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Timms BMW Repairs and Inf
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We bought a Mini Cooper with the famous CVT gearbox three years ago and it wasn't right from the start, but not having driven a Mini with a CVT we just thought it was the deficiencies of the system.

The car was bought with just 14,000 miles on the clock, even though it was an '03 model. The car was slow to pull away, the delay from standstill to selecting the correct gear was a second or so.

This continually got worse to a point where the car would pull away reasonably, but immediately the CVT would select a very low ratio (akin to 5th gear or so) and the acceleration was awful. Eventually we got the dreaded 'EP' and the car drove like a wheezy moped.

I cleared the error codes (different each time) using INPA, and that got it going again for a few days - but it very quickly reverted to awful performance and another Emergency Program warning.

We took it to BMW (Snows in Portsmouth) to get the gearbox oil changed as a first line of attack, and to have them diagnose what the problem was. They reported that the gearbox seemed fine after a 'gearbox reset' and the oil change. It took only a few miles before all the symptoms were back again.

Something on the INPA diagnostics report caught my eye though, and that was the battery voltage which was 14.9V, which is much too high, especially at tick-over. I know that the reported battery voltage is not that accurate, but that was certainly wrong - I decided to replace the battery.

And that cured all the problems! Although the car always started fine, the battery was failing. The car is now extremely lively, chooses the correct gears, pulls away quicker - in fact, it seems like a new car. The battery was changed over 5000 miles ago now and the CVT is working extremely well.

So, if you have CVT problems, try changing the gearbox oil and your battery before giving up.
 

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Good to know. Nice detective work. Sadly though the problems you experienced aren't typical of the classic CVT failure.
 

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What is the relationship between battery voltage and CVT function? Normal battery voltage under full charge is just over 14 volts. Resting voltage after sitting overnight should be around 12.5+ volts. So what you're saying is that your old battery was getting overcharged? What is it now? Isn't a too high a voltage an issue to do with the charging system?

BTW, my '05 CVT is still working very well (for those who have been following my posts on this topic).
 

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Timms BMW Repairs and Inf
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update 1-year later

The CVT is still operating faultlessly one year since my last post. My guess as to the reason the battery caused the failure would be the increased series resistance of it - a consequence of under charging and eventual Sulphation. A battery in that condition would not stabilize the alternator voltage effectively giving widely ranging output voltage, something that the Mini electronics was not happy with!
 

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Timm you saved my mini

Timm,

I read your post and I was so surprised that my MINI was experiencing the same issues. I have a 2008 Mini Cooper Convertible.

Anyway, unfortunately I'm stationed in Bahrain so I had to take my Mini into a kinda Mini Cooper Dealer. They are more BMW but have a small small section of Mini Coopers. So basically they said "you need a new transmission, $4000BD ($10,638). I said no and took my car home. Fortunately, I knew that I had already needed a battery so after I saw your post I scheduled my car for a battery change. Now all good in the neighborhood. My car is back to normal.

THANKS for posting!!!!!!!!!! :D
 

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Another Mini owner (sort of - see below) popping on to thank the OP for this invaluable thread.

My Mum was experiences issues with her 2006 Mini One Automatic and had already spent considerable money chasing an unknown fault with specialist Mini/BMW garages. After receiving an extremely large quote to (possibly!) fix the problem, I decided to do a bit of research before she bit the bullet and went ahead with the work.

I found plenty of people suffering similar woes, but only two which had solved the problem - this thread being the most detailed. It seemed unlikely (the garage that had given her the quote actually laughed/sneered at the ridiculousness of her son's Googled battery theory) but was worth a try before shelling out hard earned funds.

One replaced battery and nearly four months of issue-free driving later it's me who's had the last laugh.

So MCF and VCMini, thanks for saving my Mum a whole heap of cash and making me look like a hero. :)
 

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This is Interesting since neither vcmini or rmad have CVT transmissions like Timm did. Apparently this battery problem impacts regular automatic transmissions as well.
 

