Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Cylinder head replaced on 03 mini cooper

i found out last week that the low compression on the fourth cylinder was due to a valve leak. the head, all gaskets, and the thermostat was replaced. the coolant was bled. repair is warranted for 2 years.

car has 67k miles on it. this summer the power steering pump went and had to be replaced. up until these 2 costly repairs, i didn’t have any problems with the car. i’m going to be pricing new cars–not minis! am i overreacting?

You never know who is overreacting and who is taking positive action. The only way to find out how the car turns out is to keep it. Valve leaks can be caused when the adjustment isn’t done, usually at 30,000 miles.

since @ 30k miles, the car was under warranty and i brought it in for all scheduled work, i would like to think they did that adjustment (i no longer have the paperwork).

good point re overreaction. true, who knows what will happen down the road (no pun intended). i’m only somewhat reluctant to trade b/c the car’s paid for. then again, it’s still worth something at this point. since i’m not desperate, shopping around would be not as stressful.

My experience with mechanical equipment, including automobiles is that failures of unrelated parts (as in your case a cylinder head and the power steering pump) will occur in a short interval of time and then there will be a long period of time until the next failure of a part. There is a statistical distribution that explains this that is also used by insurance companies in examining the frquency of claims. Assuming you have maintained the car, I would bet that it may go for a relatively long period of time before the next expensive problem. With only 67,000 miles, you may have just put it in excellent shape for the next owner.

I don’t understand why a cylinder head would be replaced because of a simple leaking valve. A simple valve job would have sufficed.

I think this model has adjustable valve lash and inspection/adjustment of the lash should be done (IMHO anyway) around the 5k miles mark and every 30k miles afterwards.
Odds are a valve tightened up and burned an exhaust valve out.

Regardless of brand/model the reliability during ownership of a car is mostly pure LUCK coupled to maintenance/driving habits. Sounds like your luck is down on this one if maintenance was performed. Even if not performed still some bad luck.

New cars are great however look at the depreciation of this one in 67k miles and realize used cars are the way to go. Wait you have a used car so I think you may be all set unless it does not meet your personal needs or emotional welling being.

from the work order:

found fault 304 dme misfiring detection; performed a compression test and found compression to be 170 psi cyl1, 180 c. 2, 170 c.3, 100 c.4; low compression cyl.4; smoke tested 4 found a valve leak; replaced cyl head and all gaskets including thermostat; bled the cooling system.

Like ok4450 I just don’t get why they replaced the cylinder head. Unless MINI heads are so cheap that they underprice the cost of a valve job or valve seat replacement.

The only reason I could think of would be a cracked head but the work order doesn’t say that. I realize that modern cars are very much componentized but this is basic auto engineering not decoding the human genome.

Did they actually justify the reason for replacing the whole cylinder head???