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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm seeking to gather some empirical evidence of the effect that running a power module or chiptune has on the reliability of the F56 drivetrain.

From what I can tell scanning the forums, people install the modules, rave about all the power they suddenly have, then vanish. I don't think I have seen any reports of drivetrain issues post-module, so I am wondering if every module pilot is happy and the cars are all doing fine? Or do the cars undergo catastrophic self-disassembly shortly after the module install, and the people are too embarrassed to report that they blew up their F56?

Or has it just been too soon? I get the impression that many on this forum are installing modules on their cars shortly after buying the car. So are the facts that there is no detrimental effect from the increased output, or is it that there hasn't been enough time to tell?

The reason I'm interested in this is because I had my R56 engine blow up following the JCW tuning kit install. Not saying that the JCW tune did it (never found out from MINI what the issue was), but I am very skeptical that one can dramatically boost the output of an engine without increasing wear and stress, with the increased risk of drivetrain failures.

I am considering installing the NM module, but I want reassurance that there will be no mechanical downside before I do so.

My gut feeling is that the engine is probably okay after a huge boost in power, given that the B48 is derated in the MINI. Not so confident that the transmission and clutch are capable of reliable long term operation with a dramatically boosted power delivery.

So does anybody know of studies or even anecdotal reports of drivetrain issues post-module? Or documentation that there are no downsides to modules?

Thanks
 

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Hi, one of the forum members has had a jb4 on his F56 for two years, without any problems. I have a jb4 on my F56 for a few months now with no issues whatsoever.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, one of the forum members has had a jb4 on his F56 for two years, without any problems. I have a jb4 on my F56 for a few months now with no issues whatsoever.


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Thanks for the info.

I'm not sure what a valid timeframe is for any potential mechanical issues. I suspect that the problem space is far from linear, given the variations in how people drive their cars. Naturally, the longer term the sample period, the more likely that issues will manifest. But then you run into the issue of discriminating between module-caused failures versus more mundane issues that would have happened anyway.

But you add data points. So far, two years and under seem trouble free. Good to know.
 

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The latest JB4 is different from the one available 2 years ago which can get upgraded albeit still in BETA mode. Unless he's upgraded his then it will be running similar to map 1 mode with lower boost.

The latest version has 2 map settings and needs to be connected to canbus via ODBII port.

I have been using my JB4 (with JCW Tuning Kit) on my MCS for 6 months with no problems.. I originally was using map2 but dialled it down to map1 over winter and I actually think it's a better overall package with lower boost setting so may just keep it like that.. The chassis & brakes (which I also changed) can easily become overwelmed with too much going through the front wheels in my opinion.

PS I have not gone the downpipe route as I didn't want any MOT (emission test) problems in the near future and also don't need any more power :)
 

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I think your skepticism might be a bit unwarranted. People have been chip tuning cars to power levels significantly above their factory power levels since at least the 90s. The gains from these modules are quite small.

Like any other platform, everything is built to withstand more abuse than you'll generally ever experience stock in the interest of reliability. By tuning a car, you're just moving somewhat closer to the design limits. The manufacturers of piggy back devices and tunes are well aware of the limits of the car, and have a reputation to uphold too, so they generally don't really push things to worrying levels until you've hit aggressive levels (stage 3 kits, etc.) and warn you accordingly when that is the case.

The gains for power modules on these cars are actually quite small compared to tune gains for competing vehicles, generally only producing 10-15%. It isn't uncommon to see gains of 50% or more on other brands, and you don't see cars with boosts like that breaking down all the time either. With tiny bumps like this, you can experience accelerated wear of tires, brakes, clutch, bushings, etc. You're not going to be murdering the gearbox or engine, though, as long as you're not driving like a high schooler.

I've had some sort of tune on pretty much every car I've had for the last decade, and the only one I've had that broke anything other than minor wear parts was an APR Stage 3 Golf R running close to double it's stock horsepower. Even in a sort of extreme case like that, I only needed to replace the already upgraded clutch with an even stronger one and replace a broken prop shaft in 24k miles.

