Engine Drivetrain 1st Gen Cooper S GNAT - The Resurrection

Discussion in 'Tuning and Performance' started by Nathan, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    As long time reader of this site know I have penchant for breaking my car. Something about the engine not being happy about every 20k miles or so. Oddly, it has happened near the end of long trips with 10-12 hours where I manged to average the speed limit for the entire journey, including fuel and food stops. Yeah, I zip about...

    Those that want to check out past fun with my engine can reference the following:

    May 2010 - P0301 Driving Me Nuts The short version. Replaced all pistons, timing chain guides, all exhaust and some intake valves. Mileage ~40K

    About 2 years earlier after MOTD 2008 there was an issue where the piston ring gaps lined up and caused a loss of compression in Cylinder One. The piston was re-ringed. Mileage ~20K

    In addition we have things like:

    New Fun with Codes...

    P1688 Fun - Or - Yep, Nate broke it again...

    I broke it... yet again

    So now whats wrong:

    Back in August returning from a long weekend in the land of my youth, Maryland, culminated with a visit to Helix in Philly problems cropped up. It was a warm day and long slog across the PA Turnpike. Light traffic and a Valentine One made for zippy cruising. Then it happened, Just as I entered Ohio and stopped to fill up on restart CEL flashed, the engine note was wrong and knew from past experience it was running on 3 cylinders. Pop out the code reader, misfire on Cylinder 2. All the normal checks that one can do in the corner of a gas station lot on a smoking hot engine are done. Yep, all the wires are plugged in. No sparkplugs blown out.

    Knowing the drill that if I give it a bit more gas on start up that all 4 will come to life I try that. Yep, so now as long as I stay above about 1200 rpm it will run on all 4.

    Clear the codes, drive home. No new codes...

    Once home I consult those that know more about this than me and do some injector position swaps. Nothing is resolved from this, codes don't come back for while.

    Then the codes start. P0302 - Misfire Cylinder 2 But they are rare and don't come back that often. I just know something is broke though and I'm biding my time.

    Fast Forward a few months when I decide to get a compression test. Sure enough there are issues. Cylinder 2 is low, real low. Cylinder 4 is down, but not much. Squirt a little oil in the cylinders and test again. Compression comes right back up then slowly drops... Yep, probably need rings again.

    I'm sick of this. Every gosh darn 20K or so miles this "engine" wants love. Thats just not right.

    Knowing the inevitable is coming I start putting away the pennies and not driving a whole lot. All the while plotting on how I want to go about this. I could look locally for a shop to do the work, or I could ship it off to someone that I know knows MINIs. It's also time to come off that speed fence and bring this thing down a few notches to increase the reliability. That 8K rev limit, I turned that down to 7k months ago.

    Lucky for me it's only 223 miles from my door step to Detroit Tuned. Hello Chad, this is the issue, lets fix it please. BTW, I need it for the Dragon, you have 2 months. Now Chad is a busy fellow, good shops are. And he know of this months ago when I was starting the process. I kninda waited a little long and there are others booked for the shop now too. It's now go time if I want it back in time and have some break in miles on it too.

    This weekend, weather permitting, it's off to Detroit Tuned to drop of the MINI.

    The Plan:

    Pull engine, tear down, inspect everything and send to machine shop to make sure the cylinders are actually round!

    From there we can see what the issues are and create a plan of action.

    There are a few other things that will be accomplished while the car is apart and my wallet is still strong. Brakes need a refresh. Those Alta PRS things are headed for the recycle bin. There are various other bits that are long in the tooth and hopefully I can get refreshed.

    While there the Craven strut tower defenders I have on my parts shelves will be install. The replacement airbox, also from Craven will be installed. If things play out right the AST Coilovers are coming out to be replaced by TSW springs and yet to be decided shocks will go in place. These springs have a provenance too. This set is the R53 Beta 3 that used to be in agranger's Jango. Amazing how these parts make the rounds.

    So settle in kids. Hopefully there will be lots of updates with pictures of the next journey into the heart of my MINI...
     
  2. rum4

    rum4 Club Coordinator
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    Nathan, I hate to hear that. Hope all goes well and it is ready for the MOTD.
     
  3. Jason Montague

    Jason Montague New Member
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    :cornut: Good Luck Nathan and just drive on soldier, drive on.:Thumbsup:

    Jason
     
  4. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Sorry about your car Nathan, you could always get an RMW motor.

