Mini Cooper S with Dinan engine upgrades

Saturday June 2nd, 2007 at 12:66 AM
Posted by: Francois

by Francis Cebedo


Well what do you know… one of my good cycling buddies turns out to be the GM of Dinan Mountain View. Dinan is one of the premier BMW tuners in the US. And since the Mini Cooper is owned and produced by BMW, Dinan has a host of upgrades for the Mini Cooper S.

I call up the GM and we talk about some options. I research the Dinan upgrades and there is nothing but great things about them. R&D, performance, quality, service are all top-notch. They’re not cheap but their upgrades are not hacks or experiments. Everything is designed to work together as an optimized and reliable system.

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Mini Cooper S lowering springs and rear swaybar upgrade

Saturday June 2nd, 2007 at 12:66 AM
Posted by: Francois

By Francis Cebedo

The Mini Cooper S is one of the best handling cars around. The steering is very quick and accurate. The car is low to the ground, lightweight and there is little overhang weight in front of the car and the rear of the car.

To steer the Mini Cooper S into a corner is to experience automotive nirvana.

But it can be improved. Easily! So I hear, so let’s put it to the test. The two upgrades involved today are the H-Sport lowering springs and the R-Speed rear sway bar.

The H-Sport lowering springs lower the front and rear of the car by 1 inch. This is important since the front of the car is already low and lowering it much more will compromise suspension travel too much.

Again, my friend Sean from Sunnyoaks Muffler was up to the task. He installed the springs and it came out perfect. The stance of the car is now perfect with the dreaded wheel-well gap reduced. The handling of the car is improved as the car just rails through corners with authority.


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Mini Cooper S One-Ball Exhaust upgrade

Friday June 1st, 2007 at 11:66 PM
Posted by: Francois

By Francis Cebedo

So I can hardly hear the exhaust on this car. That needs to change. I find out my exhaust of choice, the Borla Sport is $900 plus installation. That’s not good!Then I find out there’s mod floating around enthusiasts and it’s called the one-ball exhaust mod. The Mini Cooper S has two muffler balls that work in series. The modification is to cut off the first ball, the resonator and just go direct to the muffler. It makes it louder, saves weight and increases power.

Here’s my compilation of the info from NAM.

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Mini Cooper S upgrades

Friday June 1st, 2007 at 10:66 PM
Posted by: Francois

By Francis Cebedo

May 19, 2007. Day 6:

So the euphoria continues. Now that I have a good feel for the car, I start scheming for some upgrades. Most people buy a car to get them around. Some people buy a great car that not only gets them around but gets them there in style and very fast. Then there are the tuners and modders. They buy a car and upgrade the heck out of it until it fits their personality and driving style. At the end of the day, I’m a modder.

Mind you, there are more severe forms of car addiction out there. There’s the club racers who take their car to the track at every opportunity. There’s the car builders and there’s the car collectors. Someday, I’ll get there but I need a lot more time and money for these advanced levels.

I’m finding out some of the things that can be improved with the car.

- needs to be louder so I can enjoy the spirited driving experience more. I can hardly hear the exhuast of this car.

- could handle even better, lower stance

- more power. why not.

- ipod compatible

- carry my bikes

- improve the ride quality and handling by ditching the run-flat tires. Mini Coopers, like most BMW’s use run-flat tires. This allows the manufacturer to go without a spare tire in the car. Unfortunately, these tires have a harsh ride, are not the best handling and are expensive.

Here’s photos of the interior and some creative lighting photos.


I’m finding out there’s a whole lot of upgrades available for this car. A great resource is North American Motoring at

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The Mini Cooper S arrives.

Friday June 1st, 2007 at 10:66 PM
Posted by: Francois

May 13, 2007, Day 1:

On Mother’s day, I surprised my wife by telling her I was buying myself a new car. I know, bad taste but what’s a man to do? I’ve been looking for a used Mini Cooper S for ages and a couple of days ago, my RSS feed told me that my car had arrived at Craigslist.

The car was a 2005 Mini Cooper S in Hyper Blue color. It had 9000 miles and was in absolutely perfect condition. The car has my favorite wheels, the R98′s aka webspokes. It had the Sport and Premium packages which include Xenon headlamps, sunroof, sport susupension and stability control. The body and paint were flawless and the interior smelled like brand new.

The owner was an engineer from Microsoft who babied the car but hardly drove it. He was relocating to Hongkong on Tuesday and needed to sell the car over the weekend. He was selling it about $4000 under market for SF bay area pricing. He was my ideal seller and I was his ideal buyer since I was ready to buy. Ready to buy if my wife said yes, of course.

Well she said yes we did the deed during her special Mother’s day weekend. She’s a good woman. So we took him home and I promptly spent the next six hours cleaning it. When my kids saw it, they promptly named the car ‘Bleny’. That stands for blue mini and is reminiscent of a character in the movie ‘Finding Nemo’.

First impressions: WOW, this car is fast! The supercharger whines like mad max and the car pulls hard. It handles awesome and is very comfortable!

Here’s Bleny:


So there, the start of great things to come. It’s going to be a great season.

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