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Discussion Starter #1
i am new to this so bear with me. my wife and i will be purchasing our first mini this spring.i am a dodge tech by trade and this cvt trans has my curiousity up as to the durability of it and maintence schedule including the type of fluid it uses because we are about 500 miles from the nearest dealer which is in utah. my wife cannot operate a stick and insists we get the auto. is this a wise choice. thanks bb1
 

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I don't think you should expect any problems with the CVT transmission, it seems to be quite durable. MINIs with them have been on the track, in autocrosses, etc. As to service, the manual with the car doesn't specify the fluid type and there is no "dipstick" for the trans like there is with US automatics. You'd have to ask the dealer about the fluid. Being that far from a dealer might be a general concern for me, its too bad BMW didn't appoint more. We did do a cross country drive of 2300 miles and at times were hundreds of miles from a dealer. We have two MINIs in our family and neither have had a breakdown.

There are also dealers in Denver and Las Vegas if that would be closer for you.
 

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Wait and get your self a Cooper S with a six speed auto box. The CVT is not a very good box it spoils the whole car. My wifes 1 month old CVT Cooper is going in to have the box reprogrammed next week to try and make it a smoother. If this does not work I will probably reject the car and get it replaced.
 

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MR ONE, the MINI CVT is the smoothest auto trans. I've ever experienced, bar none. I'm afraid you've got a bad controller or some other problem but its not representaive of the cvt in general.
 

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dukesantos said:
I must agree with dukesantos on this ONE. The CVT is turbine-smooth when running right, depending on the nature of the issue you have. Very low speeds can still generate some jerkiness.
 

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nonsequitur said:
I must agree with dukesantos on this ONE. The CVT is turbine-smooth when running right, depending on the nature of the issue you have. Very low speeds can still generate some jerkiness.

How can you agree with dukesantos on one hand and then tell me it can still generate some jerkiness at low speeds. Also why do so many people on here complain about their CVT boxes if it is so smooth ?
 

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Mr ONE said:
How can you agree with dukesantos on one hand and then tell me it can still generate some jerkiness at low speeds. Also why do so many people on here complain about their CVT boxes if it is so smooth ?
Because I do think he's right.

However, maybe we found your specific complaint, the very low speed behaviors?

The software has steadily and dramatically improved from early in 2002. The serious stuff is resolved now. What's left are some artifacts (like the still-there jerkiness at low speeds), and the actual behaviors of the drivetrain.

This car delivers the best acceleration in CVT-mode. That experience is almost linear, and it is certainly "turbine-smooth"; no adjustments, steady persistent forward progress, and no "shifting."

A very capable machine.

Tell us about the specifics of your experience. There may be some good answers.
 

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I have no complaint with the CVT once you get to a decent speed i.e. on the motorway or a fast road. In town the gear box is rubbish, you can't pull away smoothly, at low speeds the car is not smooth, when slowing down it jerks, when reversing it jerks it's just not a very good gear box and please, don't tell me I'm not driving it right, and for my wife to complain about it as well it must be bad and she will only drive automatic cars. I don't know if your old enough to remember the old Daf 55 from many years ago, this car had the same type of drive system as the Mini CVT and guess what ? it drove exactly the same as the Mini CVT, they should do away with the CVT and offer a proper 6 speed auto like the S is getting, you can't beat a good ZF 6 speed auto box.
 

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I have a '04 CVT with 5k miles - two hours to my nearest dealer. I've had zero problems with the car and zero problems with the CVT.

If you keep in mind that you are driving a automagic car and not a manual tranny you will be quite happy. The control on hills using SD is fantastic, much better than my wife's Matrix auto.

32 mpg - the car is quick but not fast, if you get my meaning. Cruises at 80 mph on the Interstate with no problem. :D
 

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Mr ONE -- We're all sorry you're not happy with your CVT, and hope you either get it fixed so it is as smooth as it can be (and as smooth as we all have come to know) or you end up with the transmission you really want, i.e., 6 speed auto MCS. :)

bb1 -- The CVT that was designed specifically for the MINI is still a new design, so we'll have to wait longer to know more about its reliability, i.e., when people have hopefully put many trouble free miles on it. So far it's been very reliable. A few have had problems, but the far majority have had no problems. The CVT has less moving parts than a regular automatic, and it is a much simpler design too, both good things. So, we hope the future is bright for CVTs. There are some other car manufacturers, such as Audi, that use the CVT, so you may want to ask them how their reliability is -- I don't know if any have used the CVT for more than a few years though.

Most of us MINI CVT owners who post here believe this CVT is just the absolute greatest. I don't think many of us would trade it for any regular automatic transmission. Of course the new MCS auto 6 speed should be a great car too, but I think that will be mostly because it is an MCS rather than because it has a regular auto, even though it will be a 6 speed auto. Of course, any 6 speed auto is much better than the competition's mostly 4 speed and occassional 5 speed autos. Since the 6 speed auto MCS is so close to production, you may want to wait and drive both. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
cvt trans question

i just want to thank you all for the input on my trans questions, very informative. this will help us decide better when time comes and possibly the new 6 spd auto will be available.
 

