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Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...

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Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...

  #1  
Old 11-29-2007, 10:41 PM
ekinca
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Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...

I have an oil filter nightmare I want everyone to know about so you may not run into the same hellish problem I have had…
So last weekend I figured to do a little routine maintenance, general look under the bonnet and a simple oil change. Things where going well and some how managed to spill only a few drops of oil, quite a feat for a MINI as the oil loves to drain out everywhere when you remove the oil canister… Everything when back together smooth and figured as with a thousand other oil changes that was that… Until I started it back up… oil light came on, as usual with an oil change as oil fills the canister for a few moments… but in this case the low oil light stayed on… Oh crap… must have left the plug out… Expecting to see oil everywhere, got out and nothing… Double checked everything very closely, everything looked fine, plenty of oil, no reason for it… Try again… Same thing, oil light wont go out… several different checks later and decide to take the oil canister out… low and behold under the filter is a small plastic part, that turns out to be the oil bypass valve… Checking on the net reveals the same problem in one other post:
https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...d.php?t=113820

Folks this is a cheap snap in part that could be replaced for less a $1.00. Not any more sophisticated than a simple PCV valve. Attempt after attempt resulted in being unable to get the bypass valve to stay into place. (turns out later the retaining clips that hold it in place had broken, causing it to fail) I don’t know specifically what caused mine to fail, but seeing how cheaply it is made, it could have been heat fracture or as easily broken from removing the oil filter. More digging on the net came up nothing. And of course out of warranty by 2 months… Ok bite the bullet, take it to the dealer, what maybe $65 to fix it, plus another oil change, right? Hell no, they informed me the entire housing would have to be replaced at a cost of $300+ with the labor brought the grand total for the repair to over $1000! We are talking about one hell of an oil change. Feeling like a complete idiot for what I had done to my car and really not knowing any better, I told them to go ahead and fix it… Holy crap I just spent over $1000 for a weekends worth of simple maintenance. On second thought I called back and asked them to reassemble and I would attempt the repairs myself, I figured If broke it, I can fix it… Not only that but we are talking $1000! It still ended up costing me $164 for “an hour’s labor”, considering removing the canister cover takes approximately 5 min to remove. What customer service, considering I walked in telling them exactly what the problem was, I guess I got a deal. Looking around, I found the canister new for $179 and later used for $100 at a local wrecker. Bought the used canister, unsnapped the $1.00 part and fixed my car myself in about 2 minutes…
In my opinion this is absolute highway robbery, I am really pissed off and feel betrayed by MINI. I have loved this car the whole time I have had it. Having this experience first hand has really put a sour taste in my mouth and has changed my opinion. Not only is the part so cheaply made to begin with, but MINI has to know what is going on here, why not make the cheap little snap-in part available for purchase by itself? This smells very fishy to me… Not to mention, but a real ticking time bomb, I was lucky it happened my garage, if this cheap part where to fail under load, it would result in immediate oil pressure loss, I can only imagine that there have been engines that have seized due to this cheap part failure.
The single biggest issue I have is what MINI causes you to go through to replace it. Sure you may make a simple flaw in the design, but to rape your customers for a cool grand when the part could be replaced by a 4 year old just doesn’t seem right to me… Sorry if this is such a long winded post, I am hoping this experience may help someone to avoid the headache I have endured…
"Simple" Do it yourself Oil Change with Mobil 1…............…$45.00
Cost for MINI to tell you exactly what you already know….$164.00
Buying replacement $1.00 part………………………...........………$100.00
Total…………………………………………………………....................... $209.00
Not getting raped by MINI for unnecessary repairs……….....Priceless

Pics to come...
 
  #2  
Old 11-29-2007, 10:54 PM
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MINI doesn't give a crap about the owners of their cars, get used to it. Oh, and when you wash your car, make sure you use soap on a rope. Their right behind you, just waiting.
 
  #3  
Old 11-29-2007, 10:57 PM
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Ouch. At least you 'saved' $800...
 
