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

46 Comments

  1. 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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  5. 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.

  6. 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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  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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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  13. 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!

  14. Lynn
    Posted July 26, 2014 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    MCS R56 07′ auto. Had 2x high pressure fuel pump, 1x timing chain replaced in 2.5 years. Last week coolant leaked, replaced thermostat housing. Immediately, followed by cold start engine stall, took it to two BMW dealer. One dealer told me high pressure fuel pump needs to be replaced again, the other told me pump is fine, but need to replace timing chain. Any suggestions? any reliable MINI mechanic in Melbourne?

  15. Posted August 10, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    HI GUYS IVE JUST BOUGHT A MARCH 2013 MINI COOPER S R56 5876 MILES FROM MAIN DEALIER COULD YOU PLEASE TELL ME IF THERE ARE ANY CAMBELT OR TENSONIER PROBLEMS WITH THIS MODEL ANYONE CAN TELL ME THE BEST ENGINE OIL TO USE I TOTALLY DISAGREEWITH THE LONG OIL CHANGES IT IS TOTALLY WRONG OF BMW TO DO THIS I THINK THE OIL SHOULD BE CHANGED EVERY 6 MONTHS TO PROLONG THE LIFE OF THE ENGINE ,

  16. Posted August 10, 2014 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    BMW NEED TO GET THERE FACKS RIGHT ON THE OIL CHANGES EVEN THE TLC PACK IS A LAUGH EVERY TWO YEARS OIL CHANGES I LAUGH AT THE DEALIER AND SAID IT IS WRONG I WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY FOR MY OIL CHANGED EVERY SIX MONTHS HE SAID THAT MIGHT INVALERDATE YOUR WARRANTY I SAID WHAT ARE YOU TAKEING THE P IAM WILLING TO PAY YOU BMW TO DO MY OIL FILTER CHANGE AND BECAUSE I AM DOING IT SOONER THAN WHAT THE SERVICE BOOK SAY IE 2 YEARS WHICH MINE WILL BE BECAUSE I DO LOW MILES AND THE OIL SENSIOR WHICH TELLS YOU YOUR OIL NEED CHANGEING IS RUBBISH ITS TOTALLY RUBBISH IN MY AP,WHAT ARE BMW DOING THEM POOR MINI OWNER WITCH TRUST BMW HAVE BEEN LET DOWN WITH PROBLEM IE; WITH CAMBELT TENSIONERS ,NOW BMW COME ON GET YOUR ACT RIGHT HELP THESE OWNERS, AND GET THERE TRUST BACK BECAUSE ;THAT WHAT SELL CARS AS WELL,THANKYOU .PETER J.

  17. Marty
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    09 R56 MCS – First timing chain + tensionner change at about 35K, now at just 55K needs another full repair of that kind according to Prestige Mini in North NJ. Of course they declined to cover the repair as the first repair is no longer warrantied. A timing chain / tensionner every 20K – Hey Mini Engineers ( yes you with the C- average), just put a timing belt to make it more reliable! The dealership (Prestige) is not that great and generally clueless but clearly it’s not their fault as this is a design flaw.

  18. Posted August 16, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    This car / model is NOT known to have the prior timing tensioner issue.
    Best oil to use is the BMW / MINI / Castrol 5w30 full synthetic (can get from us or any MINI dealer)
    Oil change interval should be one year, or 7,500 miles.
    Hope that helps, thanks for posting on our blog.

    Bruce
    BRracing

  19. Posted September 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    thanks bruce for the infor p jones

  20. Ray Torres
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    2007 R56- Purchased three weeks ago with 58k miles and a 3 month 3k mile limited warranty. Car ran great for the first two weeks then I started to hear a rattle coming from the engine when the engine was cold. A quick google search and I quickly learned that it was the timing chain so I stopped driving the car and called the dealer. After two weeks of incompetence from the dealer I purchased the car from (GM Dealer), the car is at Prestige Mini in North Jersey being diagnosed. They have to measure the chain and send that info to the warranty company so that they can determine weather to cover the repair or not…fingers crossed.

