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

The 'Cold Start Rattle' has been observed in some early production Mini Cooper S cars, which has been dubbed the 'Cold Start Rattle'. This often occurs when the engine is cold and causes the engine to make sounds similar to an old diesel engine when it is first started.

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, which is controlled by the timing chain. It is possible that the tensioner spring force is too low in some instances. Depending on the severity of the wear, it may result in a rattling noise when the engine is first started from a cold start or when the engine is running at idle.


The timing chain tensioner internal tolerances are not consistent.


Before removing the tensioner, it will be necessary to inspect it. Located inside the engine compartment, between the intake tube and the air filter housing, the tensioner is visible from the top of the vehicle. It is possible to install one of the timing chain tensioners listed below. It is not necessary to remove the tensioner during 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.