Highly Modified JCW Roadster - Limp Mode and Engine Check Light Issues

Discussion in 'MINI Focused Chat & Musings' started by Charlespmeade, Dec 23, 2016.

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  1. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    I an new to this site and seeking assistance. I have a 2012 JCW Roadster that has been highly modified on all fronts - Interior, Audio System, and Engine. I'll list all of the mods at a later date.

    The issue: For months I have been receiving a CEL with severely limited power (limp mode). The engine has been upgraded to include a new JMTCs Extreme GTD47mm turbo, all new tubes and down pipes, oil catch-can, AEM cold air intake, forge blow-off valve, Milltek turbo down pipe (with Cat), a helix Gen2 new Intercooler, AEM Water/ Meth cooling system, and a new tune to match the upgrades. All of the work was performed by Helix Motorsports in Philadelphia, a very well respected Mini engine shop

    So what's the issue? We can't get boost above 6 (with the new tune or the stock tune) and the CEL light keeps tripping, Helix has had the car for literally weeks at a time over the past six months, has tightened all connections, did pressurized smoke testing to confirm that there are no hose or system leaks, and systematically removed the blow off valve, catch can, and other aftermarket equipment to determine if any one piece is creating the issues. All to no avail. They have also scoped the exhaust system including the catalytic converter to determine if there is a blockage. Also without any solution to the problem. And last, we are now talking about replacing the turbo to see if it is defective, even though it appears to be spooling perfectly fine. In short, Eric Savage at Helix has run out of solutions.

    While the car engine has been modified fairly extensively for a street legal JCW Roadster, it now runs far slower that before it was ever modified. I am at whits end. And horribly disappointed. The dealer, Ray CAtena of Westchester, NY wont even look at it or give any opinion because of the aftermarket work. Also, very disappointing...

    Can anyone give me their thoughts on a potential solution or a determination as too what we should do now, short of return the car to stock engine. I really need a few out of the box thoughts. All comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks. Charlie
     
  2. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    Bronxville, New York
    Need help on this one. Please.....
     
  3. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Welcome to MA! Helix is one of our sponsors, Eric is a great guy and really supports the community. You have your car in the hands of one of the best Mini shops out there. I am a first Gen guy so I am not much help, but a Gen2 guy should be along soon.

    Sounds like a very nice MINI, post some pictures
     
  4. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    Bronxville, New York
    I know i am in great hands at Helix and Eric has been top-notch. I am just reaching out to see if anyone has any ideas, as it appears that even Eric and his team are a bit stymied by this problem. I just wanted to tap into any source that might have a thought that we haven't tried yet.

    Thanks, Charlie

    Ps: It's an awesome build, with about $25,000 in aftermarket parts and equipment. The audio system in particular is a great custom build. I'll post more info when i get an opportunity.
     
  5. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Oh was that your black JCW coupe I saw parked at Helix today.

    Best of luck with your ride, but I would trade it because well it's 2nd gen. Try and R53 for real fun.
     
  6. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    Dave,

    Thank goodness you are not me.

    The 2012 JCW Roadster has now been discontinued, making the car, particularly a well modified one, a rare find. I have a considerable amount of my time, energy, not to mention money, invested in this project. I appreciate your advise, but I'll meet you on the Blue Route or Kelly Drive any day to see who can have more fun!

    As for the Motoring Alliance, it is my hope that of all the folks that participate in the site, someone technically oriented may be able to offer a possible solution to my recent power woes. Helix is great, so I am sure we will have time for a run or two at some point in the future. Tune up!!!

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
     
  7. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    You don't want to race my car because I am waaaaay out of your league. Next time you are at Helix ask them about my car that Eric built back when he turned wrenches. After that go look at the Dyno wall of fame. The only car above mine is the gray JCW sitting in the shop wait for New motor.

    I know about having lots of money in a car so I guess I will see you at the shop sometime. :ihih:
     
  8. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    What motor work have you had done and who tuned your car? Please don't say you have a Manic tune.

    Just trying to help.
     
  9. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    I look forward to comparing notes...

    Hopefully, Eric still has a bit of wrench-work left in him for my car. While I live in NY, just north of the city, I am in Philly quite often, having a number of good friends out on the main line. I'll let you know the next time I venture south and I am sure I would enjoy seeing your ride.
     
  10. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    The engine has been upgraded to include a new JMTCs Extreme GTD47mm turbo, all new tubes and down pipes (intercooler resonator delete, air charge and discharge pipes, etc...), oil catch-can, AEM cold air intake, forge blow-off valve, Milltek turbo down pipe (with Cat), a helix Gen2 new stepped Intercooler, AEM Water/ Meth cooling system, high performance ignition coil pack and cold Brisk sparks, and a new tune from Eric's guy in California (?). Heat shields for Turbo and oil line and many other small upgrades under the bonnet.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    RMW?
     