  21. Wayne
    Posted January 7, 2015 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    We own a 2009 MINI Cooper S which 5 months ago suffered a problem with the Timing Chain Tensioner which failed resulting in parts falling into the sump, thus requiring lots of hours cleaning it out. Contacted BMW UK to see if they would offer a Goodwill Gesture as the car was only 5 years old at the time with 35000 miles on the clock. Always checked weekly and always serviced through the BMW Dealership when it’s service was required. Thought this would also help our cause (wrong), made no difference at all. I was in communication with BMW UK through emails, writing and telephone over the five months who continued to tell me that they would not contribute due to the cars age and mileage??
    I wrote to BMW UK’s General Manager who put me back in touch with the same customer services staff who had refused in the first place. I sent a second letter to the General Manager but got no response. I called to speak to the BMW General Manager but was tols by the customer services manager that he did not speak to the General Public the was her job and she had reviewed my case eight times and as a gesture could offer me around

  22. Wayne
    Posted January 8, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    If you live in the United Kingdom you can contact the Driver Safety Branch vsb@vosa.gov.uk

    If it can be proved that this problem with the MINI Timing Chain Tensioner can or has failed without prior warning then their is a chance that this can be investigated further, so if anyone has any experiences like this just email the above address.

    If anyone wants to read up on this download the Consumers guide to Vehicle Safety Defects.

    The more voices the more chance of action.

  23. DanRad
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I bought a used 08 MCS about a year ago with 105,000 miles on it (not sure exactly on the mileage I’d have to look up my records) Anyways the car had the rattle since the day after I bought it, unfortunately I was also told by multiple people “that’s just how they are” and the terrible thing that I’m coming to find out is that they are all like this but it’s not a good thing and apperently fixable, though I am curious as to what extent, is replacing half your timing gonna be a 50k mile maintenance after I fix this? Anyways back on topic, a month or so after I bought the car I started it up one morning and while it was idling and warming up I heard a not loud but definitely audible “ting” and then it started idling real rough, I immediately shut it off and had to find other means to work, after I got home researched the problem and found alot of info about this tensioner. Now as a rule I’m the only person that works on my car until it’s outta my fairly small but wide capabilities then I find someone who can do it and then I fix it with them, usually in exchange for beer or money haha. But It came with a 12,000 mile warranty and I had only put a few thousand on it so far so I sent it in, which was a horrible experience (it wasn’t mini or anything, pretty much just some random crappy shop) and after a month they found out a timing sensor was bad and they replaced it (and only it) so idling fine again but still has the rattle which I found out in my previous research

  24. DanRad
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Oops accidently hit post haha. Anyways I get the car back and I’m armed with the knowledge that more work is to be done but I didn’t have the money (due to losing my job) and I knew the crappy warranty wasn’t about to cover “preventative maintenance” I was stuck with it the way it was, I had enough cash to do an oil change and wait it out, however as I’m doing that I notice I’ve only got 2qts of oil in the motor “crap those mechanics are terrible” top my baby off and don’t think twice (dumb move) before I go on let me say, the first place I have heard anywhere of burning/losing oil because of this issue was in a comment on this post THANK YOU SO MUCH PERSON WHO POSTED THAT! 😀 anyways I digress yet again, about a month later I am parking my car and “ding” low oil light and when I check I’m not even on the dipstick “crap” about 2qts later she’s good to go, and whoa no rattle, a few weeks later after checking oil everyday, I’m another qt low and the rattle is quiet but there, anyways this goes on for months till now, I’ve been working again for a while and I can afford barely anything (I’m happy this car gets 30mpg cus what I spend in oil is horrendous haha) I need advice I guess, at this point would it be worth it to do a total rebuild? I’m somewhere around 120k miles now, I’m almost ready to get rid of the car and go 90’s honda with a new motor or something route, but I freaking love my mini :'( but I’m also not wealthy by any means. Anyways sorry for the Long post but I dunno what to do and I’m hoping someone can point me in the right direction, I own or have access to all the tools and can do the work but I don’t want to just spend thousands of dollars on parts and hours of time just to have a 120k motor that finally dosent rattle and who knows what’s gonna go wrong now I have no clue how the previous 100k miles were but the interior and exterior is really nice barely worn at all and the motor is clean and as far as I can tell (and I check) has never leaked a drop of oil. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  25. Posted January 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I have an r56 from 2007 here in Italy. 7 years have gone about 100.000 km.
    I had the following replacement

