on the outside. Keep in mind that the "finger" goes in between the two cables when you re-install it.

Remove the upper air filter housing and the air filter is right underneath.
Figure 5

Remove the upper air filter housing and the air filter is right underneath.

It's a good idea to wipe down the inside of the air filter housing to clean up and dirt or grime.
Figure 6

It's a good idea to wipe down the inside of the air filter housing to clean up and dirt or grime. Just an additional measure of care to be taken while you're in there.

Note the tab on the upper air hose and the notch on the air filter housing (green arrows) when installed, the tab fits into the notch.
Figure 7

Note the tab on the upper air hose and the notch on the air filter housing (green arrows) when installed, the tab fits into the notch.

(R50 MINI Cooper) The air filter housing on the Non-S cars is a little bit different.
Figure 8

(R50 MINI Cooper) The air filter housing on the Non-S cars is a little bit different. Loosen the hose clamp shown here (purple arrow), pull off the intake hose and also the two T25 Torx screws (green arrows). Now lift the airbox cover up and off the air filter housing.

(R50 MINI Cooper) Shown here is the filter underneath the airbox cover.
Figure 9

(R50 MINI Cooper) Shown here is the filter underneath the airbox cover.

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Shown here are the four screws (green arrows) and the 10mm bolt (purple arrow) that hold down the air filter cover on the Mk2 MINI Cooper.
Figure 10

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Shown here are the four screws (green arrows) and the 10mm bolt (purple arrow) that hold down the air filter cover on the Mk2 MINI Cooper.

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Remove the screws and bolt, and then lift the cover up.
Figure 11

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Remove the screws and bolt, and then lift the cover up. The filter element is directly below as shown here. Remove the filter, wipe down the inside of both the filter housing and cover, and install the new filter.

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Shown here are the four screws that hold down the air filter cover on the Mk2 MINI Cooper S (green arrows).
Figure 12

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Shown here are the four screws that hold down the air filter cover on the Mk2 MINI Cooper S (green arrows). Loosen these screws as well as the hose clamp (yellow arrow) and remove the electrical plug from the air flow meter by squeezing the tabs (purple arrow).

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Remove the filter cover and pull it out of the intake hose.
Figure 13

(Mk2 MINI Cooper) Remove the filter cover and pull it out of the intake hose. You'll see the filter just below. Remove the filter, wipe down the inside of both the filter housing and cover, and install the new filter.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Damien Comments: Any idea who makes the OEM air filter? Does Mini / BMW manufacture themselves or does another company make them and slap Mini / BMW branding on?

I see MANN, WIX, FRAM, K&N, MAHLE, aFe, Pipercross, etc.

Any brand that is known to be good? Or is a filter pretty much just a filter. It's my daily so it's not like I autocross or anything.
May 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure who the OE supplier is for the air filter. I would think MANN or Mahle would be fine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Scotty Comments: When is your new mini book releases
December 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not 100% sure. In the mean time, you can grab the Bentley repair manual. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the book.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Greg D Comments: Is the mini book ready yet? Clicking the link doesnt give any option to purchase yet. :-
September 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not sure. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Francois Comments: Would like to but your book
Mai tain And modify you mini
May 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can get you a copy. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tXu Comments: Does anyone know what that hose/tube in Figure 8 under the synthetic oil sticker on the air filter box is called?
it was connected to a hole in the air filter box and led up to the grill R50 i cant find it anywhere
February 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I see a wiring harness there. Out of the intake air housing, at the bottom is the intake air duct. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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