In the introduction about MINI, which is equipped with a B38 petrol engine, I mentioned an interesting behavior in idle. Point of the problem – strong permanent vibration (so strong that all interior is vibrating visibly; the driver’s seat belt hits the door trim with sound), which miraculously reduces when the clutch is pressed. 

In addition, as it seemed – the problem was not of mechanical nature (for example, the vibration of the gearbox clutch) but electronic because vibration gradually disappeared/was restored during several seconds. Diagnostics in the Expert mode clearly indicated that the problem is electronic – DME is not performing the evening of cylinder mechanical efficiency until the clutch is pressed (although it should be precisely opposite – START to even it out when releasing the clutch). Accordingly, the reaction to the clutch was precisely the opposite as it should be. 

The vehicle’s owner approached the BMW dealer with all technical information – ISTA diagnostics images and problem description. BMW dealer specialists confirmed the problem and opened PUMA (technical assistance) procedure. 

Sounds hopeful, isn’t it? As a manufacturer, BMW AG should help! But… After waiting for 2 weeks, the answer from BMW Ag was received. The manufacturer recommended… Compare this phenomenon with some other cars with the exact specification. What, please? The dealer or the owner of the vehicle should look for a car with the exact specification? Fantastic proposal! 

Understanding that the manufacturer shows a “professional” attitude, the car owner took the initiative. “Armed” with the newest release of ISTA, he discovered that there is a DME software update intended for this specific vehicle. Unfortunately, the dealer (who initially volunteered to restore the software) at the end of the day refused help because they hadn’t gotten confirmation (technical assignment) from the manufacturer that such a procedure should be performed. As we suspect, the communication cycle is “fast” – it took several weeks to get an answer consisting of one sentence. Decided not to wait another month (because several months already have passed, driving a vibrating car) to receive one sentence, “We recommend updating the software” the owner of the vehicle performed this procedure by himself. He paid for the Online work session, downloaded data from his car, used the original equipment and bought it with his personal funds. Well, what to do, if the speed of the communication with the manufacturer is 1 sentence in 2 weeks, in addition – without any imagination. 

The update of the DME software update was intended both for the bootloader (obviously, the manufacturer is fighting the “chip tuners”) and the main program itself. Sounds promising. For over two years, such a “regular” bug should be removed! 

In this entry – how the Mini DME “behaves” with the newest software release. And further info for the dealer and the manufacturer itself – maybe finally, someone will start to act. 

The owner decided to act robustly – do not make any unnecessary moves, to gather as much information as possible for the manufacturer’s technical support. Precisely for this reason – after updating the software, he did not perform the re-adaptation of the engine. The reason is simple – it did have any justification in no document – not even the slightest clue of the necessity of such a procedure. 

Subjectively after updating the software – the car vibrates both with a pressed and not pressed clutch. Yers, vibration changes, but it is impossible to clearly understand what is happening. Is the problem “solved” so unsuccessfully? What is going on? 

To obtain a “view form aside”, I joined the process. Yes, indeed – subjectively: the vibration is permanent; strong. Changes when the clutch is pressed. Nightmare. 

ISTA expert mode confirms something else – permanent vibration is ONLY with the released clutch! When the clutch is pressed (precisely as in the first test session), the efficiency of all cylinders evens out! How so? 

In the image: the clutch is not pressed, and subjectively strong permanent vibration can be felt: 

Yes, the 2nd cylinder (green curve) may be slightly less active, but this difference is only several %.

And now we press the clutch: 

Subjectively the vibration is as if decreases, but we clearly see that the 1st cylinder (blue color) is noticeably (5+%) less active than the other two! How is that possible? 

Unfortunately, even in the newest (at the beginning of May 2022) ISTA release, for B38 (unlike for B48 and B58), the status of the flywheel adaptations is not available. The only logical explanation – there are some problems with the flywheel adaptations. Then let’s use imagination. 

Overrun mode, driving with a speed of 70 km/h (73rd till 80th second):

Looks very suspicious. The blue line is “lower” than the red one – it should not be like that! Let’s zoom in: 

Yes, it can be clearly seen that the performance of the flywheel is incorrect! One more test for control at the speed of 100 km/h: 

Overrun mode from 149th second. There is no doubt that the flywheel adaptations’ data is incorrect! 

At this moment is not possible to find out what has happened. Possible scenarios:

a. the flywheel has not been adapted by the manufacturer; all this time, it has been worked incorrectly;

b. the flywheel adaptations have been deleted or damaged during the software update. 

