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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my MINI having a little over 66,000 fairly trouble free miles on the clock, I am feeling really good about having a CVT MINI. Especially when I hear about all the tranny troubles that people with Cooper 5-Speeds encountered. The cooper S had all the stumbling and coolant leak trouble. It makes me think that the CVT equipped MINIs are the workhorses f the MINI lineup.

The CVT's have had some trouble and we have had to get softwear updates, but these seem few and minor compared to what other MINI owners have had to deal wtih.

Is there anyone in agreement on this?
 

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It seems that way to me. I've experienced a few problems withb my MINI, but none of them have been CVT related.
 

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I dont think thats true at all...at least transmission wise. I know of about five people who posted on this board alone, and myself who have had CVT transmission failures. And while the MCS had leaks and such, it didnt seem to have many transmission problems.
 

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Then, let's document those failures right here. What actually happened?

It's true, there have been some CVT failures, just as there have been documented failures of both the 5-speed (Cooper, One) and 6-speed (Cooper S, One D) manual gearboxes. The record hasn't seemed in any way "excessive" with the CVT, but... let's find out.

Can we assemble a list of the posts where those CVT failures are reported? Can those owners be PMed to ask what happened, or ask them to update us in a post in this thread? It would be helpful to know the facts of what went wrong and how many incidents we can uncover. What other boards could be checked?

I'll maintain a position, based on energetic investigation and my personal experience, supplemented by many people who have PMed to me, called me, or shared their experience in these threads over the past couple of years -- this ZF Gearbox is a reliable and very capable device, more capable than most will give credit.

The only worry I have about the CVT is aftermarket power modifications. I haven't been able to find any support from BMW or ZF that the onboard programming can adjust for increased torque from owner-applied modifications. These mods may yield failures in the future once mod-induced slip causes the pulley and belt to excessively wear.

Here's the start to a list (could someone PM these people to get their updated opinion?):

http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=61275
cooper_sport @ 30,000mi; pushbelt snapped; Gearbox replaced under warranty

http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29220
antsmini @22,000mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
courtinnyc @800mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
minimao @8700mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
davidma @8000Km; Gearbox replaced under warranty
 

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Motoring Princess
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i haven't had any problems with my CVT... well, except once the MINI stalled on an even road... and at a stoplight... and it was the 2nd day i had her... no one can figure out why. i can't either... even road. i didn't roll back. i was at a stoplight. but besides that, it's great. it ****es off my friend who has a nissan 350z that my steptronic shifts faster than his.

anywayz. my MINI is still practically new, so we'll see.

my other friend has a 2002 MCS... he loves the car but has experienced quite a few problems with the tranny.... even in the first months. i think he fixed it tho.
 

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SweetReverie said:
i haven't had any problems with my CVT... well, except once the MINI stalled on an even road... and at a stoplight... and it was the 2nd day i had her... no one can figure out why. i can't either... even road. i didn't roll back. i was at a stoplight. but besides that, it's great. it ****es off my friend who has a nissan 350z that my steptronic shifts faster than his.

anywayz. my MINI is still practically new, so we'll see.

my other friend has a 2002 MCS... he loves the car but has experienced quite a few problems with the tranny.... even in the first months. i think he fixed it tho.
Its a software thing. Im on my third MINI, the first two had that problem, although it only happened once every couple months.
 

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antsmini said:
Its a software thing. Im on my third MINI, the first two had that problem, although it only happened once every couple months.
yeah. hum. it happened once every couple of months? hum... i just hope next time it happens, it won't be when i'm going up the hill on Battle Ave.... thing is steep and curvy and there's usually a lot of cars in that flow...
 

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SweetReverie said:
yeah. hum. it happened once every couple of months? hum... i just hope next time it happens, it won't be when i'm going up the hill on Battle Ave.... thing is steep and curvy and there's usually a lot of cars in that flow...
Ha, try having it happen to you on 287 in rush hour traffic.
 

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think its hard to judge, you would need to know the amount of CVT v Manual, the amount of recurring issues that are gear box related etc...

My guess, no, due to the early issues on the CVT, from my experience, I had two friends that had CVT and both ended up having to get rid of the MINI:( Only one friend out of all my manual friends had to have a gear box replaced and this was the old 5 speed box that is known to be weak and has since been changed:)

The MCS gear box is pretty much trouble free Willy and the new Cooper box is very nice indeed
 

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antsmini said:
Ha, try having it happen to you on 287 in rush hour traffic.
okay. that is scary lol. but at least there are other lanes.
 

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http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=61275
cooper_sport @ 30,000mi; pushbelt snapped; Gearbox replaced under warranty

http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29220
antsmini @22,000mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
courtinnyc @800mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
minimao @8700mi; Gearbox replaced under warranty
davidma @8000Km; Gearbox replaced under warranty[/QUOTE]

Here's one more for the list.

larry paquette; belt snapped; gearbox replaced under warranty

http://www.mini2.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51234&onlybyuserid=0&page=1&pp=15&highlight=belt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One thing that may make the CVT seem reliable is the fact that their owners are probably easier on their cars than MCS and some Cooper owners. At the MINI runs, track days, auto-crosses and other events where MINI owners drive their cars in a spirited fashion, the CVT is in the minority.

There are plenty of CVT MINI owners that drive aggressively, but they are in the minority compared to the MCS.

The more I read on the subject, the MCS tranny may be the most reliable.
 

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Willy may be correct, looking at our community of CVT drivers, but I doubt that it should factor into the question. Doesn't this miss the key point of statistical reliability - serious Gearbox faults per miles driven?

Even though I did earlier myself, I'm also not sure it's useful to compare MCS vs MC vs CVT. The real question seems to be "Is the CVT reliable?" This is more of an "industry" question.

All of MINI2 hasn't documented very many CVT failures, which is a function of how many cars there are, and how many of those drivers visit MINI2.

The real problem with the MINI brand has been software. No other car I've ever owned has owners conversing on items like "v39.1" but even this has been mostly resolved. I bring it up because as many of you know my very-early production MINI Cooper CVT experience was not a good one. It was not the CVT however, discovered by working at the details, digging for help and information.

We (all of us) now have a very good machine, in my opinion. This opinion has been shaped by experience driving the cars in all sorts of environments, direct input from people who should know in ZF and BMW, and all of you wonderful posters. I like that it's being challenged; the MINI's reputation should stand on facts.

I'd urge us on just to see if there are more Posts out there.
 

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Software upgrade

antsmini said:
Its a software thing. Im on my third MINI, the first two had that problem, although it only happened once every couple months.
How do I upgrade the software???
 

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Rakey said:
Only one friend out of all my manual friends had to have a gear box replaced and this was the old 5 speed box that is known to be weak and has since been changed:)
But isn't it noteworthy if we're talking about reliability that they had to change the gearbox while they're still producing the same CVT. Plus wasn't there a recall of the manual transmissions about a year or two ago?
 
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