R56 MCS Cold Start Issue

We’ve held off on reporting on this issue for the past few months trying to gather as much data as possible before presenting it to readers. After some investigation, we now believe we have a good picture of the issue as well as some real evidence of it. While a cold start problem doesn’t seem to be an entirely widespread phenomenon, there’s little question that there are more than a few of owners dealing with it around the world. The following report is one owner’s experience with it.

The following story was written by new MF Contributor Mike Hansen

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For most owners, purchase of the new MINI R56 has been a very positive experience. As first model year cars go, the second generation new MINI has been relatively free of problems. Sure, surfing NAM or MINI2 one will have seen the slew of rattles, or crooked bonnets… and yes there have been a couple transmissions and clutch plates replaced… but all in all, these problems have generally been easy to identify and correct. To be honest, they aren’t outside of the realm of issues associated with the previous generation car, even after five years of production. That is, until now.

Beginning this past spring there has been a common theme popping up in the Faults and Fixes threads on various MINI forums. Specifically, MCS owners complaining about a peculiarly loud engine rattle on start-up. Now the R56 is an “interesting” sounding engine to begin with. The combination of the VANOS system and the direct fuel injection solenoids give the car a very diesel-esque sound at idle. But this is a very different sound altogether.

Generally, owners experiencing this rattle note that the “cold start” aspect has less to do with the ambient temperature as it does with the inactivity of the engine. Usually this rattle occurs during the first start of the day when the engine itself is “cold” and oil has drained into the sump. Appearing to originate along the left side of the head near the cam chain, the rattle is out of synch with the normal cadence of the engine and has a metal on metal tapping quality to it. It seems to decrease with higher RPMs and as the engine warms up to operating temperatures. For most the noise starts off as an infrequent occurrence and only a minor annoyance and many don’t feel the need to bring it to their dealer’s attention. Eventually however, the frequency, duration and sheer volume of the rattle increases.

The noise is a sporadic problem and does not occur with much predictability. It therefore becomes a very difficult thing for owners to present to their dealerships or for Service Technicians to diagnose. Based on the perceived point of origin, most MINI Service Departments who have actually heard the rattle for themselves have logically focused their attention on the cam chain tensioner. Many cam chain pistons have been replaced after fining that they were receiving less than sufficient oil for proper operation. This fix has been documented under MINI Service Bulletin #110207. Unfortunately for most owners, it has only been a temporary fix with the rattle returning in only a few short weeks.

Once the replacement chain tensioner fails, focus usually turns to the head itself. Specifically the hydraulic lifters, valve guides and the VANOS Solenoid. Again the theory is that oil is failing to properly enter the head and operate the valves during cold starts. Several owners have received what equates to a full rebuild of the car’s head in an attempt to diagnose and eliminate the cold start clatter. Some owners have reported the installation of a one-way check valve during the rebuild to keep oil from draining after the engine has been turned off. Unfortunately these too seem to be only a temporary fixes with the engine rattle returning only a short time later.

Ultimately MINI has taken the giant step to replace a handful of engines not only to solve the problem for the owner, but to bring the offending power plants back to MINI for inspection. One would think this would be a sure way to stop the engine rattle… but that has not necessarily been the case. At least one owner on MINI2 reports the noise came right back after only a few months of operation following a complete engine and head swap.

So is this even a problem? Some owners report being told the cold start rattle is “completely normal” and only a “trait of the engine”. One dealership in the UK has suggested that the cause of the noise is a lack of equalization of pressure within the head by the crankcase vacuum pump causing the pump to vibrate in its journal bearings. The suggested fix was to remove the vacuum pipe during start up. Otherwise the noise was said to be causing no harm and could not be fixed by a replacement part. Again, a trait of the engine design. This is tough pill to swallow for most experiencing the issue. I would argue that a metal-on-metal rattle that goes away with some combination of oil flow and operating temperatures has to be increasing wear and tear on the internals of whatever specific parts generating the noise. For some, merely living with this cold start rattle will not be an acceptable option.

Another theory posted by one R56S owner on the Michigan MINI Motorin’ Club website provides probably one of the best technical discussions on this particular issue. The basis of the theory is that air is getting into the oil circuit operating the hydraulic lifter system causing the valves to open and close out of time and “slam” into the closing ramp of the cam (causing an out-of-time knocking from the head). A decent theory, back up by some good technical know-how (and pictures for us laymen) and the answer provided may even be a simple solution: minimize the valve lash adjustment and use lower viscosity oil. For those experiencing the noise, the recommendation was made not to rev the engine over 2000 RPM until the oil properly fills the circuit and the noise goes away as damage could occur at higher RPM’s. Sounds like a very plausible theory, but time will tell.

So why should anyone care if it’s not effecting their car? Well, speaking from experience, my car did not produce this rattle for the first 5000 miles. When it began, I heard the rattle once or twice during that month. Over a two month period it got worse and worse. Some have noticed the problem within the first 1000 miles of operation while others have yet to hear any noises of any concern. Build date doesn’t seem to be a factor either, as some November and December cars are demonstrating the same cold start engine rattle already.

Mine is one of the engines that is going back to MINI for further inspection. I have been down every road described above to no avail. I will say that my dealer (Northwest MINI) has been more than helpful and has shown their dedication to working with MINI to find some answer to this problem. The bottom line is that the cause and solution to this cold start rattle are still unknown or at least unacknowledged by MINI. Based on what I’ve seen, I believe a full engine replacement will only be a temporary fix and in effect buy time for MINI to come to a more permanent solution. Keep in mind there have been no changes to the 2008 power plant to suggest that this issue will be limited to first-year production cars. So any MCS or Clubman S could theoretically have the potential to develop this rattle on start up.

I have my car back now after six weeks in the shop addressing this cold start rattle. With a new engine in place, I am starting my break-in once again. The engine is starting and running fine but I must say my overall confidence level in this car is non-existent right now. I’m about 1/3 of the way through my warranty and have no assurances that the new engine will not develop the same problem over time. In fact, I’m aware that it most likely will. If it’s anything like the original block, it’ll be 5000-8000 before I hear it again… which puts me 2/3rds through my warranty. Like I said, ZERO confidence.
If you factor in the first attempt to address this cold start rattle (cam chain tensioner replacement) I have been without my car for 2 months out of 11. So 18% of my ownership experience to date has been spent without my new car. I sincerely hope a permanent answer comes sooner vs. later. I for one would like to recapture some of those positive feelings I had towards my MINI just a few short months ago. 


Clearly there is a lot of speculation by owners as to what’s causing the horrible cold start rattle, if any damage is occurring and what will be done (if anything) to correct the problem. Most currently believe the relationship between the oil, oil pump and ECU should be the next point of focus and that all previous “fixes” have addressed the symptoms, but not the cause of this rattle. As you might recall, the R56 will slow or stop the circulation of certain fluids during start up to speed up the engine warm-up process and conserve energy. But again, this is just owners talking and the expectation is that the MINI engineers will eventually get to the bottom of things. Speaking as a new MINI owner experiencing this problem first-hand… I for one hope this answer comes sooner rather than later.

If you would like to read more from owners experiencing this cold start rattle, or share your experiences with other owners going though this process, check out these threads over at NAM or MINI2

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Update: Since this story was written last week, we’ve been touch with MINI USA about the issue. While this problem doesn’t seem to be wide-spread (everyone I spoke with were unaware of the issue due to lack of warranty reports), they urge anyone who believes they have an issue to contact their dealer as well as MINI Customer relations. Despite not having first hand knowledge of this particular problem, everyone I spoke with seemed genuinely interesting in resolving any potential issue (whether it be cold start related or anything else) quickly and effectively.

  • c4

    Gabe, my hats off to you and MF for bringing up this issue, not only onto the light, but also to the powers that be at MINIUSA. As a very soon to be Clubman S owner, I read with both interest and concern about this problem which could be better described as “Piston slap”.

    The bigger question remains is how this issue will affect the longetivity of the engines, and not only that, but if there is in fact an inherited design problem that could spark a massive recall.

    Either way, current and future Prince engine owners are eagerly awaiting to hear from MINIUSA and hope for a prompt resolution to this problem.

    PS: I guess the “old tech” TRITEC wasn’t that bad, was it?

  • john mcilroy

    Well this was 1 of the reasons my R56 had to go after 3 months of ownership. The amount of people who will not buy another Mini duethis problem is growing.

  • Rocketboy_X

    Nice write-up. I learned with my current Cooper S to never buy a first-year car. With my current S, it was a matter of I needed it then, so I was willing to take the risk (better than walking for a year..). As always, I wonder are we (MINI fans) just more in tune to what our car is doing over the average, say, Malibu (not knocking the Malibu, it’s a rather nice car for what it is)owners. Would they even bat an eye over a sound like this?

  • eager2own

    Have similar problems developed in Peugeot 207s using the Prince engine?

  • lavardera

    Good to hear its acknowledged.

  • RL

    I have one of the first batch of R56’s (Feb 2007 delivery). I had read about the rattle and thought I had gotten lucky. But now in the East Coast winter and at 8,000+ miles, I have had the rattle three times. I drive gently and it goes away quite quickly.

    Question: Is the rattle as rare as the story suggests?

  • Nathaniel Salzman
    As you might recall, the R56 will slow or stop the circulation of certain fluids during start up to speed up the engine warm-up process and conserve energy.

    Though we’re not sure this is the culprit, turning off the oil pump for any reason struck me as a horrible idea from the first look we had at the new engine. My condolences to the owners who are experiencing this as that can’t be any fun at all. It’s encouragaing, however, that MINI has in the past taken really good care of stuff like this. So the chances of this happening a year from now are probably pretty slim. Even still, the engine changes in the R56 have been a deal breaker for me since we first started hearing about the new car. And that sucks, ’cause I REALLY like the Clubman!

  • Nimcosi

    I am not so sure the title, “R56 MCS Cold Start Issue In Detail” is an accurate one. It should probably be “R56 MCS Cold Start Noise, do you have it?”. What we have is a small but vocal group of obsessive-compulsive people that are analyzing a noise on a new engine design. No one knows if this is even an issue, as no one has had an actual failure yet. Yes, Mini has removed and replaced components and engines, but that is good customer service. Again, is there a documented case of failure due to this noise? If this truly is a widespread and fatal issue, one way or another Mini will take care of it regardless of where you are in the warranty period. So please, please just enjoy the car, it will be alright.

  • korby

    God bless you Gabe ,You’ve got some brass ones ! I’ts only happened once to mine I was about 300 miles from a dealer ,I thought tellin my dealer would do no good seeing how they couldnt replcate it .It’s going in for service next month and I’ll tell them . Thanks !

  • Bob H.

    Thanks for the report; When I first heard this sound on my February ’07 build S with JCW engine upgrade, I was terrified.  After doing a bit of research on Direct Fuel Injection and how MUCH it is different from other types of Fuel Injection, I just assumed it was a “trait” of DFI engines.  Apparently I was wrong.  I recently had a schdueled Dealer Maintenence Service (22,000 miles).  I mentioned the noise to my Service Advisor and was told, after I mentioned the noise and perhaps that it may be the DFI, it was also his thought that it was due to Injection system at cold start.  I guess I’ll have to go back and discuss this issue further….

  • Bob H.

    …and oh by the way, I do agree with Nimcosi, if it turns out to be something critical, I’m certain MINI will address it. Until that time, I’m loving every minute with this car…

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Question: Is the rattle as rare as the story suggests?

    I don’t think we meant for the issue to sound rare or widespread. As you can guess there’s a fine line on the reporting of a potential issue and causing widespread panic among owners. What we’re trying to do here is just inform readers that some people are having problems and what those problems are. You may find that you have a similar problem or (more likely) you’ll say to yourself “thank God I’ve never heard that” and move on.

    For me personally it’s something to look out for but my car has never had the issue. And God knows it’s seen it’s share of -0º temps this winter.

    I am not so sure the title, “R56 MCS Cold Start Issue In Detail” is an accurate one. It should probably be “R56 MCS Cold Start Noise, do you have it?”.

    To be honest I wasn’t sure what to call this story. I changed the title and took “in detail” to make it a little more open-ended.

    If this truly is a widespread and fatal issue, one way or another Mini will take care of it regardless of where you are in the warranty period.

    I think that’s a great point and one to remember. MINI has never not taken care of issues like this to my knowledge. All the issues with the R50/R53 were dealt with – many times on a case by case basis. I’m guessing this could be a similar situation if it progresses.

  • Jimbo

    I have been waiting for this issue to be resolved before purchasing a new MINI. I am not interested in purchasing a headache. I was looking forward to ordering a nicely specced MCS PW/B this spring.

