Mini Cooper S R56 – engine woes

SERVICE Alert

If you own, or know someone who owns a MINI Cooper S (R56) car, from 2006.5 to 2011, read on with great interest or concern.

With the push to get more new cars produced, broaden the product line, the life cycle has gotten shorter and shorter, and manufacturers have also taken other steps to outsource some major parts of the car to help in the rush to get this all done. Add in the change in technology, push for greater gas mileage and more power, hybrids, and there is a certain formula that something along the way may not go according to plan. We have seen this with many of the manufacturers…it doesn’t seem limited to any category or segment. Now enter MINI…and with the introduction of the second version of the second generation MINI, they have fallen in this hole. They outsourced the first MINI motor for the Cooper and Cooper S, and now have taken that same path again with the current version of the MINI, albeit with now a different engine supplier and having moved from a first version Supercharged motor to the current version Turbocharged model.

None of that would be bad….unless something could go wrong. Most of our customers today believe their car should run nearly trouble free, and not have any significant engine issues till the car nears 200k miles. Some of that is forgiven if the car is a specialty or high performance car (read Porsche and Ferrari).

The other concern is when the manufacturer tries to turn their head the other way when an obvious, and recurrent problem pops up. This is what we are seeing w the current model MINI Cooper S, the one with the turbocharged motor. Due to the size of our MINI customer base, we first started to see this issue about 2010, and now are seeing a more steady stream of occurrences. As one would expect, MINI themselves first saw the issue arise, and after a full year of issues, had issued a Technical Service Bulletin….first to its dealers, and then to the public. But, this doesn’t mean the were stating they knew there was a problem, a Service Bulletin is to make service managers and technicians aware of how to test and repair a known issue. That is how MINI positioned it, and continues to do so. Their first Service bulletin even took a more backhanded approach as it communicated the issue to the dealer network.

The issue – as low as 20k miles, and we have seen it mostly around 50k miles, the motor starts to make loud rattle. This noise is louder on cold start up, and is less noisy or may sound like a normal engine sound once the engine is fully warm. The issue is the chain tensioner….and it is not working as designed, and not producing the tension the timing chain needs, and the timing chain hits the outer enclosure and makes the rattle sound. But, that in and of itself wouldn’t be too bad, but what can happen if this is not taken care of is. If the customer doesn’t have this addressed, and this tensioner continues to get worse, and the wear occurs to the timing chain guides as well, the customer could experience complete engine failure (the chain will jump the timing chain gears, timing will get off, motor won’ t run well, valves open at the wrong time, and then really bad things happen as the pistons and valves do direct battle, with the engine losing)…read the motor will break.

There is a known fix to this, and MINI even has a test to determine if the tensioner is producing less than desired tension. Depending on when this issue is identified, and the longevity of the wear period, the extent of the fix can be minor or major. At a minimum, it requires a new timing chain tensioner (not a quick fix, but not out of the ball park in cost either). But, if the wear is greater, then several parts need to be replaced (timing chain, timing chain tensioner, gear, guides (3), and some key bolts).

If your car or someone you know has this, and the car is under warranty, MINI will test the car, and should cover the repair. If you are outside the warranty period, then even though MINI knows of this, the repair will NOT be covered.

The current TSB related to this issue is:

SI M11 02 07
Engine – February 2011
Technical Service

This Service Information bulletin supersedes SI M11 02 07 dated October 2010.

So, be aware, listen to your motor, and you may want to have MINI test your car to see that all is OK.? Believe us…this is a REAL ISSUE.

UPDATE – JUNE 2012

I’m updating this post (originally written by us in Dec 2011, but updating now in June 2012….as we are seeing cars at about the rate of one a week w this issue with many NOT having addressed this issue early, and producing other unwanted results…..read….more expensive repairs).

Here are pics of a recent example where the following occurred -

(1) The timing chain tensioner does not provide sufficient tension (you can feel a significant difference in the current motor version versus the new version)

(2) The upper timing chain guide wears through, and then breaks. The picture is of the pieces left after it has broken into multiple pieces. These pieces then fall down into the timing chain galley and do further damage…and in another recent case, got caught in the oil pump chain, and broke and stretched the oil pump chain nearly throwing that chain and causing oil starvation (which would have been the end of the motor).

(3) The side timing chain guides break into pieces, and fall into the oil pan, also requiring additional time and work to repair. The pic below shows how one case, the pieces did get caught in the oil pump chain, stretching it, and almost causing it to be thrown and killing the motor altogether.

NET – if you own, or know someone who owns a 2007 – 2009 MINI, have them get this fixed, even if they think they are FINE.

