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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello MINI2! :D

I've got a few odd electrical problems with my March 2004-build MINI ONE and hope someone out there can advise me. ;)

Headlights: Fixed!

The problem: One day when driving back from an evening out, I started the car and noticed that my passenger-side headlight (dipped beam) was out. However, my driver-side headlight (dipped beam) was working. All indicators, fog lights, side lights, reverse lights, and the full beam headlights were still working. On the way home, the driver-side headlight (dipped beam) went out... this was problematic as it was getting dark. :eek: Referring to the MINI Manual, I turned on my fog lights for the ride home - and used my full beams whenever there weren't any other cars driving towards me. :redface:

Attempted fix: I've had a look in the fuse box (FL8 and FL12, see here - thanks mab01uk!) but I had two problems here. Firstly, looking through the glass top of these cube-like fuses, I couldn't see anything obviously wrong with them. Normally when fuses blow, don't they look blown? :confused: And secondly, I couldn't obtain any cube-shaped fuses from Halfords. :p Admittedly, that's not a very technical observation... :eek:

Further musings: It seems a bit of a fluke to lose two dipped beam headlight bulbs on the same day, so I suspect something a little more serious than just bad bulbs. My next step was going to be to swap the H7 bulbs around between the dipped beam sockets and the full beam sockets. After that, my remaining option seems to be to take it to the dealer - unless anyone has a better idea? :redface: I'd rather fix this one myself if it can be done, as the dealer is quite expensive.

Fixed: Ok, it seems it was a fluke. :rolleyes: The passenger-side bulb (first one to go) had a very small break in the filament. The driver-side bulb's filament (went mere minutes later) was completely shattered. I put my old OEM bulbs back in and everything seems to be working just fine. I'm quite disappointed actually because although these were brighter bulbs, they only lasted a mere 16 months. :bad: When installing them, I had been quite conscientious about not getting any skin oils or contamination upon them (see here) - so I'm reasonably sure it wasn't that that caused them to fail. Anyone know if the failure of one bulb would have put additional strain causing the other bulb to go? Or are there any other suggestions for causes? :confused:

Lingering Concerns: Or is it a fluke? Since yet more seemingly non-related electrical components have started performing unreliably, I have a lingering concern that there may be something more serious than simply a coordinated-failing pair of bulbs. :confused:

Driver-side Window: Fixed, but was expensive...

The problem: When operating the window switch, I can hear a clicking noise from the door but I get no window movement. It's stuck in the maximum position and is also colliding with the roof when opening and closing the door.

Attempted fix: I've tried the hitting the door just above the speaker whilst operating the window switch, but alas this has no effect. :frown: I found a thread that advises a method of cleaning the motor for the window and restoring its operation (see here - thanks Khurrum!) - but I don't think I'll be able to do it myself for several reasons... the most important of which is my complete, total, and astonishing incompetence when it comes to electrical components. I fear this particular fix will need to be sorted by the dealer.

Further musings: I've seen threads on BCU (controlling interior lights) failures due to moisture build-up behind the driver's side dashboard. However, many of these failures report spontaneous window operation, interior light anomalies, and other quirks that my car is not currently displaying. In any case, I tried doing a software reset to the car to see if that would correct any of the problems - however, to no avail. Consequently, I'm hopeful that it's not actually the BCU that's gone bad - as this looks an expensive component to replace. :redface:

Fixed: Well... it's been repaired at a cost of around £310 by the BMW dealer. Both the motor and the regulator were replaced and all is spiffy again... except for my bank account... which is bleeding and screaming in agony....... :eek:

Rear Windscreen Wiper: Unreliable... now diagnosed by dealer.

Question: When using the rear screenwash, the wiper works perfectly until you let go of the screenwash activator. When it tries to return to normal wiping (remember how it does like 3 strokes after you wash the rear screen?) it will stop mid-wipe. After a while it might get going again and then stop further down the screen. If you turn the wiper off altogether, you can switch it on and off the intermittent setting (without screenwash) to encourage it back down into the usual position when switched off. If you try to activate it for rain, it's useless and will often give you only one successful wipe (if that) before it stops mid-stroke again.

Musings: :confused: Aaaaiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!! :(

Dealer Diagnosis: Apparently, my rear windscreen washer hose had been leaking ever-so-slightly and caused washer fluid to drip into the electric motor that operates the rear wiper. Hence, its unreliability. Unfortunately, the quote to have this repaired was another £300ish so I couldn't afford to have it done.​

General Musings: Pad-wear sensor problem excluded...

It would be a tremendous coincidence if all these problems were unrelated, given that they all started to manifest themselves at pretty much the same time following the car's lifetime of relatively healthy electrics. Do I cast the blame upon the BCU and tell the dealer to investigate that component, or is there something else I should be considering?​

Pad Wear Sensor: Booked in at dealer, but suggestions welcome!

