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MINI Cooper S R53

Ripped Intercooler Duct

In this picture, we see a ripped air hose at the top of the intercooler duct. I suspect this wasn’t too hard to find, given the location of the tear. More often the tear occurs in a hard-to-find place, maybe  underneath the aluminum clamps or below the intercooler inlet-exhaust flanges.

With this type of hose damage, the vehicle could exhibit a great loss of power. The check engine light most likely will be on. Fault codes associated with this leak show the vehicle in “limp home mode”. These rubber boots are the way the supercharger flows its pressurized air (“charge”) to the engine via the intercooler. If the rubber leaks, then the charge pressure is reduced. The larger the leak the lower the charge and the lower the power.

As mentioned earlier, often leaks are found underneath the air duct. These leaks are typically caused by overtightening the special clamps. They can also be caused by the air boots chaffing against the top of the engine, or simply by age and wear. Smoke testing the intercooler system is a good way to reveal hidden boot leaks.

If you find a torn boot, simply replace it. There are no good fixes for these parts. In my years working on these cars I have seen some boots that have been silicone sealed back together; glued, stapled and taped; a whole array of very impressive and imaginative repairs. All good stop-gap measures, but nothing beats new parts.