Resolved - Black soot from turbocharger (with photos) - Page 2 - MINI Cooper Forum

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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old Apr 9th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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Despite owning my car from new I’ve only just registered to this site because I thought I like to contribute a few notes about my beloved 2010 Mini Cooper ‘D’ having read the input from the contributors above. My wife and I are both retired, I’m not a slow driver, and our journeys in the car vary from shopping runs to long distance drives. In the two years we’ve had the Mini it has just 25,000 (genuine) miles on the clock.

Sticking with the topic of diesel fumes in the car cabin! I recently had to have my turbo-unit sorted out because over the last few weeks/months my wife and I became increasingly aware that it was our car (not others in front of us at traffic signals) that was the cause of most of these smells. My wife is not a driver hence I seldom ask her to help me sort out a problem on our car but this time she proved invaluable; whilst in my garage I got her to start the engine from cold while I had the bonnet wide open.
I concentrated on the turbo-unit and immediately the engine fired I saw a small cloud of blue-ish coloured smoke expelled from the right hand side of the turbo-unit, as viewed from the front of the car. From my point of view this discovery explained everything!

Albeit outside, the air intake for the in-car ventilation system is within inches of the rear of the engine compartment therefore with the ventilation fan running these fumes were being sucked directly into the cabin, particularly when the car was stationary. I mostly practice leaving the engine auto-stop/start to do its job when I’m held up in traffic but even if I disengaged it we were still aware of fumes getting into the car while we were stopped and we’d resort to partly opening our side windows. I visited our local Mini dealer to arrange to have the problem dealt with (happily under warranty). The Service Manager’s first reaction was that a seal or gasket may have “gone” (he didn’t say where to) but he went on to say that a replacement turbo-unit might be the only remedy and if that proves the case I’m glad I won't have to foot the costs.

This may be the wrong forum to mention another interesting point about “the Mini”.
I wore out my original front tyres well within 18,000 miles. To my unending shame they were condemned during a service I had done at about that mileage. What really shocked me was that the inside edges of each tyre had actually worn down to the wire whereas the three outer grooves had from 3 to 5mm of tread depth left. Obviously, I had a couple of new tyres (Continental) put on immediately and my tyre fitter carried out a complete (while I watched) alignment/camber check but found everything was within specification. So, what was the problem?

I check tyre pressures regularly and had run them at the recommended values shown on the label just inside the driver’s door.
I’ve recorded my tyre wear about every 1k miles since the new tyres were fitted and found the same wear characteristics started happening again but I also noted the centre treads were not wearing as quickly so I’ve raised my front tyre pressures to the upper level of 2,8bar in the hope this will be the answer.
Has anyone else suffered a similar problem?

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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2014, 07:42 PM
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United-Kingdom soot and power loss

I have just had my diesel particulate filter and cat replaced, however since then I have had a nasty smell of exhaust fumes in the car, also I am having power loss, with is more noticeable in the higher gears where its almost like flat spots in the turbo about 2200revs then picks up at 2500revs then drops back off at 2900revs and then picks up after 3000revs. Its so frustrating. I have taken it back to the garage to replace the cat to turbo clamp. However this time they said it doesn't look like its coming from that area. So I am a little stumped I can't stand the smell and I hate the power loss, also I hate the black soot marks. The car is under warranty for major parts but I know how they will say its fine. Can anyone shed any light on this. (sorry if my grammar is rubbish I have been driving for 3 hours and more than likely have carbon monoxide poisoning ). Thanks all

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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2014, 09:16 AM
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Hi "JC", if I were you I'd get myself a household CO alarm for peace of mind re cabin fumes. I only very rarely actually smelled any fumes (with an ill-fitting clamp) so your issue seems quite a bit more serious if you're getting regular stink-outs. My CO alarm did actually go off once - thankfully only while I was in a large retailer's underground garage full of everyone else's very smelly car fumes. So with my issue, the clearest symptom was the engine-bay soot.
To compare, I'd photograph the engine bay and bonnet underside, clean the sooty parts and check again after a few days.
If the soot trails are similar to the photos on this thread, then the clamp replacement might be a good bet.
At least it's not anywhere near as expensive as cat and/or particle filter replacement.
Thing is though, I didn't have any power issues to speak of- so your power drop-off seems to point to a different issue.
If you're on a warranty, I'd want to push for a restoration of normal power delivery, no matter what the specific issue is, and let the BMW techs work out what needs doing. Have you asked for a spin in a same-engined demo car, together with a mechanic, and then swap back afterwards to your car to get a concensus about the lumpy power on yours?
The CO alarm would also help your case if it was being set off regularly in the cabin...
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2014, 09:18 AM
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Exclamation BMW Mini Clubman D

Apologies for the bump to this old thread however, its relevant please see today's Sunday Times Driving news BMW in Court over Mini 'Carbon monoxide Poisoning' sorry cannot post URL's yet but attached is a photo of article.
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Last edited by Mrs Clubman; Nov 9th, 2014 at 12:17 PM. Reason: Add pic
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 9th, 2014, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting - will be curious to see the end result given that I had the same issue!
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post #21 of 23 (permalink) Old Nov 10th, 2014, 12:37 PM
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I'll second that

Thanks for the update.
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post #22 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2015, 08:25 PM
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Diesal turbo charger issues

I have had very similar experiences after purchasing my Mini Clubman privately in Aug 2013. I bought the car with 29000 miles on the clock. It ran perfectly and I was very pleased with it. I usually drive BMW cars and was happy to see that all the whistles and gongs in a BMW were copied into the Mini. I found a reputable Mini car specialist and had the car serviced and MOT`d. Within months I had rear suspension problems. A broken rear spring. Not so much of a problem as an inconvenience as I need the car for work. The economy stop/start was never anything worthwhile it just stopped the car for a second and then restarted. Pointless.
After about 12 months the car started to lose power. The pick up was not good and there was a lag between engaging the accelerator and the car actually responding but nothing major just annoying. Then the clutch burned out leaving my wife and I stranded in the middle of nowhere. The result was having to have the clutch and DMF replaced because the heating on the clutch had fractured the flywheel. Expensive but not in the region some of you have experienced.
After having the clutch sorted I could still get the smell of a burning clutch and I returned the car back to the garage but he was adamant that he could not smell what I had experienced. If you stopped at traffic lights or a junction etc and disengaged the clutch there was a throbbing sensation I could feel through the car seat and eventually a smell of what I thought was a burning clutch. If I put my foot on the clutch the throbbing sensation would stop and the smell would go away.
Weeks later when filling the screen wash I saw black soot marks on the bonnet lid and around the turbo charger.
It seems like deja vue for some of you.
The car has only done 43k and having all these problems. BMW must be aware of all this. Why have they not recalled the cars??
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post #23 of 23 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2015, 07:23 AM
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This has been a great help, my 57 plate cooper D has started smelling of fumes inside the cabin, I was told it could be the injector seals, although seeing this now, I'm not so sure. Time for more investigating under the bonnet.
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