My MINI OBSESSION
A Personal Site by Richard Lin aka OctaneGuy | Friday, June 23, 2006
Technical Articles
COOPER EXHAUST INSTALLATION  

On Friday, April 22, 2005, my buddy Phubear2 drove to Chatsworth to pick up 2 Remus Cooper exhaust kits that RemusUSA was selling on eBay for 50% off ($199 instead of $400). What a terrific deal on a brand new exhaust system. Over the course of the next few days we installed both systems and learned a lot from the process.

This article is for installing the Remus MINI Exhaust on a 2003 MINI COOPER
Total Time for beginner to install: Approx. 3-5 hours

Tip! Have all your tools ready before you begin, and study what you are about to do several times!


(Click on a picture to enlarge)

Before tackling this job, I have to admit I was both fearful and excited by the prospect of doing what seemed like a major job. I knew beforehand that I could pay a muffler shop anywhere from $40 to $80 to have it done, but I really wanted to have the satisfaction of doing it myself. In the end, I mostly surpervised and assisted my friend while he did the bulk of the work. Nevertheless, it was still exciting!

So before we begin, let's talk about your Remus. You've probably heard the following by now.

  1. The Remus is cheaper because you need to cut your existing exhaust
  2. Be prepared for welding or complete removal of your exhaust!!
  3. The OEM exhaust is very heavy!!!

Well in reality all of the above is true or partially true but once you see the process, it's not scary at all! The entire OEM exhaust all the way to the resonator can be held by a single person. I've been told its in the neighborhood of 40 pounds.

This is the OEM pipe that's been removed from the exhaust flange. That fatter tube on the end is known as the resonator. It's just a tube with a larger tube around it with holes, and it's whole purpose is to control the sound that is produced. Some people will go as far as cutting it out and welding a straight piece of pipe in its place just to make their exhaust louder. When you buy a cat back system like a Magnaflow, you get this pipe that extends to the resonator as well. In actuality, the amount of piping that is replaced isn't all that significant.

Please note that there are many ways to install an exhaust, and I don't claim this to be the best nor fastest way to do it. Some people have gotten away with dismantling only a portion of what is described here, but for completeness, I have documented all the steps we went through and once you understand the process, feel free to improve anything that I describe here!

The first time we installed the exhaust, we took our time. It was night time, cold, we took lots of pix, and double checked everything and took us 5 hours. The 2nd time we had a better idea of what to do and took us only about 3 hours. Neither one of us had experience in doing an exhaust, so while there are others who claim to have done it quicker, I'm satisfied in knowing that we learned a great deal more about our cars for something that used to be very mysterious!

SOME HELPFUL TIPS:

  • Confirm your model year is within spec--2002 to 2003.
  • Make sure the exhaust is cold. If it's warm, the bolts will be a lot harder to remove off the flange.
  • Have all tools at hand (sizes below)
  • Cardboard boxes and shoe boxes are very helpful and necessary. Have some unfolded ones too to use as pads. Towels can be used as well, but cardboard tends to slide easier along the ground. Think of these as cheap "creepers".
  • Sockets Needed:
    15mm (exhaust flange)
    10mm (supporting tray & muffler strap)
    13mm (rear hanger nuts)
  • Anti Seize Compound is optional for exhaust flange bolts

The Remus Exhaust is known as a "After Back" exhaust as opposed to the more common"Cat-Back". What this means is that the Remus Exhaust utilizes some OEM exhaust parts and attaches behind the resonator. Other exhausts like the Magnaflow are known as "Cat-Back" and are installed directly behind the catalytic converter, starting from the resonator..

What's the primary difference you ask?
Installation, and weight savings. With a cat-back system, you just unbolt the system, and replace it with the new exhaust. With the Remus, you unbolt the system, and CUT the pipe with a hacksaw about 24 inches from the specified location, slip on the Remus, tighten the provided clamp, and reinstall everything. But because you are utilizing OEM parts, you won't save much weight in the manner, but the build quality of the Remus is superior over OEM!

What if I want to put the OEM exhaust back on?
Now that I've seen and experienced the Remus, there isn't a doubt in my mind about wanting to
go back to the OEM exhaust. The Remus sounds and feels better, while in many cases seems just as loud as OEM. The Remus doesn't scream aftermarket either. Its got a fat tip that's bigger than OEM, has a good looking Remus engraving, and the sound is definitely throatier.

INSTALLATION BEGINS HERE:

(Remove spare tire)

Start off by removing your spare tire, then using 2 jacks, get your car on jack stands. We used Rhino Ramps on the rear. While it's not 100% necessary to remove the spare, it makes the job easier!

