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Pelican Technical Article:

Valve Cover Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Valve cover gasket, RTV (silicone sealant)

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Repair oil leaks

Complementary Modification:

Change engine oil and filter. Change spark plugs

The MINI R56 engine cylinder head is covered with a plastic cylinder head cover, also known as the valve cover. The ignition coils are pressed into the top surface of the valve cover and the spark plugs are installed in deep wells in the valve cover, one spark plug beneath each ignition coil. The electrical harness to the ignition coils is routed along the front of the valve cover as well. The crankcase breather hose is clipped to the rear right of the valve cover, and the crankcase breather is integrated into the cover.

The valve cover gasket is one of the most common places to have an oil leak. If you have an oil leak down the exhaust side or front of your engine, start at the top and replace the valve cover gasket. When the valve cover gasket leaks, it can create quite a mess and seem much worse than it is.

On MINI R56 models, engine oil can also leak into the spark plug holes in the cylinder head, contaminating the ignition coil boot. You will have to repair the oil leak and replace the ignition coil. Inspect the valve cover itself once the gasket has been removed, in particular, for cracks from heat or impacts. I sometimes find cracks around the grommet sealing holes. If you find a crack, you will have to replace the valve cover. If you notice oil residue along the top of the valve cover near the coils, but not in the holes, this may be from a fault crankcase breather in the valve cover. Also inspect the center bolts for signs of leaks, as the valve cover can crack here and fill with engine oil.

MINI has updated the valve cover for the R56. Due to the redesign of the valve cover on the R56, it is not uncommon for the valve cover to leak from the PCV valve. Unfortunately it is no longer possible to just replace the PCV valve--an entire new cover must be purchased. Pelican Parts can provide you with this updated valve cover.

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.

The MINI R56 engine cylinder head is covered with a plastic cylinder head cover (red arrow), also known as the valve cover.
Figure 1

The MINI R56 engine cylinder head is covered with a plastic cylinder head cover (red arrow), also known as the valve cover. The ignition coils are pressed into the top surface of the valve cover, and the spark plugs are installed in deep wells in the valve cover, one spark plug beneath each ignition coil. The electrical harness to the ignition coils is routed along the front of the valve cover as well. The crankcase breather hose is clipped to the rear right of the valve cover, and the crankcase breather is integrated into the cover. The valve cover gasket is one of the most common places to have an oil leak. If you have an oil leak down the exhaust side or front of your engine, start at the top and replace the valve cover gasket. When the valve cover gasket leaks, it can create quite a mess and seem much worse than it is. On MINI R56 models, engine oil can also leak into the spark plug holes in the cylinder head, contaminating the ignition coil boot. You will have to repair the oil leak and replace the ignition coil. Inspect the valve cover itself once the gasket has been removed, in particular, for cracks from heat or impacts. I sometimes find cracks around the grommet sealing holes. If you find a crack, you will have to replace the valve cover. If you notice oil residue along the top of the valve cover near the coils (green arrow), but not in the holes, this may be from a faulty crankcase breather in the valve cover. Also inspect the center bolts (yellow arrow) for signs of leaks, as the valve cover can crack here and fill with engine oil.

Working at the left side of the valve cover, lift up to detach the hose lock (green arrow) at the valve cover.
Figure 2

Working at the left side of the valve cover, lift up to detach the hose lock (green arrow) at the valve cover.

Remove the hose from the valve cover (green arrow).
Figure 3

Remove the hose from the valve cover (green arrow).

Working at the right rear of the valve cover, squeeze the collar and pull the breather hose (red arrow) off the valve cover.
Figure 4

Working at the right rear of the valve cover, squeeze the collar and pull the breather hose (red arrow) off the valve cover.

Working at the right corner of the intake air housing, remove the T20 Torx fastener (red arrow).
Figure 5

Working at the right corner of the intake air housing, remove the T20 Torx fastener (red arrow).

Move to the left side of the radiator support and remove the fresh air duct (red arrow).
Figure 6

Move to the left side of the radiator support and remove the fresh air duct (red arrow). It should be detached from the radiator support already. Unclip it from the intake air housing and remove it.

Move to the left side of the intake air housing and unclip the vacuum line (red arrow).
Figure 7

Move to the left side of the intake air housing and unclip the vacuum line (red arrow). Then lift the intake air housing up and remove it from the engine.

Working at the mass airflow sensor, disconnect the electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 8

Working at the mass airflow sensor, disconnect the electrical connector (red arrow).

Lift the intake air housing up, pulling it out of the rubber mounting grommets and remove it from the engine.
Figure 9

Lift the intake air housing up, pulling it out of the rubber mounting grommets and remove it from the engine.

Working at the left corner of the valve cover, disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 10

Working at the left corner of the valve cover, disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector (red arrow). Depending on the year and model of your vehicle, you will have one or two camshaft sensors to disconnect. If replacing the valve cover due to cracks, you will have to transfer the sensors to the new valve cover. See our tech article on the camshaft sensor replacing.

Working at the right side of the valve cover, unplug the charge air duct sensor electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 11

Working at the right side of the valve cover, unplug the charge air duct sensor electrical connector (red arrow). Then unclip the wiring harness from the valve cover (yellow arrow). There are two clips on the side of the valve cover to unclip. This applies to turbocharged models.