MORE UPDATES – Feb 2013

Here is a comment from another shop who has read and follows our blog, about the MINI issue -

“I work in an engine rebuild center . we are seeing more & more of these MINIs coming in every day now … burning oil & timing chain problems … new one is the top guide is wearing causing metal fillings into engine ” not what you want “. Last one causing Vanos unit (variable camshaft) to cause a fault code 287d to stop working as relies on oil pressure… not the best from BMW/MINI I must say.” …..

Another comment rec’d on March 14, 2013

This just happened to me. 68k on my 2009 S. Was running perfectly, never noticed a rattle or anything, but blam, dead car. It

63 Comments

  1. james regan
    Posted May 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mini, I purchased a new mini cooper s Camden from your Chelmsford branch on the 19.12.09 for my wife for her Christmas present, she was over the moon.? we notice the engine light came on in march 2010 and immediately contacted mini Chelmsford about the problem and request it taken into the garage for investigation, We were so shocked and surprised at the diagnosis report back from the service department.? The mini had been sent out to Chelmsford Mini with no oil in the engine, and the mini service department had given the vehicle a clean bill? of health before selling this mini on to me. ( obviously no such check had been done by the factory or mini Chelmsford prior to us collecting the car)? We than went on our winter holiday to Tenerife on the 21.12.09 for 7 days. So the car? was not used at all for this period.
    ?
    How could this happen to a new car, ( 01.01.2010? Platinum delivery package ??651.30) On the 26.3.10? I phoned up directly and spoke to the manager of the show room for his personal opinion and was advised on his findings, for the 1st time i heard? that no damage had been done, and the mini would be ok.Not having any oil has not cause any damage to the engine.? I verbally requested that this incident be put on record in the event that any future problem with the engine would not effect my consumer rights or warranty , for which he agreed.? I than regularly checked the oil on a weekly basic, and just assumed this was normal for a mini cooper S to use more oil as advise by mini. Yet in the service book it recommends
    ?
    My wife took charge of the mini again and with in 2 weeks the light came on again, I phoned mini and spoke with the service department manager, who advised me that as your mini was a cooper S it would require more oil fill up??s than your typical mini, so as a novice I believed this to be true, I continue to just top the mini up every time the light came on and check it on week intervals for it??s oil level.
    I found my self checking the oil levels every week, and filling up the mini every 4 to 6 weeks with 1-2 litres of oil.? This settle for a while until the 15.6.10 when again the service light came on during transit. (Mini service report :24.03.10 )
    while my wife was on her way to work, so she called out the mini emergency service.
    ?
    A technician Mr Gary Lynch : ID SV25BC attended and? advised replacing again the cam shaft senor,(This was replace the 1st time on the 24.3.10? with the statement that a fault had occurred due to the lack of oil).
    He than filled up the oil again with 3-4 litres of oil which my wife was advised of. My wife explained to him what had historically happen with her mini, which he replied to?? I can,t believe that a car can be sold from new and have not been check for it??s oil levels and sent out empty. She was told to drive slowly and get it back to the garage. We than proceeded to book the mini in for investigation.?
    Again the mini was taken in for investigation with the following fault being diagnosed. 23.6.10
    ?
    On the 19.10.10 we had to bring in the car again for the same reason,? the camshaft senor was? at fault, with engine oil levels down by 2.5 litres, refilled with 205 litres and was charged for the oil as well.? Below is a history register of events with visits to the main dealer. All the time myself and my wife have been advised that at no time has damage been done to the minis engine.
    Now it,s the 8.5.2012 some 8 weeks after a? service and oil fill up at mini, my wife has advised me again the? car sounds and feel terrible, engine sound rough , loud, so again I check the oil tonight with no signs of any oil on the dip stick. So tomorrow morning my wife will be booking the mini in for further investigations.
    I do feel now that my patients have been exhausted, so I have taken professional advise from 2 other garages about my situation and will be seeking legal advise based on the response of mini back to me.
    ?
    I would like the car replace with an identical mini Camden, as I feel that I have been completely miss led by mini, and this engine has been completely damage due to the 1st incident on the 24.3.10 .
    I think you have been totally complacent in your advise to me and action within your investigation , the mini should have been taken back and replaced after the 1st incident of being sent out of the factory with no oil in it, being driven in this condition for some 4542 mile record on it. ( under the sale of good act and duty of care) This is totally inexcusable from a company such as yours. I feel completely let down by MINI.? I expect my wife to be given a courtesy? mini immediately? while you find a new replacement car.? Please advise immediately.?
    ?
    Historical report
    ?
    Technician report:
    Date 24.03.10
    Account no C0002
    Document no : 37119413
    Job no : 83879
    Mileage :4542
    ?
    Inlet camshaft senor faulty due to oil levels low. Oil level not set correctly from factory.
    I immediately ask has this cause any damage to the engine, but was told no. No damage was caused. I ask why with a new car should it be sent out without any oil in it, we where told the fault is down the the factory sending out this way. So why was it not check prior to exchange funds with me.
    ?
    Technician report:
    Date 15.6.10
    BMW Group
    Emergency service Report
    file no 11082868
    ?
    Again the cam shaft sensor was replaced. Part no 13627570191
    Mileage : 3866 ?
    ?
    23.6.10
    ?
    mini taken in and? cam senor replace and oil filled up again.We do not have a copy of this mini investigation but I am sure it is on record at the garage or on the system.
    I called? mini and? I was told that the mini cooper S naturally use more oil than your typical car because it is a sports car. We have had this mini since the 19.12.09 .
    ?
    Technician report:
    Serviced on the 4.5.11.
    Account no C0002
    Document no : 37151370
    Job no : 0
    Mileage :11247
    ?
    Technician report:
    24.11.2011
    Serviced on the 4 .5.11.
    Account no C0002
    Document no : 37168784
    Job no : 0
    Mileage :16180
    ?
    Minor repairs
    ?
    Technician report:
    01.03.12
    Serviced on the 01.03.12
    Account no C0002
    Document no : 37176978
    Job no : 0
    Mileage :18456
    ?
    Oil levels not on dip stick. Filled up with oil again.
    ?

