Power Steering Failure/Battery Light - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Power Steering Failure/Battery Light

Hi

I have just been abroad for a week and left my Mini Cooper parked on the driveway. I have just driven it to work and the power steering has failed, meaning the car was like a tank to park! The battery light also came on and the clock display has disappeared so obviously it would seem they are connected. The car has done around 83,000 miles if this helps.

I have phoned my breakdown company to arrange to pick it up and they seem to think its a problem with the fan belt????

Has anyone else had any problems similar to this and if so any ideas as to what it could be and how much it would cost to fix? I was hoping it could be as simple as changing the battery which I could do myself.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks

Sarah
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Hiya Sarah,

I have had power steering failure last month, on my way to work pulled up to traffic lights waited like you do, went to go and my power steering had stopped!!

I had no warning lights, that was the first thing i looked for. As far as i know the battery shouldn't have anything to do with it as i drove my mini back home.

lucky i had taken extra warranty out because the power steering pump is around 370 on its own plus labour etc. The power steering pumps on minis arent like every other car, they are electric so if the go they go.

Am afraid to say that power steering pumps and flywheels are very common on minis.


Hope this helps alittle

Sami x
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by srca2990 View Post
Hi

I have just been abroad for a week and left my Mini Cooper parked on the driveway. I have just driven it to work and the power steering has failed, meaning the car was like a tank to park! The battery light also came on and the clock display has disappeared so obviously it would seem they are connected. The car has done around 83,000 miles if this helps.

I have phoned my breakdown company to arrange to pick it up and they seem to think its a problem with the fan belt????

Has anyone else had any problems similar to this and if so any ideas as to what it could be and how much it would cost to fix? I was hoping it could be as simple as changing the battery which I could do myself.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Thanks

Sarah
Your power steering electric pump has almost certainly failed, because it has an electric motor it could affect the battery and clock as side effects. It is unlikely to be the drive belt (few cars actually have 'fan belts' these days) but I guess the breakdown company thinks the power steering pump is belt driven like many other cars.
At your mileage you are unlikely to get any goodwill payment from BMW for early failure. A good independent garage should be cheaper than BMW, changing the pump is not difficult but there can be knock on effects to the steering rack and wiring loom in some cases, which would add to costs.
If it is the PS pump BBA-Reman do a recon service (pump only) here for 175:-
BMW Mini Power steering pump rebuild service on eBay, also, Audi, Car Parts, Cars, Parts Vehicles (end time 19-May-08 11:30:00 BST)
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 07:45 PM
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Thinking about it, i'm fairly certain it is your alternator that's died.

The power steering pump is activated by a signal from the alternator, and judging by the battery light being on it is obviously not being charged.

You won't need a power steering pump i don't think, and an alternator will probably be cheaper anyway.

It could even be as simple or cheap as the 'fan belt' that runs the alternator just snapped. HAve a look to see if the alternators belt is still on there.

Sami
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 08:04 PM Thread Starter
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Hi

Thank you both for your replies.

It gets even more confusing, as my boyfriend took the car out for a drive and the power steering worked fine, no battery lights and the clock worked too! .

However when we got home we noticed that the fan sounded really loud and so maybe this was the problem.

Sarah
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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Keep a close eye on it or have it checked out, the PS Pump often fails intermittently at first but could eventually fail again catching you out in the next few days.
They have also been known to overheat and catch fire taking out the wiring loom and steering rack so if the pump continues to run after switching off the ignition key at any time.............disconnect the battery leads asap and have the car recovered to a garage.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:36 PM
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DIY Power Steering/battery light RESOLVED?

Just wondering if you found out the source of your power steering intermittent failure and battery light?

My Mini does the same. Sometimes the battery light will go off if I turn on accessories such as the radio and air conditioning, but I always lose the power steering.

Just curious if it was the battery, the alternator, a belt or power steering.

I really appreciate your reply. Dealership wants $125US per hour just to diagnose and an alternator runs $1000US.

Any feedback/information you have discovered will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks Much!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2009, 01:41 PM
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well, I had a PS failure / battery light and it was the alternator

Not a cheap fix.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old Jul 24th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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Just to add to this... I was driving to Maryland and I had the nav go out, then the power steering followed. After that, all the lights on my dash lit. I pulled off the road and the car was still running. I stopped the car and it wouldn't restart. After I got a mechanic up to the car it we tried to jump it with no success. He popped the bonnet and took a look and it was then that I noticed my engine grounding strap dangeling. It seems that it simply broke off thus the battery was not charging. The alternator is not strong enough to run the car alone.

Why am I posting this? Just in case someone else comes across it they might have the same problem and is much cheaper than a new alterator.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2009, 11:32 AM
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Just to add to this thread. My GF's Mini Cooper brokedown this week with exactly the same symptoms. Whilst driving the clock display went, then the battery light flicked on, then the power steering went all in the space of 5 mins. She managed to pull into a layby and the AA recovered the car to our local garage after diagnosing the alternator had seized.
Apparently to save electrics, when a battery is not providing enough charge various electircal components will be shutdown as and when required. So the alternator wasn't charging the battery and it evetually died.

BMW wanted 390+ VAT for a new alternator then labour. There are two types of alternator available and until they can identifiy which one you need it could be more

So our independant garage fitted a new Bosch one for 170 plus labour.

Still not impressed that a car that is 5 years old and only 40k miles on it needs a new alternator.
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