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MINI MINI Cooper, MINI Cooper S: 2007 and later Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)


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oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Oct 26, 2008 12:40 AM
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My '07 Cooper "S" sounds like a small European diesel engine on cold starts. Distinct rpm-related "clatter" from under the bonnet, which goes away after a mile or two of driving, and never appears again on subsequent "warm" restarts. Sounds like the hydraulic valve lash adjusters (if this engine has them ???) are initially flat. The vehicle has 23,000 miles, no observed faults, warnings, or prior repairs, and garaged in a temperate sealevel environment (Oregon coast).

Is this a characteristic of this Citroen engine? Could the turbocharger mechanism (I'm clueless on the mechanics)be involved? Any history with this model that BMW has noted to the dealers? Thanks!
Nick Czerula

Posts: 270
Registered: 10/16/06
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Nov 11, 2008 7:53 AM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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The noise you are hearing may be one of two things.

There is a TSB for a knocking noise generated by the vacuum pump.

MINI considers this noise a characteristic of the pump. No repair required.

I would verify the noise is indeed coming from the vacuum pump. It is located on the left side of the cylinder head.

To verfiy this is the source of the noise:
When noise is present, disconnect vacuum hose to pump. Noise will go away with hose disconnected.

If you cannot locate it I can dig up a photo of the location for you.

--------------------------------------------

There has also been problems with the timing chain tensioner causing a rattling noise. The tensioner is not getting air free engine oil.
The fix for this is a new chain tensioner. The noise will usually go away after about two minutes after engine start.

Chain bleed procedure:
The bleed time may take anywhere between two minutes and (in rare cases) a maximum of 30 minutes. This procedure is to be performed on a level surface with the vehicle stationary, and in a properly ventilated area.

-Engine oil level correct neither under filled nor overfilled

-Engine running at operating temperature

-Bring the engine up to an operating speed (no load) of 2000 3000 rpm and maintain this condition for three minutes (bleeding procedure).

-Let the engine idle for 15 30 seconds and reevaluate if the noise is still present or not.

-Engine quiet Procedure is finished.

-Engine noise is still present Repeat procedure above-up to a maximum of 5 times.

-Only if the noise remains after performing the bleeding procedure 5 times proceed by performing the procedure for a final time, also at an engine operating speed of 2000 3000 rpm, but for a total time duration of 15 minutes.

-If the noise is still present proceed to next step.

-If vehicle is produced before April 11th 2007 remove the chain tensioner and check the part number. If PN 11 31 7 534 772 is installed replace it with PN 11 31 7 565 868.

oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Nov 11, 2008 1:07 PM   in response to: Nick Czerula in response to: Nick Czerula
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Thanks, Nick. The description of the timing chain noise is dead on to what I'm hearing. I have the first scheduled maintenance session coming up this week, and I'll hand a copy of this to the tech.

Very much appreciated!

Sure wish our host would print a manual for this car!
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Nov 18, 2008 1:50 AM   in response to: Nick Czerula in response to: Nick Czerula
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Nick - Good call on the timing chain tensioner oil supply issue. The techs at the Portland, OR, MINI dealer checked it out and ordered a new unit for my car, which is an early '07 production number. Due to distance and logistics, repairs will have to wait until December.

Thanks again!
Nick Czerula

Posts: 270
Registered: 10/16/06
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Nov 18, 2008 7:28 AM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Good news for sure.
APetty

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/14/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Dec 14, 2008 5:11 AM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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I too have a noisy engine on cold start. I purchased a 2008 Mini Cooper S Clubman from Rasmussen Mini here in Portland, OR. I've learned this can also be a problem with faulty engine design. These engines were built with faulty hydraulic lifters that don't load enough oil when starting in cold weather. Mini USA will not acknowledge the problem and the dealer technician told us this is normal. Essentially they have been told to tow the party line when this is really not the case. They wouldn't even entertain fixing the chain tensioner...can you believe it? Proceeded to tell me that noise is very subjective and all is well. Can't wait to be rid of this car...can't stand to even look at it much less drive it. It sounds like a diesel when it is running and is likely to burn a valve very soon. Not sure what one can do when the Tech is not honest or willing to check the chain tensioner?
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Dec 14, 2008 11:51 AM   in response to: APetty in response to: APetty
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Sorry to hear you're disappointed with the MINI. I actually have two 2007 "S" coupes (long story), one of which was an early '07 model, the other mid-'07 production model. The early car is the one with the soon-to-be-replaced chain tensioner. No similiar start-up noises from the other car.

