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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Questions and Answer servicing and repair


  1. Cal

    On an R56, used only for street, what's typical lifespan for rotors and pads? I imagine the rotors should last considerably longer than the pads but I was just curious what the norm is? I know there are a zillion conditions that will affect lifespan, but your hunch is sufficient. I might post on Size as well to see what others have experienced.

  2. Rixter,
    yes you are right there are a lot of conditions that determine brake life. There is'nt really a right answer fro this but the "normal" service life is somewhere around 30 - 40,000km for pads. Because the pads are as hard as the rotors usually the rotors are at minimum or very close to. If you were to use the same rotors through 2 sets of front brake pads they would be severly under spec and BMW considers this a safety issue.
    The rear pads on the other hand are quite small and the service life is pretty high on the solid rear discs. They are typically good for 2 sets of pads. 100,000km on the rear discs is about average but usually not more than that. Sometimes the rear discs are replaced because of high rust and corrosion before they are at the end of their service life. This basically holds true for both Cooper and Cooper S on the R56 chassis. The front brakes on an R56 Cooper S are larger than the R56 Cooper. On Gen 1 R53 and R50 both cars use the same calipers, rotors, pads and wear sensors.
    Of course hard driving or track days can severly reduce the life of the brakes where long road trips can mean extended distance with out brake service.
    Thanks Rixter

  3. Cal

    That's both good and bad, for me. It's good because I can rest knowing I won't have to shell out $$$ for pads rotots for several years, since I only drive about 5500KM per year. Bad because I saw a set of JCW/Brembo's for a good price and I thought I would hang onto them and when it came time to replace my OEM pads/rotors I'd simply swap in the JCWs. Well based on the projected timeline, I'd be hanging onto them for 10 or 12 years!!! I can't afford to just buy them either and have them swapped out at this time. Too expensive a 'replacement'

  4. The JCW/Brembo kit is the one to have. Obviously its the best kit available from the factory. Plus you rarely ever see those kits available at a good price. Sometimes its not what the product is worth but what it is worth to the customer. Premium products even in automotive generally sell very well despite their high prices. Some people even retrofit those kits on to their new car when the car right out of the showroom. Its a tough choice I guess !

  5. My son's got a 2006 328i (e90). He's lowered it with H&R springs. He's also considering 8" and 10" (wide) x 19 rims for the front/back respectively. I'm thinking he's going to have a fitment issue. Something's going to rub even with a good offset. What do you think?

  6. Hey Rixter
    I have seen 8 and 8.5 inch wheels on the front of E9x and no fitment problems. The recommended tire should be a 225 or 235/35/19. A 10 inch wide wheel at the rear is wide. I have seen 10 inch wide wheels on a E9x and from memory a 255 is probably the absolute widest you could go. You may want to check a couple other people on some forums. See what they are running to verify your set up. The Tire Rack does not actually recommend a 10 inch wheel on the rear in a 19 inch. It recommends a 9.5. Take into account that is on the standard base suspension and not a lower vehicle. see link, and check bottom of page ---> http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/results.jsp?&autoMake=BMW&autoModel=330i+Sedan&autoYear=2006&autoModClar=Sport+Package&filterSize=All&filterFinish=All&filterSpecial=false&filterBrand=All&filterNew=All&sort=Brand

    The nice thing about the rear BMW suspension is there is a bit of negative camber set from the factory. I have noticed with Double A Arm or single A Arm multi link like Audis there is not so much negative camber in the compression of the suspension. Is he using H&R Sport or H&R Race springs? Is he using the factory shocks/Struts or aftermarket units?
    Personally the I feel the wider wheels are not that important except for looks. Unless you are putting down a lot more horsepower/torque than stock the wider wheel is just extra weight. The exact same BBS in a 9 inch wide is probably 4 or 5 pounds lighter and times that by 2. Plus the ride with extra wide lower profile tires is really compromised.
    Personally the an 8 or 8.5 in the front with a 9.5 in the rear looks very nice and trying to squeeze in another .5 inch is not worth the hassle. Send me some pics when he gets them ! Those are some very nice wheels !

  7. Great comments as always. Thx Cal!

  8. Cal

    I've seen a couple of videos online about replacing the cabin air filter in an 1st Gen MINI but I've not seen anything for the 2nd generation. Same process? Basically remove the housing under the glove box and slide in a new filter? Is it an annual thing or how frequently would you recommend (to keep the MINI smelling nice) =)

  9. The process is literally identical... Take a small flat blade screwdriver... turn your head under the passenger dash and unclip the front 2 clips on R56 and the panel will swing down and open. Pull the old filter out and guide the new filter thoroughly into the slot. Then re clip... On R50/R52/R53 you need to unclip all 4 clips separately and on ONLY Launch edition R50 there are 4 torx screws instead of clips. Do it once and your all good, you won't forget

  10. Cal,

    On one of the MINI sites I frequent there's a lot of discussion about the use of Seafoam to help deal with carbon build-up. Everybody seams to rave about it, and the application varies from every 5000 miles (w/each oil change) all the way to every 30 or 40,000 miles (excuse the imperial talk).

    So how's the average non-mechanic like me, supposed to know if they have carbon build up? What's your thinking on Seafoam? How frequently? I know driving styles will vary and consequenctly affect carbon build up differently. General guidelines are helpful.

  11. Hey Rixter,
    I have used Seafoam and a lot of other products like it. I can not remember the exact directions on the can of Seafoam but every 5000 miles seems like a lot. But that may actually be the recommendation. This is a serious chemical and will remove a build up of carbon. Of course as maintenance goes with almost any car, the more attention given generally the more reliable and cost friendly to drive it is. As you may know I deal a lot with BG products. And I like them a lot. Just the injection cleaner than goes in the fuel tank seems to help a lot and even that is only recommended with services. Smoother idle, slightly better economy and quieter quieter operation can improve. So we try to get customers to use the BG products every 25,000km and as the vehicle gets past 80,000km we like to sell the full Seafoam style intake and injection flush.
    Modern fuel injected cars especially are very reliable in their operation and do not usually suffer from carbon related build up. If they do its usually from lack maintenance and poor driving characteristics. Cars that are driven short trips and never driven to operating temperatures are subject to carbon build up. Poor fuel quality and lack of oil changes also affect carbon build up. On the other side, vehicles that are driven on the highway a lot or driven at higher speeds generally have no problems with carbon build up. Even if they do have a lot of kilometers on them.

    Just using these products is a very good start. You can always go with what the dealer recommends as all good shops know the intervals for carbon related products. Generally speaking, if you do a full intake and fuel rail/injection flush every 40,000km and then use the in tank treatments every second oil that will be more than enough. Anything more than that would seem excessive. Like I said, my general recommendation at the shop is every 80,000km for the intact track and every 40,000km for the in tank. I have seen cars that have never had any sort of treatment and just basic maintenance and have never had carbon related problems and these cars are well over 200,000km. Usually the cars that do have carbon build up problems are a known problem to that specific engine. So if you about problems to your specific model then it would be wise to use treatments according to the manufactures.