Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Mini Cooper S : GTTuning 200+ upgrade

Heres the info I posted on MINI2 forum on Mar 19th, 2005, 01:44 PM .....
Car was converted at 22000 miles btw

Due to some tragic circumstances recently, I just decided to throw caution to the wind and get my 03 MCS improved.
Heres my rantings...

Tuner Choice ?
The choice is yours but FWIW I had narrowed it down to
[JCW , West Tuning , BBR , GGR , MED or GTTuning]
based on warranty,cost,mini2 feedback and website info compared
to reliability , parts changed and power produced.
West Tuning
GT Tuning

Why GTTuning ?
I chose GT Tuning because of Rolands manner on these forums and his honesty.
And of course they are realistically priced. (Although that just means you buy more LOL)
Pulley looks OEM black
Reliability and Engineering changes to other products.
Basically they came out best on the factors discussed in choice.
Shame they are 400+ miles away tho.

The Adventure.....
So yesterday I drove from Scotland to GTTuning and back. A round trip of 880 miles!!!!!
[I didnt choose the company based on easy access !]

Great drive down , M6,M5,M4,then A350 , took just under 7 hrs at a steady 80mph, isnt cruise control great :-)
Arrived and Roland is just as nice as you think. Spent a while discussing options and bits,
the only thing I couldnt have was an intercooler because he didnt have enough stock...
[head/manifold can come later :-)]

So I got a lift into town while I had the
GTT 210 kit fitted (ecu remap + optimised bypass valve + iridium sparkplugs + GTT supercharger pulley + shorter drive belt + GTT idler pulley)
Exhaust reroute pipe
63mm enlarged Throttle Body
I also opted for the twin bearing idler pully upgrade and new tensioner pulley and GTT stop.
[I already have a JCW airbox which I chose to keep]

6 hrs later and I'm out for a spin with Roland driving. Car feels (from passengers seat WAAAAY different).
We talk about the mods and how on my car the bypass valve was letting a lot of air bleed which would have made it slower than average.
GTTuning are one of the few who check/mod the bypass valve btw

Paid the bill (!) , and started my journey home.
Not a good start as I get stuck in a jam caused by an accident blocking the A350.
And again by a pile up on the M6 later on ..... then thick fog ...... not an easy drive...

A big Hi to a black Works MCS reg plate '**** RO' that passed me on the A350 , and a std blue MCS on the M6.

Conversion thoughts so far
(try an take account of a slight 'my cars just got much faster and I paid for it' placebo effect, which we ALL get :-) )

+ Service was superb, Guys at GTTuning couldnt be nicer.
+ Cost (relatively speaking)
+ Product quality seems top notch
+ Car is much quicker and happier to rev , smoother in revving too
+ Low rev driving is just soooo smooth with tons of torque.
+ From 40 mph in 6th gear hitting resume (to 80mph) on the cruise control is just such a buzz :-)
It just hauls like never before., 5th and esp 6th gears are transformed , no longer do you lose speed on hills and need a down change.
+ An annoying overrun stutter the car had at 1500rpm is now gone
+ Throttle response does seem much better. I always hated the 'dull' std MCS fly by wire response, a HUGE improvement
+ Economy is unchanged or maybe even better ! (*dependent on driving style obviously!)
I reset the OBC for each 400 mile journey.
On the way down (std MCS : 33.6 avg MPG) , on the way back (modified : 34.2 avg MPG) , and I definitely pushed it more on the way back.
+ Exhaust is really nice , deeper note but not overpowering. Seems better after 400 miles too.
+ Reduced Traction Control intervention is worth the money alone. Car actually grips much better than you could imagine.
+ Aside from getting car up on ramps it looks stock even under the bonnet ...

- In some scenarios part throttle mapping seems odd.
This may be due to me having an enlarged TB which is not really necessary at this state of tune.
Car definitely alot better after 400 miles running , so maybe it will disappear in time with adaptation.
- Idle on the very odd occasion can fluctuate. I am going to drive it for a week and see how she settles down. 99.9% of the time its rock solid.
- say bye bye to warranty on parts modified. Can only be your decision.
- my licence is seriously in jeopardy ! 80mph feels like a breeze.

The cons I speak of are really minor and because I'm a fussy bstrd :-)
They are here for honesty.

Would I do it again ? YES in a second. (maybe not tommorrow tho , I'm knackered)
Would I chose GTTuning again ? YES definitely.
The car now drives like a MCS should but still with a quality edge.

Big Thanks to Roland@GTTuning for fitting me in at short notice.
What you waiting for? Phone GTT now before they get too busy :-)


Time for another update me thinks.

Car runs even better now after more miles. I have even noticed that the engine area is quieter with the car running , the belt noises are vastly reduced with the different pulley bits.
Cold start and warmup cycle are much improved compared to the std MCS wrt driveability.
Also the really annoying 'jerk' that I used to get when pulling away from a cold start has now gone.
As I eluded to before , the DSC changes are brilliant , you can really push the car before it intervenes. I was pushing it in 2nd and 3rd in the wet last night round corners (a nightmare scenarios in a std mcs with DSC) and the available grip (even with runflats) is just brilliant.
If anything the less jerky nature and confidence it inspires makes it safer IMHO.

The only issue I have had , is the DSC light coming on when pushing the car in 3rd gear past 6700rpm on a cold night. My heart sank when it came on.
Luckily ignition on and off got rid of it(not at 6700 in 3rd tho!).
Then once home I checked out these forums and asked Roland.

Heres some useful thread links , as its not an issue I was even aware of..
DSC light on LINK 1 (mini2)

DSC light on LINK 2 (mini2)
DSC light on LINK 3 (NAM)

Basically from what I can gather its linked to 18psi at the MAP sensor and the DSC's ability to modulate traction at this limit. Its not a problem and happens on ALL types of modded pulleyed cars when the air is cool.
What IS interesting is that not everyone who has a 17% or 19% pulley (most likely to hit 18psi) reports the light issue , which either means they dont rev it high enough OR the cars are not producing the requisite boost levels.
Obviously you need to take into account the wide range of climates (ie temps reducing air density) that these cars run in. (a car in a very warm climate with a 19% may not hit 18psi)
The graphs of boost vs pulley within the threads show a 'spike' at high rpm , so if you never rev it hard then the light is not a prob I guess.
To be honest with a pulley'd car high revs is neither advisable or required (esp as a 19% goes outwith s/c specs) , and 99% of the time I drive in the torque wave from 2 to 4k

I always fancied a dual gauge pod for the rev counter with greddy gauges so maybe this is the excuse :-)

FWIW I also feel that the upgrade really suits my 03 longer geared MCS , if anything I would want to make 6th gear even more of an overdrive for economy!.

bored yet? OK I'll stop....

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