    .... Just sayin :aureola:
     
  5. Mr. Jim

    Mr. Jim Mudshark
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    Bummer Nathan, keep the faith and the fingers crossed. Be watching for updates.
     
  6. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Need a lot more lifetime members for that...

    ...Just sayin :ihih:
     
  7. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Nice :Thumbsup:

    Would you like us to start you a fund raiser thread or website? :idea::smilewinkgrin:

    (Kidding)
     
  8. Detroit Tuned

    Detroit Tuned Well-Known Member
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    It's happening....
     
  9. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

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    here's to round cylinders and a speedy (and inexpensive) recovery. :fingerscrossed:
     
  10. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    For that JCW Coupe in BRG/Silver with Recaros....Yeah sure :lol:
     
  11. Justa Jim

    Justa Jim Well-Known Member
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    Maybe your land lord would consider lowering your rent, so you could afford payments on that JCW. :lol:

    Jim
     
  12. Jose Martinez

    Jose Martinez New Member

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    Wow what a course u and goin thru, but if u ask me, it's all worth it. So stay positive and keep your chin up.:))
     
  13. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Nathan have you thought of finding a good used engine for use as a heart transplant for Gnat? I know Chad can work wonders with Gnat's engine, but it may be easier & cheaper to start over. Mods are great, but as you have found out moderation is a good thing for a daily driver.
     
  14. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Interesting idea, it has been discussed but in the grand scheme of things either way the engine has to come out. It's not that expensive to tear it down, try and diagnose the issue(s) and determine which method, repair or replace, make the most sense.

    The discussion of the issues involved, possible causes, potential fixes and expectations was quite through. I was left with warm fuzzies that Chad knows what he's doing. Either that or he gives good chat. :ihih:
     
  15. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    I know Chad knows his stuff. Yes it would be hard to get a new engine in there without pulling the old one, but how about a Twini? :ihih:

    Post Mortem or exploratory surgery is a good idea. Looking forward to the R53 episode on CSI Detroit. :D
     
  16. BlwnAway

    BlwnAway Well-Known Member

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    Nate, you know how I feel about "Mr. Miller".....I Love Him with all my heart......OOPS!, WRONG FORUM!, :eek:. :lol:

    Def. in good hands, he re-ringed mine more than 100,000 miles ago!

    Good Luck.

    See You at MOTD
     
  17. Detroit Tuned

    Detroit Tuned Well-Known Member
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    ^^^ that is funny as some days it feels like it...the smell of burn oil all over the shop. all the parts laid out on the floor... looking for small metal shavings....

    it should be an easy rebuild since it has not gotten to rod knock stage like some of the ones we see come in here..

    the price to rebuild tired blocks vs. a new short block is still better right now. even a junk yard motor is not cheap, and you have no idea where it has been or what will go wrong.

    step one is we plan on looking at the engine and doing compression checks, leak down tests, in hot and cold, just to have a base line. i know it's been done, but it's always good to know where you started from at the place we tear it down from.

    second step is to pull it all out, look at it and see what we see. but i plan on taking the block over to a machine shop we use, make sure the cyl.are round and surfaces are flat so that everything will bolt up right. if nothing major is found, new bearings, new rings, new gaskets and it should be good to go. but plans will change as new parts are added to the build, things that we find, and or don't find.

    Pics will be txt to nat almost daily!
     
  18. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

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    Chad add me to your list of future rebuild customers. I'll see you in 97,000 miles if all goes well. :)
     
  19. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    It will be interesting to see what went wrong, I don't think anyone feels a motor should deteriorate so quickly, but maybe that 8K redline contributed, depending on how often it was used.....

    Seems like there has to be a fundamental problem, it will be fun to see what's found to be the culprit.

    We have a clubmember's car that we just resealed his pan and pulled his supercharger for new oil, and a pulley - that engine currently has 170K and does not use oil (except for the leaks which are now fixed) , the supercharger oil was intact and looked fine (although it smelled like ass!) and I think he's good for a lot more miles yet. What we could see of the lower part of the cylinder bores (yes I know that's not where the wear takes place) looked almost new, and the engine was as clean as could be inside! I was very impressed, and it makes me wonder what other folks are doing to theirs that they fail - not speaking to Nathan's issues here.....
     
  20. Rixter

    Rixter Well-Known Member

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    #20 Rixter, Feb 25, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2012
    Nate, sorry too to hear about your engine whoas.

    I'm sure if you raise the yearly membership dues from $25 to $250 you'd have a new JCW in no time at all. :lol:
     

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