2nd Gen R56 Cooper S P115C / P1497 possible valve cover or gasket problem

Discussion in '2nd Generation: 2007+ R55 through R61' started by bluejae, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    hi everyone...

    i just joined and was looking to get some assistance... i've got a r56 2007 mini s that is out of warranty... here's my problem

    about 3 days ago i got a check engine light... i read the code and it said p115c with a note saying 'fuel and air metering'... just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, i cleared the code and drove it just fine for the next 3 days... until i got another cel... i expected to get the same one but this time it was p1497... from my google research, this code is likely some sort of vacuum leak somewhere... and it seems the common place is the valve cover...

    the next day is when i also started to notice a hissing sound coming from the engine bay... and when i shut the engine off... it hisses slowly and sounds like it's winding down... almost sounds like the turbo is spooling... i've put my ear all around to try and pin point the sound and it seems to be coming from the middle of the valve cover... between the left 2 spark plugs...

    i looked all around to see if i could see a noticeable crack but wasn't able to locate one... i did however saw some oil residue on the bottom right corner of the valve cover... bottom right corner meaning... if i had the hood open, and i'm looking down at the valve cover... it would be the bottom right edge...

    i'm guessing that's not a great sign...

    i also found while looking around the engine bay is that the last place that did my oil change apparently opened up the airbox to replace the air filter... but didn't put the cover on correctly... the front was screwed down, but the back of it wasn't inserted into the proper places... so it was slightly lifted up... enough for me to see a piece of the filter... although it was a little unsettling to see that... it was an easy fix... i dusted off the filter before putting the cover back on properly...

    the sound i'm hearing from the engine bay is exactly like the one from this youtube video
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArajakguJ2Y]2008 MINI Cooper S vacuum leak - YouTube[/ame]

    so what i'm planning to do is purchase a new valve cover and valve cover gasket from the dealership... and replace them myself... from some write ups i've seen and videos i've watched, it doesn't seem to be a high level of difficulty as long as i have the right tools and i'm careful not to over torque...

    i would love to hear some other members opinion on my problem... and any tips you can give me for venturing on with this repair...

    is it possible that it's not the valve cover that's the problem even though the sound is almost exactly the same as the video?
     
  2. Jason Montague

    Jason Montague New Member
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    :cornut: 115c- is the turbo intake hose(from the air cleaner) rubber and collapsing especially after rapidly decelerating from highway speeds? Check this hose thoroughly. My Margi(08 R56 MCS/JCWm) did this with the old Alta non reinforced turbo intake hose that would be collapsed by the negative pressure gradient at the turbo intake. Now the hose is a metal pipe and no problems. 1497- thoroughly check the post turbocharger hoses, pipes, and intercooler for high pressure air leaks. Valve cover gasket(?), I don't know. Though it may be leaking, there is not usually a high pressure build up between the head and valve cover(low pressure from PCV system but not high pressure). Other gear heads will probably check in later.:Thumbsup:

    Jason
     
  3. Jason Montague

    Jason Montague New Member
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    :cornut: I forgot to welcome you to MA the friendly informative MINI site. :Thumbsup:

    Jason
     
  4. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

    Apr 3, 2010
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    Well bluejay, I can tell you a thing or two about the p115 code. I had that for a long time and tried many different things (some by the dealer, some on my own) and never did find a solution. There may be more than one cause for that error as some people have had different fixes that worked. I tried them all.
    A leak somewhere between the turbo and the intake manifold seems the most likely, but since you also have a vacuum leak, it may well be your valve cover. It is super easy to change and the gasket and oil cap are included with the part. I think it was around $250. You will absolutely have to purchase a small torque wrench that does low values accurately (about 8 ft.lbs I think) in order to properly install it. There are instructions in the Bently manual on the proper installation - the bolts need to be tightened in a certain order. Hopefully that works and you didn't just waste $250.
     
  5. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    the p115 code was the first time ever... and after i cleared it... it didn't come back... but instead something new popped up... and considering how it was a few days apart, i'm guessing it might be the same problem...

    i wish it only cost $250... i'm picking up the parts today at the dealership for $360+tax... i found it online for $308 + shipping... but even with expedited shipping, it would take a week to get to me... and unfortunately i need the car taken care of asap...

    i don't have the bentley manual so if someone can provide me the order that they should be bolted... i read somewhere that it's 9 ft lbs so i'll have something for that... unless someone tells me otherwise...

    wish me luck on the repairs...
     