Locate some boxes of different sizes. Stacking empty shoe boxes works well, as are old computer hardware boxes. You will use these to support the exhaust as it's removed. On a stock Cooper that isn't lowered, you will want a stack around 15 or 16 inches tall.

(LIFT CAR BY WHATEVER MEANS)

I used 2 racing jacks placed just in front and inside of the OEM jack points. If you get on the ground, you can see this flat area. Make sure you angle the jack as close to the tire as possible, because you will then slip in a jack stand in the OEM jack point. If you don't do it right, the jack will be in the way, and you'll have to do it again. Once on the jack stands, slightly lower the jack so that the car is resting securely on the stands, and leave both the stands and jack in place. It's best to have 2 people doing this at the same time (1 on each side).

For more info on jack placement check out my article on Brake Pads.

We used Rhino Ramps for the rear because that flat spot doesn't exist on the rear and so I couldn't find a way to lift the car safely.


Having a creeper can be helpful, but in this case, we didn't want to lift the car too high, just so we would have room to use the creeper. Instead we just laid on some flat cardboard! Also make sure you have sockets at hand!

(Remove EXISTING EXHAUST)

To remove the exhaust, you need to support the exhaust at the front of it and the rear of it like this. The front support is actually for the part of the exhaust that isn't removed, but you don't want it hanging. Height is around 15 inches tall. For the rear, you can either use a box, I added a 2x4 since the box wasn't tall enough, or if you've got extra jack stands and a piece of wood will work too!


Just work from front to back. First you will remove the 2 exhaust flange bolts. These are really tight. Make sure exhaust is COLD!! So again, make sure the car is fully supported because you will need to apply a lot of force to remove these bolts, and you don't want the car falling on you!! Once you've undone these two bolt, slide another 15" tall box to support the exhaust, or just be sure to have someone hold it before you remove the bolt and slide out the exhaust.

You will need 15mm sockets for this.


After you've removed those flange bolts, move towards the rear of the car. You can remove the exhaust support tray next. You will need 10mm sockets.


Remove the rear exhaust support strap. You will need 10mm sockets. Once you've done this, the entire exhaust should drop out, and will hopefully be resting on the support boxes you laid out!


Wondering what the stock rear hangers look like? At this point, you can opt to remove the hanger strap or you can remove the red rubber mounts. This is how we did it. It's a really tight fit to remove them, but it's doable. Once you remove the rubber mounts, you can saw the hanger strap off since you will be discarding this and keeping only the red rubber mounts. In case you accidentally destroy them, it'll cost you $50 from the local dealer to replace them, because they come in a kit that includes the parts you don't need!!


A small vise and a hacksaw work great to free those rubber mounts without damaging them! By cutting the nub off you can slip the mount off and you won't be cursing about how difficult it is to remove! Don't bother trying to pry them out with a screwdriver either. The rubber is very fragile and will tear (don't ask me how I know this!)

(MEASURING/CUTTING EXISTING EXHAUST)

Measure from the middle of the forward rubber mounts to the exhaust end and allow between 24 to 25 inches. You can use a hacksaw or an exhaust pipe cutter. We tried a $24 exhaust cutter from Pep Boys and ran into some problems with getting a straight cut, so we resorted to the good old standby, the hacksaw and it worked perfectly. After a few minutes of cutting it was separated and we used a file or 60 grit sandpaper to smooth/deburr the cut end.

(PREPARING REMUS EXHAUST)


The end of your Remus should look like this.


Just loosen and discard this portion since it won't be used.


The end of the Remus should look like this now.


Test fit the Remus over the OEM Exhaust

(FINISHING UP AND INSTALLING REMUS EXHAUST)

Reinstall the new assembly (leaving the above clamp loose so that you can make final positioning adjustments while under the car). Start with the front exhaust flange. You might apply some Anti Seize compound to the exhaust flange bolts to make them easier to remove in the future. You can buy this from Pep Boys or Autozone for around $3 to $5.

Tighten up all remaining bolts!!! Enjoy your new Remus Exhaust!!


SUPPORTING MATERIALS

LISTEN TO HOW IT SOUNDS (MP3)
I tried to maintain the same mic angle for each clip. The Remus sounds lower and bit more "throaty". No audio processing has been performed. Sound file opens in new window. Disable Pop Up Blocker if needed.

Remus Idle (OEM First then Remus) (105kb)
Remus Vrooom Vrooom (OEM First then Remus) (267kb)

VIEW RANDY WEBB TUTORIAL (this is a handy tutorial but it's not for the absolute beginner as it assumes a certain level of knowledge and not all the pictures show the true sequence of steps which can be confusing)

Magnaflows Installation PDF

View Remus thread on NorthAmericanMotoring.com

My Front Brake Pad Replacement article (good details on jack placement)

Remus website

 

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