Question: On a side note, I've also had a problem with the pad wear sensor for the driver-side rear wheel - it appears to have been chewed or severed by some sort of furry creature (squirrel?) and it's hanging down under the car (leaving my wear indicator on too)... :rolleyes: I've got GTT Spiroslots, so does anyone know if dealers would object to fitting a new pad wear sensor when the car is fitted with after-market brakes? :confused:

Answer: Talked to the dealer this afternoon and they say that it shouldn't be a problem to attend to the pad wear sensor. Although they did mention something about "stripping down the after-market brakes" that made me a little nervous. :eek:

Dealers and Pad Wear Sensors: Well... they somehow managed not to sort out the pad-wear sensor. Despite me having the car booked in with them at least week and a half in advance they inexplicably didn't have the necessary clips to attach a pad wear sensor so couldn't fit the component. When I just asked to take the sensor away with me, they then confessed that they didn't have one of those either. Very poor.​

Amusing Dealer Report:

As I was picking up the car, I had a bit of an amusing conversation with the service desk:

Service: "I'm very sorry Sir, but you have the wrong size tyres on the car."

Me: "No, they're fine."

Service: "Well, the report says that the tyres are the wrong size."

Me: "They aren't the delivery-fitted size, but I consulted both my MINI enthusiast organisation and the European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation about fitting an equivalent tyre. They are fine.

Service: "And the suspension is non-standard..."

Me: "Yes, Koni FSD shocks with factory springs."

Service: "And you've got non-BMW strut braces fitted..."

Me: "Was it the shining GTT logo that gave it away?"

Service: "And your exhaust is non-BMW..."

Me: "...Milltek."

Service: "And you have non-standard brakes - which probably caused the pad wear sensor to fail."

Me: "Nonsense! They're designed to work with the OEM pad wear sensors. Furthermore, the sensors and wires were pulled down by an animal whilst I was parked - it has nothing to do with my Spiroslots."​

At which point, they sorta gave up reading through the report. :p



Thanks for the advice everyone has offered. :D

Many thanks,
Andrew.
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Philips X-treme Power (H7) Bulbs

:hmph: Well, it seems that I've got a problem with the brighter-than-OEM bulbs from Philips. I loved the bulbs when they were working (great illumination!) but the life-expectancy was much shorter than I'd anticipated (16 months / >12,000 miles / >20,000 kilometres). :confused:

Consequently, I've written Philips a brief letter asking them to contact me:

Letter to Philips said:
Dear Philips,

16 months ago (May 2007), I purchased and installed a pair of Philips X-treme Power H7 bulbs for my 2004 MINI ONE. Whilst I was very pleased with the increased level of light from the bulbs during their use, I found that their life expectancy was much shorter than I had initially anticipated.

I recently had one bulb fail to illuminate upon starting the car for a night-time drive home. Minutes later, the other bulb failed mid-operation and I was forced to use my fog lights to show me the way home. I am aware that fingerprints and/or contamination upon bulbs during installation can affect the longevity of bulbs and it was for this reason that I used sterile (medical quality) rubber gloves during my installation. Examination of the bulbs shows the filaments to have broken in both bulbs. Your website recommends changing bulbs every 2 years or 30,000 km - so at 16 months and under 20,000 km (under 12,000 miles) I expected more life out of these bulbs.

I have checked the condition of the electrical circuitry in my car and determined no fault. I have installed my old OEM bulbs (that the Philips X-treme Power bulbs had replaced) and they are working correctly.

I would appreciate it if you could contact me to discuss the situation and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,
Andrew.

I'll let you know how things go. :)

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thread update

Not yet heard back from Philips about the bulbs - but now I have doubt that they were the route of the problem with the headlights.

More recently, my rear wiper has started to perform unreliably - I've updated the first post (and changed thread title) to take into account that this may be more than just unrelated electrical components failing at approximately the same time.

Still hoping someone out there can shed some more light on this. The car is booked into the dealer for Monday, 15th September 2008 and I'd like to be as informed as possible when dropping the car off and directing them towards potential causes/solutions.

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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If your faults are linked to the recent wet weather there is a possibility the BC1 Unit has got a few drips of moisture in it which can cause havoc with the electrics but later 2004 MINI's like yours are much better protected and sealed than the earlier cars so hopefully this is not the case.
More info in this old thread linked below, it also shows how many electrical items are controlled by the BC1 Unit in my connection listing !
http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/133001-my-mini-alergic-wet.html
 

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the drives side window is quite common i had the problem on a friend of mine mini , the way i fixed it was to take it apart free it & put it all back together the only problem with that is you have to take the door apart & it takes ages
 

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Hello MINI2! :D

Lingering Concerns: Or is it a fluke? Since yet more seemingly non-related electrical components have started performing unreliably, I have a lingering concern that there may be something more serious than simply a coordinated-failing pair of bulbs. :confused:[/INDENT]
Hi Andrew

I had a pair of Osram Nightbreakers (Osrams +90% bulb) fail within about 2 hours of each other in my Fabia at around 4 months intensive (850+ miles a week) use, but no other electrical gremlins. Osram actually state that the increased output bulbs last less time. These high output bulbs use a much thinner filament that dissipates the same energy from a smaller mass and thus burn hotter. I have another car with the Philips X-Tremes in and they have been OK for the last 18 months or so, but that car is not a daily driver.

