So, when is a death rattle not a death rattle? - MINI Cooper Forum
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Old Feb 26th, 2013, 10:04 PM
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So, when is a death rattle not a death rattle?

Trying to do the research here guys, but there is so much out there on this and so much is conflicting, that I don't know what to believe and what not to, so please excuse me starting a new thread on a subject you've probably seen a million times before

Just bought a Mini Cooper 1.6 on a 59 plate, first registered October 2009.

I has a rattle and a knock which has sent me googling for an explanation.

I've seen loads on the 'Death Rattle' but from my research this only seems to affect the Cooper 'S' model? Also youtube videos of it are very loud and like an old diesel engine.

This is not my youtube video, but my car sounds EXACTLY like this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uTnWkTP9a0

So what is this and is it anything to worry about?

Thanks
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Old Feb 27th, 2013, 09:46 AM
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Have you, definitely, positively, absolutely, got the engine oil at the right level? If you let the oil get low, this is also just what the engine sounds like on start-up - presumably because there isn't enough oil getting to the tensioner to stop the slop.
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Old Feb 27th, 2013, 06:51 PM
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isn't the car under warranty if you have just purchased it ?
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:04 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Angib (original)
Have you, definitely, positively, absolutely, got the engine oil at the right level? If you let the oil get low, this is also just what the engine sounds like on start-up - presumably because there isn't enough oil getting to the tensioner to stop the slop.

If the bottom mark on the dip stick is 0 and the top mark is 100, then the oil level is at about 75%. I'm going to get some oil today and top it up to 100% and see how it sounds.

This is that 75% is with a cold engine which is how I have always checked oil in cars. The Mini manual which I have read this morning however, says you need to drive to operating temperature, then let it settle for 5 minutes before checking it, so I will do that after I've been to buy the correct oil.

Quote: Originally Posted by Paul@1320 (original)
isn't the car under warranty if you have just purchased it ?

It is, but I need to know whether I have a problem before taking it back. I am quite sure all I will get if I go back there without any info is, 'they all do that sir, it's normal'. I bought it from a Seat Dealer from their secondhand stock, so they probably won't know the common problems with the Mini.

Also the dealer is an hour away, so I don't want to go back just to let them listen to it then fob me off.

There are a lot of posts on this forum that claim ticking noises are normal on a Mini, some blaming fuel injectors, etc, etc.

They won't want to do any work under warranty if they don't have to, but I'm better armed if I can go back there and say something like "It's not normal, I have a problem with my with my Camchain tensioner".
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:24 AM
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Just found this

MotoringFile Archive MINI Solves the R56 Cold Start Issue

which states that the R56 engine has a very 'diesel esqe' sound at idle anyway, hence my confusion over whether I have a problem or something completely normal

when starting on the automatic choke, or if I give it a tiny bit of revs with the pedal, it sounds healthy as a healthy thing, it's just when the choke comes off and it drops back to it's normal warm idling revs that it makes the noise.
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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The high frequency ticking is the fuel pump relief valve - its a design fault. If you pull the hose off the valve, it stops. They all do it and they were designed to sound like a diesel at idle - so much for consumer panel Perceived Quality

But the low frequency knocking may be more of an issue. That sounds like metal to metal contact.
I too thought the 'death rattle' was restricted to the Cooper S engine?

Maybe an expert can chime in here?
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Old Feb 28th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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Well I've added just 350ml of oil this afternoon to bring it right to the Max mark on the dipstick, and certainly whilst the engine is still warm, it's cured the problem.

I'll report back in the morning when it's next started from cold.

And to think that one of the reasons I bought a petrol is because I didn't want to sit and listen to a diesel engine when the roof is down.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 06:11 PM
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Cold starting still has the diesel-esque knock, knock, knock, but it calms down when warm and it's much better than it was.

I also went into my Mini dealership today (Wollaston Northampton, customer service was brilliant) and they re-assured me that mine sounded normal and started another 1.6 Mini from cold to let me hear it and it was exactly the same, perhaps a bit louder, so I'm happy I don't have a problem.

Thanks for the input everybody, and as a newbie to Minis I can't believe how much difference half a pint of oil makes.
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Old Mar 1st, 2013, 11:24 PM
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I have the same issue but with irratic idle on low oil pressure/cold start - took it in the first time and they told me to keep the oil topped up - though the variance/usage of oil has accelerated to the point that I'm having to keep it on the max mark by topping up every 100 miles or so

taking it back in but might be worth you recording mile and amount of oil you use in between top ups so you've got a log to show them if it ever gets any worse?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2013, 09:56 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by lard (original)
I have the same issue but with irratic idle on low oil pressure/cold start - took it in the first time and they told me to keep the oil topped up - though the variance/usage of oil has accelerated to the point that I'm having to keep it on the max mark by topping up every 100 miles or so

taking it back in but might be worth you recording mile and amount of oil you use in between top ups so you've got a log to show them if it ever gets any worse?

OK, good tip, thanks
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 03:28 PM
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Interesting thread. Ive been searching via Google for others with this issue.

My 2012 Cooper sounds like a bag of nails on cold start, but is lovely the rest of the time.

I read somewhere the VVT gear takes a while to warm up and pressurise which can lead to cold knocking sounds too.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2013, 03:49 PM
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On a justa (non-S) Cooper I can second that topping up the oil to the max mark can make the cold start rattle go away.
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Old Jan 25th, 2014, 01:09 PM
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had the same issue, also had terrible buzzing / rattle on turning corners... feared the worst as usual, got home checked the oil levels which were low. hey presto, topped her up and no rattles at all. (at least not in the engine!! )
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