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Mr ONE said:
I don't know if your old enough to remember the old Daf 55 from many years ago, this car had the same type of drive system as the Mini CVT and guess what ? it drove exactly the same as the Mini CVT
The only comparable aspects of these transmissions is the term "Continuously Variable Transmission" (they both are CVTs), and the holder of the belt technology is "Van Doorne's Transmissie" (but the belts, and how they are employed in the transmission, are completely different in nearly every way).

Here're two quotes from another thread to check out:
CVT history in racing

"The ZF gearbox we have uses one steel belt (versus two of rubber) that pushes torque (versus pulls) in a very much smaller device that weighs only 52lb (versus how much heavier?). Ours is probably closer to the F1 gearbox that David Coulthard drove in the Williams FW15C."

"The all new '68 DAF 55M 'Marathon' Coupé 1300 was introduced for the long rallies where reliability, the trait that distinquished the CVT-equipped cars at the time, would be useful."

I think I understand what you were trying to say, but the statement that "[DAF 55] drove exactly the same as the MINI CVT" needs a bit of editing! ;)

Mr ONE said:
In town the gear box is rubbish, you can't pull away smoothly, at low speeds the car is not smooth, when slowing down it jerks, when reversing it jerks it's just not a very good gear box and please, don't tell me I'm not driving it right, and for my wife to complain about it as well it must be bad and she will only drive automatic cars.
We'd like to help you enjoy your car, if you want that help, and plan to keep it. You can now place orders for the Cooper S Auto, which has a 6-speed slush box and torque converter, so a trade-in may work.

Back on the CVT-equipped car, and depending on the severity of the "jerk", you may simply need a software update to v39.1/39.2.

As stated earlier, there are some remaining characteristics and behaviors which could still be improved. One of these is a low speed rocking (not a sharp jerk). This is related to the control of oil pressures in the gearbox and it has been improved from the early releases. Nearly every other character complaint has been improved from the early releases.

Come back with some careful details of your complaints, and we'll help you sort them out.
 

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nonsequitur said:
We'd like to help you enjoy your car, if you want that help, and plan to keep it. You can now place orders for the Cooper S Auto, which has a 6-speed slush box and torque converter, so a trade-in may work.

Back on the CVT-equipped car, and depending on the severity of the "jerk", you may simply need a software update to v39.1/39.2.

As stated earlier, there are some remaining characteristics and behaviors which could still be improved. One of these is a low speed rocking (not a sharp jerk). This is related to the control of oil pressures in the gearbox and it has been improved from the early releases. Nearly every other character complaint has been improved from the early releases.

Come back with some careful details of your complaints, and we'll help you sort them out.
I think I should have the latest software as the car is only 4 weeks old. It's going back to the dealers on the 4 Dec for a reprogramme to try and sort it out. Don't get me wrong I think the car itself is great it's just the CVT that spoils It.
 

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We'll wait for your next installment after its trip to the dealer.

Have you found the materials on the MINI, the CVT, and driving that posted here on MINI2.com to be helpful? Which ones? Any suggestions for us?
 

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Mr ONE, have you tried starting from stop in SD versus D?

One simple hint for modifying the behaviors of our CVT-equipped cars is to simply increase the engine's rpm slightly. A strength of this car's gearbox is that you can choose to do this easily, by flicking the gear lever over to SD.

The SD Selection does more than select a "higher performance" map. Examples:

Higher engine rpm generates higher gearbox oil pressures because the pump runs at engine rpm. Higher pressures generate faster reaction time, which equals smoother control behaviors. This doesn't alter the very low speed stuff, called "Creep", but it definitely changes some aspects of a commute.

SD (SportDrive) also sheds the D (Drive) programming which manages engine torque under 2500rpm, and other features (like Smooth to 50[mph]).
 

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Good point nonsequitur, as many people drive the CVT and never (not much anyway) get out of the normal Drive mode. SD is much faster off the line than D, and generally a whole different car for performance, i.e., it is suddenly a quick car. :)
 

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nonsequitur....Iv'e tried all 3 modes,

jazmini......I think its only quick to about 30-35 mph after that when you put your foot down the rpm increases quickly but the speed doesn't. Personally I do not think the reprogramme Mini is going to do will make any difference to the gearbox at all.
 

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Mr ONE said:
Iv'e tried all 3 modes
Good! That takes out some of simple suggestions.

Have you downloaded the Function Map from MINI2 (top of this Forum), so we're using the same terms and understanding of how the Gearbox works?

