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Old 06-14-2009, 09:07 PM
mikpatj mikpatj is offline
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Maintenance :: Cooper Oil Change with Pictures

I recently completed an oil change for my 2009 MC at about the 5000 mile mark . After looking around quite a bit, I wasn't able to find a good point for point oil change post for the 2nd generation MINI. So, after cobbling together whatever info I could find, (since the owner's manual is decidedly silent on some things), I put this post together in the hopes that it helps others out there who would like to take care of their own MINI without having to run out to BMW for every little thing.

Here's the items you will need:

Click the image to open in full size.
1. Oil Filter. I picked up this Purolator filter at Advance Auto Parts for about $26. Way too much money but the only one available at the time. You can also use WIX 57512 (about $16). Others have said you can find OEM filters cheap on the internet.

Click the image to open in full size.
Made In Germany: Made me feel a little better about shelling out the $$ for it, but not much. I assume the numbers are date of manufacture. The internal support structure is made of plastic.

Click the image to open in full size.
Before you leave the store, make sure it has the included o-ring in the box.

Click the image to open in full size.

2. Oil (duh). 4qts is all I needed. Buy 5 if you just want to sure you have enough (always better to have extra than too little). Now, there are differing opinions on which oil is the best to use, but you do have choices other than the MINI oil that you have to get from BMW. I chose 0W-40 because it does get warm around here (Texas), and I'm curious if it will effect my gas mileage. I'll add that to the post when I find out. And yes, I know MINI recommends Castrol, but I couldn't find it at the time and Mobil 1 is on the list.

Click the image to open in full size.
I put this here to save ya'll the trouble of fishing for it. But if you go to miniusa.com and make an account in the owner's lounge and then navigate to my mini, and then read down in the warranty section, you will find this. So, pick which ever oil you are most comfortable with according to your climate. But it would probably be a good idea to stick to whatever they have listed, just from a legal standpoint in case anything goes weird.

Click the image to open in full size.
OK. Now the work. Here's looking at the engine oil drain plug from behind the front passenger tire.

Click the image to open in full size.
You will need an 8mm hex head socket to unscrew the drain plug.

Click the image to open in full size.
Not to be condensending, but the oil pan is on the right side of the car. The left side (driver's side), has the silver metal housing which is the transmission. It also has a drain plug. It also has a sticker that says you never have to drain it. Just so you know.

Click the image to open in full size.
I drove the car up on some ramps and as you can see, this is a shot from under the front of the car. You can tell the drain plug is at the back of the pan, so having the car tilted back shouldn't cause a problem with undrained oil.
NOTE: I was able to figure out how much to tighten this plug by backing it out a fraction and then using a torque wrench to get it tight again. When reinstalling, tighten to 120 inch lbs. If you don't have a torque wrench, observe the flange of the plug and you will notice a very small "N" stamped onto it. Just take note, or make a mark on your pan, of where the "N" lines up, and tighten to there. Don't over tighten.

Click the image to open in full size.
As you can see, there is no way at all to get this plug out without getting a little dirty. If someone out there figures out something clever, feel free to share. This may seem obvious, but make sure your oil is not scorching hot when you do this. The neighborhood children might be listening. The oil should be warm, but not cook you.

Click the image to open in full size.
Some folks have stated their oil was very dark at their first change while other have noticed a slight sheen due to microscopic metal in the oil due to break in and normal wear and tear. I didn't see any of this. The oil was fairly clean with a dark honey color. About what you would expect from a synthetic oil after 5000 miles. Perhaps it could go for 15,000 miles like MINI says. But like most of ya'll, I just don't feel comfortable with that.

Click the image to open in full size.
Now on to the filter. Now, I know this is a European car, but I found that a 1 1/16 12 point socket fit just right on the head of the filter casing. So you can use that if you've got one. Other folks have said it takes a 36mm 6 point socket.

Click the image to open in full size.
Access is pretty good, I didn't need to move anything to get to the filter.

Click the image to open in full size.
If I'm reading this right, it says to tighten to 25.5 Nm (Newton Meters)
Which near as I can figure is equal to 225 inch lbs. But that is way too tight so I must be reading this wrong. Somebody come up with the correct answer for the benefit of the readers. Read below for the proper way to tighten this casing.

Click the image to open in full size.
If you don't have a socket, a large crescent wrench will do. But be sure to get a proper bite on the flats of the casing hex head or you will strip it. It's only plastic.

Click the image to open in full size.
In the end, I just reached down there and discovered that while very snug, it was just hand tight. And when you reinstall it, that is how tight you will go. It turns until a certain point when the plastic flange touches the metal body and then that's it, it's tight. Maybe give it another 1/8 inch turn for fun and then let it be.

