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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, im new here, so I wanted to pop in say hello and post up the beginning of my project thread.

As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I am back in a MINI after only 6 months of owing a GT86. The 86 was a great car but I just wasn't into it. With Rich's passing I learnt that life is too short and that I needed to change things if they weren't right and this is when my search started last Wednesday for a MINI.

I was looking at two options either a GP1 or and R53 and a second car. I was avoiding a 2nd gen MINI due to the issues I had with the Clubby and I hadn't considered an F56 until I saw R99's F56 Cooper S for sale. With this I forgot all about the GP's and R53's I had looked at and got straight on the phone to R99. I then spent the night researching F56's and what was available for them. At the same time I put the GT86 up for sale modified and sold it within 3 days for a profit so I cant complain. This meant I had the funds to purchase R99's F56, again one phone call later and I was planning my trip to Newcastle to pick it up. That was one **** of a journey but so worth it. Not only was the car fully spec'd from the factory, its was also loaded with lots of aftermarket parts, pretty much everything you can do to a F56 at the moment. As its me, I wont be leaving this car like this for long, I want to build on the great work by R99 and add my own stamp. After cleaning the car for the first time today I can say I do like the look of the white wheels and roof, but oh my god white wheels are a nightmare to clean so I feel these may change at some point.

The F56 is a marmite car, just like the R56 when it first came out, some people are going to love it, others wont. I wasn't a big fan but seeing/driving this one I would advise you drive one before making up your mind. And that front end isn't photogenic I know but it looks great in the flesh. Tempted to do a little bit of debadging aswell on the rear end, its a shame that JCW one is moulded into the front grill, I may refit the Cooper S grill and switch the red trim onto that.

One thing for sure, this thing sounds epic, the exhaust has a remote control to switch between loud and quiet mode, although I can see that remote not being used too ofter ;) It nice to have a bit of torque, something I hadn't experienced for 6 months.

Spec from factory:
The car was built to the following factory spec and it would seem R99 ticked every box he could (costing £27,462 when new):

• F56 MINI Cooper S (2.0 turbo B48 engine)
• Thunder Grey
• White Roof / Mirrors
• 18" Cone Spoke Alloy Wheels in White
• Leather Cross Punch Carbon Black / Carbon Black

MINI Yours Off White Interior Pack (which consist of the following)
• Interior trim (off white)
• MINI Excitement Pack

Media Pack XL (which consist of the following)
• MINI Navigation System XL (larger screen & iDrive controls)
• Enhanced Bluetooth with USB audio
• MINI Connected XL

Chilli Pack (which consist of the following)
• Multifunction controls for s'wheel
• Floor mats
• Passenger seat height adjustment
• Storage compartment pack
• MINI Driving modes
• Rain sensor with auto headlight activation
• Air conditioning, dual zone automatic
• Interior lights pack
• LED fog lights

The following Optional Extras were added to the build:

• Sport Suspension
• JCW Steering Wheel
• Electric Folding Mirrors
• JCW Roof Spoiler
• Panoramic Electric Glass Sunroof
• Darkened Rear Glass
• Front Centre Armrest
• Anthracite Headlining
• Cruise Control with Brake Function
• LED Headlights with Cornering function
• Harman Kardon Hi-Fi (incredible sound)

Current Modifications:

• KW Suspension Variant 1 INOX Coilovers (full laser alignment completed at the same time)
• Speedline Marmora 18x8 ET45 Alloy Wheels (finished in Ice White)
• Michelin Pilot Super Sport 205/40/18 Tyres
• Remus Valvetronic Sports Exhuast (with Bluetooth controlled ‘Bimodal’ valve and carbon fibre / titanium tips)
• John Cooper Works Brembo Brake upgrade (4 piston calipers & 335x30mm front discs / red rear calipers)
• GruppeM Carbon Fibre Air Intake (imported from Japan)
• John Cooper Works Body Kit (incl JCW fog delete & JCW grille)
• John Cooper Works PRO Rear Diffuser & Front Splitters
• John Cooper Works PRO Carbon Fibre Bonnet Scoop
• John Cooper Works Aluminium Gear Knob
• Alcantara / Leather Flat Bottom Steering Wheel with Red Stitch (custom made using an original OEM steering wheel)
• Colour Coded Chrome Trim (bumper chrome, headlight & taillight rings)

The car when new was professionally detailed which consisted of a 2-stage machine polish and the GTechniq treatment on both the exterior & interior. It is clear it has been well looked after.

Pictures:



I haven't had chance to take any of my own just yet so I hope R99 doesn't mind me using his:

My F56 Cooper S by James Baker, on Flickr

Back end by James Baker, on Flickr

GruppeM Carbon Fibre Air Intake by James Baker, on Flickr

Remus Exhaust by James Baker, on Flickr

Custom Steering wheel by James Baker, on Flickr

On the Evolve dyno at 202bhp, these should be around 190bhp from the factory:

202bhp by James Baker, on Flickr

After 2 days of ownership:


I haven't had much chance to drive it yet other than back from Newcastle and then to MITP.

