timing chain renewal interval and replacement - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 04:36 AM Thread Starter
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Question timing chain renewal interval and replacement

Hey,

When do you need to renew your timing chain? After how many k - Miles/KM's is it needed to change.
And is it possible to do with the engine in the car? (cooper s 2004) As far as i can see it should be possible.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 09:29 AM
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Good question, but no real answer, like how long is a piece of string ;O)
With rubber timing belts the wear is all on the belt, which is cheap to make, so they get changed regularly 80,000 miles on a diesel, 35,000 on a petrol.
Timing chains wear sprockets as well, can stretch etc. Mini probably do not state, so change it just before it fails ;O)
Would be good to see at what mileage other owners have changed theirs. Same for just the tensioner alone.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 09:41 AM
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The chains on the R50's are reliable and if they don't rattle and the guides are fine then I'd leave it. The only time I'd really change it is if I had the engine apart.

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 09:42 AM
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Modern kevlar reinforced timing belts for petrol and diesel engine have a usable life of around 100k
Timing chains can last as long as the car! But not in all cases as paulw123 says they wear sprockets aswell as the chain so I would do it every 150k as precautionary maintenance

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 10:01 AM
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The belts on the psa are good for 150k or 10 years...

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 10:44 AM
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As Sean stated, if the guides are in good condition and it doesn't rattle, especially on the first 30 seconds of a cold start, leave it alone.

If you have a slight rattle on a cold start for no more than a few seconds (10-15) there is a good chance the tensioner is sticking with age, replace the tensioner period as soon as you can as it will only get worse. If this doesn't stop the rattle then your up for new guides as a minimum.

Once the rattle becomes more pronounced, your starting to damage your guides !

If the rattle doesn't go away, stop running the engine period ! pull the valve cover and inspect the guides, your going to find your up for new guides and tensioner and will need a specific tool to hold the cam in position to remove the sprocket to replace the guides (you would have already removed the tensioner for obvious reasons).

If your replacing the timing chain, your also replacing the cam sprocket and crank sprocket. The hard part is to replace the crank sprocket as you need to heat it up to 150C (no more) and install it and allow it to cool (heat shrink) so your looking at a very big job.

Another consideration when your tensioner sticks and the chain starts slapping around is that it will damage your oil pump housing which is part of the timing chain cover !

If you only replace the timing chain, it wont last as long due to wear on the sprockets that may not be as obvious as you think so to do the job correctly your looking at dropping the engine out and for all purposes, rebuilding it as your going to be pulling the crankshaft out.

Look on YouTube for Modmini, he has a video on replacing the timing chain guides. he also covers damage to the timing chain cover (oil pump), he has a series where he rebuilds a blown motor and this shows you how the timing chain is correctly set to the cam and crank sprocket to maintain correct valve timing (chain has bright links and both sprockets have alignment marks).

The good news is, a sticking tensioner is a quick and easy fix, a little more of a fiddle on an R53 than an R50 due to the oil heat exchanger getting in the way.

The bad news is, if you need to replace the guides, you need to buy the cam locking tool but with a Bentley manual, the right tools and watch Modmini's video several times to get to grips with the work flow, its about a 2-3 hour job the 1st time you do it and is an easy DIY for those with a bit of mechanical knowledge.

To save skinned knuckles and rounded bolts, I highly recommend you take the heat exchanger off and while your at it, replace the 2 O-rings in it (R53 models) as it allows you easy access to the tensioner and the ability to correctly torque it up once replaced.

I have attached some files for you to look at on top of having a manual and watching the Modmini videos created from when I had to replace my R53 tensioner and timing chain guides.

One of the top tips from Modmini when you remove the Cam sprocket is to use either liquid paper or whit paint to mark its exact tooth location to the timing chain, and suspend the chain under tension so that it doesn't loose its position on the crank sprocket. If you find bits of guide have vanished, your also looking at dropping the sump to clean out the debris and therefore a complete oil change with oil filter.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Gen 1 Death Rattle.pdf (353.3 KB, 217 views)
File Type: pdf R53 Timing Chain Tensioner.pdf (387.6 KB, 184 views)
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 03:34 PM
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If you change oil regularly, timing wear should be at a minimum. I used to changed timing chains and gears in sets at 100K in my domestic V-8s. Now with the MINIs and newer method of building engines, I change oil every 6-7.5K intervals with the better oils and keep engine in tune and don't worry about it. My 03 has 75K, 45K heavy track and sprint use with no problems to date.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thx all for replying.

I got my R53 for over a month now. Because I'm the 3th owner i don't get the full history of the drivers and there driving styles. In the service book i can see that the first owner had serviced this car pretty well. The second owner had this car for 2 years. With no records of any maintenance.

This car is now 12 years so it's going to be normal that there has to be some mayor works on it. I'm thinking to take the motor out after my dealer 1 year warranty is over. Until then I'm save.

Because of the stiff clutch and its almost end of life, I'm wanting to change it to a Valeo smf conversion. These Modmini serie are awesome I've watched a lot of it. His fast engine removal vid I've seen it 4 times now

I'm now making a plan on what to do. And that's why i asked this of the timing chain. If I'm going to take out the engine, then this is probably a good time to change it. ( i know that changing a chain you have to change the sprockets to and in this case the guiding rails and tensioner also) I'm going to measure the compression on the cylinders to.

In taking for all this 5 days, one day to remove the engine 3 days for the maintenance and another day hopefully to assemble it back.


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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 10th, 2016, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milpol View Post
The bad news is, if you need to replace the guides, you need to buy the cam locking tool but with a Bentley manual, the right tools and watch Modmini's video several times to get to grips with the work flow, its about a 2-3 hour job the 1st time you do it and is an easy DIY for those with a bit of mechanical knowledge.

The manual incorporation with Modmini is great

Just a quick question, why the camshaft locking tool? In the engine rebuild videos i don't see modmini using one.



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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2016, 09:51 AM
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Milpol - great pdfs, saved away for future, thanks.

The clutch on our R53 is really stiff, looked back through paperwork and mini dealer recommended replacement 6yrs ago, still going strong, just need to build stronger leg muscles

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanotech View Post
The manual incorporation with Modmini is great

Just a quick question, why the camshaft locking tool? In the engine rebuild videos i don't see modmini using one.



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It just stops the engine rotating when you are undoing the camshaft sprocket bolt.

Makes life a little bit easier

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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 11th, 2016, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by minione2002 View Post
It just stops the engine rotating when you are undoing the camshaft sprocket bolt.

Makes life a little bit easier

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That makes sense


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