Friday, February 22, 2013

Tech Tip: Fuel System Cleaner

The Problem: Since 2006, there has been a significant increase in various driveability issues due to excessive carbon deposits in engine combustion chambers on intake valves and fuel injectors. These problems are especially apparent on any performance vehicle including all BMW or MINI vehicles in the North American market with a greater level of poor gasoline quality. The solution by BMW North America is regular use of Fuel System Cleaner Plus with Techron fuel system cleaner.  This product not only cleans restrictive deposits from the fuel system but also protects the fuel gauge from future malfunction by coating all metal surfaces of the system.

Combustion chamber deposit formation is a by-product of the gasoline burning process. This is especially problematic in any vehicle that is driven under severe conditions such as stop-and-go traffic, high ambient temperatures, higher altitudes, and short "start and stop" distance driving. Most common problems experienced include:

  • Hesitation during acceleration or loss of power
  • Poor fuel efficiency
  • Poor driveability and rough idle
  • Knocking, pinging, and engine idle surges
  • Increased emissions

The Solution: Often times running gas that causes these problems cannot be avoided, but cleaning your fuel system is as easy as adding one bottle of Fuel System Cleaner Plus with  Techron before filling up about every 3000-5000 miles.  One bottle treats up to 20 gallons of fuel and is proven to clean deposits on fuel injectors, ports, and intake valves while causing absolutely no harm to catalytic converters, oxygen sensors, or any mechanical components of the engine or fuel delivery system. While it is true that this additive is not as effective in a turbo charged vehicle with direct injection since it doesn't help clean the intake valves, it still removes deposits from the fuel injectors that restrict normal performance.

PROMINI - Part Number 65740

BMW Part # 82 14 0 413 341

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MINI Cooper S: Battery Box Water Leak - the presence of water in the back hatch storage compartment of several R50 and R53 MINI Coopers.

Battery Compartment half filled with water

Even a small crack can cause the seal
to fail and water to enter the hatch.
Something we have seen in our shop more and more frequently as these cars get older and take some abuse, is the presence of water in the back hatch storage compartment of several R50 and R53 MINI Coopers.  This problem is directly attributed to the seal around the hatch door handle wearing out and allowing rain and other water in.  Sometimes the leak can come from the plastic handle itself cracking from repeated pulling or from using it to support the weight of the hatch itself.


Rust and mud spreading from the screw holes

This can be a costly repair if left unchecked.  Not only have we seen rust damage in these areas that can rot the sheet metal, but in the Cooper S the battery and several electronics attached to the battery can be destroyed.  Repair of the cables, sensors, and fuses connected to the battery are a minimum of several hundred dollars in parts alone and will require several labor hours of wire routing.

Battery Compartment half filled with water

This handle is held on by 4 screws and is easy to replace on your own.  If your handle is not cracked and in good shape, you can just replace the gasket.  If the handle is cracked, you can replace the entire handle, with a new gasket included, safely and easily.  If you ever wanted to upgrade the look of the rear of your MINI, this is also a great opportunity to upgrade to a black or chrome handle that will not require any color match painting.

Installation and removal only involves these four screws

Monday, January 21, 2013

MINI Cooper and Cooper S Fluid Filled Harmonic Vibration Dampers

A common problem we are seeing on any R52 or R53 MINI Cooper is the failure of the original Harmonic Vibration Damper (11 23 7 525 135).  Over time and use, the rubber pieces of this system separate, causing the entire pulley to buckle.  Any vehicle that suffers from this problem is completely undriveable.  Promini has a solution that eliminates this issue at an incredible savings over the original MINI vibration damper.

Promini offers an SFI-Rated FluidGel Harmonic Damper (vibration damper) available for the Mini Cooper and Cooper S. These dampers are made with an internal steel inertia ring that is surrounded by a high viscosity silicone gel. This internal inertia ring floats in a silicone gel to combat the engine harmonics at all RPM ranges. This eliminates the rubber dampening ring of the original equipment component which is the common reason of lower crank pulley failure.

These Pulleys:
- Exceed SFI Specification 18.1 Requirements  (This SFI Specification establishes uniform test procedures and minimum standards for evaluating and determining performance capabilities for
Crankshaft Hub Harmonic Dampers used by individuals engaged in competitive motorsports.)
- Accurate Crankbore for a proper pressed fit
- Easy to read engraved timing marks
- Manufactured from high grade billet carbon steel forgings
- 8.5% smaller than the standard original equipment underdrive pulley

For more information on how to replace this part, check out our tech tip!

Friday, January 18, 2013

MINI Diagnostics: Fault Code and Service Reset Tool

Ever been on a spirited drive in your MINI and had that troublesome "service engine soon" light or "check engine" light take all the fun out of your day? Your MINI Cooper is a precision built machine that constantly monitors operating systems to ensure high level performance. If there is any problem with operation, or time for a maintenance issue to be addressed, it will trigger one of these warning lights. Promini has a compact tool that can properly read and report MINI engine and service codes safely and easily. Having the ability to properly diagnose engine lights from a parking lot, garage, or roadside is a valuable asset that saves you time and gives you peace of mind.

A warning light should never be ignored and can range from anything as simple as a loose gas cap to a serious timing issue. It's never fun to go to a mechanic and pay over a hundred dollar fee to find out a technician only had to replace your radiator cap, or pay for a costly engine repair that could have been prevented by having that engine light checked sooner. Our fault code reader can quickly and easily give you an accurate reading of what your engine light is trying to tell you as it happens. Built specifically for MINI applications, our fault code reader reads and displays all MINI-factory fault codes.

Warning lights also come on to indicate routine maintenance issues such as brake component replacement and oil service. A routine MINI oil service with system reset can run anywhere from $100-$150 at a service shop, but with our service reset tool the same oil service can be performed at home for a fraction of the cost. Don't stare at that glaring service light when you know its already been taken care of. A "must have" for any at-home or independent service mechanic, this service reset tool is an inexpensive way to save time and money.

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