I wanted to set myself a benchmark at the Pod so I decided to run it down the strip a few times, the front tyres were struggling for grip so 1) I need to replace the front tyres this week as they are near the wear markers which I knew when I bought the car and 2)The extra torque makes this harder to launch than my R53. My best time was 14.8 which is good for a pretty much stock car. Once I learn to launch it properly I think I can get this down as I lost a lot of time spinning the tyres in first and second, its my skills lacking rather than the car.

MITP time sheet by James Baker, on Flickr

Picture courtesy of Astroboy:

DSC_0064 2 by Colin Bolam, on Flickr

Got a quick picture of it on my way home:

Front corner close by James Baker, on Flickr

I love the sounds this thing makes so I made a little video:

https://youtu.be/4YAesy8B8Io
 

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Welcome along have been following your thread on other site and enjoyed so many changes and love those wheels, plenty of love here for the F56 love the car very nice.
What would you say your best Mod was exterior and drivetrain? and why
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fantastic what will r99 do next. I have always really loved that steering wheel.
Thanks, R99 has moved to a BMW estate as he was in need of a family wagon.

Welcome along have been following your thread on other site and enjoyed so many changes and love those wheels, plenty of love here for the F56 love the car very nice.
What would you say your best Mod was exterior and drivetrain? and why
I love the sound of the remus exhaust, I dont think I will use the remote much to turn it down, as its sounds just so good :)

Exterior wise, I like the pro lip on the front bumper, because it makes the lower section of the bumper look as if it sticks out less, this makes the JCW bumper work for me. I am not a fan of the JCW bumper without those.
 

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Yes totally agree we put the front splitters on our JCW before we got it, just seems to bring the arches out to the bulbous bow as I call it and blends in better, I will have to have a look online for some video's of the remus
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This isn't a massive update in terms of mods, I am really just enjoying driving it and getting to as many shows as I can at the moment. Over the winter I want to give the car a new look and put my stamp onto it. It has been great getting back into the MINI scene, something I missed with my 5 months away.

Remus Exhaust Tips

Some of you may have noticed that one of my carbon exhaust tips looked a little discoloured. It looked like the carbon had dried out. I originally contact Remus UK direct who refused to do anything under warranty as they said it was due to heat. I agreed it's due to heat, but it's an exhaust, they get hot so they should provide tips that can cope with heat.

Not one to give up, I contacted the original suppliers of the exhaust, Revolution Motorsport, they were nothing but apologetic and helpful. They agreed to provide a replacement tip FOC, A1 service from them and the new tip turned up this Friday.

New carbon tip:

Remus carbon exhaust tips by James Baker, on Flickr

Development work - Scorpion

I have been working on a few deals behind the scenes with a number of suppliers as the F56 is still reasonably new and there aren't many aftermarket parts still. The first of which is with Scorpion Exhausts who will be using my car in October for 2 weeks while I am on holiday to develop a decat downpipe, sports cat downpipe and catback exhaust. This will give everyone a cheaper option to the supersprint parts which are a crazy £770 for a decat and £1300 for a sports cat. Oli @ Orranje performance should be able to do a decent price on the scorpion parts once available.

Other performance mods

I am also looking at some other performance mods including a larger intercooler and a remap. More to come on these later in the year as I may be working with another company to develop an intercooler and it sounds like manic will be there with a map by the end of the year. I am also working on the differences between this and the JCW to see what I can take from that to fit to this in prep for upping the power. Little things so far like the oil cooler.

I also have some HEL braided brake lines to go on at some point.

And who would have though that Michelin Pilot Super Sports in 205 40 18 are rarer than rocking horse poop. There are none in the country right now and there was 12 week wait when I bought the car. I need two front tyres and there is currently an 8 week wait. It's annoying ad the tyres sit so well on the wheels I don't want to go for something different as they have just the right amount of stretch.

Living with the F56
A lot of people have been asking me over the last 5 weeks about how I think the F56 compares to my old MINI's. The biggest thing for me is quality, I think the R56 took a drop in quality compared to the R53, I feel this time mini have upped their game as everything just feels nicer. Even down to little touches like the a and b pillars being covered in the same headliner fabric to add that continuity. The I-drive system is miles ahead of the one in my old R56 and works faultlessly with anything I ask it to do. The HK sound system is much better than my old hifi system aswell. I feel this is the most BMW mini to date and I only see this as a positive.

Then onto performance it feels strong, not as quick yet as my old MINI's but with some performance mods I can see this car surpassing those. The noise this car makes is amazing, with this Remus exhaust I feel the car is louder than my r53 with a decat. I can't wait to get a decat on this. For me the R56 is a great looking car but the engine weakness especially with the n14 puts me off ever owning one again. I love the R53 and I see myself picking up a gen 1 GP at some point to stick in the garage.