For a good balance of improved light output and longevity, the Osram Silverstars (the UK market ones, not the coloured glass US maket items) are a good halfway house. Noticeably better than stock, but noticeably not as good as the X-Tremes or Nightbreakers.

I think that ultimately, the Osram Nightbreakers are a little whiter looking (from a drivers point of view) than the Philips X-treme, but the differences are small. I just ordered a pair of the H4 X-Tremes for the Dooper, so will report as I find when I fit them. I find that although they do not last as long, the benefits in night driving more than compensate.

Chris
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
If your faults are linked to the recent wet weather there is a possibility the BC1 Unit has got a few drips of moisture in it which can cause havoc with the electrics but later 2004 MINI's like yours are much better protected and sealed than the earlier cars so hopefully this is not the case.
More info in this old thread linked below, it also shows how many electrical items are controlled by the BC1 Unit in my connection listing !
http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/133001-my-mini-alergic-wet.html
Thank for the link - and great list! :cool:

As for tying it in to the wet weather... well, Glasgow seems constantly wet! :p The interesting thing is that my electrical problems seem to have occurred during a relatively dry spell by Glasgow's standards. Not sure what to make of that. :confused:

the drives side window is quite common i had the problem on a friend of mine mini , the way i fixed it was to take it apart free it & put it all back together the only problem with that is you have to take the door apart & it takes ages
Ah, ok... well, good to know it can be DIY fixed - thanks Captain. :) Unfortunately, as I'm already working 7 days a week towards completing my PhD I don't have ages to attempt it... nor do I really have the necessary DIY aptitude. :eek:

Probably best me taking it to the dealer for that one. :redface:​

Hi Andrew

I had a pair of Osram Nightbreakers (Osrams +90% bulb) fail within about 2 hours of each other in my Fabia at around 4 months intensive (850+ miles a week) use, but no other electrical gremlins. Osram actually state that the increased output bulbs last less time. These high output bulbs use a much thinner filament that dissipates the same energy from a smaller mass and thus burn hotter. I have another car with the Philips X-Tremes in and they have been OK for the last 18 months or so, but that car is not a daily driver.

For a good balance of improved light output and longevity, the Osram Silverstars (the UK market ones, not the coloured glass US maket items) are a good halfway house. Noticeably better than stock, but noticeably not as good as the X-Tremes or Nightbreakers.

I think that ultimately, the Osram Nightbreakers are a little whiter looking (from a drivers point of view) than the Philips X-treme, but the differences are small. I just ordered a pair of the H4 X-Tremes for the Dooper, so will report as I find when I fit them. I find that although they do not last as long, the benefits in night driving more than compensate.

Chris
Thanks Chris, that's making me feel a lot better about the headlights! :D

Strange that they fail within hours and minutes of each other, but retrospectively, I suppose if they're produced exactly the same way and used at exactly the same times as each other then you might expect them to have an extremely similar life-span.

I agree - knowing now that they have a shorter life, the benefits certainly outweigh that. I'm back on my OEM bulbs for now and they're noticeably dimmer! :p I think I'll just see if I can get hold of a few more of those X-tremes or the Osram Nightbreakers - whichever I come across first (since you say the differences are small). :D

All the best,
Andrew.​
 

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Sorry if it's been mentioned before, but to check that your BC1 unit is protected, pull and hold the bonnet release handle, and look behind it - you'll either see a blue (I think) electric unit, or a black cover - my MCS hasn't got the protective cover, so purchased from the dealer for about £2...just need to fit it now.
 

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I agree - knowing now that they have a shorter life, the benefits certainly outweigh that. I'm back on my OEM bulbs for now and they're noticeably dimmer! :p I think I'll just see if I can get hold of a few more of those X-tremes or the Osram Nightbreakers - whichever I come across first (since you say the differences are small). :D

All the best,
Andrew.​
Hi Andrew

I am avoiding the Nightbreakers this time because they really did not last long at all. Brilliant when working though. I will be giving the X-Tremes a go this time. Covered around 1200 miles in 7 days last week, so should see how long they last pretty quickly.

