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MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions

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  • Yea. I got nowhere with their 'customer relations' people and was not allowed to contact anyone higher in the company so I have given up on the car, Mini's and other BMW Group product. Transmissions should be built to last, particularly when they cost so much to fix. It's pretty hard to stomach that when you were told you were buying a quality product.

    Am now resigned to being a Mini and BMW hater for life. The strangest part of the experience is that the company is not concerned about this. It is going to cost them far more over time in lost business than it would have cost to keep us happy. If this attitude is widespread they have a serious problem. I wouldn't buy any shares in BWM Group...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited December 2011
    Just FYI, the engine head has nothing to do with the transmission. It's a part of the engine, and if it "fried" as you stated, then you ran the car in an overheated condition... You cooked the engine, which goes a long way to explaining why your clutch and transmission failed.

    NO warranty would cover such an event, regardless of manufacturer. It would, and is, considered driver abuse, regardless of manufacturer.

    Seriously, after such a length of time, I would have moved on. IMO, life is just too short...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Well, as you said, if it was a widespread problem, it would be serious.

    Yet, BMW sold 242,000 MINIs in 2010.

    And, it may indeed be a problem. If it is, I haven't seen anything to indicate its a widespread one.

    Every manufacturer has dissatisfied customers, and BMW is no different.

    It sucks for you, and I sincerely mean that... Unfortunately, someone always winds up with a lemon. I have had my share, so I feel your pain.

    It's just a car. It was a bad experience. When I have had those, I learned what I could from it and simply moved on...

    To expect a manufacturer to repair a vehicle so far out of warranty in both miles and years is simply unrealistic, IMO. Do you think GM or Ford would cover it? Toyota? Lexus?
  • ihatemyminiihatemymini Posts: 13
    edited December 2011
    I didn't fry anything. I am well aware that the engine problem and transmission are two separate issues. However they happened at the same time. If you look back on this thread you will see that I sat for hours in 96 degree heat behind a fatal accident on I75. My heat gauge did not show the car overheating. There was no way to get off the interstate. In addition, there were thousands of other cars stuck the same way and none of them were melted down at the side of the road. Just my Mini. I have been told that this happened because of parts made of cheap alloys that are susceptible to melting when exposed to heat. I will be having an engineering firm analyze these parts to disprove or prove this. At any rate, none of this was the result of "bad driving skills".

    I can't move on. The car has been at the dealer for a month now. They haven't fixed it either. Until I get rid of this car I cannot move on. I still owe on this piece of junk.

    Yes, when there us a well-documented problem with a car I do think the compay should fix it.

    I've learned all right though. Never, ever buy a BMW product. I have been driving back and forth to Atlanta from Rochester for years. I have sat in the heat behind bad accidents in many cars in the heat for long periods of time. The tow truck guys we met in Atlanta say that BMW keeps them in business. The repair shop folks concur. They fix the exact same things on these cars over, and over and over. When asked they strongly recommend their customers NOT buy a BMW product.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Frankly, after going back and reading your postings, I'm a bit confused.

    You started out by stating you had transmission issues, and that it was a 2007 S model with 50K miles. Did a certified Mini shop do the repairs? Didn't your car come with a 4 year 50K drivetrain warranty?

    Then, you say later that the car has been out of service for much longer than a year (did you write 17 months?) and somewhere along the way evolved into engine problems as well.

    A better detailed timeline would help us get a better grasp on your situation.

    However, for the record, just because you had a car problem at that time and no one else did is irrelevant... Just as you having a flat tire and no one else having one in no way would, in itself, indicate a faulty tire.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "I'll wave to you from my Nissan..."

    How's this for irony?

    I just got off the phone from the local Nissan dealer, where I have my daughter's 2009 Versa (49,000 miles). It has developed a "clacking/thumping noise" that is speed related.

    The service manager said the transmission is shot (bad internal bearing), and Nissan doesn't allow the dealers to rebuild their CVT transmissions (sound familiar?)

    So, it's a 1 week wait for a new unit to be delivered and installed. Nissan has OKed the swap-out, so it should be good to go.

    Fortunately, I have another vehicle for her to use during this week of her discontent.

    As I said earlier, every manufacturer makes a flub every now and then...
  • I meant if their poor attitude regarding keeping customers is widespread the company will eventually go down.

