2nd Gen R56 Cooper S Thoughts on Engine Failures - R56

Discussion in '2nd Generation: 2007+ R55 through R61' started by Doggybags, May 18, 2011.

  1. Doggybags

    Doggybags New Member

    May 9, 2009
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    I must confess, I still wander about the other site a bit. I know, I know:blush2:.

    Anyhow, it seems that more and more threads keep popping up over there about R56 engine failures. Seems to be several issues, from massive oil leaks due to timing chain tensioner walking out of the head, cam gear falling off the cam due to vaccum pump failure, and some finger pointing about tunes and the like.

    I don't recall ever reading about these issues on M|A so I thought I'd ask if anyone here has had any such problems or has heard anything about these issues. I have an R53 and the only engine failures I've ever heard of were more related to pushing the performance limits on the engine, not from typical road use.

    Looking to possibly buy a new car in the upcoming months and looking at options.

    Thanks:Thumbsup:
     
  2. KC Jr 54

    KC Jr 54 New Member

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    Just another reason r53 > r56 ;)
     
  3. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
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    I had the tensioner replaced in my '09 Clubman at 3K miles, I now have about 33K on it with absolutely no further problems.

    I think there are two distinct areas of concern, neither should be a problem for a knowledgeable owner, but for someone who buys a used car and is unused to the normal sound, the noise the engine makes when the tensioner is on it's way to failing might not raise an alarm, then it's too late. When you read those threads, notice how many of them are started by folks who just bought their used car....

    Anyone who has an '09-'11 should have at least put a wrench on theirs (or have the dealer do it since it's in warranty) to make sure it's tight - that easily eliminates the possibility of it backing out. Once it's torqued properly, there's no problem.

    I've been campaigning to any R56 owner, but especially those '07-'09 owners, to buy and change their tensioner now - if it hasn't already been done by the dealer. It's a fairly inexpensive part and it's not that hard to do and could save significant problems down the road.

    Bottom line, the tensioner is an area of concern, but it's easy to deal with it, and once done, it seems not to be a problem - at least if caught soon enough.

    As to the R53 v R56 comment, both designs have their problems, there have been plenty of R53 failures over the years too - they have no room to crow IMHO - and I've owned both. That said, they don't make an R53 anymore, so if you want a new(er) car - you have no choice, do you?

    It doesn't seem to be a problem on the '11 and '12 cars with the double Vanos system, FWIW....
     
  4. Justa Jim

    Justa Jim Well-Known Member
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    Once, yet again, I am so happy I own a "justa". :lol:

    Jim
     
  5. KC Jr 54

    KC Jr 54 New Member

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    I was being playful and in no way 100% serious. The r56 is better in some ways (lighter, MUCH more torque, tuuuuurbo, cooler interior), but i will never own one. While there were problems with the r53, i think the issues that have surfaced with r56 far over shadow anything wrong with the earlier year cars. For me, minor things like PS Pumps, and leaky thermostat housings are much more tolerable then needing the head removed, or the whole motor replaced....
     
  6. Zapski

    Zapski Well-Known Member

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    I just got my 08 MCS a few months ago, and thanks to places like this have had the timing chain/tensioner replaced under warranty. I'm the kind of person who researches everything that I buy if it costs more than $100, and the farther over $100 it costs, the more I research.

    If I hadn't read about the rattle, I probably would have ignored it - since it was intermittent, and only happened on cold mornings.

    It's great that there's such a community out here that can convey needed knowledge well ahead of trouble!
     
  7. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Just a quick note...
    It's not necessarily related to the temperature outside. A "cold start" rattle has more to do with starting up the engine after it has sat for a while. Which means you can get the "cold start" rattle in the summer or in the dead of winter.
     
  8. jiminni

    jiminni Well-Known Member

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    Well think of this, Mini engineers when they came up with the JCW seemed to think with it's, what 20 more hp?, needed to up grade the block. Now we have guys tuning, uping the boost, adding larger turbos.....ect on regular MCS's and problems are surfacing.....coincidence?
     
