How to Buy a Used Exhaust for a Mini Cooper

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How to Buy a Used Exhaust for a Mini Cooper

The exhaust system on a Mini Cooper is a little shorter than many vehicles, but given the fact the Mini Cooper is smaller in stature, that should not be surprising. Replacing the exhaust system on a Mini Cooper is not a difficult job, and Mini exhaust parts are quite common.

Owners looking to save some expense on the repair costs may want to consider purchasing used exhaust parts, which are generally sold at a significant savings as compared to new parts. Owners can benefit from understanding the components that make up a Mini Cooper exhaust system and how the different pieces fit together. It is also helpful to know the hardware that is necessary to properly attach the parts together and install them on the vehicle. Used Mini Cooper exhaust parts can be bought from salvage yards, swap meets, and individual Mini owners. Sellers on eBay also offer a good selection of used Mini Cooper exhaust parts at competitive prices.

Component Parts of a Mini Cooper Exhaust System

Starting at the engine exhaust manifold, a number of parts combine to form the Mini Cooper's exhaust system that ends at the tailpipe. Understanding what parts are included in the system can help buyers make sure they get all the components needed to construct a complete exhaust.

Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is not always included with other exhaust system components, as it is not a pipe or silencer assembly. The exhaust manifold bolts to the side of the engine where exhaust gases are expelled from the combustion chamber. On most Mini Cooper models, the exhaust manifold has a gasket that seals the manifold to the cylinder head to keep the exhaust from leaking.

Some models of the Mini Cooper have the catalytic converter connected to the exhaust manifold. There are two oxygen sensors on the converter; one is in front of the converter, and the other is positioned after the converter. When sold used, it is not uncommon for the entire assembly to be included with the oxygen sensors already in place. When a catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust manifold, there is a flange at the end that allows the remainder of the exhaust to be bolted on at that point.

Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is an emission control device that removes harmful exhaust gases by converting them into less dangerous by-products of a chemical reaction. Inside the converter is a series of ceramic honeycomb chambers that form the catalyst to trap exhaust gases such as carbon monoxide and convert the dangerous gas into a more environmentally-friendly mixture of carbon dioxide and water. Not all carbon monoxide is removed, but a significant amount is captured by the catalyst.

Some catalytic converters are incorporated into the design of the exhaust manifold on the Mini Cooper, and other Mini converters bolt into the exhaust with flanges on both ends. Still another style has the catalytic converter that attaches to a pipe from the exhaust manifold; with this design, an exhaust pipe exits the converter that runs the length of the vehicle and includes a muffler and tailpipe at the rear of the Mini Cooper. Certain catalytic converters have ports for oxygen sensors.. Buyers of used converters should inquire if the oxygen sensors are included with the purchase.

Exhaust Pipes

The exhaust pipe that runs from the catalytic converter to the muffler is called the intermediate pipe. Depending on the model, the intermediate pipe may have a flange or clamped connection at the converter. Some intermediate pipes include the silencer as a complete assembly. On models with two silencers, the intermediate pipe splits into a Y before the silencers attach with a clamping bushing. Certain models require small pipe sections to complete the exhaust system from the engine to the rear of the vehicle.

Silencer

The silencer or muffler is a baffled chamber that the exhaust gases enter, and it is designed to reduce the noise of the vehicle's exhaust. The roar from the engine and the noise of the exhaust gases being forced through the restrictive pieces of the exhaust system can be excessively loud without the silencer to dampen the sound. The shape of the silencer is dependent on the design of the vehicle and the placement of the silencer. Silencers are generally round cylinders but are occasionally designed as flatter rectangular boxes to fit certain undercarriage designs.

Because of the process whereby the catalytic converter changes some of the dangerous gases into water vapour, this water can collect in the silencer. Most of the water is forced through and out the tailpipe; this is why water is often seen dripping from the exhaust. The silencer does have a small weep hole for trapped water to escape. Still, because of the moisture, the silencer can rust internally or form holes in the exterior shell. Buyers of used silencers should inspect the part for weak spots on the exterior, indicating internal rust ready to break through. Also, by shaking the muffler, it can be determined if interior baffles have been rusted through and broken apart.

