1st Gen R50 Cooper Coolant Question

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by dannyhavok, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    Hey everyone,

    I have an '06 R50 that I've owned for about four months. The coolant tank was about half-full of green liquid when I purchased the car, although the cap was missing. I picked up a replacement from BMW and went on my merry way. I popped the hood today and noticed that the tank is nearly empty.

    I picked up some BMW coolant. My concern is that if I top it up with BMW's blue stuff, it may not be compatible with whatever green fluid is already in there. Should I be worried? I'd like to avoid having to take it to the dealership to have the whole system flushed if possible. The temperature isn't running high at all, sitting right in the middle of the gauge at all times.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
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    If you are unsure how long the coolant has been in the car, I would get it flushed out and replaced with fresh stuff.

    Not sure about mixing them tho.
     
  3. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    A few different things come to mind.

    If the coolant cap was missing when you bought the car, you should get it flushed. Don't screw around, just get it right the first time. A shop familiar with MINIs will do a better job because there isn't an easy drain point on the MINIs, and it takes some skill to refill the car and bleed the coolant correctly. (Check map here for recommended MINI shops.)

    The green color could be due to mixing BMW blue with Zerex G-05 yellow - the two are compatible because they're phosphate free. But I'm not sure I'd take that risk knowing the previous owner's carelessness.

    And as for the loss of coolant, take a flashlight and look around the car. I'm not sure about Coopers, but the 06 Cooper S commonly leaks around the thermostat housing. You should be able to find some drips and trace them around the car to the source.
     
  4. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

    May 9, 2009
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    Although most coolants are compatible it is a used vehicle with no apparent maintenance history. As Scottinbend suggested do the coolant change and get up to date on your new MINI.
     
  5. putterfarm

    putterfarm New Member

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    Don't take a chance, find someone that knows MINIs (ask other owners if you don't know one) and flush the system. This is a regular maintenance item anyways.

    Mark
     
  6. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    Thanks for all the replies, much appreciated! I'm in touch with MINI Victoria, trying to get a call back from the service department. I'll make an appointment to have it flushed as soon as possible. Would it be dangerous to run with it low for a week or so as long as the temperature isn't running high? Would it be a better bet to add BMW Blue/Water short-term, or would any incompatibility crop up pretty much right away?
     
  7. putterfarm

    putterfarm New Member

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    If you don't live where it's below 0 or above 150 I'd just add some water.

    Mark
     
  8. Nitrominis

    Nitrominis Banned

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    What Mark said. :Thumbsup:

    If you can see coolant adding water is the best and safest thing to do until you get the coolant system replaced.
     
  9. lotsie

    lotsie Club Coordinator

    May 5, 2009
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    That would be like -19C, never gonna happen in Victoria:Thumbsup:

    Like has been said, keep it topped up with H2O, and get the coolant changed ASAP.

    Mark
     
  10. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    Thanks guys! MINI actually recommended the same thing.. top it off with water and bring it in for a flush when I can. They quoted me $118 including supplies and labor. Since I have that gallon of BMW Blue Stuff in the boot, it should be a pretty inexpensive trip as far as dealerships go.
     
  11. FUEGO

    FUEGO Club Coordinator

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    Also - the temp indicator on an R50/R52/R53 is basically an "idiot light with a pointer." Software drives the slow climb to midpoint which is where you will always see it, unless there is a problem. When you start to overheat the pointer will not "climb" to the upper range, it will go straight to maximum. In other words, the temp indicator has only 3 positions - off (low), on (midrange single position) and high (max position).

    Manual flushes on these cars are difficult to get all of the old fluid out. A power flush at the dealer or another reputable shop is highly recommended particularly due to the greenish color of your existing fluid.
     
  12. ZippyNH

    ZippyNH Well-Known Member

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    Not entirely true.....if you have the "Chrono" pack...that is the Speedo+tack over the steering wheel, and guages in the center, those gauges Do give you a goo radiator temp and oil oil pressure...there is a bit of a mystery over the source of the oil temp source though...
    As for the difficulty...the r53 is tough (I did it myself 2 times)...and I know the r50 is a bit of a pain to do right... my local Mini guy uses a vacuum bleeder to help...says it saves tons of time....but few diy'ers are non-mini centeric shops will have a tool like this!!
     
  13. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

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    The R53 is tough because there's no easy drain point. You can disconnect the lower radiator hose, but gravity alone won't flush everything out. There's no way to circulate and flush at the same time, like you could do with a drain screw teed into a radiator hose.

    Your mechanic probably uses an air lift tool to refill the system. They're not too expensive, and the time saved is mostly because it decreases the chance of developing an air bubble in the system on the first try. The DIY'er has the benefit of time, but the professional mechanic has to get it right the first time or waste time tilting the car, bleeding multiple times, and squeezing hoses.

    Here's an example of an air lift tool
     
  14. FUEGO

    FUEGO Club Coordinator

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    You're correct. I forgot about the Chrono Pack - none of our Gen1 cars have it so I tend to forget it was an option.
     
  15. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

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    Good to know about the temp gauge! I do not have the chrono pack. I'll be taking it easy on the car for a few days and trying to get it in for a flush at the MINI dealership early next week.
     
  16. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

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    A bit of a follow up here. I called the dealership where I bought the car (a Lexus/Toyota place.) to complain about the problem. They asked that I bring it in and their mechanic would have a look at it. We took the car to a nearby independent shop that does a lot of work for them.

    The mechanic had a look and told me that he couldn't find a leak anywhere, although that didn't mean that there wasn't one somewhere. He mainly works on domestic and japanese imports and isn't an expert on European cars. He suggested I take it to BMW and have them show me where the leak is if they find anything.

    It looks like Toyota won't really be able to help me with this. It seems like it will be worth a few bucks to make sure it's done right at a MINI shop by a MINI mechanic. I will be calling Victoria BMW/MINI tomorrow morning and making an appointment to have the system flushed and the leak found. Has anyone had similar work done who could give me a rough cost estimate for having a leak in this system fixed? Is there a common spot for the leak?
     
  17. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    A bit of a follow up here. I called the dealership where I bought the car (a Lexus/Toyota place.) to complain about the problem. They asked that I bring it in and their mechanic would have a look at it. We took the car to a nearby independent shop that does a lot of work for them.

    The mechanic had a look and told me that he couldn't find a leak anywhere, although that didn't mean that there wasn't one somewhere. He mainly works on domestic and japanese imports and isn't an expert on European cars. He suggested I take it to BMW and have them show me where the leak is if they find anything.

    It looks like Toyota won't really be able to help me with this. It seems like it will be worth a few bucks to make sure it's done right at a MINI shop by a MINI mechanic. I will be calling Victoria BMW/MINI tomorrow morning and making an appointment to have the system flushed and the leak found. Has anyone had similar work done who could give me a rough cost estimate for having a leak in this system fixed? Is there a common spot for the leak?
     
  18. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    [​IMG]

    Sorry about that double post! I have a bit of an update and a Bump. I put some particle board under the car last night to try to isolate the leak. Can anyone tell from looking at this photo where the problem is coming from? I have an appointment with MINI but it is not until next Monday.
     
  19. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

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    I cannot see the photo.
     
  20. dannyhavok

    dannyhavok New Member

    Oct 25, 2010
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    I'm sorry, let me try again:

    [​IMG]
     

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