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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a first generation Mini Cooper S. I loved the car but it was on a lease and at the ended up taking the car back and gave me $2,000 because it had appreciated. I'm looking to buy a (new) used Mini S. and I have some technical questions because it doesn't look like these cars are showing up as "reliable" as when I first bought mine lots of technical problems before they even get to a 100K. Well, as compared to Honda';s and Toyota's I have owned and still own. I don't want to spend a lot of money. This MINI will be my go-to 2nd commute car so I'm looking for one in the 2008-2012 range. Since I will have a backup vehicle, some downtime on it will be ok.

1. One used Mini that I looked at had a lot of oil which looked to be leaking from the large square metal box in front of the transaxle on the engine. This was an automatic transmission version. Does anybody know what this is? It is directly below the Oil filter and the car salesman that there is only oil coming from there because when you change the oil filter it all spills there. I can clearly see oil coming from the oil pan too which is on the other side -- so the oil pan gasket is shot on that side.
2. Another one I looked at the person says it needs a new High Pressure Fuel Pump. That one only has 80K miles on there so that is not a lot of miles to already lose the fuel pump. However, I watched some videos and that looks like a very easy thing to fix and replace yourself.
3. When does this car schedule need Timing Change maintenance as compared to what really happens? New Timing Chain, guides, timing tensioner, etc.
4. What other major maintenance points are critical and or common failure points on a MINI-S by 100K miles?

Thank you for your assistance in advance.
 

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cooper s gen 2 with 80.000 miles will need timing chain doing with out any doubt its done well to get there 60k is a good target to stick to, reliability hmmm mini in on par with bmw products that dont say much as after 2006 they went down hill in my book i had bmw cars from mid 80s to around 2007 when a diesel 3 series finished me ever owning one of their diesels timing chain on rear of engine engine out or gearbox out repair my 3 series made 60k ish before chain slipped and destroyed the engine and boy it did, as for the prince engine in mini cooper s its a psa bottom end and bmw designed the heads and timing gear with febi bilsteen and its once again a pattern of destruction on cars sold as and i quote yes sir its got a chain so life of engine, hmmm guess that works when its 3 years and around 60k then, when us buyers think its it should be 150k. this all said do 60k timing chain changes and max 10k oil changes and engine flush seafoam is good, as for oil leaks they do seep any gearbox oil walk away for sure, some people blame high pressure pumps and turns out to be timing issues etc ie upstream 02 sensor gets cained by overlap on valve and unburnt fuel dropping on it, sign of this is big pops and bangs on overrun
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well that is what I thought from what I read. However, I called the mini dealer (https://www.miniofaustin.com/) service and talked to a service mechanic and they said the timing chain in "normally maintained cases" requires zero maintenance for the life of the car. He said as long as you keep oil in the car, it will be fine. He said there was an original issue with the driving chain but it was recalled and had to do with the tensioner failing prematurely. He said if your car had this issue, it would be fixed free. He did say if you don't keep oil in the car, it will cause premature failure of the timing chain. Apparently these cars use oil just like gasoline. He said people let the oil get too low and this causes the chain to fail.

What do you mean engine flush seafoam. Seaform is a fuel additive. Are you adding seafoam into the crankcase?
 

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sea foam is not just a fuel additive its a cleaner go have a look on its web page as your having problems believing a word i say, as for you been and spoke to mini service thats same service that still tells people the bmw n47 diesel dont have issues along same lines, ho and the endless people who turn up with timing chain problems even on the so called upgraded tensioners by way the reason the chains fail is due to way made of thin chain links and amount of length making longer tensioner dont fix the issue it cheaply covers it up,, or maybe its me i dont know what i'm talking about and like wasting my life telling no facts hmmm
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well I told the mechanic virtually all of the same thing. I literally said, "ok, now you are scaring me that you don't know much about the car since you can go to Google and search for mini timing issues and they are all over the web". I said just go google, "Mini Death rattle" He said, "obviously you don't know anything about the car because that issue was fixed in a recall." I do know EVERY car that I have ever owned from timing belt to timing chain required replacement between 75K and 120K and it was a part of the scheduled maintenance. I ask him that as well, "What is the timing chain replacement on the schedule?" His answer was, "Never, the chain will last the life of the vehicle with proper maintenance and oil". I do find that a little weird since that is not the case with every other car. They act like just because it is a chain it needs no maintenance. However, chains stretch with heat and use.

