MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions



  • winniepwinniep Member Posts: 18
    I don't know why it is so expensive in CA. My mechanic tried to find a working one possible from car wrecks, but no luck. I had to get a brand new one. With labor, it added up to $7K.
  • bfromholdbfromhold Member Posts: 38
    Hi Morina ~

    I live in the Seattle area also. Did you have to get the transmission rebuilt on your Mini or did you just stop in for a quote out of curiosity of how much it would cost? Is your MINI an S or non S? Did you actually get it done for only $2,195? Which transmission business? PM me if it's not allowed to post businesses on this forum as I'm curious.

    So far, I've almost got 20,000 miles on my Mini Cooper S with no problems. From what I understand, it's only the non S Mini that has the problem with the transmission because it's the CVT. The Mini Cooper S apparently has a different automatic transmission.

    Sorry to hear those who have had problems with their transmissions. I believe MINI should have to recall the ones that have had transmission failures. I would hope that a transmission would at least last 100,000 miles. If it fails before then, it should be replaced under warranty considering how much they cost.

    Here's wishing you all a happier year in 2008...

    BTW, I had a 2001 Honda Civic with an automatic transmission that failed at just 67,000 miles. It was just past the warranty, and the Honda dealer would not fix it. I ended up having to pay $2,500 to replace it. :cry:
  • jscorzellijscorzelli Member Posts: 1
    My transmission went at 55,000 miles and I would be interested in joining you for a class action suit.


    James F. Scorzellli
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    The forums cannot be used to organize class action suits.

    A better way to get your message out would be to start a blog on your CarSpace page as the search engines will pick up on it that way.

    Setting up your CarSpace page is a snap, but if you haven't done so yet and have any questions, please feel free to click on my username and send me an email and I'll be happy to help you out.

    Your CarSpace page can be reached by clicking the My CarSpace link near the top left of every forums page. To see the kind of things you can do with you CarSpace page feel free to poke around mine at:

    Between the blog and being able to post photos and videos to your page, you'll be able to make a much better presentation of the problems you're having.
  • karen31karen31 Member Posts: 7
    curious..... what did it cost you?
  • winniepwinniep Member Posts: 18
    Mini quoted me $8000 (not sure if that's with labor or not), so I went to my own mechanic and he charged me $7000ish. Still, it was a lot of money for something totally unexpected.
  • winniepwinniep Member Posts: 18
    Sorry about that. I will look into setting up a CarSPace page this weekend or next week when I have a little more time. Thank you.
  • winniepwinniep Member Posts: 18
    We are not allowed to do this on the forum. Please write me directly at [email protected] and we can converse. I will also try to put up a CarSpace page so we can blog there at a later time. Thanks!
  • joem5joem5 Member Posts: 201
    What kind of a warranty comes with a mini? After reading all these $7k repair bills,who would buy one?
    Who, builds it VW,or BMW? Sounds like the Brits,or VW, and you people bought them because they're cute. :confuse:
  • karen31karen31 Member Posts: 7
    Hi..... BMW makes them which is why when researching the car I spent more time looking at the price points rather than product issues assuming it was already the "ultimate driving machine". :lemon:
  • tomsminitomsmini Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my Mini in July, 2002. It has been my favorite car... until recent potentially expensive repairs that in my opinion should not be happening.

    -I did experience the fan replacement problem- 58,000 miles. The fan motor would not quit running after turning off the engine. Expensive to replace.
    -The clutch was warranted at 21,000 miles.
    -62,000 miles - expensive wiper motor replacement - $855.00.
    -Transmission started getting hard to shift into reverse around 35,000 miles. I was told this was inherent to this transmission... 5-speed.
    -60,000 miles the transmission started making a growling bearing noise. It has been getting steadily worse with a bump / hitch at the top of the pedal. During service, the mechanic reported internal damage to the transmission. I continue to drive the car. The transmission shifts fine. Bearing noise drops off in 4th and 5th gear.
    The service writer said the repair would be $3000 - the figure in other posts. I did ask if that included labor. Has anyone replaced a 5-speed transmission with success and what were the costs? I am getting information to decide if the car is worth repairing or taking a beating and unloading it. I have located used transmissions... worry that they may have the same problem.