  9. iwashmycar

    iwashmycar Active Member

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    It is rather scary. I'm curious to see what the newest motors with thier minor changes show us as far as reliability goes.... Still not expecting much :(
     
  10. KC Jr 54

    KC Jr 54 New Member

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    I had that thought going through my head as well, but don't know exactly what they upgraded. But I agree, about the engineers...
     
  11. Redbeard

    Redbeard JCW: because fast is fun!
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    I have a 2010 MCS. No tensioner issues. No carbon issues (though that is inevitable with DI). No fuel pump issues. 39k miles with 7 track events and a season and a half of autoX as well as daily driving.

    One warranty issue: I had excessive flywheel chatter and a stiff clutch pedal that was because of improper assembly at the plant. Replaced under warranty.

    I am running the stock tune (never reflashed) and stock suspension pieces though.
     
  12. Zapski

    Zapski Well-Known Member

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    I should have been a bit more precise. In mine, the rattle was a bit more pronounced on cold starts on cold mornings, than if the weather was a bit warmer. It did happen in any weather.

    It was still intermittent though, so I filmed every start of the car for a month on my phone, and compiled them into what I am sure was the most boring DVD ever. ;)

    When I went into the shop to get the issue addressed, I handed them the DVD and told them to watch it if the issue didn't happen when they started the car. The DVD was titled and chaptered for the bad starts vs the good.

    My friend who's a mechanic at a Dodge dealership assures me that I became an instant "legendary customer" for that. :)
     
  13. DneprDave

    DneprDave Well-Known Member
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    The blocks are the same on the Cooper S and the JCW.

    Dave
     
  14. jiminni

    jiminni Well-Known Member

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    I thought I read that they added some extra gusseting to them? I know the turbo is different and also the pistons. I'll try and find what I read. Think it was in Motoringfile?
     
  15. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

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    Have to remember we pretty much only hear about the problems and these are in a subset of all MINI owners. Plus as a group we tend to be a bit more spirited in our motoring activities then the avg MINI buyer these days.
     
  16. KittyMini

    KittyMini Club Coordinator

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    I have an '09 MCS and have had no issues. After reading about the tensioner issues a while back, I had it in for the fix, but haven't noticed a difference from before or after that.

    I do recall the '02s and '03s having their share of issues, so I don't think the new gens are any different that way. My '03 had the dreaded "Midland" tranny :yikes:

    I would have preferred if MINI, or BMW rather, kept the superchargers..... IMO, FWD cars and turbos don't go well together. Too much torque steer, and a little lag.

    And Jim- you have an R56 (Justa or not), so you're in our misfit bunch as well :devil:

    All-in-all... I'm still very happy to be driving a MINI... wouldn't want it any other way :Thumbsup:
     
  17. Doggybags

    Doggybags New Member

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    Thanks for the input everyone, I appreciate it. Apart from the tensioner issues from stock, it seems to me that the R56 does not necessarily appreciate being modded too aggressively. Most failures I've been reading about seem to be in cars that have been tuned or otherwise modified. Apparently the piston design does not allow for too much additional boost without failing. Hey, I guess you can't find the limits of engines without breaking a few of them right?

    I guess that the Prince engine and me would probably not get along too well since I like tweaking with motors too much. Too bad, since the tuned figures have been quite nice with all that torque!
     
  18. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    I really haven't had any problems with my R56, other than the distorted hood scoop, which was taken care of under warranty.

    I keep wondering about that tensioner issue. So does one simply take it in without any symptoms or do I need to wait until the noise shows up with the tensioner? I always thought MINI was pretty tough on doing a fix without a problem being evident.
     
  19. KittyMini

    KittyMini Club Coordinator

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    #19 KittyMini, May 20, 2011
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
    I wasn't even sure if it was an issue. I just took it in and said I thought it sounded kinda noisy when it was cold.

    They did say they replaced that part.
     
  20. Metalman

    Metalman Well-Known Member
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    Thanks, I'll bring it up with my service advisor....:D
     

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