1st Gen R53 Cooper S Intermittent Red Oil Light

Discussion in '1st Generation: 2002–06 R50, R53 & 2004–08 R52' started by mistertripps, May 2, 2013.

  1. mistertripps

    mistertripps New Member

    May 18, 2010
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    I have a 2006 MCS with 6-speed manual. The only engine mod I have made is a CAI I installed when I first got the car in 2009.

    Recently, I have been getting an intermittent red oil light after the engine has warmed a bit. But, it only happens when I have to stop at a light or stop sign and sit at idle with the car out of gear. As soon as I put it back in gear and give it gas, the light goes out and stays off unless I stop again and take the car out of gear. And, it doesn't happen all the time even under those conditions. Oil was changed less than 5,000 miles ago and I keep it topped off whenever I notice it has been burning a bit.

    I haven't taken it to pull any codes or have it checked out yet. Just first wanted to see if anyone else had any similar experiences and what you found out.
     
  2. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

    Jun 6, 2009
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    The Mini's oil pressure does drop very low when hot and at an idle. My oil pressure gauge frequently shows between 5-10 PSI when at an idle. However, I have never had the oil pressure light turn on so I suspect your pressure is dropping very low, probably below 5 PSI. I am not sure what PSI the light goes off at, I think around 3 PSI.

    Your oil pressure could actually be very low, such as weak pump, or your sensor could be a little off.

    What type, brand, and weight oil are you using?
     
  3. mistertripps

    mistertripps New Member

    May 18, 2010
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    Castrol or Mobil1 synthetic, 5W-30
     
  4. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    Agree with Quikmni, it's a sensor or the pump. Get this one fixed sooner rather than later. If the oil pump goes, you might as well junk the engine.
     
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  5. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

    Jun 6, 2009
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    If you do not have access to a oil pressure gauge to verify the pressure, I would suggest replacing the oil pressure sensor because it is cheap and easy to replace.
    The sensor is P/N 12617513068 and available from many vendors for about $13.
    penskeparts.com
    pelicanparts.com

    I have not heard about many oil pump problems so I would try the sensor first. The pump is expensive $250 and hard to replace.
     
  6. mistertripps

    mistertripps New Member

    May 18, 2010
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    Thanks - I'll check it out and see what happens.
     
  7. k-huevo

    k-huevo Club Coordinator

    May 6, 2009
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    Unfortunately, when the light comes on the damage has been done.

    Was an aftermarket oil filter installed when the oil was changed? If so, or you don't know, install an OEM filter and see if the light stops.
     
  8. quikmni

    quikmni Moderator

    Jun 6, 2009
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    Good point on the oil filter.
    If an aftermarket oil filter was installed, which brand is it?

    Just a note. Not all the aftermarket oil filters are a problem. I even feel that the WIX filter is better than the OEM filter.
     
  9. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
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    Some aftermarket filters collapse. That will get you low oil pressure at idle. I use oem or Mann. Wix is purported to be a good filter too. Like k-huevo says you are damaging your engine running it like that. Let us know how this turns out for you. Good luck. :fingerscrossed:
     
  10. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad Club Coordinator

    May 19, 2009
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    I suggest you cease using red oil. :arf:

    ----

    (Yeah, I know...no help. But since you already has lots of great, helpful responses from the ever-friendly MA crowd I couldn't resist. I hope you take this in the good humor in which it was intended. :wink:)
     
  11. k-huevo

    k-huevo Club Coordinator

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    There are many possible reasons the OP's oil light comes on at idle. I mentioned the filter because (1) past correlations of light at idle & oil change, and (2) looking at the oil filter is a simple, low cost, trouble shooting step. In some oil filter installations, the oil by-pass button is not pushed in completely. More often than not, it's because an aftermarket filter that is shorter than OEM is used. I've read reports of "oil light at idle" happening after an OEM filter installation also. Long ago, Purolator filters crossed referenced for the MINI had incidences of collapse. An inoperative by-pass nozzle is not likely to be damaging for the short term. In this case oil is by-passing the oil filter, but continues to lubricate. Most of the other possibilities are potentially damaging.

    Here's another easy trouble shooting step, with the oil filter removed, push in the by-pass button/nozzle to see if it depresses and springs back.

    Not all aftermarket oil filters are the wrong size, or have poor filtering performance.
     