    -Has anyone had any success appealing this type of major repair or other transmission failures to MINI? I intend to try that road but would be interested if anyone has gotten a response from the factory reporting issues that should not be happening to these cars.

    Love my car. Hate that this is happening.

  • karen31karen31 Member Posts: 7
    Hi Tom,

    It's almost like going through a miserable divorce. I loved my mini too.... but now i can hardly stand to look at it. My automatic transmission failed at 77k miles. It is a 2003 cooper. I bought it less than a year ago as a certified car from a dealer.

    BMW in Calabasas, CA was the only semi local dealer that would even look at it. They wanted $8k to replace the tranny and I screamed so eventually they got back to me with an offer of -- I pay 1k and they pick up the $7k. They replaced the transmission with another CVT tranny and would not provide a warranty for it. Not to mention they kept my car for over 3 weeks. I've had to rent a car during the entire time. They may pick up some of the rental costs -- I am still pursuing it.

    Anyway, I am no longer in love. I still owe $16k. I am afraid to drive it and all I hear from forums and blogs is that these cars are a money pit. I tried to trade it in with a dealer but they would only give me $10k for it.

    I've decided to join a class action suit since it's my belief that it's truly a lemon. And guess what ..... it's yellow :lemon: -- good luck.

  • silverhuntersilverhunter Member Posts: 9
    After reading these post I am reconsidering ordering a 2008 clubman s.

    I would of course get the manual tranny.

    Does anyone have any good news about reliability?

    A major consideration I am now thiking about is how far away the dealers are from my house.

    Does anyone have a recomendation on the dealers inthe boston area/

    There is the one in boston and one in RI. The north shore one is not an option.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    Does anyone have any good news about reliability?
    A major consideration I am now thinking about is how far away the dealers are from my house.
    Does anyone have a reccomendation on the dealers in the boston area/
    There is the one in boston and one in RI. The north shore one is not an option.

    Hi I'm in the opposite direction as you. I'm up North but have to deal with the same dealers. Just wondering why the dealer in Peabody isn't an option? Too far?
    I called up the one in Boston Herb Chambers but driving on Storrow Drive isn't exactly my favorite thing. I'm also very concerned about the MINI and if there is a problem then I have only 2 dealers to go to as driving to RI in a broken car wouldn't be much of an option.
    MINI is a very shortsighted company in not hooking up with *ALL* BMW dealers for servicing at least. I've waffled about the MINI for a long time now but if something does go wrong and I do read about problematic MINI's, you are SOL.
    I'd be interested to know what you finally decide.
  • silverhuntersilverhunter Member Posts: 9
    Yes. It is the distance to peabody. I don't want to go through boston. Getting to herb chambers is bad enough.

    You are right on about the bmw dealers. If they were smart they would have done something like toyota did with scion. They would have had a better service network and more sales outlets with a product that is in a different price range from the least expensive bmw.

    I am pretty sure I am going to end up with a clubman S with the manual transmission.

    I am a manual transmission guy anyway, but have you ever driven anything with a CVT? In a word they s*%#.
  • schun77schun77 Member Posts: 1
    Hi All,