You are the one that wants to argue with me. I'm just echoing what the "expert" said. He is mini dealer service manager and works on 3 or 4 minis per day. I really have no idea.

I saw the sea foam use in the oil between 100-300 miles though on their website.
 

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Well I told the mechanic virtually all of the same thing. I literally said, "ok, now you are scaring me that you don't know much about the car since you can go to Google and search for mini timing issues and they are all over the web". I said just go google, "Mini Death rattle" He said, "obviously you don't know anything about the car because that issue was fixed in a recall." I do know EVERY car that I have ever owned from timing belt to timing chain required replacement between 75K and 120K and it was a part of the scheduled maintenance. I ask him that as well, "What is the timing chain replacement on the schedule?" His answer was, "Never, the chain will last the life of the vehicle with proper maintenance and oil". I do find that a little weird since that is not the case with every other car. They act like just because it is a chain it needs no maintenance. However, chains stretch with heat and use.

You are the one that wants to argue with me. I'm just echoing what the "expert" said. He is mini dealer service manager and works on 3 or 4 minis per day. I really have no idea.

I saw the sea foam use in the oil between 100-300 miles though on their website.
no dont want to argue with anyone just tell it the way it really is even when some see it as a argument, facts are facts and unless its fact i cant be bothered wasting me time with anything that is not as such,
getting back to how honest a german can company can be back in 2008 bbc watch dog brought bmw to book with their diesel n47 engines and guess what timing chain that barely lasted 70k check out google on it very damming even shown the damages etc on cars serviced at bmw by their so called techs with their oils and service items, they still to this day blame the owners or abuse for letting oils get low they even like with mini done the yes we have fixed it with a tension update,(SEE A PATTERN) do you know the difference between the tensioner's its only the length of throw pic below so all that really does is move when the top guide snaps nothing else it also moves the when it will happen by maybe 10k or so,, the real issue is the type of chain used and funny enough its been the same chain throughout the years used in mini peugeot citroen prince engines,, how do i know all this is a fair question someone might ask,, well i've spent most of my life repairing these faults one after another,, as face so many people are met with ignorance from mini main agents of there being a issue and then they tell them the price and most people turn up at their local garage for a better price and get met with same thing yes sir we have seen a lot of these timing chains fail,, that is where i come in, my theory main agents are programmed from head office to never admit to any number of faults to always relate not a normal failure etc,(of maybe get sacked)
this all said back to the cars what i have found a lot with cars that have 60k chain kits they just go on and on fairly well we have two in family both north of 120k both run well both have 60k chain kits done, all the cars with 70-100k that have been driven on with a retarded timined engine always destroy the cat and 02 sensors also prone to valve stem seals and on some badly maintained ones ie very good to use seafoarm in the oil for 50 miles the first time see rings get clogged and breath and use more oil, also see inlet valve carbon up on the above car more so,, we run 1/4 can of seafoam in our my sons two cars 2k before oil change and 8k ish changes they have never had clogged valves, read what even anyone wants in to theat,
so is it just bmw mini,,,, no its all of them i'm seeing a lot of stuff fitted with tiny chains, even honda pon the early 2.2 diesels ie 2004-2007 but give them their due they fixed that on later cars also they had a weakness in the clothes they fixed that with a 325 update, honda are by far one of the best for updates and fixing the real problems, vag and bmw not so much, my theory is in germany the cars are used for long autoban drives and roads are better here a lot of short journeys etc and that brings problems as all engine get most wear when first started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dealers are not experts. That’s a fact.
Well changing the timing chain looks like a job that I don't really want to try because I doubt I could get to the bottom sprocket without doing way too much removal for my liking. However, I can replace the valve gasket which appears to be a common failure point and does give you access to see the timing chain. Is there anything there to inspect that would give rise to suspicions of an oncoming failure. If the top guide on the chain looks good, then it should be ok correct? If the top chain guide looks overly worn, then there would be a possible impending failure?
 