--Matt
 

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I've got the NM module and so far so good! I've ripped on it significantly and red line it sometimes... my transmission is great and my engine sounds great too. No issues with any of them whatsoever. and when I go to the dealership I just take it off in less than 2min.. super easy. NM module is worth it!


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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think your skepticism might be a bit unwarranted. People have been chip tuning cars to power levels significantly above their factory power levels since at least the 90s. The gains from these modules are quite small.

Like any other platform, everything is built to withstand more abuse than you'll generally ever experience stock in the interest of reliability. By tuning a car, you're just moving somewhat closer to the design limits. The manufacturers of piggy back devices and tunes are well aware of the limits of the car, and have a reputation to uphold too, so they generally don't really push things to worrying levels until you've hit aggressive levels (stage 3 kits, etc.) and warn you accordingly when that is the case.

The gains for power modules on these cars are actually quite small compared to tune gains for competing vehicles, generally only producing 10-15%. It isn't uncommon to see gains of 50% or more on other brands, and you don't see cars with boosts like that breaking down all the time either. With tiny bumps like this, you can experience accelerated wear of tires, brakes, clutch, bushings, etc. You're not going to be murdering the gearbox or engine, though, as long as you're not driving like a high schooler.

I've had some sort of tune on pretty much every car I've had for the last decade, and the only one I've had that broke anything other than minor wear parts was an APR Stage 3 Golf R running close to double it's stock horsepower. Even in a sort of extreme case like that, I only needed to replace the already upgraded clutch with an even stronger one and replace a broken prop shaft in 24k miles.

--Matt
Awesome, thanks. Great points.

You may be correct on my skepticism being unwarranted. That's why I asked the question. So far the feedback is encouraging, which bodes well for my potential NM adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've got the NM module and so far so good! I've ripped on it significantly and red line it sometimes... my transmission is great and my engine sounds great too. No issues with any of them whatsoever. and when I go to the dealership I just take it off in less than 2min.. super easy. NM module is worth it!


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How long have you been running the module? Thanks
 

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How long have you been running the module? Thanks


Haha not to long I just got it when they replaced my engine.. it's got about 600 miles on it right now. But I've only ran it on mode 1 not 2. Also flash runners like these are specifically designed not to mess with warranty. You should be fine!


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As mattkosem says, 50% over stock isn't unusual and shouldn't of itself cause failures. Even standard cars can break or be broken, so obviously increased power will find any weaknesses in the car or driving style.
I had a Mustang before and as a frequently modded car there was experience & information (a webpage) about what might break. The stock engine (N/A) was 300bhp and was considered 'safe' to 550. (Con-rod failure sometimes occurred as you went beyond, and past 600 the input shaft to the gearbox became vulnerable.)

The one thing to be sure of is fuel. At 20% over stock it probably won't matter, but at much higher outputs you need an octane rating to match the tune. A bit of knock at 120% probably won't hurt, but the impact on a rod or piston being pushed at 150+% could be the straw that breaks it.
 

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I've had the NM module since 9/15. I put 5K miles on it before they replaced the engine (recall) 1/16. As soon as it was broken in I had the JCW Tuning Kit installed and re-installed the NM. Since then I've put ~17K miles on it doing everything from 4-5 hours freeway runs to two different events at The Tail of the Dragon. I change the oil every 5-6K miles because I tend to run the he11 out of it more often than not. I've noticed no downside other than the disappointment I feel when driving a stock car. YMMV
 

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I have the pre-JB4 Stage 1 Beta tune from Burger. I've had it in for about a year (2015 MCS) with no issues, though I do notice that my tailpipes are a little more coated in sediment than I'd expect. But this is my first Mini, so maybe that's normal. That being said, I'd rather have a tuner risk on the rich side than the lean side.