  • http://www.lilcoopr.com Chrissy (lilcoopr)

    I know this only affects R56 Cooper S’s, but we had a customer come back with quite a rattle from her bonnet and the tech said it was a normal part of the engine sound.. “Just a trait of these engines”, although her rattle was pretty loud. I will ask him what exactly it was, but he said he’s heard it in quite a few Coopers. I don’t remember it being as bad as the S’s in these videos though. Man, they sound like a 18-wheeler truck trying to accelerate in stop-and-go traffic!!! :( Good luck getting a fix for it!

  • lavardera

    Reading the thread at Mini2 one person who had their engine replaced stated that they were told/they believe that there were some design changes to the valve train/valve seals of the engine, and that their replacement would incorporate these changes.

    Yet the account here states that the engine has not been revised, and in fact the new Clubman’s have the same engine.

    Is there any definitive clarification for this – Gabe?

  • Pingback: MCS Engine noise when cold - Page 31 - MINI2 - MINI Forum()

  • RMB

    For those questioning the merit of the owners’ reactions to this engine noise, I suspect you haven’t experienced this yourself.
    I would probably be just as skeptical….however I have experienced this myself and it is a very legitimate concern. When this does happen, trust me, you will notice this is not a “normal” operating sound. I will say, without a doubt the owners that have experienced this issue are NOT over reacting.

    I would not chalk this up to “funny engine sounds” we’re not familiar with on the new motor. My MCS just turner 1yr old, and has 16,000 miles. I first noticed this in December 07, after the car had sat 1 week after a vacation. It happens sporadically, but usually coincides with the car sitting for 1+day without being driven. I have been to my dealer, and it is a very difficult to explain. Dealer was unable to recreate the noise, and they are calling it, “normal operation.”

    I’m hoping this will legitimize our concerns. thanks.

  • c4

    I think attempts to downplay the seriousness of this problem are a huge disservice to the members of this community.

    It seems to me that MINI is currently puzzled by the origins of the problem and have gone as far as replacing entire engines. I do not think MINIUSA is going to engage in the business of replacing engines worth $6K-$7K for the heck of it, or just to shut up a small group of “Vocal and obsessive customers” as someone downplaying the issue posted here earlier on. Dealers and the manufacturer are not going to engage in the game of changing parts and engines left and right just for an “Imaginary” problem. When the manufacturer orders the dealer to swap a customer’s engine is because there are well founded concerns behind that decision.

    I hope that MINIUSA comes with an official response to this mounting controversy surrounding the Prince engine for the mutual benefit of all involved.

  • MINIme

    My ’05 MCS is a cold-natured bitch! That car chokes and gags and sputters when it is started for the first time daily. It also hesitates and stalls when cold. This is a very disturbing experience that I endure every single day. I have addressed the problem with 2 different dealers and get the same answer, “can’t find anything”. The last time I had the car serviced (last week) the SA told me that was just the nature of these cars. Frightening.

    I realize that you are addressing the R56 in this posting, but the problem is not just isolated to that model.

  • Ellis

    I think it’s how the way we drive “out” the car immediately after starting it. This morning was -5 degrees and I only warm it up for 2 minutes; drove out I tell you that the car drives like a truck with clanking noise for about a minute until I reach the stop sign. Then it was gone. This happen to me twice; once today and the other was 3 weeks ago. In between those dates; I warm up the car for about 7 minutes before I drove out and I did not experience it. It’s been really cold here in Chicago. So don’t drive out the car immediately when weather temp. is cold.

  • c4

    What happens if my Turbocharged Prince engine self-destructs after the warranty period has ended? What then will be anyone’s recourse if such event were to happen? What their response will be in a court of law if the customer was told repeatedly by the dealer that “They all do it” and that the noise is “The nature of the beast”?

    What happens if an independent review panel finds inherited design defects with the engine that the manufacturer chose to downplay and ignore?

    I don’t know about you guys, but I plan to hold onto my Clubman S for at least 10 years. Engine longetivity and reliability are very high on my expectations list.

    I don’t dump cars every 3 or 4 years. Not even the truly rich do that.

  • DBM

    After reading all these posts and forums on this issue, I haven’t noticed anyone mention that the most wear done to an engine is upon start-up. Engines are similar to light bulbs. Light bulbs burn out mostly because they are constantly turned off and on not through their use. I understand everyones concerns and have the same concerns because I own a R56S. Even after this expose the same questions remain and they are:

    What is causing this issue? Can it be Fixed? Does the sound cause premature wear/damage? (This in my mind is the most important one) Will Mini stand behind it’s product if it is an issue that causes premature wear?(This one is also real important)

    Until these questions are answered it is all speculation and emotional reactions.

  • http://inomis.com iNomis

    I have experienced this loud unatural noise twice in my year of ownership. (once every 400-500 starts?) To me the solutions are worse than the problem at this point. At long as it does not occur often I can live with it while it’s under warranty. Hopefully we’ll have confirmed info on the cause and potential damage before the warranty expires.

    My infrequent noise has nothing to do with driving, it’s a ruckus right after start and while idling. Most of the time I CAN drive the car completely cold with no issues.

  • cct1

    It’s a frustrating issue–its sporadic, and no one knows for sure whats causing it. I doubt it’s “piston slap”–I think the current engine is too well engineered for them to make a mistake like that, and I think they would have figured it out by now if it was (and I also believe you’d see it on the base Cooper).

    My money is still on the “oil on demand” technology, time will tell.

    I’m between a 135i and stage II JCW as my next vehicle; I’d hate to get out of a MINI, but I won’t even consider another one until this has been fixed–and I believe it will be.

  • sodly

    What about the R53 cold start issues? The R56 is out yet there’s still no fix for my ’05 JCW cold start issues. Geez.

  • lavardera

    Its definitely not normal – the car does not do it every day. If it did, then you might have a case to call it normal. But it does not, and I suspect that there are lots of people that hear it and shrug it off, are not so into their car that they read web sites like this. I suspect it is very widespread. I’ve seen it only with cold weather and I suspect if you live somewhere warm you might never hear it.

    I have to agree with Frank (C4) – we have no way to know if this will shorten the life of the engine, and how that will play out after the warrantee is up. Any hint that the life has been shortened and BMW has bought themselves an extended warrantee for the first two model years. Ultimately they will have to promise that there is no affect on the engine and back it up with extended service.

    And what of Frank? C4 buying into a problem that he cried wolf about during the R56 intro – karma is tough.

  • c4

    The R53 start cold issues are a totally different issue, mostly caused by buggy ECU controlling software. The two problems are very different in nature.

  • c4

    Karma is tough indeed it is. I still trust BMW is going to come up to the plate and offer a solution if the problem is duly indentified.

    How is BMW’s track record when it comes to known mechanical issues?

  • lavardera

    Just read the discussion at the Michigan Mini Club site linked above. To me this sounds very credible, but of course its one engineers diagnosis and Mini/BMW has to reach their own conclusion.

  • JFS

    Great write up Mike. Thank you.

  • Ken

    I experience this every morning. I live in Minnesota where it’s COLD. I always figured it was just do to a cold start and that nothing was wrong. I’ve since sent this article to the dealer.

    I have had another BIGGER issue with the cold in the fact that many of us here in Minnesota and in Canada have had problems with our 07’s with a freezing throttle plate which causes the car to run very rough and undriveable. I’ve had the car in 4 times for de-icing and once for a fix, which is not guaranteed. The frozen throttle doesn’t allow air into the engine. It’s moisture that accumulates and isn’t burning off.

  • c4

    MINIUSA didn’t have first hand knowledge of the problem? How about the plethora of PUMA reports generated by the dealer network?

  • c4

    Lavardera, the problem has been reported in warm weather as well.

  • http://www.commonwealth.nu fdavid

    All I can say is that Gabe and MotoringFile as a whole, has really shown that a blog can sometimes make a difference. I have to admit that when I joined MF back in 05 I was very skeptical and even remember going to NAM and ask if MF was not an independent source from BMW and MINI. Well you guys have definitely proved me wrong. This is fantastic and really encouraging as it really solidifies my belief that MF is a legit, professionally run information site whose passion from the editors is quite noticeable everyday day. Well done, and although this puts the brakes momentarily on the purchase of a JCW R56, I am definitely confident that writeups like this will only make the revised 09 R56 a much better purchase just like my current R53 05 proved to be so far. congrats guys, A loyal reader, fdb

  • eager2own

    Well, i think I answered my own question: Peugeot 207s using the same engine seem to have the same issue:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=oUZqJyf1hhU&feature=related,

  • http://www.commonwealth.nu fdavid

    …and of course much credit to MF Contributor Mike Hansen!! Credit to whom credit is due right?

  • http://n/a Marcus Soori

    Gabe, great write-up. I think it’s time for us all to admit that the 2006 Minis are the best ever. No problems with my supercharged MCS!! Also no horrible interior design or rattles. I love my car! Sorry to the R56 owners, but maybe you should consider buying the late model year previous generation Minis? They look better too!

  • Brian

    Maybe they built the cars with diesel engine parts by mistake.

    (just going for some humor)

  • PGT

    Issue? No, a cold start ‘issue’ is what the R53 has…..won’t start. We had this on the ’05 and the ’06. Some noise during a cold start on the R56 is a nuisance, but won’t leave you stranded. It’s good to hear MINI acknowledges an issue, unlike the R53.

  • c4

    MINIME, I think that the real problem in your situation is the two inept dealers that haven’t been able to troubleshoot your issues.

    I have a ’05 R53 S with 37K+ miles and the car never once sputters, hesitates or stalls when the engine is turned on first thing in the morning. So, no they all don’t do it.

    I am afraid your “wonderful” dealer don’t want to deal with you and your car.

  • Nate

    Hey Guys,

    I’m posting from Northern Canada where this rattle has turned into a REAL issue over the winter. Of the 8 months that I’ve owned my 2007 Cooper S, it has been in the shop for 5 of those months. Full engine replacement, several sensors replaced and it’s grown into an issue that causes it to stall when the the temp outside is sub zero.

    It’s starting to look like they’re considering a second engine replacement. I wouldn’t want to own one of these things once the warranty expires.

  • brad.

    a great bit of insight. thanks so much for publishing this, gabe.

  • Dr Obnxs

    There is a real issue here. The fact that it comes on more with miles driven, and isn’t universal to all cars are massive red flags to anyone who’s done any product dev or engineering at all. SOMETHING isn’t right. Things out of assembly lines are supposed to be identical, and these sure as heck aren’t. It’s hard to know the long term consiquences when the root cause isn’t known.

    I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I’ve been hearing of this with ever increasing frequency for months. More and more owners are speaking up about it, and while accurate numbers aren’t out there, it’s obviously reached some sort of critical mass in that you can search YouTube and find multiple examples, every large enthusiast site has discussions on it, and it’s finally passed the threshold of enough concern to have an article here.

    I’m hoping that there’s a good root cause analysis that results in a credible explanation and solution path. Independant of the potential damage that may be happening to the engine, there sure is a real large customer service issue to deal with. This isn’t what people expect from modern cars.

    Matt

  • Stephan

    Doesn’t sound good at all, kinda reminds me of the Chevy piston slap issues.

  • Nimcosi
    For those questioning the merit of the owners’ reactions to this engine noise, I suspect you haven’t experienced this yourself.

    Actually, in my case I have heard the noise on my R56S. Does the car break-down or to malfunction in any way when I hear this noise? No. Can I still drive the car normally and without ill effect? Yes. Is this a noise that could be indicative of a longer term problem? Maybe or maybe not. Until I hear of someone’s R56S having a catastrophic failure directly related to this noise, I will continue to happily motor. Life is too short.

  • Shamus

    Boy, can I tell you, ‘cold start’ sure doesn’t mean ‘cold weather’! I’ve been experiencing this problem here in San Francisco for the last few months (avg temp around 50’s). Oddly enough, it sounds more to me like an old-fashioned knock problem like you used to find when your timing was bad. I wouldn’t be surprised that with the engine management system being an indecipherable coding nightmare, that there would be a kink in the programing that allows the engine idle timing to go all loopy when cold. It would be an easy enough scenario to comprehend. Besides, anyone who’s ever had an old engine with piston slap or loose chain tension can testify, they usually don’t go away when warm.

  • Nimcosi

    I would also like to point out from the R56S manual on page 36 is states: Do not let the engine warm up with the vehicle at a standstill. Move off immediately at a moderate engine speed.

    So the actual act of sitting there listening to your engine may be causing the noise. Go drive!

  • Dr Obnxs

    Nimcosi, This

    Can I still drive the car normally and without ill effect? Yes.

    really assumes a conclusion of which there is no absolute knowledge. How do you know that there’s no ill effect? Taken your engine apart for detailed inspection? It’s a hope at best. While it’s fine for you to not weigh these sypmtoms as worthy of your concern, it’s alwful presumptuous of you to tell everyone to think like you do!

    And for what it’s worth, I can think of absolutely no reason as to why a car that’s cold shouldn’t warm up at rest. At idle with no load is the least stress an engine ever sees!