Tailpipes

Sometimes referred to as exhaust extensions, tailpipes are decorative polished chrome pieces that attach to the exhaust pipe that protrudes out of the rear of the vehicle. The chrome on the extensions can show damage from the exhaust after years of use. Used exhaust system buyers often remove the old tailpipes and install new ones to improve the appearance of the visible portion of the exhaust system.

Attachments to the Exhaust System

Various items attach to the exhaust system to provide information to the engine controls, dampen vibration, or hold the exhaust system in place. The following chart provides a quick overview of the additional exhaust components that are often overlooked. Also, an explanation of what the part does and its location is provided. Buyers of used exhausts should inquire as to whether or not these components are included with the parts they are purchasing.

Part Name

Purpose

Location

Oxygen Sensor

Measures the content of exhaust gases and transmits the information to engine controls

Generally, one oxygen sensor is located before the catalytic converter and one immediately after the converter

Bushing Clamps

Seal and hold adjoining pipe ends together

Depending on vehicle design, where exhaust components separate

Exhaust Hanger Brackets

Provide support to hold up the exhaust system

At various points along the exhaust system, brackets bolt to the vehicle frame opposite where similar hangers are incorporated into the exhaust part

Rubber Exhaust Hangers

Hold the exhaust in place while dampening vibration from the exhaust system

The hanger slips over the hanger bracket bolted to the frame and its matching attachment that is a part of the exhaust piece

Used oxygen sensors should be checked with a diagnostic scan tool when the vehicle is started after installation to make sure the sensor is functioning properly. Used bushing clamps should be inspected with the vehicle running to make sure they do not leak. Exhaust hangers that attach to the vehicle undercarriage and frame are seldom included with a used purchase. If the owner's vehicle has broken exhaust hangers, they need to be replaced with new parts. Buyers should be certain to inspect used rubber exhaust hangers for cracks in the rubber before reusing them.

Exhaust System Attachments That Should be Purchased New

Certain exhaust system attachments should be purchased new when replacing an exhaust system. Exhaust manifold gaskets that seal the surface between the engine head and exhaust manifold should not be reused when the manifold is removed from the engine. Flange gaskets that seal potential leaks when components are bolted together should be replaced, and the bolts should also be replaced if weakened due to excessive rust. Oxygen sensors with damaged wires, bushing clamps that are weak from rust, and exhaust bushings that are cracked or have lost their flexibility should also be replaced when installing a used exhaust system.

Buying a Used Exhaust for a Mini Cooper on eBay

Buyers looking for used exhaust systems and individual exhaust components to fit their Mini Cooper cars can find a large selection of parts at competitive prices from sellers on eBay. Using the search tools in eBay Motors is an easy way to browse through the selection of parts available for your vehicle. Use the drop-down boxes to choose the Mini, and then select your car from the model menu. Enter relevant keywords,, such as "used exhaust", and click on the 'Search Parts & Accessories' link. A listing of all parts that match the vehicle selected is displayed.

After choosing the component you are interesting in purchasing, you may choose the 'Ask a Question' link on the listing page to contact the seller for additional information that can help you make a buying decision. View the seller's feedback and rating to see how previous purchasers have rated their satisfaction in dealing with that individual seller. Complete the purchase using a safe and secure method that eBay provides for online transfer of funds.

Conclusion

Having to replace an exhaust system, even on a smaller car like a Mini Cooper, can be an expensive repair procedure. One way to save on the cost of parts is to purchase a used exhaust system or individual used components. Buyers knowing what to look for can get quality used parts that can provide years of service at significant savings. Understanding the components that make up an exhaust system helps buyers select the proper replacement components for their vehicles. Knowing what parts need to be checked to insure proper operation can keep the Mini running the way it should.

Replacing components that should be installed new can help a car owner avoid the need to remove a portion of the exhaust system to seal a leak or correct an alignment problem. Buying used vehicle parts can sometimes pose a risk, but a solid used exhaust system with a minimum of rust is likely to last a number of years and cost far less than comparable new parts.

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