Resolved - Black soot from turbocharger (with photos)
Just a final update for anyone following this. Due to numerous problems with my last dealership (I was advised this was normal and that the engine bay and turbo would simply be cleaned), the car was finally serviced at another authorized Mini dealer. The car was taken in for diagnostics on the turbo. A pre-cat leak and a lack of boost pressure were found. This was not a problem with the wastegate. The engine was also running a little rough.
BMW/Mini authorized replacement of the entire Garrett turbocharger along with the replacement of the seal between the catalytic converter and the turbo. BMW/Mini authorized 100% parts and 50% labour on the job as a goodwill (estimated cost of the turbo itself is €1500-€1600). The car is 6 months out of warranty. In addition to the labour, I paid for all small parts under €20 (not covered under the goodwill). Repair was carried out in in less than 2 days. I would also advise having them change the cabin AND engine air filters at the same time; mine were black with soot.
Aside from the pre-cat leak, the only info BMW gave to the dealership was that there was some kind of internal problem with the turbo. Apparently the dealers have no authorization to disassemble the turbo so the unit will be returned to Garrett for analysis and re-conditioning. I have no specific info on the problem other than it wasn't anything to do with the oil feed. Mechanic is guessing some kind of problem with the internal seals.
Due to raw diesel exhaust leakage and the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide (diesel exhaust contains approx 7000 ppm) entering the engine bay from the leakage, I would urge anyone with similar issues to have an analysis and repair carried out asap.
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I'm looking for some help here as I am having ongoing problems with my Clubman. The car was just in for a clutch and flywheel replacement (see associated thread in the Clubman forum). I picked up the car after the clutch job on Saturday and noticed a diesel exhaust (not gas) smell inside the cabin. Upon opening the hood, I see that the turbochargers is black with soot and so is almost the entire underside of the hood of the car above and to the right of the turbo.
The turbo smells of diesel exhaust when the car is running although I cannot see visible emissions. However, it is clearly leaking and not gas tight. I took it back to the dealership first thing this morning (they were closed over the weekend).
They insist they didn't have to access anywhere near the area of the turbo when they changed the clutch and they are now claiming that the car needs a new turbocharger. Estimate €1500 not including tax. I just paid €2300 for a new clutch and flywheel and am currently disputing with BMW that it be covered (at least partially) under warranty. The car is just 2 years old with 75,000 km on the clock.
I cannot believe the turbo needs replacing; I find this incredible. The dealership is telling me it is okay to drive the car from now until the 21st when they will repair the turbo and at the same time replace yet another waterpump. I have been told they will ask BMW for a "goodwill", but having just been refused for clutch/flywheel I am not optimistic at all about this.
My concerns are the emissions entering the cabin and the viability of a malfunctioning turbo for 3 weeks until service.
My questions are:
1) Is this the turbo itself or the wastegate?
2) Has anyone had similar problems?
3) Is it necessary to access the area of the turbo to change clutch/flywheel on a second gen Mini?
4) Is the car safe to drive for another 3 weeks?
Please, any help would be massively appreciated.
UPDATE: Included some photos of the soot on the Garrett and the underside of the hood. FYI, the black on the hood is soot, not heat damage.
Last edited by MiniDeLux; Jan 20th, 2012 at 06:41 AM.
The sooty carbon deposits that you can see typically originate from the turbocharger wastegate spindle seal.
I had this issue about 18 months ago when the car had only covered about 18K miles still under warranty.
All the dealer will do,under his PUMA instruction, is to jetwash it all clean and tell you it is normal and nothing to worry about.
I have now covered over 36K miles with no performance/turbo issues.
The soot eventually reaccumulates, which is more of a nuisance than an indication of anything serious.
If the turbo was on its way out,usually through bearing failure, your car would have become smoky and there would be a noticeable lag and drop in performance.
Such a drop could indicate either a loose pipe on the pressurised side or a more serious turbo isssue.
Soot on its own shouldn't concern you. Soot build up from the wastegate is on the non pressurised side of the circuit which is why there is no performance issue.
I would suspect that something has been disturbed whilst removing the engine from its mounts to drop out the gearbox to get to the clutch and flywheel.
What is altogether more puzzling is the source of the diesel that you can smell.
Yes, it's the PSA diesel. The turbocharger issue is only since the clutch/flywheel change.
However, I wouldn't say it's only a "little" soot. Almost the entire underside of the hood and the turbo itself are black. It's not clear to me that it's the wastegate.
What concerns me most is the emissions smell I get inside the cabin. That can be quite heavy and, now that it's winter, quite smelly. I guess since it's leaking from the turbo, it's being driven through the vents into the car. For this reason, I want it resolved. I should clarify and say that the diesel smell is exhaust smell, not fuel smell.
I've scanned the Peugeot forums (the 408's use the same engine) and it appears that this also occurs. I have no conclusive or definitive resolution a the moment.
