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BMW Z4 Electrical Problems

ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 974
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  • I've had two problems that have stumped the dealer:
    1. My driverside door has spontaneously opened 3 times. No seat belt was stuck in the door (it was latched), I didn't unconsciously open the door and the door was not locked. I don't lean on the door. The last time this happened I was doing 80 on I-95 straightaway. You can hear it unlatch and must swing the door open and pull it close.
    2. The interior dash "alarm" started beeping for reasons unknown to me. I had trouble getting the car unlocked and had to open/close it with the key several times. The seatbelt was NOT stuck in the door. I opened and closed all the doors and restarted the car 4 times. I had to drive 5 miles with it beeping, then left it (still beeping) while parked and no key in ignition. Came back in 2 hours and it had stopped.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Sounds like two electrical problems, potentially related.
  • Tech found internal fault in dash cluster and cluster was replaced. Evidently this is a known issue. Hopefully, it was related to the door problems. thank you.
  • jen4227jen4227 Posts: 2
    I just leased a 2007 z4 and for some reason the cigarette lighter does not work to charge the cell phone. The charger fits in but I am not getting electricity. It seems to work fine as a cigarette lighter...The charger works in other cars. Anyone had this problem? Thanks.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 974
    Just a guess, but could it be a blown fuse?

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  • kch82kch82 Posts: 1
    I bought a huge rug today and was going to place it in the front seat with the top down. I put the top down and something was in the storage space behind the head rest and it wouldn't open anymore...I got the thing out and it would only it won't open...any ideas?
  • I just bought a 2007 Z4 coupe. Have the same problem with my Garmin GPS. I'll take it back to the dealer on Friday. I'll keep you posted with the result of this appointment.
  • I also just bought a 2007 Z4 coupe -- same problem -- the salesman said that as long as the lighter works, BMW feels there is no problem, end of conversation. Seems crazy -- I know my charger(s) work on other cars. I hope you will post any result from your appt.
  • esfoadesfoad Posts: 210
    My father-in-law has one of those electric cooler/heater units. On his Ford Taurus it works perfectly However, on my brother-in-law's 2007 Maxima, it did not work at all. So we looked closely at the plug on the unit and the socket in the car. We found out that they are incompatible. I purchased one of thos "Y" lighter cords from Walmart and that solved it. The Walmart plug works in the Maxima and the cooler's plug works in the adapter.

    I know the vehicles are different but could the problem be similar?
  • i just got 2007 Z4- i am having problems with my cell phone charger and gps system plugging into the lighter - any suggestions ?
  • ahvaahva Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Z4. I have had problems in the past with the power steering shutting off occasionally, when taking sharp turns, Replacing the sensor unit in the steering column took care of that. Now the power steering is shutting down driving straight. I have had the car in for service and the technician tells me that the EPS control unit needs to be replaced. According to the technician the control unit is completely integrated into the steering column, that is, the complete steering column needs to be replaced. This sounds like a major design flaw. Has anybody made the same experience?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    This has been an ongoing problem for BMW, and probably replacing the entire column is their best way to try and solve it.

    Many Z4 owners seem to experience this issue, if one goes by reading various forums on the 'net. Certainly NHTSA has heard about it time and again.


  • earlyoutearlyout Posts: 1
    The lighter socket is more shallow than a standard socket, so the plug-in adapters that come with cell phones and GPS units can't be inserted far enough to make contact on the side.

    BMW's response to this problem (I asked) is that they don't support the addition of any third-party products.
  • Fuses are OK, is there a manual open/shut somewhere?
  • bauvoisbauvois Posts: 1
    I have the exact same issue with my Z4 (2003) and I nearly had 2 accidents already... BMW did reprogram the electric steering chip mechanism but I am still experiencing the same problem. This is very very dangerous... They plan to replace the complete steering mechanism, my car only has 60,000 km and I would like them to pay for the repair. Unfortunately they have a different opinion... Did you succeed to get an explanation or a document showing that this is a BMW known defect?
    Thanks and regards,
  • pocmanpocman Posts: 1
    I have a 2003 Z-4 with power convertible top. The top recently stopped opening or closing. I've been told that the likely cause is water intrusion into the roof pump/motor assembly as early model z-4's did not have this sealed properly. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Since it is a manufacturers defect is it covered by BMW even though my warranty has expired? What is the cost to repair? Thanks...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Never heard about water intrusion and no TSB mentions it. However, there is a TSB which might very well relate to your problem: These are TSBs not recalls, so if you are out of warranty you'd have to pay for the repair.

    if it's just the microswitch that shouldn't be too expensive, although it's hard to get out of a BMW for less than $300 it seems.

    SI B54 05 05
    Special Roofs

    July 2005
    Technical Service

    This Service Information bulletin supersedes Service Measure B54 202 04 dated May 2004.
    Convertible Top Fails to Operate

    E85 (Z4)


    Customer may complain that the convertible top fails to operate.


    The micro switch for the variable stowage compartment indicates that the compartment is not in the lowered position, due to incorrect adjustment or a damaged switch.


    On a customer complaint basis, check the micro switch actuation and replace the mount as required.


    On cars produced prior to 2/03, replace the micro switch mount, part number 54 31 7 072 815, and if the micro switch is damaged, replace with part number 54 31 8 236 846.

    On all cars, check the actuation of the micro switch, and if necessary, use washers under the mount to get correct actuation of the switch.


  • steve_msteve_m Posts: 2
    There is most definitely a bulletin, and a problem with the early Z4 soft top motors. The bulletin is SI B54 03 03.

    One of the best resources I've found that shows how to fix it (for the brave and talented) or at least shows you what the dealer will need to do and why the repair is so expensive is shipkillers site at:

    The best for showing how to clean the drains so it doesn't happen again is:

    Why the dealers pretend there is no problem is beyond me. It's the same with Dodge Durango PCM failures that the dealers pretend is an isolated problem, yet a simple web search shows you tons of people experiencing the same problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,403
    Right you are, it's not in the ALLDATA data base however. I did see it on the NHTSA site.

    Well could be either TSB problem, right?


  • steve_msteve_m Posts: 2
    Yes, it could be either TSB. But if it was the microswitch, nothing should happen when the "top down" button is pressed.

    If the electric/hydraulic soft top motor is bad, the windows should still go down, and the top latch should disengage. But the top won't power down any farther than that.

    It seems like some people have been lucky recently getting BMW to cover the cost of the repair, others have been paying a little under $2000. I would imagine the better the customer you are at a dealer, the more likely you are to get the repair done for free.

    That said, I understand BMW extended the warranty on the soft top, but my 2003 still falls outside the range, even though it only has 39,000 miles on it. And given that I like to do my own repairs, I'm not in the good customer category, and will probably tackle the repair myself.
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