Once the MINI is up on the ramp I get my pad and pen out and prepare to make lengthy notes. Some say ignorance is bliss, but you can only be ignorant to your car's problems for so long before they come back to bite you - in the wallet! I take a deep breath... here we go.
|It's definitely a Mini - it leaks oil.|
A check of the bushes and mounts is also done; here he says the wishbone bushes are on their way out and the lower engine mount needs replacing.
|Meyle HD bars rubbing the driveshaft|
|Carbon deposits indicate a blowing exhaust|
|Engine mount rubber work|
|No Cold Air Intake pipe|
Immediately from just a visual inspection you can see a missing archliner (which has covered the engine bay in tar), a comical VW coolant reservoir instead of the MINI one. Oh, and the Cold Air Intake (CAI) pipe is missing, so the engine is drawing in warm air from the engine bay, which obviously won't help performance.
Further inspection finds the LH top engine mount is worn and a filter which is meant to cover the brake fluid reservoir is missing also. As far as those points are concerned, I can't complain. Fairly simple fixes, but it's not the pipes and filters that are missing that are my main worry - it's inside the engine!
|Brown and black plugs... guess which ones are bad!|
He calls me over to have a look myself and tells me that there is oil leaking into the cylinders. Asking what could cause this he says potentially the piston or piston rings, or valve stem seals - but the only way to know for sure would be to take it apart and have a look.
The news was bad. Tragic. Terminal even. But I put on a brave face, cracked a few jokes and soldiered on. Looking on the bright side, the car was still working for now... but for how long?
|Compression test on the cylinders|
|Combustion gas test|
If there are any saving graces from the bad news discovered today, it was that the head gasket hadn't blown.
|Look at the size of this place!|
That's very competitive when you look what MINI are charging - and oil service alone is £115, with inspections starting at £185! Wow.
Alternatively you can get a health check with 3x dyno runs for £90. Amazing value! Mmmm dyno!
Can I be honest for a moment? Ask yourself, who would you really rather give your money to? MINI and its overinflated prices and questionable knowledge - following computer instructions and not being able to answer basic questions - or people like Lohen, who live and breathe MINI, who are happy to give advice and share their knowledge and recommendations. They are enthusiasts, just like you.
As you can see from my experience, they have done a good, thorough and comprehensive inspection of my MINI. Picking up numerous issues I wasn't aware of. And when these people see only MINIs, day in and day out, you can rest assured they know where all the common - and not so common - faults lie. It is this extra special knowledge and experience that sets Lohen apart from the rest.
|Performance MINI owners trust Lohen.|
So here is the full list of issues identified.
Link stabilisers rubbing driveshaft
Cold Air Intake (CAI) pipe missing
Coolant tank incorrect (from a VW)
Filter on brake fluid reservoir missing
LH engine mount rubber worn
Oil leak from rocker cover
Oil leak from gasket for oil filter housing mount
Oil leak from oil sump
Oil leak from timing chain cover
Heat shield on rear of exhaust missing
Lower engine mount needs replacing
Compression down in cylinders 3 & 4
Oil in cylinders 3 & 4
Thinking about it? Do yourself a favour and just do it.
Take a look for yourself...
- Gen 1 Oil Service £69 (save £26)
- Gen 1 Inspection 1 Service £99 (save £31)
- Gen 1 Inspection 2 Service £149 (save £50)
- Gen 2 Oil Service £69 (save £10)
- Gen 2 N14 De-Coking £199 (save £41)
So lots for me to consider. Find out how I survive....