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I currently own an r56 Mini Cooper S (April 07 build) with 5500 miles on the clock. A couple of months ago whilst pulling out of a parking space (it was on a slope) i noticed a really strange noise - (chewbacca type noise/ship's horn). I had put the car in first gear, set the revs at about 1500, brought the clutch up to biting point and released the handbrake - as i began to pull off i heard the noise. I couldn't replicate it again that day.

It has happened on at least two other occasions over the last few months. It only happens when the car has been idle (for at least 6 hours or overnight). It only happens pulling off in first and it is very infrequent. I cannot replicate it (never know when it will happen). It seems to happen when i am turning out of a parking space. There are no other issues with the clutch - gear change is fine and no other noises. On a different note I have had that 'Diesel clattering noise' on start up a few times that others have mentioned on here but on the occasions it has happened it goes after a couple of minutes driving.

I contacted my dealer and a technician took it out today with me. No surprise - the noise could not be recreated. The technician said this was a known problem by BMW and required a modified clutch kit which would be covered under warranty. He also said that the clutch appeared to working perfectly fine. When we returned to the dealership he put it on a ramp to have a look whilst i waited. On return he told me it was a known problem on the previous model (r53 MCS i think) and they would have to hear the noise before they could contact BMW. They are keeping it overnight next week to hear it in the morning whilst cold (I still doubt they will hear it). I asked him if i am damaging the car by continuing to drive it and he said no.

My question is has anyone else had this problem on an r56 MCS and what has happened? Will it be covered under warranty? Is my clutch failing? I have only done 5500 miles - I don't use it on tracks, ride the clutch or abuse the car. This seems unacceptable mileage for a clutch to fail.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated?
 

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I currently own an r56 Mini Cooper S (April 07 build) with 5500 miles on the clock. A couple of months ago whilst pulling out of a parking space (it was on a slope) i noticed a really strange noise - (chewbacca type noise/ship's horn). I had put the car in first gear, set the revs at about 1500, brought the clutch up to biting point and released the handbrake - as i began to pull off i heard the noise. I couldn't replicate it again that day.

It has happened on at least two other occasions over the last few months. It only happens when the car has been idle (for at least 6 hours or overnight). It only happens pulling off in first and it is very infrequent. I cannot replicate it (never know when it will happen). It seems to happen when i am turning out of a parking space. There are no other issues with the clutch - gear change is fine and no other noises. On a different note I have had that 'Diesel clattering noise' on start up a few times that others have mentioned on here but on the occasions it has happened it goes after a couple of minutes driving.

I contacted my dealer and a technician took it out today with me. No surprise - the noise could not be recreated. The technician said this was a known problem by BMW and required a modified clutch kit which would be covered under warranty. He also said that the clutch appeared to working perfectly fine. When we returned to the dealership he put it on a ramp to have a look whilst i waited. On return he told me it was a known problem on the previous model (r53 MCS i think) and they would have to hear the noise before they could contact BMW. They are keeping it overnight next week to hear it in the morning whilst cold (I still doubt they will hear it). I asked him if i am damaging the car by continuing to drive it and he said no.

My question is has anyone else had this problem on an r56 MCS and what has happened? Will it be covered under warranty? Is my clutch failing? I have only done 5500 miles - I don't use it on tracks, ride the clutch or abuse the car. This seems unacceptable mileage for a clutch to fail.

Any advice or help would be greatly appreciated?
It could be your rear brakes sticking on & when you set off it releases them. Has it been wet when it happens
 

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Ah....
Seems i'm not the only one with that problem.

So far it's happened 3 times, it 1dt happened sometime last week.

i'm thinking it's a clutch plate problem.

The thing about these issues that cannot be replicated, especially when it's at the dealer's is near to impossible to make a warranty claim.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I don't think it is the rear brakes sticking (the noise doesn't sound brake-like) but I will suggest this to the dealer as a possible line of investigation. In terms of weather - it has been dry on all three occasions.

I forgot to mention that on two of the occasions I have been pulling out of a parking space, on a hill, that has required me to turn the steering wheel a fair bit (not quite a full lock but close). However, it is not remotely similar to the power steering whine of the r53 - totally different noise. The other occasion when it happened I was on the flat and reversed out of a parking space and then put it in first to drive off (I was still rolling back slightly when I pulled off) and heard the noise very faintly.
 

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I'm not the only one with this problem. Yes!

Really glad to find others with my mini's ailment.

My best guess is the clutch plate as well. I think it is glazed over...wearing out. The reason why there are people having trouble replicating it at the dealer is because it only happens when the flywheel and clutch plate are cool. When you get to the dealer, all of that stuff is warm.
My "chewbacca type noise/ship's horn" only happens at my first few starts in 1st gear in the morning...on a cold engine.

I'm not really surprised to have this happen to mine because of the 60K miles on it, and the fact that it is a JCW that is driven as it should be driven.


