Turbos don't work on the MINI One and MINI Cooper, and its not possible to
get the type of power we achieve.
our conversions work. We hope to add video and pictures to the site just a
soon as we get a spare moment to film at the rolling road. All conversions
come with a power graph from a reliable rolling road to prove the point.
(b) If you can
get it to work it will blow the engine.
The conversion we offer is a low boost conversion. The basic conversion
boosts to very low levels and does not get the internals hot enough to melt
pistons. The standard BMW ECU has excellent knock sensing (detects if the
engine gets into a situation where it might get damaged) and retards the
ignition a long time before damage become even remotely likely. This type of
low boost conversion has been used since the 1960's in the USA as a normal
part of modifying your car, and was fairly reliable in the time of
carburettors. With the sophisticated engine management systems of today's
cars, they are pretty much as reliable as any car on the market. The
superbly strong BMW MINI engine is very reliable and can easily handle the
extra power. It has strong pistons, rods, and crank, and the rings seal well
against the bores. How many people do you know whom have managed to blow up
one of these engines? How many people do you know whom have blown up any BMW
engine on less than 200,000 miles? I don't. It's not scientific I know but
it does show how reliable these engines are. This type on conversion has
been used successfully for over 40 years - its not new.
(c) If you can
get it to work and you can get it to work without blowing the engine you
will blow the gearbox.
The gearboxes on early Mini One's and Cooper's have a reputation for
failure. They have been changed on the later cars, and these are an
improvement. Many of the problems with the early gearboxes are the result of
"driving technique". Of the hundreds of customers we have with MINI's the
only ones we know about with gearbox failures (its a talking point) have
been driven in a very aggressive manner - load the engine to the rev limiter
and drop the clutch!! Combine this with 18 inch wheels and regular treatment
of this type and any gearbox would do well to cope. They certainly have less
of a safety margin, but we have never had a gearbox failure on any of our
test cars (which tend to run in more powerful setups), and on none of the
customers cars on which we have installed these conversions. If you drag
race the car then an up rated gearbox from Quaife or similar should be
considered, but in normal road driving it simply is not a problem.
(d) If you can
get it to work, and without blowing your engine, and without blowing your
gearbox then you could have bought the Cooper S instead.
Possibly, but the standard Cooper S is no more powerful, no more
reliable does not have the Turbo dump valve (smile valve), and is a heavier
car. Also if you have the MINI One/Cooper then it might mean changing your
existing car (which you may already have modified). The Cooper S does have
more potential for future modifications, and if you are looking for 300 bhp
then this is the way to go. If you want something faster than your existing
ONE/Cooper, then you need a Turbo conversion. Insurance premiums for a
converted car can also often be less than the Cooper S! Instead of swapping
for a Cooper S spend the depreciation on the Turbo conversion making it
manifold always crack on these types of conversions.
The manifolds we use are high specification CAST steel ones, although we
also use lightweight high flow stainless TIG welded ones for the MCT 300 and
400 Slipstream conversions.
A Cast manifold is
more expensive in terms of set-up costs to manufacture and ultimately more
reliable in use, but flows less and weighs about twice that of a tubular
steel manifold. The weight of the manifolds we make are about 4.5 Kg. They
are manufactured in a furnace and then ported to achieve best flow, and
treated for stress relief. Our cast manifolds rely on Turbos with internal
wastegates which again do not flow as well as external ones, but are
simpler, cheaper and more compact. This system is more in line with that
used by car manufacturers.
A Tubular Manifold
is cheaper in terms of set-up costs to make, but far more labour intensive
to actually manufacture. They are made by hand in Jigs which brings with it
a large labour cost. Cheap foreign manufactured items can be a nightmare in
terms of accuracy and quality of welds. Tubular manifold generally flow
better for higher power, and are lighter at about 2.5Kg. Our manifolds are
fully braced and because they are slightly more prone to cracking are
mounted not only on the original manifold mounts but also on additional ones
to support both the weight and also to account for expansion due to the
intense heat. We tend to use external wastegates with tubular manifolds as
external wastegates usually flow better for higher power applications. This
set-up is more like Motorsport or Race applications, and certainly looks
more stylish than the cast alternative.
CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD MANIFOLDS BE HEAT WRAPPED as this will simply destroy
All Manifolds are
fully guaranteed under our limited liability guarantee. They are not
guaranteed not to crack, but the manufacturing specs we use makes this far
less likely than alternative products. Should your manifold crack within 5
years for cast or 2 years for tubular ones then simply remove and return the
item and we will repair it for free. (Does not include the cost of
labour to remove or refit or carriage). We cannot say fairer than that!
companies have tried turbo charging the MINI and failed to launch workable
products, because they are unreliable.
Not so. Actually
several companies have started to develop kits but given up when they
realised selling heads, exhausts and other mods. (you often don't need) is
more profitable. The main reason rumours are spread that turbos are not
reliable is that we have heard of several companies having brand new Turbos
repeatedly blow when carrying out early development work. They never could
figure out why brand new turbos would cease up, and it makes testing
difficult as they first loose boost and power before failing, so test
results are not clear.
We know why they fail and although we have never experienced this problem
ourselves it comes down to the oil return from the turbo to the sump. Most
companies try to return the oil from the Turbo directly into the sump and
experience one of two problems. Firstly the turbo is mounted at the back of
the engine, and the sump is at an angle with the oil level right at the top
of the sump at the back. They try to return oil to below the oil line in the
sump, and therefore it does not drain out of the turbo correctly as the
return must be above the oil level. It only takes a couple of power runs
with this lack of lubrication and the turbo starts to cease. Secondly they
try to return the oil correctly to above the oil level but this can only be
done by running the drain round to the front of the engine. It is almost
impossible to keep this line heading down all the way and the same problem
causes the same result. I'm sorry - we could have told you if you asked!! Oh
yes we do not use that type of drain system, and do not have that type of
problem - ever.
The head gasket will just blow as soon as it starts to boost.
This is untrue - they do
not. Indeed it would seem that the Cooper
S uses the same gasket! This is a low boost conversion which only adds very
slightly to the pressure within the cylinder. The head gaskets have proved
very reliable so long as you control intake temperature.
On the Cooper S the head gasket has proved reliable in excess of 20 psi of
suffer from "Turbo lag" and the Supercharger doesn't.
In the 1980's this was certainly true - but have you driven a modern
Turbocharged car? Turbos do not suffer lag like they used to 20 years ago.
This is due to many factors. The turbos we use on the Mini One and Cooper
are small and spool up very quickly with very little lag. Indeed due to the
higher compression of the engine there is almost no difference between the
"lag" of the turbo and the "flat spot" in the normal low speed response of
the standard low compression supercharged Cooper S.
This is really an old wives tale - superchargers do generate a linear boost
curve, which is why they are so poor - low boost at low revs and high boost
only at high revs - nothing else is available - you cannot have high boost
at low revs - its a fixed ratio. Full boost is almost at the rev limiter.
A turbo on the other hand can generate full boost around the 3000-3700 rpm
range on most installs - Turbo lag yes but not the boost lag you get with
(i) The Turbo
will generate so much heat in the induction charge that it will melt or
detonate the engine internals.
Due to the low boost operation of the Turbo, and very high efficiency of the
turbo unit the induction charge temperature of the non-intercooled MCT170
conversion never exceeds the normal induction temperature of the intercooled
supercharged Cooper S!!! That just shows how much better (more efficiant) a
Turbo is than a supercharger.