    I should have joined this forum earlier because in less than 72 hours I will be driving down to Oregon to potentially become a new owner of a use 2002 MINI with 29K miles on it. I thought it was a great price for such low mileage. However, after reading countless horror stories about tranny and mechanical problems with the MINI, I might reconsider. I am trading in my Audi A4 turbo quatro and was glad to get rid of it because of all the money i have spent on the repairs over the years (I am already used to the costly oil changes and premium gas prices). Will this be a recurring nightmare? Is there anyone out there that has had a good experience with the MINI, who only has had to take it in for routine check-ups and oil changes??
    Desperate for advice.....
  • joem5joem5 Member Posts: 201
    All, I know is that I was going to go from an Acura to a Mini and since I'm in Maine summers,I would buy it in Peabody MA.
    However, I carfaxed my Types S and it showed I only took it to dealer 2x,but they would warranty it.
    Well, thats because Honda said they could service it.I didn't want to drive a hundred miles to NH,as there are no Acura dealers in Maine.
    So, I did alot of research on the Mini ,but BMW here in Maine said that I'd have to go to Boston (Peabody to purchase and for service) I have a BMW that my wife services in Maine, and she loved the idea of a Mini.
    When she was getting the Beamer serviced the mechanic told her he was putting in an air and gas filter and did she mind?
    So, to make a long story short she asked the mechanic, or service advisor about a Mini he told her to stay away from the mini as they have a higher repair rate and the cost are unbelievable. Also, the build and mechanics are worse than a VW. Also, forget about winter driving.
    Well, that's my 2 cents.We got scared and are looking at at different go carts. :lemon:
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    I am pretty sure I am going to end up with a clubman S with the manual transmission.
    I am a manual transmission guy anyway, but have you ever driven anything with a CVT? In a word they s*%#.

    Yeah it's a drive if you are south of Boston to get to Peabody. I've driven a few cars with CVT and IMO the only car I'd get with one is a Prius. The Prius is the opposite of a fun car but it does get great economy. I only own and drive manuals except for rental cars.
    I have no use for automatics, Flappy paddle shifters, or CVT's or any other name they care to use.
    Funny how BMW automatics are made by GM!
    Congrats on the Clubman S. I hope it works out for you. I'm still waffling on the Mini S.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    So, I did alot of research on the Mini ,but BMW here in Maine said that I'd have to go to Boston (Peabody to purchase and for service) I have a BMW that my wife services in Maine, and she loved the idea of a Mini.
    When she was getting the Beamer serviced the mechanic told her he was putting in an air and gas filter and did she mind?
    So, to make a long story short she asked the mechanic, or service advisor about a Mini he told her to stay away from the mini as they have a higher repair rate and the cost are unbelievable. Also, the build and mechanics are worse than a VW. Also, forget about winter driving.
    Well, that's my 2 cents. We got scared and are looking at at different go carts.

    Well BMW in a way competes with MINI but yeah from Maine it's a haul. I'm way up in NH and I see them around here but lack of dealer support isn't good when it's almost 100 miles to the dealership as it is in my case.
    MINI also seems to not want to expand the dealer network due to it's fear of flooding the market which would drive prices down due to competition.
    Me I'd rather get a Porsche but cannot justify a Cayman S. BMW is just as problematic as the dealer is in Nashua and is 2 tolls away from me. :sick:
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    Hi, Tom. I feel your pain. I purchased my Mini in 2002 as well. At 79,000 miles, I experienced what my mechanic calls a "massive internal transmission failure". I had purchased the extended warranty which ended at 50,000 miles. I approached the dealer where I had purchased the car (BMW of San Francisco) regarding my transission failure and got nowhere. I also sent an e-mail to Mini USA and was told there was nothing they could do for me. However, they did offer to talk with me about the fact that they could do nothing for me. Repair estimates have ranged from $7,500 to $14,000.

    My mechanic did some research and found that this is not an isolated problem. I was told that the parts outlet which supplies Mini parts in my area sells up to four transissions per month. It's outrageous to spend this amount of money to repair a car that is only a few years old and cost $20,000 to begin with. I love my Mini but I am very disappointed in BMW's lack of response to what is a quality control problem. So much for the "ultimate driving machine".

