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Exhaust Manifold Gasket Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Exhaust Manifold Gasket Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$5 to $10

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm, 10mm socket

Applicable Models:

R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)

Parts Required:

Gasket

Hot Tip:

Work on a cold car

Performance Gain:

No exhaust leaks

Complementary Modification:

Replace O-2 sensors

The exhaust gasket on the R53 is a single piece and seals the gap between the exhaust manifold and the head. If you are starting to get unusual exhaust sounds coming from this area or even excessive heat, there is a good chance the exhaust gasket has failed and you are getting blow by of the hot exhaust gases. Replacement is not difficult, just make sure the system is cold before you start to work on it.

If you live in a four season climate and you have a lot of corrosion on your hardware try to begin by soaking everything in penetrating oil and it is best if you can do this over a few days and heat cycles before you attempt to remove everything.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The exhaust manifold is located on the rear of the engine.
Figure 1

The exhaust manifold is located on the rear of the engine. You will need to be able to reach down behind the motor to remove it (red arrow).

If you have an after-market strut brace that interferes with access to the work area, you will need to remove it.
Figure 2

If you have an after-market strut brace that interferes with access to the work area, you will need to remove it. Most after-market braces attach to two of the three shock tower bolts; if you only remove two you should not upset the alignment of the vehicle.

Remove the brace hardware and then remove the brace to free up room.
Figure 3

Remove the brace hardware and then remove the brace to free up room. If your strut is tied into the complete shock tower mounting bolts you will need to have your alignment checked after re-installing it.

Looking in behind the engine you can see the heat shield above the exhaust manifold (red arrow).
Figure 4

Looking in behind the engine you can see the heat shield above the exhaust manifold (red arrow). Depending on the type of coils you have it may be easier to move the plugs and wiring harness out of the way (yellow arrow).

Remove the two 13mm bolts (red arrows) and remove the heat shield.
Figure 5

Remove the two 13mm bolts (red arrows) and remove the heat shield.

With the heat shield removed you can access the exhaust manifold (red arrow).
Figure 6

With the heat shield removed you can access the exhaust manifold (red arrow). It is a tight fit but remove the eight 10mm bolts holding the manifold to the head.

The bolts can get corroded on and there is a chance that you may need to use a small breaker bar to loosen them.
Figure 7

The bolts can get corroded on and there is a chance that you may need to use a small breaker bar to loosen them. The bolts sit very deep into the head and if you feel you are going to break the bolt stop and hit it with some more penetrating oil. If you can heat cycle the bolts a few times with the penetrating oil it will help

Here is a picture of the bolt; check them for condition and replace as needed.
Figure 8

Here is a picture of the bolt; check them for condition and replace as needed.

Once the bolts are out you can slide the head back a little, remove the old gasket and insert the new one.
Figure 9

Once the bolts are out you can slide the head back a little, remove the old gasket and insert the new one. Installation is the reverse of removal.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Drew Comments: When replacing my manifold gasket, I found most of the bolts had oil on them. Doesn't seem like oil should be in this area. What would cause this?
December 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The valve cover may be leaking. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mansur Comments: Question:
The replacement gasket's 4 holes for the 4 holes in the manifold have raised edges. What's the orientation of the gasket? Does the side with the raised edges go towards the engine or the manifold?

I installed a new gasket today and torqued down the bolts and it's spewing exhaust.
December 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: MINI does not specify an orientation. I usually put the raised edges for the ports toward the manifold. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Tue 11/21/2017 03:10:56 AM