R53minicooper’s Blog

About ME!

Welcome to my New Mini Blog!

I am a new owner of user R53 Mini and this is my place to show you how I have done DIY repairs and custom modifications.

A little background about me.  I am an I.T. Director during the day.  I am shade tree mechanic and self-taught.  I started at age ten fixing small engines and playing with lawn mowers and go-carts.  In high school, I restored an MGB convertible.  I also worked at a BMW, Mercedes and Porsche dealer in the shop doing many various tasks.  I picked up a few things along the way but most of my experience has been with German cars.  I have done work on my Audi A6 and Mercedes 230.  I wanted a little hobby as I have a little more time and a first generation R53 New Mini from 2001-2006 fit the bill.  I have a masters degree in communication systems and strategy from Northwestern University and cars, computers, and electronics go hand in hand these days.

This has many things that can be done by the home mechanic and for the most part are easy to find on the Internet and there are a lot of resources and enthusiasts out there.  The R53 is considered a prettier design then the 2nd generation New Minis and more true to the classic Mini.

I am a fan of such shows as Wheeler Dealers, Top Gear and numerous other car shows.  Wheeler Dealers specifically focuses on modern, but used, enthusiast cars that are partial restored to former glory on the show.  Edd China is my hero.  J



  1. I want to thank you for your site. I also have a mini, and its time to replace the belt. I do have the large service manual, but you give the specific details of how to really do the job. Perhaps you can expand upon this, for many mini owners are too far away from the dealer.

    I do have a question, of the tool used to relieve the belt tension where is the best place to get that, and is it possible to “rent” it.

    Again, cool site and well done.

    Comment by John — June 15, 2009 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

    • Thanks! If you get a chance do a search on ebay for mini cooper software and you can find an excellent CD for gen 1 mini’s for around ten dollars. A wealth of information. It’s the “old” version which is why it is cheap. But that is fine since the gen 1’s are not in production. It is usually a copy of the softwware anyway to load on your pc. If you want to use a free belt tension tool do a search on the Interent or or at ?North American Motoring for a Mini Club near year. A lot of times someone will have a tool they will loan you and sometimes some friendly advice. A lot of time you can find these tools for sale on EBay. Always around $40-$50. You can always buy the tool. Use it and then sell back on Ebay. A lot people do this if you don’t want to keep the tool. AutoZone and other diy car places have free “universal” belt tools you can borrow for free. But you will have a lot of frustration utilzing thier tool. With the right tool it takes less than five minutes and you don’t bust your knunkles. If you need one sooner than ebay or you don’t want to wait for it check out outmotoring.com they can overnight you a tool for a little over $100. Also while you are checking out North American Motoring do a search thier for “oil gasket replacement” Some owners have been able to drop the oil pan without removing the front end and saving several hours of work. I don’t recommend that option. My option is the offical BMW way. It protects damage to other components on your engine including your AC. The other way is faster and the risk is minimal that you will damage something the “quick” way but I was on a budget and I would rather be safe than sorry and spend the extra time doing it right knowing I would not damage anything. Good luck and keep me posted or post your experience on the North American Motoring Board. If you have anyquestions don’t hesitate to post them here or on the other board. If you post to the other board you will get the comments and experience of a lot mini owners. Happy motoring.

      Comment by r53minicooper — June 15, 2009 @ 5:05 pm | Reply

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