  • smudge1smudge1 Member Posts: 2
    Yes, it is to be expected unfortunately. I have had nothing but problems with my 2004 Mini Cooper and today the transmission crashed. This car has only 57,000 miles on it, over warranty now abd only two months to go on the lease! The dealership will take zero responsibility. The clutch assembly and pressure plate have to be replaced, the mechanic said it was total failure with $7000 price tag. You said it, all these years of driving manual xmsn without a single problem, now we "drive them too hard". hmph!
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    Hi, Karen. My story is almost identical to yours. The CVT transmission in my 2002 Mini went at 79,000 miles. It's costing me over 8K to fix. BMW of San Francisco (where I purchased it) wouldn't even return my phone calls. MiniUSA e-mailed me that they had conducted "a thorough and complete review of the facts" and had decided they would do nothing as my car was out of warranty.

    It's clear that the CVT transmission is problematic, but BMW refuses to acknolwedge this. I would love to join a class action suit but don't know how.

  • winniepwinniep Member Posts: 18
    Please write me at [email protected] We are not allowed to talk about the suit on this forum and I have been delinquent in putting together a blog. I can give you more details at my personal email. Thank you!

  • heyimvanessaheyimvanessa Member Posts: 1
    My transmission just went out on Wednesday! I also have a 2004 Mini Cooper, warranty is over. What a mess!
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    I agree, it's a mess. My new transmission cost me $8,632. It makes me want to cry. I have a 2002 Mini and the transmission blew out at 75,000. MIni USA was unresponsive. BMW of San Francisco wouldn't return my phone calls. Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    Where is Ralph Nader when you need him?

    Running for President.
    Oh and Nader started his career by inventing problems that didn't exist and making them seem much worse than they were.
    Nader wouldn't be of any help against MINI or BMW.
    But if MINI's continue to have problems like this then they will lose sales and their value will plummet.
    German companies don't make fast changes unless they have no choice. Google BMW and Bangle to see how hated the design of the BMW's were to their customers and all the years to get rid of the designer causing the problems.
    I'd be interested to know what percentage of cars have had the automatics go on them versus the manuals. I believe the automatics are sourced from GM. No idea about the manuals. The new engines are Peugeot rather than Chrysler.
    It seems the transmissions are the weak link. We were looking at buying a MINI within a couple of months but might not as I hear about too many transmission problems and $8k to fix it is totally insane!
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    I agree Nader wouldn't be any help against BMW, I just wish consumer feedback was taken seriously. I'm not a technical expert on this, but my impression is that the problem was my Mini's CVT transmission. My 2002 Mini had the original CVT (which failed), according to my mechanic there were several improvements made on the CVT since 2002. However, I don't believe they use CVT's anymore. However, there was no recall or "campaign" (sounds like a party!), and I believe there should have been.
  • karen31karen31 Member Posts: 7
    It's really so discouraging that so many of us are in this situation. I recently learned that my 03 is worth nothing..... couldn't even trade it in to an outside dealer. I am told that other dealerships are aware of these tranny problems and they are sympathetic but since mini's are so specialized they don't have the techs skilled to step in. I had my tranny replaced with a brand new one (est at $8k) and 2 weeks later i still couldn't get a trade in value because used car managers drive it and say it's skipping 3rd gear. They tell me there was some kind of patch job -- I've had 2 repair locations confirm the same. I'm so financially upside down on this mini thing I have no choice but to pursue it. My Toyota was a dream machine in comparison..... i thought BMW was the ultimate driving machine - what a lesson this has been. Hang in there -- we will get this figured out.
  • karen31karen31 Member Posts: 7
    I would recommend that you not put any more money into it.
    It's a money pit --- and BMW will have to learn the hard way (like we all have).
    Keep detailed log of everything going on and stay with it. We'll make some headway here.
  • tiff_ctiff_c Member Posts: 531
    I agree Nader wouldn't be any help against BMW, I just wish consumer feedback was taken seriously. I'm not a technical expert on this, but my impression is that the problem was my Mini's CVT transmission.