Click the image to open in full size.
As you unscrew the filter housing, you will feel a constant resistance. This is due to the o-ring on the housing in contact with the metal body. Unscrew until this point and then let it sit 2-3 minutes to allow any oil to drain from the filter down into the pan. Note the paper towels tucked underneath the housing to catch any dripping oil.

Click the image to open in full size.
Filter housing removed from engine casing. Use some paper towels to catch any oil that drips out. It's not necessary, but I also sopped up the remaining oil out of the casing.

Click the image to open in full size.
Filter housing removed from engine.

Click the image to open in full size.
Old filter next to new filter. The first thing to do is remove the old o-ring from the filter housing.

Click the image to open in full size.
You will need a small flat head screwdriver to get under the lip of the o-ring and coax it off. Roll it up and over the threads. Be careful not to damage it in case you break the new o-ring and have to reuse the old one.

Click the image to open in full size.
Get a few drops of oil out of the housing and rub it all over the new o-ring. Gently roll it down over the threads and into it's seat. Make sure and lubricate it with oil all around so it does not tear or bind when you reinstall the housing onto the engine. Place the new filter into the housing. Mine went in with little resistance but enough to hold it in place.
Carefully screw the filter housing back into the engine casing. You will feel resistance as the o-ring presses against the metal. Tighten the plastic filter housing by hand until the plastic flange contacts the metal collar. Tighten maybe another 1/8 inch to snug it up, and then let it be.

At this point, reinstall the engine pan drain plug as noted above. Torque to 120 inch lbs. and clean the area thoroughly. This will make it easy to tell if you have any leaks rather than wonder if it was some oil you left behind.

Click the image to open in full size.

Add your oil. I added 4 quarts and that brought the oil level to half way on the dipstick indicator. Start the engine and crawl under the car for a minute and make sure there is no leakage at the drain plug. Also check for leaks around the filter housing. I backed it off the ramps, let is sit 5 minutes, and it was still at the proper level of half up the indicator. I drove it around until hot, let sit a few hours until cool, and the level was the same. So I guess 4 quarts it is. I thought it would be a bit more, if someone has the OEM specs, please share. The engine oil capacity is not listed in the owner's manual or anywhere else that I can find.

Click the image to open in full size.
Yea, I know it says Castrol, but don't get spooked. Castrol doesn't make the only good synthetic oil out there.

Click the image to open in full size.
As many people have noted, the dipstick on this MINI is difficult to read at best. If you take a look at the dipstick tube, you see that it has a pretty good curve going into the engine. I have found that as you pull the dipstick back out of the tube, the indicator rubs against the outside bend of the tube and gets covered with oil. Basically ruining your ability to read the oil level.
So the way to get around this, is to pull the dipstick out without rotating it to keep one side of the dipstick to the outside of the bend, and one side to the inside of the bend so it doesn't get wet.

Click the image to open in full size.
Keep track of which side was on the inside of the curve as you pull it out and this is the side that you read. It's still hard to see but you will get more consistent readings if you follow this procedure.
I didn't reset the oil change reminder on the computer because I just change the oil every 5000 miles anyway. I'll let BMW change it at 15,000 and they can reset it then.

Well, that's it. Hope this post, if a bit wordy, helps others out there. Needless to say, like the rest of ya'll, I love my MINI. If my gas mileage changes due to viscosity of the new oil, I'll make a note of it down here.

I'll have another post up soon on tire rotation. Not a hard thing, but what the heck.

Last edited by mikpatj; 06-15-2009 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:19 PM
slinger688 slinger688 is offline
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Thanks for the info.

You should use OEM filters which costs about $12. I cannot believe a Purolator filter is $26.
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:27 PM
r56bb r56bb is offline
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good write up and good to know how to DIY but my mini cover by the dealer's 5 year warranty and services plan so no oil change for me to do on my own in the next 4 year...
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:35 PM
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This is an awesome writeup.

Just a FYI on the oil filter: $10 plus shipping, or you can buy the whole kit which includes 5 quarts of Royal Purple and the filter for $57 plus shipping.

http://www.detroittuned.com/shop/?productID=185
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:45 AM
mikpatj mikpatj is offline
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thanks for the info

Thanks for the info Kimbo. Probably can't beat $10 for the filter kit. I'm surprised it comes with a crush ring. I did not see that when I did the oil change. Hope I didn't miss it or maybe it's not used in the 2009 model since my filter did not come with it.
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:57 AM
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Nice writeup! An admin should sticky this.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:32 PM
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There is an old thread called DIY R56 Cooper S Oil Change (with pics!)
It is rather long, and had some refinements along the way, so good to have a condensed version.

