Jan 11th, 2011
Todd and I sat down with head of MINI Engineering Oliver Friedman and MINI USA Product Manager Vinnie Kung today at NAIAS 2011. We hit all the topics as requested:
- JCW (lack and standard equippment
- Hot turbos and engine issues
- 3 Cylinders
- Stop/Start tech
- Clean diesels
In short we didn’t hold back on the tough questions. But we also had a great time chatting with two people that are clearly passionate about the MINI brand. continued →
Oct 27th, 2010
Recently an owner outcry over engine issues caused BMW to recall the high-pressure fuel pumps used in some 130,000 turbocharged ultimate driving machines. With similar systems and similar complaints from some MINI owners, some expected the same action from MINI. According to Jalopnik, the word from MINI spokeswoman Nathalie Bauters is that there will be no similar MINI fuel pump recall because the turbocharged R56 Cooper S actually uses a different fuel pump than the one recalled by BMW. Still worried? In July, MINI extended the warranty on these high-pressure fuel pumps to 10 years or 120,000 miles for ’07-’09 models. That, according to Bauters, is why there will be no MINI recall at this point. Though that may be cold comfort for folks experiencing issues. Is this a widespread problem? It’s discussed here on NAM. Any MF readers having fuel pump issues?
Oct 4th, 2010
Updated: MINI hasn’t officially released this fix. The dealer alone was responsible for it and MINI USA has not released a torque steering fix and has not given dealers any information about this update. This fix was only done to one car as a test and the cost was to simply pay for the labor. That said (and here’s the real news) the simple task of updating a 2007 MCS with software for the 2011 MCS did eliminate the torque steer as hoped. For some background on the software (standard on all 2011s) check out this previous article.
After talking to a technician and service advisor, they agreed to experiment on my car. It worked and they have done a couple others since. The price of $165 was the labor to perform the update. Again this is only being done at one dealership at this time and will not be available at your local MINI dealer just yet. A free update on the JCW has not been confirmed by MINI USA.
We’ve reported previously on Motoringfile that the 2011 MINI mid-model refresh includes new programming to eliminate torque steer in the MINI range. This software update coordinates the traction, stability and ABS systems to counter and eliminate torque steer. We’ve seen the results first hand on MTTS and they’re impressive. The burning question remained, however, would this fix be retroactively installable on pre-2011 R56/R55/R57 MINIs? The answer appears to be yes! continued →
Sep 28th, 2010
Tuesday the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into potential power steering problems of the 2004-2005 MINI. The site lists this as involving MINI “Coopers” but we believe this could likely include both the Cooper and the Cooper S given that the agency says that this could involve about 80,000 vehicles. continued →
Aug 12th, 2010
This has been brewing for some time with various customer complaints over the years about the high pressure fuel pumps going out on the turbo charged MCS and JCW R55 R56 and R57 cars built from 2007 to 2009 (when they made some mechanical changes). So here’s what MINI is sending to owners of the affected cars:
MINI USA has become aware of a potential problem that could affect the durability of the high-pressure fuel pumps in select 2007, 2008 and 2009 model year MINI vehicles equipped with the N14 turbocharged engines. continued →
Jan 15th, 2010
Last year MINI finally solved the dreaded cold start issue that afflicted the R56 Cooper S. Or so they thought. As it turned out, while the issue was eliminated in some cars but only alleviated in others. So MINI went back to the drawing board and looked the issue with fresh eyes. After further research they believe they have finally (and definitively) solved the issue for all cars with a modified timing chain. Specifically they’ve made the chain very slightly longer which has eliminated the chatter that was known as the “death rattle”.
The new components should come online at the Oxford Plant in time for March builds. For those with older R56s still afflicted with the issue, MINI will be offering an official fix for your car. Of course keep in mind that this will be a case by case process and you should work through your dealer.
Nov 18th, 2009
Ah the CVT. The answer to all of our problems. Its step-less shifting was to be both good for performance and economy while giving you a wafting cloud like experience. That is until it fails costing the owner $8,000 to replace. It’s been a huge frustration for quite a few R50 owners who opted for the CVT over the manual with many failures happening just around the time the warranty expires.
One automaker who also embraced CVTs around the same time period is Nissan. In fact they are still putting them in cars while MINI has very publicly shifted back to torque converter automatics. And as you’d expect there are many Nissan owners with similar CVT failures. So much so that Nissan has just announced a doubling of it’s warranty to 10 years or 120,000 covering the CVT. In addition to that Nissan is also reimbursing owners who have already shelled out thousands on replacements overly slushy slush boxes.
At this point MINI hasn’t acknowledged the issue and it’s not clear that they will ever do so. However if you’ve had your CVT fail on your R50 MINI, make sure you’re voice is heard both at your local dealer and at MINI USA corporate. BMW has a history of eventually taking care of large scale issues. We have no idea if this will be one of them but it’s certainly worth taking up the ladder so to speak.
You can read the corporte letter to CVT owners from Nissan at Autoblog
Detailed Technically Assessment on the CVT / MotoringFile
Random Thoughts on MINI Loaners and the CVT / MotoringFile
MF Review: 2003 MINI Cooper CVT / MotoringFile