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the bottom sprocket gets fitted with the timing chain and guides as a cassette unit, so you click both guides together on their centre pivot and push new chain between then and then put bottom sprocket on to chain and then pull the chain tight as to hold sprocket in place while dropping the chain and guide and sprocket in from top of engine , the bottom sprocket has a boss that is help in place by a 18mm clockwise threaded stretch bolt, the encams and crankshaft is locked with special lock tools while chain gear is being fitted so all sprockets are free wheeling on with bolts hand tight and 1/4 turn loosened then insert the dummy pertenion tool where the chain tensioner normally goes to preload the chain to mimic the tension given by the sprung tensioner when thats done you can then do up crank bolt to 40nm and cam shaft bolts to 20nm each this should hold the timing in place then rotate by hand the crankshaft 4 turns and relock the engine off if locks fall in to place then add 90 plus 90 degrees to each cam shaft and 120 degrees to crankshaft bolt, thats how you time one its not hard its just process and understand dont get a secondhand chance if time it wrongly so check and recheck. like said i have done thousands over the years peugeot citroen have revised their service plans to 100.000 miles must have a chain still not good enough see way to many fail or run wrong well before then
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
the bottom sprocket gets fitted with the timing chain and guides as a cassette unit, so you click both guides together on their centre pivot and push new chain between then and then put bottom sprocket on to chain and then pull the chain tight as to hold sprocket in place while dropping the chain and guide and sprocket in from top of engine , the bottom sprocket has a boss that is help in place by a 18mm clockwise threaded stretch bolt, the encams and crankshaft is locked with special lock tools while chain gear is being fitted so all sprockets are free wheeling on with bolts hand tight and 1/4 turn loosened then insert the dummy pertenion tool where the chain tensioner normally goes to preload the chain to mimic the tension given by the sprung tensioner when thats done you can then do up crank bolt to 40nm and cam shaft bolts to 20nm each this should hold the timing in place then rotate by hand the crankshaft 4 turns and relock the engine off if locks fall in to place then add 90 plus 90 degrees to each cam shaft and 120 degrees to crankshaft bolt, thats how you time one its not hard its just process and understand dont get a secondhand chance if time it wrongly so check and recheck. like said i have done thousands over the years peugeot citroen have revised their service plans to 100.000 miles must have a chain still not good enough see way to many fail or run wrong well before then
It is scary to me to start that and not be able to finish it. You have to be able to get to the bottom though to be able to rotate the crankshaft and you also need another tool to be to rotate the crankshaft. For example, "rotate by hand the crankshaft 4 turns". How do you know you got 4 full turns? If you mess up the timing, the engine broke.
 

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you rotate the crankshaft clockwise only with the 18mm bolt that is back in the crankshaft ie bottom sprocket boss bolt. thats how you turn the engine, put a tipex mark on crankshaft then turn it so mark passes another mark on casing 4 times, the crank shaft is locked by a pin in the flywheel and also can use this to lock it when doing ot up, must replace all bolts for sprockets as stretch bolts, the camshafts must be held with narrow 27mm spanner and not use lock tools to hold them as will throw timing off and also will damage the cam locks, below link is lock kit
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
you rotate the crankshaft clockwise only with the 18mm bolt that is back in the crankshaft ie bottom sprocket boss bolt. thats how you turn the engine, put a tipex mark on crankshaft then turn it so mark passes another mark on casing 4 times, the crank shaft is locked by a pin in the flywheel and also can use this to lock it when doing ot up, must replace all bolts for sprockets as stretch bolts, the camshafts must be held with narrow 27mm spanner and not use lock tools to hold them as will throw timing off and also will damage the cam locks, below link is lock kit
The crank shaft is way at the bottom of the engine though. How can you even see it down there from the bottom of the car? I believe the vids I see say that changing the chain requires removing the passenger wheel and splash guard. A lot of work.