In any case – the requirement to perform the re-adaptation of the engine was not present; description of the re-adaptation is limited to “drive different modes”; the procedure of the flywheel adaptation is not described at all; the status of the flywheel adaptations is not available. Isn’t it an extraordinary situation? 

In addition, the current car owner loves sporty driving; he regularly brakes with the engine and uses Overrun mode. After updating the software, 500+ km has been driven; many times of braking with the engine, and – the flywheel is still un-adapted (or is adapted COMPLETELY incorrectly)? What is going on, BMW?  

It is clear that the idle without vibration is impossible with incorrect flywheel adaptation data. A logical conclusion – the re-adaptation of the flywheel should be performed.  

Here, in the menu, even the subpart with the flywheel adaptations is separated: 

Impressive! The only question – where are the learnbits that the flywheel is/is not adapted? Where is the exact procedure? Where are the data with accurate measurements? Nothing of it?

This time a logical conclusion – complete re-adaptation of the engine should be performed because the is not the slightest clue has the initial adaptation has been correct or if all adaptations are not damaged while updating the software. 

The funniest thing in the description is – the last sentence (you can read it by yourself when performing this procedure) that the report can be incomplete and/or inaccurate. Pay attention to the description on the right side of the image. The description contains no information on how to perform the re-adaptation of the engine but how the car should be put to sleep. In bold: it can take till 30 minutes. Here a logical question appeared to me: 

a. is there any confirmation that the car has gone to sleep? NO!

b. “till” 30 minutes means – typically after what time? Unknown! So – have to wait for 30 minutes? Obviously! Or only 10? No? So why you can’t just simply write: wait 30 minutes! 

c. Was BMW unable to find a fast way to put DME “to sleep”? Impressive! And now imagine, for example, the dealer. I have seen SI procedures, which define – after EACH repair, the re-adaptation of the engine should be performed. And at this moment, the dealer should put each car to “rest” for 30 minutes only to put DME to “sleep”? And then again, the engine should be warmed up because the adaptations should be performed for a warmed-up engine. BWM – seriously? It’s what you offer in Year 2022? 

And again, the standard sentence regarding actions during the re-adaptation – drive in different modes. Really? Here, 2 minutes in idle and “End service procedure”. Impressive!

Where are the learnbits regarding the successful finish of the adaptations? There are simply none! 

Here is the Overrun mode of the UN-adaptated flywheel. 4th gear, starting with 4000 RPM.

As we wee in the data, the initial “linearity” of the flywheel is VERY bad! The flywheel says that the 1-st cylinder is very active; the difference from the ideal is around 30 units (it is several tens of %)!

Here is the 5th Overrun cycle: 

By 4000 RPM (171th second), the scattering of the cylinders has reduced to +/-10 units. And 1st cylinder (blue color) is already “tightened” to the 3rd (red color). Enormous progress!

Here we see the results of the flywheel adaptations in a range of 3000 .. 2000 RPM. It looks much better than at the beginning of the evening!

After the readaptation of the flywheel car was put to “sleep”, the fuel adaptations were created. 

Here is the first image:

The data confirm the uneven performance of cylinders. Till the 300th second – the clutch is released, and vibration can be felt. In the 300th second, the clutch is pressed. Vibration disappears COMPLETELY! A feeling that the engine would be switched out! Perfect! Data also confirm that all cylinders are working evenly. 

One more (from many) identical experiments:

This time the clutch is pressed on the 331st second. Identical situation both subjectively and in data. 

In conclusion – together with the owner of the vehicle, we tested one more “manoeuvre”.

Years ago, working with MSD80, I noticed that DME evened out the idle in Stratified charge once the speed dropped to 0. A little “stupid” because if the car is equipped with a manual gearbox, the idle can (and should be) evened out once the gear knob is in the neutral gear. In addition, this Mini is equipped with a gearbox position sensor! BMW, how so? Why such a lousy job? 

But, returning o the theme – we decided to check how DME manages to even out the idle. Rolling in the neutral gear with a low speed, the clutch released. Vibration ZERO. As soon as the speed in the digital speedometer reduces from 1 to 0 km/h, vibration starts immediately – DME STOPS evening out the idle. We repeated the experiment 5 + times, (d)effect is stable. 

BMW engineers – really? For several years such a rogue (and simple) defect and NOBODY has noticed it? How is that possible? 

p.s. Mini was purchased at the beginning of 2022, completely new; now, the mileage is around 8000 km.