    A lambda sensor (Yellow engine alert) at 10000 km

    B rear wheel arc locary (destroyed by sand) at 12000 km

    C High pressure pump (the car during a long travel had an error going only at 1000 rpm untile stopped and after restart went ok buy service adviced to replace for safety reasons at 50000km

    D Chain tensioner and rails at 55000 km (horrible noise and bad engine run)

    E head cover since oil leaked at 60000 km

    G Temperature sensor since starting bad at cold at 65000 km

    H Injectors since were burnt by turbo high temperatures at 70000 km

    F From 60000 km the car eats 1 lt of oil for 1000 miles.

    H sliding contacts on steering colums below airbag gave an error on airbag (about 1000 usd )

    I rear tyre destroyed in 10000 km due to bad shock absorbers at 75000km

    L all absorbers with brake discs and pads at 80000 km and some ball joint of suspensions components

    The car was serviced always as requested having brake pads / filters / and tyres replaced when out of standards.

    The car if well cared is performing fine. It’s a delicate engine the only very bad problem is the oil consumption they if not cared can destroy the engine and the timing belt tensioner that MUST be replaced. The ridiculous is the the R56 engine was defined the best engine of 2006 but the defect in the project is terrific. The oil circuit put oil in highest pressure in the head and the oil goes burnt by the turbo. In this way about 50% of the oil goes away vaporized. At the beginning user not appreciate it since in all service MINI are instructed to not notify to Clients how much oil they are putting in the engine at each service. Knowing this problem they altered the service manual oil consumption to highest values so no complaint can be made about it. In fact the new mini after only 7 years has a totally new engine. In automotive environment this is a suicide for its costs. An engine upgraded survives at least 2 or 3 car model generations.

  26. BK
    Posted March 18, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    This is a real issue, and it needs to be fixed. I took my ’07 MINI Cooper S to stevens creek mini. They were authorized to fix the problem by MINI out of warranty. I was ecstatic over this! Out of warranty! Well unfortunately SC didn’t do a good job, and left a piece in the engine or perhaps re-assembled the engine improperly.

    I went around one of my favorite corners, downshifted to second then WRRRROM GRRRRINNNNDD. The car lost all power and stopped running. I clutched in and coasted to safety. Tried starting the car only to hear grinding noise.

    Naturally I had the car towed back to mini. They said they “missed a piece” and that got underneath the chain, popped it off the sprocket. Pistons smacked valves, then the rest is history. They claimed the car only bent it’s valves, and the remainder of the engine was undamaged.

    Educated readers know that’s complete BS. They only approved the replacement of my valve train, not a complete rebuild of the engine. I ended up just selling the car to their used car department at a loss.

    Long story short, make sure you get this fixed FAST, and take it to a reputable shop like brrperformance even if it’s not free. If you love the car it’s worth it.

  27. Posted March 31, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    that’s good, thanks for sharing,.. I think this is great blog

  28. Posted April 9, 2015 at 2:00 am | Permalink

    This actually answered my drawback, thank you!

  29. brookewood
    Posted May 4, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Looking to purchase a used 2011 MINI L4 Coupe – can anyone knowledgeable about the timing chain issue tell me how I would know about the tensioner and if it’s the faulty one or not?

  30. Carol
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    We bought a 2009 mini clubman coopers with all the trimmings, black leather with white piping and double sunroof car is black with silver on the back. Very nice car and we love driving it. we bought the car at 32,000miles and at 35,000 miles we needed a new clutch, BMW wanted