  #4  
Old 11-29-2007, 11:00 PM
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And this is why I'd fail miserably as a salvage-yard owner. I'd have taken one look at a used oil filter housing and charged the customer $10 for it.
 
  #5  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:19 AM
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Sounds terrible.

Is there some way to weld the little valve open? I dont really know what the internals of the housing look like, but the valve is ment to shut off oil going to the filter incase the thing unscrews itself, right? Someone could figure something out.

How hard is a spin-on conversion? We could rid ourselves of a lot of woe.
 
  #6  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:32 AM
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I bought a spare oil filter housing

Thats why I bought an oil filter housing on E-Bay for $25. I used it to learn how to do the oil change blind folded. It will also come in handy for parts
 
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:42 AM
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Just a quick note. I never spill a drop of oil when doing an oil change. Simply drain the oil from the crankcase first and then just loosen the filter housing untill oil again starts to dribble out. This process will empty the oil filter housing.
Steve
 
  #8  
Old 11-30-2007, 06:52 AM
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would the valve come out if the motor was still very hot to the touch and
someone ran a rag over it to wipe it down?

luckily ive only wiped down the bottom half portion of the opening before
inserting the cansister back on... and my motor is only warm by the
time i work the new filter in cause i take my dandy time (usually 45min to
drip).
 
  #9  
Old 11-30-2007, 07:01 AM
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R56 Oil Filter

Is the 2007 setup like this also? I do know the filter # changed.
Thanks,
Dave
 
  #10  
Old 11-30-2007, 07:53 AM
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And I thought my oil change was expensive!

I wanted MINI to look at my weak heater and while they had the car, I decided to get my 5000 mile oil change. $80! Would have cost $50-60 at an oil change shop or $35 (or $1000) at home.
They also indicated that there was no problem with the heating system. I guess I should be glad I live in CA.
 
  #11  
Old 11-30-2007, 09:27 PM
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As far as what could damage this part... Honestly a brisk brush with a rag, a errant feel in the filter housing or maybe a sneeze could break this part, it is just that poorly made... I can only imagine as time passes these parts will become more and more brittle in the presence of hot/cold, hot/cold oil, I don't think my experience will be the last we have heard of this issue, by a long shot. My suggestion would be to be very cautious when doing an oil change and touch nothing inside the housing or risk a $1000 oil change... I don't know that I will ever risk doing a change again myself, of course I am also contemplating passing my MINI on to some other soul after this experience...
 
  #12  
Old 12-01-2007, 02:20 PM
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I think your thread is a little overboard. "Raped" doesn't really describe what happened.

1. You are upset mini doesn't sell the part seperately. News flash, they don't make most of the parts in house. The valve is sold to mini with the housing, therefore it is to you with the housing. Also, the price is always highest at the dealer, all car dealers. It is higher because they source, stock and employ someone to look the part up for you. You also get a warranty with it. Do that work yourself and you save some money.

2. You are upset with the labor price. Well again, labor at a dealer is always higher and the quote you got was for replcing the entire housing (see line 1) not the repair that you did. Dealers repair cars by replacing parts, they don't repair parts.

3.YOU broke the part. It is held in place not only by it's clip, but the pressure of the filter on it. There isn't any way for it to brake unless someone reaches in with a rag and brakes it themsleves. Yeah, I said it!

This could be a pleaseant thread about a DIY pitfall to avoid and an inexpensive fix should YOU make the mistake, but instead your are trying to get people to rage against the machine. This attitude is why dealerships don't like to deal with mods and DIY'ers.

BTW, I do not work for mini. I will add a positive tip to this. You can avoid oil spills when removing the filter by changing the filter when the car is level. Either do it before jacking it up or jack the rear up level if you use ramps.
 
  #13  
Old 12-01-2007, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by 002 View Post
I think your thread is a little overboard. "Raped" doesn't really describe what happened.

