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My Mini engine won’t start


fuel injection engine
It is frustrated when a car engine won’t start especially during the morning you are rushing for your work or going for a date. My 1993 Mini Cooper does give me this headache last week. It is not usual when a car engine won’t start, there must be a reason. I’ve decided to written down my experience and hope I can pass this knowledge to the Mini world.

My 1993 Mini Cooper is powered by a 1275cc engine paired with fuel injection system. The car was kept in the garage and did not start for about six months. One early morning, I brought the car key and try to start the car. It did not cranks at all, I switch on the lights – it is not working; I press on the horn – there is no sound; I turn on the stereo – there is no music. Obviously, it is the sign of a flat battery. I quickly went to a nearby car accessories shop and get a brand new battery. Now the car cranks and it cranks very strong. The headlights are working, signal lights are working, horn is very loud, and the stereo plays nice music but it still won’t start.

At least I know the starter is working because it cranks very strong. I went on to diagnose the problem one by one. I pulled out one of the spark plugs and try to test it with any metal place under the hood. There is a strong spark – it means the ignition coil, the distributor, and the spark plugs are working. Generally, the ignition coil turns the battery power to spark and send it to the distributor, which then sends the sparks out to the spark plugs. An engine starts because of the compression, mixture or fuel and spark. So now I move on the check the fuel.

fuel injection
Fuel Injection

Fuel system isn’t really hard to check as long as you know how to do so. The fuel is kept in a fuel tank at the back, a fuel pump will pump the fuel from the tank to the manifold and the car will start. An injection engine has an “In” fuel host as well as “Return” fuel host. I pour a little bit fuel direct into the manifold and the engine starts! However, it starts awhile and then stops again. This is because the amount of fuel I pour in has finished burn. Now the problem is clearly diagnosed, which is the fuel system problem. I use a 17 wrench to open the “In” fuel host and crank the car. There is no fuel deliver from the fuel tank.

fuel tank
Fuel tank and the speaker hole

Now there is only one reason the fuel did not deliver to the manifold, the fuel pump sits inside the fuel tank at the back. I remove the fuel pump socket and use the power from battery to try if it is working. There is no sound and no response from the fuel pump. The fuel pump is the root of the problem.

fuel pump
Look! How bad the fuel pump is!

The correct way to replace a fuel pump in a Mini is to remove the number 13 bolt and take out the entire fuel tank. Without doing this, you can’t take the fuel pump out from the fuel tank. However, I did not do so due to laziness. I removed the speaker on top of the fuel tank, unscrew the six bolts and pull the fuel pump out from the tank through the speaker hole. Thank god the speaker hole is big enough for the pump. It’s tricky but it works and it saved me a lot of time although the correct way to replace a fuel pump is to flush the fuel tank too. Now my car is able to start and it is on the road again with over 150 km/h without any problem! Hope this article helps!

fuel pump
Bad fuel pump


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