(warning – there are many pictures on this page!)
GBMINI JCW upgrade gets upgraded!
The ’05 JCW kits include an air filter and bigger injectors – GBMINI has been upgraded to the same specification – click here for details
GBMINI meets JCW
Today GBMINI received a new heart! I had been debating the John Cooper Works upgrade since I first heard of it – in fact, I had a deposit at MINI of Peabody for a while before the upgrade was officially launched. So why did it take almost a year before I went ahead? Well apart from the cost, I was unsure how much improvement there would be over stock, unsure whether the lower cost pulley upgrade would suffice, and unsure whether I needed even more performance than the stock Cooper S provides. In the end, I decided that more fun is better, and after more discussions and reviews, and discovering that MINI of Peabody had a Works kit in stock, I decided to go ahead!
I headed in to MINI of Peabody early, arriving at about 7:30am; one of their technicians, Brian, was to do the upgrade – he has done many already and is expert, able to complete the work within one day (the dealership has done a total of nearly 30 upgrades!)
As soon as I arrived, GBMINI was brought into the work bay and Brian began. He works very methodically – his tools are laid out neatly and remain clean through the day; he works with “hand tools”, avoiding use of the air-powered tools whereever possible. His previous experience with a Karting team has no doubt helped develop his skills.
Stage One – Disassembly
First, the front bumper and the crash bar were removed:
Next, Brian had to drain the air-conditioning system and the coolant, then remove the radiators:
Here is the “old” supercharger – it will need to come off!
And off it comes!
Brian is collecting quite a pile of parts from GBMINI now:
Next, the “old” cylinder head must be removed:
The old cylinder head is added to the pile:
Stage Two – The new head
Finally we can open the box!
Here is the new cylinder head; “two years of cylinder head development” don’t make it look much different!
Brian installs the new cylinder head:
Stage Three – The new supercharger
Here is the old and new superchargers side-by-side:
Internals of the old and new supercharger:
Brian fits the new supercharger:
Here are the old and new intercooler covers – the new one is pretty
Stage Four – Rebuilding the engine
Now the radiators are replaced:
And the crash barrier is put back:
The engine is complete, with the new intercooler cover in place:
Stage Five – The Exhaust
Here is the old exhaust, being removed:
The empty space is then filled with the new exhaust:
Stage Six – Back to life!
The engine is refilled with oil and coolant:
The engine starts up OK – I am assured that all the scary smoke is just water from where the parts were washed!
The engine computer is now reprogrammed with the “secret JCW magic ingredient”:
Meantime, the very important update to the rear of the car must be made:
And finally, by 4pm, the car is finished. Unfortunately the weather means – for now – I must take it gently and not try too hard to find the differences:
Here is a closeup of the all-important serial number badge (before it went on the car):
Stage Seven – “Whats It Like!”
Good question … So far, with few miles and bad weather, I have noticed only a few things:
- The exhaust is no more noticeable than before – good
- The supercharger is more noticeable – excellent
- There is even more torque at lower revs (2000-3000rpm)
- The car seems to be more “frisky”, especially in my normal 3000-4000rpm range
- The car has a new badge!
I expect that once I try driving it in the higher rev range, and with harder acceleration (when the weather allows) I will discover more differences …
UPDATE: After driving another MINI for two days, that has the pulley but not the full works package, I am convinced that while both MINIs have a similar power, the John Cooper Works package is more “smooth” … hard to pinpoint exactly, but there is some extra refinement in the JCW upgrade that seems to be missing with only the aftermarket pulley.
Stage Eight – The ’05 upgrade
The ’05 JCW kit has some changes over the kit installed in GBMINI – new fuel injectors and a sophisticated air filter boost claimed hp to 210, and these parts can be retro-fitted to MINIs with the older JCW kit – so of course I had to get GBMINI updated!
Bob began by stripping down the engine – the old air filter is removed (along with the engine computer) and the intercooler and other parts are removed to gain access to the fuel injectors:
Bob changes the fuel injectors over to the new (blue) ones which presumably allows a higher maximum fuel flow into the engine:
The new air filter has the normal air intake at the front, and an additional valve controlled intake at the rear, with air coming through the duct at the base of the windshield, through a hole in the cowl:
The valve in the new air intake is controlled by the engine computer and opens at 4500rpm to give a greater performance at high revs; once installed extra wiring between the air intake and the adjacent engine computer provides the control – along with reprogramming of the engine computer!
Driving home, GBMINI did not seem much different … but there is an obvious and pleasant increase in noise when the 4500 rpm valve-opening point is reached and presumably there is more top-end performance, but I don’t have a good point of reference. I plan to go back to YarrowSport to do another dyno run this weekend, which might or might not show some differences …