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Madness Frequently Asked Questions:

Over the years Madness has received numerous questions regarding MINI’s. Below are answers to the most common questions to date. Check back often as this list continues to grow.


1. Will modifications to my MINI degrade my fuel mileage?

ANSWER: Yes and No. Typically in a highway cruising scenario mileage will not be affected as the computer continuously monitors and adjusts fuel delivery to maximize mileage. In town driving mileage may however be affected depending on how you drive your MINI. Most people like the additional power we give them and choose to use it. Depending on how heavy footed you drive it can lower your in town mileage by as much as 5mpg.


2. Why do you only recommend the 15% size supercharger pulley?

ANSWER: We have done significant research on and off the track as well as discussed at length the pro’s and con’s with Eaton engineers. Basically it stacks up like this, 15% is the maximum speed the Eaton SC is capable of producing good smooth low temp boost. Anything more simply produces more heat making the air less dense. Less dense air means less air into the engine resulting in less power.


3. What engine mods should I start with?

ANSWER: Most people start with a cold air intake. This is easy to install with simple hand tools and can be accomplished by just about anyone. Next would be our 15% supercharger pulley and a set of cooler heat range spark plugs. This is a bit more involved but the rewards are amazing. It will totally transform your driving experience for the better. If your mechanically inclined, using the proper tools and following our instructions you can accomplish the job. If not mechanically inclined any good certified mechanic can accomplish the task as well. Lastly the exhaust system is the next best mod. Most people like a slightly louder deeper tone to the exhaust as well as better flow to increase overall power. Our system is one of the best around. Install time again can be done by just about anyone in as little as 1-2 hours.


4. If I had to pick one handling upgrade to do what should it be?

ANSWER: Without a doubt a rear sway bar. The MINI has a nasty tendency to under steer. Under steer is comparable to driving on ice, when you turn the wheel the car keeps going straight, that’s under steer. Installing a rear sway bar removes some of that under steer and makes the car carve like a hot knife through butter. You will notice this mod immediately after you install this and drive the car.


5. Why does Madness only offer a 22mm rear sway bar?

ANSWER: In the early days of the MINI everyone offered only the 22mm rear sway bar. The reason was because everyone realized that 22mm was the best option for all situations be it racing or street driving. In the later years a few vendors had the brilliant idea of trying to expand their product offering by making a so called "street bar" and then proceeded to call their 22mm bar a "race bar".

In our opinion 22mm is the best route to take when installing a rear sway bar, especially bars with adjustability like ours. Over the years we have had many people return to our shop after purchasing 19mm bars with comments that the car simply wont turn in like they were expecting. After a quick upgrade to the 22mm sway bar all is right with the world :)


6. Are lightweight aluminum crankshaft pullies bad, I hear good and bad things, what should I do?

ANSWER: Stay away from these lightened MINI crank pullies at all costs. Serious engine damage can occur from their use. The MINI’s original crank pulley is actually a harmonic damper not just a pulley. Removing it and installing a lighter non-dampened pulley transmits all the shock and vibration from the twist of the crankshaft to all the connected devices such as the supercharger, water pump, alternator, air conditioning. This constant vibration can really take it’s toll on everything connected not to mention the possibility of premature crank shaft failure. If that goes you’re out thousands of dollars. Rule of thumb in the industry is if the car has a dampened pulley change it out for a better dampened pulley. If the car has a non dampened pulley change it out for a lighter non dampened pulley but never substitute one for the other.

Here are 2 links that explain what harmonic damper pullies do and why they should not be changed. Here at Madness have made a conscious decision to not offer this product as the rewards are slim to none compared to the potential damage. ARTICLE: Understanding Harmonic DampersDampers 101


7. What’s the difference between Evotech reflashing and UniChip piggyback computer upgrades?

ANSWER: At Madness we believe that tuning directly inside the factory computer always provides the best results. Unlike unichip which is a piggyback controller Evotech allows you to get into the guts of the factory computer and modify all the necessary files associated with performance. Unichip only modifies a few incoming signals and tries to trick the computer into providing performance. This has its limits and in our opinion has never yielded good results especially for the money. Going direct to the computer has always yielded the best result, that’s probably why most racing teams that race MINI use our software.