  2. jacqui
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Interesting article. I bought a 2nd hand mini r56 cooper s from a car yard (not mini distributer) only may last year. It has always had a rattle – but I was told that’s the noise they make. I noticed last week the noise was very loud and clanky, I rang bmw to book in a service – I explained the sound and what the engine was doing – loss of power – had to ride the clutch – stalling – etc. I was informed to bring it in on the friday – earliest time. Not once did the “specialists” inform me to not drive the vehicle – funny as this is a known issue (now I know this). On the day before the service the car stopped in peak hour and was dangerous where it cut out. Car was towed to bmw – advised it was timing chain (took 4 hrs to diagnose this and 10 mins for me to google this) – 2500 later I was facing a very expensive fix for something “known” as a design flaw by bmw. I complained and have received a “partial goodwill” payment – this is disgraceful – it should be a free fix and a national (and international) recall. Shame on you bmw for ruining a fabulous car brand history

  3. Ralph Crevoisier
    Posted September 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Timing tensioner failure on 08 R56 @ 44K miles. Mini of San Antonio would not cover repair stating out of warranty.

  4. Posted September 26, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    My mom recommended this blog and she is totally right in every way keep up all the great work.

  5. Mark Crowley
    Posted November 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    2009 Mini Cooper S, stretched timing chain at 12,800 miles. Dealer replaced with new parts (chain, tensioner, gears, guides). has been running perfectly since the repair (knock on wood). I am now concerned that this might repeat again after more significant wear (like around 50K to 75K miles) when the car is out of warranty. Any advice on what can be done to prevent this?

  6. Larry
    Posted January 28, 2013 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    My wife and both own 09 Minis and I am getting nervous about getting this done before it becomes a very expensive bill does anyone know if this can be a DIY task for the replacement of the chain and guide or are there specialty things required. What is a expected cost for this service before there is a failure? We do have a highly recommended European specialty shop near by and he has been helpful so far. May plan to get both done soon.

    Thanks for any feedback.

  7. pascal
    Posted February 10, 2013 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    2009 cooper s 42 000km had to change timming chain and tensioner , they said everything ok , but now knocking noise !! have to go back to mini , will see wath they say , i m lucky it still under waranty .

  8. Rufus
    Posted February 11, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I own a Mini Cooper S 2007. The car has only 30,000 miles. Immaculate inside and out. Very noisy rattling engine. Stalling and noisy idle. I was told that these engines run noisy so did not suspect anything especially as the car had been for it’s TLC service and has full service history with dealer. Am hoping not too much damage has been caused as a timing chain problem is suspected though no warning light has appeared. Am appalled after reading on a few forums that this is a known problem BMW will not take responsibilty for. I have already spent

  9. motorcare
    Posted February 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    i work in an engine rebuild centre . we are seeing more & more of these coming in every day now … burning oil & timing chain problems … new one is top guide wearing causing metal fillings into engine ” not what you want ” last one causing vanos unit (variable camshaft) to cause a fault code 287d to stop working as relies on oil pressure… not the best from bmw i must say …..

