Previous and Current Track Mini Issues....

This is how my engine sounded last weekend... I really didn't know what was wrong with so I called out a mobile mechanic, he diagnosed it as either a coil, a plug, or a lead or that the mini had skipped a tooth on the timing chain. My aggravation with this car continued!

So when i bought this car in 2017 I didn't realise that the OBD port didn't work... this lead to massive issues when the airbag light for no reason decided to come on shortly after its 2017 mot in October and without an obd port there was no way of turning it off. The first garage I took the car to told me that when they tested the car it was low on power... this lead them to change the battery and also the alternator (both were unnecessary as I later found out). At a cost of £470 for labour to fit the alternator the battery and also do some minor diagnostic work they came to the conclusion that it was the ECU that was at fault and recommended i got one cloned...

So I did...

A week or so passed an I got my new cloned ECU back, whilst the ECU was being cloned, the company doing the cloning called me to tell me there was nothing wrong with my ECU and that it was in fact fine, regardless I asked them to clone it anyway at a cost of £220. The cloned ECU as expected did not work.

I then called a local tuning company, they said they would happily look at it and see if there is anything they could find, they stripped the dash and dug deep looking for anything they could find. At one point I called them to see how they were getting on... They gave me hope saying that they had just found a tracked under the seat and that they were hoping that removing it may clear the issue! Alas it did not... and at another £300 for the 2 days they had the car.

It is at this point I found a local mobile Auto Electrician that would look at the car for free for one hour. He came out and spent and within the hour determined that in his opinion it was it was the center dials that are blocking the signal as there is a mini ecu within it that can go faulty.... Time for new dials!! So onto ebay and I ordered a set of second hand dials at £35 I changed the center dial and this as expected made no difference....

I then at this point got recommended the Link G4+ ECU someone suggesting that i may be able to reset the airbag light using the usb lead provided to bypass everything else and clear codes directly at the ECU... This didn't work.. I ordered the Link ECU at a cost of £1250 😱 😱 😱 and although its a fantastic bit of kit and i will most definitely need it in the future its still alot to shed out to fix a problem that appears to be unfixable....

Its at this point i take matters into my own hands and strip down everything in search of a broken wire, or burning, or anything for that matter! It's at this point of stripping down that i admitted defeat, there was nothing! Everything was perfect!... I then decide to call the same Auto Electrician out to look again whilst it is stripped down, this time I booked him for a day at a cost of £200 and low and behold at 3pm he had found the issue!!! The power steering module was knackered, this means that the signal to the ECU was being blocked by the power steering pump essentially. This although annoying meant that the obd port would only work with the power steering disconnected, he fitted a couple of spade connectors and now i can connect and un-connect to my hearts content to read codes and have it tuned etc. whilst i save for a new PSP (power steering works fine so really annoying!)....

It is at the point the Video at the top of the page comes into play... the above story take place over 2 years! Obviously, the car wont pass a MOT with the Airbag Light on... so this can now be cleared thanks to the above fix.... however, the phone call from the Auto Electrician wasn't all good.... the engine sounded like a bag of nails (as above).... It is at this point i called the mobile mechanic...

It was at this point I consulted the R53 Owners Club on facebook for any ideas they may have on what the engine sounds could be.... a lot of people said against the mobile mechanic and that it sounded like the Supercharger was leaking... so we reseated the airbox and the intercooler, once we did the the car sounded loads better but still not right... Here is a video of it after

So although it sounded a lot better it still didn't sound right? we stripped down the Rocker cover at this point to have a look and see if indeed the chain had skipped a tooth as the mechanic suggested. Once we got under there we could see no evidence on either cog, the chain was tight as my wife's purse and everything looked new almost (Car had a head rebuild before I bought it in 2017) the rockers were solid the springs weren't broken... there was nothing to suggest that anything was wrong... see pics below

So we set about putting it back together... and you know what? It started perfectly, sounded absolutely perfect? what it was I do not know! However the old girl is alive again! in the 2 years I have owned the car it has cover 3980 miles.... it's been off the road for the majority of this! Now finally i can sort the last few issues before it's MOT in a week or to.... there is an oil leak from the rocker cover (I noticed I have pinched the gasket at one side) there is another oil leak somewhere else which i cannot work out... (possibly the sump) and the brakes need bleeding as they are ridiculously crappy!... hopefully i will be able to sort most of this at the weekend, although this car never makes things easy!

Thanks for reading!

Jon @Mod A Mini

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