I am, however, not impressed by the dealership's claim that it will be Ä1500 to repair.
My alternator failed on my 2007 cooper d, 78000 miles and out of warranty, bmw at first quoted £1500 to replace the alternator and battery, i complained to bmw and they agreed to pay nearly half the cost, i just cant understand how an alternator can fail on such a young car, i think the cost is unacceptable and i wouldnt ever buy another mini or bmw after this, people need to start making a list of all the faults they have had on there cooper ds with psa engine so we can get a good case going to grt our money back.
Out of warranty, the cost of repair on these cars is indeed incredible. Furthermore, some of these repairs are hard to DIY (requires the use of special tools, etc...). I'm thinking about buying a cheap, low repair cost daily driver to replace my Mini and just use the Mini for travelling and "fun" trips. I love the car, but financially I just can't support one major repair per year on top of the regular maintenance.
In an odd way I was happy to read this message via this forum as at least I am not alone.
After 14 months of ownership and two months out of warranty the car went in for a service January 2nd 2013. When we dropped off the car we mentioned a lot of things that were wrong, one of them was a funny smell inside the cabin which had just started. A lot of the other problems we listed had been wrong with the car since we purchased it (while under warranty) which were never repaired or fixed properly. We also had a KPS done, though am now in receipt of an internal letter states that the car had serious suspension problems which were replaced under warranty so the KDS should have been covered under warranty also, but that's another issue.
When the garage called to say the service and other elements were done, they told us that the "turbo had failed" and this was going to cost us £1700. They stated the car was not drivable.
Alarmed we requested more information. We had paid for their courtesy car so were not fully inconvenienced while we waited for further info and the engineers report to confirm their statement only the time taken to drop our car off.
The longer they took to come back with further info they got more twitchy as they wanted their courtesy car back.
We then had a call from the service manager saying the car was drivable and we should come a pick up the car.
The next day, we were told the car was fine and the turbo issue was more of an advisory.
Though the internal paperwork we had received stated that the problem was with the waste gate flange and seals.
We made an initial complaint to Mini UK who got the dealership to contact us. The service manager was a bit huffy and was not helpful. Though he stated the turbo was fine.
I called back and tried to spoke to someone in service but got a warranty manager who was filling in for the service person and he stated the turbo "had failed according to the online system report"
We have taken the car to three other Main dealer garages. They wern't told of the problems with the car. We paid for three reports and all have come back with no problem to the turbo at all. They all also state that the service has not been carried out correctly and the oil level is overfilled be 1.5 litres. the service stamp was not done in the book nor reset on the car or key fob. The oil filter was not changed and the particulate filter looks like the original one from the factory.
To now run forward in time 3 weeks of letter writing, the managing director who has just gotten involved has just sent me a letter stating the service person is leaving and she made a mistake and also sent me a Puma note Measure No. 24888893-02.
The subject of this is Traces of soot on the underside of the bonnet, caused by the turbo charger. The release date for this is 5/10/10. It's status is Approved by Mini UK.
The vehicles affected are the R55 R56 and R57. With a W16 engine.
Which have been in production from 01/03/07
The remedy for this, if a customer complains, is clean the inside of the bonnet. Stating that a parts replacement does not provide a remedy.
This appears to be a known fault with the car prior to our purchasing the car and has only now been revealed to us. I have just written a letter to the garage stating once we have formulated all of the info he has sent us we will be asking for a full refund and requesting compensation for the 8 times over the 14 months we have had to go back to the garage with problems with the car. BMW Mini's in our opinion are overpriced pieces of junk.
I hope this has been of some help to others.
Last edited by dreidesq; Feb 3rd, 2013 at 05:14 AM.
Please note that there is a successful repair for the leaking soot. The repair is to replace the pre-cat seals on the DPF/catalytic converter unit. The source of the soot is raw diesel exhaust that is leaking on the hot side of the turbocharger. The problem is due to failed seals
Thank you for this, that's great, but who pays for it?
This was a fault from the point of purchase for us and a known fault with BMW UK which was withheld from us before we purchased it, which is deception and fraud. We are looking into this very seriously and have noted this to the garage in question. Thankfully the director of the garage sent me the evidence himself, which is slightly confusing.
If anyone else is in the same position I would suggest making a complaint and show them the information I posted, if BMW refuse to pay or course.
Accepting an easy fix is overlooking the more serious implications which should not be overlooked or ignored.
Last edited by dreidesq; Feb 3rd, 2013 at 05:12 AM.
Thanks, everyone, for this very informative thread. I found the posts helpful in trying to make sense of my Clubman's problems - I also have the soot problem, which I first noticed after the garage dismantled things to get to the clutch and flywheel.
I've posted a new thread as I am trying to work out whether my soot issue can be connected to the dismantling work... and I also don't have any of the turbo pressure or engine roughness problems that led you, MiniDeLux, to get things sorted.
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