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MINI Home > Mini Technical Articles

MINI Cooper
Technical Articles

Welcome to our MINI Cooper Technical Articles section. We've gathered a vast collection of useful articles to help you perform many repairs and upgrades on your MINI. Save money by doing your own work and perform the repairs using the information we've provided here. Can't find what you're looking for?  Try our Search Engine at the top of the page, or hop over to one of our Technical Bulletin Boards - focusing on repairs for the MINI Cooper! If you'd like to support the site and submit your own Technical Article, contact us here!

Jump to: Engine | Fuel Injection | Cooling System | Transmission | Brakes | Suspension | Electrical | Body, Chassis & Interior

 Basics & Essentials
Jacking Up Your MINI
Most common tasks need the car to be jacked up in the air.  But where should you place the jack, and what is the safest method of lifting it?  It's all answered here.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Oil Change
The most common task to do on your MINI Cooper.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Air Filter Replacement
New to working on your car?  Not sure where the air filter is?  Check out this simple article.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Serpentine Belt Replacement
Here's some short instructions on this very basic of maintenance tasks.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Washing Your Car
This article gives you some basic tips on this very basic task.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
 Engine
Spark Plug and Cable Replacement
Spark plugs are an important part of your engine - make sure that they are replaced every 10,000 miles or so to keep your ignition system running smoothly.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Belt Tensioner Replacement
Over time, the tensioner that keeps the serpentine belt on the MINI tight can fail. In this article, I'll go over the steps to replace it.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Belt Tensioner Stop
The belt tensioner on the MINI has a small flaw in the design that allows a major failure to occur. The solution is to install a travel limiting device as shown here.
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Crankshaft Pulley Replacement
The rubber centered crank pulley on the MINI is prone to failure after many miles. The solution is to replace it with an updated design.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Underdrive Pulley Install
Hands down, this is the single most effective bang for the buck modification you can do to your supercharged MINI Cooper S.
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Engine And Transmission Mount Replacement
Engine and transmission mounts will wear out over time. If yours are loose or leaking, then that's a clear sign that they need to replaced.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Fuel Injection
Installing a Performance Intake System
A properly designed cold air induction system can give your car a little boost in performance, but make sure you know what you're getting first by reading this article.
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Valve Cover Gasket Replacement
Over time the various seals in the valve cover can wear out and become brittle, causing oil to leak into the spark plug tubes and also cause vacuum leaks. Here's how you fix them.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Monitoring OBD2 Systems
You can't figure out what is wrong with your car without first checking the fault codes. This article shows you what you need to "get a clue" about what is ailing your car.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Fuel Pump and Filter Replacement
Worried about doing this swap?  Don't be - we have all the info you need, including your pre-flight safety check!
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Reading Fuel Injection Fault Codes
What's going on with the fuel injection? The R5/EMX from Peake Research makes checking your fault codes a snap.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Installing Performance Software
Want some more HP out of your car?  Try an easy-to-install software upgrade, and be on the road in 30 minutes with more performance.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Water Cooling
Coolant Change
Check it out - More than you ever wanted to know about your cooling system, why you need to maintain it regularly, and how to change that pesky coolant.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Radiator, Thermostat and Hose Replacement
The thermostat on the MINI Cooper can sometimes fail over time, causing some potentially dangerous overheating conditions. Here's how to replace it.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 Water Pump Replacement
Car starting to overheat? Heater not working like it used to? Over time, the water pump will eventually need to be changed. Here's how to swap it out on your R53 Cooper S.
      Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Coolant Expansion Tank Replacement
These coolant tanks are well known to crack and leak. Replacement is a snap and takes less than 30 minutes.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12) 
R50 Water Pump Replacement
Here is the water pump removal procedure for those of you with an R50 MINI Cooper.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
 Transmission & Axles
Clutch Replacement
One of our biggest and most comprehensive articles yet.  From start to finish, all the instructions are here, along with about 70 photos too!
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Installing a Short-Shift Kit
Installing a short-shift kit (SSK) is a great upgrade for the vague shift feel on the MINI.  Detailed instructions on the process are here in this tech article.
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-04)
Clutch Master and Slave Cylinder Replacement
Clutch pedal feeling spongy?  Try replacing your slave or master cylinder and rebleeding your system.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Automatic Transmission Fluid Change
This procedure is a bit difficult without the right knowledge and know-how, here's how to change the fluid yourself.
    Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) -
Shift Cable Replacement
The MINI Cooper uses two cables to actuate the shift linkage. Over time, the rubber end links can wear, causing all sorts of problems. Learn how to change the cables here.
     Applies to: - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Manual Transmission and Differential Fluid Change
One of the easiest tasks to perform on your MINI is to change the transmission or differential fluid, but just in case you need a bit of guidance, be sure to read this article first.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Brakes
Bleeding Brakes
Another tricky process.  Here's a couple of hints and tips gathered from some good and bad experiences in brake bleeding.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Brake Disc Replacement
Stop! Yes, that's exactly what you want to do... but you can't always do so effectively if your brake rotors are worn too thin. Learn how to replace those old discs properly in this article here.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Brake Pad Replacement
Want to know how to perform this relatively easy task and save some money at the same time?  Check out our step-by-step instructions on brake pad replacement.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Installing Stainless Steel Brake Lines
Repeated heat cycling and fluid contamination will eventually cause the inside of the lines to swell and the outside to crack.  You've been warned, so now it's time to take action.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Brembo Big Brake Kit Installation
Need more brakes? The Brembo kit is the top-dog in performance brakes. This article shows you how easy the installation can be.
    Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement
The brake master cylinder sometimes gets old and wears out. If your brakes are feeling spongy, then you might need to overhaul your system, which includes replacement of the master cylinder.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Suspension
Front Shock and Spring Replacement
Replacement of your front shocks and springs is one of the most common procedures for your MINI. See Jared's instructions here for complete details on the replacement process.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Rear Shock and Spring Replacement
Replacement of your rear shocks and springs is one of the most common procedures for your MINI. See Jared's instructions here for complete details on the replacement process.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Bilstein PSS9 Kit Installation
The PSS performance suspension kit from Bilstein is one of the top performing kits available for the MINI Cooper.  Here's how to install them.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Changing Airbag and Steering Wheel
In this article, I'll go over how to swap out the early two spoke MINI steering wheel with the cooler three spoke wheel as well as the steps to remove the airbag.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Control Arm Bushing and Ball Joint Replacement
Over time, the various bushings and ball joints of the MINIs front suspension can wear and cause some interesting handling problems. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing them.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Subframe Removal
The MINI Cooper uses a modular front end with a subframe that must be removed to perform certain tasks. Here's how to remove the front subframe with relative ease.
      Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Tie Rod Replacement
Steering feeling a bit loose? Does your MINI not track as straight as it once did? Chances are, you need to replace your tie rods. In this article I will go over how to do it.
      Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Strut Tower Reinforcement Plate Install
The upper strut towers of the MINI seem to be prone to deformation due to the thickness of the sheet metal. A good way to combat this is to install a set of reinforcing plates on the towers. Here, I will go over the steps involved with installing these plates.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Rear Sway Bar Replacement
A great way to improve the already stellar handling of the MINI is to replace the rear sway bar with a larger diameter bar. Replacement is a bit difficult, but I will show you all the steps here.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Strut Bar Installation
A strut tower brace links the top of the shock towers to insure that the towers do not bend when the chassis is flexing.  Find out more about how they work and which designs are best in this article.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Power Steering Pump Replacement
The MINI uses an electric power steering pump in place of the traditional belt-driven design. Over time, they tend to fail. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the pump.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Power Steering Fan Replacement
The MINI Cooper uses an electric power steering setup with a small fan to cool the power steering pump. The fan location renders it susceptible to damage from underneath the car. In this article, I will go over the steps to replace the pump.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Convertible Strut Brace Install
Are you looking for a quick and easy way to stiffen up the front of your MINI? You can add the strut brace bars from the convertible models. Here, I'll show you how to do it.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Adjustable Rear Control Arm Installation
If you lower your MINI, you'll need to re-adjust the rear camber to bring the wheels back into alignment. A set of adjustable control arms makes this easy. Here's how you install them.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2003-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2003-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Electrical
Alternator Replacement
Replacing the alternator on the MINI can be a bit tedious due to the modular front end design. Here, I'll go over the steps involved with changing it.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Driving Light Installation
One of the most popular modifications to the MINI is the addition of a set of driving lights. In this article, we have added tons of photos to show the whole procedure.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
iPod Integration Installation
Is your 10-year old radio head unit just not cutting it anymore?  Crank up the tunes with an aftermarket unit - the install procedure is documented here.
    Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Sprint Booster Installation
The Sprint Booster is like a short-shift kit for your accelerator pedal. With the company's 3-day money-back guarantee, there's no risk to trying it out.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Installing a High Performance Coil Pack
A quick way to grab a few extra horsepower is to install an aftermarket coil pack. Installation is easy and is actually cheaper than the stock coil.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
 Body, Chassis and Interior
Replacing Lenses and Bulbs
Brake lights dark? Can't see the road at night? Replace those light bulbs in less than 30 minutes.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Battery Replacement and Battery Tender Installation
Sooner or later, the battery in your car will need to be replaced. Here's how you do it. We will also show you how to install battery tender to keep your battery's charge topped up.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Cabin Air Filter Replacement
Changing the cabin air filter is literally a snap with our handy replacement guide.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12) 
Installing Aftermarket Lenses
For a custom touch to your car, you can replace the stock lenses with a set of tinted lenses. Installation is a snap.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Front Bumper Removal
In order to access the modular front end on the MINI, you need to remove the front bumper. Here's how you do it.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Hood Shock Replacement
Bump! Don't you hate when your hood falls on your head? Hood shocks do wear out often, and replacement literally takes about 10 minutes.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Installing Hood Stripes
One of the nice retro touches you can add to your MINI are a set of hood stripes. It's not too hard to add them yourself and save money over a dealer installation.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
Window Regulator Replacement
The window regulator is one of the most worn out parts of the car. Every time you open the door, it moves the window. Replacing the regulator will solve most window problems. Complete instructions on the replacement and window alignment are here.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R50 Airbox and Battery Box Removal
A few different jobs on the R50 Cooper require removal of the airbox and battery box. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with removing them.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)  
 Miscellaneous
MINI Designations
R fifty what? I've got a Chrysler engine in my BMW made MINI? In this article, I'll go over the designations and differences in the MINI.
     Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Got more questions? Join us in our MINI Cooper Technical Forum Message Boards, and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.
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