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-   -   New to Mini. External head gasket coolant leak? (

John M. Snyder 03-13-2017 06:36 PM

New to Mini. External head gasket coolant leak?
Hello! I'm new to this forum. I just bought a 2004 Mini S. I've been a BMW enthusiast and have wanted a Mini for a while so when I come across a good deal on an R53 that needed a clutch replacement, I jumped at the chance. The first night the car sat in my garage, there were no leaks. Then I left it outside for a couple (cold) days then pulled it back in to start the clutch job. As soon as I put it up on the lift, what I thought was water starting dripping from the engine. There was snow on the car when I pulled it in so I just figured some melting snow was finding its way to the ground. After a few days the puddle kept getting bigger and then I noticed it was green... I traced it back and it is most definitely coming from the head gasket. There's no coolant in the oil or vise versa. Should I change the head gasket while I've got it all apart? I've read a few things about people with the same problem using JB stop leak and it working well (not my kind of fix though). This car only has 87,100 miles on it so I'm surprised the head gasket would be failing already. This car spent it's entire life in the city so it's not too much of a surprise that the clutch needs replacing already. The car runs great without emitting any smoke or bad noises. So should I go for the head gasket while it's torn apart or see how it behaves once I finish the clutch job and go from there?


pastorpat 03-15-2017 11:12 AM

are you sure it's not the thermostat housing? Mine was leaking and running around and onto the ledge between block and head on the back. 03-16-2017 11:46 AM

Before you assume it's the head gasket, check over the entire system. I'd even perform a pressure test to double check. How's the coolant expansion tank look? That is a common failure point in the engine. There are items that can leak and make there way down the engine and onto the ground that make other items in the system appear like they're leaking. Check the coolant tank, water pump, radiator and associated hoses and thermostat. Let us know what you find.

These articles can help you track down items under your MINI: Pelican Parts - MINI Cooper Technical Articles

John M. Snyder 04-06-2017 03:02 PM

Thanks for the help! It turned out to be the thermostat housing leaking coolant and the valve cover gasket leaking oil. Both are replaced and I'm greatly enjoying my (almost) leak free Mini. Oil pan gasket has a very slow leak but that will be a job for another day.

Aquila 05-20-2017 01:34 PM

I wouldn't put stop leak in a car unless I was going to take it to the auction.

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