Im new to this forum, have recently had issues with my Countryman Cooper S All4 (2011), requires a complete new clutch and flywheel unit after doing 32,500 miles. Dealer tells me they have found the clutch to be "badly worn/slipped" and that it is not a mechanical failure and not claimable under warranty. Repair bill will be £2036.75 (inclusive of VAT).
Any ideas on how i can get this sorted as i don't seem to be the only one having this sort of issue and the car has not been mistreated.
My Mini is currently sitting in the dealership waiting on further instruction as to whether or not to proceed with repair.
Any help or advice greatly appreciated!
There are numerous reports of this happening and I would be quick to attribute it to driver abuse/improper clutch operation except that it happened to me on a 2009 Clubman D (which employs the same clutch setup as the S model and outputs the same amount of torque). Mine went at about 45,000km and I've been driving manuals since I was 16 (am now around 40). To prove it wasn't driving technique, I even demonstrated to the service assistant how I drive the car.
Reading about this when my clutch went, I came to the independent conclusion that perhaps the stock setup is either improperly installed at the factory or the friction disk may be at the threshold for the power output of the engine.
I had to pay for the replacement of a complete clutch kit and flywheel which, at the dealership, came to approximately the same amount you quote. Afterwards, I complained quite severely about a clutch replacement so early in a vehicle's life. The dealership budged and gave me 10% off everything (parts + labour). I wrote a well-phrased and very polite letter to Mini corporate in Munich providing a history and several reasons why I thought this was abnormal (when I first purchased the car, there was a knocking at idle with the clutch engaged that disappeared with the clutch disengaged and I had them document this in the service records).
Mini agreed to refund the cost of the flywheel which came to about €563 if I remember correctly. That was the best I could do. When they installed the new clutch, it was nothing like the first which further convinced me that something was wrong with the factory install. I still drive the same way and I've got probably over 60,000km on the second clutch and it's going strong.
If I were you, I'd push the dealership a little harder - it's better to make a fuss when there's lots of people around - but to be honest don't expect too much. When I spoke to a representative from Mini headquarters in Munich, he explained that their policy is that clutch failures are strictly wear items and they are quite rigid about that. However, it is true that some people have had complete reimbursements, others partial (like me) and others none at all.
Many thanks for your response, i have also been driving manuals for 10 years on cars and bikes, i know i am not alone in this it just surprises me the response from Mini on the issue when they have clearly made so called "improvements" to the 2013 Countryman's clutch to deny any issues.
The car is still at the dealership, have had a call back from Mini HW saying they wont honour anything as its wear and tear and not under warranty. Have refused to accept that and have asked to speak to someone further am now waiting for a call from Mini HQ discrepancy team. Had a courtesy car out a Countryman One and the clutch feels nothing like how mine was on my car which would sound like a very similar story to your own.
This is a nightmare, i think the worse part is that i love the car but the whole experience is putting me off ever owning a Mini again.
I doubt MINI would admit oh yes we know all about that we fitted a load of duffers on the line, because if they did they would be inundated with loads of claims from everyone else in the same situation and then have to do a recall which I imagine they do all they can to get around that.
Not good at all though, a clutch ought to last at least 80000 miles if driven properly.
Lots of modern cars are having clutch problems and short clutch life and it seems to be associated with dual mass flywheels to some extent?
I had a new 2009 Dooper and from day 1 I felt there was something not quite right with the clutch. Never any actual problems but very occasionally when parking behind my wifes car in the driver the car would seem to stop, slightly releasing the clutch did nothing until it suddenly jerked forward an inch or two - actual jerk, not a smooth movement. Dealer couldn't replicate it, nor could I on the one or two occasions I mentioned it at the dealers. It was very intermittent and like nothing I've ever experienced before. Previously driven probably the best part of a million miles in numerous cars (mostly company) and never once needed any clutch work or replacement (not counting the time the car was second hand, had approx 30k miles on it and previous driver was a woman!- clutch failed 2 days before we were due to drive to the south of France).
Now got a new SD and the old Dooper went back with 36K on clock - no actual problems but certainly something wasn't 100% wit its clutch.
When mine went, the only warning was a subtle spike in the rpms when I was going up a steep hill. I wasn't even sure if I saw it or not so I punched it on another uphill and watched the tach. Sure enough, under heavy acceleration uphill the rpms jumped up and the car didn't accelerate. That was all the warning I had.
Regarding the bite point, the engagement never changed, except after it started slipping. Then the engagement was almost not there. Hard to describe unless you've driven a car with a slipping clutch.
For what it's worth, I drove it for 2 weeks with the clutch slipping because the dealer didn't have a service slot.
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