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So i've had my 2008 Cooper for some time now and ive ran into an issue when trying to fix an oil leak.

About 6 months ago i gave my brother the car to use for about a week or so and during that time it had a huge coolant leak and after a long journey in that week the engine basically blew up taking the head gasket with it. I got it towed to a local garage where they replaced the water pump and claimed they had 'fixed' the head gasket but after a quick drive they determined that it needed a new engine. It still drove but it made an awful noise and was low on power. So i got it back to my house and thought id get a second opinion. Long story short i got a guy i knew who had worked on minis all his life and he came to have a look. We sourced the awful noise to be the pulley on the water pump, most of the rubber lining had came off and the noise was just the belt hitting the metal section of the pulley. Once this had been replaced that car was back to how it normally ran.

Now i used the term 'fixed' earlier because logically if the water pump was replaced then you would have to take the old pulley off and put it onto the new one and how the garage did this without noticing half the pulley hanging off is honestly beyond me and it made me think what other things they had 'fixed'. They only charged me £400 and the new water pump alone will have been at least £150-£200 of that so i was fairly convinced they had thrown some temporary fix onto the head gasket just so it stopped leaking at the time. Regardless of my worries i continued to use the car as was because from what i could see it was performing as good as it ever was.

Fast forward 8 months to a few weeks back where the engine started leaking profusely, i noticed it only did it when the engine was warm and was really bad when it had been on a long drive. I assume because the pressure from wherever it was leaking was at its highest when the engine was hot. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was the head gasket and the temporary fix the garage had thrown together had finally given in and thus dismantling the engine began. I found some interesting things in the cylinder head including one of the large retaining springs snapped in half and some of the rocker arms not even attached to the tappets or valves that they open so im fairly certain the engine has been running on less than one of its cylinders for some time, maybe even before i bought that car. Regardless these are all things that are straightforward to fix.

Now when i got the cylinder head off i was expecting a head gasket blown to pieces and oil everywhere at least then i would know i was in the right place. Sadly this was not the case from what i could see the head gasket was fine and there was no strong evidence of an oil leak.

I know that you cant just look at a head gasket and decide if its bad or not as even the smallest gap can cause an oil leak but based on the amount of oil leaking i did expect quite a obvious fault. This brings me to what this post is actually about. The issue i have is to me oil leak is obviously on the drivers side of the car where the drive belt is located and therefore it has thrown the leaking oil everywhere including the inside rim of the wheel which has thrown the oil around even further basically coating the side of the engine in oil. This makes finding the source of the oil leak really difficult to find. Ive pulled as much of the engine off without actually removing the whole thing as i dont have an engine hoist. This includes the sump pan which its gasket was virtually non existent. Ill include a few more photos of the different parts of the engine but i doubt anyone will be able to source the leak i just want to know what other common or possible leak sources could be so that i can replace that part or gasket before i spend the hours putting the engine back together only to find its still leaking. I do plan on replacing the head gasket, Sump gasket and the valve cover gaskets but is there anything else in that area i can replace or any other techniques anyone can recommend to try and source this oil leak. I do have the Bentley manual for the car and ive had a look through it for all the seals in the that area but im not exactly sure what im looking for. The only other thing that stands out to be is the seal between the upper and lower half of the crank casing which would require me to take the engine out to fix and from what i can see there isnt any obvious evidence of it breaking or leaking. If anyone wants any more angles i can take more pictures and i thank anyone who can suggest anything.

Im not sure if the images are going to work so if they dont ill try and find another way of uploading them


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