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Installing a High Performance Coil Pack
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Installing a High Performance Coil Pack

Time:

30 min

Tab:

$130

Talent:

*

Tools:

10mm socket with extension, flathead 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)

Parts Required:

MSD Coil, (4) M6 x 50mm bolts

Hot Tip:

Don't over tighten the bolts holding the coil to the valve cover.

Performance Gain:

increase in engine combustion, slight power increase

Complementary Modification:

Install MSD plug wires, colder heat range plugs
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.

One of the easiest projects you can perform on your MINI is to install an aftermarket higher output coil. The MSD coil pack for the MINI Cooper is a great addition to any MINI that has had additional work done to it, such as an underdrive pulley or upgraded software. The MSD coil packs are manufactured with better materials and windings to provide a stronger spark throughout the RPM range. A stronger spark burns the fuel/air mixture much more efficiently, which can result in improved mid range power and also a smoother idle.

Another benefit of the MSD coil pack is that the terminals are constructed of brass rather than the plated steel terminals of the OEM coil pack. The terminals on the OEM Coil have a tendency to develop rust, which over time degrades the conductivity of the spark, resulting in loss or power and poor fuel economy. The best part of the swap is that the MSD unit is cheaper than the OEM coil. For those of you running performance software and also an underdrive pulley, it's a good idea to also run a set of colder spark plugs. This helps with pre-ignition and is something that should be considered with a performance ignition setup.

A colder spark plug is designed for use in modified engines where the combustion chamber temps are higher than stock. Basically, the higher the number, the colder the plug. For example, the stock NGK plug for the MINI is BKR6QUP. This is an extra measure of safety in your engine when running a supercharger pulley or higher output coils.

For MINI Cooper S's that are running a 15% reduced supercharger pulley, it's recommended that you change the plug to the NGK BKR7EQUP. This is basically the same plug as stock, except it runs one heat stage colder. It should also be noted that the BKR7EQUP is the plug used by the factory when cars are converted to the John Cooper Works Kit. You can also get the Iridium version of the plug NGK BKR7EIX. This offers the benefit of a longer service life, but is also more expensive.

To change the coil, first take note of the firing order on the old coil. The new MSD coil does not have numbers embossed into the housing for easy identification. The easiest way to go about this is make a small diagram showing the terminal locations so you wont get confused hooking up the wires to the new coil. Disconnect the spark plug wires from the old coil, marking them as needed with some masking tape.

At the rear of the coil, you will need to disconnect the electrical harness that plugs into it. Use a small screwdriver to pry the lock tab to the left. This will allow you to slide the connector off the back of the coil. It's a good idea to inspect the inside of the plug for any corrosion that may have built up on the terminals.

Next, remove the four 10mm bolts that secure the old coil to the valve cover. These bolts ride in a mounting sleeve with an O-ring on either end. Unfortunately, these bolts cannot be removed from the old coil. You will need four M6x50 bolts to secure the MSD coil to the valve cover. These bolts can be found at any decent hardware store. Be sure to use metric fasteners. Once in place, re-fit the electrical connector and press the locking tab to the right.

The last step is to plug the wire ends from each plug back onto the new coil. It's a good idea to put a small dab of dielectric grease on the tip of each terminal. This will help the spark plug boots slide on to the coil and also prevent moisture from building up on the terminal. Just a SMALL amount is needed. If you put too much, it could prevent the connections from making contact.

Shown here is the new MSD coil pack along with 4 new M8x35 bolts that you will need in order to install the new coil.
Figure 1

Shown here is the new MSD coil pack along with 4 new M6x50 bolts that you will need in order to install the new coil.

Make a note of the terminal locations for the old coil as the numbers are not embossed on the new coil.
Figure 2

Make a note of the terminal locations for the old coil as the numbers are not embossed on the new coil.

