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MINI Cooper Clutch & Transmission Questions



  • Don't buy this car. I bought one at 48,000 miles and needed transmission repair at 56,000. If I had kept driving it would have been the "catastrophic failure" u read about. Clutch started slipping and then dropping very dark oil like drops on the ground. Input shaft bearings in transmission falling apart and draining oil/grease down the flywheel. All bearings are sealed except the nasty input shaft bearings. When lose enough bearings, the input shaft drops and guts the inside of the transmission so bad you can't even reuse the case. I did find a friend to repair mine no labor- $1400- new clutch, flywheel, input shaft bearings, back seal etc etc. Despite Mini telling people you can't get parts for trans due to illegal from Germany blablabla- the transmission was actually made outside Chatanooga, Tn. You can get parts from them. Don't wast your time though- repair bought me another 20 thousand miles is all and bearings out again. Friend says would never do it again for under $3500- still great price. Now funny sound under load or compression braking kind of like severe exhaust leak but only in 2,3,4,5 gears. 3rd really bad. Can rev with clutch in or neutral and sounds great. And 1st is great. Rest of gears will get me followed by wrecker drivers. Bleeding dark oil again with fresh honey colored oil in the engine. I am going to sell the engine and other parts and continue my payments for the next 4 years. I will take what is left and make playground equipment out of it. As far as the new cars having clutches go out in 5,000 miles just like in 2002 and all other years- sounds to me like BMW should be brought on fraud charges or something.
  • I have an '02 Cooper is an aftemarket "S" that is a 5 speed manual tranmission. I had a grinding sound that kept getting louder. I was told by my friend, and mechanic, that the transmission was grinding and that it was producing metal shavings in the tranny. He gave me about 6 months, but I got 2 years out of it. Today, 9/08/10, my tranny died in first gear. It was "hell" getting it on the tow truck!!! Now I have to get a new tranny! It was brought to my attention that BMW knew of thus problem and did nothing about it! If you have an '02-'06 you will ultimately experience this problem. Please let me know if you have had this problem, as well as where to look for a new tranny replacement...even if it is used!
  • I have a 2006 MINI S standard shift. I cannot shift into 2, 4, or 6th gears. This situation also happened to me in 2008. In 2008 a few shifter cables were replaced and some lube was added and shifting was back to normal. Between then and now I had some shifting difficultly but the next time I would use the car it would be fine. Could be a cold weather thing I was told. Warranty was up this February 2010. Right before the warranty expired I had the MINI Inspection I. Everything great. Couple weeks ago the shifting became slightly diffcult again and now I can't use 2, 4 or 6th gears. I cannot get the shifter into those slots. Brought car into MINI service center and they said I need a new transmission. What! I am in shock. The car has only 36,000 miles, is treated very well, and mostly has highway miles. Anyone have a similar problem? Any advice? They said a new transmission will cost about $5000.
  • However, I thought only the automatics needed replacement transmissions and that the standard shift models had clutch challenges. Your experience seems unusual! I look forward to hearing from others.
  • Actually in my experience you have done very to 36000 miles on one clutch.
    I got to 19000 and needed the 3rd clutch replacement.
    Sort and sweet ....these clutches are trash and Mini should own up and do the right thing! However that would mean $$$$ and ...well you know the rest of the story...Good Luck ;(
  • I have a 2007 Mini Cooper S. The clutch and flywheel went out at approx. 16,000 miles. The service rep basically blamed it on my driving and said it would not be covered! I continued to pursue it -- talked to the service manager after I informed them that I had posted my experience on several internet sites -- they finally agreed to cover the $3,000 expense as a "good will" gesture. Now at 37,000 miles, I again noticed some slipping at times, took it in to Mini to check, and they say that I will need another clutch and flywheel replacement in the near future, and of course, you guessed it, again it is because of my driving habits! (And let me just add that after the first failure I was very careful with this car so that they couldn't blame me for this again.) I have driven manual transmission cars for years and have NEVER had any unusual problems until these experiences with the Mini. It is obvious to me that MINI is never going to own up to the fact that there is a problem with the car, and they will continue to blame the owners/drivers. 2 clutch/flywheel replacements at 37,000 miles? It's outrageous!
  • I need to find the bearings and 5th gear assembly. Can you give the contact information for the transmission company in Chatanooga?
  • Now the dealer is trying to say that it is due to my "bad driving". I have been driving clutch my whole life, and actually learned how to drive on a manual car.
    Anyhow, driving my kids to school, car started smoking and that was it!

