Mini Cooper Cold Start Rattle


NOTE:  If you ever owned or leased a 2007-2009 Mini Cooper S Hardtop (R56), Clubman (R55), or Convertible (R57), you could get payment from a class action settlement.  Read more about this law suit here.

BROWSE MINI Cooper Timing Chain Parts

Some of the early production Mini Cooper S models have been known to exhibit the 'Cold Start Rattle'.  This typically occurs when the engine is cold and makes the sounds like an old diesel engine upon startup.

The affected models include the following models with the N14 engine produced from 11/2006 to 05/2009:

  • 2008-2010 R55 Mini Cooper S Clubman
  • 2007-2010 R56 Mini Cooper S Hardtop
  • 2009-2010 R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible

MINI issued a Technical Service Bulletin NI M11 04 13 for procedures to check the  Tensioner and Timing Chain. 

Below is a partial description of the TSB:


The timing chain tensioner applies pre-tension to the chain guide rail mechanism. In some cases, the tensioner spring force may be too low. Depending on the severity of the wear, it may lead to a rattling noise when starting the engine cold or when the engine is idling.


The timing chain tensioner internal tolerances are not consistent.


The tensioner will need to be inspected before removal. The tensioner is visible from above, inside the engine compartment, between the intake tube and air filter housing. One of the following timing chain tensioners may be installed. Do not remove the tensioner for the inspection.

If the engine is fitted with a timing chain tensioner that has a drilled head (item 2) or has a machined head (item 3), do not replace the timing chain tensioner. No further repairs are needed.


The rest of the TSB describes the procedure to 'measure' the timing chain 'stretch' - if the chain has stretched beyond specifications, MINI specifies the following items for replacement:

  •  tensioner
  • Sealing ring
  • Timing chain
  • Guide rail
  • Tensioner rail
  • Sliding rail
  • Sprocket on the crankshaft
  • Bearing bolts for the tensioner and guide rails
See Mini Cooper Timing Chain Factory Replacement Parts Application Guide for Timing Chain and related components.

Below is the 'current' MINI Factory Replacement Timing Chain Tensioner that we offer under G2NME3304 for the Cooper S, and G2NME3340 for the Cooper (non-S).  Note the machined head with the raised circular shoulder.