    Matt

  • Brendan

    I say if you hear the sound promptly go drive the piss out of your car. You have to make the engine fail before your warranty is up. Also has anyone really questioned the practice of changing the oil only every 20,000 miles? Could that have something to do with it? Doesn’t oil over time get dirty, and possibly change viscosity? I’m no chemical engineer, but maybe that has something to do with it.

  • ImUrTrboLvr

    I just sold my 07 Cooper S for a loaded VW GTI! lovin’ it…just thought I would throw that out there.

  • Nimcosi
    really assumes a conclusion of which there is no absolute knowledge. How do you know that there’s no ill effect? Taken your engine apart for detailed inspection? It’s a hope at best. While it’s fine for you to not weigh these sypmtoms as worthy of your concern, it’s alwful presumptuous of you to tell everyone to think like you do!

    This is a two way street. People are assuming that something is catastrophically wrong. Yet there is no evidence to that effect. Explain to me how this is any different. Heck, even Mini states that “if” you think you have a problem contact your dealer as well as customer relations.

    And for what it’s worth, I can think of absolutely no reason as to why a car that’s cold shouldn’t warm up at rest. At idle with no load is the least stress an engine ever sees!

    As far as I can recall the R56S engine has a chain driven oil pump. The manual telling you to drive at a moderate pace and not let the car sit at idle when starting would seem to be directly related. Faster engine rotation equals faster oil distribution after startup. The noise we hear supposedly only occurs at idle and not under throttle. So while there may be a noise, maybe just maybe what the manual says is there for a reason.

  • C4

    The owner’s manual in the R53 has the same exact warning about not letting the engine warm up while the car sits standing still.

    There is no doubt this is a huge PR hot potato mess in the making for MINI…

  • korby

    The noise happens under throttle + loss of power .

  • Paul

    Nimcosi,

    I have driven off straight away whilst this noise occurs and I can tell you that it does not go away any quicker. I can be over a mile down the road before the noise stops.

    I’m sure if you read through any car manual you will find a similar statement about driving off straight away – it is standard practice from manufacturers to write this in a handbook.

    I would like to ‘just enjoy the car’ as you suggest, but this is difficult when you consider that excessive noises from mechanical components goes hand in hand with excessive wear, and is certainly an indication that there is a problem.

  • RMB
    So the actual act of sitting there listening to your engine may be causing the noise. Go drive!

    From this statement its obvious you have yet to experience this symptom. The noise continues while driving….not just at idle. In fact, it worsens under heavier engine load.

  • Nimcosi
    From this statement its obvious you have yet to experience this symptom. The noise continues while driving….not just at idle. In fact, it worsens under heavier engine load.

    Actually I have heard the issue (see a few posts up). But I have not experienced the noise worsening under load. It simply disappears nor have I experienced power loss. Maybe we are talking about two different issues?

    Regardless, the point I have been trying to get across is that maybe getting the pitchforks out and going rape and pillage Mini is a bit hasty. Yes, there is a noise, but there have been no failures directly attributed to the noise (yet). When and if there is a failure, then grab your pitch fork if Mini does not fix the issue then we rape and pillage. Until then ENJOY your Mini.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Nimcosi,

    This is a two way street. People are assuming that something is catastrophically wrong.

    Be carefull with vocabulary. SOME are hypothisizing catastrophy, but MOST are just expressing concern and worry. This is exactly the right response when an expensive product isn’t working to expectation. Either that of the buyer, or that set by the seller (I haven’t seen any warning “If your car sounds like chains in a bucket when started, don’t worry it’s normal.) Combine this with the facts that the symptoms change over time (red flag), that there was the postulation that this was a timing chain tensioner that now seems not to be it (red flag), that heads have been rebuilt (red flag) and full engines have been replaced (major red flag) all without any definitive root cause, I’d say that expressions of worry and concern are very, very warranted. Most who have come across this issue have owned cars in the past, and are well aware of what normal ranges of operation are.

    Crap, I’m an avid car owner and modifier, some even consider me an authority on the new Minis, and how cars work in general, and I’d be really, really worried about this! So much so that I’ll probably delay the potential purchase of a Clubman until I know more about this issues resolution.

    Matt

  • Dr Obnxs

    And the comment about the oil distribution by a chain in the drive of the oil pump doesn’t hold water. The chain will distribut oil to the gears just fine at idle. The way the hydrolic lifters or any pressurized lubrication system isn’t by the chain, it’s via the oil pump, and the pressurized oil gallies.

    Matt

  • Dr Obnxs

    I placed the order for my 207 cc gt in May and eventually received it end of August. Within 2 weeks I queried a knocking noise in the engine and a jumping or hesitation on acceleration. I took the car back to the dealer who said after two weeks of having it that nothing was wrong. I took it for a second opinion and was told the same again, that the knocking was standard with the engine and they couldnt experience the hesitations i had felt. Within the next couple of weeks the warning lights came on and the display showed engine malfunction. The cylinder head had broken. So infact there had been a problem.

    From http://www.whatcar.co.uk/car-review-readers.aspx?RT=2714

    No clue if this is the exact same problem, sould like this guy had a bad head.

    Matt

  • C4

    Maybe the French can’t still be trusted to build a reliable motor?

  • lavardera

    Since Mini is suggesting we speak to customer relations – does anybody have an email address? I don’t feel like being on the phone with them.

  • http://www.commonwealth.nu fdavid

    Oh boy. I went through those videos once again and that sounds awful. It can get tiring to pull into a gas station and be asked if your runs on diesel. Yikes!! That’s no good. Went VW’s site and built a GTi and…no way Jose!…Mini better solve this fast because those VW’s look hideous and I really miss the chance to have so many options even though I am a black car purist.

  • Dr Obnxs
    Maybe the French can’t still be trusted to build a reliable motor?

    Maybe, except for the fact the Mini Prince is built in England…. 😉

    Matt

  • anonymous

    I really think, looking a the big picture Mini made a huge mistake changing the car so much. It’s now a totally different vehicle, and to an 05 R53 owner it’s not even close to being a mini anymore. I loved my 02, I love my 05 even more, but when it comes time for replacement, I’m not buying another one. I’m very happy for the folks who love their 07-08’s, and hope you have the same WONDERFUL experiences I had and still have driving my Mini,the new one doesn’t compare, apples and oranges So to Mini USA,I say thanks for the fun…..on to the next…maybe a z-4 or a 1 series :-)

  • Victor

    My August built did this once….in December when it was above freezing…i have since seen many sub freezing day up here in the great white north and not heard it since…I am sure it will be a matter of time till i hear it more offten.

    When i do i will get it fixed and sell the car.

  • Dr Obnxs

    These last two comments are why Mini needs to close this quickly…

    Matt

  • Nimcosi
    These last two comments are why Mini needs to close this quickly…

    100% Agree.

  • http://www.commonwealth.nu fdavid

    Its funny to see how you guys get all nervous. Why are you calling for shoting down this discussion? Do you want to use a “dont ask dont tell policy?”. Everyone relax!! = )

  • Dave Mac Mini

    My service manager tells me that the problem seems to be related to a couple of pulleys on a belt on the side of the engine. These pulleys actually touch each other when rotating, causing metal to metal contact, causing the noise, which does go away as the car warms up. I am not sure what pulleys he is referring to, but he claims to have observed this and seen the metal to metal contact, which he says is a “strange design”. However, if this is the case, it should not cause any long term internal engine damage. I have heard it on my car, and it always sounded like someting external to me. I hope he is right.

  • Dave Mac Mini

    anonymous, I also had an 02, and an 05, and I agree that the 07 is totally different. However, in my opinion it is vastly superior to the older one, which I really liked, but the 07 is a far better car. Not as edgy and loud and rough, if that’s what you want, but in my case, I will buy another when my lease is up, likely a Clubman. Different strokes, I guess. A Z-4 or a 1 series will be even more refined than the MINI, but good choices anyway, so whatever you decide, enjoy!

  • bavarian racing green

    …news flash…

    …sometimes things don’t work right…

    …it is the chance everyone takes when they buy a car…

    …for my money, i’ll still bet on mini/bmw as their quality is ABOVE average…

    …i feel for those effected, but anything produced by humans is inherently flawed and prone to laws of entropy…

    …my ’91 crx has never had a mechanical problem in 192,000miand i know that is mostly LUCK…

    …so i am thankful…

    …until there is a recall on this issue, we should all relax a little…

    …at least in this community we talk about our issues…

    …now go enjoy your 99.99% wonderful mini…

  • Ryan

    I have 20,000 miles on my ’07 MINI, and it runs perfectly! After hearing/seeing the video samples that Gabe posted, I thought to myself and said that if my car sounded like that, I would be freaking out and bring it promptly to the MINI dealer. So I went out and checked and it does in fact make that rattle noise. Should I be concerned? Yes and no. The fact that I have 20,000 miles on, and considering my dealership told me I am excessively driving it (it’s not even a year old, it will be in May) maybe it’s not a huge issue at all. I’m not saying it’s something to just brush off your shoulder cause I did call my dealer to have a look at it, but until it gets worse, that’s when I should be concerned.

    My point is that if Gabe didn’t post this, I wouldn’t have noticed.

  • Ryan

    … and also… BMW is known to be a reputable company. They wouldn’t let issues like this, if it were a huge concern, under their sleeves.

  • Shamus

    For all of you chiming in with your two cents on an issue you don’t have, please, and with respect, leave it alone! This isn’t a dash rattle or a rubbing bonnet we’re talking about here, or the dreaded stumble of previous models. We are facing a fairly serious problem without a definable source that can be the cause of major issues along the line if left untreated. Idling it until warm, driving it till it goes away, or ignoring the problem altogether are not viable solutions! Please leave the idle speculations, VW shopping and cross-model bashing to the NAM forums.

    My tirade has ended – Thank you.

  • Craig

    I don’t know for certain how MINI handles warranty part returns. However when I worked in quality control for a parts supplier to a major farm equipment manufacturer I know haw that was handled. When a failed part was removed in the field it was returned to the equipment manufacturer who then sent it back to us. We would then inspect it for cause of failure and send back a report. If a failure mode was determined to be common we had to make a reasonable effort to fix the design.

    So if the cause of this issue is common enough MINI should, through inspection of returned parts and whole engines be able to determine the root cause. I think it likely that even if this is not due to or causing excess wear and tear MINI will fix it. BMW/MINI have an image and a reputation as a high-line auto manufacturer. They realize that people will not accept this kind of noise no matter how much they are reassured that there is no damage occurring.

    For example I own a 12/05 production R53 with the limited slip diff. I had 2 issues that I was not concerned about other than they were annoying. I had a slight rattle while idling which was fixed by putting in a revised flywheel. I also had a slight moaning noise from the diff when making tight turns (parking lot maneuvers) which was fixed by changing the tranny fluid. In my experience, most manufacturers would have shrugged off those issues as normal operation. MINI is concerned enough about their image that they were quite willing to fix those issues since they irritated me.

    Has MINI given any evidence that they would be unwilling to fix this type of issue? At least once it brought to their attention and a solution is found?

  • b4mmy

    Mine does it… I’ve had the car for 14 months and I’d say it’s rattled for 2/3rds of that time. What will my dealer do if I take it in though?

  • Dr Obnxs
    Has MINI given any evidence that they would be unwilling to fix this type of issue? At least once it brought to their attention and a solution is found?

    Yes. Read about CVT failures and SC failures. You can read lots and lots of posts where the failure rate of major systems is above what you would like to see and there are many that were just blown off. Read about the spontaneous engine bay fires from power steering and DSC module failures. While the number of people that this has effected isn’t all that high, it’s not hard to look for times when Mini/BMW hasn’t stepped up to the plate to fix issues. Ask about all the people who had strut tower mushrooming where the dealers and Mini called it a driver issue. Read about the cracked strut guide plates and spring perches that were not replaced under warranty.

    Blind faith that there is an abundance of good will within Mini is really not supported by a serious search of the records…

    What you’re talking about for root cause analysis is a goal that many companies try to push onto thier suppliers, and it’s a good way, a pretty much required way, for modern companies that outsource a significant amount of content, to create an efficient continuous improvement program. It’s also very, very expensive (I know because I’ve been on both ends of the issue in the semiconductor industry).

    We’ll see where this all ends up. But from where I sit, this isn’t something that you just ignore till the reports of grenaded engines come in, nor is it something that you place blind faith that the benevolent supplier will just fix without any input from the owners. If it’s really, really serious, the repair costs will eat up all the profit from each car sale. That’s not good, and a very good incentive to set up barriers to having the issue dealt with. If you look over many Mini and BMW tech service bullitins, they say only address the issue if the customer complains. This means if they notice the problem, but the customer hasn’t mentioned it, that they won’t point it out to the owner or fix it. Pretty strong evidence that BMW/Mini doesn’t always address issues that it knows about.

