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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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Hi all, hoping someone may be able to shed a bit of light on this issue as I am now completely stumped and don’t know what my next actions would be.
I have an R56 Mini Cooper 1.6 with the N12 engine. Have developed an issue when the car starts, it will fire up, run like someone had thrown a bag of nails in the head and then dies after 2 seconds. This will keep happening no matter how many times you try and start the car. I have plugged in my diagnostics machine which has come up with “00287A VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoid valve, inlet, activation” and the standard “P0010 “A” camshaft position actuator “A” control circuit/open bank 1”.
Now I have replaced both VANOS solenoids but still have the same issue. Thinking that one of them may be faulty I swapped their positions but still have the same issue.
this is where it gets interesting, I can unplug the inlet VANOS solenoid and the car runs like a dream! No knocks or bangs, smooth as anything.
If anyone has had a similar situation or may be able to shed a bit of light on the issue it would be greatly appreciated.
Other parts that have been replaced with this issue are the camshaft sensor on the inlet side, fresh oil and filter change. New air filter, new set of coil packs as it did have a misfire on cylinder 1, new set of valve stem seals as blue smoke billowing from the exhaust after idoling for a few minutes.
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going by the codes you have its a faulty ecu or engine harness i've had a couple do same trick, all those codes are signal related and circuit, so if you dont have a dead shorted vanos solenoid then the two things above most likely causes, the reason when you unplug the vanos solenoid on inlet it runs is because the ecu then sets a default run so the vvt system makes up the short fall or valve openings ,,
 
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Various R56 Mini coopers being worked on
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a list of codes as long as my arm with this one. Is it possible to get another ECU from a donor car and see if that makes a difference or would a stealer have to reprogram it to car? I can go through the wiring and have a look to see if it is creating a short anywhere. There is a lot of
Oil residue around the inlet intake that may have got it ways into the connections
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The evap system is because I removed the intake manifold and probably didn’t plug it back In when I put it back together. Was working fine before I removed it
 

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I have a list of codes as long as my arm with this one. Is it possible to get another ECU from a donor car and see if that makes a difference or would a stealer have to reprogram it to car? I can go through the wiring and have a look to see if it is creating a short anywhere. There is a lot of
Oil residue around the inlet intake that may have got it ways into the connections
needs to be programmed to car , also must be same numbers on ecu, also i would always change the engine harness at same time as ecu because i have had shorted harness destroy a replacement in the past so just wise to find a harness from breaker extra £70 maybe piece of mind,
below link is who i use he's bang on knows what he is doing ,, if you call him just mention mini mike from forum he's done a few for me now and sound bloke,
 

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i would always scan it delete the codes run it then see what pops back up to get a good idea of what is really there then, as if anyone has unplugged stuff with battery connected it will flag up on scans open circuits
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The engine doesn’t run long enough to flag up the vanos code, it only appears when I have it unplugged but that is the only way I can get it to run
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I bought the car as a non runner about 3 weeks ago, the engine started and run but sounded like a cylinder was mis firing. The person I bought it off said the code that came up was a P0010 but he had cleared it before I had a chance to look at it and get my diagnostics on it which is a shame. Got the car recovered to my house where it was driven off the trailer and I drove it into my garage but was running really rough and misfireing but was still running under its own steam. The car was billowing blue smoke
From the exhaust when I looked at it and made the call to replace the valve stem seals. Locked everything in place where it should be and proceeded with the task in hand. Retimed up the chain and replaced the stretch bolts, torqued up to 20nm and a further 180degree turn on both. Checked the PCV valve in the rocker cover which looked new so left that as is. Replaced both vanos solenoids at the same time and start ted the car which ran for about 10 seconds but really rough and then cut out. Took the rocker cover back off to make sure it was all timed up correctly. Have done a compression test in all cylinders on both the inlet and exhaust sides and all is well above board. Then decided to take off the Inlet manifold to make sure the valves where not coked up and then put all back together and I had forgot to plug the inlet vanos back In and was surprised it started straight up and ran fine. It wasn’t until I was putting the air box back in I realised it wasn’t plugged in. So plugged it in and started the engine up and it ran rough again and died after about 20seconds. Disconnected the vanos and worked fine again.

sorry for the long post but just making sure I state all the facts of what I have done and what has happened since
 

