2002 Mini CVT Trans. - MINI Cooper Forum

First Generation CVT & Automatic First Generation MINI Automatics from 2001 - 2006

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2015, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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2002 Mini CVT Trans.

I think I know the answer to this in my gut but I will ask anyway.
2002 CVT Mini, 115,000+ miles, "service engine soon" light came on, stayed on 2 weeks until I could get it to Mini dealership. They say it needs a new transmission, "found transmission ratio actuator faults stored in dme." Also what I thought was an oil leak is evidently a transmission fluid leak. The EP light did come on about a month ago but it went off about a day later. (Mini service advisor said SES light can mean lots of things, not just emissions issue.) To replace: $7300. They put it back together and sent me home so I could think about it. (2002 manual Mini on their used lot for something over $5800.) So--absolutely cannot replace with new transmission.
Yesterday the SES light went off. Today it came back on.
Some posters have said regular maintenance on transmission, keeping fluid good, are critically important, I bought car in 2007, had transmission fluid flush in 2009. Took it to a European car repair facility in 2013, they told me it needed a new transmission. Took it to Mini dealer which did a transmission fluid flush, said old fluid did not look "right", but found no other problems with transmission. (Note that maintenance schedule book makes no mention whatsoever of regular automatic transmission maintenance.)
So I guess my question is: is this car dying? Is there any alternative to a new transmission, which is not going to happen. They made no effort to fix the transmission fluid leak, and if the transmission is dying I guess that makes sense, but if it could limp along for a while, is there the possibility of fixing the fluid leak? I see several posts that say the CVT really can't be rebuilt; anyway, can't put thousands of dollars into this car. It runs well, although I notice RPMs 3-4,000 at 60 mph.
Also, several people have mentioned that there was not a recall, but I believe BMW did settle a class action over this transmission last year.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Last edited by barleymow; Sep 1st, 2015 at 04:29 PM. Reason: Checked old maintenance records and found reference to transmission fluid flush in 2009 and 2013.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old Sep 1st, 2015, 04:36 PM
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I haven't heard of anyone fixing a fluid leak on a CVT. I suppose you could try to keep the fluid level up and hope for the best (after all it's been two years since you were told you needed a new transmission and you're still on the road), but best guess is that it's going to die on you. You're actually getting more warning of trouble than usual. My original CVT just failed suddenly on the road.

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