  10. Jd
    Posted February 16, 2013 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    MCS 08 .. I bought this cooper s for my wife having already owned 2myself one supercharged & a early turbo model …. Well where to start !
    At 6months old the car was up to 7,000miles & running as sweet as a nut but getting very very hot to the point where it had warped the bonnet scoop !
    Common problem I was told – BMW won’t replace under warranty because there was a broken clip & BMW quoted (could of happened while being cleaned or lent on -Stupid man)
    Next fuel pump – replaced (warranty)
    Next window sensor failed and they would open on there own ? (Replaced warranty )
    Next pitted alloy wheel due to salt & dirt getting in under the lacquer (BMW won’t replace because they say it was caused by a strong wheel cleaning agent ? Other 3 wheels are fine ? )
    Then the big one … Driving the car one Sunday & could smell oil so pulled over to roadside & lifted the bonnet to find oil all over the engine called BMW warranty assist got the car recovered back to sytners & was told a car would be delivered to our address within 2hrs from hertz rental .. 2days later get a call to say it’s going into workshop. Next day a call from the dealer to say they have stripped the engine down and found that the -Turbo had failed sucked all the oil through and flooded the exhaust cat & both would need replacing – under warranty should have it back in 4days waiting for parts.
    3days later get a call they have fitted new turbo & cat but engine still not
    running right ? Need to do a compression test on the 3rd cylinder ..
    Next day a call to say they need to strip the engine again as no compression in 3rd cylinder ?
    2days later a call to say a broken piston had scored the inside of 3rd cylinder & now would require a new engine !!!! But we can’t do anything until we have spoken to mini UK
    2days later get a call to say mini UK reserve the right to void the warranty due to the car being fitted with a miltek downpipe not an original mini part
    It’s now going to cost you

  11. Posted February 20, 2013 at 3:03 am | Permalink

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  12. Posted March 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

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  13. David
    Posted March 14, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    This just happened to me. 68k on my 2009 S. Was running perfectly, never noticed a rattle or anything, but blam, dead car. It’s in the shop right now but it’s definitely looking like the timing chain. This is ridiculous, and something really should be done. :-/

  14. Erik
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    This happened to me at 79,000 miles. I had the death rattle and rough running. Took it to the dealer – and replaced chain and all related parts. $2100.00. OUCH! The car has run great since then . Now at 115,000. The car has always used 1 liter of oil every 2000 miles. Seems a little high to me. My old Escort ZX2 only used a liter every 5000 miles. And that car has 240,000 miles on it now.

  15. Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink

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  16. Clarence
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    We have a end 2010 MCS LCi(N18) and the car currently has 12,000km. About two months ago we started experiencing this rattle at the engine, difference being it is softer on cold start.

    The dealer first changed the tensioner which reduced the noise however did not resolve problem. The current plan is to change the timing chain.

    The BMW engineer for AsiaPac viewed the car last week and has no immediate recommendation as apparently there are no records of N18 facing this rattling.

  17. David
    Posted April 17, 2013 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    ’09 Mini Cooper 2.

    Sporadic oil leaks which were diagnosed as tensioner arm backing out. When I arrived at the dealership, there was a 5 foot in diameter pool of oil under the car as it sat in the service bay – car had 26k miles on it.

    Fast forward a few months, rattling on cold starts so I take it in for service. End result, timing chain replacement exactly as described in earlier posts. Thankfully, due to a friends issues on his ’06 Mini, I had purchased the extended warranty and everything is covered. However, when I asked the service department why a car with only 29k miles would need a timing chain replaced, they said that its becoming more and more common with the S models…never once mentioning the service bulletin or the real issue.

  18. John C
    Posted April 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    bought a 2007 used MINI cooper S . 6 months later @ about 45000 miles . the engine blew .. guess what the chain tensioner caused it .. now my car is @ the mechanic – Precisision auto works – Covina Ca. needs a engine rebuilt.

  19. Keith
    Posted April 22, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Dose anyone know if the 2012 cooper S engines have the same problems, I thought about buying one but may rethink after reading these blogs.

  20. admin
    Posted April 23, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    As far as we know, the 2010 and later engines do NOT have this same issue, the tensioner has been upgraded w the current production part.

  21. Posted April 23, 2013 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

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  22. Tim
    Posted May 11, 2013 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    I have just been through the same issue with my Mini R56 (late 2007). Bought the car 2 months ago and the cold start rattling gradually got worse so I googled and came across this site (amongst others). Luckily, I bought the car with a 3rd party 3 month warranty, so no cost to me – but I’m glad I came across this information now, and didn’t leave the problem to get worse! I’m picking the car up later today, so hopefully will get an explanation from Mini as to what fix was applied, and if this will put an end to the rattle for good!

