Valvetronic Gear Damage After Dealer Repair '08 Mini Cooper - MINI Cooper Forum
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Valvetronic Gear Damage After Dealer Repair '08 Mini Cooper

I recently took my car to the local dealer after experiencing problems with the car sputtering and performing poorly at idle speed after driving long distances at high speed. Upon original visit, my car was diagnosed with a misfire in cylinder 3, which was found to be covered in oil, along with cylinder 1. They said the valve cover gasket had failed. Valve cover gasket was replaced, along with 2 coils and spark plugs. Here's where my limited knowledge of cars takes over, and need someone's opinion.

In the dealer report, it says that they cleared the faults and during valvetronic learning, the stopping pin broke. They fixed the stopping pin, and fault stored for a sluggish valvetronic motor. They replaced the motor and cleared faults. Car was operating as normal, and they called me for pickup.

After driving the car less than 100 miles, I started the car in the morning 2 days after picking up from the dealer. The engine ran fine, but when I shifted into gear and gave gas, nothing happened. The car would just roll forward and back at idle speed, with no affect when stepping on gas.

The car had to be towed to the dealership. This time, they diagnosed as the valvetronic gear having damaged teeth, causing the car not to run because it was unable to adjust gear correctly. After another week in the shop, and an additional $1500 in repairs, they called me to pick up the car.

I've now had the car for two days, and the initial sputtering at idle speeds after driving some distance is still there. I am frustrated beyond belief with this dealer.

Question for mechanical experts is this: Do you think that something that was done (or not done) in the initial repair caused the valvetronic gear to become damaged in the second issue? I would really like to know if I should have been responsible for the second $1500 bill for repairs, since it seems like it happened as a result of something that they did or did not do.

As for the continued sputtering issue, that's unresolved. They are supposed to take the car back to the dealership today (coming to pick it up from me, as I live more than an hour away). I certainly do not want to be presented with another bill like I've already had the last two times.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 08:23 PM
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I think....no regarding the valvetronic motor or pin. You haven't said much more about the lazy motor?

The valvetronic learning process is just teaching the shaft it drives, where its start and finish point of travel is. A car electric window works in a similar way when it has a one touch function, it needs to know where top and bottom are.

If the motor is lazy I would expect if nothing else has been done with it, that the fault code for it may be back. I think they have to re-teach the motor as it may have to come off to get the rocker or cam cover off. If they don't then I don't know why they had to go through that process. The motor has a worm gear that drives a geared quadrant, which extends the lift of the inlet valves under varying load. If the motor is still lazy it may contribute to your symptom.

They need to ask themselves is the motor lazy? or is it being restricted by another component? Is there a clue in the stopping pin breaking? Is there a bigger clue in the broken teeth on the eccentric shaft I think it is called (the quadrant is part of it).

There can be other consequential problems here, including cylinder head I believe, as the shaft rotates in irreplaceable bearings which are part of the head, just as the camshafts do.

Factors include poor oil change frequency or incorrect oil type, and on the later engines which seem to consume a lot of it, running the car on low oil level, can accelerate a build up of, or cause residue that tightens components, causing stress, or accelerate wear. Low oil level simply makes the remaining oil work very hard to do its job, and the oil change interval doesn't get reduced knowing the oil has been low usually, it just gets topped up mostly.

If the interval is 20k for 4.5 litres roughly, it's just too long, let alone when low.

The garage may have to be considerate with hours spent, as they may have missed something. However..... and sorry...... it's your car, so wear affected parts you may just have to bear, and hope that things you can't see deeper in the engine, can be preserved by several oil flushes, and future maintenance adjustments perhaps, halving the oil change interval if not more.

The original discovery of leaked oil on the plugs and coils may be a partial explanation, or even a coincidence, and not all of the problem. It's not necessarily the garages fault other than if they missed something when the cover was off, but they couldn't fairly be expected to ignore the oil contamination, and look for what else might cause your symptoms. That wouldn't be fair to you or their reputation.

Only my 2p here, I hope I interpreted your post correctly

Authorise further work cautiously, and keep records accurate of what you have been told is the reason for what. Ask for old parts if required and photos of the internals you may be able to have explained to you later perhaps?
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