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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • I took delivery of my 2009 328 xi wagon on Dec. 11 and noticed a high pitched electrical sound (very faint) when I got into my garage and shut off the engine. It goes away after 15-30 seconds, but reappears if you unlock the door before restarting the engine. The sound is so faint that I can't hear it if I'm parked outdoors, only in the silence of my garage.

    hpowders, did you learn anything more about this? I would appreciate any insight before I take it to the dealer. Thanks.

    -Ithaca, NY
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    My old E38 528i did it and so does my wife's X3. Some of the car's systems don't shut down or "go to sleep" until @15 minutes after the car is either locked or left unoccupied. Likewise, these systems activate once the car is unlocked or the driver's door is opened

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,460
    I graduated from IC in May of '98!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I think you should have a case in this matter. If they informed you it would be under warranty and ended up charging you, they should give you an explanation. I have found dealers are getting more aggressive in charging customers for services or repair work because they are not selling as many cars these days and have to make up profits elsewhere. You should call BMW customer service and register a complaint. Your point of their failure in calling you to explain the charge (a change of their prior position) is very valid.
  • I have a 2008 335xi with 6500 miles, 10 months into 3yr lease. Today, the idle became rough, the engine malfunctioned, diagnostic warning message appeared requiring me to proceed with caution to the nearest dealer. I barely made it a mile after the warning light appeared. It appears to be a fuel pump failure. The mechanic at Beverly Hills BMW seemed to know upon restarting. I checked with the parts department and they confirmed that some of the "earlier" models sustained fuel pump failures. I have babied this car, and can't recall exceeding 4500 rpms in steptronic mode. This car was specially ordered from Germany and was manufactured during the final week of 2007.

    Based upon what I've read so far on Edmunds, this appears to be a common problem. Shall I assume that this vehicle came without an oil cooler and insist upon its installation? I leased the car from Glendale BMW, and I already sense some attitude at B H. I certainly don't want to deal with two dealers when only one should be able to replace the defective part, if that's the case. I am driving a rental (at their expense) and am hoping for a repaired vehicle by Friday. What is the likelihood of yet another fuel pump failure without the oil cooler? Is this an issue which must be addressed at BMW North America, or is the originating dealer the one to remedy the problem. My car is at BH, so I have no choice. What leverage do I have to make them install the cooler, and can this be done in a relatively short period of time.

    Finally, has anyone invoked a "lemon law" based upon the frequency of occurrence and the likelihood of reoccurence?

    Thank you for your assistance
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Relax, you're way over thinking this. A few points:

    1) Given that some early 335i and 335xi models had an issue with the fuel pump, is seems pretty obvious that BMW has revised the design and your car will get the latest version of the truth.

    2) The RPMs that you've hit during your time with the vehicle is irrelevant relative to the fuel pump failure.

    3) There is no relationship between the oil cooler (which your car most likely does not have) and the fuel pump failure.

    4) Why on Earth are you talking Lemon Law at this point? Just get the pump replaced and carry on.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    What Shipo said. The car's getting fixed, the problem has nothing to do with the oil cooler, and on top of it all, you're leasing the sled.
    Calm down.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    . . .the problem has nothing to do with the oil cooler, and on top of it all, you're leasing the sled.

    Damn straight!

    I'll take this opportunity to wish you and yours a happy holiday season and an even happier 2009.

    Thanks again for real information and proper perspective over the years.
  • This is a wonderful time to convey my Holiday wishes to all of the selfless people who comprise Edmunds.com and create the most informative and helpful auto enthusiast community I've encountered.