Having said that, both cars do have "noisy" engines by Japanese standards. The vacuum pump seems to be the main culprit on both my cars, with a bit of valve train noise mixed in if you put your ear right up to it.

But we've gotten spoiled by some wonderful cars made today. If you want to hear just how noisy car engines used to be, come on down and listen to the clattering and thrashing around emitting from my 1951 MG's solid-lifter engine. Now that's noisy!

Message was edited by: oldMGguy

APetty

Posts: 2
Registered: 12/14/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Dec 14, 2008 2:01 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Thanks for your response. I know what you mean, there are some nice cars out there today. With only 1456 miles, I never dreamnt the Mini would have an issue. We've got three classic Mini Coopers ('76, '69, and a '63). The '76 has a 1275 Cooper S motor with solid lifters and purrs like a kitten. Had the car since '81. Before the Mini, I drove a one-owner, 1968 VW Bug. Pretty crude, but that little air-cooled engine was great and reliable. We're going to the local dealer to trade the Mini and go Japanese. Thank *** it is paid for...would hate to be on a 5-year loan with this dog. I hope your repairs go well on your S coupes. Maybe we just got a lemon.
kenatminimania

Posts: 27
Registered: 04/20/05
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 7, 2009 6:09 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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The 'cold start - dieseling noise' is an ongoing problem with the R56 / R55 MINIs. Our '07 does this despite timing chain tensioner replacement. I don't believe MINI has a solution in place yet...
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 8, 2009 8:25 PM   in response to: kenatminimania in response to: kenatminimania
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Thanks, Ken. My "noisy" MINI is sitting at the PDX MINI dealer waiting to be taken home after having the tensioner replaced. We're currently trapped north of Seattle due to the flood waters over all the roads southbound. I'll post back on this forum in a few weeks as to the effectiveness of the part swapout. The wife's mid-year '07 MINI S doesn't have the startup rattle so far - 18,000 miles.
miniseeker

Posts: 2
Registered: 01/10/09
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 10, 2009 3:37 PM   in response to: Nick Czerula in response to: Nick Czerula
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I am looking at a used 2007 MCS with 16,000 miles. This car was returned under the lemon law because of this problem - sounds like a bucket of bolts on cold start. The car is more than reasonably priced. Normally, I would not even consider a lemon law return. However this one peaked my interest. Can this problem be fixed? How much will it cost (no warranty)? Can it cause permanent damage? Thanks
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 11, 2009 8:27 PM   in response to: miniseeker in response to: miniseeker
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Ok - with just two cold starts so far, I can say with certainty that the new chain tensioner really made things a lot quieter under the bonnet. No more "bucket of loose bolts" rattle like before. The dealer paperwork I got wasn't too detailed, but the service rep said it took about 2 hours of tech time. I had specifically asked them to check the chain itself for any damage, and they said none observed. Still noisier than a Honda, but much quieter than it was.

If the only reason that car came back was due to the timing chain tensioner issue, I'd seriously consider the purchase - especially if the price is right. I'd buy my car again without question.

After two years of driving around with my thinning hair on fire and only one speeding ticket, here's my thoughts about the MINI "S":
- They're a hoot to drive
- If you leave the rear seats folded down, you can pack an amazing amount of stuff back there.
  • Unfortunately, there's still no shop manual available.
  • A venti Starbucks coffee cup placed in the cup holder will turn the heated seat on, which you will notice soon enough ...
  • The "run-flat" tires transmit a lot of road noise into the cabin.
  • My "S" averages 35 mpg overall, and posted a 42.6 mpg recently on a 900-mile freeway trip (speed limit and cruise control).

Message was edited by: oldMGguy

miniseeker

Posts: 2
Registered: 01/10/09
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 13, 2009 7:45 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Thanks for the response! jk
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 23, 2009 3:27 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Well, darn. The new chain tensioner did not solve the problem. If the car sits for over 24 hours, the next start sometimes has the chain rattle for about a mile, then it stops for the rest of the day. Back to square one on this one. The only common factor I can come up with is the fact that the car has to sit for an extended timeframe for the noise to occur.