    I've also read about the clutches wearing out very fast as well. Shame they ruin the car with fun flat tires, no spare and shoddy transmissions.
    You'd think they'd have a bit of concern about quality and reliability considering that they do not deal on price at all.
    That cost them a sale from me a few months back, because why hurry to buy the car when it won't matter as the price is fixed?
    They do need to own up and fix the cars but sadly they probably won't and not in a poor economy. Also not connecting with current BMW dealers has hurt them as well.
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    That's terrible that your 03 Mini wasn't worth anything! The mechanics who installed my new $8,632 transmission did a great job, which is the only silver lining in this whole fiasco. They purchased specialized tools for the job and sent me pictures via e-mail of the repair process. They also told me that this repair was one of the most expensive repairs they have done, even more expensive than repairing one of those high-end 100K BMW's. It's outrageous.

    The Toyotas I used to drive routinely went to 150K or 200K miles. I was hoping for the same for my Mini. I also had no choice but to pursue the repair option, which makes me want to weep given the shape the economy is in and the fact that my daughter needs orthodontia.
  • lisagalisaga Member Posts: 1
    Hi Marianne,
    I will also be contacting Karen at her alternative email address. I had to replace my clutch on my 2004 mini after just 2 years, and now 20k miles later (no longer under warranty). The dealer in Boston (where it was purchased) insists there's nothing wrong with the car and that it must be the fault of the operator.

    I've been driving standard autos for over 20 years and NEVER replaced a clutch one time. Before buying this new mini, I always bought used cars. I've driven all of my used cars between 5 and 8 years and never once had to replace a clutch.

    The dealer offers no acknowledgment that there's a problem with anything other than the driver!
  • afox30afox30 Member Posts: 3
    So, I'm back. I was researching yet another potentially catastrophic issue with my Mini when I noticed my post on this forum from back in September 2006 when our clutch was fried at 31k miles!

    This time, the transmission is making noises and I fear we're about to head down another costly road. This time, we're sitting on 53k miles, but our warranty expired in December. Definitely not covered, IF it is the transmission. I'm getting another opinion today. In any event, it's something NOT GOOD, and something guaranteed to be costly. The beat goes on...
  • scootrosscootros Member Posts: 2
    I just had some transmission work done on my '06 Cooper S. Apparently the pressure plate was going bad, so they had to replace the whole clutch kit. I am disappointed that this happened at 33K miles, but at least it was covered by the warranty. Last year the motor mount failed, and now this. With gas prices going up and this thing being thirsty for premium fuel, I'm seriously considering selling it. Anyway, just thought I'd share my experience for anyone considering buying one of these. I'd say get a Honda and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with owning something RELIABLE.
  • smudge1smudge1 Member Posts: 2
    Sorry you have to go through this, it is stressfull and dissapointing to say the least.
    My transmission went out at 57,000 miles (over warranty) and 2 months before my lease was up. I brought it to Motorwerks Mini in Minneapolis and calmed listened to them tell me it was not covered.... then I pulled out the card I had in my pocket. Class action lawsuit, formal complaints to BBB, NTSB and Commissioner of Commerce and since i have a very big mouth, the media. I said $9500 is pennies compared to the damage this will do to your dealership if you don't stand behind your product. They ended up covering the cost though told me when I called to check on it that my front strut was out $500, oil pan gasket leak $750 (really, for a$12 pc. of cork? Are you on crack? was my loving response) and of course 4 new run-flat tires for over $1000 (another class action)
    Anyway, my point is be persistent with these people, 3000 mile over warranty? and 53000 miles for the life of a transmission is unacceptable, that cannot be argued.
    Good luck and don't take any dookie.
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    A broken motor mount along with clutch issues would tend to make one believe you are an aggressive driver, as both items are quite often damaged in "spirited" driving.

    No accusation here, but what explanation did the dealer give for the broken motor mount?