    For the record: I was able to pick up my 2008 335xi today, barely 24 hours after limping into Beverly Hills BMW, with a new high-pressure fuel pump. Thanks to Shipo and other posts, I was motivated to share their info with some BMW personnel and sent e-mails to both the originating dealer, Glendale BMW, and BMW North America--Customer Service. I reached the right technical advisor at Glendale BMW (CA) and found out:a)there was a recall of the earlier 3 series for fuel pump replacement; b)my auto was manufactured a bit late to be recalled;c)all of the replacement fuel pumps for the 3 series through 2008 stocked by BMW garages are presently the redesigned or modified versions so that future failure is highly unlikely; they are not permitted to use the older, faulty versions; my car was manufactured in December 2007, at a time when it should have already have had a different version of the fuel pump installed; d)my car has an oil cooler installed and finally: none of the contacts I made was forthright about the recall except Glendale BMW, which also made the lease experience enjoyable and at the time, appeared to have been as good a deal as any nationwde. I would only use the Internet lease department for any vehicle, by the way, as I have negotiated dozens of leases for clients over the years, and there is simply no comparison between the facility and courtesy encountered in Internet departments compared to walk-in salespersons, and of course, the terms are superior, especially when you advise them that you're well equipped to perform your own calcualtions and/or have the proper software.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,244
    Glad to hear your car is back in fine fettle & that Glendale came through for you. It nearly always comes down to a single person who is: 1) competent and 2) cares.

    Enjoy that car & have a Merry Christmas!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    to all of my fellow enthusiasts who frequent this board! Here's hoping 2009 is a great year for all of us.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,460
    I'm glad your car was fixed & you are well on your way. I've gotta ask: an Xi in Southern California? What's up with that?

    Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah to all the regulars here!

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • I know, there are none here; I ordered it. I wanted a certain set of equipment and color, and then thought about:

    Greater safety in wet weather
    I drive to the Sierra to ski every year

    I value safety and absolutely the best traction on other than dry surfaces, and if I form the perception that it prevents one accident during a three-year lease, I can justify it. Any marginal decrease in performance (speed and acceleration) is for me, miniscule. And I really think it handles better than RWD on for example, hard cornering on uneven roads where loss of traction won't occur as readily with power distributed to all wheels. And I felt if I had the xi, it would encourage me to ski more often, as I'm a workaholic.

    Best Holiday wishes to you, too!
  • jetzzsjetzzs Posts: 64
    I am very disappointed with the quality of the mechanical components of my 2001 330i. Twice we have replaced the oil pan because the screw sheared off and now the oil separator has malfunctioned. It is out of warranty.

    I called BMWNA and they said they could not help me and that "problems like this stop here" meaning they would not do anything. Does anyone know if there is anything else I can do? I appreciate any and all suggestions. Thanks so much!
  • My experience with BMWs is limited. However, I have always owned or leased autos no longer than the full warranty period. I detest the time and aggravation which inevitably arises during an out-of-warranty period. And experienced drivers have warned me NEVER own or lease a German high-performance vehicle for longer than the warranty period. Years ago, I had a Mercedes, and was just starting a business, and believe me, the costs were breaking me! Sorry; good luck.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    I am very disappointed with the quality of the mechanical components of my 2001 330i. Twice we have replaced the oil pan because the screw sheared off and now the oil separator has malfunctioned. It is out of warranty.

    I called BMWNA and they said they could not help me and that "problems like this stop here" meaning they would not do anything. Does anyone know if there is anything else I can do? I appreciate any and all suggestions.


    If the screw you are referring to is the drain plug, it means that some ham-fisted idiot is tightening it excessively. I've never stripped a drain plug on a BMW in 25 years of ownership. Find a good independent shop that specializes in BMWs. If you aren't a member of BMW CCA, join it. Many dealers and shops give discounts of up to 20% on parts and/or labor.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    Based on my own ownership experiences(nine BMWs since 1983- I currently run three) I have found that BMWs are not terribly expensive to own. My 1995 Club Sport has only needed a thermostat, two belts and idler pullies(replaced as a precaution), and one set of pads and rotors in over 113,000 miles(not to mention numerous HPDEs and autocrosses). My wife's 2004 X3 has nearly 75,000 miles on the clock and it has only needed pads and rotors and a passenger seat SRS sensor(replaced under warranty). The Club Sport's running costs average @$50/month, and that number includes three sets of W or Z rated summer/track tires. The X3's costs average @$70/month.
    In contrast, I recently decided to try something different and bought a Mazdaspeed 3. It needed a new front strut and a turbocharger before it hit 26,000 miles. I have well and truly learned my lesson; I will never stray from the Munich fold again...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • jetzzsjetzzs Posts: 64
    I so much appreciate all the comments and suggestions!

