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Mini 3-cylinder Cooper Tuning

113280 Views 55 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  Robert Allen
Hi guys,

I must say I'm impressed with the performance that the Cooper's 3 Cylinder engine outputs. After having driven it on mainly B-roads for over 2000km It's given me some smiles. However, I'm sure a lot of us would share the urge to explore how far we could take this beautiful piece of modern engineering.

Everyone is talking about the tuning of the Cooper S, and there's been some success in improving performance and so forth... but to me the most revealing fact is that our engine is practically the same or very similar to the one found in the new BMW i8:

"Then, at the rear, a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, rated at 231 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine is also used in the new 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop, albeit in a slightly lesser state of tune"

(http://www.thecarconnection.com/overview/bmw_i8_2014)

Now, I'm far from being an expert and have limited knowledge and info about this particular case and tuning in general, but if the actual mechanics and physical parts of the engine are identical to that of the i8, this would mean that with a performance tuning of the ECU a whole lot of power could be unleashed!

Cooper 134 hp VS. i8 231 hp... Even if we could only tap into 20-40% of those potential gains in performance (due to other restrictions and components that are not part of the engine, eg/ exhaust, air intake, etc). It would make our Coopers and absolute Hoot to drive and potentially rival the performance of a Cooper S. Too good to be true?

If i were a tuner, I'd be digging deeper into this, because it 'sounds' promising.

(Now it's when I wait for someone to burst my bubble and tell me I'm an ignorant ;) )
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Ok so after extensive testing I'm about to return the Racechip box due to the following:

1. Engine warning light has come on and stays on even after reversing installation. I will have to take the car to the dealer (with box uninstalled). This sucks!

2. I notice no significant performance increase... To the point i'm always doubting if it's a placebo effect or it really does something... I find that somewhat unsatisfying especially for the price.


So I think the box is defective, or it's working and doesn't do much at all, or there's a small chance that I connected it incorrectly.

I researched the net for hours to find confirm the location of these sensors. I also had a mechanic friend check and he said it looked like it was correctly installed but let's see if any one of you guys that are more knowledgeable about our car can send me a couple pics and locate the following sensors:

1. Manifold Air Pressure
2. Air Flow
3. Boost Pressure

The instuctions are vague, meaning its up to you to locate these sensors... They colour code the cables and tell you to find the above in your engine. Contacted Racechip about this but they take days to reply and I have to apply for return before 15 days of purchase, which is next tuesday.

Willing to give it a last shot before I give up on it and at least confirm i installed correctly. Help appreciated!

Thanks :)
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Ok so Racechip got back to me with vehicle specific instructions in the form of 2 pictures highlighting the sensors in the motor. Why they don't include this in the box they send?... No idea. It turns out I had installed it correctly by the way meaning I'm returning the box because it's either defective or my car doesn't seem to like it (currently driving a BMW 3 series whilst my Cooper's in the garage for the engine light warning)

For those wondering where the sensors you must intercept are:
1. Manifold Air Pressure = MAP (red connector)
2. Boost Pressure = T-MAP (green connector)
3. Air Flow = Mass Air Flow - MAF (blue connector)

This would have really helped me initially as the wording Racechip use isn't the same as other brands or other mentions about our engines.

Attaching the images Racechip sent: (by the way that a Cooper S but it's the same for Coopers)

Anyone had better luck than me with another manufacturer?... Still debating if I should try another brand or even give these guys another chance if they prove the unit is defective. Not impressed with the engine light thing though... Doubt it'll be a big deal but et's see what service says.

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Don, I believe you talking about the Air Intake? From Experience in the past on some of my other Cars the HP is really not that much maybe 3 to 7 HP max.

There is a Guy here in Scottsdale AZ he is a Mini Head might want to look at his Stuff. I never ordered from him so I do not know how the Service will be but I was planing a Trip over to his Shop to see whats up with his Intake.

http://www.vipcustomparts.com/

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VCP-MINI-CO...KIT-/251732969914?hash=item3a9c7449ba&vxp=mtr
Hey Evlkarl, thanks for the link, looks interesting... You're right about slim gains when talking about replacing an air filter/ intake for a car. You're more likely to 'hear' a difference than to feel one in terms of power. However as far as I'm aware these chip tuning or even remapping companies when dealing with petrol cars attempt to boost air pressure and air mass to alter the fuel/air mixture in order to obtain more substantial gains. Which is why in the case of these chips you intercept between 1-3 sensors that deal with the different steps of air treatment in the engine.

