2003 MINI COOPER RELIABILTY OF ENGINE AFTER CYLINDER HEAD REPLACEMENT

  • Tiny
  • mariposa7684
  • 2003 Mini Cooper

Engine Mechanical problem
2003 Mini Cooper 4 cyl Front Wheel Drive Automatic 67400 miles

just had #4 cylinder replaced (at $2000) on 03 mini with 67, 400 miles. Second large repair this year (first was replacement of power steering pump this summer).
despite the work being warrantied for 2 years, I don't feel good about holding on to the car. Thoughts?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 AT 11:32 AM

7 Answers

  • Tiny
  • Dr. Hagerty
  • Expert
  • 9,713 posts

If the work was done correctly it should be fine. I dont know why it was off in the first place, a motor at 67k miles shouldn't need to have the head off. I am not a fan of Mini Cooper cars so I am not going to be objective in assisting you here, please allow me to excuse myself from suggesting to rid yourself of that little car.

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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 AT 6:06 PM
  • Tiny
  • mariposa7684
  • Member

I'm not a fan of this car anymore, either. I don't know enough about engines to know if, in this case, they could've just fixed the leaking valve. Here's the details of the work order: low compression on cyl. 4; smoke tested; valve leak found; replaced cyl head and all gaskets including thermostat; bled cooling system.

And today I go to move my car after a snow/ice storm, the engine shuts down after a wheel spin on ice (it was parked and not fully warmed up). Starts up after a few minutes. Car is pushed out of spot, wheels spin again, engine shuts down again. This has never happened before. Service advisor at dealership says it's vapor lock. I thought vapor lock was a hot weather phenom.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2009 AT 10:38 AM
  • Tiny
  • Dr. Hagerty
  • Expert
  • 9,713 posts

Vapor lock does not occur in fuel injected engines. Service writers do not always have the luxury of being well informed. The DSC is over-compensating and I believe is shutting the engine down instead of controlling the engine speed like it is supposed to.

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Thursday, January 29th, 2009 AT 12:30 PM
  • Tiny
  • mariposa7684
  • Member

These service advisors have no technical background, I take it? Up until recently, the dealership didn't have this position. When you called service, you got a tech. From now on, i'll insist on talking to one.

Feel free to share your concerns about MINI reliability. As I said, i'm no longer a fan. I am now shopping online for a 1-2 yr old car, a small SUV.

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Friday, January 30th, 2009 AT 10:09 AM
  • Tiny
  • Dr. Hagerty
  • Expert
  • 9,713 posts

Seems there are several Mini owners out there!

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Monday, August 17th, 2009 AT 9:36 PM
  • Tiny
  • Steve Amend
  • Member

Unfortunately, if you buy one of these early Mini's you better have plenty to spend on repairs and a spare car! You can almost expect the tranny to go [manual or automatic], and many times it has to be replaced! Cylinder 4 problems are also par for the course! Lets not leave out the power steering pump--another big bucks rip off! Also your door handle[mechanism] will start to fail--they manage to make this expensive too. Buy a Ford or Honda! My 2002 mini began to fall apart around 60,000 mi.

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 AT 6:28 AM
  • Tiny
  • mariposa7684
  • Member

Ha, you are so right, steve. The power steering pump was the first thing to fail @that magic 60k point. The dealership paid for half the cost of replacement only b/c I brought sheets of info on this problem that I got off the Mini message boards. This was after they subjected me to ridicule for not bringing my car to them for regular servicing (after the warranty ran out). They are located 50 miles away from me, btw. After I paid thru the nose for the cylinder replacement, I *did* unload the car. And got a one yr old ford escape. It's had its share of part failures (trans leak, water pump), but they were covered under warranty. I use the local dealership for all work so that if, God forbid, I run into big problems now that the warranty has expired, I won't get the big attitude I got from the Mini people. Love the escape, btw.

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 AT 1:34 PM

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