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Pelican Technical Article:

Starter Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, E12 socket (external Torx), floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

Starter motor

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Reliable and working starter

Complementary Modification:

Replace battery

The starter motor is an electric motor powered by the battery, commanded on when the driver rotates the key or presses the START button. The modern MINI starter motor is a permanent magnet direct current electric motor with a solenoid mounted on it. When current from the vehicle battery is applied to the solenoid, the solenoid engages a lever that pushes out the drive pinion on the starter driveshaft and meshes the pinion with the starter ring gear on the flywheel of the engine.

The solenoid closes the high-current contacts for the starter motor. The starter motor then turns the engine. Once the engine starts, a spring in the solenoid assembly pulls the pinion gear away from the ring gear, and the starter motor stops.

On MINI R56 models, the starter solenoid signal is controlled via a control module from the input of the START STOP button. Diagnosing the start signal can be tough. In some models it runs through up to four control modules. If your starter motor is good, but lacks the solenoid signal, start by acquiring a wiring diagram for your vehicle and tracing the circuit. Once you are familiar with the layout, check where the signal fails to flow.

When a starter motor fails your engine will not start. You may turn the key and attempt to crank the engine but nothing happens or maybe only a few clicks. It is important to be sure your battery is fully charged and in good condition and that the battery terminals, positive connections and ground cables are tight and corrosion-free before condemning your starter.

Another cause of a no-start condition could be failure of the electronic immobilizer system. If the ignition key does not communicate with the immobilizer or one of the electronic modules responsible for granting access to the starting system fails, you may have a situation that mimics a failed starter. To test the starter itself, you need to make sure that full battery current is available at the main starter terminal (B+) and that battery current is switched on at the small starter terminal when the ignition switch is engaged. If electrical current is not available at either of those terminals then the no-start condition is caused by an electrical or electronic failure and not necessarily by the starter motor.

The engine starter motor is located at the rear of the engine below the intake manifold. It is not the easiest part to access on your MINI and can be replaced a few different ways. On all models, you can access the starter from below but it is a tight workspace. I prefer to pull the intake manifold; it doesn't take much time and you have better access. You also avoid lying on your back for hours.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts 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.

Jack up the front of your vehicle. See our article on jacking your vehicle.

I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter from above with the intake manifold removed.
Figure 1

I am going to illustrate how to replace your starter from above with the intake manifold removed. The same steps are used when replacing it from below. If you want to remove your intake manifold to ease access, see our tech article on intake manifold replacing. This photo shows the starter (red arrow) as viewed from below. It is right above the right side drive axle (green arrow).

Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable (red arrow).
Figure 2

Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable (red arrow). See our tech article on battery replacing.

Working at the starter solenoid, disconnect the electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the retaining wire and pulling it straight off (inset).
Figure 3

Working at the starter solenoid, disconnect the electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the retaining wire and pulling it straight off (inset).

Working at the back of the starter, remove the 13mm battery positive (B+) cable nut (red arrow).
Figure 4

Working at the back of the starter, remove the 13mm battery positive (B+) cable nut (red arrow).

Next, you have to remove the starter bolts.
Figure 5

Next, you have to remove the starter bolts. Start at the left side of the transmission bell housing, just behind the cylinder head (green arrow). Remove the 13mm starter fastener (red arrow).

This photo shows the 13mm starter bolt being removed.
Figure 6

This photo shows the 13mm starter bolt being removed. Note the location of the fastener (red arrow). The green arrow points to the high-pressure fuel pump on our subject vehicle's turbocharged engine.

Next, the vacuum reservoir has to be unbolted and moved to the side.
Figure 7

Next, the vacuum reservoir has to be unbolted and moved to the side. Don't worry about detaching the vacuum lines. They can break. It is best to leave them attached. There are three 10mm reservoir fasteners (red arrows). Use a long extension (green arrow) and remove each one.

Lift the reservoir off the engine and lay it aside (red arrow).
Figure 8

Lift the reservoir off the engine and lay it aside (red arrow).

Next, remove the final two starter fasteners.
Figure 9

Next, remove the final two starter fasteners. The fastener heads are E12 (external Torx). This photo shows the top (red arrow) and bottom (green arrow) fasteners.

Use a six-inch extension and an E12 socket to remove the lower (green arrow) and upper (red arrow) starter fasteners.
Figure 10

Use a six-inch extension and an E12 socket to remove the lower (green arrow) and upper (red arrow) starter fasteners.

Remove the starter from the engine (red arrow).
Figure 11

Remove the starter from the engine (red arrow). Reverse the steps to install the starter. Install the electrical connections. Do not over-tighten the battery positive (+) terminal. The solenoid stud can break. Reassemble the remaining items and reconnect the battery. Check the operation of the starter. Rhen recheck that all wiring is routed as before.




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