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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°. 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:
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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