It sucks, but the only way to have the dealer hear the wookie is to leave it overnight and have them ease out the clutch pedal as the transmission engages 1st in the morning.

Good luck to all, and I will check back to see if my clutch predictions were correct...as I'm out of warranty.
 

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Got the same problem on an 02 S. Chewbacca when pulling off. Not all the time. And of course, never when there is a mechanic around!!! But clutch works fine. Its just really annoying. Seems to be a common problem, with no ill effects except for the annoying noise. And no one is sure why it happens. Some people had their clutch changed just to have the noise come back a few weeks later. Lots of posts on all MINI forums about this.
 

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Well after reading, I wont even ask if any one know's why it makes that aweful sound. My 02 S does it all the time, in 1st gear. Doesnt matter if its cool, hot, dry or wet outside, its just embarrasing. Everyone always looks at me, like whats wrong with your car! ITs so LOUD! Was going to take to dealer, but why waste the MONEY! If anyone ever finds the problem, PLEASE post how to FIX. THanks
 

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Clutch Wine

I own a Mini Cooper S & also experience this totally embarrassing clutch noise when pulling off in first gear luckily I have blacked out windows so nobody can see me, as it does attract attention.
Having taken the car to a Nationwide Auto centre they told me it was also the clutch plate and it’s a common fault, but it won’t cause me any bother apart from the noise on pull off.
Still does not affect the performance of the car so from what I have read its best just to live with it.


:cool::cool:
 

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My Cooper S has the same problem. I first noticed it on the test drive but i was so in love with the car i forgot about it! it ralely happened when i first got it but now 4 months on it does it ALL the time regardless of time of day/weather etc!! I finaly took it in last week as it needed to go in for a new fan belt anyway, and they said on the testing they couldn't hear anything but as the clutch was a little bit heavy they have booked it in for next monday for a new clutch under warrenty. They think they know what the sound is and say a new clutch is the answer so we'll have to wait and see!! what happened to yours Rob D?
 

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BlueMax
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A search for this problem will show it is very common on R53 S's. On NAM I was surprised to see it still present on the R56. Being still present on the R56 means there is no modification or new design kit available. I have a 04 JCW MCS and have learned to live with this, only does it when cold and especially if it is damp. The facelift 05 MCS's suffer this noise. Common theories are split up between: 1) Glazing of the clutch plate - which is unlikely at low milage 2) movement in the dual mass flywheel - a complicated flywheel is used on Mini, it is not solid, Google for explanation on this on LUK or How Stuff Works or 3) the release/throwout bearing - this however does not give the chewbakka sound. It will not damage the car, it is irritating but there is no guarantee that a new clutch will solve the problem permanently. IMHO - leave it alone.
 

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My Cooper S has the same problem. I first noticed it on the test drive but i was so in love with the car i forgot about it! it ralely happened when i first got it but now 4 months on it does it ALL the time regardless of time of day/weather etc!! I finaly took it in last week as it needed to go in for a new fan belt anyway, and they said on the testing they couldn't hear anything but as the clutch was a little bit heavy they have booked it in for next monday for a new clutch under warrenty. They think they know what the sound is and say a new clutch is the answer so we'll have to wait and see!! what happened to yours Rob D?
Just thought i'd give a bit of an update for anyone that might have this problem... They fitted the new cluch for me and the next day it made the noise again, twice, but only slightly, not half as bad as it was. Since that day though, it hasn't done it once and it's been well over a month. Totally worth having it done as i couldn't stand it, and now people only turn their heads for how nice the car is instead of their 'what was that awful noise?' face!! :smile: I'm one very happy MINI owner now!
 

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I have been dealing with a waterpump noise issue on my R56 but after describing my problem noise to the chap at the dealers, he thought it might be the flywheel/clutch making the noise, he asked me if it gave a sort of bark while changing in high gears ( 1st, 2nd) when the steering was turned, he told me it was a known problem that mini were working on (don't hold your breath to long for a fix):hmph:

I don't know if this helps you at all it certainly didn't for me because its my waterpump which is acting up!! Totally different noise!! :biggrin::biggrin:
 

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I think I might be able to shed some light on this issue. I had a civic type R for a while and was an avid forum member. The "Chewbacca noise" was a well reported issue on the car and many people tried (mostly in vain) to get it fixed under warranty. Those who did get a new clutch plate under warranty were often disapointed to find the issue still present, though perhaps to a lesser degree.

When trying to get my car fixed under warranty for this very issue got a phone call from Honda UK's technical department who gave me a description of what the noise was and why it happened. He told me that the noise occurs due to differential expansion of the clutch pressure plate and friction material. Obviously this isn't repairable and really is just a combination of design tolerances, different metals and thermal effects. It also explains why some get the issue more or less dependant on ambient temp or engine temps.

