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Old 03-11-2012, 09:20 PM
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Bill Reid Bill Reid is offline
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Low oil pressure... anybody? Long Story

Well, we're new owners (new to Mini community) and we're already sick to our stomachs.

We bought an 07 MCSa 2 weeks ago... appears to be very well taken care of and has a clean Carfax. This is the car my wife had been looking for. This is the car with the right color, the right options, low milage, and a decent price.

We test drive the car on a cool Monday evening for about 10 minutes. No problem. No rattles and no unusual noises. We buy the car. We live about 40 miles from the used car dealer... all freeway miles. Wife gets off the exit 2 miles from our house and an oil indicator lamp lights up the dash with chimes. Scares my wife but the light turns green and she hits the gas and the light/chime go away. One more stop light to our house... again same thing. Park the car in the driveway and immediately look at Owners Manual to determine severity to alarm. Well, apparantly its bad enough for Mini to state stop driving the car and call them - low oil pressure indication. I called Mini next morning as well as the dealership we bought the car from. I checked the oil level that night and it was fine... new oil. So, next morning its flat bedded back to the used car dealer (a big name dealer in Scottsdale). So, their service department was able to repeat the problem after "driving 16-18" miles after cold start. They changed the oil (again)... this time using "Mini Oil +Filter". So, that tells me they didn't used recommended "Mini Oil + Filter"... later admitting they didn't. Ya, OK, I can safely assume most used car dealers don't use OEM parts or recommended brand oils when prepping a used car for sale. Anyway, they did the second time... same results. Low Oil Pressure at idle after driving the car. Used car dealer says "We'll send it over to Mini and have them take a look". Mini initially could not reproduce the problem but I can only assume they were not driving the car long enough for oil to come to temp initially. They did reproduce the problem in a subsequent driving test. They changed the oil pressure sensor, changed the oil (again), performed the Aux H20 pump recall, and flushed the brakes. Whoever bought the car initially bought the 6yr/100k maintenance plan so all scheduled services were free. I guess they test drove the car again and could not repeat the problem. So, used car dealer (our salesman) drives the car back to us for delivery. He didn't tell us of any problems driving it back to us so we assumed it was fixed. Wife drives the car next day to work and no issues... about 8 miles one way. 2nd day we have the car back wife drives the car to work but takes son to school first... about 5 miles out of the way. Anyway, as she is pulling in to work the oil pressure light and chime go off and she parks the car and immediately calls me. Once again, used car dealer flatbeds the car back to their store. My assumption is they'll return the car to Mini for further troubleshooting. We have been very patient and cordial with the used car dealer as they have with us. Bottom line is we've owned this car for 2 weeks and have had the car for one "troublefree" day.

This last Saturday we decided to go talk to a Mini Serivce Manager at Mini of North Scottsdale and explain to him what happened. I also asked for a complete vehicle maintenance history. He wouldn't print it out but he went through the history with me and was patient while I wrote everything down. It appears the previous 2 owners (1st in Iowa, 2nd in Minnesota) took very good care of the car as there was alot of scheduled mainrtenance history... ans some minor knick knack stuff. But there were a couple of issues that stood out that kinda scared me. Over 2 years ago while the car was in Minnesota it had 2 throttle valves replaced due to freezing(?)... some sort of frozen mositure related damage(?) Second time is when PUMA (Mini internal escalation) got involved. The same time the 2nd replacement throttle valve was installed they did a "5 part crankcase boilout" procedure to remove, I assume, excess moisture and replaced the intake manifold. 5/09 Carfax shows the car in Arizona. Back in 2/10 Mini service records show the car got a new cyclinder head, timing chain, tensioner due to tensioner failure, chain stretch, bent exhaust valves... yada yada. So, the top end of the motor has ~20k miles on it. Bottom end has 42k miles on it. Scares me... but apparantly had been running well(?) for 20k miles after that top end carnage. The Mini Service Manager was very helpful to us and said he would do what he could to get to the bottom of the problem... with PUMA. I hope used car dealer takes it back to Mini so they can get PUMA involved.

I can speculate alot of things but right now we're in a holding pattern to determine what the used car dealer is going to do based on what Mini finds after digging further... this time hoping PUMA will get involved.

So, it took a long story to say why my wifes new little dream car has low oil pressure. At this point I'm wondering if a thicker viscosity oil such as 10W30 or a mix of 10W30 and 20W50 will keep warm oil pressure up at idle. BTW, when Mini tested the oil pressure at hot idle after repeating the problem it was 21-22psi. I assume that is right on the cusp of signaling a low pressure alarm(?). Fingers cross the used car dealer does the right thing...
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Old 03-11-2012, 10:57 PM
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Whatever you do, DO NOT increase the oil viscosity to simply "mask" a low-oil pressure problem.
That's horrible for critical bearing surfaces and oil flow...

Time to converse the dealer in getting you an oil pump.

- Erik
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:10 PM
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Bill Reid Bill Reid is offline
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Erik,
Have you heard of oil pump issues before on this engine? Anything is possible... just throwing the story out there to see if there are any similar experiences or advice. I appreciate yours.
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Reid View Post
Erik, Have you heard of oil pump issues before on this engine?
No, not typically.