    Surprise! BMW customer service called back and said a field rep would look into the oil separator issue. That doesn't guarantee anything but it is more than I expected.

    The rep said we could wait until the field rep has looked into it to settle up the bill. The car will be done today and we don't need it for a few day so I say wait. I think we will have a much better chance of getting a credit on the bill if we don't pay for it until the rep has evaluated the situation.

    Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to deal with BMW in this circumstance? Thanks so much for any input!

    Have a great New Year! Cheers!!
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    And experienced drivers have warned me NEVER own or lease a German high-performance vehicle for longer than the warranty period.

    Well, I have some relevant experience: my 330i, purchased new in June, 2001, has been out of warranty since June, 2005. During the past 3 1/2 years, I've spent a total of $1200 on repairs. That works out to less than $30 per month. If you can find something comparable that I could buy or lease for that amount, then I'd agree with your statement.

    Now if you had said that one should not keep an Audi beyond the expiration of its warranty, then you'd probably get no argument from me.

    Not all German cars are created equal.
  • msymanmsyman Posts: 25
    Hi. I am in New Orleans and my 325 is out of warranty. Can anyone recommend a garage who does good work at a decent price? Thanks.
  • ventureventure Central PAPosts: 446
    Search at www.bimrs.org

    They list 2 in your area.

    2014 Fusion, 2013 Impreza, 2011 Forester

  • jetzzsjetzzs Posts: 64
    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. The field rep looked into the problem and the BMW dealership called and said that BMW would pay for all but $500. My husband then authorized the repair right away. That is a savings of $900. It seems like this confirms that they know they have an engineering issue with the oil separator. (We have a 2001 330i with about 100k and we just paid it off and got the title in the mail two weeks ago).

    Thanks for all the posts and have a great New Year!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    Sometimes a manufacturer will pick up all or part of some repair costs for loyal customers as well. The oil separator is not a chronic problem but they do fail on older cars at a higher rate. The part itself isn't that expensive, but it is a bit labor-intensive to install.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • uncletouncleto Posts: 45
    need help on finding why the carpet is wet on the driver side mostly after rain. check all the seals on the window and the door, looks fine to me. had suspicion but not sure about it im not losing coolant so i dont think its coming from there. hope anybody out their who had similar prob. will be able to help me. its a 2001 32ix wagon and 60000 miles on it. any imputs will be much appreciated!
  • jetzzsjetzzs Posts: 64
    Do you have a sun roof? If so, it could be caused by a plugged drain hole for the sun roof. Good luck!
  • There is some kind of seal inside teh door, that if leaking can cause this problem

    I had same problem in my 2000 323i on passenger side, and teh dealer replaced some sort of seal inside teh door and problem went away
    This was 2 years ago

    curiously I have water there again and am not sure if it is teh door or something else. I just had the compressor on the A/c replaced, not sure if they are related
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,363
    In addition to the windshield seal and the sunroof drains, I'd check the inner door insulator panel; part number 12 in this diagram.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • uncletouncleto Posts: 45
    when you say inner door insulator are you referring to the vapor barrier on the door? some had told me that might be one of the source of the leak.
  • Yes thats it the vapor barrier
    Now why should tehy go bad? I have no idea
    Did I EVER have these problems with a US made car? NO

    Did my electric window regulator fail last week when I tried to lower teh winder in teh snow? Yes.

    Do I love driving very fast on dry highways with this car? Yes
  • HCM5HCM5 Posts: 2
    Did you ever figure out what was wrong? We have a 2004 330xi with just 20,000 miles that has been having the same problem. When you turn the key, the lights go on and there is a soft humming sound, but no engine ignition. Sometimes, if you give a 2nd quick turn of the key, the engine starts up fine. Once the car is "on" it's completely fine. First time was in March 2008. We had it checked at our dealership, everything checked out diagnostically, though they suspected the key could be a problem and then we didn't have any more problems for 9 months. Now, after our first really cold spell, the car is doing it again. We left it alone for a week over Christmas, then it started fine and we got it over to our dealership. They kept it for a week, again found nothing obviously wrong with it, and decided to try replacing our key. We brought the car home and within a few days, we had the same problem. It is now sitting in our garage. We will wait a few days, then try to start it and get it over to our dealership.
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