Next, Remove all the plug leads from the OEM coil.
Figure 3

Next, Remove all the plug leads from the OEM coil. In this picture, you can see the corrosion already forming on the terminals of the OEM coil. The brass terminals on the MSD coil solves this problem.

At the rear of the coil is the electrical harness plug.
Figure 4

At the rear of the coil is the electrical harness plug. Take a small screwdriver and gently slide the red lock tab out to the left.

Once the lock tab is pressed out, you should be able to simply pull the electrical harness plug off the old coil.
Figure 5

Once the lock tab is pressed out, you should be able to simply pull the electrical harness plug off the old coil. Be sure to inspect the terminals inside for any corrosion that may have built up inside.

Remove the four 10mm bolts securing the old coil to the valve cover and simply lift it off.
Figure 6

Remove the four 10mm bolts securing the old coil to the valve cover and simply lift it off.

Using the new metric hardware, place the new coil on the valve cover with the electrical connection facing the rear.
Figure 7

Using the new metric hardware, place the new coil on the valve cover with the electrical connection facing the rear. Lightly tighten the bolts to secure the coil to the valve cover.

Place the electrical connector onto the new MSD coil and press the locking tab back in place.
Figure 8

Place the electrical connector onto the new MSD coil and press the locking tab back in place.

Shown here is the new MSD coil mounted in place with all the spark plug leads re-installed.
Figure 9

Shown here is the new MSD coil mounted in place with all the spark plug leads re-installed.

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Comments and Suggestions:
DJ Dan Comments: I know this is an old thread, but I found these on another site. Would it be better to purchase these than bolts from the hardware store?

https://www.ecstuning.com/Mini-2005-Cooper-R50-Base-Coupe-L4_1.6L_W10B16A/ES16494/
May 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: best bet is to get them from pelican, so they are right. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gary Comments: Hi just had leak blow through coolant reservoir saturating coil
unfortunate placement of both car not turning over
I'm assuming coil is damaged what say yee?
April 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would think so, or just soaked and causing arcing. Try drying it off, then check spark output. Should be able to produce 20kv. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kiwimini Comments: I have just installed msd coils and leads on our two R53s. I am now wondering If I made the right choice. I looked at how to fit the OEM fastener but couldn't drill out the msd sleeve as they would just spin around, tried gently tapping one out but they are well stuck in there.

So I have ended up using stainless button head M6 x 50 allen bolts with a flat washer between the metal inserts in the valve cover and underside of the coil, and another flat washer and spring washer acting on the top of the sleeve. I used blue threadlocker and tightened the bolts to just 5 ft/lb vs the 9 ft /lb for the stock setup. I feel that by using the small m6 flat washers i have only applied stress to the msd coil's inserts, but have no vibration isolation as described in this thread, so I am a bit concerned about it's longevity and cracking.
April 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hard to say. I would think you need the insulating value of the factory parts. I would give MSD a call and see if they have a solution. Or Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JeffL Comments: Nick - not trying to argue, just describe the situation accurately so that others who purchase these coils know what they are getting in to. I have a 2006 Mini Cooper S sitting in my garage and have done this myself. The OE design does both - stops the bolts from puncturing the valve cover with the sleeve and isolates the vibration with the rubber washers. If the sleeve is missing the rubber washers are squashed and stiffen due the squashing and the bolt can be torqued through the valve cover. The rubber washers only isolate vibration. They do not stop the bolts and are not intended to. That's how isolation works. With the sleeve the washers cannot be squashed and they are permitted to function as intended - isolate the vibration to some extent - low frequency anywaybecause they have not been stiffened due to high strain. I speak from experience as a MC owner and a structural engineer with seismic vibration isolation experience. So - to those replacing coils - be sure you understand the mounting design of the coil before you purchase or proceed or you will have problems.
December 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the discussion. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JeffL Comments: No, the washers have nothing to do with setting the bolt depth and the bolts are not stopped at all by them. If you install the original coil, with the original bolts and sleeves, but without the washers, the coil slides up and down about 1/4" on the sleeves. The bolts are stopped by the sleeves, not the washers. That's the misconception. The idea is to ISOLATE the coil on the rubber washers. The coil floats on the bolts/sleeves but is "supported" by the cushion of the washers that are slightly compressed when the bolts are fully torqued against the sleeves.
December 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Jeff, I don't want to argue. It's not about stopping the bolts, it's about insulating vibration. If the lower washers are left out, the valve cover will be damaged. This is speaking from experience in the shop and seeing guys make this mistake.