    IT’s good that this is getting more play than just the forums. It’s not really in Motoringfiles interest to talk crap about Minis, as it’s a bit of biting the hand that feeds. The fact that it’s a large enough issue to overcome this natural barrier means that it’s more serious than it first appears.

    Matt

  • mataku527

    Please please please, everybody make sure they are referring to the cold start rattle, not the normal ticking sound of the injectors. If you do have the problem, do as the article suggested. Let MINI customer relations know and let your dealer know. The more cars they see, the more that will be done to address the issue. At the very least, you will get your problem documented for future problems.

  • nuvolari

    Wow, never thought I’d see a piece like this on MF. And the scary videos, too! There might be fewer BMW press junkets in your future, but seems like you did the right thing. Bravo!

  • Dylan

    I took delivery of my R56 Cooper S in December 2007 and have heard this terrible noise on start up, once, at about 7,000ks. It gave me a terrible fright and sounds exactly as described in this article. As I’ve not heard it again, I’ve not thought anything more about it. If it happens again, I’ll be sure to send a link to this article to my dealer and ask for their advice. Thanks for the heads up..

  • http://motoringfile old motors

    Posts are correct in that, if you have this “rattle” you will be well aware of it. It is nothing you have to “bend an ear” to hear. Mine(an April,2007 MCS)started at 13,500 miles – about two weeks ago and in very cold weather. Noise has continued off and on since then. It sure sounds like metal-on- metal or, as some have noted, a very load diesel. It’s going to the dealer tomorrow. I would be a fool to ignore it.

  • rattmobbins
    I would also like to point out from the R56S manual on page 36 is states: Do not let the engine warm up with the vehicle at a standstill. Move off immediately at a moderate engine speed.

    Weird. I didn’t know that, and I could have sworn I read my manual cover to cover. Oops! I have been warming up my car for a minute or two every morning all winter!

    Glad I haven’t developed the “cold start knock” yet. knock on wood

  • msh441

    “Please please please, everybody make sure they are referring to the cold start rattle, not the normal ticking sound of the injectors.”

    Thats why I tried to include the various videos documenting the rattle. I would hope that even the non-mechanicly inclinced owner could tell the difference between a normal DFI solonoid ticking away in time with the engine vs. that monstrosity of a clatter we’ve come to call “the cold start rattle”.

    Did everyone happen to notice that they’re all different vehicles? Check YoutTube, Google or Yahoo video… there are many-many more out there.

    My apologies that this wasn’t a definitive “this is the cause and solution” write-up… but the truth is, we just don’t know much right now other than some owners are effected, concerned and believe MINI should acknowledge the issue, get to the root of what’s causing the noise and find some solution to fix it.

    Speaking from my experience alone… this has consumed much-much more of my free time than I ever hoped. From a Karma standpoint, I believe I now deserve a couple years of trouble-free motoring.

    Mike H.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Just wanted to stop in here and say one thing to all the readers of this thread. MF gets over 10,000 visits everyday. Out of all the thousands of people that have read this story, only around 80 have commented. And the actual number of people who have claimed to have had the issue is much much less than that.

    So while I believe it’s very important to report on this and any other problem that might pop-up over the years (click the recall/campaign section to see some of the previous ones), it’s equally important to keep everything in perspective.

    Granted I don’t want to downplay anyone’s issue. If you have this problem, please contact your dealer and let us know how things progress. We’d love to do a follow-up story on this in a few months (or sooner if warranted.

    There might be fewer BMW press junkets in your future, but seems like you did the right thing. Bravo!

    Thanks but it’s nothing we haven’t done on MF before. Again check out the campaign/recall section for more of these type of stories we’ve written over the years. And for the record I don’t expect MINI or BMW to treat me, DB or anyone else associated with MF any differently. This (like all product feedback) is important to them.

  • Tony UK

    If you’ve experienced this, you’ll be under absolutely no illusion that something sounds very wrong with your engine – it isn’t slap or DI noise.

    The moment it first happened to me, I stopped the engine and had the hood up convinced that something had broken – it was that bad! I wouldn’t expect a diesel to sound this bad.

    Fortunately, mine is 100% associated with a short move having been parked “nose down” on my drive, so I park a the flat now to avoid it. I’ve mentioned the noise to my dealer but don’t intend to book it in until BMW officially crack the issue.

  • lavardera

    Well there are many more mini owners that don’t read motoring file and any measure of the traffic here really says nothing about how common or widespread the issue may be. I think its much more likely that many owners just accept that their car runs roughly when they start it some mornings and never even mention it to their dealer.

    The point is that Mini appears to be looking at it now, and once the cause is determined they have to decide whether or not they have something that needs to be fixed. It likely plays out one of three ways: – they tell you it won’t harm the engine, there is nothing to be done. – they execute a fix if a customer brings in the car for the rattle. – they issue a recall for a fix on every car rattling or not.

    Until it comes down you can figure they don’t know what’s causing it yet.

  • Benibiker

    The mornings here in Hawaii are 75 degrees and I hear the clatter once or twice a week and it started around 1000 miles. It goes away about two blocks down the road and it doesn’t bother me. I would just like some assurance from Mini that this is normal and the engine won’t fail due to this problem after the warranty is gone.

  • Skiploder
    Well there are many more mini owners that don’t read motoring file and any measure of the traffic here really says nothing about how common or widespread the issue may be. I think its much more likely that many owners just accept that their car runs roughly when they start it some mornings and never even mention it to their dealer. The point is that Mini appears to be looking at it now, and once the cause is determined they have to decide whether or not they have something that needs to be fixed. It likely plays out one of three ways: – they tell you it won’t harm the engine, there is nothing to be done. – they execute a fix if a customer brings in the car for the rattle. – they issue a recall for a fix on every car rattling or not. Until it comes down you can figure they don’t know what’s causing it yet.

    Greg:

    There were plenty of unresolved issues with the 02-06 Minis – namely the bad DMFs that were replaced with equally faulty units and software issues that were never fully addressed. The DMF issue has been traced back to a manufacturer (LuK) who has produced these bum units for several different car makers. Has Mini stopped using them? No. In fact, the problem has appeared to have migrated to the second gen Minis. So much for them addressing a problem and doing the right thing.

    BMW has a long history of shunting these issues to the side. As a past owner of several BMW products I have been on the receiving end of their idea of fair treatment. Do not count on them doing the right thing. Do not count on them owning up to the problem.

    I would seriously urge everyone who has this issue to take their vehicle in and make some noise (no pun intended), spread the word on the other forums and make people aware that this is not a normal issue and that it needs to be dealt with promptly.

  • B. Hayhurst

    Each of us who have expierenced this issue are looking for some directon as to how to proceed. No one wants to here the words, “…it’s not covered under warranty and a new Motor is $8,000, installed less tax…”

  • Pingback: MINI.NEWS : R56 MCS Cold Start Rattle()

  • steaming79

    this article needs a ‘digg’ button. i wasn’t too happy reading this:

    If you look over many Mini and BMW tech service bullitins, they say only address the issue if the customer complains. This means if they notice the problem, but the customer hasn’t mentioned it, that they won’t point it out to the owner or fix it. Pretty strong evidence that BMW/Mini doesn’t always address issues that it knows about.

    i hope this issue gets resolved soon. especially for those who are planning on buying a r56 soon. sucks to wait til 2009 in the HOPES of the particular issue to be resolved.

  • Braden

    This has happened to me twice in 5000 miles, once lasting several minutes, the other just a few seconds. I agree with Tony Uk, there is no mistaking this sound for something normal. To me it sounded like an older car that had a fan blade break off and was scrapping against the radiator. If a normal engine sound is like riding a bicycle, this is riding a bicycle with a card in the spokes!! I notice now that almost every time I start the car the sound is there ever so slightly for about a 1/2 – 1 second or so. I think most people would probably never notice this unless they have experienced the sound for more then 10 seconds. I’ve been following the threads and have not taken it into the dealer because I don’t want my car to become a Guinea pig for trying to find the problem. Others have had many things replaced with no fix. I think most people probably feel the same way, we don’t want to have our cars sitting at the dealership while the service guys are scratching their heads. Is there a corporate address or email that we can send our name, car vin# too? I think that we should start a list somehow on here, anyone willing to keep track of a running list of cars with the problem either here or on another site??

  • c4

    Gabe, I wonder if you have had the chance to discuss this issue with Mr. Erik Sonntag, the head engineer for the Prince engine dev project?

    Going back a little further, I found this MF article from May 15th, 2007…. “Why does my R56 MCS tick?”

    http://www.motoringfile.com/2007/05/15/ask-mf-why-does-my-2007-mcs-tick/

  • lavardera

    Frank, there is no mistaking the fuel injection solenoid for this rattle/rumble. Normally the engine sounds like a sewing machine. This noise is a clatter, infrequent, vs the fuel injection is a constant component of the engine’s sound.

    Skip – I think the discussion here is more than sufficient to pressure them. On one of the forums there was a link to the NHTSA site. Obviously if enough people filed a complaint there they could be forced into a recall. But I’d rather see what they say is the problem first – you can always file later.

    From what I’ve read it sounds like a brief oil starvation issue upon startup. It may be something with the design of the oil circulation in the engine – that could be a big problem without an easy fix, or it could be a matter of software control since it seems the ECU is controlling the circulation pumps activity. That could be a relatively easy fix.

    SO its just too early to ballistic or start pressuring your dealer. The dealer is not going to be able to solve this – that much we know. Frankly I don’t want them tearing my car down on a wild goose chase. Mini has collected a few engines – lets see where it goes.

    The owner’s max leverage here is going to come from the greatest number of people possible knowing about it, and owners who have it but don’t realize being made to recognize the noise. Mini can already hear people saying I won’t buy until there is an answer. Thats more effective pressure than we can bring as owners.

  • Jimbo

    What is the best contact email address to use to let MINI know I am not buying a new MCS until this issues is resolved?

  • DSMCS

    The problem I have is duplicating this noise for my dealer. If it only happens 3 or 4 times a month how can I prove that it does this? Thats less than a 10% chance that they will get to hear it first hand. I think this is the reason that people just don’t bother taking it in. We know the answer already…Sounds fine to us! +1 waiting for Mini to figure this out so my dealer will have a clue as to what to do with my car.

  • lavardera

    Keep your cell phone ready on movie mode, or your digital camera when you start the car. Make a film clip each time you do and keep them when you capture the sound. I’ve collected 3 since november, and I’ve missed a few occurrences, but thats because yes its hard to do this everytime you start the car.

  • c4

    I think it is fine and dandy to voice your opinion and let MINIUSA know that you will not be buying a car from them until this problem is effectively addressed.

    But remember that for every 10 vocal customers (or would be customers) there are 90 other gals buying these cars and have no first hand knowledge about these issues.

    There are thousands of MINI owners out there that simply do not frequent MINI enthusiast sites or frequent the internet that much. I have 2 co-workers that own MINIs that if you ask them about MF, NAM, MINI2, etc, etc, they’ll give you a blank stare.

    But the internet is a powerful tool and while in the past automakers got away with “murder” it is increasingly becoming more difficult for them to wipe serious product related issues under the rug much anymore.

    With this problem, the cat is out of the bag and the writting is clearly on the wall for MINIUSA to quickly act and reverse a situation with far reaching and damaging consequences to the product and the brand as a whole.

  • Mitch

    I am glad to see that someone else is having this problem. I have been talking with the service dept at my MINI dealer for a while about this, but they never get to hear it.

    I have 24000 miles on my and it has been doing this since about 2000 miles.

    It irritates me every time I hear it.

  • Aurel

    Sorry to hear about all the troubles everyone is already having with a new car. One of the main reasons I sold my MC was the unanswered question that was plaguing the CVT tranny with random breakdowns … mostly out of warranty and very expensive to replace. I really hope MINI USA steps up and has an answer to this new issue.

    BTW, has this been isolated to the MCS motor, or is the MC affected as well?

  • russr

    I’m curious if there are any 2008 MCS/Clubman S owners here that have experienced this issue. I realize that most owners of the ’08 models haven’t hard their cars that long, but it’ll be interesting to see if ’08 models are affected or not.

  • Tony UK
    BTW, has this been isolated to the MCS motor, or is the MC affected as well?

    Just the MCS (which you’d think would make diagnosis easier by elimination of common parts)

  • c4

    I have a fix for you… Put that supercharger back!

  • Tony UK
    I have a fix for you… Put that supercharger back!

    You’ve no idea how tempting that is!

  • lavardera
    Sorry to hear about all the troubles everyone is already having with a new car.

    Unless you have your dealer tearing your car apart trying to diagnose there really are no troubles, no inconveniences. Up till now its just been a noise I could not prove. Now we have proved it, we have some uncertainty. I understand people not wanting to buy a car with an unknown defect, but not all the cars have exhibited it, and it may be unlikely you would have this.