And for those thinking everything is positive, I do have a couple of negative points to add. My car itself will be going back to mink for a paint/trim issue as one of the door rubbers is too stiff and has rubbed through the paint, a minor issue that will be resolved under warranty. Also I feel mini connected could be better as to use apps such as Spotify through your headset you have to start the apps up on your phone first then plug it into the car.

I can certainly say I made the right choice switching back to a MINI and the F56 is the one for me.
 

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Such a great looking F56 mate. Appreciate your detailed forum posts and photos too!
 
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Glad to see R99's car has stayed on the forum. Hope you enjoy it now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Getting ready to be without the car for most of October. Last weekend I popped over to Millsys so he could take a closer look at the F56 underneath:

Remus Exhaust by James Baker, on Flickr

Glad we did as I found a couple of things that need sorting, firstly a small leak from the rear caliper as one of the bolts on the brake line had come loose so tightened that and topped up the fluid so all fine now. The passenger side drive shaft boot had split and there is grease everywhere, which Rybrook Mini have agreed to replace under warranty :)

While up there we swapped over the exhaust back to the stock one ready for its trip later in the month to Scorpion. My god is the stock exhaust quiet compared to the Remus, I am missing the noise already but I have an end goal in mind. It seems that every time I go to Millsys I come back with a quieter car ;)

It needs a bit of a polish as its fire damaged but who cares its only on there for 3 weeks until its replaced again:
Stock exhaust on for a few weeks by James Baker, on Flickr

At Millsys by James Baker, on Flickr

While under there it was clear how different the F56 is to the previous generations and a downpipe change looks like it could be interesting.

Time for an Intercooler
Next weekend the car is taking a trip to Essex for a week to be used to develop a larger intercooler by Airtec. Interested to see what they come up with and I will be giving them my Cooper S bumper as well to make sure it fits behind that aswell as the JCW bumper.

Then the day it comes back it goes to Rybrook for the warranty work. Then 22nd October its off to Scorpion for the two weeks.

And to finish off with this picture just because I like it:

Penkridge Market by James Baker, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
No problems with rim/jcw brakes?
No problems at all.

Airtec
Last week my MINI went off to airtec for them to develop an intercooler, it turned out the intercooler will be nothing like the R56 so they have started from scratch mocking up a template and testing fitting that.



Having to leave the car with them for a week, I came away with a focus ST, that place was full of fast fords:



I have to say they sound great but I struggled to get it around a corner with all the understeer.

Airtec have had some stick on certain forums over the years but Rich Philips was a good judge of character and he backed them through Orranje. So if they were good enough for him, they are good enough for me. I had a good chat with the team when I went to collecteded my car. They did a great job with the intercooler, designing it from scratch and contrary to belief their intercoolers aren't Chinese made as some people have suggested, they are made in the UK.

Unfortunately they want to keep the design quiet for the moment until it hits the market so I don't have any photos to share with you but all I can say is this thing is going to be big. They are now sending off the design for the end tanks to be cast and for a core to be produced before I go back to get it fitted in about a month.

Back to MINI
On the way back from Airtec, I dropped the car off at Rybrook MINI Stratford for some warranty work:
1) Common problem on the F56 is the door sill rubbers wearing through the paint inside the door shut, the fix mini now have is to fix the paint damage then apply 3m clear vinyl. The vinyl is on back order so they have fixed the paint, which is spot on and it will go back when the vinyl comes in
2) Crankshaft bearing recall done
3) Passenger side drive shaft - they didnt have the parts so that will be done when the vinyl comes in for number 1.

So I collected it from Rybrook today, those guys are amazing, much better than the clowns at Sytner Coventry. Big thanks to Marty who sorted it all for me. Glad to have it back, I forgot how nice it was to drive compared to the focus ST and the countryman Cooper D mini gave me. Time to enjoy it for a week before it goes to Scorpion.

 

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Sounds like you've been busy. I have a question; do you know exactly how they addressed the crankshaft bearing recall? As I understand it, that's a "replace engine" sort of operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sounds like you've been busy. I have a question; do you know exactly how they addressed the crankshaft bearing recall? As I understand it, that's a "replace engine" sort of operation.
Sorry can't help there although clearly it wasn't a new engine. Reading online it's only if it's lead to damage would they replace the engine. A mate worked on the car at mini so I know it would have been done right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I asked the mechanic about this as its a mate from yam:

"The crankshaft had half thrust washers in as it was origionally built but they were weak and weve had instances of the crank moving and damaging the block and clutch so now any f56 cooper s that comes in we will carry out a quality enhancement to replace the bearings with a full thrust washer so is stronger and doesnt allow the crank to have as much end float and so eliminates the chance of it moving too much and causing wear. Yours hadnt actually moved at all but at least now it wont in the future either!! Its only within a certain chassis range aswell so not all cooper s will need it."
 
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