Timing Chain Removal & Installation Summary with Video
MINI Cooper S R56 Timing Chain Rattle Noise from Engine
Early symptoms of chain tensioner failure on the R55, R56, R57 models consists a slight rattling sound from the passenger side of the engine valve cover, even with engine running but not driven. The rattle sound will increase with speed, but go away when the engine reaches approximately 1800 R.P.M. The sound will return when the engine returns to lower R.P.M.s during deceleration or idle. In early stages this sound may be more pronounced at colder temperatures, but in more severe cases the sound and vibration will be heard at all temperatures.
Click on your YEAR, Make and Model to view the service bulletin and correct parts for your MINI make and model:
Common MINI Cooper S R56 Engine Failure:
This failure is the result of a weak or collapsed timing chain tensioner. If driven for an extended period of time the results will be a broken plastic tensioner rail or upper guide rail.
The noise you are hearing is the loose timing chain resulting from a collapsed timing chain tensioner. The slapping action of the timing chain will eventually break the tension rails. This condition will also effect cam timing and risk an eventual chain failure.
The chain will also need to be replaced at the time of repair in case of stretching or elongation. We do not recommend driving a vehicle in this condition other than at low R.P.M. to a nearby repair shop.
DIAGNOSIS PROCEDUREWork through the following to eliminate other causes.
If a Fault is stored in the DME memory (e.g., misfiring,VANOS, etc.), then work through all the relevant test plans first.
A one-time short shrill will be heard within the first two seconds of engine operation. This is an inherent noise caused by the first regulation cycle ofthe engine oil pump. Tis is normal operation and no parts should be replaced.
If the noise appears to be coming from the valve cover or the vacuum pump area, refer to SIM11 02 08. To verify the source of the noise, disconnect the vacuum hose from the mechanical vacuum pump to eliminate the knocking noise. This is not a failure of the mechanical vacuum pump; do not replace any parts.
Ensure the noise is not created or eliminated by depressing the clutch pedal, if equipped.
Disconnect the electrical connector from the tank ventilation valve. If the noise disappears when the connector is removed, reconnect to verify whether the noise returns. If the noise returns, replace the tank ventilation valve.
If ALL of the steps above are unsuccessful in eliminating the noise, start the Timing Chain Removal and Inspection process:
To remove the timing chain you will need the MINI Cooper S R56 Cam Timing Tool Kit for N12/N14 engines Promini Part# 138007.(products shown fit 2007 model, please select your year for availablility).
This tool is used to avoid improper cam timing on MINI Cooper engines, the factory has devised a cam timing system that locks the crankshaft and cams into a specific position prior to cylinder head removal.
This method was devised to avoid any misalignment, resulting in piston to valve damage. Unfortunately without these tools re-timing the camshafts after a valve job is almost impossible. The factory specification manual does not supply installation specifications. (includes all the necessary components to lock the crankshaft and flywheel position as well as the cams).
To replace the timing chain tensioner only you will need the following part:
Complete MINI Cooper S R56 Timing Chain Replacement Kit Promini Part# 180841.
(note: only removal the complete timing chain rail cassette is the only way to determine if there are broken pieces that will damage the chain operation.)
Remove the right-hand wheel arch trim to access the crankshaft central bolt.
Turn the engine by hand to move the flywheel to approximately 90 degrees before TDC. (Top Dead Center)
Install the locating pin (see photo) (MINI Cooper S R56 Special Tool 11 9 590) to lock the position of the engine.
Step 2: Remove the chain tensioner and collect the residual oil with a shop towel.
(The tensioner is located on the side of the engine block timing cover facing the firewall.)
Fit the timing chain tensioner tool (MINI Cooper S R56 Special Tool 11 9 340) without the seal ring and with the lock nut loose. Pretension the chain tensioner tool to 0.6 Nm, and finger-tighten the lock nut.