    I saw videos of this sound on Mini2 last Jan when I was waiting for my car. I went ahead and got it and I’m not sorry I did.

  • steaming79
    I have a fix for you… Put that supercharger back!

    are you saying the supercharger engine never had cold start issues?

    the only possible reason i know people want the supercharger back is for the whine of the engine.

  • http://www.207oc.com daz300

    hi , we are haviing the same thing on the 207s as well .

    http://www.207oc.com/index.php/topic,1554.msg18073/topicseen.html#new

    good luck with it .if you get a fit can you let us know ….

  • cct1

    Its more than just the supercharger–the tritec is one tough old fashioned iron block engine–time has proven that. Its not nearly as refined as the Prince (the engine does look great on paper), but the jury is out on the long-term ability of the aluminum block Prince to hold up in real life.

    I’m going to hold on to my R53 for at least 1 and probably two years, which gives me plenty of time to see how the R56 is going to pan out long term. It took awhile for BMW to work the kinks out of the R53, I expect they’ll do the same with the R56. If so, its probably a Stage II JCW R56 for me. If not, a 135i….Although as good as the 135i is looking in reviews, it may be impossible to pass on regardless of what BMW does with the MINI.

  • c4

    The vast majority of the cold start and stumble issues with the Supercharged Tritec, were due to faulty or buggy ECU controlling software. The Tritec uses a Siemens EMS2000 engine management computer.

    Otherwise the Brazilian cast iron bugger is virtually bulletproof.

  • Aurel
    Otherwise the Brazilian cast iron bugger is virtually bulletproof.

    just like their women …

    sorry had to do it to lighten things up 😉

  • Benibiker

    Until an engine fails due to this “noise” it’s just a “noise”…

  • eager2own

    . . . and when it does fail after warranty due to excesive wear, it becomes a $7k noise.

  • Cap’n Bill

    I just ordered a 2008 MCS. Before I ordered it I had some knowledge of the problem from posts on NAM. I actually had a discussion with the dealer before I placed the order, and they (predictibly) said that they had seen only one 07-08 MCS with engine related issues.

    I briefly considered getting an MC instead, as I think they too are a blast to drive, with better mileage to boot. But, my baser instincts prevailed…

    I believe that this will eventually sorted out. If it turns in to a long term reliability issue, I will probably sell the car before the warranty expires (or consider getting a warranty extension).

  • korby

    Can someone explain the thinking of posters that some how this noise is ok. Even if it does no damage the sound is ridicules for a new $30,000 car ?

  • Aussom

    Some time back I posted to Gabe advising to hold back on purchasing the R56 MCS and wait for the Clubman to give enough time for MINI to iron out any issues with the new model. Now it appears that the issue affecting R56 could also be affecting the Clubman?

    My 2002 MCS has only had one cold start knocking incident after it sat idle for a week during winter, which quickly disappeared after putting it into gear.

    I had a misfire on cylinder 1 recently which put the engine into Emergency Reduced Engine Power mode, which cleared up after stopping then restarting the car. BMW Service found a dirty spark plug and it has been running fine since.

    With my MCS almost 6 years old, I’m genuinely impressed with the Eaton M45 supercharger, the Tritec W11 engine and the Getrag 6-speed gearbox.

    In terms of purchasing a new Clubman, I’ll wait to see if/when this thread’s issue is fixed before committing to a purchase decision and giving up my beloved (albeit ageing) 2002 MCS.

  • veggivet

    The fact that MINI has gone to the trouble of pulling and replacing several engines on affected cars is a good sign. However, I suspect that whatever the fix turns out to be, it will be on a ‘customer initiative only’, just like the rust issue that 95% of MINI owners are totally unaware of. By the way, did the new design correct that problem???

  • msh441

    New design? What new design?

    The replacement engine that went into my car is no different than the one that came out. Just a new zero-miles block and head.

    There have been no new design changes addressing this problem as of yet. Just replacement parts.

  • veggivet

    I should have been more clear. I was referring to the new design of the R56 and was wondering if it addressed the rust issue that affected the previous generation of MINI’s.

  • Marie

    Gabe,

    I’m glad i’m not the only one in this seemingly sinking boat. I bought a MCS in february of last year, by November (an estimated 23,000km) I heard the rattle on cold start. At the start it was only happening on the first start of the morning, eventually it was happening more than once a day. I took the car to my dealership and the timing chain tensioner was changed.

    Unfortunately by the end of December the noise was back. My car went back to the dealership and after an assesment from a MINI technician from Dublin, the hydraulic lifters were changed. The ECU has also been replaced which has made no difference.

    I’ve now been without my car for nearly 2 months. The next step MINI are suggesting is a complete change of all timing gear. Another MINI technician is calling to see the car next tuesday so it should be interesting to see his findings on the matter. I too have lost all confidence in my car and hearing that no changes have been made to the 2008 power plant only makes matters worse in leaving us with limited options.

    Marie, Cork, Ireland.

  • Kevin

    My Acura story: I traded in a 2000 Acura TL for a 07 Cooper S due to the well know transmission problem with 00-03 TL’s, (Google Acura – transmission for more info) Acura’s approach to the major problem was the Band-Aid® method. Extend the warranty on the transmission and keep replacing then with rebuilt one’s until the problem was out of warranty. Acura never found a fix for the transmission!

    In trading this ultra clean 42000 mile car I lost over $4000 in resale value due this problem. There was NO faith in driving this car for any distance…Well needless to say I would never buy another Acura/Honda product!!!! If fact I steered my parents away from buying a Honda and going with a BMW.

    The lesson for the manufactures is:

    It’s us the customers who spend our hard earned money on your products. It’s us the customers when we are happy with your products will recommend them to family, friends and even strangers. It’s us the customers who deserve better then to have our new cars in the shop for more then 2 weeks for any problem. It’s us the customers who should be able to drive our cars with some amount of faith in them! Are You Listening BMW? I will get off my soap box now…

    BTW: I love my MINI and would buy another pending the outcome of this problem and how it’s handled.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Now Kevin, this is just funny!

    If fact I steered my parents away from buying a Honda and going with a BMW.

    every car manufacturer has some lemons, and if you really look at the stats, you’ve just steered you folks from the fryingpan into the fire! While I don’t want to minimize the hassle that you went through with your car, Hondas pretty much set the bench-mark for long term reliability, and BMWs, well, let’s just say the handling keeps the customers coming back, cause the issues with their electronics and the attitude on lots of warranty issues sure isn’t the best.

    But now the cat is out of the bag on this engine issue, and we’ll see what’s next! Will there be a fix, or will new owners be left swinging in the breeze? Who knows, we sure don’t. Not yet.

  • LL

    I’ve noticed this “problem” ever since about 6 months into ownership. It happens pretty much every morning, but goes away fairly quickly once I started driving off. Not only that, the engine feels sluggish when I first drive off.

    Brendan wrote: has anyone really questioned the practice of changing the oil only every 20,000 miles? Could that have something to do with it?

    Well, I’ve changed the oil myself every 5000 miles — so, surely I doubt it has much to do with the noise. My car now (about 11 months after I took delivery), it’s got about 16000 miles on it.

    I do hope that they get to the bottom of this — and I hope and pray the noise is not harming the engine.

    Nimcosi wrote: I would also like to point out from the R56S manual on page 36 is states:Do not let the engine warm up with the vehicle at a standstill. Move off immediately at a moderate engine speed.

    Well, that’s an advice that doesn’t really benefit the engine. The theory of drive off as soon as possible is that if you first warm up the engine through idling, it doesn’t warm up all of the other parts of the car, e.g. the clutch, the transmission, etc. So driving off (but taking it easy) is really to allow the entire car to warm up quickly and at the same time, and less to do with reducing wear to the engine.

  • Kevin
    Dr Obnxs wrote: Now Kevin, this is just funny! If fact I steered my parents away from buying a Honda and going with a BMW.every car manufacturer has some lemons, and if you really look at the stats, you’ve just steered you folks from the fryingpan into the fire! While I don’t want to minimize the hassle that you went through with your car, Hondas pretty much set the bench-mark for long term reliability, and BMWs, well, let’s just say the handling keeps the customers coming back, cause the issues with their electronics and the attitude on lots of warranty issues sure isn’t the best.

    I understand BMW’s may not be as reliable as Honda/Acura’s, but it’s how Honda/Acura handled this problem that made the decision not to buy another one. when you don’t fix a major problem, one that would cause a transmission to drop into first gear at highway speeds(nothing funny about that). and when you don’t do anything until enough people take the problem public, what does that say about a manufacture?

    Again it’s not about what car is better but what can happen if a manufacture will not stand behind it’s cars.

    Also I just don’t want to go through this again…

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  • John Goodwin

    A few postings back Gabe mentioned that this site gets 10,000 hits a day and there had been (up to that point) around 80 comments on the story. It’s true that 80 (we’re up to how many now?) isn’t all that many, but, frankly, I believe I’m not the only one who’s grown weary of posting on this issue only to find over and over that not much progress is being made. I check out the forums just to see if anyone else has heard of anything happening toward a solution. I live 300 miles from the dealer, have 22,000 miles on the car, have 2000 miles to go before my first service, and am seriously considering buying the extended warranty just to cover me if this doesn’t get resolved soon. My car is my daily driver. The miles are mounting up. The noise is intermittent. It’s not cosmetic, it’s seriously mechanical, and for anyone to say it’s normal is pathetic. I change my own oil and filter every 5000 miles. I’m a working guy and this was my dream car. $30,000. Enough.

  • Cap’n Bill

    Customer satifaction aside, I think it will be in MINIs best interest to solve this problem for another (perhaps more self-serving) reason.

    MINI needs a supply of used cars to resell at their dealerships. If the Cooper S (which represents a large chunk of mini models) develops a bad reputation, this will impact used sales. Additionaly, offering an extended 100,000 mi used warranty (as mini currenty does) on cars with “bad” engines dosen’t make great economic sense, either.

    A solution would be in everyone’s best interest, I think.

  • Dr Obnxs

    Kevin said

    I understand BMW’s may not be as reliable as Honda/Acura’s, but it’s how Honda/Acura handled this problem that made the decision not to buy another one. when you don’t fix a major problem, one that would cause a transmission to drop into first gear at highway speeds(nothing funny about that). and when you don’t do anything until enough people take the problem public, what does that say about a manufacture?

    Then I think you need to do more homework. Every auto manufacturer has stories of ingoring the obvious inorder to minimize costs. Starts at some dealer, and some manufacturers have reps for being difficult to deal with in regards to what should obviously be warranty issues. BMW/Mini is no exception. While it’s pretty easy to find stories of how people were treated well by service departments with any brand, in the case of several issues with regards to BMWs and Minis in general, one can find that the manufacturer is taking very unreasonable positions. There are about a half-dozen of these with the Mini alone I could rattle off, but that’s going even farther off topic.

    What remains to be seen here is if they figure out what’s up with the engine (is it sludge leading to starvation like Toyota went through, or an issue on manufacturing tolerences leading to less than ideal oil flow? I sure don’t know) and seeing what they do to rectify the situation. My Dad has an Avalon, and wondered why he got an free warranty mileage extension for his car. It’s because Toyota had a problem with engines not lasting due to an oiling problem, and in order to keep customers happy, they extended the warranty on the engine for a whole bunch of cars!

    We’re all waiting to see…. What will Mini do?

    Matt

  • c4

    No one has answered this question….PUMA dealer reports are surely to have been generated from several months ago. How come MINIUSA has been kept in the dark about this? No communication with headquarters in the UK and Munich either? I really find that very hard to believe.

    While I am willing to give MINI the benefit of the doubt and the time to come up with a convencing answer (and find a fix if possible), I am not holding my breath that their PR will publicy admit about the problem and much less so if it is found to be a design defect.

    We are talking about millions of dollars worth in customer recalls and the bean counters/lawyers and PR people will do their darnest to do damage control. How they will go about it? That is the big question!

    Germans are not known to openly admit about mistakes in their products.

    The car industry faces huge liabilities from defective products and they have built up the necessary protection mechanisms to deal with potential and devastating product recalls.

    Hope MINI proves to be a cut above the rest. Here is your golden opportunity guys to do the right thing for your customers.

  • Steve Swytak

    A known issue with high mileage E30 M3 engines (I had one) was noise from the timing chain. The symptom manifested itself by a distinct rattling/knocking sound which dissipated after running a short while – 5 – 15 seconds. The problem was fixed by installing a more modern (E36) timing chain tensioner. Of course, BMW never did anything to acknowledge this issue because the warranties had long ago expired.

    It would behoove any affected owners to raise a stink now and to document the issue so when you experience premature engine failure, you have documented the case and may get some consideration. Otherwise, look into your state’s lemon law. There may be grounds for a general class action suit by Peugeot and R56 Mini owners.

