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MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure  
MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - dougie1

Morning all,

I'm looking for a little bit of advice. We own a R56 Cooper S, the 1.6T one.

On Friday, it cut out, when my partner was reversing out a parking space at her work, and refused to start. The AA came out, looked at it, decided he reckoned the timing chain had snapped, as it appears the top end isn't turning, and towed it home for us, since most garages were shut for the holiday weekend.

I've spoken today, with the service manager at the MINI garage, who tells me their warranty advisor is off today, so he'll speak to him tomorrow and get back to me about the best way forward.

The car is a 57 plate, serviced at the appropriate intervals, is on about 24k miles, and had the chain and tensioner replaced under warranty at around 12k miles, less than 2 years ago, after it developed a rather nasty rattle, attributed to a poor tensioner design, which has been redesigned several times now.

I'm wondering where i stand with regards to warranty. The car is out of it's 3 year manufacturer warranty, and i've read that BMW/MINI parts come with a 2 year warranty, but only if you pay for them, if it's done under warranty, this does not apply, and they are only covered by the cars 3 year warranty.

However, given that it seems to be a known problem, and the car is on 24k, 3 months out of warranty, and seems to have snapped a timing chain, i'm wondering what i can expect from the garage, or MINI UK? Are they likely to tell me it's my problem, that's what i get for not taking out an extended warranty? Will they fix the whole lot FOC (i wish) or something in between?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

Tags: technical issues warranties belts and chains legal and consumer advice

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Napper

How did you get on?

My R56 Mini Cooper S Clubman 57 plate with only 21K on the clock has snapped the timing chain, one of many looking through various online forums. Like yours, it's out of warranty (6 months).

The chain snapped on the way into London on the M4 on the elevated section just at the point where the A4 slip road joins. I was very lucky in that I managed to pull over and stop in the chevrons between the main carriage way and the slip road. Being trapped in the middle we had to wait for 25 minutes for the highway police to arrive and tow us to safety. Now I know this is a bit long winded but when you have your kids, wife and whippet in the car and you are being passed by busses and lorries inches away from you on either side, bombing along the motorway it's not funny. Especially not funny when you find out that this appears to be a know issue with this engine/car/year. WHY ISN'T THIS A RECALL ISSUE ON SAFETY GROUNDS ALONE?

I'm flabbergasted that BMW/MINI are wiling to throw away their reputation on somehow trying to deny that there is a problem with the timing chain/guide or whatever. What annoys me most is that I feel that BMW/Mine have recklessly endangered the lives of me and my family by not admitting to and therefore not fixing what is a very serious and known issue.

I'll let you know how I get on but for any owner of 57-10 Cooper S' - I'd recommend that they check your timing chain is OK at your next service.

Thanks


MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Avant

Yes, do let us know: that would be very helpful. So many original posters ask the question and never come back to let us know the outcome.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - SteveLee

Being a very common problem BMW should show goodwill, but then it took 3-4 years and pressure from VOSA before VAG stopped trying to squirm their way out of injector failure problems. This engine was a joint venture with the PSA group, I wonder if Peugeot/Citroën have been suffering the same problems with their varient of the engine?

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - AC-time

I would kike to share my experience -

2007 Clubman Cooper S - one of the first .. now 8 months out of waranty with only 32000 miles .... and timing chain needs replacment .. much the same story as most other owners - it started with the cold start 'diesel' noise etc etc...

I took the car back to the dealer where purchased and wrote a letter of complaint, claiming a free repair according to my rights under the Sale of Goods Act as this could not be considered 'reasonable wear and tear' ... I also stated that after researching online that this seemed to be a known problem that should be the subject of a formal recall (and included some references from various forums).

This action was on advice from 'Consumer Direct' - a department of the Office of Fair Trade.

I am pleased to report that after being quoted more than a £1000 pound for the repairs initially - the Garage have now agreed to carry out the same repairs for free.

They said this is a 'good will gesture' but I suspect that this is the company line given to people who kick up a fuss...

Hope this helps ...

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - pab1977

Would you be prepared to allow me to reference your details and the garage following your repair? I am having difficulties with my local dealer with an identical problem.