    I know the car is old but the transmission is still obviously rubbish compared to industry standards. I would have been happy if they met me halfway with costs perhaps.

    Mitsubishi offer 10 yrs or 100,000ks on drivetrain so they would have covered it under warranty. I seriously doubt I would have had a failed transmission if I was driving a GM, Ford or Toyota. Not sure about Lexus.

    Will just never go near a Mini or BMW again is the endgame of my story.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited December 2011
    I know the car is old but the transmission is still obviously rubbish compared to industry standards. I would have been happy if they met me halfway with costs perhaps.

    Mitsubishi offer 10 yrs or 100,000ks on drivetrain so they would have covered it under warranty. I seriously doubt I would have had a failed transmission if I was driving a GM, Ford or Toyota. Not sure about Lexus.


    I understand completely. But, Mitsubishi isn't really burning up the market in car sales... is it?

    I, too, would have expectations that, even thought the product warranty was for 4 years/50K miles, the expectation for a much longer life span.

    You've stumbled over the dual meaning of a warranty: Yes, it gives protection to the consumer, but it also limits the liability of the manufacturer. After all, if there was no warranty, you might be able to convince a arbiter/judge that its a reasonable expectation for a car to last longer than 8 years/100K miles, but its much more difficult when the car company can say "You knew the warranty and understood the limits of our liability" before you purchased the product.

    Its the "dirty little secret" in the warranty "business".

    I currently have a Nissan Versa (09/49K miles) which, at this very time, is having a new CVT transmission installed to replace the defective one now in the car. The original warranty when I purchased the car was 60K miles, but Nissan extended CVT warranties to 10 year/120K miles because there were some concerns in the market about the reliability of CVT's.

    Having stated that, I was the first one to post (as far as I know) on the Nissan Versa section about CVT failures/replacements. At least, there was no thread about CVT's in the Versa section, and this is at least the 5th year for
    the model.

    Having said that, I don't think there are any issues "at large" with Nissan CVT's, even with my problems. Sometimes, your number comes up and you "win" the broken car lotto.

    But, as I said, I am sympathetic to your problem and resultant attitude.
  • My point is that I do not believe the car should have melted down, even giving the heat and lengthy stop and go. The car should have been able to handle it. If the conditions were so extreme that it caused this, then my car would not have been the only one to meltvdown as there were literally thousands of cars exposed to the exact same conditions. The car has never run since the meltdown.

    17 months. Four repair shops including the dealer I bought it from where it has now been for six weeks No fix. $6000.00 in repairs. $875.00 in towing charges. $6000.00 in payments for a car I have no use of. $1000.00 to insure a car I don't have.

    Somebody described Mini Coopers to me as "scrap metal". That pretty much says it.
  • Overall, you can believe I am somehow responsible for my Mini melting down if you want. I am confident that I treated my car well and that the car is defective for the reasons the mechanics have given me.

    Even if you do not think BMW has a quality control problem I would still recommend you not buy one of these if you travel at all. The fact is that the car cannot be fixed by anybody but the dealer and if your car drops dead where there is no dealer you are just screwed. The corporate folks at BMW tell me that their mechanics are given special training to repair these cars that normal repair shops do not have. That's just fine if there is a dealer around but if it breaks down like mine did where the closest dealer is hundreds of miles away you will find yourself in a very bad situation. No car should be this hard to fix. Even a shop that bills themselves as a Mini Specialty shop could not fix this car.

    It's been at the dealer now for six weeks.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    My point is that I do not believe the car should have melted down, even giving the heat and lengthy stop and go. The car should have been able to handle it. If the conditions were so extreme that it caused this, then my car would not have been the only one to meltvdown as there were literally thousands of cars exposed to the exact same conditions. The car has never run since the meltdown.

    17 months. Four repair shops including the dealer I bought it from where it has now been for six weeks No fix. $6000.00 in repairs. $875.00 in towing charges. $6000.00 in payments for a car I have no use of. $1000.00 to insure a car I don't have.

    Somebody described Mini Coopers to me as "scrap metal". That pretty much says it.


    The problem I have with your continued responses is that you seem to be purposely evasive in providing specifics...