    Bad engines are not unusual for BMW, though. The early E46 M3s had engines suddenly and catastrophically expiring. Early failures were attributed to owner abuse. I believe there was a rod bearing issue. Roadfly.com has some info on it. I did not check that forum for the R56 problem but there may be some info on it. BMW tends to watch that forum.

    Bottom line, unless a real stink is made, BMW will sweep it under the carpet and deny there is a problem. I home that someday BMW/Mini will proactively follow up on these issues and communicate same to the owners.

  • Steve Swytak

    ps to previous post. My R53 engine (tritec) is much less efficient and less sophisticated than current engine but it seems to be very durable. Euro engines tend toward sophistication and complexity, and ignore the maintenance economics associated with simpler engine designs.

  • TK76911S

    Thank you, Gabe, for your typically professional manner in addressing this important issue for R56S owners. My hat is off to you. Thank you.

    Has MINI weighed in on this issue at all yet? Whether here, NAM, Mini2 or another more official venue?

    While the # reporting here may still be small, in proportion to total readers and MINI owners generally, we could easily speculate as to the true # affected. Also, if the engine is the same in ’08, how long before it affects many more R56S owners. How many propsective new owners are being put off by this issue? Only time will tell — but at what risk for MINI? Will it have spill-over to the BMW brand?

    I agree with others that MINI is likely calculating a legally and financially prudent strategy for dealing with this. But at some point there must be concern for the value of the brand itself. Stigma based on perceptions of quality, right or wrong, last for years and years in the car industry. While GM might be able to whether it. Can a small niche brand w/ no other models survive? How long before Consumer Reports gets ahold of this?

    Other than Mini2, does anyone know what the response is by the international MINI community?

  • http://www.nwiminiacs.org DrDiff

    Perhaps BMW could address the problems with the Prince engine if it were a solo BMW product. It bothered me that I had a Chrysler engine in my 2006 MC.

  • Lucas

    Just to clarify… are all of the videos above indicating problems during cold start or is some of them “normal”? My car sounded almost exactly like the first video (comparing the cold and warm engine sounds) — exactly what people should be listening for?

    Is the “rattle” sound referring to the erratic “clicking” sound almost in the back ground of these engine sounds?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I removed the first video because I don’t think it was obvious that it was normal as compared to some of the others.

  • Ron

    I’m still annoyed with MINI/BMW for the stupid “stumble” issues in the first gen MINI, for which I’ve STILL never gotten a sensible answer that doesn’t seem to conflict with my experiences or actual fact.

    Why doesn’t BMW just start putting real BMW engines into the MINI? I know they aren’t perfect (E46 M3 engine fires) but…

    So many things just continue to sour me about MINI.

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  • Braden

    I’m really surprised that Mini hasn’t released an official statement on this. The word is spreading out there online and in the car community, just tonight someone brought it up at an all Euro car meet and this guy didn’t even own an R56!! So Mini, if your listening, your customers are getting frustrated, they’re talking and others are listening. let us know that your looking into the matter and will do what ever it takes to resolve the issue. This should be a top priority, otherwise the reputation and reliability of the Mini brand will be seriously compromised. My wife was really interested in ordering a Clubman S, but I’ve got to wait it out to see if this gets taken care of before I commit to it. Also, I’m interested in getting the factory 09 JCW, but once again, there is know way I’m going to order that car unless I know that this issue has been resolved.

  • Paul Witcomb

    Hi all, two of my videos feature in the article. I have an additional HQ audio video for people who are not sure how to recognize the noise.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRINvbMz3h8

    My 07 MCS is going into the shop next week to get a total timing system update (chain, sprockets, tensioners etc.)

    Paul

  • eager2own

    What’s most troubling is that the problem remains undiagnosed (though I’m sure MINI is trying very hard to figure it out).
    Bottom line is that the bean counters / lawyers / execs are not, and cannot, make a decission as to what to do until they know the extent and cause of the problem. Don’t expect them to order a recall as suggested until they know they’re not going to just put more “bad” engines back into cars (as some have already experienced). A recall is a bad thing — but recalling cars and putting back out with a recurring problem is even worse.
    Same goes for going public with info: it’s bad to have to announce there’s a problem with a small percentage of engines but “we’re gonna take care of it” — it’s another to say that there’s a problem with the engines and “we have no idea what’s causing it”. Until the problem is identified, I don’t expect much response.

  • lavardera

    Wow, this is really spiraling into a mushroom cloud. The discussion on NAM are bad – the assumption always seems to be it must be very bad since there are no facts to fall back on. Lots of bad karma flinging around, its a shame. Mini is the only one that can do something about it.

  • rkw

    Forget it, a recall won’t happen. Car manufacturers don’t issue recalls out of good will for their customers. A genuine recall happens when:It is required by law because of a safety issue.They are sure of widespread impending failures and it would cost less to apply a preemptive fix.I predict that this will be resolved by a service bulletin, and it will be one that directs the dealer to do something only if the customer complained about the issue.

  • Bob H.

    Even though this may not be a common problem; it does seem realistic to assume that it would have turned up in product testing prior to the R56s release.  One would have to think that either it didn’t crop up in testing (seems somewhat unlikely) or being far more cynical, it was discovered and just given the “Oh sh*t, what’ll we do now?” response. We don’t have enough information to make an informed decision as to the level of damage this problem is doing to the engine (either minimal or fatal) but WE ALL AGREE, it’s a problem that needs to be publicly addressed by MINI and corrected regardless of cost to the Corporation.  The MINI brand image is worth far more then what ever $$$ it will take to correct this problem. Thanks Gabe and Motoringfile Staff for giving this issue the exposure it needed…

  • c4

    Pretty much like the software induced stumble in early production MCS’, the problem will be quietly solved at the assembly line and swept under the rug. The approach to addressing the problem will be on a case by case basis (Read: those customers who complaint the loudest or are threatening to suit).

    At the end of the day, BMW is like any other car company outhere… In the business of making money and protecting the interests of their shareholders.

  • c4

    ^Wanted to clarify that the stumble problem was prominent in some 2002 and a great number of 2003 model year MCS. It was a software issue that went away quietly…

  • static

    http://www.motoringfile.com/2007/10/01/bmwpsa-engine-development-comes-to-an-end/

    Just a thought – anything to do with this? Maybe they already knew about the problem.. ? :)

    I test drove a 207 GT few weeks ago and the dealer did mention it sometimes makes a weird noise on cold starts. I also noticed there was fluctuation under load, but that went away after the engine got warm..

    Maybe it’s still too early to assume much about the severity of the problem at this stage though. After all PSA just announced the new Peugeot 308 with the 1.6 turbo engine..

    Anyway I know for certain, that I’m not buying any car with this engine until there is a solution to the problem..

  • korby

    lavardera Feb 26th, 2008 Link Wow, this is really spiraling into a mushroom cloud. The discussion on NAM are bad – the assumption always seems to be it must be very bad since there are no facts to fall back on. Lots of bad karma flinging around, its a shame. Mini is the only one that can do something about it.

    What are you smoking ?

  • lavardera

    Not smokin anything Korby. There’s were 40 more posts here since I last checked. In the absence of an answer from Mini its just more speculation. It really does Mini no good to let this fester. I don’t know if they can ignore, sweep it under the rug if people are posting movies of noises to YouTube.

    What happened with the R53 stumble? That wasn’t something that there was a video to show what was wrong?

  • korby

    lavardera Feb 26th, 2008 Link Not smokin anything Korby. There’s were 40 more posts here since I last checked. In the absence of an answer from Mini its just more speculation. It really does Mini no good to let this fester. I don’t know if they can ignore, sweep it under the rug if people are posting movies of noises to YouTube. Ok sorry I jumped on you lavadera I thought you were saying people with the problem should not be so out spoken . It happened once to mine to the extreame and a few times to a lesser extent and it crosses my mind every day if I should dump this car .Just yesterday I saw an R56S on the road and instead of smiling and waving I got a pain in my stomache .I feel Karma has wacked me up side the head .

  • c4

    When the cold stumble problem first reared its ugly head, YouTube didn’t even exist yet.

    Go back and read NAM’s or MINI2’s archives circa 2002 and 2003. It was an ECU software problem. Affected R53 S of the time exhibited dangerous hesitation when going out of first gear. In other instances the car would stall dead. It was a much talked about problem and I remember MINIUSA issued like 3 or 4 versions of the software until they nailed it down. However, there was never any “public” admission of the problem unless a TSB was issued to dealers.

    Because of this problem, I delayed my purchase of a new 2003 MCS and waited until people with problem cars started to report back on the software updates to see if the issue was cured or not. When my comfort level was backed up by positive reviews, I took delivery of a Sept 2003 build, 2004 MCS that never had the stumble problem.

    This time around with the Prince engine the problem seems to be more serious and related to inherited engine design. Let’s see how MINI will handle this even hotter potato this time around.

  • Mini S Pilot

    After reading through way too much information on this problem, that I didn’t expect to come across, I’m now wishing I didn’t have a service appointment scheduled for this Monday. My noise came first, then the research on the web to see if anyone else was experiencing it. Oh Boy!!! I now feel that I’m taking my car in to play the guessing game with it. This does not comfort me.

  • lavardera

    No problem Korby – I’m with you. I’ve heard it in my car maybe 6-8 times in a year, not much, but only caught it on my camera 3 of those times (its hard to set up to film every time you start your car).

    So I’m not trying to minimize concerns at all. I’m just observing the quantity, and more important the quality of the comments about this. Too many comments about selling, or getting out before the warrantee is up. This is truly bad stuff. And if as C4 said media has changed, or just the nature of this beast, Mini will suffer if they don’t respond. I just can’t see this being swept away – they can’t sweep YouTube.

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  • mini lover

    What are the chances that this problem will be solved? My engine has experienced it and the damage is done already. Even if MINI comes up with a fix, the rattled engines will have been damages and unless they get replaced with a new unit with a fix the car will have the damaged engine which will probably won’t last as long as an undamaged engine. Should I sell my MCS to an unsuspecting buyer before the word gets out?

  • steaming79

    after showing a prospective r56 buyer these articles (on NAM and MF) & videos, he is now reluctant to get one until the noise is fixed. oh…he works/writes for the big newspaper here. the clock is ticking….

  • korby

    Gabe , any way you could give this a bump back to the first page ?

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    As with all big features here on MF, a link to this story has been moved to the “Featured Articles” box on the top of every page.

  • Jon E

    I took delivery of a 2008 MCS 1 month ago; and this morning when I started the car there was a very definite “rattle”. It was not very loud and it didn’t last long (maybe half a mile) but it was definitely there. I intend to make the dealer aware of it and will continue to document any subsequent occurrences. My car had only 1140 miles on the odometer when this occured (not even the 1200 mile break-in mileage).

    I realize that MINI will eventually figure this out and offer a fix; but none the less this is quite a “bummer” with a new MCS that I waited approximately 2.5 years to purchase. It is helpful to have the collective experience of the MINI enthusiast community to help understand and resolve this issue; and I very much appreciate Motoringfile posting this story and discussion. I look forward to future updates as more is understood about this problem.

  • korby

    Thanks Gabe , The 3rd to 2nd downshift groan / squeal turned out to be nothing but a glazed clutch plate that more spirited driving cure’s . Hopefully this will be something simple also !

  • GIVEN UP ON MINI

    Man, Just when I thought it was safe to by a clubman. 1 series here I come! I find it ironic that there were so many comments about the FIAT 500 reliability reputation in the 500 vs MINI comparo when all I ever see is forums about MINI cooper mechanical problems. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my 2006 Cooper S, but I was a victim of the “duel Fly Wheel/clutch plate issues”. I had MINI “fix” the issue only to have it come back within a few weeks. They also had to grease the throw-out bearings since that somehow got overlooked during initial car assembly. I spent more time at the dealership than at home. Needless to say, I have given up on what I think could be a great car if BMW would step up to the plate and stand behind their MINI product. I have owned several BMWs and the experience is at the other end of the spectrum as far as customer service and support. Sad thing is, my Cooper S loaded was not a cheap purchase and I thought since it was owned by BMW, their support would be BMW’ish. I think I will go and get a 1 series, because BMW knows that if they screw that up, they will lose a large part of their high end base.

  • c4

    But remember the 1-series coupe is a first year car in the US market (Although the 1-series has been sold elsewhere for a few years now).

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  • Mini S Pilot

    Well I dropped off my Mini Monday morning with Checkered Flag BMW here in Virginia Beach, VA. I picked it up today. They had it two days doing checks.

    Their report states the following: No unusual engine noises heard at this time. We listened to engine operation when cold & hot. After test drives, no unusual engine noises heard at this time. We heard only normal engine operation noise from the motor. We compared the vehicle with other R56’s, no problems found.

    I feel that Checkered Flag did what they could at this point in time. At least I have a service report with them that states that I the customer felt I had something going on with motor noise/knocking at just under 6000 miles.

