How would a non-BMW-approved service cause a Dooper turbo failure? - MINI Cooper Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2013, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy How would a non-BMW-approved service cause a Dooper turbo failure?

Hey guys! I'm new here (and not very mechanically minded) so please be nice

So here's my not-so-mini adventure!

I bought a 'cherished' 2008 Dooper in October 2010 on a hire-purchase agreement through MINI Finance. It had 43,000 miles on the clock and since then I've done a lot of motorway miles in it and it's now at 83,000 miles. This is within the 19,000 miles/year agreed in my contract.

In that time I took it to my local BMW garage a few times for minor work under warranty and they always messed something or other up requiring return trips and there was only a courtesy car on one of the five or six occasions. The other BMW dealers within 50 miles didn't have a great reputation amoungst my mini-owning friends either so I decided to take her to a trusted old & new Mini specialist for the rest of her services and maintenance. She has been well looked after and was faithful, reliable and awesome fun until...

on the way home from work the other week I noticed a loss in power on acceleration and whirring noises and ended up getting towed home. The tow-truck guy said "best-case a loose air-inlet pipe, worst-case it's the turbo on it's way out". The BMW dealer/garage diagnosed her with a dead turbo (think they said sheared bearings??) and additional damage caused by oil leaking from it. They are recommending a new turbo, new exhaust system, new filters etc and a strip and clean of the inlet manifold. They originally quoted over 6000 for this but several conversations with customer services reduced it to 2300.

It is my understanding of UK law that anything leased out to someone should be of sufficient quality to survive the term of the lease. Knowing this and not being happy with the extensive repairs needed, I called MINI Finance, who long story short have said they wont do anything becuase A. the car has nearly doubled it's milage since I bought it and B. I haven't serviced it at BMW.

Point A I think is ridiculous as the contract agreed that I could do 19k miles/yr - they leased me the car on this basis! It should be able to withstand those sorts of miles without almost terminal mechanical failures.

Point B - all I know is IF it was under warranty they couldn't use that against me for a warranty claim - it's not even legal for them to try. So how can it be a valid point here?

I leased a BMW Mini on the basis that I was doing a lot of miles and wanted a reliable car that I would only have to service/maintain and do the an occasional minor repair. The BMW brand embodies this and I happliy paid a premium for it. I wasn't expecting anything like this on a 4.5 year old car even with 83,000 miles on it. Without the goodwill 6k worth of repairs would probably be a financial write off and I'm only half-way through my lease The whole thing has caused me a lot of worry and stress, and I've been car-less for 3 weeks now.

So I guess what I want to know from the MINI2 community is;
How often do Dooper Garrett turbo's fail and at what milage?
Would having an non-BMW air/oil filter have any effect on this (she has only had service parts, the DPF tank and tyres replaced by the non-BMW garage)?
Has anyone else experienced anything like this?
Is it unreasonable to expect the car to have been quality of this car?

And any other opinions are welcome too - I appreciate your time and your thoughts to help me make sense of this.



Last edited by FrostyT; Mar 14th, 2013 at 06:14 PM. Reason: clarification
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2013, 08:57 PM
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Non-BMW approved engine oil will lead to failure of the Garrett turbochargers on these cars. The reason being that the oil carbonizes and turns thick in the oil pan. In the oil pan is a gauze filter that feeds the turbo journal bearing. If this filter becomes blocked by thick oil sludge it will cut the oil supply to the turbocharger. This will cause catastrophic bearing failure.

If BMW approved oil has been used, then the oil changes have not been frequent enough and sludge has built up in the same manner as above. Alternatively, the little orange rubber seal that attaches the inlet air pipe to the turbocharger on the compressor side is known to disintegrate over time. It is feasible that the compressor fan ingested a piece of the orange rubber seal.

Only a proper analysis will confirm what caused the problem. Properly looked after, the turbos on these cars will last indefinitely.

Any other questions, I'll be happy to answer.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2013, 09:08 PM
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Sorry to hear about your problem. Don't know about point A but point B is another story.
They would argue that the car hasn't been serviced in accordance with their guidelines, servicing shudules, and the use of genuine approved BMW MINI parts.
If a manufacturer can get out of paying out on a warranty claim, they will. I have the bulk of my warranty left on my JCW and will get it serviced at an approved dealer until it has expired. That way, should a big bill arrive, at least I have an outside chance of a goodwill gesture. I fear it may be a bit too late for you.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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I think that when people refuse to take their car to an approved MINI agent for servicing because of cost or whatever, then use some other service agent to carry out the tasks and it all goes wrong you can hardly expect MINI to sort it out.
Why not ask the garage who have been doing the servicing why it packed up when they were looking after the servicing side and what are they going to do about it would seem to be a more appropriate route to follow?
No doubt they will be saying its nothing to do with them too?
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2013, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Nun, Dermott, & MiniDeLux, I appreciate your perspective.

I never even thought about oil quality affecting it but I'm a biologist not a mechanic so why would I?

My garage say they didn't use sub-standard oil or parts but I will ask BMW to investigate the cause of the turbo fault and then look into it further.
I never missed a service so they were all done to schedule whenever the warning lights dictated. Like I said FSH just not a BMW one.

When the breakdown guy first looked at it he said the hose/pipe/whatever was loose so maybe it was the seal? Damaged seal would = loose pipe, right?

The used car warranty died after the first year of 'cherished' protection, in heinsight I guess the extended warranty would've worked out to be good value for me! Gotta love heinsight!

I only took it to a non-BMW garage after the waranty expired and only for servicing as it never needed anything else. And that was only after several bad experiences with the BMW dealer, for example - when I first bought it they didn't complete the pre-sale safety checks and let me drive it off the forecourt with 1 illegal and 1 barely-legal bald tyre - not the safest of situations for a British winter... When the tyres were replaced (at some cost to myself) the tyre-pressure monitor wasn't reset so the warning lights went off on the way to work the next morning (double incompetence!). There's more but that's a longer story - I lost trust in them so took my business elsewhere, it wasn't about costs at all, it was about my blood pressure. The whole point of buying this car was to avoid hassle and nasty surprises and it seems to have come back and bit me anyway

Will keep you posted on what unfolds from here...
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