death rattle

The Death rattle. It’s a story we’ve been following closely on MF since 2007 and a topic many of you have been extremely concerned about. Last year we posted a lengthy expose on the topic that you can read here. But for owners affected, this news will bring a huge sigh of relief.

For a bit of background on the issue, here’s a description of the issue we posted last year:

>The cold start issue 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 direct fuel injection solenoids give the car a very diesel-esque sound at idle. But this is a very different sound altogether.

BMW has determined that the cold start rattle was/is being caused by the timing chain tensioner (which is in turn powered by an oil-pressurized piston). More specifically the sound is caused when the tensioner piston doesn’t extend all the way (or at all) which then allows the timing chain to come in contact with the guides on the engine cover.

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 According to the information we’ve seen, all cars affected in with the issue will get a new timing chain, chain guides, cam sprockets and VANOS unit.

At this stage MINI is handling this on a case by case basis when the owner complains about the sound. We’re guessing they would like to steer clear of something along the lines of a recall (voluntary or otherwise) due to the cost of the service. However don’t be surprised to see and hear more about this issue and the official fix soon.

In the mean time if your 2007-2009 MCS is affected we’d urge you to call and make an appointment at your local dealer.