    I’ll watch this thread and others. I’ll keep records on my experiences with my R56. I still love my car and have no intentions of looking to get rid of it.

  • ZK

    This is an issue for cars in South Africa, USA and UK as far as I’ve read thus far so how can Mini HQ not be aware of the problem??? Im sure the rest of the world is also experiencing the problem. My car has been in at least 10 times to try and resolve this and a number of other problems. Something I’ve noticed which is common to many other minis: 1) Engine rattles 2) Sunroof noise 3) Gearbox/clutch issues with 2nd gear

    It is really quite a let down that Mini has not come up with fixes for any of these problems. I have compared at least 3 minis (MCS) and can confirm from my part that these issues are by no means isolated.

    I’ve been told too that the engine clatter is “a characteristic of the car” and that the sunroof noises and gearbox grinding could be fixed. Im still waiting, 11 fixes later!!!!

    While I am certainly not happy, the car is beautiful to drive.

  • Elise

    When I originally heard about this issue from other Mini owners in my area it was more than just a “noise.” Now I’m concerned that my car is being lumped in with this “cold start noise” issue when in reality my car backfires, spits out excessive exhaust, looses power, revs, and all the warning lights come on. This was the description other mini owners had stated, now it seems like those issues are getting lost in this “noise” issue. Are these two separate issues?

  • J Ryan

    Sorry to hear about the issue, it sounds horrible and certainly bad enough to halt my upgrade to a new MCS. As I am happy with my current MINI, I can wait until MINI sort this out, hopefully in the 2009 model.

  • obieseven

    I am also sorry to hear about this issue since I was days away from ordering a Clubman S. I will now consider leasing which should mitigate the ‘ownership’ risk but not the ‘car in the shop for weeks’ risk. Need to run some numbers.

    (For what it is worth, Consumer Reports gives the MCS their highest (full red circle) rating for major and minor engine problems – translates to <1% problems reported.)

  • sar21102

    Is this only an issue with the S models?

  • TK76911S

    Gabe, Any update/contact from MINI that you can share? Seems incredible there hasn’t been a formal response, though I read on NAM there is some kind of service bulletin that calls for bleeding oil somewhere in tha car. Apparently, the problem re-manifests itself even after that “fix.” Thank you.

  • http://www.strum.it/mcs Wal

    56 BMW Mini Cooper S http://www.strum.it/mcs Cold Start Engine Noise Recording In response to the growing concerns by owners of the 56 Mini Cooper S (including myself!) regarding cold start engine noise likened to that of a tractor engine, I decided to use my Nokia N95 to record the noise. In all the excitement I held the phone the wrong way round!

    Link for Video: http://www.strum.it/mcs

    As a proud Mini owner, I too am deeply concerned at the possibility of long term engine damage caused by this terrible noise that sometimes comes from under the bonnet/hood first thing in the morning or after being stood for 8 hours or so as in this video. Apart from anything else it can be quite unnerving if someone’s watching when you hit that start button on your gleaming Mini, and you don’t know weather or not your engine’s going to sound like it’s chewing it’s self up today? Personally I liken the noise to a very old and worn engine struggling to get the oil pressure up. I must point out that after a minute or so the engine sounds fine..

    After being told by my dealer (Derek Woodman, Blackpool, UK) that the noise is normal for this car, I have been reluctant to return. And like many others, I am awaiting some kind of information/recall from BMW or Derek Woodman before the warranty is up!..

    Wal (In House Engineer), Strum Studios, Manchester, UK… wal@strum.it

  • kevkbuk

    There are now updated parts available to try and address this issue. One owner on Mini2 has reported no problems since they have had them fitted, so figures crossed it does the trick. For UK owners there are none available in the UK and the parts are on back order from Germany.

    See the Mini2 thread linked in the main article for more info.

  • quimna

    Well, i am (or was) thinking about buying a Clubman S today. after reading this report my purchase will be put off. i have owned 5 minis S’s since 2003 and have loved them all! and wanted to own a Clubman S, now am not so sure. i sure hope MINI/BMW find the problem soon.

    good luck to all of you who are experiencing this issue.

  • http://N/A spaceblue

    I have experienced a similar problem with my 11/06 R53. I now have 14k on it but complained to the dealer at the first oil change. In my case the noise could occur anytime the car had sat for several hours, but with seeming no rhyme or reason. The dealer kept the car for a week at the first oil change but could find no problem. Still I know it’s there. Who knows what this may cost me in the end as the noise continues, albeit erraticaly.

  • Jim Hubbard

    Is this problem only happening in the 56S ? I thought that the regular 56 shares many of the same internal parts .

  • http://dylanbland.com Dylan Bland

    Any updates on this? My car has done it a further two times. It’s simply awful and sounds like the engine is being cut to pieces for about 2 minutes. My dealer has started a file on my car, but it will be difficult to fix as the problem is not easily replicated. Any updates would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • tom

    I have a R56 Cooper S. The problem started a month ago… and now I’m having this problem almost every day. I contacted Mini NL, Mini UK but they both responded that they never heard of this problem before.

    I’ve driven mini now for almost 6 years and this is my 3rd…. I’m very dissapointed about the attitude of Mini.

  • msh441

    Welcome tom to the corporate responce escallation approach. It goes somthing like this:

    “Never heard of it before.”

    “We checked your car and didn’t hear anything.”

    “We heard it on your car… but this is the fist time we’ve seen that.”

    “Don’t worry, they all do that, sir. It’s not causing any long term damage”

    “OK, somthing wrong, but its just a small part defect.”

    “The small part didn’t work, so we’re replacing more small parts.”

    “All those small parts didn’t work so we’re rebuilding the head.”

    “Here’s your new engine. Sorry about the inconvienience.” (aka: We have no idea what’s up, but we hope this solves things for a while)

    In all seriosness, be persistant, but polite. Have that video cameraphone at the ready and bring them some audio or video files of the sprattic rattle. It takes time and dedication, but they’ll come around.

    Good luck all.

  • ubdylan

    This has happened to my car 3-4 times so far. I have owned the car just over a year. The times it has done this were always similar. I started the car and moved it in my driveway to clean or otherwise do some maintenance, then I left it sit overnight nose-down. The next morning it would sound like the examples in the videos. The last time I experienced the noise, I instantly shut down the motor and re-started. The noise was gone on the second start. This would lead me to speculate that the electronic management is involved and the second start “reset” or changed the behaviour so the system was operating as normal. If it happens again, I plan to test the immediate shutdown theory again, and see if the noise is “reset”. I have reported this to the dealer who told me that the noises are normal. I don’t for a minute feel that that is an acceptable answer. I hope MINI/BMW addresses this properly. This is my first after dreaming about it for so long. I don’t want it to be the last.

  • http://www.strum.it Paul Walster

    A dedicated web site has just been set up regarding this engine fault: http://www.r56mcs.com

  • Spiff

    That was a good question… has this problem been experienced in the Peugeot 207 RC (or GTI) that uses the same 1.6 THP BMW/PSA engine?

    If not, perhaps it is something exclusive to the Mini Setup?

    I’m thinking about buying a 207 RC and was worried about engine realiability as I want a car to last 7 years at least… but after reading this about the Mini Cooper S with the same engine I’m REALLY worried.

  • Beo

    I was wondering if I’d trade my 2008 Toyota Auris D4D for this engine but now I don’t want to. Not even my diesel car makes such a noise. It might be nothing important, or it might be a cancer… the fact that I’d only get a 2 year warranty versus 5/7 years with the japs doesn’t make me feel better.

    Shame as I really wanted this engine.. but I’ve only heard such clak clak clak noise when cold in a petrol car and it was in an old Fiat Cinquecento I owned.. one of the crappiest engines I’ve ever owned… bad sign…

  • MattT

    The Peugeot 207 GTi engine (the same setup as the MINIs) is not any better either! I’ve done some research on the GTi forums and they’re experience the same problems. When reading about it, Peugeot are refusing to accept the problem and telling their customers its a “characteristic”. However, MINI UK seem to be doing something by trying to resolve the individual problems (even if it’s poking at it without any thought).

  • Beo

    MattT, yes that’s what I’ve seen too, a few Peugeot 207 RC/GTI with the same noise. And I think Peugeot won’t bother as much as Mini does so I don’t think I’m going to spend 25kEur on the 207 RC without finding out if this is a serious fault.

    I have the impression that no engines have died so far and even the replaced ones were simply because of the noise complaints and “for study” is this correct guys?

    Perhaps this issue won’t result in dead engines after warranty is over.. of perhaps it will. Hmm… I love the THP 175 but it has to last 7 years at least. :)

  • Beo

    Lots of talk, no metrics. I’m wondering if I should buy the Peugeot 207 RC with the R56 engine and still am not sure about it.

    How about posting a poll? Three simple options will do:

    Has your R56 started making this noise? a) Yes, daily or almost daily b) Yes, very rarely c) No d) Yes and then my engine died for some reason

    A low number of D answers will make me happy. Let the thing rattle if it still lasts 13 years. Otherwise I’ll keep my current ’08 Toyota.

  • Beo

    Man, I just noticed I counted the four possible answers as 3 items. I must suck. Maybe I should apply for BMW/PSA engineering, I’m an engineer after all, just not a good one.

  • korby

    Here is the latest from my SA . It’s normal for these cars , it’s the oil bleeding down from the lifters and takes a while to lubricate , it’s doing no damage and other BMW ‘s do it also . Chain tentioner has nothing to do with it .

  • razor

    Hey Gabe, good piece you have guts to stand up!

    Do you think you can front BMW/MINI about these issues that owners are suffering, particularly those on NAM http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=130512 and MINI2 http://www.mini2.com/forum/2nd-gen-faults-fixes/136105-mini-cooper-s-engine-noise-when-cold.html

    Hopefully we may get some honest answers as to when we can expect a real solution instead of failed fixes. this is a possible time bomb waiting to go off for MINI/BMW. But the real casulties are the long suffering owners, who will be forking out large bills long after their warranties have expired!

    These forums show people going round and round trying to solve this issue. It can only be fair, that MINI/BMW now step up to the mark to give back credibility to their product around this issue…

  • Beow

    I was wondering if I’d go for this engine in the Peugeot 207 RC (THP175 BMW/PSA) and was about to give up. Recently Peugeot has announced several modes using it (308 GT, the new RCZ, 207 RC SW, etc) and so has Citroen in the new C5. I don’t think the would insist in a doomed architecture and would phase-out the engine quietly instead… so either they’re fully clueless or there isn’t any major issue. Of course I have no strong data to back this up, I’m only wondering…

  • GSP

    BMW/MINI will decide If, When and How to deal with this based on .. SURPRISE!!! … $$$$. So long as there is no major public outcry AND the cars keep selling they are less inclined to initiate a major push. I’m not suggesting they’ll ignore it … just that I suspect its not the big deal to them that it is to us. For myself, I’m holding off on a new purchase.

  • Boro Boy

    Agreed, GSP, I made a similar comment over on MINI2 (page 51 of the monster thread referred to above).

    I wonder if Gabe has approached BMW/MINI as razor’s suggested? An offical statement on the issue causing so much concern would be nice.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    I wonder if Gabe has approached BMW/MINI as razor’s suggested? An offical statement on the issue causing so much concern would be nice.

    I approached them last winter about this and told them the issue would blow-up if something wasn’t done – even if the issue turns out to be nothing serious. They need to address the perceived problem with a details explanation and (if needed) a bulletin to fix the issue for those who are complaining about it.

    I haven’t heard anything since those talks last winter but I know they’re working on something.

  • Boro Boy

    Thanks Gabe. So unless some sort of petition with affected owners’ signatures is drawn up and handed to MINI, we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Milt Harkness

    I own an 06 MCS which has been pretty flawless in operation. However, I owned a98 Honda Civic w/ 66k miles, that rattled only on startup and then only if the temperature was around freezing. It went away after a few seconds. It sounded like a ball peen hammer hitting an anvil. I was told by a Honda dealership mechanic (after I got rid of the car), that it was due to faulty rod bearings. Milt

  • Beow

    Well I decided to risk it and ordered the Peugeot 207 RC yesterday. It uses the same BMW/PSA THP 1.6 175 engine from the MCS. Let’s see what happens.

    The car will arrive in about 3 months so it will be manufactured soon.. perhaps it will have some sort of engine fix already implemented… or not.

  • Avery

    Gabe, Thanks so much for publishing this issue.

    I just canceled a fully loaded MCS Clubman order based on this article and the videos on Youtube. The Peugot problem with the same engine was the nail in the coffin for me. I am not going to pay $35k for a performance car that sounds like an old hunk of junk.

    I recall how MINI customer service snubbed me when I had windscreen stress/crack issues in 2003. That was only a $500 issue. There is no way I am going to take a risk on something of this magnitude.

    I will keep my 2003 MC for another year, or take my money over to BMW and get the 135i.