    According to what I HAVE been able to gleen from your postings, the malfunction(s) occurred well within the 4 year time frame provided by MINI, as well as the 50K mile limit.

    You may well indeed have a legitimate issue with MINI, but if you have been as evasive in providing them that facts of the event as you have been on this forum, IMO, its no surprise you are still without wheels. Four repair shops? Which one(s) were certified MINI dealers? If you took the car to a non-MINI dealer before you had it examined by a certified dealer, its no surprise you have gooten a cold shoulder from MINI. Warranty claim procedures are CLEARLY spelled out in the owner's manual.

    As far as being at the MINI dealer for 6 weeks, you haven't told the complete story. Any qualified dealer could assemble a complete car in that time, so its pretty clear the dealer is waiting on something from you. What that is, I don't know.

    I am not your enemy here. I am just attempting to determine if you have a legitimate gripe, or whether you are just venting. Either way, I personally don't care.

    Fortunately, most readers will be able to see through the apparent subterfuge you have created here, whether intentional or not, and give your comments a fair evaluation.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited December 2011
    The fact is that the car cannot be fixed by anybody but the dealer and if your car drops dead where there is no dealer you are just screwed. The corporate folks at BMW tell me that their mechanics are given special training to repair these cars that normal repair shops do not have.

    OK, that's a fair statement. And, for the most part, I agree that the lack of dealers can, and probably do, cause some owners consternation.

    But, its should not be a surprise that 1: A manufacturer gives its repair personnel special training (indeed, I would hope that to be the case!), and 2: The dealer network and placement is no "well-kept" secret. Its public knowledge. However, there are independent MINI service shops out there, and as in all modern cars, there are some specialty tools (some VERY EXPENSIVE) that they need to provide full service. Its a fact of modern cars these days.

    Take a Nissan with a CVT to a Ford, Toyota or GM dealer and see what they tell you about servicing a defective CVT transmission. They will only do a full-unit replacement.

    I would bever buy a BMW or MINI if I lived in the Yukon Territory for use as a daily driver. Then again, if I lived in an urban environment, it would cause me only a little bit of concern. That's a personal choice every buyer of a car has to make.

    But it seems a bit unreasonable to curse the manufacturer of a product for lack of service centers, especially when that info can be easily found before making the purchase.

    EVERY car is going to need servicing at some point.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    My 2007 S melted down on I75 in Lexington.

    MINI has dealers in Louisville and Cincinatti.

    While that isn't 5 minutes away from Lexington, its not 1000 miles, either.

    You didn't take the car to a MINI dealer after it failed, did you?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    17 months. Four repair shops including the dealer I bought it from where it has now been for six weeks No fix. $6000.00 in repairs. $875.00 in towing charges. $6000.00 in payments for a car I have no use of. $1000.00 to insure a car I don't have.

    You know what the oddest thing is here in your case?

    Even though your car was well within the 48 month warranty time frame,
    and, according to your mileage claim, at the upper end of the mileage allowance under warranty... you never had the car examined by an official MINI dealer until 6 weeks ago... well after the warranty period ended.

    Regardless the cause of the problem (whether or not you knowingly ran the car over temp or not), you still had a chance to have repairs made under warranty. There are 2 MINI dealers withing approx. 100 miles of Lexington, and even if you had to pay the transport fee (which MINI may have also picked up under warranty coverage), it wouldn't have been that much money.

    Yet, you bash MINI as if they had intentionally tried to screw you.

    Even the best engineered automobile will suffer the occasional breakdown... sometimes things just happen.

    I certainly understand being unhappy with a vehicle that does let you down, but why you took the road you did, and blame MINI for all your woes is puzzling, to say the least.

    You are now thousands of $$$ in the hole, have been without your car for well over a year, and have no clear prospect of ever getting it back into running order.

    Clearly, there's something wrong with this picture!
  • ihatemyminiihatemymini Posts: 13
    edited January 2012
    Well my car is finally being fixed. It has been at a dealer for six weeks. The mechanics who have worked on the car met with the service manager and they have agreed to fix the car. They have had it now for six weeks. I should finally get it back in 7-10 business days.

    Our mechanic asked us to let him handle this with the dealer and clearly that was a good choice. He can prove everything he has said. They might have argued with me but they didn't argue with him.

