Oil Starvation, Engine Seizure, Warranty Wrangle - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 10th, 2010, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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England Oil Starvation, Engine Seizure, Warranty Wrangle

Hi, I’m a new member to this forum and unfortunately it is in unhappy circumstances that I have joined…would really appreciate any advice, technical or legal, or experience anyone can share with me.

I drive (drove! ) a 2008 Mini Cooper S, registered March 2008 and still under three year manufacturer warranty.

Car broke down on Saturday night, engine cut out leaving me without means of propulsion on a (fortunately quiet) public road, got towed to Mini-approved garage (Hexagon Mini at Kentish Town) for diagnosis
Diagnosis given Tues am, report available if helpful.

In summary I have been told that the problems stemmed from oil starvation to the engine and that as this was the cause the diagnosis and repairs will not be covered by manufacturer warranty. They have stated that they found 1 litre of oil in the engine and it should have been 4 litres (please read on before telling me I should check my oil level). My bill?.....£5.5K JUST TO REMOVE THE ENGINE HEAD AND INVESTIGATE FURTHER!!!

My case:

1. I checked the oil about 4 weeks (circa 1,600 miles) ago and the level was fine – unfortunately I can’t prove this, not sure if ANYone compiles evidence of oil levels checks they carry out??
2. Last oil service by different, non-MINI approved but reputable garage was March 2010, circa 10,000 miles ago – I will check paperwork but pretty certain oil check would have been part of this service
3. I check the oil level regularly between services, and service the vehicle regularly according to manufacturer guidelines, never before have I had to put oil into the vehicle in between services – indicating to my mind that excessive oil consumption had not been a problem for this vehicle historically
4. No warning light of any kind came on before my car experienced catastrophic (and potentially life-threatening) failure – I have asked Hexagon to confirm whether a warning light SHOULD have come on but they have not yet confirmed
5. I have found several threads on Mini chat forums discussing problems that feel as if they might be related to what I have experienced, specifically related to excessive consumption of oil/potential problem with oil pump on some models/cold start up issue in R56 engine that has been associated with excessive oil consumption and some of the other symptoms Hexagon have diagnosed in my instance – can share thread links if useful
6. Should it be accepted as likely/reasonable that a Mini which has not needed oil in between 10,000 mile services before suddenly consumes 3 litres of oil between 30,000 and 40,000 miles – or should this be considered an exceptional happening worthy of further investigation? On top of which, should not the warning light have come on to warn me of impending failure and damage BEFORE these announced themselves giving me a chance to take preventative measures for something less than £5.5K??
7. Hexagon report that they have found no oil leak, nor have I ever seen any evidence of any oil leak

In summary, I accept that oil starvation to the engine sounds like the probable cause of the engine failure and damage.

However, I don’t believe that Hexagon have done nearly enough to investigate whether this engine starvation could itself have been caused by some defect/event outside of my reasonable control – and for me it is critical for them to confirm this before announcing that the cost of the diagnosis and repairs are not covered under warranty.

Please help!!!!

Many thanks

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2010, 05:41 PM
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BMW MINI have a oil consumption tolerance of 1 Litre for every 1,000 miles covered!

This is unusually high oil consumption with todays engine technology, however as this is already stated by BMW MINI, it is very very difficult to argue the point, that said, it has been challenged by quite a few people, who have had more than this stated allowable oil consumption, and in a few cases BMW MINI have buckled and agreed.

If your engine was starved of oil, well before your engine cut out (seized) you should have noticed an increase in engine noise, and the start of excessively loud tapping/rattling and knocking!

There is a oil pressure switch, however this does not warn of low oil, well it does when there is no oil and no pressure, at this point it is already far too late for any chance to save the engine.

Good luck in your fight.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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This may be your best option.

BMW MINI COOPER TURBO ENGINE 2008-2009 SUPPLY & FITTING on eBay (end time 03-Sep-10 10:26:28 BST)

Having presented your car to the dealer with a non-running engine and only a litre of oil left in the sump i think the response of the dealer is quite reasonable. From their point of view it's clear than the car has been run with a very low oil level, the engine failure is a direct consequence and further investigation is not necessary.

I suggest you get the engine changed for £1700 and then get the wrecked engine independently investigated to establish any reason for the high oil consumption.
At the rate of consumption you claim it should be obvious as soon as the cylinder head is removed. If the cause is a manufacturing defect you'll have a case to claim something from the dealer.