    Cheers, Avery

  • eddie

    I have the same problem with a 17,000 km 07′ MCS here in Romania. The noise can be heard on a daily basis I think, even now it’s summer. In 10 days I’ll take the car to BMW-Mini for a check-up. God knows what they will do… nothing maybe :(

  • Jen

    My 07 cooper s does it everytime I start up after sitting overnight. The rattle is very loud as I hit around 2000 RPM and then quiets down after I drive about 5 miles. So far, the dealer has tried three times to fix it and now states Mini is aware of it and no further repairs are going to be done until Mini comes up with a solution. I hope that is soon because the noise is getting louder and is not normal. the car started making it at about 20,000 miles and no I am at 32,000.

  • Jerome

    Thank god I read all the comments before forking out my hard earned money for the mcs. No one mentioned anything at the dealership about the rattle problem, not even in the service department. Loved the test drive but I notice every noise however small in my vehicles. This would drive me crazy. I’ll wait longer, but not too much longer. Thanks for the heads up…

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  • Michael

    I owned a lemon 2003, and it went back to the dealer. Not a good idea to buy a new car in the first or second year of the iteration. Now I have a 2008 MCS Convertible, with the Tritec engine, and I couldn’t be happier. The engine has about 1,500 miles on it now and it runs smooth and begins to sing as it becomes more broken in.

  • Axel

    No problems with old reliable R53 6 yrs old and 102K on it 😉

  • TK76911S

    I now have the dreaded CS death rattle. ’08 MCS – del. 2/08. 12,000 miles. Without prompting, my son asked me what the horrible noise was. I can tell you it dashed any desires re: the JCW factory, cabrio or Stage 1 JCW/JCW suspension, etc.

    What gives at BMW? With winter rolling around again, doesn’t BMW realize the issue will be back again and this time with the same engine in its coveted new Clubman? Wait till it hits those who sunk $40k in factory JCWs.

    The noise is a downright embarassment when I start the car. BMW should be horrified.

    If this persists, I’ll sadly forego any MINI/BMW product and simply trade for a less-troublesome vehicle and brand. I otherwise love the little car, as does my wife who was starting to see one in her future.

    Do the math BMW: the rule of thumb is that for every single disgruntled customer, twelve future customers are lost. How many here and on NAM have already posted re: their unanswered complaints?

    Gabe and MF Crew, any updates?

  • Chris

    “Do the math BMW: the rule of thumb is that for every single disgruntled customer, twelve future customers are lost. How many here and on NAM have already posted re: their unanswered complaints?”

    I’m one of those potential customers that is sitting on the fence until there is some resolution. If the issue reduces engine life, a long-term buyer may be stuck with massive repair bills down the road. The resale value will also plummet. The only way to avoid the risk is to lease the car. But, leasing is not a good option for many customers.

    BMW needs to fix the issue regardless of cost. Don’t let the green eye shades decide how to handle the problem as the issue directly affects the value of the brand itself.

  • mataku527

    maybe this needs to be restickied on MF at the top. The issues are back since it’s winter again.

  • Kevin Kaufman

    My 08 Clubman S has been loud on ALL cold start-ups since I bought the vehicle in June. I told my dealer that it sounds like an old VW bug when I start up. Naturally when it was in their shop they couldn’t hear it. (B.S.!) Thanks to all for putting this together, I will be contacting my dealer for a replacement engine. (after they accept the fact that there is a problem)

    Kevin Kaufman Alexandria, KY

  • Gary

    Count me as yet another customer keenly interested in a new MCS or JCW but who most certainly will NOT make the investment until BMW (1) establishes a clear and verifiable root cause for this issue; and (2) modifies the design of the offending component accordingly.

    I can live with a few slightly misaligned body panels, an interior rattle or two, or an occasional sticky sun roof, but I just can’t swallow the potential risk of the cold start engine issue manifesting itself as a post-warranty failure for that much $$.

  • Darren A.

    I really hope MINI figures out what is causing this and gets it fixed completely. I definitely feel for the owners who have or are currently experiencing this issue w/ their cars.

    I think I’ll hold on to my ’04 R53 a bit longer and maybe wait for the next iteration of MINIs before I replace it. As highly annoying as the freezing door handles and intermittently lopey idle can be on my R53, I’m more willing to deal with that than a clattery engine.

  • Axel

    I am with Aussum and Darren A and many others who have the R53, we are happy about our babies but if Mini does not take care of this issue I guess I might have to go for 135i series. The R53 with its HICKUPS!! is fairing better than the diesel noise on the newer models my questions is.Were our comrades in Europe having this issue before the USA launch and WHY has Mini not been able to resolve this issue? Huh, I forgot it took them a couple of years to do the same for the HICKUP issue on the R53s and give reflash on the ECU with V40 flash which did SLIGHTLY help? Anyway, I am looking towards the DIESEl engine if freaking CALIFORNIA lets it pass so that it may be purchased in or side of the pond.

    P.S. And I want a Clubman Diesel by the way.

  • Ray

    I got my 09 JCW in Aug. It has been making a very subtle noise since new. Now that we are in the cold weather in chicago I hear it on and off. Yesterday I drained the oil at 5600 miles. It was jet black like what a diesel does to oil. I filled it back up with Castrol Syntec 5w30. The past 24 hrs it has been fine. I’ll post an update if the noise doesn’t reoccur. The dealer says the noise is normal. Thats fine with me as long as I don’t have to replace the engine once out of warranty. However I don’t think it’s normal. If it doesn’t get any worse I can live with it. This by far has been the best car I have ever had.

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  • Mehdi

    Well this is my horror story. I bought a brand new MCS 3 weeks ago it now has about 1500k on and bam the engine started to putter and felt like it wanted to die.

    I took it into Mini and today they tell me that the car needs a new VANOS system. I was and still am in total shock that a brand new car that i still have not finished breaking in needs a new timing chain and valves.

    NEVER will i get another mini. I would rather buy a KIA then a Mini.

  • Delta Lima Xray

    Just bought an 09 JCW, 2 weeks old and 2k KM later I know have the death rattle. I’ve owned an 02 MCS, and an 04 JCW, and this thing is utter garbage. It sounds like a diesel, and from all reports it now needs servicing.

    What do you expect from a French engine. Oh, and if you think thats a general statement, try working on ANY Renault or Pug product. Junk. What its doing in a Mini engine bay is of course another exec board cost cutting decision. Too bad as this used to be a fun and reliable-ish car.

    Too bad I didn’t do the research. Buyer beware.

  • Slawomir Tylutki

    So, faulty timing chain tensioner, hand full of replaced engines and transmissions? MINI relations suck big time. I will never return to this brand name. I came from a E36/ E46 M3 automobiles and because of those automobiles i build up myself an image of reliability of a BMW. So i go an purchase a 2008 Mini Cooper S. After owning it for over a year , the cold start rattle welcomes me once every often. and about a month and a half ago, while driving home, i experience a loss of power. So i pull over, i cant start the car. After getting it towed to the first dealer ( Huntington, LI) they deny to fix it after taking it apart and stating that the timing chain is broken , hmm, wonder why??? They charge me $200 for the labor ( dis assembly of the valve cover).They deny it becasue i have a M7 wing on my car and they feel that its giving me a 1000hp gain. Ok, trip number two , off to Freeport, LI. Same story except this time they didnt even take the engine apart , but they did notify the mini “engineer” , and with their both expert eyes, they conclude that infact the wing does give 1000hp extra , which relates to the timing chain tensioner not being able to withhold such amount of power and therefore making the timing chain slip and snap. Hmmmm, weird. Anyway, after numerous phone calls to mini and speaking to the “mad” mini “scientist” , they deny to fix their own STOCK car under warranty, why? Because, they “suspect” that my car was modified , hmmm, wait suspect? or is modified? Bone stock car , with JCW suspension upgrade and M7 Mini Challenge wing, yes, breath taking modifications….so, now, i am looking around for a lawyer to handle this situation properly. Shame on you MINI/BMW!!!!

  • Raymondo

    Great article! I actually have a Peugeot 308 GT THP 175, which has the same engine as in the Mini (the engine is a collaboration between MINI and PSA), and the rattle is commonplace in 207’s, 308’s and MINI’s. Mine is a July 08 model with 12000miles, rattled twice last month and went to the dealer with no fault found, yesterday at 2C it rattled for 0.5miles after being driven 4 hours earlier… today is started fine at -2C after being left overnight! I’ve booked it into the dealer tomorrow to have another look, hopefully if they have it overnight the rattle with reappear. It doesn’t seem to be affecting performance, however does sound like tappet rattle. If it happens again I’ll be ready with the camera-phone to capture the offending footage and get the car back into the dealers.

  • Sharon

    We ordered a new Mini Cooper S and took delivery in December 2008. The noise started about a month ago with about 10k miles on the car. Now it sometimes sounds like a Diesel truck when it starts. It started out with just a brief noise we thought might be cold weather related. It did it on warmer days also and more if parked nose down. BMW/MINI have had a long time to find and fix this problem and looks like they have not found the root cause. Ours is going back to Crown BMW of Richmond this month to see what they will do to make it right.

  • Jarkko

    Is the problem solved by manufactor ?

  • Wayne LoPrete

    My ’08 MCS with dealer installed JCW package had the rattle last winter, and the dealer claimed it was “normal operation.” Two weeks ago at 9100 miles the same dealer replace the timing chain plus 10 other parts (guide rails, tensioners, etc.) So far so good, but the noise was most prominent when the temp was in the 20s or below; since the ‘fix’ the temps have been in the 30s. I will closely monitor this. Has the problem caused damage or premature wear to the engine?? I love the car (mostly) but my enthusiasm for MINIs has waned…

  • Beowulf

    I have a Peugeot 207 RC with the THP175 engine. It has 23.000 km (about a year and a half) and has never done it until last week. First time I heard the noise. It does sound like a metallic diesel noise that lasted for about 3 or 4 minutes after starting the car. It has not happened again since.

    I’ll keep an eye on it to see if it does the noise again. I don’t think it is weather related (it is quite warm here in Lisbon but it has never done it even in cold days in the past) or has anything to do with parking position.

    I also read this on a mini forum:

    “After two years of research into the issue MINI now has official repair information at dealers that will eliminate the issue. The PuMA measure number that will need to be referenced is 10686850-13 (we’ve seen 10686850-12 mentioned but we believe 13 is the latest) and the part number is 11.31.7.598.956. According to the information we’ve seen, all cars affected in with the issue will get a new timing chain, chain guides and cam sprockets.”

  • http://www.youtube.com/sangatsengal sangatmalas

    Here’s a video I took of my 2006 R56 Mini Cooper S with that distinctive engine noise. This video was taken in May 2010.

    I took it to a Mini Garage and they said it was the Timing Chain Pre-Tensioner fault. They replaced the Pre-Tensioner and re-programmed the engine all free of charge under the Approved Used Mini Warranty.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by4nl_rzH_w

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1251152118 Kenneth Hale

    My 2007 MiniS has been repaired twice for this problem during 5 trips to the dealer. In each case, the problem began intermittantly then became constant. Once you hear the noise you know that damage is occurring to some internal part of your engine. It is not something you can live with. My car now has extraordinairly bad drivability when it is cold and often backfires under hard acceleration in a higher gear. When it does so, it emits a large cloud of grey smoke. I originally planned on keeping the car for many years, now I won’t keep it past one out of warranty. Oh by the way, the first time they repaired my car, they replaced the chain tensioner. The second time they did the same plus replaced some cam followers and other assundry valve train components.

  • Giorgio

    Hello guys,

    Same trouble here in Italy..for fixed the problem BMW/mini, presented the new engine (184cv) sic!!!!!

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  • Gmvandusen

    Guess I was lucky enough to have had my Mini for 4 years before this particular issue has happened. Have 95000 mile on it, started making that “diesel” noise about a week ago. As some stated it was only a noise for about the first 10 minutes of driving then subsided. The day before the timing belt finally slipped was the first that the noise continued for any longer time. Made enough noise that I wouldn’t drive it until I was going to go directly for service. The day I went to do this the car decided it had had enough and wouldn’t keep running. Sure hoping that Mini has a good solution to this problem, I sure would hate to purchase a new engine since I am out of warranty.

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  • Bert

    BMW played the same game with the 330 e46 enigine. Strange knocking tractor-like sounds. And as usual, BMW has never heard of this problem, and the dealships say it’s well within operational standards. Too much money spent on PR and advertising while ignoring vanos and valvetrain development.

  • Hank Rearden

    Cold start noise is the timing chain slapping into the upper chain guide.

    Once the plunger-tensor fills with oil, the tension is enough for the chain not slap any more.

  • DPA

    Any updates on a resolution of this issue from Mini? Just started happening on an 07 Mini S here.

  • Edmund J. Janas

    Good to see some real analysis on this problem. I found the perfect 08, but these stories are making me think twice about MINI.