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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me just preface this by saying I love my car and I love the brand. The F generation Mini’s have really improved the quality over the older generations. I only have the 1.5L but it’s a cracking little engine. Love the car to pieces. Its a 2015 MY with about 7000km on the odo.

However, gather round and let me tell you my story of how my entire engine was replaced at my insurance companies expense, and how I feel that my car will never be the same.

Early November, I was driving home in a torrential rainstorm. A lot of storm drains were blocked, so a lot of water began to pool on the roads. I drove through one of these “puddes” at 50 km/h thinking it was just an inch or two deep. Nope. The impact of the depth almost brought the car to a complete stop (7-8 inches of water), and when I did exit the puddle the car stopped dead a few 100 meters down the road. Cycling the ignition seemed to work fine. The engine fired back up (albeit with a lot of steam coming from the exhaust) but otherwise it drove and ran fine. The engine light illuminated on the way home, and by the time I got home there was quite a pronounced rattling coming from underneath the hood.

Dropped off at the dealer for a look, where it sat for a few days until they called with the bad news. Combustion chamber full of water and a completely soaked air filter. They diagnosed as hydrolock even though the engine never really “locked” or seized. Entire engine assembly would need to be replaced to the tune of 11k, all covered by my collision insurance of course (RIP premiums). Engine had to be flown in from Germany and I chalked the whole thing up as a lesson learned the hard way.

Fast-forward a month and a half to December 30th. Engine has arrived, insurance deductible paid, my baby is finally ready to be picked up. Service department recommended I take it easy to let the engine break in, but otherwise the car drove great and tight. Drove for two days without issue. This morning, fired up to go to work and I was greeted with a “drivetrain malfunction” warning accompanied by the EXACT SAME RATTLE sound at idle the car made the day I brought it in over a month and a half ago. I’m waiting to hear back on this one, but I have a sinking feeling my car will never be put together the same again.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, be very mindful. I live in the Vancouver area, so heavy rain and pooling water on roads is something I navigate through on a daily basis. The air intake on these cars is mounted very low, almost at the same height as the front license plate. It seemed like it was way too easy to do over 10k in damages. I’m not here to complain or to pass blame onto the manufacturer, but the fact of the matter is that other cars drove through this same depth of water and escaped unharmed. I still don’t blame anyone but myself for the experience that I’ve had, I’m just here to warn other Mini enthusiasts. I will update this thread as information becomes available to me.

I’m really glad I decided to lease this one…
 

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Hopefully all goes well and you can enjoy your MINI soon. The drivetrain malfunction warning doesn't necessarily spell complete trouble. Many people have reported this being linked to software and the dealers can fix this by updating the software. Hopefully this is all your MINI will need. Definitely let us know when it is all sorted out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Update on my "drivetrain malfunction" issue

Service department said they updated the software which "fixed" the issue. However, over the past few weeks I've been getting the "drivetrain malfunction" message at least once a week, usually first thing in the morning in my underground parking garage. The noise it makes on cold start is horrific. Sounds like a metal-on-metal rattle and gets more pronounced as the engine is revved up. After about a minute it always settles back down to normal and seems to drive okay, but I don't even want to know what kind of damage it's doing to itself. It always rattles loudly and behaves oddly in the morning before it warms up, but it's only occasionally joined by the "drivetrain malfunction" message.

I'm leaving the car overnight at the dealer so they can cold start it in the morning and hopefully diagnose my issue. I don't want to be sent away with another "software update". The amount of noise it's making and the behaviour of the car leads me to believe that a physical component of the engine is malfunctioning and needs to be found and replaced.
 

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"Sounds like a metal-on-metal rattle and gets more pronounced as the engine is revved up. After about a minute it always settles back down to normal and seems to drive okay,"

I have this same sound on my car too. I don't get any warning messages, and the car seems to drive fine. Like you say, "After about a minute it always settles back down to normal and seems to drive okay".....that is exactly what I have. I not concerned about this. I think it is normal ?
 

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If it sounds like it's coming from the left side foot well. It may be your timing chain tensioner. Had mine replaced. 1st occurrence was after it's first oil change. I recorded the sound, only occurred 1st thing in the morning.

The car went in twice for the problem, 2nd time, a Mini rep looked at the video, decided it was the tensioner, have not had the problem since.
 

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People need to be mindful of their clutches/gearboxes too when driving through standing water. I drove through standing water a few weeks ago.....NOT deep as i watched a little Ford van go through it first, kinda 'fiesta' size.
Anyway, exited the water, dried off my brakes and drove off on my merry way. Reached my destination about 3 miles (5mins) later. Five hours later, started the engine and no gears were selectable. Selectable when the engine is off but not running. Had to bump start, in gear.
Chat with my service manager suggests water got in the bell housing (?) and dried out once stationary....a bit like your brakes can do when they get wet and dry out. Ive driven through similar water depths before with no adverse effects but i hink its because i was at destination and the clutch didn't get the opportunity to dry out.
 
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Bell housings aren't normally sealed, most have some holes somewhere, some are quite large.

Does anyone know the official Mini F5x wading depth.

First time I've encountered that in 20+ years of driving (I just though it was my MINI playing up AGAIN!!) ;)
 

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Does anyone know the official Mini F5x wading depth.
I'd say about 10"
This information will be useless to most of the female population :D
Due to reasons I would rather not go into
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another update

Service department contacted me saying they are going to send the car out with another "software update" to hopefully fix the issue. I really don't think thats going to help, but I'll give them a chance. I really think the timing chain needs to be looked at, because judging by the sound and other user's opinions it looks like the likely culprit.

Im already in talks with the sales manager to have the car bought back early, hopefully will be able to upgrade to an S much sooner than I thought!
 

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I'd say about 10"
Yup, as I've obviously not got anything better to do, looked it up on the Mini Drivers Guide app thingy and apparently the official line is:

If the water is calm drive only up to a maximum water depth of approx 25cm (9.8") and no faster than walking speed 3mph (5kmh)

So, there you have it our Mini's will accommodate 10-inchers as long as you take it slow :D
 
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