  23. C from Melbourne
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe i’m finding this now. I purchased a used 2007 r56 turbo with about 30,000klms and rang BMW to ask about why it was suddenly running so rough and loud when warming up in the mornings, was advised that “it’s just how they are”, but to be sure, bring it in for a service and check etc. Took it to BMW / MINI in Southbank Melbourne city as it was still running real rough. The carried out a full service, no mention of anything out of the ordinary. For the next 4,000klms after the service the car was left to friend whilst I moved interstate, he said that it was running worse and worse to the point where he did not want to drive it anymore and started driving another car. A month or so later I asked him to try and take it to an independent mechanic, the battery was low, so he charged it overnight and tried the next morning. The next morning the car went “Bang”. The car was then towed to an independent mechanic who confirmed the engine was seized. I’ve been so busy with my new child and work that the car is currently sitting there and I feel this is some how not my fault. I can understand if my friend was a hoon and thrashed the car etc, but was is certainly not the case, and the car failed whilst being turned over, not even being driven, not to mention everything i’ve read above sounds scarily familiar. BMW / MINI Australia can’t deny they don’t know about it because as it would be, my new neighbour who just moved in was a BMW technician and confirmed the issue. I’m going to try and resolve this with BMW the best way I can and will post the resolution if I ever get one.

  24. Jimmy
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    2009 Mini Cooper S 38,000 miles timing chain Failure. Bite me mini.

  25. cory
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Got a 2008 r56 cooper s with engine rattle and using oil. Found oil in intake and topping up oil more often,shortly after blown piston.
    I rebuilt the engine and replaced pistons and timing chain kit. Engine runs sweat but not happy,lve notice the engine has excessive suckion pressure when taken the oil filler cap of.
    After going though checking everything on the engine, i found the pcv valve system in the rocker cover has failed causing oil going in the intake.
    I replaced the valve cover its not cheap or the cheaper way to fix is put a pcv valve in the intake hose going to the intake manifold.
    After doing all that the engine sounds good and no oil in intake.

  26. Tony C
    Posted June 30, 2013 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    Interesting ! A Gym friend has same problem at 6000k miles Mini gave her a loan car for weeks ! Now have offered a BIG discount on Next Years mini . Coming out a L. A . Motor show . R56 engine again . Oil had solidified , short runs she is told !! Wonder if the . Sales . Dept mentioned that ? Obviously . B. M. W are ,keen, to help all owners ! Yea Rite

  27. Randy
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I have a 2010 MINI and had the same timing chain issue at 45,000. The dealer fixed it under warranty. Now at 56,000 the engine overheated and may need replacing. I love my MINI but their engines are CRAP!

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  36. Randall Leverett
    Posted September 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    2008 Cooper S (Turbocharged) 92,000 mile. Our Mini was taken in 3 times to Roadshow BMW/Mini in Memphis for poor idling. They changed the high pressure fuel pump and everything was right. Turbo went out…. mini claims we missed an oil change (two years and 2 oil changes ago)… so they refused to pay. Thankfully extended warranty company paid. ($3500) Afterwards, Mini advised that the rattling noise was stretched timing chain and that the chain/guides would have to be replaced “soon”. But that’s not what they posted in the service history. They said… Customer refuses to check timing chain at this time. What we said was….How much $$ is it to check the timing chain issue…. About $700. They said…if its stretched beyond spec…it’ll be warrantied and it wont cost you anything. I asked…and if its not stretched beyond spec? Well then…We will have to pay the $600 for the privilege of checking it. We said….we don’t have that kind of spare cash right now. Never did they say….you’re engine will implode within days if you don’t check it. Then you’ll be looking at a $6000 motor. Kind of an important piece of information to leave out don’t you think? Didn’t say….don’t drive it.
    So 3,000 short miles later….The motor implodes…starting it in the garage. Ext Warranty company now refuses to pay, because of what Roadshow put in the service history…about our “refusal” So we’re stuck with making $700 monthly payments and owing $15.000 on a lawn ornament that needs a $6000 engine.
    Ill be rebuilding the motor myself over the winter. Weisco piston set, Ferraro valves/seats and a performance cam. Should cost about $2500 and add another 33hp. But the result will be a Zero Miles-Performance motor. Thinking about having a machine shop make a timing chain guide out of titanium.

  37. Bryan Yu
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Bryan,

    I truly wish this had gone per plan. However with your warranty and maintenance coverage, time is really the biggest disappointment as I know you wanted your car back for your trip. As mentioned on the phone, because of the part delay, we will be taking care of the additional Enterprise expense while we wait for the part to arrive. I have detailed the main points below from what I shared with you on the phone.