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I bought the car as a non runner about 3 weeks ago, the engine started and run but sounded like a cylinder was mis firing. The person I bought it off said the code that came up was a P0010 but he had cleared it before I had a chance to look at it and get my diagnostics on it which is a shame. Got the car recovered to my house where it was driven off the trailer and I drove it into my garage but was running really rough and misfireing but was still running under its own steam. The car was billowing blue smoke
From the exhaust when I looked at it and made the call to replace the valve stem seals. Locked everything in place where it should be and proceeded with the task in hand. Retimed up the chain and replaced the stretch bolts, torqued up to 20nm and a further 180degree turn on both. Checked the PCV valve in the rocker cover which looked new so left that as is. Replaced both vanos solenoids at the same time and start ted the car which ran for about 10 seconds but really rough and then cut out. Took the rocker cover back off to make sure it was all timed up correctly. Have done a compression test in all cylinders on both the inlet and exhaust sides and all is well above board. Then decided to take off the Inlet manifold to make sure the valves where not coked up and then put all back together and I had forgot to plug the inlet vanos back In and was surprised it started straight up and ran fine. It wasn’t until I was putting the air box back in I realised it wasn’t plugged in. So plugged it in and started the engine up and it ran rough again and died after about 20seconds. Disconnected the vanos and worked fine again.

sorry for the long post but just making sure I state all the facts of what I have done and what has happened since
thats better got the whole story with it, so you have many circuit and signal related codes from having it apart and not disconnection battery, when you put back together did you ensure all the spring fingers are all in their grooves on the upright followers, , guess you fitted new timing chain kit, was it a full one and did you if replaced the vanos sprocket soak them in oil for a few hours before fitting to car, another thing that can also effect vanos running is the vvt motor they wear and teeth go sharp and when do can cause such issues, also need to reset vanos learnings adaptions with diagnostics tool, you need to clear all codes run the engine if you can see what flags back up, and work off that
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Correct m, didn’t disconnect the battery when I started and should have so my fault there. The VVT motor works fine and have relearned the adaptions for the vanos with my diagnostics. No I didn’t replace the timing chain when I did the valve stem seals, I only replaced the stretch bolts that hold the vanos sprockets to the cams. All the spring fingers are correctly aligned into the groves on the followers.
I’m starting to read between the lines now and going to have a guess that your going to say I need to replace the timing chain and vanos sprockets etc🤦‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You have to take them off the cams when you remove the bolts anyway, I wouldn’t have thought they needed to be in a set position when they are refitted to the cams, unless you know something I don’t and can tell me if I have made a mistake somewhere
 

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Have you done a reset/relearn on the VANOS adaptations? This past week I was testing a beta update for this functionally on my scan tool and it stuffed the relearn process and my N18 engine ran as you describe. The scan tool manufacture fixed the problem in less than a day and after doing the reset/relearn again it ran great.

Since had to do the second reset/relearn with the engine cold I drove it for a few files to get the coolant temp to about 80C and redid it (you are supposed to do this procedure with the engine warm.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have you done a reset/relearn on the VANOS adaptations? This past week I was testing a beta update for this functionally on my scan tool and it stuffed the relearn process and my N18 engine ran as you describe. The scan tool manufacture fixed the problem in less than a day and after doing the reset/relearn again it ran great.

Since had to do the second reset/relearn with the engine cold I drove it for a few files to get the coolant temp to about 80C and redid it (you are supposed to do this procedure with the engine warm.)
yep this has already been done. Still no avail
 

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You have to take them off the cams when you remove the bolts anyway, I wouldn’t have thought they needed to be in a set position when they are refitted to the cams, unless you know something I don’t and can tell me if I have made a mistake somewhere
when you put timing chain and top sprockets back on what timing lock tools did you use did you hold camshafts with 27mm open ended spanner or lever against the lock tools to do up bolts by anychance
 

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and yes i would of put new chain and bottom sprocket on it if not been done in last 50k tops i 60k and these chains are done not found one yet that when checked was not worn
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·

This is the locking set I have which I used to do the job, I used a 27mm open ended spanner to adjust the cams when I put everything back together. When tightening the top sprockets I didn’t use anything but the cam locking tool to hold them in place
 

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This is the locking set I have which I used to do the job, I used a 27mm open ended spanner to adjust the cams when I put everything back together. When tightening the top sprockets I didn’t use anything but the cam locking tool to hold them in place
most likely when done the camshafts ups they moved dont take much, those lock kits are just meant for holding not lever on on must hold camshafts with 27mm spanner totally still , those cheap lock sets can also have play in them and can also stretch open if used to force against,
 
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