I have a 2005 MINI Cooper S with manual transmission, bought new. Almost three years ago, it started making a strange noise that no one has been able to identify or repair. When turning full left at very low speed, like pulling into a parking spot or making a U-turn, the front end makes a strange noise that seems to be coming from the right front wheel. It’s not a deep, rhythmic clunking noise, like a CV joint, but a higher-pitched, random clattering noise. More of a “cluh-click…click,click…clicketyclickclick…click…click” than a “clunk clunk clunk.”
In September of 2010, I took it to the dealer. They assured me it was NOT a CV joint. They retorqued the axle nuts. The sound seemed to go away for a few days, but came back. I took it back, and they replaced one of the axle nuts. The noise went away but came back. This time the dealer replaced the other axle nut. The sound went away and came back. I took the car in a fourth time, and the dealer retightened everything on the front end - axle nuts (again), sway bars, shock mounts etc. Again, the noise went away and then came back.
I gave up on the dealer. Since then, I’ve taken the car to two independent BMW shops with similar results. Both of them made the sound go away temporarily, but then it came back.
A year ago, I replaced my second set of tires. To my surprise, the sound went away! I wondered if maybe the old, slightly-wider-than-recommended (215 vs 205) tires had been rubbing on something. But then, about a week later, the sound returned. Aaargh!
It has been almost three years now - September, 2010 to July, 2013. I’ve tried the dealer four times and two independent BMW shops and one tire shop. Each time, the sound seems to go away for a while and then, less than 200 miles later, it comes back. It seems to me that a big clue may be that removing and then reinstalling the wheels makes the sound go away for a while.
Can anyone help? I absolutely love this car, but this nagging worry that something’s going to break one day and leave me stranded sure eats away at my fun! Thanks in advance!