Case Studies

Mini Cooper Clutch – When Good Clutches Go Bad

Mini Coopers are wonderful cars, but Mini has a problem with clutches, no two ways about it. The early cars are subject to numerous Technical Service Bulletins on clutch problems and noises. What we’ve also seen is problems with excessive clutch pedal effort. The problem comes on rather slowly, is often not noticed by the driver, who becomes acclimated to it as he/she is using the clutch every day. Comparing your clutch pedal effort to another Mini is a good test, or stop by and ask us for a courtesy check. The key thing here to catch this BEFORE it damages the engine flywheel, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

This nice Mini came in with the concern of a burning smell, and slipping clutch. The first thing we noted during the road test, aside from the burning smell, was the high level of clutch effort, it was really hard to depress the clutch. We found the cause, which we’ve seen more than once, the clutch release bearing hung up on the guide tube, keeping the clutch partially depressed and allowing slippage. After extended slippage, the heat build can be great enough to damage the engine flywheel. Since the Mini uses a “dual mass” or two part fluid filled flywheel, this can be a very expensive repair

Correction entailed a very light resurfacing of the flywheel, replacement of the complete clutch assembly, as well as the hydraulic actuating cylinder. With failures of this nature, it is important to always service as a system and replace all related components. For example, a sticking actuating cylinder, which disengages the clutch, can cause a repeat of the failure. Our customer could not believe the difference, a most pleasant surprise.

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