I have had the issue twice on my car when changing down into 2nd enthusiastically and confirm its the same noise and presumably same cause. Still, if they really knew what caused it they'd address it, so some of it is guesswork/vagueness.

It really boils down to sloppy design.
 

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Clubbing in Miami
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I had the same "chewbacca" noise along with a noise clutch pressure plate (Spring wearing out unevenly). This is for my 2005 R53 S hardtop. This is a well known problem with the crappy OEM LuK sourced parts. The noise IS NOT NORMAL AND WILL DAMAGE YOUR TRANSMISSION INPUT SHAFT OVERTIME!

MINI replaced last week my clutch kit (Pressure plate, bearing, guide tube, clutch disk) and dual mass flywheel under warranty, no questions asked. I have 51K miles on the car and this is the second clutch replacement. However, the first time MINI replaced the clutch they did not replace the faulty factory flywheel.

There is a TSB out for this problem and affects all R53 and R52 MCS models from years 2002-2008. Your ticket is TSB # SI M21 04 08 dated September 2008. MINI will replace your clutch kit and install and updated flywheel part number on a "Customer complaint basis".

The new clutch and flywheel are a treat and my car now feels better than new. Don't live with this noise because you will damage the car eventually.!
 
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I'm starting to get the same Chewbacca whine on my 03 MCS. Same situation, only occurs when pulling off in 1st gear, but it only started happening recently, and the frequency of the sounds is increasing. In other words, it's likely that I can replicate the noise even when the engine is warm. I'm worried, as my MINI is still only around 50K miles, and the clutch should last about 100K. I'd rather not be stuck paying over >$1K if I can help it...
 

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I'm starting to get the same Chewbacca whine on my 03 MCS. Same situation, only occurs when pulling off in 1st gear, but it only started happening recently, and the frequency of the sounds is increasing. In other words, it's likely that I can replicate the noise even when the engine is warm. I'm worried, as my MINI is still only around 50K miles, and the clutch should last about 100K. I'd rather not be stuck paying over >$1K if I can help it...
I don't think it means the clutch is going, it's just one of those annoying things that happen.. like a dash rattle for example - it doesn't damage the car, it's just plain annoying! When mine did it and i took it to the garage, they wouldn't replace it due to the noise as it's not a problem mechanically, they put it down as the clutch being too heavey for me to be able to get it replaced under warrenty. You could pay to get it replaced but even then i've heard people say it hasn't completly gone after, or if you can put up with it do so for as long as you can!!
 

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Clutch Noise

Hi All,
Seems this problem has been around for a while. I picked up my R56 MCS in May 2007. It was A Dec 06 build model and in the first week i noticed the noise. Me being me, i tried to replicate it by treating it rough, but it would only repeat the noise intermittently. So, i just ignored it.

After a while, can't really say how long, it stopped occurring. I think that the rough use of my clutch at the track for a couple of years must have resolved the issue. I have had my MCS R56 for over two years and I have put 53,000 kms on it and its only now that i look like i need a new clutch. So if you are easy on the clutch you might get double that out of it.

The noise never affected the functionality of the clutch at any stage. It'd be interesting to hear from the early posters on this thread to see if the noise has stopped.
 

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^^^^^^^ and believe he does give that poor clutch a thrashing ! ^^^^^^^^
 

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Same problems - noise when pulling away when cold!

Hi guys,

hope you can help with my problem.

I bought my mini cooper s 56 reg in June 2009. Have one year warranty on it.

It has now done 36k miles.

It has recently started to make the "Chewbacca noise" when cold pulling off in 1st gear, Also makes a rattling noise when in neutral but once i push the clutch down the noise stops.

I took the car to mini dealership to get this checked out. They have come back saying that they think it might be the release bearing on the clutch or a worn clutch!! If it is the release bearing it will be covered by warranty, but if it is just a worn clutch i will have to pay for it! :( They cant tell which one it is without take the whole gearbox out apparently! This sounds very weird because you would think a professional mechanic would know if it was one or the other. Plus many of the threads i have read on here have shown that you can tell what it is before taking the whole car apart.

By reading threads on here it sounds like it could be the flywheel and release beairng. Does anyone know if this should be covered by warranty even if they find it is the clutch that needs replacing?

If they take the gearbox out and find it is a worn clutch i will have to pay for a new clutch and have no choice because they have done all the labour.

I was just wondering if anybody has been in this situation before?

and whether a mechanic would be able to see if it was a release bearing fault or just a worn clutch before taking the gearbox off??

Also does anyone know how much it would cost to get the release bearing sorted out and the flywheel, not with mini (including labour costs)

Hope you can help :frown:

Thanks
 

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I have just dropped my 07 cabrio (R52) back to the dealer to have the noise fixed for the 3rd time! It's still under warranty thankfully... Will post the results when I get it back!
 
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