    The car is in the hands of the dealer. Let's see what they do with it.

    Eighteen months since that car melted down. Never gonna buy another car that cannot be fixed in any city in the USA.
  • ihatemyminiihatemymini Posts: 13
    edited January 2012
    Oh I did talk to Mini Cooper corporate about this problem and I got nowhere. What they wanted to do to resolve this was to give me $1000 towards a new one and just trade it in. Huh? Can't say I would EVER buy a Mini again.

    As far as my "bashing Mini" - you bet I did! This should never have happened! The fact that nobody but a dealer can fix this car is a significant issue that prospective buyers should be well aware of, particularly people who spend a lot of time traveling out of town. If you buy this car you risk having a problem finding yourself on the side of the road where there is no dealer. The third shop this car was in is a Mini specialty shop - that is all they do and they could not fix it. The issue is more about the difficulty getting the car fixed when you are out of town. Had I done as you suggested I would have wound up in a city I didn't know, dealing with acdealer I didn't know and sitting in a hotel waiting for it to be fixed. Since the dealer has had it for six weeks I might have quite a wait!

    It isceasy in hindsight to tell somebody what they should have done. Perhaps I would have been better off if I had had it towed directly to a dealer. Maybe not. I believe everything I did, knowing only what I knew at the time, was perfectly reasonable. I didn't have your benefit of knowing what was going to happen.

    You say Mini would have towed it or covered the towing problems. You know that because ..... I talked to corporate. They were unwilling to do anything but pay half the cost of the parts.

    As for having somebody else fix the car I had my reasons. I had bought my car from that dealer and never even got it off the lot. The car had an immediate issue and it took two weeks to get it fixed. Nobody would return my calls. I did not want to deal with them again. The mechanic we took the car to is a certified BMW mechanic. The car presented as a transmission problem and he did not expect the problems he ran in to. It was not until the transmission was repaired that the engine problems were discovered.

    Things are not always as simple as you might think. There was a whole bunch of things that happened here, but I can't write the whole story.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Yes, you CAN write the whole story, but you chose to write only one side of it.

    And, what you wrote was easily shot full of holes.

    It's unfortunate that you were without your car for such a long time, but you are the primary reason you had to wait. There are plenty of Mini dealers in the US well qualified to repair Mini vehicles.

    IMO...While I'm happy for you that you are finally going to get some satisfaction in this case, I would say BMW And Mini are probably better off if you keep your word and never cross their doorways again.
  • Hello,

    Does anyone know if there is a recall on the mini cooper automatic transmission or a class action law suit that is going on I can sign up for?
    I have a 2005 mini cooper s and once the car worms up the the transmission sounds like it slips and then slams into gear. From what I read on forums, this sound like a bad transmission and BMW won't work on their transmission, only replace the entire unit and it will cost between $9,000-$10,000.
    If there is a software fix or something I didn't hear about I would love to. Please reply.
  • clubladyclublady Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    I have a 2009 Mini Clubman S which I bought in Germany (September 2009) 2 years and 5 months ago, and a mileage of 21000 kms. Germany warranty is 2 years and maintenance schedule is every 2 years. I did not extend the warranty because I am about to leave for another job assignment. I brought the Mini for its maintenance July 2011, the engine blew up in November 2011. Even the warranty is over, I manage to fight that BMW shoulder the expenses. In the middle of its work order, dealer called me and told me that transmission needs to be replaced because of overheating which expenses will come from my pocket because BMW Germany will not shoulder the expenses. They told me that it is because of my driving technique. I grew up driving a manual transmission and my mustang 81 lasted for 15 years without any transmission problem.

    During those 2 years, I have added oil twice to maintain its normal level.

    It runs great because I have tested the car with a speed of 140 MPH, stable and traction is good but I think, that is the price of it.
  • That is terrible.
    My engine also blew up in my 2005 Mini cooper S Automatic. I just had the valves, Valve rods, engine coil, spark plugs, belt pulley, timing belt, cam sensor, etc replaced. The car is so stiff that the aluminum air conditioner tubes rubbed together so much that they rubbed a hole in both the upper and lower aluminum AC hoses and I had to get them replaced. I have replaced the windshield 2 times. I just had the engine rebuilt then the transmission started changing gears really hard. After the engine worms up it sounds like the transmission is slipping for a second, then it catches and slams into gear. It sounds like its a transmission timing issue. Like the transmission is not changing gears at the right time. Anyone know what the fix for this is? Is there a software update that can fix this or do I have to pay $9000-$10,000 to have the transmission replaced? I will have to just get rid of the car if I have to replace the transmission. I'm not going to put another transmission in the Mini Cooper if they haven't figured out how to fix the transmission problems yet. Who's to say it won't just happen again?