  12. JimMini2006r52

    JimMini2006r52 New Member

    Oct 15, 2017
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    2006 Mini Cooper S r52

    New owner, oil light comes on after maybe 10 minutes. I had already changed the oil, and checked the filter. I changed the oil sending unit, still the same. I added a craven speed oil sending unit adapter so that I add a mechanical oil pressure gauge. Now that I have the gauge, I can see that the oil pressure is very good, even when the oil pressure light comes on. So I disconnected the wire at the sending unit, guess what, it still comes on. I must have a shorted wire, or the light has a short. At least the motor is good! Any suggestions are welcome


    87,000 miles.
     
  13. fishmonger

    fishmonger Well-Known Member

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    redneck solution is to put some tape over the light. Getting behind the dash to fix one wire is a massive effort.

    More technical solution would be to find out if the sending unit must be connected to show a certain resistance. Disconnecting it may alter the output to the low pressure threshold, so not do what you want. Replacing it with a resistor of the proper value for good pressure output may get your light to go away if it is related to the sensor. If the light still is off for 10 mins and then comes on, even with the sensor disconnected, then that's not the case. It would be on immediately.
     
  14. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    Nov 27, 2013
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    What pressures are you reading at Idle and Cruising speed?
     
  15. Goldsmithy

    Goldsmithy MINI Alliance Ambassador
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    Jan 30, 2015
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    I checked the pressure indicated on a VDO gauge at idle, at 2000rpm, and at 3000 rpm. At idle it had 18 lbs., at 2000 rpm it had 39 lbs and at 3000 rpm it had 60 lbs of pressure. The car has 23,000 miles and I use Molylube 5W40 oil. The oil pressure gauge is electrical.
     
  16. Canusrufis

    Canusrufis RMW Powered R53
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    Those look like cold to warming up temps. At temp, pressures for me: 6-10psi at idle, then ~40psi at cruise ~3krpm. I'm trying to help you establish its only a gauge/sensor issue b/c a bad pump is the worst for these things.
     
  17. ERR404DRG

    ERR404DRG New Member

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    I signed up just in case someone else has this issue and my solution helps them, I apologize in advance for the length. I had the same issue as OP, I had just done an oil change then a few days later the oil light would come on any time I idled. The car only has 114k on it so the bearings should be fine (this scared the crap out of me since a lot of people said the symptoms lined up), I run Liqui Moly 5w40 and it was changed days ago with an oem filter so I figures it may be the sensor. I purchased an oem oil pressure sensor, but the issue was still there so I started digging deeper. Turns out the oil filter housings changed after 04' I believe so the filters are year specific and the early ones like mine are supposed to have a plastic cage that you insert into the filter, later model filters have this built in; on top of this the oil filter caps are different and if you swap them for one reason or another you can really cause some damage. After checking my cap I verified I had the older version and that I was missing the plastic cage, who knows how long it's been missing but i see that some people mention a spring at the base of the oil housing and I see nothing (turns out its only visible on the later model). After reading more it looks like the elusive spring is not replaceable and Mini recommends changing the ENTIRE housing! With things looking grim the cheapest housing I saw online was about $300 and with money being tight I checked my local junk yards. I found an 06' cooper base like mine and checked the cap to make sure it was the new one and pulled it off, out the door I only had to pay $11! I took some comparative pics for others in the same situation, it looks like I could have gotten away with a new plastic cage but now I have a newer less maintenance assembly and the oil light is finally gone. FYI, the gaskets ARE different, but they bolt up the same no problem! New housing is on the left, older on the right 20200420_204928.jpg 20200420_204955.jpg 20200420_205030.jpg 20200420_205053.jpg 20200420_205113.jpg 20200420_205138.jpg 20200420_205144.jpg 20200420_205151.jpg 20200420_205304.jpg
     
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  18. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2009
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    Welcome to M/A!

    What year and model is your MINI? Where are you located, in case you have other problems?
     
  19. Crashton

    Crashton Club Coordinator

    Jun 4, 2009
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    Nice job of trouble shooting! Thanks for sharing this.

    Welcome to M/A!
     
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  20. MCS02

    MCS02 Moderator
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    Jul 31, 2009
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    Welcome to MA. This must be a first. Most join to ask a question, then never let us know the outcome. You joined with an answer, great! Please stick around.
    If you don’t mind I would like to make your post an article so it will be easy for people to find. I will place it in the Gen 1 section.
    Thank you for posting.
     
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