not the gearbox again!!?? any opinions welcomed - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 2012, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy not the gearbox again!!?? any opinions welcomed

hi, sorry if this is in the wrong place, sure someone wiser will move if so.
im at the end of my patience with my beloved 04 cooper.

quick background. front bearings replaced many times now and both driveshafts replaced last year(app 3000 miles)
also gearbox rebuilt by dealer(prob just bearings but they insist it was rebuilt) 33,000 miles ago with full new clutch.(prob 3 years now)

the problem.. started out maybe a month ago with a faint!.. grumbling from o/s front wheel area.. put it down to a bearing and thought i would let it develop before changing yet again.. on my way home on tuesday it got so bad on the motorway i decided to leave at the next exit and take a b road to keep the speed down.. put it in to the local garage and they diagnosed the gearbox as the problem.. not convinced i took the car to a buisness i know to be trustworthy specalising in transmissions, on the phone he assured me the mini gearbox could put his children through university!!. and i took it in to him. he looked up on the ramp and took for a reasonably 20 min test drive and told me it wasnt a wheel bearing/driveshaft or my gearbox and informed me the tyre at the wheel in question appeared to be mis-shaped and strangely worn.. he was right ..
so off i go and replace both front tyres (note the wheel in question is slightly damaged on the inside edge and is replaced)and an alignment and the noise is still there but slightly different in that is seems impossible to tell what side it is coming from now, just that it appears to be from the front.

the car is on 17in original wheels with non run-flats(they were brutal and overpriced) i have ordered replacement front wishbone bushes,track rod ends and gaitors (always check when they offer you the tracking for a knockdown price with no reciept.. arn't i daft!) to eliminate the poss of them causing the strange wear..seperate issue now i know..

i am out of ideas as to what is causing the noise now but even tho the specialist said it wasn't bad at all, i know it is to me...it never has any strange noises and its slowly getting worse and the steering wheel now appears to wobble slightly at 30-40 mph if you loosen your grip on it.. i wont take it anywhere far now and certainly not with the daughter in it..such a pain!
if anyone can give me thier thoughts or a new perspective on this i would be very gratefull.. she,s getting on now and i'm growing sick of throwing money at her(and so is the missus!!).
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 23rd, 2012, 10:45 PM
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The wobble at 30-40 mph sounds like a wheel is out of balance, could be when the tyres were changed this was not done correctly or the new rim was not checked for balance. Swap back wheels to front to check or return to tyre fitters to re-balance.

The noise is difficult to diagonose without hearing it or a better description. Does it happen in every gear, increase with road speed, when cornering, when braking, is it still there when coasting along in neutral, with the clutch pedal up and down? Do you have a Rover Midland or later Getrag gearbox as 04 can be either depending on build month (label under bonnet), is it a facelift model?
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 24th, 2012, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the input mab01uk!
i had the all the wheels balenced when the tyres went on. i already swapped the wheels around.. it occured to me that could be a cause, but no different. the wobble stays right up the speed range but is very faint
sorry for the vauge description of the noise.
i would swear it was a bearing.. it starts around 10 mph now and seems to build with speed, to desribe the noise i would say it has that resonance?. like a bearing gone??. it seems to make no difference in or out of gear..clutch up or down. power on or off(in low gear or labouring in higher gear) or cornering. as for braking it doesnt seem to change apart from quieting down as you slow. if you understand what i mean by resonance it doesnt seem to change with speed, just the volume..it doesnt make any sense to me at all it is a midland gearbox as far as i know. its not a facelift model as i dont like the styling of the newer cars.. thats why i went for a 2 year old one with under 10,000 on it .. thought it was a good buy at the time. i feel like crying now (ROVER MIDLAND) will go down as my most depressing comment of the year. had i known i would never have went there!
if it is the gearbox i had almost decided to upgrade to the newer getrag 6 speed as its already had a rebuild at mini and the word ROVER would be the final nail in its coffin.
while im on a merry christmas to all mini2 users!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 24th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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When I say 'facelift' not the new R56 Miini from 2007 but the mild bumper R50 facelift, etc in July 2004 onwards which has a Getrag 5-speed. There is a build date label under the bonnet with month on it.

R50 July 04 Facelift photos/details here:
MINI Cooper Forum - MINI2 Mini Cooper Forums - FAQ & DIY: General MINI FAQs and Advice

Strange it sounds like a wheelbearing, yet you have had them both replaced.
Failing Midland gearboxes often sound like a helicoptor noise changing with speed, etc and coming from the front passenger side (UK RHD).
Early MINI Rover Midland Gearbox - Forums
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 24th, 2012, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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i understand what you mean, mine is def pre facelift. i cant understand why they did the facelift..looks like a botched one to me... it has the early midland box in (pre july04)
thats whats confusing me too, i would not say it sounds like a helicopter but then it may be early stages ( g/box man and my friends dont think its bad) but i am the only driver of this car for 6+yrs now and it seems too loud for me to ignore. perhaps i'm too fussy about my car but i believe that maintenance is cheaper than ignorance
i am resigned to investigate myself now and will convice a friend (hopefully) to let me use his ramp to strip and inspect the front drive train and bearings. thank you for the usefull links
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 25th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Hi have a look at the tyres you hav'nt changed it sounds to me one of
the tyres is sawtoothing i have had it many times tyre dealers / manufactures
dont no why or wont say but its one part of the tread block wearing quicker
than the next block causing the tyre to rumble. on my last mini i saw i on one rear tyre...
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 25th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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p.s leave the bearings / running gear and gearbox its not them
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Dec 26th, 2012, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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thank cybercom , all input appreciated!.. i know what you are on about, used to find this back when running on the old runflats, seemed to happen when they got around half worn. i presumed back then it was a consequence of the sport plus suspension, agressive camber angles at the wheels and an over-enthusiastic driving style!! .not to mention how brutally unforgiving the sidewalls are on the runflats. i havent had this problem at all since swapping to regular non run-flat tyres.
to update i have a complete set of replacement wheels and tyres coming at the weekend on loan from an old friend off his mcs (he's on his winter set) and have got the use of a ramp for most of next week to strip and investigate the problem.
im getting pelters from all my mates cos they all think its hardly noticable but most of them drive fords or french junk..so it would sound normal to them. will update again with progress if any and thanks to all for any thoughts.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Jan 1st, 2013, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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wishing all mini2 peeps a happy and prosperous new year!!
nothing really new as the issues, tryed replacing the wheels with a replacement set and no noticable difference, so thats ruled out.. have not been able to get the time to strip it yet so will update when i do, in the mean time its the old saying " let it develop!".
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