Meanwhile my engine light problem is fixed... Official story is that one of the air intake pipes had a small crack in it described by the mechanic as 'wear and tear' (?) not sure what to make out of that one. The warranty covered it. I'm still waiting to hear from RaceChip about the unit I sent back...

Swede if you're still around... Any luck with the muffler delete or remap?

Anyone that has tried the Burger Tuning chip or any other company and can comment on gains for the Cooper, would be great to hear. I'm sure i'm not the only one interested.

Thanks
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Hi bro..did anyone try speed buster tuning box? I saw on their web, they have it also.
bro DonDraper any update on the Racechip?

Thx
Hey Evlkarl, thanks for the link, looks interesting... You're right about slim gains when talking about replacing an air filter/ intake for a car. You're more likely to 'hear' a difference than to feel one in terms of power. However as far as I'm aware these chip tuning or even remapping companies when dealing with petrol cars attempt to boost air pressure and air mass to alter the fuel/air mixture in order to obtain more substantial gains. Which is why in the case of these chips you intercept between 1-3 sensors that deal with the different steps of air treatment in the engine.

Meanwhile my engine light problem is fixed... Official story is that one of the air intake pipes had a small crack in it described by the mechanic as 'wear and tear' (?) not sure what to make out of that one. The warranty covered it. I'm still waiting to hear from RaceChip about the unit I sent back...

Swede if you're still around... Any luck with the muffler delete or remap?

Anyone that has tried the Burger Tuning chip or any other company and can comment on gains for the Cooper, would be great to hear. I'm sure i'm not the only one interested.

Thanks
Hey any update?
Thanks
Hey Evlkarl, thanks for the link, looks interesting... You're right about slim gains when talking about replacing an air filter/ intake for a car. You're more likely to 'hear' a difference than to feel one in terms of power. s

Did it and definitely hear it, especially on lift-off (of course). It psychologically feels quicker but only due to the sound.
I didn't read all the way through these posts but I have some info others may or may not know. I cruised the BMW and Mini parts catalogs and found some interesting differences and similarities between the I8 b38 and the Mini's b38 that help explain HP figures.

We all knew:
Exhaust (turbo back) was different but not that interesting
Intercooler (duh) it just obviously is

We didn't all know (or I didn't):
Completely different exhaust manifold/turbo assembly. (mini 11658600045) (i8 11657625161)
Completely different and much bigger intake manifold. (mini 11617617499) (i8 11617634226) Thus different throttle bodies and map sensors (more boost I8)
To my surprise- Same camshafts! (intake 1131764593 exhaust 11317645955)
And also to my surprise- Same injectors! (13537639990)

I found this important because now I'm certain that a lot of the power came from Tuning alone and we know that the injectors can push enough fuel and the head can pull enough air. I think there's a good chance that the majority of differences in the intake and exhaust manifolds was for fitment reasons, though also for more power. Another note... the turbo on the i8 is a traditional oil cooled unit, not the aluminum water cooler one we got in the minis.

Long story short, we know our turbos can create pretty massive boost. If we can intercool and exhaust better, then tune in more fuel, these little engines should easily pull 200hp on factory turbos and intake manifolds. Safe to assume the other 40hp would require the actual I8 parts (mainly the turbo). :)

Cheers,

Terry
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Interesting stuff Terry - thank you.

As has been mentioned in previous posts, when developing the F series BMW gave serious consideration to adopting the 1.5l 3 cylinder in various states of tune across the whole of the range.

