Fix for am only starting problem (allegededly caused by too much ethonol in gas

2 montha after problem 1st surfaced, and many fill ups from multiple stations latet, My Mini dealer won’t look at my car again unless i pay them $600 to remove, & drain my tank & replace my fuel filter.

QUESTION: Why would I need to drain my tank after any bad gas has long ago been used up, and if ethonol is not a particulate, why must I replace the fuel filter?

Beacuse of their first diagnosis, (bad gas), 30 days after the problem 1st appeared, the dealer won’t let me meet or talk with the area service rep, & BMW-NA customer service only sends me bakt to my dealer saying “I’m not a mechanic but we support our mechanics in our dealers”. “Pay $600 & we will look at your car”. They will only listen to a 2nd opinion from another Mini dealer, & because all my car’s history is iny key I’m dubious a second opinion from another Mini dealer will also refer back to bad gas & the draining ($600) of my tank, now more than 10 full tanks ago. 2007 Cooper S, 46,000 miles. Warrenty ends in approx 4,000 miles!

Gpt any suggestions as to what i might do next? The car continues to require 4 -5 tries to start each am, and starts perfectly the rest of the time. I live in S Fl. Thanking U in advance

“Bad gas” is the excuse used by way too many shops that can not or do not want to properly diagnose a problem. I suspect your dealership falls into that category.

Is the car new?
If so, pursue the issue through the zone rep.
If not, try an independent owner operated shop.

Offhand, I’d suspect the fuel line is emptying and/or the fuel pump is weak. But the best first place to start would be to check for stored codes. There may be none, since it runs fine once it starts up, but check anyway.

Try another trick. Try putting the key in “on” instead of “start” a few time for 4 seconds each time. If the gas is draining back into the tank, that’ll allow the pump to refill the line. If it works, it’s a good low-tech diagnostic trick.

Oh, one more thing…when was the last time you had it tuned up?

I agree with the above. Each morning, run the fuel pump only before trying to start the engine. If you then get happy results, check back here and let us know. We will have further advice.

So its just the first start of the day and then its only a problem because it takes a few more cranks before it starts. At least BMW didn’t throw any parts at it (thus confirming that you have a problem) You see this is what you are up against, as soon as they do one bit of warranty work on this problem they are acknowledging there is a problem and this is something they don’t want to do.

You are protected by the lemon law:

Read the information for your state at one of the links above.

If the problem was caused by bad gas, then the dealer does not owe you a fix. On the other hand if it was not caused by bad gas, then they owe you a fix even if it takes them longer than the original warranty to fix it.

I doubt if it was the gas, but it is possible.

Ask them about that too much ethanol thing. How much is too much. Also check with your fuel station to find out how much they have in the fuel.

Now if you have been buying fuel with a higher percentage of ethanol than recommended in the owner’s manual, then the fix is on you. You likely can have it fixed for a lot less than the dealer would charge however.

***and if ethonol is not a particulate, why must I replace the fuel filter? ***

The concern would be that a fuel mixture with high ethanol content has partially dissolved rubber/plastic parts in the fuel system and that the resulting gunk has plugged the filter.

Does the Mini-Cooper have an in line fuel filter in addition to the filter screen over the fuel pump intake? If so, you might change that filter and look carefully at the fluid draining back from the input when the filter is replaced to see if it is full of gunk or particulates.

As for the hard starting. It’s likely either fuel pressure or some sort of ignition problem. Checking the fuel pressure is not rocket science, and shouldn’t cost a lot. Any decent shop should have a gauge and any hardware needed to hook it up.

If the car has an access panel for the fuel pump under the back seat (does the mini-cooper even have a back seat?) as many Japanese vehicles do, it might not cost too much to pull the fuel pump cover and look at whether there is sediment in the tank or on the fuel pump screen.

I would get the work done by an independent mechanic (or do it yourself if you have tools) and have them take some pictures with a cheap digital camera to document any problems they do or do not find.

You don’t sound real pleased with your dealer. You might consider composing a complaint letter to your state Attorney General even if you have no intention of ever mailing it. Give a copy to to your dealer for comments. Perhaps they will become more accommodating