  31. sheera
    Posted August 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I have a 2009 mini cooper s convertible. It has given me trouble from day one. At 45,000 miles the car died, had been sounding little ratty at start up but there was no warning light. I would have been better to have had a Major accident when it stalled on highway .. Complete engine failure which mini blamed on not using dealer for msintainence or oil changes my car has so many issues it’s always been repaired. I’ve replaced cam sensor. My car smells like wet dog because the trunk door fills with water and saturated interior despite having this looked at by mechanic and auto body. At one point it took in so much water the amplifier under driver seat got wet and brought down all the electronics. Harmon Becker amps are not cheap. I replaced my engine with used engine with 30000 miles. It started sounding ratty after 5,000 miles. Had work done on turbo (not sure what but it was expensive) my timing chain slipped at 12000 miles (12000+30000 total on engine ) it needed rebuild of timing bedside engine had no pressure. Fixed pressure issue and car engine completely failed with no warning two weeks later. My car has done a total of 60000 miles and now needs new engine again I really don’t know what to do I have a big car loan and realistically I’m going to have to park it and buy very cheap car until loan is paid off ..paying insurance and loan payment s for 60,000 mile car that is not diversity is not right. The worst part after doing research the timing tensioner is only a 40 dollar part and may have prevented most of my costly issuers.. My cars always going to smell like a wet dog unless I put the top down. Selling is not an option who in their right mind would buy this piece of junk,I wish I had been a more informative buyer. My goal is took make all other mini owners aware of these issues before they have trouble. I keep a stack of flyers detailing timing issue and resolution and put it on any mini cooper s I see.

  32. Dubsdj
    Posted August 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Bought a 2007 Racing Green cooper s, looks the business except for the fact that in the 4 years I have had it I have had to:
    replace rocker cover (Very high oil usage)
    replace engine mounts (Knocking sound when accelerating in first gear)
    replace timing chain tensioner (Tractor sound)
    replace low pressure fuel pump (Engine management light when low on fuel)
    replace high pressure fuel pump (car stalling when in traffic)
    clean out carbon
    replace water pump twice (Coolant disappearing)
    high oil usage always had been. Have had it checked multiple times and told no major leaks
    now have been told my timing tensioner is sweating, no urgency but will need replacing again! Car sounds rough if I park it on a slight slope but fine when warmed up.

    This car is the most problematic car I have ever owned yet I still love it dearly and don’t want to sell it however my patience is getting very tested. I have spent a fortune on fixing this car and I only do very few miles in it. Very poor engineering from BMW.

  33. clodgy@gmail.com
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    I am really glad to have found this discussion forum as I’m very angry at the moment!

    I have a 2007 (57) Mini Cooper, 50k miles FSH. Had a couple of stalling at idle issues over the past year. First time it happened, 12 months ago we checked the oil which seemed very low so topped it up and everything was fine again. Stalling happened again about 6 months later so I got the AA out. They checked it over, ‘reset a computer glitch’ AND said the oil was very low! This really confused me as I’d done about 2k miles since we’d last filled it up. Everything was fine again, I took it for a service/MOT with Mini dealership in September and no problems. Then, last Friday the car started stalling as I was driving along. I got the AA out but they couldn’t find a fault. They took it to my local garage (non-Mini) who took the engine apart, checked the fuel pump etc, but they couldn’t find a fault either and said my only option it to take it to a mini dealership. I really don’t want to do this as the car is 8 years old, I’d decided to get everything done by my local mechanic in the future. However, it looks like I have no choice but to take it to Mini (I will have to pay to get it towed over there (20 miles away). This is really annoying and frustrating and I am very angry that it appears to be a manufacturer’s problem. I will also contact vsb@vosa. Wish me luck.

  34. Larry
    Posted November 5, 2015 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I wish I had seen this article two weeks ago. I bought a 2007 Mini S new. Within a year the tensioner was changed when the car began to run poorly. Last Tuesday the engine began to knock very loudly and within two minutes it died. I had it towed to the Mini dealer who diagnosed the tensioner issue. It disintegrated and fell into the pan. I was told that valves were bent and the engine was toast. They gave me a quote of $8,800 to fix my car, now worth about $7,000 in Kelley Blue Book. I love the car but it’s not worth the expense of fixing it. 64,000 miles and it’s worthless.

  35. gruf
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Not sure if this (excellent) thread is still being monitored …
    Have a 2010 MCS that’s rattling bad. It has the N18 engine fitted – possibly one of the first ones.

    I thought that the timing chain problem was sorted by the time the engine was updated to the 184bhp N18 spec.

