Sunday, 30 July 2017

No more premature deaths

Right, so enough is enough. With the Mini dying on me and more fuel cutouts than I care to remember I decided to address the issue once and for all. 

Firstly, I had got some STP Complete Fuel Cleaner in an effort to clean out the fuel system and hopefully unblock/unclog whatever it was I thought was preventing the engine getting power in the low-revs. We had a day out planned to Blackpool Sandcastles Water Park so stuck a bottle of this in. 

Sadly, it didn't seem to have any effect, but like a lot of problems, finding the solution or the actual cause is a case of trial and error.

How cool is my MINI!
After this had failed to help in any way I paid a visit to my trusty friends at Mintech in Bury. They'd found time to book me in for a fuel filter and pump change. In many cases it's quicker, easier and cheaper for them to just replace suspected dodgy items rather than taking lots of time to accurately diagnose the problem. It works for me, as long as the problem gets fixed.

Apparently it's not a huge job and the expert hands of Mintech's Martin was able to knock out the two items in just a few minutes before pillaging a replacement from the stacks of MINIs they have piled high - some good advice when buying second-hand - try and get stuff from low mileage vehicles!

Martin hooked out the back seat with a pull and lift, exposing two circular black panels. The one behind the driver is the fuel filter and the one behind the passenger seat is the fuel pump.

See all the crap the kids have stuffed down the seats!

After removing the nuts holding the panels down, Martin prises them off to reveal heavily dust-coated components. Using a big screwdriver or chisel and hammer he rotates the filter anti-clockwise to release it. 

Remove the connector before trying to lift the filter out. There is a fair bit of piping attached that needs to be carefully lifted out too. Expect some fuel spillage and have something handy to wipe it up with.

The fuel pump was also being replaced, and is removed in much the same way. There is a connector on the top that needs to be taken off and again some piping which will need to be disconnected by feel. Expect a lot of fuel spillage!

Whilst both units were out, we had a look inside the tank, which I had deliberately run low prior to the visit. It looked remarkably clean, with no crap or anything floating around or even visible. 

Compare the colour difference between the one removed from my car (far) and the low mileage item (near).
After sourcing another pump, Martin put the two side by side and said something like he's never seen one the colour of mine before. And it's true, it was noticeably darker. 

I decided to take the old pump and filter home to crack them open and have a look inside. Funnily enough BMW claim the fuel filters are 'lifetime' items on MINIs. In reality, 'lifetime' to BMW is 100k miles. The filters ARE serviceable if you want to do that. There are guides for opening up the filter housing itself on YouTube etc. and you can find replacement filters on eBay.

Charcoal filter.

Found in here.

Whilst I was there, Martin gave the car a checkover - probably to pre-empt the next problem! - and decided to replace this charcoal filter thing I had no idea about. It's stored underneath the rear driver's wheelarch. Apparently this is to help vent the fuel vapours and burn them off within a closed system within the car. The charcoal filter only lasts so long, and with mine being an older car with plenty of mileage, I guess he thought 'not much else has been maintained, I bet that needs changing too...' so popped one on. 

When in doubt... swap it out!

Underneath the bonnet he had a look at the fusebox because I had another recurring problem with the engine light coming on and throwing up a Lamba sensor error codes all the time. After replacing the sensors a couple of times the past six months, Martin noticed the fusebox lid was deformed, so offered to switch it out for another one to see if that was the issue and not the sensors themselves. It seems to have worked. 

That's two big issues fixed for me. No more engine light - obviously a dodgy fusebox the cause of that - and even better the car hasn't cut out on me since (dodgy pump and/or filter) - fantastic!!  Once again, Mintech save the day for me!

Mintech - No.1 for BMW MINI Spares
0161 761 1615

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