I used to race muscle cars, too, and the most significantly modded car I had was a 2000 Mustang GT. I added a Pro-Charger P1SC, CAI, headers, X-pipe w/high flow cats, Magnapacks, and a custom tune. (I also had the entire driveline and suspension redone, in addition to subframe connectors--it was setup for autoX.) I did these mods at 50,000-75,000 miles on the car and didn't start having problems until 135,000+. And even then it was relatively minor things like gaskets, plus, hoses, etc. However, that block was known to only be good for 400 RWHP--I had mine tuned to 375 on the dyno.


In short, I think tune is the most critical issue. Is the tuning company reputable? Do they test their products enough? If they do, my experience is that you can modify tunes with some--but not much--added risk to your vehicle. (Your driving style will also play a factor in longevity, obviously.)
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
(Your driving style will also play a factor in longevity, obviously.)
That was another thing I was wondering about. Just because I have a module plugged in, doesn't mean that the engine is always running at max power, right? If I'm just driving normally 90% of the time, the engine isn't being forced to give it all while I'm creeping along in traffic or cruising?

I'm assuming that the increased power means my throttle input will be correspondingly smaller, so I end up not using all that available oomph. More throttle, more power. Is that a good assumption?
 

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That was another thing I was wondering about. Just because I have a module plugged in, doesn't mean that the engine is always running at max power, right? If I'm just driving normally 90% of the time, the engine isn't being forced to give it all while I'm creeping along in traffic or cruising?

I'm assuming that the increased power means my throttle input will be correspondingly smaller, so I end up not using all that available oomph. More throttle, more power. Is that a good assumption?
Yup. I'm in green mode most of the time (I commute in the Washington, DC area, aka stuck in traffic). On a trip to Ocean City, Maryland--where there was enough traffic to keep everyone below the speed limit but not enough to stop it, aka 50 mph coasting--I got 48.5 mpg. On more normal road trips (aka avg speed 70 mph), I get upper 30s; mixed driving, I get lower 30s. But if I'm in sport mode a lot, my mpg is going to be in the 20s.

I sometimes push my Mini to the limits (in relatively controlled environments), but 99% of my driving is sedate/responsible. I'm banking on that 1% of fun (a lot of fun :D ) not being detrimental to the car. But if you're in the firewall *every day* on a daily driver ... things will probably start to break sooner rather than later.
 

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I Have had the NM module since March of 2016 and 12,000 miles of mixed driving almost always in sport mode and a lot of it in twisties at high RPMs using the paddle shifters and no issues. 270 HP on the dynomometer. The overboost is amazing.
 

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I Have had the NM module since March of 2016 and 12,000 miles of mixed driving almost always in sport mode and a lot of it in twisties at high RPMs using the paddle shifters and no issues. 270 HP on the dynomometer. The overboost is amazing.


270? How? What kids did you do?


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Mods** not kids lol


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NM module and JCW PRO exhaust and no issues. I remove the chip which is a 5 minute or less operation prior to any dealer visits for service. The difference from the stock JCW is significant with no issues to-date. If I keep the car beyond the factory warranty I may opt for an ECU remap, but I doubt that I will keep it that long, but if mini does not offer a significantly better performing JCW I will probably stick with this one. I would go for the GP, but I want the back seat even though it is rarely used. IF they decide to resurrect the coupe as in the 56JCW series I might get it as an addition to my stable, but it would require some sort of additional space in the toy shed and it is pretty close to maximum toy room now! This is my favorite driving toy and I don't want to part with it for anything that will not give me more fun left seat time!
 

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JB4 here for 8 months, running on map 2 with no issues.
Hi,

Are you running any mods to support map 2 ? I'm confused on the downpipe decision, I've got a cat back exhaust and better intake filter. Many members claim downpipe is a must for map 2 but Terry at burger says aftermarket downpipes rarely add power unless upgrading the turbo. Hence, the question...thanks

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