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MINI Cooper VANOS Timing Faults Caused by Vacuum Pump

Applicable to N12, N14, N16 or N18 Engines

R56 MINI Cooper models equipped with N12, N16 or N18 Engines can develop VANOS timing failures and fault codes. R56 MINI Cooper models equipped with N14 engines can exhibit the same failures, but lack an exhaust VANOS acuator, you will see timing faults related to VANOS, but not the exhaust side.

We help Autologic users diagnose and repair these faults almost every day. One of the more uncommon causes can be easily overlooked, and that is what we will discuss in this article.

First let’s take a look at the fault codes:

  • P0014 or P283D: VANOS exhaust Adaptation movement – camshaft timing over-advanced or system performance (bank 1)
  • P0015 or 2845: VANOS exhaust actuator movement – camshaft timing over-retarded (bank 1)
  • 28C8: VANOS exhaust Actuator movement 
  • 2D4F: Camshaft position controller, exhaust, cold start

These fault codes can set due to dirty VANOS solenoids, faulty VANOS actuators, worn timing components or simply low engine oil. Those are the most common causes, we will cover checking and diagnosing those in a later article.

If the above fault codes have set and you exhausted your normal diagnostic procedure, check if the engine vacuum pump is binding. Do so before opening up and checking the timing components for wear. If the vacuum pump binds, camshaft performance can drop, affecting VANOS actuation as monitored by the DME. We have seen the vacuum pumps set these codes due to binding and if ignored, the pump can seize, breaking the camshaft.

Begin by removing the vacuum pump from the cylinder head. 
It is mounted above the transmission.

Normally-Aspirated Engine Vacuum Pump Location

Turbocharged Engine Vacuum Pump Location

Once the pump is removed, rotate the pump drive. The pump should rotate smoothly (with little effort) and no binding; the shaft should feel smooth as you rotate it.

If drag or binding is felt, replace the vacuum pump. The images below show a camshaft that has failed due to a seized pump and the pump that caused the failure. 

Broken Camshaft Caused by Vacuum Pump Failure

Catastrophic Failure of Vacuum Pump

Once replaced, be sure to run the VANOS adaptation using your Autologic AsssitPlus Or BlueBox. 



When complete, road test to confirm the fault has been remedied. 

Contact Autologic Technical Support for help diagnosing this or any other fault you have with a MINI Cooper.