MINI R56 Service Position – 2006-2013 Cooper – All Models

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MINI R56 Service Position Procedure – 1.5 Hours

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The BMW Repair Guide used this 2007 MINI Cooper for the following article. To see other repairs on our site using this actual car, please click on the image below!

 

Putting your MINI R56 in the service position is necessary prior to starting most repairs to the engine.

We would like to start off this article with a riddle; How do you repair a 251.3 pound, 4 cylinder Franco/German designed engine crammed sideways into the front of a compact car built in England? The answer is…you don’t unless you pull the front of the car off so you can get your hands in the engine compartment.

The engines in the generation 2 MINI R56 (and its turbocharged sibling R57) were produced through a joint venture between the BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën. The goal was to produce a compact fuel efficient engine that could reduce CO2 emissions without sacrificing modern engine technologies. This new breed of small power units would carry over many of the advanced features found in BMWs line of straight six engines.

The result of this cooperative effort between BMW and Puegot was the creation of the Prince engine, more commonly known as the N12 and turbocharged N14 . They were the main powerplants found in all generation 2 Mini Coopers and MINI Cooper S models produced between 2006 and 2013.

Due to the compact design of its body, it is virtually impossible to do any type of service or repair work on the sides of the MINI Cooper’s engine in its natural configuration. To overcome this issue, BMW designed the front end of the MINI to be unbolted, allowing the front bumper and radiator support to slide out and away from the engine compartment. This action is called putting the MINI in its “service position”.

A MINI R56 service position procedure is very straightforward, and with a little practice can be done quickly and efficiently. It will take about an hour your first time doing it…but with practice it can easily be done in 30 minutes or less. It involves disconnecting any parts connected to the bumper and radiator support of the vehicle, then unbolting the front end and sliding it out and away from the vehicle. It is a necessary evil that must done when performing any maintenance or repair to the sides of the engine including belts, pulleys, pumps and the infamous timing chain replacement. You do not have to perform a MINI R56 service position procedure for any repair on the top of the engine, such as tune-ups or valve cover gasket replacements. 

There are no parts needed for this repair, although we do suggest purchasing some fender trim clips to keep on hand. The front fender trims must be removed during a MINI R56 service position procedure, and you will most likely break a couple of their plastic clips during this process. We have provided a link below to purchase them for your convenience.

Parts, Tools and Supplies

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Parts
You will most likely break a couple of trim clips when removing the front fender trim panels. They are inexpensive…we suggest buying a few so you always have them on hand.

PartQuantityPart #Description
Clip plastic – 57821Varies7132757821Genuine MINI

 

Tools and Supplies
Floor jack – low profile
Jack stands or Wheel Ramps
8mm socket wrench
10mm socket wrench
13mm socket wrench
16mm socket wrench
T25 torx bit
Screwdriver – phillips
Trim removal tool kit – plastic

Procedure
The BMW Repair Guide makes every attempt to publish their repair articles with detailed step by step photographs, videos and written instructions. There may be small variations in years and models and your vehicle may be slightly different than what is shown in the following steps and images. Some repairs may also require additional steps not covered in our articles like: removing covers from the engine and undercarriage, moving wires or hoses to access parts, cleaning and lubricating parts associated with the repair and performing general maintenance.

Section 1 – Removing the front fender trims
Two of the bolts securing the front end in place are located underneath the front fender trims. Fender trim removal is easy…just remember that you will probably break a couple plastic clips in the process. We have once again supplied a re-order link below for the clips.

  1. Start on the left side of the car. Gently pull back the wheel liner to expose the side marker light electrical connection. Disconnect the light.MINI R56 service position - front left fender trim MINI R56 service position - pull back wheel liner MINI R56 service position - disconnect front marker light
  2. Remove the black plastic rivet under the marker light.MINI R56 service position - remove plastic rivet
  3. Grab the front of the fender trim and pull directly away from the car until the plastic trim clips release from the vehicle. Continue pulling until the trim is completely free from fender. You will most likely break some trim clips while removing…you can reorder new clips here.MINI R56 service position - remove fender trim remove fender trim fender trim removed
  4. Next, remove the 10mm bolt connecting the front of the fender to the bumper.MINI R56 service position - remove 10mm fender bolt
  5. Repeat on right side fender trim.

 

Section 2 – Removing the front bumper cover
The front bumper cover must be removed to access more bolts anchoring the front end of the vehicle to the frame.