I would field your complaint directly to the aftermarket coil manufacturers that you are displeased with the construction. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JeffL Comments: Using the rubber washers is of course needed to isolate the vibration. That's not the issue here. Without the metal sleeve as a stop, the bolts break through the valve cover. The sleeve limits how far the bolts can advance into the threaded inserts in the valve cover AND limits how compressed the rubber washers can be AND allows full torquing of the bolts. The sleeve is a necessary original design detail that is MISSING from nearly all replacement coils. Without the sleeve, the valve cover can be damaged, the rubber washers over compressed, and the bolts can vibrate back out. I don't know why the replacement coil manufacturers have not seen this.
December 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The washers help to set the depth. On factory coils, if the washers are left out the valve cover will fail as well.

I do agree, the sleeves should remain in the installation, not sure why they are omitted. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JeffL Comments: What concerns me is the omission of the OE sleeve around the bolts. The sleeve serves an important purpose as alluded to in previous posts - keeps the bolts from cracking the valve cover. But, more importantly, the sleeves allow torquing of the bolts against the sleeve, and not the rubber donut washers. That way the washers isolate the vibration but are not completely squashed. Why aren't the manufacturers of these aftermarket coils seeing this? My advice would be to drill out the metal sleeve and use the original so the attachment is correct. Any thoughts? Any coils that actually accept the OE bolts?
December 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: To prevent cracking, I believe you have to transfer the rubber insulators over from the old coils. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
James Comments: Hello Nick, I see you on North Motoring stating that STOCK ignition coil is better than MSD Ignition but I see you install this. Ive seen so many people saying that stock is better than MSD. I just installed mine and works great but is the MSD the same voltage output as the stock ones? SO which is better? Confused a little on this. Thanks in advance!
January 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Frankly in my world, I prefer to stick to factory parts. However this does not mean the MSD coil is or lesser quality. I work mainly with daily driers at this point. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pooga Comments: Hi, great write up firstly. I unfortunately didn't read it until after I installed mine. I am concerned I may have damaged the valve cover. I used the Alta supplied bolts but when I was tightening two of the bolts I heard like a clicking noise. The valve cover does not appear to have any visible cracks and I've driven the car and noticed no issues, no oil smell or smoke. Is it possible I've cracked just underneath? Should I replace the valve cover or is it possible I've just dislodged the threads?
January 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume it is cracked. Check for any sign of oil staining. If you find it, replace the valve cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kevenmac Comments: I have a 2002 R50 with everything stock. Was going to put a new coil pack, plug wires, and plugs in since I am at 185k miles. Since everything is stock, if I go with the performance coil to save money do I need to use specific wires or plugs, or can I stick with stock? Thanks.
September 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: you can stick with the stock wires and plugs. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
weaselciuy Comments: Hello,
The article says "will need four M6x50 bolts" but the picture has "along with 4 new M8x35 bolts" .

Which one is the right now? Im not good with bolts .

Thank you
September 8, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You'll want to use M6 x 50mm bolts. Be careful when tightening. The factory bolts have a sleeve that prohibit them from being overtightened. The replacement bolts if overtightened may crack the valve cover. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Oakleyguy Comments: Hi,
Don't you need to re-use the original rubber washers?
Is it OK not to use them?
Cheers.
August 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you do have to swap the rubber washers over from the oil cold. Thanks for the feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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