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Friction Wheel Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Friction Wheel Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

MINI Cooper (2007-11)
MINI Cooper S (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Friction wheel

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Replace drive belt

One drive belt in the R56 4-cylinder engine drives the accessories pulleys at the right side of the engine. The alternator and the AC compressor are driven by one belt, tensioned by an automatic tensioner. The water pump is driven by a friction wheel.

Note that the power steering is electric and not belt-driven.

The belt is tensioned by a strong tensioner and does not need periodic adjustment. But they will, over time and due to heat, cold and the rigors of operating multiple pulleys, develop signs of wear: cracks, fraying, glazing or missing chunks. In addition, the tensioner and its pulley may develop defects. Bearings in these pulleys are lifetime lubricated. The lubrication eventually dries up or wears out and may cause noises. If a pulley bearing deteriorates, it can tilt and allow the belt to fly off the pulleys. If it seizes it can damage the belt quite quickly due to excessive friction.

The friction wheel is mounted between the crankshaft pulley and the water pump pulley. It is spring loaded to apply tension between the two pulleys in order to drive the water pump. The friction wheel can fail a few different ways. The pulley or the pulley bearing can become noisy, causing a high pitched squeal or scraping sound when the engine is running. The friction wheel internal tension spring can also fail, causing reduced pressure on the water pump pulley. This can cause slipping and engine overheating.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Be sure to work with a cool engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Remove the right front wheel well liner. See our tech article on wheel well liner replacing.

Place the radiator support in service mode. See our tech article on radiator support service mode.

The friction wheel (green arrow) is mounted between the crankshaft pulley and the water pump pulley.
Figure 1

The friction wheel (green arrow) is mounted between the crankshaft pulley and the water pump pulley. It is spring loaded to apply tension between the two pulleys in order to drive the water pump. It is driven by the drive belt (red arrow) at the crankshaft pulley.

To check for a weak internal tension spring, pull the friction wheel away from the crankshaft pulley (green arrow).
Figure 2

To check for a weak internal tension spring, pull the friction wheel away from the crankshaft pulley (green arrow). If you can move it and create even the smallest gap (red arrow) it is faulty.

With the wheel well liner removed, you can see the friction wheel fasteners.
Figure 3

With the wheel well liner removed, you can see the friction wheel fasteners. However, the upper most fasteners (red arrows) are blocked by the body of the vehicle (green arrow). It is best to lower the engine to access the bolts. See the following steps.

Start by supporting the engine from below using a jack or jack stand and a wood block (green arrow).
Figure 4

Start by supporting the engine from below using a jack or jack stand and a wood block (green arrow). Be sure to evenly spread the weight using the wood block.

Working at the right side of the engine, remove the 18mm engine mount nut (green arrow).
Figure 5

Working at the right side of the engine, remove the 18mm engine mount nut (green arrow). Then remove the four 13mm engine mount fasteners (red arrows). Leave the bracket in place. Removing these fasteners allows the engine to be lowered and raised as needed. Once the engine mount bracket is loose, lower the engine just enough to access the friction wheel.

Use a shallow 10mm socket to loosen the three fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 6

Use a shallow 10mm socket to loosen the three fasteners (red arrows).

Then unscrew the fasteners using just the socket (red arrow).
Figure 7

Then unscrew the fasteners using just the socket (red arrow).

Remove the friction when from the engine.
Figure 8

Remove the friction when from the engine. With the friction wheel removed, inspect the drive belt and water pulley friction surface for wear. Replace worn parts.

When installing the new friction wheel, the tension release pull (red arrow) will be held in place on a plastic tab (green arrow).
Figure 9

When installing the new friction wheel, the tension release pull (red arrow) will be held in place on a plastic tab (green arrow). Do not release this until the friction wheel is installed. Reverse these steps to install the friction wheel. Check the friction wheel alignment with the pulley when complete.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Matt Comments: The pull tab was pulled out when I took the wheel well fabric off, tried to push it in but it won't seat flush and only goes about half way in from the black tab, is there an o'ring on the tab that should lock it in place? And what long term damage could come from this? Thanks in advance.
April 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Debris or water can get into it and damage the friction wheel. I would replace it. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ALDY Comments: 2007 MINI R56 FRICTION WHEEL OK ON START UP , AFTER ABOUT 2 MIN FRICTION WHEEL RELEASES AHD WATER PUMP STOPS TURNING . NEW FRICTION WHEEL FITTED AND JUST THE SAME AS THE OLD ONE
January 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the drive belt tensioner OK? Possible the belt is moving, pushing it down. Be sure the pull tab is seated correctly as well. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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