I'm afraid my money is on you finding nothing defective with the wrecked engine (apart from it being run with no oil)

Good Luck

Last edited by ratherbewindsurfing; Aug 15th, 2010 at 07:52 AM.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Aug 16th, 2010, 09:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks...

For your replies guys, I'm still in dialogue with BMW currently, I will post an update when I have one.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2010, 07:30 PM
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I was advised by my dealer today , (After my car breaking down with the engine management light flashing) that 1 Litre for every 600 miles is about right ?!

My car was fully serviced , including oil to the top when i brought it new..3 weeks ago! I have done less then 300 miles!!

Worst.Car.Ever.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2010, 11:05 PM
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Turbos eat oil.... The wife's Suby is the dame way and generally needs a quart of oil every thousand or so whereas my R53 seems to do a lot better. That being said, we switched to Amsoil high performance oil and the length between adding has gotten better. Mobile1 was the worst....

As for the original OP.... 4 Weeks?????? You should be checking it every other fill-up to be honest. If you had, you might have caught it being low. I recommend every other fill-up or two weeks max. I hope you got your issues sorted.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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im off to go and buy some oil now as my wifes 1 series with less than 10000 mies on the clock has just had an oil warning light on

and thats on a 2ltr normally aspirated petrol car....explain that one

Which oil should i get for the 2008 build S? 5W-30 or 0W-40
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 17th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Cars burn oil..... This is normal and you would be checking it. I check mine every time I top off.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 2010, 09:20 AM
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Have to say the dip stick on my Mini useless so i have to guess when it needs oil.
can you get a replacement dip stick which shows how mutch oil is in the engine ?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Victory

Just to update, this morning after the best part of 6 weeks fighting with Hexagon and MINI UK (during which I took a much needed 2 week break from it for a holiday travelling in Mexico), MINI have agreed to replace my vehicle's engine at their expense.

The new engine will come with an extended 2 year warranty from date of fitting, and should excessive oil consumption prove to be an ongoing problem (I will be checking pretty much daily!!) this warranty will cover the necessary further investigation and remedial action.

Key reasons why I ultimately won:

- BMW know that there is a fault that causes some R56 engines use excessive oil, they let this slip in one of my many conversations with them
- I was able to demonstrate that (although not carried out by BMW-approved garages) the car had been serviced to manufacturer guidelines throughout its life
- The user manual does not state that the owner has the responsibility to check oil level regularly (although I actually HAD been checking circa monthly, every 1,600 miles or so - not enough for some people on this forum, but following this regime I had never had to put a drop of oil in myself between services in the last eight years of driving a MINI...been driving this defective one for the last two and a half years and 40,000 miles without issue or need to top up oil between services until the engine suddenly, inexplicably guzzled 3.8 litres in 1,600 miles)

Thought I'd share, a lot of people didn't much fancy my chances of getting any joy out of MINI and this might inspire anyone in a similar predicament who finds this thread not to give up too easily.

Thanks for the replies

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 05:28 PM
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Well Done!!!

(I thought you didn't stand a chance.)
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2010, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DaFlake View Post
Turbos eat oil....
My own Volvo turbo engined RS's oil level has hardly moved in 7,000 miles, my 81,000 mile Volvo turbo diesel requires about 500cc's of oil between 18,000 mile service intervals.

If the MINI turbo engine burns as much oil as BMW appear to be prepared to accept:

1. How on earth does it pass current emission regs?
2. Why, as a performance car, consuming large quantities of oil, does it not have an oil pressure guage?

5/04-2/07 R50, 2/07-5/10 R53, all outgrown!
And now, after a Mk2 Focus RS, 3 x Freelander 2's, 2 x Discovery 4's, its....
Impossible to show here within site image size restrictions
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Sep 25th, 2010, 09:06 AM
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Well done and thanks for letting us know!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2010, 04:40 PM
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I have just experienced the same thing--oil starvation of my engine with no warning lights except that the engine light came on solid yellow about 4 miles before my engine seized!

National MINI says that they will not cover this under warrenty! What should I do?

Any advise would be greatly apprectiated!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2010, 07:20 PM
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Bravo MINI

Well done MINI on doing the right thing, I have had 3 MINI's a cooper, cooper S and Cooper D and none of them have ever consumed any noticeable amount of oil over around 90,000 combined miles, so I don't get the 1000 miles a litre ratio.

Oddly I have tried to buy each car from Hexagon in Highgate but never done the deal as I have never taken to their sales staff. So good to see aftersales provide a decent service.

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