I took your stated experiences onto the street with our car last night, to try to find what you are talking about. All of your statements are opinion, so are mine, so I'm trying to duplicate the behaviors:

## "you can't pull away smoothly"
-- Please describe this more fully.

## "at low speeds the car is not smooth"
-- What does "not smooth" really mean here?
-- This may be the "rocking" (my word) at parking lot speeds (say 5mph). The Gearbox is operating in Creep, which is not D, SD, or 1 or 2 even though one of these are Selected. It's a separate program. You can test this by switching back and forth between D and SD - no change in rpm or other indications.
-- It may also be at about 10mph (slow heavy traffic speed). There is a known and observed "rocking" that is still in the system. It has very much mitigated in the latest software versions.

## "when slowing down it jerks"
-- I can't duplicate a jerk when slowing down. At what speed?
-- This could be the MINI brakes? BMW has a history of front discs that display enough bite (this is very good actually) such that it is difficult to ease the pedal in the last couple feet before full stop to get a completely smooth stop (like a bus driver).
-- There may be a small "bump" as the tach settles back to idle from about 1500rpm as the car comes to a stop. Is this it? It may be produced as the Van Doorne pushbelt drops onto the Primary Variator (lowest ratio position).

## "when reversing it jerks"
-- Is this as you Select from Park to Reverse?

Mr ONE said:
I think its only quick to about 30-35 mph after that when you put your foot down the rpm increases quickly but the speed doesn't.
In all Selections (Drive, SportDrive, Steptronic)?
 

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I think, despite your very gracious help, that the problem here is that MR ONE is determined to drive the CVT like a traditional automatic transmission and is refusing to accept the new technology and the fact that to have any kind of enjoyable drive you have to adapt driving techniques slightly to accommodate the new transmission. I have to admit, when I first drove my ONE CVT I didn't like it at all. It took me a good few hours of driving, learning the way it works and reading how it works on this (rather exhaustive!) CVT forum before I began to enjoy driving it. Now, having driven the ONE CVT for 9 months and now driving my new MCC CVT I have to say I would be reluctant to swap the CVT for a regular auto. Now that I know how it works and can control it, I thoroughly enjoy the ride. It's perfect for rush hour driving without being boring when you wanna have some fun on the twisties. My partner agrees, after sharing the dislike of CVT at first, we both now love the CVT.

Some people just don't like change. Some people just have a problem. I can't stand Nissan Micra's, or Nissan Micra drivers, for example. I don't know why, i just don't. The car is probably lovely to drive and very reliable, but there's little you can say to change my mind, I just have a major thing against them. Maybe that's the sort or relationship Mr ONE is destined to have with CVT boxes.

I'm not having a go, I'm just trying to illustrate that not every one can be pleased. But personally, I think the CVT is fantastic, and judging on the improvements in my MCC CVT it can only get better.

Just my tuppence worth, as they say.

PS I'm desperate to finish the run in so I can try SD and Steptronic!
 

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marrsbar said:
I think, despite your very gracious help, that the problem here is that MR ONE is determined to drive the CVT like a traditional automatic transmission and is refusing to accept the new technology and the fact that to have any kind of enjoyable drive you have to adapt driving techniques slightly to accommodate the new transmission. I have to admit, when I first drove my ONE CVT I didn't like it at all. It took me a good few hours of driving, learning the way it works and reading how it works on this (rather exhaustive!) CVT forum before I began to enjoy driving it. Now, having driven the ONE CVT for 9 months and now driving my new MCC CVT I have to say I would be reluctant to swap the CVT for a regular auto. Now that I know how it works and can control it, I thoroughly enjoy the ride. It's perfect for rush hour driving without being boring when you wanna have some fun on the twisties. My partner agrees, after sharing the dislike of CVT at first, we both now love the CVT.

Some people just don't like change. Some people just have a problem. I can't stand Nissan Micra's, or Nissan Micra drivers, for example. I don't know why, i just don't. The car is probably lovely to drive and very reliable, but there's little you can say to change my mind, I just have a major thing against them. Maybe that's the sort or relationship Mr ONE is destined to have with CVT boxes.

I'm not having a go, I'm just trying to illustrate that not every one can be pleased. But personally, I think the CVT is fantastic, and judging on the improvements in my MCC CVT it can only get better.

Just my tuppence worth, as they say.

PS I'm desperate to finish the run in so I can try SD and Steptronic!
marrsbar.....you sound like a right Muppet, I've no problem with change, when I or my wife get into a car we want to drive it not think about what the car is going to do. All i can say is that if you really enjoy driving a CVT Mini then you are not much of a driver, it is one of the worst gearboxes I have had misfortune to drive. In traffic it is diabolical to drive, put your foot to the floor and you have time to make a cup of tea before the box decides what it is supposed to do for you ! Anyway I have solved my problem with my wifes car after only 6 weeks of ownership of a Cooper CVT, I've got rid and bought her a 330 cd sport BMW no problem with this gearbox a proper drivers car.
 
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