...well. everything was nice and rosy but, here goes my first real MCS problem, just when I was about to write my first year (near perfect) report!
Yesterday, out of the blue, when I started my car and turned the steering wheel to get out I noticed a strange "granular" feel when turning to manouver. It's only noticeable when you apply more lock (parking manouvers, tight slow corners). Whereas before the wheel turned smoothly from lock to clock now it's as if the steering rack was on roller bearings and that there were dirt on there. Hard to describe but I hope you can get the point. It's also present when I finish my commute (about 15 minutes) so I guess it's not "heat" related.
Have a look in the power steering bottle. take a piece of paper and dip it in if you are not sure.
Then (if you can reach) squeeze the steering rack gaiters to see if they make a squishy noise. If so you have the common steering rack fault. I had mine fixed last year for the same problem - 'granular' is a good way to describe it!
Where in Porto? I am in Matosinhos and Leca de Palmeira quite a bit
MINI Cooper Cabrio: now the car with go cart handling really feels like an open go cart! "... the only man that can come home at 3 am in the morning without getting into trouble with his spouse is the owner of a British sports car!" -- Phil Bailey
Sadly my MCS doesn't come with me to Porto!!! (too big for hand luggage!!). I work for a Portuguese company over in the UK, which has one of their production sites in Leca.
I was refering to checking the fluid level, what happened with mine (and it is fairly common) is the steering gaiter seal fails and all the fluid empties from the bottle into the gaiters (the rubber covers over the joints on the steering rack).
If you check the fluid level at it is low this is usually a good indicator. To check the gaiters open the bonnet (engine MUST be cold) and feel behind the engine for the steering rack. This is attached the the bulkhead (below the brake and clutch cyclinders).
I have asked one of my collegues for the portguese for gaiter but he didn't know either!!!!
lusomini - your MCS is displaying all the trade mark symptoms of the common steering column problem - my already replaced column did exactly as you describe after 6 months - my car is booked in next week to get the "new" updated design steering column fitted - i'd advise you to contact your dealer.
Drive it again this morning, it's definetely there. Trouble is, it's one of those "subtle" problems, I don't have power steering failure just lost that smoothness. I'm must envisioning the dealer looking at me and saying "looks fine to me!".....
Glad I found your advice. For a while now I thought the steering on my Cooper was not as good as it used to be. It was one of those things that I didn't want to contact the dealers with, as all I could have said was "it doesn't feel right". Then about 10 days ago it started to make those noises. I was getting around to contacting the dealers, but until I saw your 'post' it hadn't even crossed my mind to check the power steering fluid level. When I did, it was plain to see the bottle was completely empty, so I couldn't have been far off a steeering failure. The dealers quite rightly advised me not to drive my car, but to contact MINI Emergency Services, who topped up the system and confirmed it was safe to drive to the dealers.
So, 2 days later I have my car back with a new sterring rack and it feels better than it has done for ages.
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