    Can anyone confirm whether the N18 is at risk too please

  36. admin
    Posted January 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    We have not seen any issues w the newer N18 engine.
    Still seeing oil consumption issues…and would do the simple check, as the oil level sensor doesn’t often work.

    Thanks. Bruce
    BRracing

  37. gruf
    Posted January 11, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, good to know the N18 engine less prone to this … even if I still have to work out what the rattling is.

    Yup, have criminal oil consumption too, 1 litre or more every 1000 miles. Never had an engine drink oil like this before. Would sell the car tbh but the missus loves it. Is more like a 2-stroke.

    Our kids Honda never uses a drop in 12,500 miles and she used to drive it properly hard too, even my last RS5 would barely use 0.5l in 15,000 miles and that was an 8250rpm V8!

    Any commmon causes of high oil consumption with these N18 engines please?

  38. admin
    Posted January 15, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The two main causes of the high oil consumption are the normal elements:
    valve stem guide seal wear
    oil piston ring wear
    You can test which of these it is more likely the cause…by testing the crankcase pressure

  39. gruf
    Posted January 16, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    guessed it couldn’t be much else … on a 30,000 mile engine though! Depressing.
    Thanks for the advice.

  40. Bryan Smith
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I bought my 2007 Mini Cooper S turbo 1.6L R56 N14 engine back in August and noticed right away a weird sound coming from the front left of the motor area and the mechanic I bought the car from said that it was just tire noise and didn’t bother taking it in the garage. Low and behold it threw my car into limp mode with the car on the lift symbol. I had 8 bent valves and timing chain guides were all messed up. There was no compression in any of the cylinders. I had the cylinder head rebuilt and bought all new gaskets and put the engine back together and set the timing yet still no luck so now I’m out even more money than what I was to begin with.

  41. J
    Posted February 16, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    2010 R55 Clubman N16 engine – I have intermittent stalling at idle & an independent garage tells me there is a diagnostic in the ECU – 2845 VANOS exhaust actuator movement – although no error light.

    Are the N16 engines affected by the timing chain issues too? Or is this likely something else?

  42. admin
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Not affected by the timing chain issue that everyone saw in the early years of the R56.
    But the code sounds like a VANOS issue, which does occur in your engine.
    Bruce

  43. J
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Thanks Bruce, I also get a P0015 B Camshaft Position Timing Over-Retarded (Bank 1), so I replaced Camshaft Position Sensors as recommended on some other forums. If that doesn’t fix it I’ll go for the VANOS Solenoid..

  44. J
    Posted April 9, 2016 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Just an update on my issue, it was fixed with the replacement of the VANOS Solenoid.

  45. Ricardo Reyes
    Posted May 20, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    My wife has a 2010 Cooper S A/T with 54K miles and started with a heavy oil leak from the chain tensioner, we have to replace it (it was not tight properly), then she drove over a piece of a truck tire and broke the auxiliary pump that we replaced (pain in the neck)
    Today started a heavy leak of coolant from the passenger side that I don’t know yet from where is coming. We are out of town and I will carry on a AAA truck, What do you think would be the cause of the leak?, I will appreciate your help

  46. Posted June 13, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I have a 2011 mini cooper s all 4, 23500 miles on clock.same thing, engine warning light on. sounds like diesel engine but its petrol, contacted AA who took it to local BMW specialist garage who have had it for a week, found out today its the fuel pump which I have been told is what probably is causing this problem but reading forums this then leads to chain tensioner? I think its terrible, car fuel pump should last time of car, the warranty in America has been extended from what I can gather until 120,000 on clock why not in UK!?, why is nothing ever don here, am so sick and tired of being ripped off, have contacted Harold Krueger who is CEO I believe. Also lad earlier onsaid her is a current court case? More details please, thank you

4 Trackbacks

  1. By Mini Cooper S Wallpaper - sportsxcars.com on March 22, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    […] Mini cooper s r56 – engine woes – br racing blog […]

  2. […] Mini Cooper S R56 – engine woes – BR Racing Blog – 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 … […]

  3. […] Mini Cooper S R56 – engine woes – BR Racing Blog – 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 … […]

  4. […] Mini Cooper S R56 – engine woes – BR Racing Blog – 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 … […]

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