    1) Although the spoiler was ordered by VIN# what arrived did not match what was on your car. It appears that the base spoiler that the JCW wing is attached to either comes already painted and attached to the wing, or we need a base Cooper deck lid. We ordered both just in case.
    2) When we pulled the car out of the service drive this morning there was a puddle of coolant on the floor. The thermostat is leaking bad and the water pump is showing signs of leaking. I have been assured that on Saturday these items were ok. The excessive heat the past few days could have contributed to the leak. Both of these items are covered by JMA. There is no deductible. The thermostat is on back order from Germany and is expected to arrive in Germany on 09/17/13 however, it shows that we have been billed for some that we ordered so we may get lucky and see one soon. This should also allow us to have MINI pay the Enterprise bill.
    3) The valve cover is leaking. I am not taking any chances and am going to parts warranty this as it was replaced about a year ago.
    4) The sunroof cassette is broken and should be replaced. More than likely it swelled from the heat, binded and the cable sprocket jumped several teeth. There is a possibility that it can be corrected, but it would only be a temporary fix at best. We presented this to JMA and it was declined. Only the motor is covered. The motor is not the problem.
    The cost to replace the cassette is about $2300.00. We would pass along a 15% discount on this.
    5) Under the maintenance plan we are replacing his rear brakes. Since Saturday it is now also calling for its brake flush and micro filter so we will perform that service along with a new drive belt.

    Please call or write me as your time permits. I will however not be reachable after 7pm tonight. And reachable again Friday 9-3, and back at work Monday at 9am.

    Larry Sevrin
    General Manager
    Mini of Baltimore
    410 296 7900

  38. Bryan Yu
    Posted September 17, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I have been to this dealership 8 times this year on a 2008 MCS with less than 28kmiles bought brand new from the MINI dealership in Baltimore, md. My time belt chain has been replaced 4 times and needs another replacement and I have hardly driven the vehicle. The car eat motor oil like fat man eats cake(no offense). I always keep 4 qts of 5w30 oil in the trunk in case I run out of oil which is every month. Each time it’s brought in they say nothing’s wrong and mcs’s just eat oil because of the turbo. What bs, I had a 2002 vw GTI decked out with a mod chip and turbo and it didn’t eat this much oil. Where the hell does it go? I mean really? I just can’t believe I purchased top of the line MCS with all options less the nav and JCW and this is the treatment and the care I get from a car that rarely driven. Now I take the car in for an oil change and they brake my $1k JCW spoiler off that I got when I purchased the car. Says so on the receipt and the service guy told me “I” glued the spoiler on incorrectly. Wtf is this? I can’t tell you how much I loved this MINI and how much I HATE IT NOW! I will trade it in for something else.

  39. Posted October 3, 2013 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanred to give a
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  40. Posted October 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Read my recent pissed consumer report….

    Update:

    It is now October and my car lost power on the highway. It turned out to be another burnt valve. This time when they took a closer look at the cylinder heads they noticed there were cracks in the cylinder head. Cracks that are beyond repair, so I now need a new engine. The total repair cost is going to be $9,600. Mini Cooper USA offered goodwill assistance for 60% of the repair costs, so I’m responsible for $2,500. I just forked out $1,500 in January for machining the cylinder heads. It seems weird that their work isn’t warrantied. I can understand paying for something not associated with the cylinder heads, but since their are cracks in something that they recently serviced. I don’t feel like I should pay. I also feel like all of these problems stemmed from broken parts of the timing chain in the engine. Which they now serviced twice.

    Doing a little bit more research online, I noticed that there is currently a class action lawsuit against BMW. Do a google search on the following:

    Joshua Skeen, et al. v. BMW of North America LLC, Case No. 13-cv-01531

    Anyone in the bay area with similar problems interested in joining a class action lawsuit with me?

  41. Michael Chamberlain
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Do not think this only happens to the Cooper S model, I have the 2007 base model and I need not just the timing chain replaced but the inlet cam shaft as well as there is damaged to it, from what I can see and talking to the BMW mechanic the chain has stretched and caused the cams to move around. I had the dealer quote to replace the timing chain as the noise kept getting louder, sent car into get checked six months earlier, no issues with the car I was told. I had a call from the dealer to say I should get the car back late next week, been in the shop since start of last month waiting for parts to come from Germany. In August organised for the car to be repaired, got a phone call ten days later I was told they ordered wrong items. Good service from BMW Australia. At least I was given a loan car after I asked for one. I suppose the best thing is that for the last six weeks I put no milage on the car.
    The thing I have learnt from this is that if you rely on the dealer giving you advice it could cost you a lot more in the long run. Also I am getting the oil and filter changed every 5000km (my cost, my peace of mind) as the last time I got the oil changed after the car service light came on it looked like dark runny mud.
    I agree with all these issues should not happen to a new car, maybe if we replaced the mini badges with BMW they will take more notice!
    Imagine a BMW badged car breaking down, not a good advertisement for them.

  42. Posted October 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Great write-up, I

  43. major
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    I purchased a 2008 R56 MC this with about 54K miles. The production date of the car 07/08 so it predates some of the corrections they made in th elater production. After driving it a few months I did notice it was using oil, but then I am commuting a 115 miles per day during the week. I check the oil level daily. As a for rattle, there is a noise on cold start that sounds more like valves than a rattle of a timing chain, but I cant be sure.