Now you said that the pressure was check and reading 21-22psi, what RPM was that?
The service manual calls out the following for the N14 engine:
* Idle (engine at operating temp) = 0.7bar [10.1psi]
* 3000RPM (maximum regulated pressure) = 1.7-3.0bar [24.6 - 43.5psi]

The manual also states the following:
"If testing shows low oil pressure, one or more of the following conditions may be indicated:
* worn or faulty oil pump or faulty pump pressure relief valve
* worn or damaged engine bearings
* severe engine wear"

- Erik
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Old 03-12-2012, 02:33 AM
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My initial suspicion is that the oil pump isn't working properly resulting in a loss of oil pressure. I'd suggest that the dealer investigates the pump. If the car is only 2 weeks since purchase date, this should be covered under warranty.

Why wouldn't the dealer give you the maintenance history?

Like the other poster, I wouldn't simply change the oil to a different viscosity. The type of oil in the engine isn't causing the low pressure something else is. I'd go with oil pump as the primary suspect.

I take it that the oil level is okay and not dropping on you? If so, then the probability is high it's the pump and not a leak or anything like that.

Good luck - let us know if you get it resolved.
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluefox280 View Post
No, not typically.

Now you said that the pressure was check and reading 21-22psi, what RPM was that?
The service manual calls out the following for the N14 engine:
* Idle (engine at operating temp) = 0.7bar [10.1psi]
* 3000RPM (maximum regulated pressure) = 1.7-3.0bar [24.6 - 43.5psi]

The manual also states the following:
"If testing shows low oil pressure, one or more of the following conditions may be indicated:
* worn or faulty oil pump or faulty pump pressure relief valve
* worn or damaged engine bearings
* severe engine wear"

- Erik
Erik,
I am not sure what RPM they tested it at... I would think it's whatever procedure calls out for. I can ask. Would the latest Bentley Mini Service Manual have this procedure? I have the manual on order anyway as after this oil pressure episode, and the fact the car is not under warranty anymore, I'll do the majority of the heavy repair work.
The fact that Mini did a "5 part boilout" makes me wonder if that was when perhaps water could have been pulled into the oil pump and damaged engine bearings... or when the chain tensioner failed the oil pump may have injested something hard. Who knows... I speculate. I am keeping my hopes up its nothing major.
Thanks,
Bill
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiniDeLux View Post
My initial suspicion is that the oil pump isn't working properly resulting in a loss of oil pressure. I'd suggest that the dealer investigates the pump. If the car is only 2 weeks since purchase date, this should be covered under warranty.

Why wouldn't the dealer give you the maintenance history?

Like the other poster, I wouldn't simply change the oil to a different viscosity. The type of oil in the engine isn't causing the low pressure something else is. I'd go with oil pump as the primary suspect.

I take it that the oil level is okay and not dropping on you? If so, then the probability is high it's the pump and not a leak or anything like that.

Good luck - let us know if you get it resolved.
MiniDeLux,
The car is an 07 (with 42k miles) so no warranty:( The used car dealer I bought it from has been supportive to date. I hope it stays that way through the resolution of this problem. I also hope that the used car dealer will send it back over to Mini so it can be more thoroughly diagnosed through Mini's PUMA system. I am not sure if that is how its spelled but that is what the Mini Service Manager called it when we were speaking with him. If it is as simple as an oil pump then hopefully its replaced and we'll be on our way. If its the engine (most likely shortblock) then I am not sure what we'll do... still hoping the used car dealer stands behind the sale and fixes the problem out of their pocket.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:10 AM
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Bigcoyote Bigcoyote is offline
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Sorry to hear about your issues - If you need some local help there are a few of us around

http://www.dynamicminicollective.org/forum/

Also there is a local Mini mechanic most of us use - he has gone to bat for us with alot of dealers ( we was a dealer mechanic for years )

http://www.eurotechsaz.com/welcome.html

Good luck & keep us posted
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:23 AM
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Bill Reid Bill Reid is offline
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Thanks for the links!
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Old 03-12-2012, 10:36 AM
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I wonder if the dealer put an actual mechanical oil pressure gauge on the engine?

I also wonder if this is just an electrical gremlin, and the engine is actually fine?

I would not be too worried about the cold temp problems, this was an early car/cold weather problem and resolved with the new manifold you mentioned.

More worrying to me is that the car had to have the head work and tensioner/chain/valves done. A lot of 07-09 cars have had tensioner problems, including mine. I hope the work already done has resolved it once and for all on your car.

Let us know what happens, OK?

I take it you're staying with the car because it's exactly the color/options your wife wanted? Me, I'd return it for a refund.....who needs the hassle?
There are a LOT of cars out there for sale.....I'd see if I could find a newer one that might fit the bill instead.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:38 AM
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Yes, mechnical oil pressure test is how they obtained the actual oil pressure. They thought it was an electrical gremlin as well so they've been down that path. If they can't fix it this time then I think we're going to throw in the towel and ask them to buy the car back. Its too bad because it is exactly what she wanted... gonna take awhile to find another car like this at our spending limit as well.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:38 AM
 
 
 
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