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Old 06-13-2019, 07:38 AM   #1
Mr Pepsi
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Mini Cooper Valve Job help?

Ok BARF family, I have an important one to me at the moment. I drove the wife's car to work yesterday and while on the Freeway she went into limp mode, flashing the engine light. I immediately pulled off, popped the hood, and it was like she was only running on 3 out of 4 cylinders. I was just out of the 24 tunnel so I limped her to the Mini dealer in Concord near work. They hooked her up and figured it was probably a busted exhaust valve. Of course they didn't tear her apart. They quoted me $9,000 for the repair, but of course that is at a dealer. The car running is only worth about $8,000 so it's not worth it unless we are talking about a brand new engine which is more. I called around and other more reasonable garages I have used before either don't work on Mini's, or the cost wasn't worth it either.

Looking for ideas? I can't part her out very easily in front of my house. My wife loves this car, but I can't justify spending that kind of money to repair her. You can't buy heads with valves, a used engine really won't work for the money either. Any other ideas? Anyone do valve work on Mini's?

I could really use some help. We may just need to take money out of savings and buy a 500e or something.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:49 PM   #2
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I wouldn't write off an engine swap. In fact if it were my car that's what I would do (find an eBay or local lower mile motor). Or swap the complete head, not familiar with these or why a used head wouldn't have the valves.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:20 PM   #3
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Engine swap would be my suggestion.

Or pull the head and have the head rebuilt, unless you had valve to piston contact, in which case I would go back to the engine swap.

Whichever route you go, I would also swap out all the belts, hoses and water pump. If swapping out the engine and if it is a manual, replace the clutch.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:25 PM   #4
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Does the alternator get removed in this process? I think I need a new one anyway.
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:07 PM   #5
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Does the alternator get removed in this process? I think I need a new one anyway.
More than likely
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:53 PM   #6
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year, mileage, service history?

sometimes if you have a service history at a dealership, ( not just warranty and oil changes ) it might be possible to get part of the repair cost covered under "goodwill"

unless it's just neglect

also check with eason automotive, he's a barf sponsor and can give you some good advice and possibly perform the repairs
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Old 06-14-2019, 05:45 AM   #7
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Ebay has a refurb head for $1200. Add gaskets, fasteners, belts, etc, etc, I don’t see how it could be anywhere near $9k.

Question is... how to keep this from happening again. Does the refurb address a weak link?

Because I could not own a commuter type car that could only muster 60k from a motor.
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Old 06-14-2019, 09:02 AM   #8
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Found a place in the sunset who is going to do a valve job for just under $3000. Now just to get it there. Finally some "good" news.

Keep in mind, I just need it to make it approximately one more year. Once we move to Oregon we plan to buy a Subie.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mr Pepsi View Post
Ok BARF family, I have an important one to me at the moment. I drove the wife's car to work yesterday and while on the Freeway she went into limp mode, flashing the engine light. I immediately pulled off, popped the hood, and it was like she was only running on 3 out of 4 cylinders. I was just out of the 24 tunnel so I limped her to the Mini dealer in Concord near work. They hooked her up and figured it was probably a busted exhaust valve. Of course they didn't tear her apart.


Is removing the cylinder head and having a machine shop examine it not an option? You could remove the cylinder head yourself and take it in. As long as it it's just one valve and nothing else, you can replace it yourself or have the machine shop do it. Would be a lot cheaper than the engine swap.
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:19 AM   #10
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Not for me unfortunately. Just getting to the head is an extensive job. I don't have the time, space or knowledge to do the job.
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Old 06-20-2019, 08:48 PM   #11
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Do you know for sure its a head problem? compression test, leak down etc done?
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:45 AM   #12
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Yes I do now.
160 psi in three, and zero in one.
They tore it apart and found TWO dead valves on the same cylinder.
Quoted me 2700 for the complete valve job, and $650 for a timing belt and accessories. Should be completed next Friday (my surgery day, very minor)
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:44 PM   #13
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Sounds good.
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:48 AM   #14
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You probably know this, but the Cooper's have numerous issues that cause catastrophoic failures. Walk away from it now.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:26 PM   #15
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dont the timing chain guides fail on those too?
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