I've seen the kit on Amazon.

They also have the full set including sprockets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
you rotate the crankshaft clockwise only with the 18mm bolt that is back in the crankshaft ie bottom sprocket boss bolt. thats how you turn the engine, put a tipex mark on crankshaft then turn it so mark passes another mark on casing 4 times, the crank shaft is locked by a pin in the flywheel and also can use this to lock it when doing ot up, must replace all bolts for sprockets as stretch bolts, the camshafts must be held with narrow 27mm spanner and not use lock tools to hold them as will throw timing off and also will damage the cam locks, below link is lock kit
Ok, I just watched this youtube video.
You have to pull the motor mount. That is WAY BEYOND scary. Even in this video, you can see this guys engine shift and nearly bend out the other side of the engine mount destroying it or part of the car and the engine hitting the ground.

This is way too difficult of a job for the home mechanic with limited tools.
 

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need a jack,axle stand, socket set, spanners 8mm to 19mm, torx set main and remail, torque wrench, marker pen, wood block handy as well,
will need to remove drivers side wheel and inner plastic, will need to remove engine mount, bottom pulley and water pump jockey wheel, remove air box remove rocker cover,( at this point lock engine with special lock tools failure to do this at this point could lead to damage to engines must be locked at this pint to be 100% sure no valve can hit a piston, remove dip stick remove the torx headed guide pins from front of engine remove top guide remove chain tensioner remove bottom crank golt,, or dont do any of this and just book it in to a garage/mechanic who knows what they are doing is by far the best way forward if cant be sure its doable your self as to be honest its not a easy one without a fair level of mechanical knowledge, i've done them before in 5 hours but that was on a car with very low mileage and the early engine with no vvt on it and just every thing went well, then higher mileages ones tend to be a good 8 hours as have to check stuff more before rebuilding etc, as only a fool would not and then have to go back in there a few weeks later to replace something that could of been done at the time, ie stuff like water pump or jockey wheel etc at 80k they are getting worn sometimes for piece of mind a new water pump can stop a nasty bill in future.
for anyone interested reading this in my signature back magic they do chain changes etc 9 times form 10 its me that will be fitting them , also got some price levels depending on what parts anyone want to be used ie genuine bmw or after market etc, also they have a recovery truck for anything that dont run etc, speak to john about it also handy of at same time want more power etc, mapping ,
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, I think the water pump at around 80K is always a good investment. However, I know how to check a what pump, they tend to fail around the front seal/bearing so there is a lot of play there may also be small water dripping. I think they tend to last 100+K but for a couple hundred dollars and you are already there is seems to be a no brainier at that point. The scariest part is removing the engine from the mount and or later get the motor lined back up to the mount. I saw a video of this on you-tube and the engine shifted, which was scary as well. Also, I would think it makes sense to remove the oil pan since you could drop stuff in there by mistake anyways while working on this area. Does that not make sense?

It would 3+ weekends to do this for me.
 

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very easy to line up engine mount again always bolts the mount to engine first and have engine jack up high enough so dont touch the chassis member and is very easy to get bolts in do them all the time never have a issue plus so much easier to jack engine upwards when replacing water pump, the pumps dont just fail on bearing they also fail on impeller as its made out of plastic not metal, there is a revised water pump ie black body type after 2010 also there is a recent upgrade on thermostat housing thats needs a wiring link to change from two two plugs to one 4 way plug , its same on peugeot citroen as well as same engines.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
very easy to line up engine mount again always bolts the mount to engine first and have engine jack up high enough so dont touch the chassis member and is very easy to get bolts in do them all the time never have a issue plus so much easier to jack engine upwards when replacing water pump, the pumps dont just fail on bearing they also fail on impeller as its made out of plastic not metal, there is a revised water pump ie black body type after 2010 also there is a recent upgrade on thermostat housing thats needs a wiring link to change from two two plugs to one 4 way plug , its same on peugeot citroen as well as same engines.
Supposedly the car I am looking at they already replaced thermo and housing.
 

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