    I had to have it towed, FOR THE SECOND TIME mind you! The first time I had it towed (at 200 miles) same burning smell. Police stopped me to tell me that something was terribly wrong with my car and I needed to pull over. The dealer claimed that they had accidentally left a piece of plastic wrap on one of the parts? BS...why didn't the plastic start burning the minute we drove it off the lot instead of 200 miles later?
    Anyhow, tow truck driver said he has had to pick up a few minis lately.

    We plan to fight with the dealer on this one. They want us to pay $3500 for a new 1K miles! We don't even have our new tags yet! Our mini dealership has no idea what's about to hit them if they don't fess up and deliver a new clutch to us at no charge.

    I cannot believe there is no class action lawsuit yet.

    We live in Orange County CA. If anyone is interested in joining the fight, or starting a class action - let me know!
  • Hi Winnie,
    I am in Pennsylvania and I have had the same issues with my 2002 Mini. Currently I am in the process of a court hearing with my extended warranty company who has said that it was my negligence that has caused the transmission to fail. I would love to join your group!

  • Hi There!

    I feel your pain; my clutch went out on my new JCW Clubman at 5,000 miles. I live in Los Angeles and belong to the Southern Cal. MINI Maniacs. We have members throughout the entire SoCal area. When I posted my problem with my clutch on our forum website, A lot of the members came to my defense and helped with getting the dealer to replace the clutch at no charge; the power in numbers was such a help. Please consider joining our club as all members are interested in the welfare of fellow MINIacs.

    Best of luck in your fight with the dealer and MINIUSA!!
  • Hey Thanks!
    My fight begins tomorrow, when we get THE CALL from Irvine Mini. They will let us know what our fate is. I'm sure they will tell me that it's "driver abuse".

    will update!
  • Yes! Please keep me posted. I will check with fellow Maniacs if they know anyone at Irvine Mini who can assist you. There is a rather large contingency of us in the O.C. In fact I met the Area Manger-Western Region of MINI USA at a charity rally we had in the Tustin Marketplace. Depending on your outcome, you may need his assistance in settling this problem.I can give you his contact information if you need it. BTW, I heard that MINI of Ontario and Monrovia are very good in their customer service area. I know it is far from you, but it is reassuring that not ALL the dealerships are flakes!

    Good Luck and FIGHT ON!!
  • miler1miler1 Posts: 4
    I would like to communicate directly with owners of 2006 or later model MINI Cooper S models who experienced a failure of the clutch disc and/or pressure plate while the vehicle was still under warranty.
  • docroxdocrox Posts: 12
    I had a 2010 that had 3,600 miles on it when the clutch and flywheel went out. "Driver abuse". I battled and eventually, they fixed it once as "good will". I sold it a couple of weeks later.
  • miler1miler1 Posts: 4
    Please email me by clicking my profile. My email is not marked private.
  • Stumbled across this forum while searching for info on my Mini issues. I can't believe all the other people who are having clutch issues and are being told the same thing (it's your driving - you must be riding the clutch). I do NOT ride the clutch - never have in more than 20 years of driving manual transmission cars. I drove all the VW brands in the 80's and 90's and never had a clutch go out, even after more than 100,000 miles of driving.

    I just had to have the clutch replaced for the second time in two years. I'm driving a 2003 Mini, still at only ~59,000 miles, but out of warranty (naturally). So these repairs are getting way too expensive for me. Unfortunately I bought it used and still have more than $10k to pay on it, so there's no hope of selling it any time soon. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

    I know one thing so far - I'm never getting another Mini again. Nothing but a money pit.
  • Bought Mini S convertible Nov 2009. First clutch went at 2,000 miles. Dealer replaced clutch but cited driver abuse and no replacements per warranty again. clutch went again at 11,800 miles. Dealer threatened very much but after lemon laww attorney got involved (went to BMW Norht america in Englewood, NJ) dealer replaced clutch but again cited severe wear and driver abuse. Come on!! Have driven manual transmission for over 20 years and never replaced clutch at less than 80,000 miles. Is Mini hiding a problem?
  • zgrrrlzgrrrl Posts: 147
    I have a 2006 Cooper with 36k miles. I had my car in for an alignment just a couple of weeks ago, and since the warranty is up next month I asked if they could do a safety check to see if anything needed to be done before the warranty was up.

