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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I paid £950 for a 2002 Cooper S. I spent an additional £1700 on bearings, tyres, steering rack joints, discs, pads, calipers, a new boot, radiator, fan, power steering pump fan, heater matrix, plugs, air filter, air filter piping, a new horn and a wheel alignment. I also put it through an MOT in december which it passed first time.

The car has been losing oil the whole time though and just used/burnt 2 litres of oil in 1000 miles. There is now white smoke on idle and black smoke on high revs. It isn't overheating and there is no loss of power, but I have no idea where to even start. It could be piston rings or the head gasket or valves or anything right? I pulled the plugs that had been in the car for only a couple thousand miles and there was oil on the threads and the ends of them were crusty white.

I spoke to a local mechanic and he told me to get rid so that's a positive. I quoted a reconditioned engine and it was almost £2,000 with no ancillaries.

I love the car and I've spent so much time and money on it I'm gutted to consider binning it. But is that my only option now? Bearing in mind it still runs fine and pulls well.
 

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Right ....

Is there any evidence of oil in the coolant recovery tank?

When you check the oil, is it milky?

If it's running well but using oil, consider going to a heavier weight viscosity oil such as a 10w40 or a 20w50. Make sure to check the oil level weekly. The timing gear won't like it if you run the engine with a low oil level.

A leak-down test will tell you if your oil is going through the piston rings, but based on your comment about the condition of the spark plugs you may be passing oil somewhere else.

Watch out for any mechanic that's telling you "to get rid" (Does that mean to get rid of the car?) without performing any diagnostic work.

Have a compression check performed, and if any cylinders are low, have a leak-down test performed. Post results of both tests. Compression check results should be in PSI; leak-down test results will be in percent (percent of leakage).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for replying. There is no oil in the coolant tank, but it was low and needed topped up a bit. There is no evidence of water in the oil either.

I got hold of a compression tester so I'm going to do that tomorrow.

And yeah the mechanic was not at all happy about the prospect of looking for the issue, he straight up told me to get rid of the car instead.
 

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I think the mechanic doesn't want to undertake that sort of work. Many don't as it takes longer to do than people are prepared to pay for. People only want to pay when the fault is found rather than for time spent finding it.
 

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It’s an old car and all old cars will need repairs, especially an S that’s been driven and not molly-coddled.

I hate mechanics that say that 😂

Even if it’s the head gasket, that’s not the end of the world, but paying someone who actually wants to do it won’t be cheap. Likewise piston rings, or anything in the head.

It’s good that the car’s been running well - I would personally fix what’s wrong rather than pay for another old car and get a new set of problems, but I understand you’ve paid out a lot already (even though brakes, pads etc. are par for the course...).

If you’d like to dig in and have a go at tackling problems yourself, it’s massively rewarding (and a lot cheaper!!!).
 

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I think the mechanic doesn't want to undertake that sort of work. Many don't as it takes longer to do than people are prepared to pay for. People only want to pay when the fault is found rather than for time spent finding it.
yep your totally right on that,, no garage makes much on long rebuilds and then add the pit falls if rebuild fails in some way and the warranty the garage must give on such work,, hence why they will always say to customer you go buy a engine or rebuilt engine and they will fit it only so passes the risk on to engine builder, plus most newer time served techs have been taught how to replace parts and not so much how to rebuild them, 18 year old engine will need rebuilding before anything ese in my book ie start at a known good place with mechanicals
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the replies guys.

I just did the compression test and cylinder one (left if you're looking down at the engine) was 140psi, cylinder two was 140psi, cylinder three was 160psi and cylinder four was 160psi.

That all seems good to me. Kinda hoping that narrows it down a bit for the guys who know more.
 

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Pressures don't look too bad for a 2002 if that's the original engine. It's time for a leak-down test of cylinders 1 and 2 to find out where the air is going.

Forced induction engines normally have a lower compression ratio, but I'm not sure what the spec is for a 2002 S model.
 

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I paid £950 for a 2002 Cooper S. I spent an additional £1700 on bearings, tyres, steering rack joints, discs, pads, calipers, a new boot, radiator, fan, power steering pump fan, heater matrix, plugs, air filter, air filter piping, a new horn and a wheel alignment. I also put it through an MOT in december which it passed first time.

The car has been losing oil the whole time though and just used/burnt 2 litres of oil in 1000 miles. There is now white smoke on idle and black smoke on high revs. It isn't overheating and there is no loss of power, but I have no idea where to even start. It could be piston rings or the head gasket or valves or anything right? I pulled the plugs that had been in the car for only a couple thousand miles and there was oil on the threads and the ends of them were crusty white.

I spoke to a local mechanic and he told me to get rid so that's a positive. I quoted a reconditioned engine and it was almost £2,000 with no ancillaries.

I love the car and I've spent so much time and money on it I'm gutted to consider binning it. But is that my only option now? Bearing in mind it still runs fine and pulls well.
The biggest issue in the pipeline will be the gearbox, Mini changed the original for a 5 speed Getrag for the 2005 model year. I inherited a 55 plate Cooper from my daughter when she grabbed by youngest sons Convertible, that needed a clutch and front brakes, as expensive as that was to sort I am happy with the car and don't foresee huge costs ahead. If I were you I'd save the car you have for spares and buy a 05 on car
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I haven't had time to get a leakdown test done yet, I have multiple deadlines imminent and I'm struggling for time.

Regarding the gearbox, I haven't heard any horror stories about the six speed I have and it's been flawless so far?
 

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Fitting a properly reconditioned engine isn't a bad idea if you like the car and want to keep it for a while.

If you pay under a grand for a motor you will always spend more than the purchase price fixing it. That's the nature of the beast. If you spend thirty thousand buying then that's a different story!
 
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