    I am not sure what I am doing about it yet. Luckily I purchased the extended warranty. Is the noise I am hearing likely the timing chain tensioner?

  44. Tony 1987
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Damn, I’m so mad at myself right now ’cause I’ve bought a MCS (November ’07) from a guy who was really taking care of the car. The car looks like it was yesterday bought. God! I started to hear the rattle to, especially in the morning, I’ve been told that it will consume more oil then usual bit nevermind I can cover the oil, not a big deal. I just need someone to explain me something.. If the guy before me did not want to go to BMW service, because he said that they are thieves, how can I buy the extended warranty and what is needed to be done so that my Mini will run normal again? Please help. Thank You

  45. Posted December 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very intriguing. I tried to add RSS to my feed reader & it a few.

  46. Colin P
    Posted December 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi fellow mini buffs. I have owned my factory John Cooper Works 2010 for a month now and thought I would share my pain. Firstly the facts. Car has full mini service history and still under TLC service cover. It has 38k on the clock and had the timing chain kit replaced at 26k which included the tensioner guides and chain. Brilliant I thought. This car is a must buy as it’s already been fixed by mini and has full history. I also purchased a warranty frow warranty wise to ease my motoring worries. So this us where I stand now. Car started rattling after three weeks. Booked into mini who diagnosed it as a broken upper guide. Ok so twice is unusual especially given an engine like this should not even need a new chain at 26k. Anyways mini said that as I had a third party warranty they would not cover the cost. Long story short warranty company paid for parts and labour but only at

  47. Bill M
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Bought used ’07 R56 December 2012. Just brought into dealer today for other work, was told brake tensioner replacement will be replaced as part of a recall as well as the turbo heat shield. Check with your local dealer.

  48. martin brown
    Posted January 8, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Recent owner to mini having purchased a 2010 factory jcw, well read up in all the cam chain problems, and touch wood not having those issues as yet, do get a noise on cold start which is a short sharp shrill, and allegedly the first resurculation of the oil pump according to MINI,and nothing to worry about ….well they would say that considering they seem to bury their heads in the sand regarding the huge numbers of N14 engine’s suffering issues with cam chain tensioners (3 revisions of tensioner as far as I’m aware) and the high pressure fuel pump failures, now BMW are taking differing views on these matters depending on where you are in the world, and I guess the fact that a class action law suit was taken out against them in the USA, letters are being sent out to owners in the states (copies of which have been posted on the net) asking owners to take the cars in for inspection ogle the cam chain deflection to see if out of limits, and if so a repair will be carried out, also the fuel pumps are now covered for 12 years or 100k …here in the UK we get no such treatment from BMW, and it stinks that they take such a view on the matter, also the other manufactures who also use the prince N14 engine (Peugeot and Citroen) also have the very same issues, there are literally thousands and thousands of cars out there with the possibility of self destructing, and unless you are an American customer your own your own to suffer the consequences …shame on you BMW, a premium brand of car? I don’t think so!!

  49. Andy
    Posted February 28, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Bought my third Mini in Aus Apr 13, 50k km on clock. March 2010 Cooper S. Rough engine from start with backfiring. Within a week cylinder coil blows and dealer covers cost of repair (80%) as Mini warranty expired just… Runs sweet and have 6 months trouble free (5k km of slow commute in Sydney rush hour). Now engine blowing and cylinder 4 shut down. Air manifold covered in carbon and removed to clean. Previously run chemical cleaners through to avoid labour cost. Cylinder 4 still not firing, low compression. Mechanic will look Into cylinder with tiny camera, if nothing evident, advised cylinder head will need removing to see damage at big cost Aus D 2.5k plus. Suggested carbon debris blocking valve, will find out with camera? Does this sound reasonable. Out of my depth. Need to sell, but gotta fix it up first…

  50. Gokhan
    Posted March 8, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Hello,
    I have a 2009 Mini Cooper S and last week I went to regular service to my dealer. Very next day I started to hear death rattle noise and I made another appointment. Sure enough at first they told me noise normal. Because of my solid requests they excepted to take a look at the car and told me that they were seeing low oil levels. They gave me a loaner car and I was told they were going to keep the car for several days.
    Has anyone experienced this? Right after service having this problem does not feel like coincidence.

  51. akio
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Great thread. Thanks so much to everyone for taking the time to post their stories- I pretty much have the same situation. Cooper S 2007 R56 Prince. Recently went over the 70000 mile mark, and had oil changed on Jan 22. Checked again and added another 2 qts in 2nd week of Feb. Idiot gauge at “full” or so it appeared. Right after that Father got injured so I became his chauffeur and did not get to check the oil (my fault and I own this) and just yesterday 3/9 car started the death rattles. Getting it taken in to my Mechanic to evaluate. Any thoughts everyone? Buy new engine or do rebuild?