It was only the concern that buyers of the performance versions wouldn't countenance a small capacity 3 cylinder power unit that resulted in 2.0l 4 cylinder power being employed for the quicker cars.
Marketing definitely plays a part in engine sizes. The latest Fiesta ST has dropped to 3 cylinders and gone up to 200bhp so it’s quite possible the next generation of Minis will do the same.
Hi, just wondering if anyone has used any of the tuning boxes since DonDraper's posts in 2015? Racechip are still showing various units available. I'm relatively comfortable using tuning boxes as I used one on an Alfa I had and there was a definite improvement in the car - without any warning lights coming on.
Hi, I've recently had a stage 1 remap for my cooper 1.5 and I'm very pleased with the performance gains. Not only is it noticeably faster, it's also considerably smoother too! Anyway, it took them (map-tech.co.uk) a couple of hours to do and the total cost was only £210, so yes - highly recommended!
Hi, I've recently had a stage 1 remap for my cooper 1.5 and I'm very pleased with the performance gains. Not only is it noticeably faster, it's also considerably smoother too! Anyway, it took them (map-tech.co.uk) a couple of hours to do and the total cost was only £210, so yes - highly recommended!
Hi Mr Toad
How's the chip performing?
Just had a look on their website and they're quoting 165bhp and 300nm...
That's monster torque figures! Golf GTI territory :eek:
TIA
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im currently running 210bhp from our F54 Cooper Clubman 1.5 3cylinder ;)

Stage 2 map plus lots of other mods :)
Hi guys,

I must say I'm impressed with the performance that the Cooper's 3 Cylinder engine outputs. After having driven it on mainly B-roads for over 2000km It's given me some smiles. However, I'm sure a lot of us would share the urge to explore how far we could take this beautiful piece of modern engineering.

Everyone is talking about the tuning of the Cooper S, and there's been some success in improving performance and so forth... but to me the most revealing fact is that our engine is practically the same or very similar to the one found in the new BMW i8:

"Then, at the rear, a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, rated at 231 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine is also used in the new 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop, albeit in a slightly lesser state of tune"

(2014 BMW i8 Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos)

Now, I'm far from being an expert and have limited knowledge and info about this particular case and tuning in general, but if the actual mechanics and physical parts of the engine are identical to that of the i8, this would mean that with a performance tuning of the ECU a whole lot of power could be unleashed!

Cooper 134 hp VS. i8 231 hp... Even if we could only tap into 20-40% of those potential gains in performance (due to other restrictions and components that are not part of the engine, eg/ exhaust, air intake, etc). It would make our Coopers and absolute Hoot to drive and potentially rival the performance of a Cooper S. Too good to be true?

If i were a tuner, I'd be digging deeper into this, because it 'sounds' promising.

(Now it's when I wait for someone to burst my bubble and tell me I'm an ignorant ;) )
O.K. I decided to dig too...The 3cylinder mini engine is in all of its glory the same engine in the BMW I8. The ECU Chip is the engines primary engine controller.

What I want to know is fuel pressure controlled by the ECU? BMW is a very smart company and has done all the work of tuning the engine...Keep me abreast of your voyage.

Robert
Hi guys,

I must say I'm impressed with the performance that the Cooper's 3 Cylinder engine outputs. After having driven it on mainly B-roads for over 2000km It's given me some smiles. However, I'm sure a lot of us would share the urge to explore how far we could take this beautiful piece of modern engineering.

Everyone is talking about the tuning of the Cooper S, and there's been some success in improving performance and so forth... but to me the most revealing fact is that our engine is practically the same or very similar to the one found in the new BMW i8:

"Then, at the rear, a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, rated at 231 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque drives the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine is also used in the new 2014 MINI Cooper Hardtop, albeit in a slightly lesser state of tune"

(2014 BMW i8 Review, Ratings, Specs, Prices, and Photos)

Now, I'm far from being an expert and have limited knowledge and info about this particular case and tuning in general, but if the actual mechanics and physical parts of the engine are identical to that of the i8, this would mean that with a performance tuning of the ECU a whole lot of power could be unleashed!

Cooper 134 hp VS. i8 231 hp... Even if we could only tap into 20-40% of those potential gains in performance (due to other restrictions and components that are not part of the engine, eg/ exhaust, air intake, etc). It would make our Coopers and absolute Hoot to drive and potentially rival the performance of a Cooper S. Too good to be true?

If i were a tuner, I'd be digging deeper into this, because it 'sounds' promising.

(Now it's when I wait for someone to burst my bubble and tell me I'm an ignorant ;) )
Just think of it, to increase the amount of air that gets into the engine, we had to do all sorts of things to increase horse power by punching out the bore, putting a super charger, turbo charger, small jet engines, and changing the cam shaft lift a better carburetor all for the ability to increase horse power.

Now all we have to do is change the ECU chip, recalibrate the fuel pressure etc or get a chip to do it and reset the ECU and your off to another world of fun.

Robert
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