    Given it is an "S" model, one would think that that type of driving would be anticipated by Mini...
  • joem5joem5 Member Posts: 201
    You, maybe right about agressive driving. I've always had 4,5,and now a 6 spd and have had no problems.
    However,alot of people are postng the same complaint. I can't see alot of women posters popping the clutch or double clutching.IMAO
  • scootrosscootros Member Posts: 2
    No explanation was given for either broken part. No accusation was made by the service department that I was at fault. I have driven cars with manual transmissions for over 20 years (am I THAT old?!!), and I have NEVER had a mechanical failure until now. I will say that I drive this car in a spirited way sometimes, but I am much gentler with it than I was with the '87 BMW 325 I had 20 years ago, and I put about 80,000 miles on that car with no major issues whatsoever. The bottom line is that I don't think the MINI is built to last. Enjoy it while it's in warranty, and then get rid of it; that's what I'm going to do.
  • tkowalskytkowalsky Member Posts: 1
    I need to know if you can put a 6 speed in a mini that had a 5 speed without many problems
  • rufust1rufust1 Member Posts: 2
    I feel your pain. My 2002 Mini cooper with only 34 thousand miles just blew a transmission 2 weeks ago. As I am finding out this is the norm. My sister owns an S model, with 55 thousand miles and I have not given her the bad news yet. My father raced and built engines for the originals and I grew up with Minis. Morris motors must be horified to see what BMW has done to their cars. My dream of owning a Mini has become a nightmare. BMW needs to recall them all!!!
  • rufust1rufust1 Member Posts: 2
    I found a recall also the number given was 1-888-327-4236
  • ramquistramquist Member Posts: 7
    After reading posts about transmission failures I was fearful of this impending repair (noise at 60k and I was wondering how long I could milk it before the huge cost).

    Well I complained to the dealer when they informed me of the good news and they said contact Mini Customer Service.

    MINI CS actually responded quickly, 3 email communications in 36 hours. They called the dealer and made the arrangements to provide the parts at no cost but I pay labor. I feel this is a very reasonable response because in life things to happen.

    I have the email chain with CS if you are would like to see what I did. I don't think I did anything other than maybe hit the right cord.
  • cracker2225cracker2225 Member Posts: 8
    Hi, there. I contacted Mini CS as well about my "massive transmission failure" at 74K miles, and they did nothing (I had purchased the extended warranty until 50K miles). I would be interested in the email chain with CS, as I exchanged numerous e-mails with them as well but to no avail. Mini of San Francisco was completely unresponsive as well. I ended up paying over $8,000 to replace my transmission.

    What year is your Mini? How far out of warranty were you?
  • reminthornreminthorn Member Posts: 6
    :confuse: We just took delivery of a new 2008 S. We now have 2,000 miles on it. From almost day 1, we started getting a strange noise when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd if between 30-40 mph. The noise sounds like rubber on metal...kind of a skreech but not like a loose belt. More like chauking a pool cue or hitting the front brakes on a 10 speed bike. The dealer has deglazed the clutch twice. The sound is now less frequent but still there. It also seems to go away after the car heats up. Anyone had a similar problem or better yet, a fix?
  • ramquistramquist Member Posts: 7
    I was 10k and 2 years over (60k and 6 yrs old). email me [email protected] and I will send you the email chain.
  • quickclickquickclick Member Posts: 1
    :confuse: My 05 Mini convertible's CVT has a hesitation when starting up from a stop, but if I use the lever in the right Sport position, then start from a dead stop - the hesitation does not exist! Is there some reprogramming that might be done by BMW to get the "normal" position to enjoy the same smooth startup as the Sport position? [email protected]
  • kferokfero Member Posts: 1
    Can you please send me the CS thread about your failed transmission to [email protected]? I would greatly appreciate it
  • mspeppermspepper Member Posts: 7
    Hi- could you send me the email chain? I'm looking at this exact problem- massive cost and out of warranty. 67k 2003 Mini Cooper.
  • mspeppermspepper Member Posts: 7
    Did you get the failed transmission email chain? If so, could you also send it to [email protected]? I am facing the same problem . It is much appreciated.
  • reminthornreminthorn Member Posts: 6
    No, I never got a transmission thread. The dealer "de-glazed" our clutch for the 3rd time and it appears to have fixed the noise problem we were having when downshifting from 3rd to 2nd. We've only heard the noise once since the last visit and it was barely detectable.
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