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#4562889 - 11/03/17 11:00 AM Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA
2008wrx Offline


Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 188
Loc: CA
thinking to pick up a 1st gen Mini Cooper stick shift.... what areas to look for? Are these really that terrible? In general, how long can these Chrysler engine last? Thanks

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#4562898 - 11/03/17 11:09 AM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9092
Loc: Ontario, Canada
A buddy had one to dominate H-Street for autocross. He got rid of it as he was used to Honda's where most major components last the lifetime of the car. I recall he replaced the rad and coolant tank, steering rack, abs controller, some electrical stuff, no huge bills but enough.
He got good mileage and I was thinking of picking it up as he had put alot of work into it, but decided not too. One with a good maintenance history, and lots of parts replaced might be good. One that has "needed nothing" would be scary.
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#4562960 - 11/03/17 12:11 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
MCompact Offline


Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 4122
Loc: KY
I'd ask your question on the North American Motoring Forums. On the other hand, you can wait here; you will soon be receiving negative responses from a few self-proclaimed "experts" who have never even sat in a Cooper.

In my research I found some indications that the 2nd Generation Coopers are a bit more reliable, but I suspect that a thorough service history and a PDI from a tech who knows Coopers are the real dispositive factors.
_________________________
Mine:
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Son's
2009 328i

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#4562971 - 11/03/17 12:25 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
HemiHawk Offline


Registered: 03/09/16
Posts: 842
Loc: PA,US
A family member has an 06 S model. Really fun car. Its had some issues, but the worst thing about MINI issues is that they are expensive issues. Its a cheapish car (in the preowned market) that has pricey parts and labor rates. If you plan on doing all the work yourself you'll save a bundle. This first gen cars I believe had some sludge issues. Something to do with MINIs 15k interval recommendations. Not sure if this mostly affected the S models, or the NA as well.
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#4562981 - 11/03/17 12:44 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
cadfaeltex Offline


Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 672
Loc: TX south plains
Unlike the later Prince engines, the tritec (especially in justa form) are rock solid. I've seen them go well over 300,000 mikes but don't recall seeing any go to 4000,000 yet. Look for a 2004 or later as the early transmissions were a week spot - the midlands 5 speed and CVT. Look for rust on the hatch, failed low speed controller on the radiator fan, and failing power steering. All these are easily fixable but a bargaining chip if you find them on one you like.

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#4563000 - 11/03/17 01:15 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2973
Loc: USA
These had Chrysler engines?! Weren't they manufactured by BMW?

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#4563002 - 11/03/17 01:17 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: Reddy45]
cadfaeltex Offline


Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 672
Loc: TX south plains
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
These had Chrysler engines?! Weren't they manufactured by BMW?

They were produced in Brazil in a partnership between Chrysler and BMW. It also found its way into some Neons.

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#4563007 - 11/03/17 01:21 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 486
Loc: Vienna, VA
Get the latest model year you can. The manual transmissions in these cars loved to take a dump often and it got less bad after 2004 but still happens.

Radiator fan wiring and speed controller as stated above is basically garuenteed to fail and will need sorted out. Not a super complicated fix.

Rust is an issue with these for sure near door hinges and on the hatch. But you can find clean ones.

I have had a few friends with these and it's mostly the little nit-picky stuff that gets you. Small electrical gremlins for example add up to $$$ after a little while.

Very fun cars though. Even in base model form they are great to drive. Probably the second best fwd vehicle I have driven.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4563011 - 11/03/17 01:26 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: TinyVoices]
cadfaeltex Offline


Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 672
Loc: TX south plains
Originally Posted By: TinyVoices
Probably the second best fwd vehicle I have driven.


Care to share the first?

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#4563012 - 11/03/17 01:30 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
2008wrx Offline


Registered: 03/12/09
Posts: 188
Loc: CA
thanks guys, you all are great people.. i was looking at Miata too, but wife said no on 2 seater! Not sure what else i should look into for a fun to drive now....? 1st gen Mini indeed needs a lot of work..... may need to scratch it. It fits into my toy car budget though....

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#4563024 - 11/03/17 01:43 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
HemiHawk Offline


Registered: 03/09/16
Posts: 842
Loc: PA,US
Originally Posted By: 2008wrx
thanks guys, you all are great people.. i was looking at Miata too, but wife said no on 2 seater! Not sure what else i should look into for a fun to drive now....? 1st gen Mini indeed needs a lot of work..... may need to scratch it. It fits into my toy car budget though....


What kind of budget are you looking at? Another great option from that time period would be an Acura RSX, or RSX-S. Or even a 2006 Civic Si.
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#4563029 - 11/03/17 01:48 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
cadfaeltex Offline


Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 672
Loc: TX south plains
Originally Posted By: 2008wrx
thanks guys, you all are great people.. i was looking at Miata too, but wife said no on 2 seater! Not sure what else i should look into for a fun to drive now....? 1st gen Mini indeed needs a lot of work..... may need to scratch it. It fits into my toy car budget though....


What work do they need that would make it be scratched off?

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#4563035 - 11/03/17 01:55 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: cadfaeltex]
TinyVoices Offline


Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 486
Loc: Vienna, VA
Originally Posted By: cadfaeltex
Originally Posted By: TinyVoices
Probably the second best fwd vehicle I have driven.


Care to share the first?


Dc2 integra type R.
_________________________
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

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#4563054 - 11/03/17 02:12 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
ragtoplvr Offline


Registered: 01/14/15
Posts: 529
Loc: missouri
The engine bay is tight. Almost like they shrunk the car around the engine. Takes all the fun out of maintenance. Not that uncommon anymore.

Rod

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#4563082 - 11/03/17 02:56 PM Re: Please school me 1st Gen mini Cooper NA [Re: 2008wrx]
chrisri Offline


Registered: 06/01/14
Posts: 1744
Loc: Rijeka, EU
My friend had in total 3, Cooper S, Cooper, and now facelift 1.6 diesel. He swears by them, in terms of quality and especially road manners. One thing to watch is gearbox on early (-04), only Cooper with Midland box, S is different (Getrag) and strong.
General quality is OK, but you have to be aware that this is a little car, and little cars aren't built as tough as big ones.
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