    They did some front break work for me and replaced the clutch all under warranty. After reading these posts I feel very fortunate they did that for me without any hassle at all.
  • I have contacted the dealer and they are calling MINI to see if the $3000.00 they want to replace the DISC, Throw out bearing and pressure plate will be waived. 2009 JCW Clubman Car is 3 weeks old sold as new with 137 miles on it. A Clutch kit costs 415.00 probably about 10hrs labor in Chilton book. but that's besides the point.
    1.Car had a burning smell from the first day I drove it.
    2. Clutch pedal really hard to push down.

    My opinion no free play or bad installation, no way I did anything and if I did something that car is not for me because it would be the first clutch ever to go out on me in 40 years (probably because I don't keep cars that long). It was never raced most of the miles are highway going 200 miles back and forth.

    Was told I would have any answer in 24 hours that was 30 hours ago will keep the forum posted of the outcome.
  • I had the same problem with my 2010 mini, as have countless others I'm sure. Burning smell etc.

    Dealer tried to charge us $4k for a new clutch. I told the dealer that I would rather give them the car back then pay for a new clutch. I pushed hard, they caved and did everything for no charge.

    I had to be towed TWICE and the dealer tried to tell me that it was due to my bad driving habits. First tow was at 700 miles. Second was at 1200 miles. Battery also died on me twice. And all before I had my California plates! I still had temp tags...

    Don't you pay a penny to Mini. Keep us posted.
  • That burning smell since day 1. We had the same and thought it was new car smell. Little did we know it was "driver abuse". MIni will replace the clutch. contact Lemon Law attorney or contact BMW North America in Englewood, NJ. Tell the dealer to take a hike.
  • Thanks,
    If it is a defective part, or a bad installation that would make sense as to why the material came off of the plate, if it was my driving that caused the material to come off the clutch plate the way I have driven the car on a scale of 1 being like extremely gentile and 10 like I wanted to win a road rally I would fall in the 4-5 bracket for 95% of the driven miles and 5% of the time in the 7-8 bracket for just having some fun! At any case if Mini states its abuse then I will not be able to keep the car as it is not reliable.
  • Does anyone have the exact verbiage my book is with the dealer all I could find is as follows
    The power train is covered by the new vehicle warranty. Unlike many makes, the MINI does not have a separate policy for power train components.
  • Just got off the phone with my Mini Dealer. They want to replace the clutch disc and the flywheel for the second time in the 10,000 miles that I have owned my 2009 Mini Cooper S. "driver abuse" again they say!
  • Get a good lemon law attorney (1-800-My-Lemon); David Gorberg deals solely wityh MINI and BMW North America (Englewood, NJ) It seems as if the dealer mantra is driver abuse. Sorry that just does not fly in the face of mounting evidence. Cars are meant to be driven normally which I am sure that 99% of us do. The common thread is the poor design/manufactuer of the entire clutch assembly. Go your your nearest dealership and file an informal resulution with the manufacturer. But first contact a lemon law attorney. Yhis "driver abuse" problem has been around for years and years/ Don't take no for an answer. Get your car fixed on their dime.
  • considering buying a new mini s. would like to get the manual tranny, but with all the issues about the clutch i am willing to spend the extra money to get the automatic. notice that most of the issue with the clutch are on older models. is anyone having issues with 2010 models?
  • docroxdocrox Posts: 12
    Yes! Mine was a 2010 with 3,600 miles on it. If you read through all of these posts, you will see it is common and happens to some people more than once which is why I sold mine.
  • Just got a call from the MINI dealer even though the clutch was fried they are going to cover the entire cost of replacement. But I was cautioned that the next clutch if driver abuse is on me.

    1. I am relieved they are standing behind the situation due to the fact it was only driven for 2200 miles
    2. That they did not put up a fight
    3. That if lucky the next clutch will be a better one and I wont have any problems for at least 50k miles or longer.
    I love my MINI and hope I am happy with the performance in the future.
  • Please contact me. My email is not marked private.
  • Don't let them fool you for one second. How can you , or I, or anyone abuse a clutch within 2,000 miles? Answer is they know better and will replace the clutch even if you put up a fight. Go to a lemon law attorney if it happens again. We are trying to get rid of our MINI. Two clutches in 12,000 is 2 too many.
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