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Mini Cooper MOT fail

Discussion in 'Motoring Related Discussion' started by joderest, May 1, 2020.

  1. joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    Hi All
    Thought i would be good and took wifes Mini for MOT
    Failed......
    1) Cracked spring on front
    2) CO2 emissions high.

    Tester (a young lad) said he thought head gasket blown and possible broken piston ring !!!!
    Went and had a chat with my local garage, they looked at the test result readings and said they think its the cat. gone bad (12 years old, engines are known to use oil).
    They are sure a new cat. will cure it.
    Booked it in with them for next week, thought i would look at "cracked" spring, its not cracked, its hanging off the strut !!!!!, unsafe to drive, but i was not told that, so have parked it up waiting for next Thursday for work to be done.

    Anyone comment on the CO2 readings being high caused by CAT. or could it be something else. Car runs very well, 110,000 miles, does not use water, does not overheat, pongs a bit when cold (exhaust) like its on choke.

    Comments ?
     
  2. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    By the way, I checked it all over ten days ago, spring was fine then, so something i would not have known about, it still drives fine but i now see its about 1 1/2 inches down on left front. Pot hole i expect.
    The engine does use oil, it always has, we got it at 39,000, and its used oil since then, about 1/4 ltr per 1,000 miles which Mini states is normal for the engine, Its not increased.
     
  3. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    CO2 or CO?
    A cat converts CO to CO2.
    A bad cat will have excess CO not CO2.

    Sounds to me like MOT lad was trying it on as there's no way he could know if a piston ring had broken from his test equipment.
     
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  4. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    Sorry, CO ( carbon dioxide).
    Thanks, the car does run fine, plenty of power, no rattles, good fuel consumption.
    CATs. Are a bit of a magic thing to me, would oil going out of the exhaust over the years make it go bad ?
    The bloke at the garage that I use for repairs I cannot do myself is sure a new Cat will fix it. He cannot get a new Mini one, but can get an after market one. It's about £150 plus fitting, plus the spring plus the re MOT.
    Also, two garages have advised me to pour some Wynn's stop leak into the engine, it softens rubber seals, so could help valve stem oil seals to reseal again.
    They both say it's good stuff, and will not damage anything.
    I have a can, but am have not put it in, I have never used additives.

    Comments
     
  5. JDPEClassUK

    JDPEClassUK Active Member

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    CO is Carbon Monoxide not Carbon Dioxide which is CO2.

    Which one is important to determine if CAT not functioning


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  6. JBell

    JBell Senior Member

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    I would replace both front springs, if one has gone then the other is probably not far behind, always good to replace then by axle
     
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  7. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Cats can go bad with oil if it's excessive.
    The usual cause of cats failing is contamination, impact damage and overheating. Oil can lead to increased exhaust temperatures and contamination.
    I'm not a fan of additives but you need to weigh up how bad it is, how much the car is worth and how long you want to keep it to decide whether to try an additive or to strip down and fix it properly.
     
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  8. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Just noticed a 1/4 litre per thousand miles I wouldn't bother with an additive.
    That's unlikely to cause issues.
     
  9. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    This has got a bit more complicated.
    Its laid up at work, as not prepared to drive with a broken spring, had a look round it this afternoon. You have to understand i hardly ever drive this car as its the wifes. Checked the coolant, header tank empty !!!!
    Took half a kettle to top up, ran car. When hot the water in the tank rises, filling it, then there are large bubbles. I suspect the head gasket has blown, which could be the reason for the CAT going bad, oil and water i suspect may well do that.
    As the car is, as an MOT failure and engine issue, only worth about £500 scrap.
    Its a good little car, clean and tidy, no rust and every thing else is fine.
    So i am prepared to throw some money at it. I do not know what a head gasket job is these days, i suspect about £800, but whilst at it i may as well have the timing chain and guides done and have the valve stem oil seals replaced.
    I do not expect any change out of about £1600.

    Thoughts
     
  10. JBell

    JBell Senior Member

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    What kind of Mini is it?
     