8. What exhaust do you recommend?

ANSWER: Ours’ of course! Seriously we believe we have one of the best systems available. Most people want more power, better deeper tone, long lasting and priced right. We have been able to achieve all of the above with our MINI exhaust system and the customer reviews say it all.


9. Will your exhaust header increase my exhaust volume a lot?

ANSWER: Yes and no, depends on which exhaust system you have. Our exhaust system has been designed along with our exhaust header to provide the best overall volume together. Other systems may be louder or even quieter. General rule of thumb is if the exhaust system has 3 mufflers volume increase will be marginal. If you have a single sided system or a system with 2 mufflers the volume will definitely increase.


10. Why does Madness not offer a front sway bar?

ANSWER: Simple, the MINI does not need one. The MINI has a bad understeer problem which can be reemedied by installing a larger 22mm rear sway bar. This allows the MINI back end to rotate better making for sharper crisper turns. Putting on a stiffer larger front sway bar negates what you have just done by adding a larger rear sway bar! Even some racers disconnect the front sway bar entirely. This is extreme but shows that most performance minded enthusiasts prefer a MINI that has a good neutral balance of understeer and oversteer.

  11. Your short shifter seems really inexpensive, is it as good as the others?

ANSWER: As good if not better! The price sure is right. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best and this is one of those parts. Some of the other more elaborate shifters out there cost more and are considerably harder to install. Most of those are adjustable to provide a 30% reduction in shifter throw. We feel that thats to much and it tends to degrade shifter quality making it feel gummy and not lubricated. 20% is the ideal throw reduction amount giving you stock shifter feel and a definete reduction in shifter throw for quicker shifting. We have beenmaking this part for going on 10 years now with zero failures, I think that says a lot.


12. There seems to be 2 types of intakes on the market for the turbo MINI, why do you only offer one?

ANSWER: Unfortunatly a few really bad intakes have stormed the market at low prices. Most of these intakes have an open filter element where the airbox used to be, these are worse for performance not better. Theses so called cold air intakes are more like hot air intakes when you look at the details. First when air hits the front of the car it goes through the hot radiator and becomes heated. Next, that same hot air flows over the very hot turbocharger/exhaust manifold and engine block, now that air is SUPER HOT! Then over the valve cover it goes, right into the open filter of the so called Cold Air Intake. This is just basic common sense when you think about it, you want cold air entering the intake not hot. Cold air is denser air and the more air you can pack into the engine the more power you will make. Thats the reason the MINI is equipped with an intercooler to further cool the air as it goes through the intake airstream.

Botton line is stay away from open filter element intakes for the R56 turbo MINI's. They may cost less but the the performance degradation is even worse than the stock airbox. Stick to intakes like our Ram Air Intake system and a few others out there.


13. Do larger silicone intake hoses increase power? One vendor states that you can gain as much a 8hp with their intake hose.

ANSWER: Absolutly not! We consider this a marketing gimick and in no way do these hoses provide and measurable HP gain. What you have to remember is that the airflow is resticted by the throttle opening before it enters the engine, this is what regulates airflow to the MINI engine. We really prefer the factory intake hose in this situation for 2 reasons. #1 is that it fits exremely well and has a flex joint to allow it to stay connected during the heavy engine rocking that occurs during hard acceleration and deceleration. The silicone ones on the market have no flex joint and simply do not strecth enough to stay attached. 50% of the cars that come into our shop have this hose disconnected at the throttlebody. Whats worse is that it takes a really good eye to spot the problem. If this remains disconnected for long term, dirty unfiltered air enters the MINI engine and can lead to increased component wear and damage. Reason #2 is that the silicone hose people claim that the interior is smooth. Actually the factory hose is smoother because it is made from a smooth mold not wrapped like the silicone hoses. With the exception on the 2 ribs for the flex joint at the top of the hose the factory part is simply smoother and better flowing than most aftermarket silicone hoses.