Thanks

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - mini86

Hey thank you for your post.

I also had the same problems with my Mini Cooper S 57 plate. My repair work was estimated at £1300, which was worrying as I am a student, who doesnt have that amount of money lying around.

As a good will gesture they reduced it by 50% and accepted it.

However I did my research online and found that the timing chain failure is a prolong problem with minis R56 engines.

I made an appointment with the manager and put forward my case. They tried to fob me off explaining how the warrenty is there for a reason and if your out then it isnt our problem. I explained to him that a existing problem in the engine, for a part, which should not fail at 30,000 miles, is not a customers problem it should be the manufactures who pick the bill up.

I also told him that BMW should be ashamed to expect individuals to fork out repairs of £1300 on engine problems for 4 year old cars. You spend premium to get quality service.

We said our good byes, and i though that would be the end of it. A few hours later i got a phone call, which stated that they have re evaluated the case and said that they would cover all the costs for free.

My agree with the point above, I believe they know it is an existing problem. Just not enought people know and complain about it.

If you know your stuff and kick up a fuss. You should get the same rewards.

I though i should share this with you, as this forum helped me save £1300. ;-)

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Wukl

I've been working for 30+ years and can't afford a 5 year old Mini; how can a student!? Anyway, shocking that a chain and/or tensioner should be anywhere near replacement at such a low mileage; shows what an absolute sham this modern 'premium' perception is. My aged Nissan has a chain and is near 150k on all it's original engine bits; and I bet it cost little more than a set of mats for a Mini! ;)

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Honestjohn

BMW says this is nothing whatsoever to do with its tlc service deal that, in some cases, leaves the same oil in the engine for 3 years or more. Comment invited.

HJ

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - unthrottled

Extended oil change intervals are controversial, but it's only following what has been happening in the industrial sector for years.

3 years seems a long time, but it's not age that degrades oil so much as the service life. Engine oil that doesn't see sufficiently high temperatures and oil that sees excessive temperatures degrades much more quickly than oil that that operates between the extremes.

Since modern ECMs monitor engine parameters, a reasonable estimation of the degradation of the oil can be made. Given the cost of modern oils, this makes a lot of sense.

It's one thing swapping single grade mineral oil every 5000 miles as a matter of precaution, but with multi grade, low ash synthetic stuff, this practice becomes expensive.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - madf

Same engine oil for three years?

I suspect if you asked the oil manufacturers if it was safe to use a can of oil which:

had been open

contaminated with carbon and other pollutants

regulary stirred to add oxygen

and then heated to 100C and frozen to -8C

water vapour added at odd times

polluted with excess fuel

all at irregualr intervals..

and would they still warrant its use, the answer would be quite unequivocal...

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Collos25

I watched a scientific program on German television this week where a University had used long live oil in a Audi A4 diesel and a petrol using four cars two did 10k kms and two did 100k kms then they tested the oil and suprisingly there was no difference and were as good as the day it was intalled, they used the very best oil but the results were pretty good. Normal road conditions were used and the test took 12 months.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - unthrottled

...except that it isn't!

Oil manufacturers are promoting long life oils.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - veryoldbear

Bah. Oil changes shmoil changes. If a timing chain gives at under 30,000 miles, there's something wrong with the design (chain, tensioner, camshaft bearings, oilways) or QA/QC in manufacturing. Simples.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Collos25

I would sooner believe some independant scientific study than an advertisers blurb or some pundit who does not have any real knowledge on the subject.

The study was carried out to try and debunk oil makers claims but failed to do so.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - dandt
I own a 57 plate Cooper S which developed the rattle at start up. This appeared to vanish once warmed up however it began to get worse and recently continued after warm. When cornering the car sounded like a diesel. I am fortunate that my neighbour is a motor sport mechanic with BMW and Mini pedigree. He diagnosed the timing chain issue and oil not getting up to the pistond and replaced the tensioner with a genuine BMW part. Fitted it was £100. Now this improved things dramatically but could still hear faint rattle when cold.

Solution was to test the oil in the car and we found it had been filled with low grade oil which was not able to feed the cam sufficiently and was also burning off. We removed just over 2 litres and filled with over 4 litres of Mobil 1 ESP fully synthetic 5w-30 oil. The Cooper S dipstick is very hard to gauge so don't be fooled that you have full oil.