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Hi Sejanus, I obviously can't speak for VCMini but I'm pretty confident my Mum's Mini is equipped with the CVT.
 

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Really appreciate your experiences!

Nearly four years ago we purchased a 2006 Mini Cooper Convertible CVT for my wife. Just recently it has started to exhibit the 'shake and stall' first thing in the morning. It didn't happen to me but it happened to my wife???
Most mornings I take the car out the garage and put it on the drive ready for my wife to drive to work some 20 minutes later but never experienced the problem.
Last week I witnessed the 'shake & stall' and we noticed the EP on the display and looked in the manual which told us it was a transmission problem.
So I started to search the internet and this site to see if this was a common issue and began to expect the worst especially when I read about the Mini Cooper CVT Class Action Lawsuit in the US.
So we booked the car into a local workshop who normally services and MOT's the car. They ran the diagnostics and advised there were two fault codes but discounted these as they would not cause the problem. They cleared the fault codes and checked the battery charge, which wasn't great! They put the battery on charge for four hours and there was no change it wasn't accepting a charge. They recommended replacing the battery as think there was maybe sufficient charge to initially start the car to drive it out of the garage but occasionally insufficient charge shortly after which may be the cause of the intermittent 'fault'. So they've changed the battery and we'll monitor the car over the next few weeks to see if this has cured the intermittent problem..
 

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Interesting. Our 2005 Mini Cooper has been exhibiting classic transmission problems recently. Only has 32K miles on the clock
Car has "stalled" when putting it into R or D. When driving, the engine over-revs up to 30mph and particularly so when you take your foot off the accelerator pedal. However it was not doing this every time it was driven, more like one out of three. Occasionally it would then under-rev and had no acceleration whatsoever..
Problem got worse so I took it to my local Mini dealer who perfromed the adaptation procedure (?) and reset the gearing. It then worked fine for 2 weeks but then started misbehaving again. Took it to Mini dealer again - they have run diagnostics and have just told me today that it needs a new transmission at a cost of 6,000 pounds !!. Not sure what to do....

It did have a flat battery last week and had to be started by AA the other day so I'm wondering if that has anything to do with it. Loathe to buy a new battery and then have it fail again, but then if a new battey saves me 6,000 pounds its a no-brainer...
 

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Hi billybigb,

Just read your post, we are having exactly the same issues. Had a new battery fitted and all the error codes cleared but still the same problems. Can you tell me the latest with you and if i just need to wait for the Mini to reset itself?
 

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2005 Mini Cooper Auto

Just found this thread after now having all the same problems with our mini. It has only covered 39,000 miles from new.
Gear change is random. Holds low gears for far too long. Seems incapable of getting into 6th gear when in Drive. Move gear lever over to sport and use paddles to change up to 6th ... them immediately drops back to 3rd or 4th. Constantly revving it's nuts off when you slow and approach a junction. Then, quite randomly, will seem to work ok and does the opposite. Holds high gears even if you put your foot down as you try to drive uphill.
Have today followed a uTibe video and added 9 fl Oz of Oil Extreme Concentrate to the Gearbox. For next hour or so it drove beautifully. Better than ever before!
Now straight back to same problems.
Mechanically, I believe the gearbox to be fine but, there is clearly something either electrical/ECu/hydraulic wrong.
All this started after one morning when the battery was flat and I had to jump start from another car ... but, that was likely due to lack of use and severe frosts at night time.
Having rad this thread I have checked battery voltage and it was 12.9v after running. Have removed the battery and did a drop test ... bent the needle and held steady so, battery seems strong.
Have done an Odoemter ECU rest .. still no joy.
 

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My 06 CVT always started with about 2500 rpm from s stop, and quickly dropped down to 2000 rpm. But now, with a fully charged battery, it starts out at 2000 rpm and immediately drops to 1500 rtpm and stays there until about 55mph where it starts climbing with speed. It accelerated like an old Buick straight eight DynaFlow.
 

