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Exhaust System Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Exhaust System Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets (10, 13mm, 18mm), pry bar, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, penetrating oil

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Exhaust system, exhaust fasteners, rubber exhaust insulators

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool exhaust

Performance Gain:

Replace worn exhaust system

Complementary Modification:

Use performance exhaust

The exhaust system wears out and becomes leaky with age. A leaky exhaust can be a severe health hazard to passengers if odorless CO or other exhaust gases find their way into the cabin. A leaky exhaust system is usually far noisier than an intact one. Finally, bear in mind that the catalytic converters and oxygen sensors, an integral part of any modern automobile exhaust system, are critical to the emissions control system of the vehicle. Generally speaking, a vehicle with a defective exhaust system fails most annual state safety and emissions tests because of the safety hazard, excess noise and emission control failure.

When replacing your exhaust system remove the entire unit as one piece. Once the exhaust has been removed, repairs or modifications can be made. Keep in mind that a number of other repairs such as rear sway bar replacement, rear subframe removal and fuel tank removal require that the exhaust system be completely removed from the vehicle.

You can replace the rear muffler with the exhaust installed, but not the center muffler. When removing the exhaust system, have new fasteners, gaskets and rubber insulators on hand. These parts wear out just like the exhaust system. Having new ones on hand helps to complete the repair.

Damaged catalytic converters or failed oxygen sensors mostly cannot be diagnosed visually. Before you remove the exhaust system, use a MINI scan tool or equivalent to download fault codes and determine if there is any reason to suspect the failure of these major emissions control components.

When removing the exhaust system and particularly if you are going to store it while other repairs are taking place, be sure to protect the oxygen sensors and their electrical leads. Do not drag the exhaust system on the ground carelessly.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been 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. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. 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.

Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. If you raise just the rear, you should have enough space to work at the front of the exhaust. If not, raise the front of the vehicle to work on the front. Then raise the rear of the vehicle when removing the exhaust system. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle. Be sure to always wear safety glasses whenever you work under your car.

This tech article will highlight removal of the exhaust on a Cooper S model. Cooper models are similar.

You can replace the rear muffler (red arrow) with the exhaust installed, but not the center muffler (green arrow).
Figure 1

You can replace the rear muffler (red arrow) with the exhaust installed, but not the center muffler (green arrow). This photo gives a view from below of a Cooper S model.

Support the exhaust system from below using a hydraulic floor jack or jack stand.
Figure 2

Support the exhaust system from below using a hydraulic floor jack or jack stand. I like to put the jack under the rear muffler.

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 3

Next, working at the center of the vehicle, remove the six 10mm fasteners (red arrows). Then remove the reinforcement plate from the vehicle. You can also remove five of the fasteners, them loosen one and swing the reinforcement plate out of the way.

You can also remove five of the fasteners, them loosen one and swing the reinforcement plate out of the way.
Figure 4

You can also remove five of the fasteners, them loosen one and swing the reinforcement plate out of the way. Just be careful not to bump into it while working. It will be hanging low and may be hard to see.

To replace the muffler, loosen the muffler clamp (red arrows).
Figure 5

To replace the muffler, loosen the muffler clamp (red arrows). The nuts on my clamp were 13mm. Your exhaust system may vary depending on if it has been replaced. Skip this step if you're removing the exhaust system as one piece.

Working at the muffler, detach the rubber insulators (red arrow) by levering them off using a pry bar (green arrow).
Figure 6

Working at the muffler, detach the rubber insulators (red arrow) by levering them off using a pry bar (green arrow). The photo shows the left side insulator. Repeat this step for the right side of the muffler. If you're replacing the muffler, slightly lower the muffler, then twist it while pulling the pipes apart. If needed, spray lubricant into the pipe to help with separation.

Working at the center muffler, detach the rubber insulators (red arrow) by levering them off using a pry bar.
Figure 7

Working at the center muffler, detach the rubber insulators (red arrow) by levering them off using a pry bar.

Working at the front of the exhaust system, remove the clamp (red arrow).
Figure 8

Working at the front of the exhaust system, remove the clamp (red arrow). Use a deep 16mm socket to remove the nut. Then open and remove the clamp. You can also slide the clamp off the pipe connection, instead of removing it.

Your exhaust should be supported the entire time you are working on it.
Figure 9

Your exhaust should be supported the entire time you are working on it. If it isn't your exhaust will drop down and likely be damaged. Lower the exhaust and remove it from the vehicle. You may have to wiggle the exhaust out of the front pipe clamp. If stuck, raise the exhaust slightly. Then pull the exhaust off toward the rear of the vehicle. Once the exhaust has been removed, you can replace the center muffler or repair the system as needed. Line up the new parts with the old ones, and mark where you will cut. Use a pipe cutter to cut the pipes. Then remove any sharp edges from the pipes. Install the new parts using exhaust clamps.

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