The MINI engine was designed to use 5W-30 synthetic that is rated ACEA A3. This is what the MINI and BMW branded oils are. They are a special formulation made for BMW by Castrol. ACEA A3 is what is recommended in the UK owner's manual, I'm told. In the USA manual, the much broader American API SM rating is used. I believe something was lost in translation. Personally, I'm going to stay with an A3 oil. In my area, the MINI brand is the least expensive at $5.40/qt.

Click the image to open in full size.

The Castrol European 0W-30, and Mobil 1 0W-40 are A3 rated. The other two are A5 which has a lower viscosity at temp.

I think you are way over-torquing the drain plug. The OEM specs are to torque drain plug to 22 ft. lbs. This is with a new copper crush washer.

Torque oil filter cap to 18.5 ft. lbs.

The OEM oil filters are available online for as low as $9 in bulk. Or, $10 individually. At most they are $15. Prices tend to vary at different MINI dealers. They should always come with a copper crush washer for the drain plug.

Some MINIs use a T50 Torx bit for the oil drain plug, rather than an 8mm hex. I use a T50 on my 2007 MCS.

On an MCS it is best to move the coolant overflow tank to get better access to the oil filter. It just requires removing one screw with an 8mm socket. Leave the hoses connected.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r56bb View Post
good write up and good to know how to DIY but my mini cover by the dealer's 5 year warranty and services plan so no oil change for me to do on my own in the next 4 year...
My understanding is that will give you one oil change per year, or every time the OBC countdown indicates (typically 15,000 to 22,000 miles). For those putting more than about 8,000 miles per year on their MINIs, IMO, that is not frequent enough. Oil analysis done on my car and others seem to indicate that oil change intervals shouldn't really go more than around 8,000 miles.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:12 PM
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Thanks for this. Even though I've read the other DIY it's always helpful to gather new information such as the inner/outer idea w/ the dipstick.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:22 PM
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I am not really a car guy to fix things . But once my car service runs out i think i can do this one myself . Where do you get the 8mm hex head socket ? Sears or what ? Thanks for the post it will save me money in the future . I had no clue where the oil filter was located and your post is a good one ! Thanks Again !
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:27 PM
toolazyforalogin toolazyforalogin is offline
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You can get the 8mm hex socket at any auto parts store. Just check your torque wrench to see if the socket you need is 1/2" or 3/8" although you can always use an adapter.
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:45 PM
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I guess i will get the whole deal ramps , 8mm scocket , 36mm socket . Where on the internet do i find the oil filters and o-rings ? Sound like a good fathers day gift to my self coming very soon almost at 5000 miles my self . Thanks so much for your help ! I know i can do this = i hope LOL !
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Old 06-15-2009, 04:26 PM
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Great writeup and pix are excellent. I agree with Robin, I think 120 lbs is a lot to torque the drain plug. The wheels are supposed to be about 110! It's supposed to be 4.5 qts to fill it completely. A lot of dealers use 5 qts and cause concern because it's above the full mark. Mine did that. Great job man.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TheBigNewt View Post
Great writeup and pix are excellent. I agree with Robin, I think 120 lbs is a lot to torque the drain plug. The wheels are supposed to be about 110! It's supposed to be 4.5 qts to fill it completely. A lot of dealers use 5 qts and cause concern because it's above the full mark. Mine did that. Great job man.

he actually wrote inch/lb which is 10ft/lb
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:38 PM
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Ok mikpatj
I have a question . How tall are your ramps ? Because the Mini is only about 1 foot off the ground . Does it make a difference ? I said im not a car guy but willing to learn and save some money . Thanks so much for your help ! I find the Mini people are great !
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:54 PM
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Nice
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:06 AM
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Very easy to understand DIY! I am at little over 1000 miles and I am going to do it myself.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Casady View Post
There is an old thread called DIY R56 Cooper S Oil Change (with pics!)
It is rather long, and had some refinements along the way, so good to have a condensed version.

The MINI engine was designed to use 5W-30 synthetic that is rated ACEA A3. This is what the MINI and BMW branded oils are. They are a special formulation made for BMW by Castrol. ACEA A3 is what is recommended in the UK owner's manual, I'm told. In the USA manual, the much broader American API SM rating is used. I believe something was lost in translation. Personally, I'm going to stay with an A3 oil. In my area, the MINI brand is the least expensive at $5.40/qt.

Click the image to open in full size.

The Castrol European 0W-30, and Mobil 1 0W-40 are A3 rated. The other two are A5 which has a lower viscosity at temp.

I think you are way over-torquing the drain plug. The OEM specs are to torque drain plug to 22 ft. lbs. This is with a new copper crush washer.

Torque oil filter cap to 18.5 ft. lbs.