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  55. EvoraS
    Posted April 7, 2014 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    Hi guys,
    Just scanned through the post quickly as I have Mcs r56 56/7 which has just had the all of the above fixes within warranty (how glad am I to have bought it!) To someone above who mentioned if warranty can be bought without buying car from dealers – it can be. Mini do one called mini insured warranty in the UK (not sure where you are)
    I brought mine at 4 years old, within 6 months I was back at the dealership with strange start up problems. Over the course of the first year my mcs had been in almost equivalent to once a month. Majority of it was Electricals, sensor, fuel pump issues, then there was the full services, tyre changes and valet etc general things. I could practically live at the dealers… as the following two years ( up to now)
    I had to keep taking it in for faults and rattling (they do say it’s supposed to be like that, but having had the above fix i beg to differ, it has for the last month been running quietly and smoothly.)
    1 . Turbo sensor – power loss
    2 . A Manifold sensor – inlet manifold roar
    3 . ECU – Software Updates twice. The last reset deleted my TV software.
    4 . Carbon Build up cleaned
    5 . Timing Chain – few times it was in. Adjusted and changed and finally last visit it was changed plus
    6 . Guides and inner chain – as timing chain had damaged them.
    7 . New Start up motor..!
    8 . New fuel pump – recall on fuel pump
    9 . Catalic Converter
    10. New Alternator
    11. Oil leak somewhere within the gearbox area. If you have this problem I’d advise to get it checked before it gets expensive.

    For all those worried about their rattling Minis, I suggest taking it in to change timing chain And the inner oil pump chain guides. This will take away the rank rattling from the under the bonnet.
    If that doesn’t work (as my engine failed to start shortly after, had new starter motor and a load of diagnostic checks. I left the service to deal with it)
    Now sounds like a normal turbo car. Other thing is now is the transmissions, I’m not sure if this oil leak has been failing my clutch and gear system?!

    This certainly is the fault of BMW for cheaping out on MINI upto 2013 by designing a perfectly brilliant Mini Brand and building with it.. an overflawed novice designed engine.
    I have driven that many variants of mini and bmw over the last 2.5 years courtesy of Mini. I still love my R56 S.

  56. LeeJenner
    Posted April 16, 2014 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    My partner’s 2010 MiniOne, (serviced x3 by main dealer, under TLC which has just expired),it has been burning more oil than usual but we kept topping up until Engine light came on.
    I took it to local garage and noticed it was running lumpy, local garage ran diagnostic, came back with fault code 287d vanos actuator and advised I speak to dealer. Searching for this code on internet also brings up explanations around Timing Chain Tension issues, as described on this site – has anyone else had this problem for a non-MCS?

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  58. stevie
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    hi all 07 r56 well looked after oil changes cam cover etc etc 72k miles last night no warning engine failure.stuck with which way to turn fix it? money pit break it,very dissapointed

  59. john
    Posted May 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Timing chain etc. @51k, was flag under TLC at 44K and they fitted new tensioner, so we paid! Turbo @56K due to oil feed pipe blocked and starved turbo!so much for mini longlife oil! 57K thermostat housing replaced due to water leak!
    Worst car ever owned!
    costs a fortune to keep hope next owner enjoys now all this works been done.

  60. Heather
    Posted May 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I bought a Mini Cooper S — 2008 not even at 50,000 miles tensioner failed while driving engine blown.

    There is a class action law suit in progress because of this issue.

  61. David
    Posted May 21, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Bought my wife a 2010 Mini Cooper Clubman S with 14 miles on the odometer because she was taking long trips between states and I wanted a reliable car while I deployed to Iraq. At the 12,xxx mark she noticed a lot of noise coming from the engine bay(Timing belt Tensioner.) Took it to Ralph Schomp Mini where they covered it under warranty. After this the car ran well for a time and then factory recall occurred for the water pump. Loved the car however decided to part with the car when the radio started having trouble. Turns out that the radio was tied to the computer. Leaves me standing there with a 4 year old and a 2 year old and now a return trip for the car while they reprogram for 12 hours. Don’t get me wrong they offered a loaner, but hauling my kids 45 minutes from Colorado Springs to Denver than back 45 Minutes to Colorado Springs sounds like I got corn-holed, minus the lube! Especially with the wife out of town and the car under 30,xxx. Traded the car back to them only to have depreciation for factory recall on water pump. WTF!

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  63. john
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Mini now sold! timing chains & guides, turbo, turbo oil feed pipe, Coolant housing, water pump to coolant housing link pipe,cost a fortune and now just done 57K!, hate the car!

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