Changed filter (and I changed plugs off my own back).

Car is completely different. It was frosty this morning and not a rattle to be heard and it drives much smoother and quieter. So the dealer I bought from had scrimped on the oil which coupled with the tensioner did the damage.

I would therefore recommend this course of action to remedy the problem, the oil is a vital element. My mileage is 50k.
MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - John F

Should've designed it with a decent belt. Far less trouble, they don't need pricey oil and they should last the life of the engine/car if the things they drive don't break. Mine have-so far.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Collos25

We removed just over 2 litres and filled with over 4 litres of Mobil 1 ESP fully synthetic 5w-30 oil. The Cooper S dipstick is very hard to gauge so don't be fooled that you have full oil.gear

Firstly how do you know it was low grade oil have you a laboratory in your house and if you removed 2litres and replaced 4 litres its using oil somewhere do you ever check it.These engines owe there history to fact they have nothing to do with BMW they I believe are made by Chrysler in Brasil and a very common fault is the timing gear and oil useage see the many posts on this forum.The timing gear sound will be quieter in winter due to the oil being thicker and the fact you have filled it up whereas before it was running very low you will probably find the engine will not last much longer owing to its previous treatment but good luck.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - SteveLee

.These engines owe there history to fact they have nothing to do with BMW they I believe are made by Chrysler in Brasil and a very common fault is the timing gear and oil useage see the many posts on this forum.The timing gear sound will be quieter in winter due to the oil being thicker and the fact you have filled it up whereas before it was running very low you will probably find the engine will not last much longer owing to its previous treatment but good luck.

Perhaps you should learn a little about the subject before posting disinformation. The rather uninteresting but reliable "Brazilian Chrysler" engine (actually made by Tritec motors - a company formed by BMW and Chrysler for the sole purpose of developing and building this engine) was fitted to the original BMW MINI, the later engine with the timing chain issues is even more to do with BMW - the valvetrain was their responsibility in the combined BMW/PSA joint venture which saw BMW turn PSA's similarly boring but very reliable TU5 into the ticking time-bomb you see today. German engineering eh? They can muck up a reliable French design!

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - unthrottled

Should've designed it with a decent belt.

Unfortunately, some people insist on advising that chains are superior to belts.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - galileo

Should've designed it with a decent belt.

Unfortunately, some people insist on advising that chains are superior to belts.

If the comparison is with the old style duplex Renold chain they may have a point. Some of the current chains do look very flimsy as if they'd not last long on a child's tricycle.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - John F

Should've designed it with a decent belt.

Unfortunately, some people insist on advising that chains are superior to belts.

If the comparison is with the old style duplex Renold chain they may have a point. Some of the current chains do look very flimsy as if they'd not last long on a child's tricycle.

During a pilgrimage to Dresden a few years ago I went to the 'glasshouse' to worship the demo W12 on its chrome pedestal [and had an interesting 'drive' in the demo Phaeton in the basement...all free!] I was amazed by how flimsy the chains looked. I wonder how its longevity is faring in the footballers' Bentleys?

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Collos25

I will be looking at that factory in a few minutes when I take the dog for a walk.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - MrEckerslikefromRamsbottom

Should've designed it with a decent belt.

Unfortunately, some people insist on advising that chains are superior to belts.

Chains are superior to belts. A duplex timing chain will last the life of the engine. The fact that the Mini chains are snapping shows that BMW are fitting toy chains instead of proper ones! And from other forums, I read that BMW are not the only ones! It's sooo silly to make cars packed with costly, expensive and mainly unnecessary gizmos and then fit a toy timing chain. Is there not an aftermarket duplex chain conversion like we used to put on proper Minis? BMW should be fined heavily for this and have the 'Mini' name taken from them for they have disgraced that name.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - unthrottled

It's sooo silly to make cars packed with costly, expensive and mainly unnecessary gizmos

Timing chains fall into that catagory.