  6. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

    Apr 3, 2010
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    as luck would have it I happen to have a scanner handy:

    [​IMG]

    remove pcv hose on right side of valve cover (there's a clip to pull out before you can to detach the pcv)
    remove other pcv hose from back side of valve cover
    remove ignition coils
    unclip wiring harness, remove ground fastener, move out of the way
    between bolt 4&5 in the picture there's a sensor you need to unplug then unscrew to remove
    then you can remove all the bolts
    obviously remove anything else that gets in the way, but that's about it.

    note that they missed a bolt, which I labelled 3b and tightened it between 3&4
    I didn't add any silicone sealant at the half moon gasket area as they suggested. The gasket provided sealed around everything nicely. Also I couldn't figure out what they were talking about.

    There is also a set of O shaped gaskets around the spark plug holes - don't forget to remove those in case they didn't lift off with the cover. There should be new ones provided (maybe already installed in the cover).
     
  7. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    thank you very much :Thumbsup:

    i picked up the part today... when i had called the dealership for the part, they gave me the price and i asked to have it held until i got there... when i picked it up... it was $70 cheaper than what i was told on the phone... i was curious why but either way it was cheaper...

    there happened to be a tech there talking with the guy cashing me out... he was a nice guy and asked me what i needed the part for... and we started chatting and he gave me some tips for the install...

    the interesting part was when he told me to make sure i hand tighten the bolts... i mentioned that i read that the bolts should be torqued to about 7 ft lbs... ... he said that wasn't necessary and that hand tightening it would be more than enough... just not to over do it
     
  8. r34king

    r34king Member

    Aug 18, 2011
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    If it is hissing when you turn the engine off I can almost guarantee its a bad valve cover. There is a little orange disk on the under side that goes bad. I've replaced many a valve cover at work for the same problem. Changing the gasket alone won't likely flux your problem. Hope this helps
     
  9. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    thank you... i'm going to try replacing the valve cover and hopefully it works
     
  10. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Any idea what is making them go bad when they fail? I assume it's the one way valve that's part of the PCV system. The "S" has a "one way" valve that closes under boost and then opens under vacuum and controls the direction the PCV vapors travel. One direction is towards the cool inlet side of the turbo, the other direction is into the hose leading to the intake manifold. I assume this is the valve that is failing.
     
  11. r34king

    r34king Member

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    My best guess would be either 1: cheap part or 2: too long between oil changes deteriorating the material
     
  12. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    new valve cover installed... started it up... sound is gone... hissing is gone after engine shut off...

    now to clear the cel and hope it doesn't come back...

    will save victory dance until tomorrow
     
  13. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

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  14. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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  15. bravos1

    bravos1 New Member

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    good news indeed!
     
  16. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    drove it around tonight... engine felt good... idle felt good... no cel light... drove a little spirited and no cel light... but something felt off...

    that's when i realized that i couldn't hear the turbo spool like i used to... i used to be able to hear it on boost... and also when i let off the throttle while in boost... but now it seems awfully quiet...

    did i miss something? or did the new parts quiet down the car?

    could it have anything to do with me fixing the airbox lid that wasn't put back on properly? could that have made my car louder than it should have been...
     
  17. r34king

    r34king Member

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    Yes the air filter lid would be the culprit there
     
  18. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    i hope that's right... because i really can't hear anything now from inside the car with windows up and radio off.... can't hear turbo spooling... but car is quick and smooth
     
  19. grodenglaive

    grodenglaive New Member

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    I never heard my turbo - just the blow-off valve as it got older, but even that was pretty subtle
     
  20. bluejae

    bluejae New Member

    Sep 19, 2012
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    since i missed the sound from whoever installed the airbox lid incorrectly, i did some research and decided to remove the stock airbox... i added a k&n filter to the end... now i can definitely hear the turbo spooling and a louder blow off sound when letting of the throttle...

    it's like a new car now... since i also switched from run flats to a slightly wider non-runflat tire set up... 215/45-17 the ride is much better and definitely a lot quieter... also got an alignment
     

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