Mini Cooper

Carbon Cleaning For MINI Cooper & BMW

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As we move further into the 21st century, many auto manufacturers are turning to engine management systems that employ “direct injection” fuel injection systems. Direct injection systems inject the fuel directly into the combustion chamber at the precise timing for optimum power and/or economy under a specific operating condition, or parameters.

The gasoline is highly pressurized, and injected via a fuel rail/line directly into the combustion chamber of each cylinder. With multi-port fuel injection the fuel is injected into the intake tract, or cylinder port. The major drawback with direct port injections, is although is provides more power and fuel efficiency it causes carbon build up in the intake valves, and over time reduces airflow to the cylinders, and therefore reduces engine power. Most fuel contains various detergents that can keep the intake valves clean, but with direct injection the fuel never touches the intake valves, as it does with a multi-port injection system. When fuel is no longer sprayed into the intake valves, it allows dirt and carbon from intake air to cake/build up on intake walls, even when there are air filters that prevent most dirt from entering the cylinder. The build up can become severe enough to cause sporadic ignition failures.

In 2003 BMW introduced a low pressure gasoline direct injection N73 V-12 engine. This initial BMW setup could not enter lean-burn mode, BMW introduced it’s second generation High Pressure Injection (H.P.I.) system on the new turbo-charged N54 straight 6 engine in 2006. This system used high pressure injectors, and this system surpasses may others with a much wider envelope of lean fuel burn time which increases overall efficiency. BMW in conjunction with Peugeot designed a line of engines (BMW Prince Engine) that made it’s debut in the 2007 MINI Cooper S model. In 2008, BMW released the X6 equipped with a direct injected twin turbo N63 V-8 engine.

The N54 and N55 twin and single turbo engines seem to be the most susceptible to the heavy carbon build up (although it effects all models). BMW and MINI dealers are happy to perform the de-carbon service for fees in the $850-$1200 neighborhood (much, much higher if you have a twin turbo V-8). The carbon cleaning is not terribly complicated on the 4 & 6 cylinder models but it does require removal of the intake manifold and a media blaster to clean the intake ports and valves.

If your MINI cooper or BMW needs a carbon cleaning/de-carbon call The Haus we can save you a lot of time & money compared to the dealer and provide the same quality of repairs and customer service.

We have a beautiful, state of the art facility and we have all of the amenities that the dealerships do, and we also provide a FREE customer shuttle within a 10 mile radius.

We proudly serve Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Van Nuys, Encino,Burbank, Hollywood,  West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, all of Los Angeles, Culver City, and Santa Monica.

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Common Oil Leaks For MINI Cooper

If you own a first or second generation MINI there are several common oil leaks to both models.

R50 & R53

On the R50 & R53 models the most common ones are the crankshaft position sensor o-ring and valve cover gasket. The valve cover gasket is a fairly easy repair as the valve cover sits on top of the engine which allows for easy removal and re-installation of valve cover. The crank sensor o-ring is on the side of the engine closest to the radiator (front of the vehicle). This o-ring is much harder to get to than the valve cover gasket and can be a much messier leak. It is necessary to remove the front bumper and support to be able to tilt the radiator forward and gain access to the o-ring. Once the o-ring is replaced we always recommend a good pressure wash of the engine for a couple of reasons. The first reason is to be able to tell if there are any additional oil leaks, and the second reason is to prevent any damage to other engine components. The lower engine mount is partly made of rubber, and if this rubber gets oil saturated it will need to be replaced.

R55,R56,& R57

On the 2nd generation MINI (R55,R56,& R57) there are also several common oil leaks. The valve cover gasket on these tend to leak, just like first gen MINI. If you have an S model the turbo oil feed pipe is a very common leak and can be dangerous if not repaired. The turbo charger is bolted to/part of the exhaust manifold, and here is where the danger part comes in, when the turbo pipe leaks it sprays oil on to the exhaust manifold. The exhaust can reach temperatures upwards of 1,000 degrees, and here is where the danger lies. There is potential for fire hazard if the oil that sprays on to the turbo/manifold is ignited. This is a very real hazard and cause cause serious damage to your vehicle. We recommend that if you have the turbo feed pipe leak, that you address it as soon as possible. Another common leak on 2nd gen MINI is brake booster vacuum pump which is located on left side top of engine (driver side of cylinder head). Both Cooper and Cooper S models are equipped with these. If you are lucky enough to have the S version the dealer will cover the vacuum pump under the California Emission Warranty which is 7 years or 70,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you have a base model it is only covered 4 years or 50,000 miles. Either way the dealer will charge you around $1000 to replace this part, at The Haus we can perform the same repair using original equipment manufacturer part for around 1/2 the price, and we give you the same 2 year/24,000 mile warranty on parts & labor as the local dealers. If you are looking for certified MINI technicians in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, or Hollywood call The Haus and speak to one of our pros and schedule an appointment.
We perform a complete safety inspection of your vehicle on every visit to keep you in the know about upcoming repairs so there are fewer surprises. Check back soon for more advice to keep your MINI in tip top shape and save you money on repairs.

Timing Chain/Tensioner Replacement on 2nd generation Mini Cooper

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Often referred to as the “Death Rattle Noise”, this audible sound coming from the engine bay is the timing chain in your R55, R56, or R57. When you first start your car you may experience a noise coming from the engine bay on a cold morning, once the engine warms up the noise may go away. If you lift your hood up that noise is coming from the front of the timing cover. One of the possible causes for this noise occurs when the timing chain support rail loses tension. This support rail is made of a durable plastic, but with heat and time, the plastic can become brittle and break. If you here this noise, you should call a certified Mini Cooper technician immediately as you do not want to hurt the valve train or further damage the timing system.

Unlike most cars, the Mini Cooper uses a metal timing chain rather than a belt made of composite materials. One of the features of the BMW Prince engine is that the timing chain and tensioner are located inside the engine; the major drawback of this design is that when the timing chain or tensioner fails it can cause catastrophic engine damage. The most common cause of timing chain tensioner/chain failure is low engine oil. If you follow the MINI/BMW maintenance intervals an oil change is only recommended once a year or every 15,000 miles. This interval is far too long for the BMW Prince engine, especially if you have the turbo charged version. These are high revving engines that put out a lot of power for their size, and these engines are notorious for burning/consuming oil. We recommend an oil change every 6 months or 5,000 miles, if you follow this maintenance schedule the timing chain can last the lifetime of the vehicle. Performing an oil change is far cheaper than timing chain replacement or engine repairs. Engine replacement can run between $5000-$8000 depending on what repairs are done. Performing 2-3 oil changes a year will cost you less than $200.

If you’re in the market to purchase a 2nd generation Cooper or Cooper S. Be sure to review all service records to see if the timing chain has ever been replaced and that the oil was changed regularly. If you are buying from a dealer ask the salesman if the warranty or extended warranty you were to purchase from them would cover this expense?

Customers often call our shop and ask us, “ What are some things to look out for when purchasing a MINI Cooper?” This is a great example of a common issue. Check back for more Mini Cooper buyer information in future posts. If you’re looking for a Certified Mini Cooper repair shop in Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, or Studio City, California please give us a call at (855) 572-MINI (6464).

 

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