  11. JDPEClassUK

    JDPEClassUK Active Member

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    Check the oil - is it grey or contaminated with water? Bubbles in coolant could just be bleeding after thermostat opens. Thermostats are common issue on minis of that age. You may just have a leak in a hose somewhere. Lots to check before deciding on head gasket. Definitely not £800 if you do decide. Mini engines very easy to work on.


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  12. McDonald

    McDonald Senior Member

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    When my Peugeot 206 blew a head gasket a couple of years ago we rang around for quotes. In the end, we settled on a £400 fee. The Peugeot main dealer had quoted £1,200, effectively writing the car off.

    It's done thousands of miles faultlessly since then.
     
  13. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    It's the PSA engined Mini, non turbo.so same engine as used in 1.6 Peugeot.
    However, lots more work as fitted in a bit tight.
    Steam out of the exhaust, bubbles in the header tank. All points to head gasket failure between cylinder and water way.
    Oil is fine.
     
  14. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Did you not say at the start it doesn't use water or overheat?

    Top up the water, refit the pressure cap and run the engine to normal temp.
    Press the radiator hose. If it's rock hard the system is pressurising meaning the head gasket has failed.
    If the oil cap looks like it's covered in mayonnaise it's another indication it's getting water in the oil through a failed head gasket (be careful with this one as many short trips can cause condensation in the crankcase which can give the same effect but is normal).
    If you can find someone with a sniffer have them check for exhaust gases in the coolant and also pressure test the system.
    Another common sign of head gasket failure is the heater won't work.

    Steam in the exhaust is unreliable as a test as it can equally be just condensation which will disappear on a decent drive.
     
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  15. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    Lost KiWi Thanks. Yes i did say that, but the level was fine when i last serviced it last month, it has used the header tank full of water since then. The hose does get stiff after thermostat opens, and that is when the water level in the header tank starts to rise, it does not stop and then floods out of overflow pipe. If i let it cool down, say over night, the level has dropped again due to water being pushed out.
    The steam out of the exhaust, even when hot, stinks, smells almost sweet. there is no oil contamination, as i think the head gasket has gone between water jacket and cylinder.
    I have it booked to a garage next week at some point, they will be doing a sniff test and compression test. This all stems from the MOT failure due to emissions. It is thought that the excess oil burning and now water has destroyed the CAT.
    I am considering, if is head gasket (which i am 99% sure it is) that whilst in there they may as well change cam chain and runners, and also do valve stem oil seals as well, and also fit new rocker cover (as has built in PSV). this may well go some way to stop the oil usage.
    My wife loves this car, its clean and tidy, comfortable, and can carry quite a lot (i even get all my fishing gear in it) no rust.
    Its worth throwing some money at it, i would do it myself, but the special tools required would be wasted after one use, and to be honest, getting to the stage where i just like to do the easy things on cars. This is just not an easy job, requiring the front subframe to be moved to access some of the bolts.
     
  16. Kev555

    Kev555 Senior Member

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    PSA engines are notorious for head gasket failures. XU (iirc) before that was a fairly solid engine but still had head gasket issues especially naturally aspirated versions. Annoying why ford, mini, and Toyota (the ones I know of) decided to use PSA engines when they can build perfectly capable engines themselves
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  17. Kev555

    Kev555 Senior Member

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    You will probably need access to a lift joderest as it would be easier to drop subframe and engine out in one piece the way it was likely originally installed if the head isn't easy removed in situ. you may get away with a head skim or as little as a new head gasket if head is ok.
     
  18. Kev555

    Kev555 Senior Member

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    Its funny a lot of PSA engines can go for a head gasket at as little as 40k but after replacing some go on for their entire lifetime afterwards faultless
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  19. bembo449

    bembo449 Senior Member

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    HG is common on the minis
     
  20. OP
    joderest

    joderest Senior Member

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    Thanks all, i am 99% sure its the head gasket, but i would also do the other known issues, cam chain and guides and vale stem seals whilst they are in there.
    Dropping the engine is something i would let the garage decide, as i am going to have it done rather than do it myself.
    For some reason the garage i am using has closed today, hope open again to morrow so i can chat to them, as at the moment they think its coming in for CAT and coil springs.
    We have done 70,000 miles in this car since buying it 7 years ago, most major thing its had is a clutch, so it owes us nothing and is worth saving.
     
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