For a start the engine block requires a more complex casting which adds to the cost. The chain itself is more expensive than a good quality belt which would be good for 100,000 miles and would probably only need to be changed once in the lifetime of the engine. The oiling system must then be modified to supply adequate lubrication to the chain and the tensioner. A chain guide must also be fitted. Belts require none of this faffing.

...and then fit a toy timing chain

It isn't possible to build a chain engine properly and be cost competitive with a belt engine. Properly built, a chain will outlast a belt-no question. But customers aren't willing to pay for engineering that they don't see.

OEMs should build belt engines and add £500 to the purchase price of the car and include scheduled belt changes at no extra charge for the lifetime of the vehicle. For most cars, that would be one.

No faffing, no problems, no bent valves.

Edited by unthrottled on 13/01/2013 at 18:53

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Collos25

They are buying the engines in I know its no excuse ,unlike VAG who have just won the gold carrot of the year in Germany for producing the worst engine reason a bad timing chain.

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Mini Cooper S 2007 Busted!

Just had the same issue. Travelling on the M25 at 9am lots of traffic, when there was a sudden and increasing knocking noise. Indicated, changed lane and decreased speed but within seconds there was a bang and the engine light came on. Engine stopped, but luckly managed to pull onto the hard shoulder. Car was covered in oil around the sides and bumper. AA towed car to garage. Timing Chain Tensioner had failed so they carried out a compression test to check damage, which showed a failure on 1 of the cylinders. Thinking this could be fixed they removed the exhaust manifold and found that the bottom end was completely ruined! I purchased the car from new, now has 46,000 miles on the clock and mainly used for local journeys, first three years BMW maintained and then well maintained by local BOSCH service centre. It was only in the BMW service garage a few weeks ago for a recall on the turbo collant pump. I have found lots of mini owners in the US with similar issues. Any more in the UK? If so please post. We need to get BMW to accept there is an issue and recall. The mini cost me £22k and is now worth £0. CONSUMER ADVICE? LEGAL ADVICE? HELP!!!

MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - Mini Cooper S 2007 Busted!
Update on my post. Taken legal advice and going to fight this all the way. Going to set up a new thread and forum. Please get in contact if you would like to provide additional stories to support the case against BMW.

Steve - paperhatftp@me.com
MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - chris2511
Hi my Mini Cooper S (57 plate) had the same issue yesterday
Engine just cut out at 4am on country road so no lights at all
Had to jump on my hand brake to bring the car to a stop
(20 mins before was on the motorway in poor visibility due to dense fog)

The bolt that holds on the timing chain sprocket
Had actually sheared off, causing the sprocket and the chain
To also fall off and mangle my engine

It's only done 38k miles, the mechanic who has taking the
Rocker cover off said, there is no way this is driver error
And mini should be contacted.

I have phoned the local mini dealership in Blackpool
Who said the will take a look, strip the whole engine down
Make a report and send it the the mini HQ
For them to "offer me a deal"

The guy on the phone said usually it's something similar to .. Mini pays for parts / the customer pays for labour ?

The mechanic who's looked at it said there was chunks of engine in the sump
So doesn't sound good at all.

Mini also said they would have to hook it up to a diagnostic machine
To see what the problem is!!, even though I have the bolt .. Albeit
In two pieces that sheared off ready to show them


It's being picked up tomorrow morning and transported down to the dealership
So will have to see what they offer me, I mentioned I had bought a Mini Cooper new from them in 2009, he said he would put that in the report as well

Not to mention when it happened is just arrived in the Lake District for 3 days.. Staying in a couple of different hotels (travelling with my camera)
So had to cancel my only holiday this year because of the freak problem

So not happy at all

I have a picture of the bolt if anyone is interested

Chris2511@hotmail.co.uk
MINI Cooper S R56 - MINI Cooper S Timing Chain Failure - russlong

This is exactly what has happened to my 57 plate Cooper S, under 50k miles.

The bolt head is down in the engine & the thread is still where it was !!

My quote so far is £1600.00, but subject to any further damage being found, the quote includes

Timing Chain Kit

Head Gasket Kit

Valves

& Labour

My car history shows it had a new Timing Chain in Mar 2011, so its now on its second one & it hasn't covered 50k miles yet FFS !!!

Did you get anything from BMW/Mini Chris ?

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