I contacted the Portland, OR MINI dealer that replaced the suspect chain tensioner. The MINI service rep did not have any further suggestions, other than to say she will be forwarding my information to a regional BMW MINI engineer. Attempts to contact that engineer for more information got nowhere. The Portland MINI service rep did say that they have not had any '07 cars come back with timing chain damage issues, and that if/when BMW does come up with a fix, they will send out a recall notice (hopefully).
Nick Czerula

Posts: 270
Registered: 10/16/06
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Jan 23, 2009 3:30 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Sounds like the tensioner is bleeding off oil causing it to collapse over time. This does seem to be a problem I have heard about a few times now. Lets hope they geta fix going quickly.
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Mar 28, 2009 10:47 PM   in response to: Nick Czerula in response to: Nick Czerula
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Here's the latest on the morning start "death rattle" experienced by those with the turbo version of the '07-09 MINI engine. BMW has identified the timing chain tensioner (powered by an oil-pressurized piston) as defective. Two previous modifications (April '08, and Nov '08) were ineffective. The root cause is the tensioner piston not extending at all or just partially, allowing timing chain slack to drag on the chain guides on the engine front cover.

BMW has issued a repair specification to MINI dealers - SIM-11-02-07, released on 2/24/09. The part number for the new version 3.0 tensioner is 11.31.7.598.956. All affected cars will receive a redesigned timing chain tensioner which now includes a new spring to position the tensioner against the chain until oil pressure is adequate. In addition, all engines that exhibit excessive timing chain deflection will get a new timing chain, chain guides, rails, crankshaft sprocket, new camshaft bolts, and assorted bolts, seals and gaskets. The Vanos unit and camshaft sprockets are not removed unless damaged.

Here's an outside link to the parts diagram http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.do?model=MF73&mospid=50031&hg=11&fg=25

Based on numerous reports by MINI owners on US and UK-based MINI forums who have had this part installed, it appears this fix is indeed effective in eliminating the chain rattle. Finally ...

PS - A tip of the hat to the MINI service advisors at Rasmussen MINI for providing me with the service information.

Message was edited by: oldMGguy

kenatminimania

Posts: 27
Registered: 04/20/05
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Oct 9, 2009 5:19 PM   in response to: oldMGguy in response to: oldMGguy
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Our 2007 R56 went back to the dealer a week ago because the noise was back and getting worse. They replaced the timing chain and tensioner assembly (again)... We'll see how it goes...

Message was edited by: kenatminimania

kenatminimania

Posts: 27
Registered: 04/20/05
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Oct 16, 2009 6:42 PM   in response to: kenatminimania in response to: kenatminimania
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So far so good. Noise has not returned!
oldMGguy

Posts: 16
Registered: 10/12/08
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Oct 16, 2009 7:24 PM   in response to: kenatminimania in response to: kenatminimania
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Good to hear (or not to hear as the case may be ...). I just had a single recurrance of the timing chain rattle after no problems since Jan '09.

After the car had sat overnight, I started it just long enough to roll it outside for a wash, then another 15 second run to pull it inside, then it sat for 2 days. On the next cold start, I got the classic chain rattle for 5 seconds, then a loud "Thunk", after which the chain noise significantly decreased. All unusual chain noise ceased after a minute of running, and has not returned since. All subsequent cold starts in level or nose-down attitudes have been normal.

The BMW "Prince" engine press release talks about how the oil pump is somehow deactivated during starts to save fuel, or something to that effect. I'm suspecting these very short start-stop cycles may be affecting the tensioner oil supply/seals somehow. Anyone know for sure?

I think my future operating procedure will be to not do very short start-stop cycles, and let the engine run for a minute or two every time I start it. Only the French could come up with a design this goofy ...
kenatminimania

Posts: 27
Registered: 04/20/05
Re: Noisy engine on cold start ('07 Cooper S)
Posted: Nov 4, 2009 11:33 AM   in response to: kenatminimania in response to: kenatminimania
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Noise hasn't returned - maybe they finally got the right fix!

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