  12. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    Not sure of the guy's name who did the tune. I need to ask Eric. He mentioned he was a regular=r source for Helix and lived in California. Who is RMW?
     
  13. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Revolution Mini Works. Jan has a very good reputation for tunes, he did Dave.0 tune. Another good guy that sports the mini community.
     
  14. Guapish_Fliver

    Guapish_Fliver New Member

    May 31, 2016
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    #14 Guapish_Fliver, Dec 24, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2016
    I had the same problem with the same turbo on jcw compression for around a year trying to figure it out. In my case the JMTC turbo waste gate preload was not set correctly and I had a hot side boost leak around the throttle body that took forever to find. The car also kept roaching coils and spark plugs for some reason.

    JMTC could not get my car tuned right after months of anally blown smoke. Rmw said he's developing a stand alone which is not available yet as far as I know. I eventually found Jzw tuning who got my car running right without codes/boost dump/ limp mode...for now.... He said JMTC had the tune all screwy with a 12k rpm redline set :eek:ut:.

    My car has ported everything so it took him a while to get it figured out but he did, so props to Jzw for accomplishing what no one else could. Wouldn't recommend manic also known as maniac tunes because of their propensity to esplode. Not saying mine won't blow up but it hasn't yet... If I make it past 10k miles I'll consider it reliable...

    It makes around 25psi and I haven't got it dynoed yet. The car has a few tunes on a Powergate 3 programmer including a 40% ethanol mix tune. I will still detonate periodically under high load and boost on 91 pump gas but have not encountered any detonation running ethanol which is supposedly around 100 octane. Haven't got a temp gauge but I know it runs hotter than hell which Jzw said is because of the design of the engine bay and size of turbo.

    In my case it was bad tunes (multiple), boost leaks, incorrect waste gate preload, and bad coils/plugs even though less than 5k miles old.... He said the car was also "clenching" spark and he messed with the plug gaps.

    How much oil do u use? You should make sure it's not sucking oil screwing up your afr. Good luck...
     
  15. Goldsmithy

    Goldsmithy Well-Known Member
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    Both you guys are WAAAAAY beyond me. I just want to add moral support to Charlespmead. Hope the MINI Gods smile on you.
     
  16. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    Jan / RMW tunes are solid. I bet the issue is with the turbo and waste gate as Guapfish_fiver said above.
     
  17. Charlespmeade

    Charlespmeade New Member

    Dec 23, 2016
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    Just heard back from Eric Savage at Helix Motorsports in Philadelphia.

    He said, "We have been really digging into your car, trying to find the reason for the limp mode/boost drop. We have eliminated with good certainty the tune, boost leaks, catalytic converter as the source. We have eliminated with some certainty boost control on the cold side of the turbo, and with less certainty the hot side. Using the fiber optic scope, the hot side looks whole, but perhaps with excessive carbon build-up. Maybe because it's running rich due to the boost issue. The turbo spindle and impellers look healthy on the cold side and spin and feel correct."

    I am still looking for some alternative thoughts, as my car has been in the shop for three full weeks without much luck solving this issue. I am heading to Philly tomorrow to pick it up. Looking for a miracle or a solid idea. Does anyone have a thought??? Thanks, Charlie
     
  18. Qik

    Qik Active Member

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    It's not working because it's a modified 2nd gen. Seems to have been the trend with modifying these cars, the more you do to it the less it'll run. I'm sure it's SUPER fun for the first few months or so (if that) after you add some go fast bits and tune it up. Once you up the boost you gotta up the fuel on a fuel system that has a tenuous grasp on it's fuel pushing capabilities (or lack there of), boom there goes a HPFP (for like the 4th time). It'll be running hotter due to the higher boost, so the carbon deposits will bake on even thicker/faster. Next thing to go will be the water pump. Then you get into all the little random issues that pop up at least once a year that'll need some attention. Not to mention the mediocre longevity built into the cars suspension components.
    Do what Dave said or go back to stock. Or buy a car that comes with some actual power if that's what you're after.

    Welcome, Chuck

    Or maybe... MAP sensor? Is the timing chain stretched enough that you'll get any cam/crank sensor issues? Limp mode for me in the passed has been fuel related.
     
  19. Guapish_Fliver

    Guapish_Fliver New Member

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    #19 Guapish_Fliver, Dec 29, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
    What tune does the car have? How are they certain it's not the tune? What pressure does it dump boost at?

    What u should do is disconnect the downpipe, hook up a vacuum pump to the DV, pump it up to 15 pounds or so, and make sure the gate is tight and sealing. The pivot arm could be shot and not sealing the lid.
     
  20. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Helix & RMW Powered
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    If Eric has a tuner in California it's JAN the owner of RMW. The tune is solid.

    JAN comes to Helix once a year for a week to tune cars on the dyno. JAN is also at the Dragon every year.

    The problem is the R56 (2nd Gen) cars do not like turbo upgrades and stuff. BMW made them that way for a reason. :ihih:
     

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