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Nearly four years ago we purchased a 2006 Mini Cooper Convertible CVT for my wife. Just recently it has started to exhibit the 'shake and stall' first thing in the morning. It didn't happen to me but it happened to my wife???
Most mornings I take the car out the garage and put it on the drive ready for my wife to drive to work some 20 minutes later but never experienced the problem.
Last week I witnessed the 'shake & stall' and we noticed the EP on the display and looked in the manual which told us it was a transmission problem.
So I started to search the internet and this site to see if this was a common issue and began to expect the worst especially when I read about the Mini Cooper CVT Class Action Lawsuit in the US.
So we booked the car into a local workshop who normally services and MOT's the car. They ran the diagnostics and advised there were two fault codes but discounted these as they would not cause the problem. They cleared the fault codes and checked the battery charge, which wasn't great! They put the battery on charge for four hours and there was no change it wasn't accepting a charge. They recommended replacing the battery as think there was maybe sufficient charge to initially start the car to drive it out of the garage but occasionally insufficient charge shortly after which may be the cause of the intermittent 'fault'. So they've changed the battery and we'll monitor the car over the next few weeks to see if this has cured the intermittent problem..
did it fix anything my cooper is doing same thing but cant find anyone to look at it
 

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So happy to have found this thread after experiencing similar transmission problems with my newly acquired 2003 mini cooper. I'm not mechanically inclined and wondering how to approach a garage to discuss the concerns and suggest a battery changeor do a diagnostic. I have also thought about taking car back to the trade dealer to explain the situation. My only issue is that he may not have any knowledge about CVTs and if he agrees to have it looked at that the technician won't have the experience either. I am considering whether I should get it looked at by a garage of my choice or should I approach a specialised mini garage. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Nervous New mini owner.
 

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My advice is to always take any CVT issue to a MINI dealership. After 15 years I have most work done on my car elsewhere, but CVT issues seem to need the experience of a place that works on MINIs full time.
 

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We bought a Mini Cooper with the famous CVT gearbox three years ago and it wasn't right from the start, but not having driven a Mini with a CVT we just thought it was the deficiencies of the system.

The car was bought with just 14,000 miles on the clock, even though it was an '03 model. The car was slow to pull away, the delay from standstill to selecting the correct gear was a second or so.

This continually got worse to a point where the car would pull away reasonably, but immediately the CVT would select a very low ratio (akin to 5th gear or so) and the acceleration was awful. Eventually we got the dreaded 'EP' and the car drove like a wheezy moped.

I cleared the error codes (different each time) using INPA, and that got it going again for a few days - but it very quickly reverted to awful performance and another Emergency Program warning.

We took it to BMW (Snows in Portsmouth) to get the gearbox oil changed as a first line of attack, and to have them diagnose what the problem was. They reported that the gearbox seemed fine after a 'gearbox reset' and the oil change. It took only a few miles before all the symptoms were back again.

Something on the INPA diagnostics report caught my eye though, and that was the battery voltage which was 14.9V, which is much too high, especially at tick-over. I know that the reported battery voltage is not that accurate, but that was certainly wrong - I decided to replace the battery.

And that cured all the problems! Although the car always started fine, the battery was failing. The car is now extremely lively, chooses the correct gears, pulls away quicker - in fact, it seems like a new car. The battery was changed over 5000 miles ago now and the CVT is working extremely well.

So, if you have CVT problems, try changing the gearbox oil and your battery before giving up.
This post saved me around 5000£ or the life of my little Mini, whichever way you want to take it! Thanks!!!!

My Mini automatic (2006) had the same issue, changing gears almost randomly and bolting like a horse. The Mini dealership suggested changing the gearbox, which would have been not economical so I thought of scrapping the car. Then I found this post and asked them to change the battery instead (first battery, lasted 11 years). Over three days the behavior of the car came back to normal, and is has stayed that way for the past 3 months and many thousand miles.

Sounds almost like magic. Please spread the word!
 
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