The OEM oil filters are available online for as low as $9 in bulk. Or, $10 individually. At most they are $15. Prices tend to vary at different MINI dealers. They should always come with a copper crush washer for the drain plug.

Some MINIs use a T50 Torx bit for the oil drain plug, rather than an 8mm hex. I use a T50 on my 2007 MCS.

On an MCS it is best to move the coolant overflow tank to get better access to the oil filter. It just requires removing one screw with an 8mm socket. Leave the hoses connected.
Great summary.

Only caution is that some have accidently drained their transmission fluid so be aware of that.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:59 AM
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I thought it was a 27mm socket to remove the filter housing?
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Old 06-17-2009, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onetigerlsu View Post
Ok mikpatj
I have a question . How tall are your ramps ? Because the Mini is only about 1 foot off the ground . Does it make a difference ? I said im not a car guy but willing to learn and save some money . Thanks so much for your help ! I find the Mini people are great !
I have ramps that are about 1' or 1-1/2' high and they work fine for getting under the car. I think ramps come in a standard size, so anything you get as long as its rated for enough weight should be fine. The only thing I've noticed is that you'll scrape the guard on the bottom of your bumper a bit on the way up and back. It's spring loaded and shouldn't matter.

Mikpatj - Nice writeup, I'm going to bookmark this one for future reference since the whole thread has some good info!
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:36 AM
mikpatj mikpatj is offline
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input

Thanks for ya'lls input. As Mellowmcs pointed out, torque for the drain plug is 120 inch lbs which comes out to 10 foot lbs. Not too tight but enough to keep it snug. And I did not see a crush washer. I think 120 foot lbs. would probably rotate the whole car!
I've seen the previous DIY thread that ya'll mentioned and noticed that the poster accidentally drained his transmission fluid instead of the engine (yikes). I felt it would be good to create a new DIY for those new MINI owners like me. And I'm not beyond making mistakes, please point out any that you see. I have not bothered to physically measure the mm size of the hex head on the filter casing since my 1 1/16 socket fits perfect. Math conversion brings that out to 27mm. I would say my ramps are 1 to 1.5 feet tall. Torquing the filter casing to 18.5 ft lbs comes out to 222 inch lbs or 25.08Nm (newton meters) which is almost identical to the 25.5Nm stamped on the casing. Again, I think this is way to tight. The o-ring serves to seal the oil and also provides resistance to the casing coming loose. Since mine came from the factory basically hand tight, I think that's what I'll stick with unless I notice any leakage. Any other car I've ever worked on always specifies the filter to be hand tightened otherwise they're impossible to get off later. As far as the amount of oil goes, since this is essentially a British car, there might be some confusion between US quarts and Imperial quarts and what the mechanics are telling us. Five US quarts is equal to 4 Imperial quarts. Maybe they are putting 5 Imperial quarts in? (I'm just guessing, why would they use that measurement in the US?) All I know is that 4 US quarts fills it up just right. I think 5 US quarts would put it over the top.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:37 AM
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Robin Casady Robin Casady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfink View Post
I thought it was a 27mm socket to remove the filter housing?
Correct.

27mm = 1.062992"
1-1/16 = 1.0625"

0.000492" isn't enough to worry about.

This message brought to you by the Units app on my iPhone.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
I have ramps that are about 1' or 1-1/2' high and they work fine for getting under the car. I think ramps come in a standard size, so anything you get as long as its rated for enough weight should be fine. The only thing I've noticed is that you'll scrape the guard on the bottom of your bumper a bit on the way up and back. It's spring loaded and shouldn't matter.
I have some steel ramps I purchased about a decade or more ago at an auto supply store. They do not fit under my MCS. They would damage the air dam on the way up.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Robin Casady View Post
I have some steel ramps I purchased about a decade or more ago at an auto supply store. They do not fit under my MCS. They would damage the air dam on the way up.
You don't even need ramps for this job.

I use 2 pieces of scrap 2X6 lumber - lay them flat on the ground, one in front of each front wheel. Drive the car forward onto the wood. This raises the front of the car an inch and a half (the thickness of the 2X6's) - just enough clearance to fit my ratchet onto the drain plug and my oil drain pan underneath.

Great DIY, mikpatj. Nice clear photos.

And...to all you car maintenance "noobs" reading this - don't be afraid, this is really easy. Probably the simplest car maintenance thing you can do. Just follow mikpatj's excellent instructions and think of all the $$$ you can keep in your own pocket (intead of giving it to your MINI dealer) by doing this yourself.


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Old 06-18-2009, 01:10 PM
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Nice Write up!

Something I didnt notice, where to take the used oil. Im sure the fishes and the powers that be would not apreciate dumping down the sewer.
Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:10 PM
 
 
 
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