1. You are upset mini doesn't sell the part seperately. News flash, they don't make most of the parts in house. The valve is sold to mini with the housing, therefore it is to you with the housing. Also, the price is always highest at the dealer, all car dealers. It is higher because they source, stock and employ someone to look the part up for you. You also get a warranty with it. Do that work yourself and you save some money.

2. You are upset with the labor price. Well again, labor at a dealer is always higher and the quote you got was for replcing the entire housing (see line 1) not the repair that you did. Dealers repair cars by replacing parts, they don't repair parts.

3.YOU broke the part. It is held in place not only by it's clip, but the pressure of the filter on it. There isn't any way for it to brake unless someone reaches in with a rag and brakes it themsleves. Yeah, I said it!

This could be a pleaseant thread about a DIY pitfall to avoid and an inexpensive fix should YOU make the mistake, but instead your are trying to get people to rage against the machine. This attitude is why dealerships don't like to deal with mods and DIY'ers.

BTW, I do not work for mini. I will add a positive tip to this. You can avoid oil spills when removing the filter by changing the filter when the car is level. Either do it before jacking it up or jack the rear up level if you use ramps.
I second this.....

Plus how many HIGH mileage vehicles have you heard of with this issue? If someone can go 120,000 miles without this happening, maybe its just the person behind the wheel....
 
  #14  
Old 12-02-2007, 12:14 PM
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Artoo has 75,000 miles and I have done an oil change every 5000 on him myself. I do have a pain when I try to screw the canister on but I am not sure what part you are talking about here. Are those pictures eminent?

Rich
 
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:33 PM
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002
This is an interesting perspective, but I would have to say if the design of this product is of the nature that a simple oil change can damage a engine essential part that would tell me this is a design flaw. Yes I may have caused the failure myself, I the part I can admit that. But if the simple cleaning of the oil canister, a standardized pratice, can cause damage to something of this nature, something is wrong. Guess what that is exactly why I chose to fix it myself. But being pretty experienced in car maintence. I feel I can judge some of the technical merrits of a significant design flaw. But hey whatever. Yeah maybe I am trying to vent a bit, but really you should look closely at how poorly this part is manufactured before you try to slam someone... Any other manufacture including the parent BMW would make arrangements to have a part like this availble seperately... check the parts catalog... they do... But hey best of luck to you, I hope it doesn't happen to you... That was the only point of this post in the first place... But if you want to point out the obvious, more power to you...
 
  #16  
Old 12-02-2007, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich.Wolfson View Post
Artoo has 75,000 miles and I have done an oil change every 5000 on him myself. I do have a pain when I try to screw the canister on but I am not sure what part you are talking about here. Are those pictures eminent?

Rich
The first post in the thread has a link to another thread with pictures. Basically, the valve is spring-loaded so that it can push "in" (toward the engine block) or pop "out" (away from the engine block).

It's probably not designed to handle any significant side-to-side pressure, so if you were to hit it from the side while wiping out the inside of the housing with a rag or something, it would probably be pretty easy to snap off. But if all you're doing is screwing the filter canister into the housing, you're not going to put any significant lateral load on the bypass valve.
 
  #17  
Old 12-02-2007, 12:57 PM
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Simple lesson of this thread seems to be that when changing oil and filter, resist the temptation to reach inside the cannister and wipe out the last remaining trace of old oil.
 
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by J A Blazer View Post
Simple lesson of this thread seems to be that when changing oil and filter, resist the temptation to reach inside the cannister and wipe out the last remaining trace of old oil.
Very good advice. That little bit of dirty oil isn't going hurt a thing. I know there is always a bit in the pan even after draining.
 
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:16 PM
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Scott you bring up an important point, but I any friction on the head of the oil filter against the bypass valve when installing or removing could potentially create side pressure that could damage this part. Maybe a good idea to put some oil on the front of the oil filter when installing. It looks like MINI has recognized this problem because it appears the valve was changed in later versions. BTW I have an 2004 MCS
pics included that show the back with the clips and the housing with the missing bypass valve. Sorry but the pics with it installed didn't come out, but it does look exactly like the previous post.
 