    Any Ideas? Is there a software update to fix this, or is there any way to get BMW to replace the transmission under warranty or recall?

    Anyone have the web page to download the latest software update for 2005 mini cooper S hatchback Automatic?

    HELP!
  • Can someone please send me the URL/web page to where to find the Mini Cooper Recalls and service bulletins for a 2005 mini cooper s automatic? My transmission is changing gears really hard but it is out of warranty. I read that a lot of people were experiencing the same problem, so I was wondering if there was a recall or a free fix for the known issue.

    Thank you

    RB
    Probennett@gmail.com
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    If you had the timing belt replaced, then you don't have a Mini engine.

    Mini engines use timing chains.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    "The corporate folks at BMW tell me that their mechanics are given special training to repair these cars that normal repair shops do not have."

    A half-truth, at best. Any qualified mechanic from an independent shop can get MINI training and tools. I take my MINI to an independent shop and they perform all kinds of complex repairs on MINIs.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • The clutch in my 2005 Mini went out suddenly after less than 2K miles. The dealsheip replaced it after I raised hell. Now, the clutch in my 2007 Mini is going out....after only 55K miles! I've driven standard transmissions my entire life & never experienced this. I called Mini...sure enough, not covered unless it's "normal wear & tear," which they can't evaluate unless I put down $2K for them to tear down the engine to look at it....if they see any signs of damage that indicates beyond normal wear & tear, then I'd have to shell out the money for the repair, too. A clutch going out after only 55K miles is bound to show signs of defect! So, I'm taking it to a trusted mechanic and shelling out the $1100 to have them replace the clutch, since my car is worth over $15K. But as long as I live in a hilly community, I won't get another Mini! I love my Mini, but not enough to have to shell out for a new clutch ever few thousand miles!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    Make sure you replace EVERYTHING in there--including the flywheel, the rear main engine seal, the release bearing, clutch disc, pressure plate, new flywheel bolts, new pressure plate bolts, transmission main shaft seal, clutch pivot pin, throw-out bearing guide sleeve, new slave cylinder.

    This is a big and expensive job, and you don't want to go in there again. Mini flywheels are prone to glazing and then howling (the dreaded "chewbacca sound") So if you haven't had the flywheel ever replaced, now's the time.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • psibagmanpsibagman Posts: 1
    We've brought in my wife's 2009 Mini Clubman S into our local Mini dealer for the past year complaining about the same sound coming from what we thought was the clutch. For a year they kept sending it back stating that they heard nothing. Now, that the car is out of the 3 year bumper to bumper warranty, by about a month, they've managed to locate the problem. They also want $3,000.00 to fix it. Contacted Mini corporate but they were no help. When I explained that not only has this been going on for a year - documented- that it also seems to be an issue with many owners nationwide. And that like my dealer, we're being told that it's due to abusive driving. Funny how that word spreads from dealers coast to coast. My wife has been driving cars with clutches for 29 years. She is not an abusive driver. There definately is a problem. Suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,032
    Do you have any repair orders written during the warranty period that make a statement on them about your complaint?

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2012
    I thought MINI had a 3 year/36 K bumper to bumper warranty and a 4 year/50K drivetrain warranty.

    Has that changed? I know my wife's 2005 Mini has that...

    Update: no change, per the Mini web-site.
  • soletrainsoletrain Posts: 3
    I was shocked when my clutch failed on my 2009 Clubman at 8k miles - I have driven manual transmissions for years and never had any problems with my other cars (Saab, Acura, Jeep and Honda). This is a second vehicle so it isn't driven daily as were the other vehicles. Not really looking for any response, but was disheartened to see clutch failure at low mileage isn't an uncommon experience.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Is Your Mini a base or "S" model?
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