  1. Jack and support the front of your vehicle using the jack stand method as shown in our article BMW Jacking and Supporting for Repairs and Maintenance.
  2. Starting on the left side of the vehicle, use a T25 torx bit to remove the bolt anchoring the side of the bumper to the frame. Repeat on the right side.MINI R56 service position - remove T25 bolt
  3. Next, remove all three plastic phillips head rivets located in the wheel well in front of the tire. Even though only the bottom one is holding the bumper cover, the other two must be removed in order to slide the front end of the car into its service position (see section 4 below). They should come out with a phillips screwdriver…if not they may need a little “help” with a plastic trim removal tool. Repeat on the right side.MINI R56 service position - remove plastic rivets remove plastic rivets remove plastic rivets
  4. Move underneath the front end of the vehicle. Start by using a phillips screwdriver to remove the engine splash shields (if they are present…on a lot of cars one, or both, may have “disappeared” over the years).MINI R56 service position - remove splash shieldsMINI R56 service position - remove splash shields MINI R56 service position - remove splash shields
  5. Next, use a plastic trim tool to remove the five plastic rivets securing the bottom of the bumper cover to the frame of the vehicle.MINI R56 service position - remove bumper cover rivets
  6. Remove the four plastic rivets attaching the top of the grill to the radiator support.MINI R56 service position - remove grill rivets
  7. Finally, reach behind the bumper cover and disconnect the two fog lamps. The electronic connectors release by pressing down on the plastic tab as shown below.MINI R56 service position - disconnect fog lamps MINI R56 service position - disconnect fog lamps MINI R56 service position - disconnect fog lamps
  8. Grasp the bumper cover and remove from the vehicle.MINI R56 service position - remove bumper

 

Section 3 – Disconnecting engine compartment components
Disconnecting the engine compartment components attached to the front end of vehicle is a very simple task. The goal is to make sure there is nothing attached to the bumper or radiator support that will impede sliding the front end out away from the car.

  1. Moving to the engine compartment, start by removing the rubber weatherstriping from the radiator support.MINI R56 service position - remove weatherstriping
  2. Remove the air intake manifold tube from the air box (a.k.a. intake manifold pre-box). It simply pulls loose.  Note – Since we are removing the intake manifold tube from the air box and not the bumper, there is no need to remove the coolant fluid reservoir from it’s bracket. MINI R56 service position - air intake manifold tube
  3. Disconnect the hood release cable by opening the lid on the plastic housing and removing the cable (see images below).MINI R56 service position - disconnect hood release cable MINI R56 service position - disconnect hood release cable MINI R56 service position - disconnect hood release cable
  4. Remove the air-conditioning suction pipe by releasing the plastic clip and gently pushing out of the way.MINI R56 service position - disconnect a/c suction line MINI R56 service position - disconnect a/c suction line MINI R56 service position - disconnect a/c suction line
  5. Disconnect the headlights by squeezing the connector with two fingers to release (see images below).MINI R56 service position - disconnect headlights disconnect headlights disconnect headlights

 

Section 4 – Sliding frame into the MINI R56 service position
The final steps in the MINI service position procedure require removing the last nuts and bolts securing the front end to the vehicle. Once these are removed, the front end can be safely pulled away from the vehicle.

  1. Using a 10mm socket wrench, remove the bolts anchoring the headlight frames to the body of the car.MINI R56 service position - unbolt headlight bracket
  2. Use a 13mm socket wrench to remove the two bolts securing both sides of the radiator support to the body of the vehicle.MINI R56 service position - unbolt radiator support
  3. Moving to the lower section of the front end, use a 13mm socket wrench to remove the three nuts anchoring both sides of the bumper to the frame of the car.MINI R56 service position - remove bumper support nuts
  4. Finally, moving back under the car, use a 16mm socket wrench on each side of the frame to remove the main support bolts. These bolts can be torqued tight…use a breaker bar if necessary. MINI R56 service position - remove main support bolts
  5. Stand at the front of the vehicle and grasp the bumper with both hands (like the fat guy is doing in the photo below). Pull on the bumper until the front end of the car slides out of the lower main support and away from the engine compartment. If it is stuck, try rocking the bumper back and forth while pulling.MINI R56 service position - pull front end away from vehicle
  6. The car is now in its service position.MINI R56 service position MINI R56 service position MINI R56 service position

MINI R56 Service Position Procedure Finished
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And congratulations for Doing It Yourself!

The Repair Difficulty Level displays graphically how challenging the repair is, from easy to advanced. Easy repairs usually require very few tools, have short repair times and do not require jacking and supporting the vehicle. As the difficulty level rises, expect the repair to demand more time, specialized tools, and better understanding of mechanics to complete the job.
MakeModelSubmodelEngineYearChasis
MINIAllBaseAllAllR56
MINIAllBaseAllAllR57