Open all four ignition coil electrical connectors by rotating the connector (red arrows) up 90°.
Figure 12

Open all four ignition coil electrical connectors by rotating the connector (red arrows) up 90 degrees. Then remove the electrical connectors from the ignition coils. Remove the ignition coils from the cylinder head by pulling them straight up. If a coil resists, twist it when pulling up to break it free from the spark plug. The ignition coil rubber boot can become stuck to the spark plug over time. Do this for all four ignition coils.

Unclip and remove the wiring harness cover (red arrow) from the valve cover.
Figure 13

Unclip and remove the wiring harness cover (red arrow) from the valve cover. Slide it toward the radiator to remove it.

Remove the 8mm nut (red arrow).
Figure 14

Remove the 8mm nut (red arrow). Then unclip and remove the wiring harness from the valve cover (yellow arrows).

Remove the thirteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 15

Remove the thirteen 10mm valve cover fasteners (red arrows).

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head.
Figure 16

Lift the valve cover off the cylinder head. It should not be stuck to the cylinder head. If it is stuck, check that you didn't miss a fastener.

Clean the cylinder head sealing surface (red arrow).
Figure 17

Clean the cylinder head sealing surface (red arrow). Use a plastic scraper and wipe it clean.

Pull the valve cover gasket out of the valve cover.
Figure 18

Pull the valve cover gasket out of the valve cover. Then thoroughly clean the valve cover sealing grooves (yellow arrows).

Install the new gasket and use the alignment tabs on the coil seals (red arrow) to properly orientate the gasket.
Figure 19

Install the new gasket and use the alignment tabs on the coil seals (red arrow) to properly orientate the gasket. Do the same for the main cover gasket tabs (yellow arrow).

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the corners at the left side of the cylinder head (red arrows).
Figure 20

Then apply a small amount of RTV to the corners at the left side of the cylinder head (red arrows). Place the valve cover on the cylinder head and install all the fasteners finger tight. Then tighten the fasteners in a criss-cross pattern. Reinstall the ignition coils and install and route the wiring harness as previously installed. Start and idle the engine. Inspect the valve cover and surrounding areas for oil leaks.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Nick Comments: https://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/r56-hatch-talk-2007/243951-pcv-mystery-solved.html

Here is a great view of what the PCV in the valve cover looks like. There is a lot more going on in there than I thought. This is probably the reason they cost so much. Enjoy!
March 17, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nick Comments: I use to be able to pull my Oil filling cap while the engine is running. Now there is so much vacuum I can't pull it off with the engine running. What would cause this? I'm thinking it could be a faulty electric PCV at the turbo inlet? Am I right or is it the Valve cover?
March 17, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the crankcase breather valve in the valve cover. If the diaphragm fails, it will put too much vacuum in the crankcase. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Charles Comments: How would you know if the built in PCV value is no working?
March 15, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Oil consumption, oil in intake manifold and strange oil leaks at valve cover are my go to's for checking this without removing the cover. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Nick Comments: Here is the red ring.
March 14, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes you do. Thanks for getting back to me with photos. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Nick Comments: On the new valve cover do I pull out the red pull ring and install the valve with the green oring in its place
March 14, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes you do. Thanks for getting back to me with photos. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dutchman Comments: my dipstick has blown out on my r56 cooper s and when installing a m7 oil catch can I found that there was no sign of any oil/water vapour residue on the turbo inlet site does this mean that I need to replace the valve cover and how can I test if the valve is working
March 14, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: First, place the breather system back to stock. Is there still too much pressure int he crankcase? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
SteveO Comments: 2010 mini cooper. I bought a new valve cover. It has a red pull tab. Do I pull it or what? No other parts came with the cover
March 10, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Red pull tab, can you share a photo of the tab? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dan2017 Comments: Hi...I'm owner of a Mini R56.

Sometimes the Vaccum hose that is located in the corner behind of the valve cover has oil, and then the oil goes to the throttle body and then after some minutes the oil goes to the exhaust.

By the other side, the hose that goes to the Air filter and Turbo charger has oil too.

Do I need to replace my valve cover?
February 26, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is typically how we diagnose the faulty boost check valve in the cover. It sounds to me like you need to replace the cover. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
AlexMEX Comments: Hi, I have a Mini Cooper S 07. How can I know when I need to replace my valve cover? I see the 2 vacuum hoses with oil inside.Does the 2 hoses should be totally dry without any signal of oil? Not sure if a valve cover replace come soon or actually my car has a bad valve cover. Thank you!
February 26, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See Dan's post above. Check those other items first, then make the call. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
razilev Comments: How to use the red clip?
February 23, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Which red clip? - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Blade Comments: Ive been told I need to replace the Vaulve cover because of high pressure inside the crank case. Is there a way to clean the crank case filter.
February 18, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can try to run some cleaner through the PCV ports but I think ultimately you'll need the new valve cover sooner or later. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Danny Comments: Upon replacing the valve cover I forgot to disconnect the battery and my question is; would not erasing fault codes affect the performance of the car? These faults include, sensors on and around the valve cover, removed ignition coils and I also replaced the vacuum pump. All these were done while the battery was still connected.
I am talking about a Mini Cooper S , 2007, N14/R56
January 17, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, if the codes are performance based, engine power can be decreased. best bet is to clear the faults. You can to cycling the key 40 times to see if they clear. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
hidperf Comments: Is there a way to determine if my car already has the upgraded valve cover?
December 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Only via service records. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ProfX Comments: Torque for screws?
November 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.


Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Sat 3/25/2017 02:56:07 AM