Chris
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Andrew

I am avoiding the Nightbreakers this time because they really did not last long at all. Brilliant when working though. I will be giving the X-Tremes a go this time. Covered around 1200 miles in 7 days last week, so should see how long they last pretty quickly.

Chris
Well, mine lasted 16 months (~12,000 miles) and I drive with my headlights permanently on (I'm paranoid about visibility after being hit three times by other road users :rolleyes:) so, with that in mind, I guess I did get a reasonable amount of life with them.

If you've got doubts about the longevity of the Nightbreakers, then I may go for the X-tremes again - the light they emitted was fantastic. :D

Thanks again Chris,
Andrew.​
 

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PowerSteeringPumpActivist
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If your faults are linked to the recent wet weather there is a possibility the BC1 Unit has got a few drips of moisture in it which can cause havoc with the electrics but later 2004 MINI's like yours are much better protected and sealed than the earlier cars so hopefully this is not the case.
More info in this old thread linked below, it also shows how many electrical items are controlled by the BC1 Unit in my connection listing !
http://www.mini2.com/forum/faults-fixes/133001-my-mini-alergic-wet.html
Sorry if it's been mentioned before, but to check that your BC1 unit is protected, pull and hold the bonnet release handle, and look behind it - you'll either see a blue (I think) electric unit, or a black cover - my MCS hasn't got the protective cover, so purchased from the dealer for about £2...just need to fit it now.
I've had a little bit more of a read through here... as a March 2004-build I can only assume that mine would be better protected, but will have a little look behind the bonnet release handle later tonight. ;)

If things are a bit damp... can it just be dried out using home techniques (restoring functionality) or must the unit be changed by the dealer? :confused:

Many thanks,
Andrew.​
 

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Well, mine lasted 16 months (~12,000 miles) and I drive with my headlights permanently on (I'm paranoid about visibility after being hit three times by other road users :rolleyes:) so, with that in mind, I guess I did get a reasonable amount of life with them.

If you've got doubts about the longevity of the Nightbreakers, then I may go for the X-tremes again - the light they emitted was fantastic. :D

Thanks again Chris,
Andrew.​
Hi Andrew

My Nightbreakers were used on the Fabia VRS (my old tuition car) over a winter. They were used for perhaps 8,000 -10,000 miles of on time, maybe a little more or less. The light output was exceptional though, being quite a bit brighter than some higher wattage alternatives. I don't expect there is much to call between the Philips and Osram top end bulbs to be honest.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update

Updated first post with the dealer fix for the window, their diagnosis of the rear wiper, difficulties with pad wear sensor stocks, and an amusing car report from them upon collection.

All the best,
Andrew.
 

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In regards to the rear windscreen wiper motor - might be possible to take it out, and clean it up with contact cleaner etc. Might just be something has corroded etc. It's a good sign that it's still working...isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
In regards to the rear windscreen wiper motor - might be possible to take it out, and clean it up with contact cleaner etc. Might just be something has corroded etc. It's a good sign that it's still working...isn't it?
Yea, that's a good idea. The rear wiper looks a little easier to get to than the window motors so I was thinking of having a go. I had initially thought of trying to bring it inside and drying it out with a hairdryer on a low heat setting or something.

When initially turned on, it'll give a wipe cycle, or will just go to the other side of the rear windscreen and stop. If you leave it on intermittent wipe, it'll attempt to wipe automatically but will stop at various points over the windscreen and generally only move an inch or two each time it's supposed to be activated.

I suppose since the only alternative (apart from just leaving it) is to replace the whole mechanism at the back with the dealer, I can't really do too much more harm to it. :p If I tried a cleaner, is there a specific type or brand you'd recommend? :confused:

All the best,
Andrew.​
 

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I was in Halfords last night and bought a can of their own brand electrical contact cleaner - £3.99 (pretty big can). Seems ok.

Other possibility is lookout for parts on ebay - there's always someone breaking down a Mini, so I'm sure a rear wiper motor would be available at some point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I was in Halfords last night and bought a can of their own brand electrical contact cleaner - £3.99 (pretty big can). Seems ok.
Sounds good - I'll give it a go. :D

Other possibility is lookout for parts on ebay - there's always someone breaking down a Mini, so I'm sure a rear wiper motor would be available at some point.
:eek: Hadn't thought of that - good thinking! I'll save that as Plan B. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Right... I've taken apart the rear door and sprayed everything I could get to with electrical contact cleaner. Unfortunately, there appears to be quite a lot of corrosion and the problem still remains.

I might have a go next weekend at removing the mechanism entirely to flood the innards with cleaner before sourcing a new motor. At this stage though, given what the outsides looked like, I think a new motor will be likely.

I will be on the lookout for a previously enjoyed motor (i.e. one from a breakers yard) as funds are tight. But failing that, I'm going to put in an order for this one on MiniManiaUK:


All the best,
Andrew.
 
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