Attached Thumbnails Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...-100_3137.jpg   Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...-100_3141.jpg   Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...-100_3145.jpg  
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:25 PM
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Here is the pic from the previous post:
this shows the valve in place
 
Attached Thumbnails Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...-dscn0500.jpg  
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ekinca View Post
Scott you bring up an important point, but I any friction on the head of the oil filter against the bypass valve when installing or removing could potentially create side pressure that could damage this part
Good point. The amount of side force caused by the filter face sliding against the bypass valve would depend on how stiff the bypass spring is.

I always oil the rubber gasket on the front of the filter, just out of habit. (I know the rubber gasket doesn't serve the same purpose as the rubber gasket on a conventional spin-on filter, but it seems like a good idea anyway).

Originally Posted by Crashton View Post
Very good advice. That little bit of dirty oil isn't going hurt a thing. I know there is always a bit in the pan even after draining.
Yep - there's probably quite a bit of old oil that stays in the engine, between the film on all of the oiled parts, and the little nooks and crannies where the oil can pool (like under the valve cover). I wouldn't be surprised if the initial "dry fill" at the factory took a full quart more than the "wet fills" we do when we change our oil.
 

Last edited by ScottRiqui; 12-02-2007 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:29 PM
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Here is a shot from another post, looks like a much improved version of the valve, should be able to with stand a "Sneeze"
 
Attached Thumbnails Oil Change Nightmare... Buyer Beware...-dscn0457.jpg  
  #23  
Old 12-02-2007, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ekinca View Post
Here is a shot from another post, looks like a much improved version of the valve, should be able to with stand a "Sneeze"
Hmm - that picture is described as being from "an early model Cooper". I'm not sure what that means. It could mean that the Cooper and the 'S' have different bypass valves, or it could mean that the bypass valve you have is actually the newer version, and the picture you just posted is the early version.

Wish I'd thought to look when I changed my oil yesterday. I have a 2006 MCS, and would be curious to find out when the changeover happened.
 

Last edited by ScottRiqui; 12-02-2007 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 12-02-2007, 01:34 PM
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I know 1 person did his own change and put the cartridge filter in the housing upside down. Same result, no pressure, but it did not break anything. I have 50,000 mi on my 03 S of which 30,000+ are SCCA Competition miles and I do lubricate the plastic end of the cartridge. Things break because of doing things in a manner of which you are used to by a different car. All cars are not equal, each has it's quirk. If you have never done something yourself and want to try for the first time, ALWAYS, get with somebody that has the experience of doing it before. Sure, you can read a book and do, but books do not cover the hidden secrets of that certain vehicle. Things break, but you have to be able to know how to fix it if you want your costs down. Never blame extra costs on the dealer. They have to cover labor, taxes, overhead, insurance, and franchise fees along with the lawyer fees that have to be insued over the person that did not understand to begin with. I am not a dealer, I am certified and am a shade tree tech, with 40 yrs. auto experience. I still do not know it all, and have to rely on seat of the pants learning as only the dealers have the schooling for the upgrades, etc. of there certain manufacture auto. Today most techs are young and haven't the improvasation experience of the older retirees. This is something you have to live with or we all would be driving Toyotas.
 
  #25  
Old 12-02-2007, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by JAGFIXER View Post
Today most techs are young and haven't the improvasation experience of the older retirees.
Tell me about it. There are a lot of techs that haven't been in the field very long that don't even know where to start troubleshooting if the OBD system doesn't throw a code to give them a hint.

There was a thread a few weeks ago about a guy that was having problems with hard starting, rough idling, and air-conditioning flapper valves in the vents that weren't repositioning properly when he changed A/C modes.

To anyone that's worked with cars for a while, those three symptoms, when taken together, positively scream "vacuum leak", but I don't think the techs in his case ever checked the vacuum. If the OBD system hadn't pointed them to a failed fuel tank vent valve (which was causing a massive vacuum leak), I don't know how long it would have taken them to find it.
 

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