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BMW 3-Series Fuel Pump Failures

jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
Copied below, you will find a letter I wrote to BMW Customer Relations earlier this month, detailing an experience I had involving a fuel pump failure on my 2007 BMW 328xi. I believe that the problem I experienced represents both a potential safety issue -- given the fact that a fuel pump failure results in an immediate loss of engine power, power steering, and power brakes -- and a potential design flaw -- given the cause of the fuel pump failure, which my BMW service manager attributed to the deleterious effects of the ethanol in the premium Mobil gasoline I have been using in my car. If the explanation BMW provided is correct, it suggests that every BMW 328 on the road today is vulnerable to this problem. When one adds to this the fact that the only way to remedy this problem is to replace not only the fuel pump but also the entire gas tank of the car, at a cost of approximately $3500, I believe this is a situation represents a recall, or perhaps a class action lawsuit, in the making.

Dear BMW Customer Relations,

On Saturday, April 2nd, I was driving my 2007 BMW 328xi from my home in upstate New York to New York City when my engine abruptly shut down at mile 65 of the N.Y.S. Thruway. Fortunately, I was close enough to the entrance ramp of the Modena service area that I was able to coast safely off the highway and into the parking lot. When I attempted to restart the car, the starter turned over, but the engine would not start. Accordingly arranged to have my 328xi towed to Hudson Valley BMW in Poughkeepsie, which is the dealership that sold me the car.

On April 5th, I received a call from a service representative at Hudson Valley BMW. She told me, as I expected, that my fuel pump had failed and needed to be replaced. She said that the cost of the repair would be approximately $750 plus the $125 diagnostic charge. I told her that I was surprised and concerned that the fuel pump had failed on a car that had only 96,000 miles on it, but that they should go ahead and replace the pump.

A few hours later, I received another call from the service representative, this time informing me that the service technician had determined the reason my fuel pump had failed – namely, that the fuel lines leading to the pump had deteriorated. She then explained that the only way to replace the fuel lines was to replace the entire fuel tank, at a cost of $2500. To say the least, I was taken aback at this information. When I asked what could have caused the fuel lines on a car with 96,000 miles to deteriorate in this manner, she said it might have been caused by “excess alcohol” in the gasoline I was using.

I was even more astonished by this explanation than I was by the problem itself, but I told the representative that I needed a car, and I authorized her to order the fuel tank and perform the repair. Immediately after this conversation, I called BMW Customer Relations. I informed them of what had happened and I expressed my dismay at the supposed cause of the problem. They said they would initiate an inquiry and get back in touch with me.

I next called Hudson Valley BMW and spoke with the service manager there. In response to my question, he reiterated that the fuel pump failure had been caused by excessive levels of alcohol in the gas I was using, which caused the fuel lines to swell and crack, thereby fouling the pump. He emphasized that it was essential to use “high quality” gasoline in the 328xi. I informed him that the great preponderance of the 96,000 miles I have put on my car in the last four years has come from driving the same route between my home in upstate New York and New York City, and that I have habitually purchased my gas at the numerous Mobil stations along the way.

He told me that while Mobil was considered “high quality” gasoline, the Mobil stations on the Thruway were “a real problem” because they sometimes added extra alcohol to their gas. When I expressed amazement that BMW was making cars that were potentially so fragile that they not only required their owners to pay close attention to the brand of premium gas they used, but to the possible variations in the quality of that brand, he said that he would speak to “the factory” and see what he could do in terms of getting me some consideration on the cost of repairing my car.

The next day, the service manager informed me that he had spoken with the company and was prepared to take $1000 off the cost of replacing my gas tank. That would reduce the cost of the repair to $1500, plus the $750 to replace the fuel pump, plus the $125 diagnostic charge. I thanked him for his efforts on my behalf and told him to proceed with the repairs.

This has been my experience so far. Now let me state my position on what has occurred.

It is disappointing that a fuel pump would fail at 96,000 miles on a well-maintained luxury performance car, but in itself, I accept that things like that occur. The explanation I have been given as to why the fuel pump failed, however, puts this matter into a whole other category.

Quite simply, if the fuel pump on my 328xi failed because of the deteriorated fuel lines in my gas tank, and if those fuel lines deteriorated because of the supposedly high alcohol content in the admittedly “high quality” brand of premium Mobil gasoline I have been using in my car, then that failure was caused by a design deficiency that BMW needs to take responsibility for correcting. BMW manufactures cars and sells them in the American market. It goes without saying that those cars have to be designed to operate safely and efficiently in that market. Accordingly, BMW instructs its owners to use premium-grade gasoline in the 328xi. I have followed those instructions faithfully. BMW further advises its owners to use “high-quality brand-name” gasoline in the 328xi. I have followed that advisory faithfully, consistently filling my tank with Mobil, one of the brands that BMW specifically recommends.

To state the obvious, it is simply unreasonable for BMW to suggest that its owners should not only fuel their cars with “high-quality brand-name” gasoline, but also guard against any undetectable variations in the alcohol content of the gasoline sold under those brand names. If the fuel lines installed in the 328xi are not sufficiently robust as to be able to withstand those undetectable variations in the alcohol content of the fuel, then that is a design flaw in the car. (An obvious fix would be to design the vulnerable fuel lines so that they can be replaced at regular intervals without requiring the replacement of the entire gas tank.)

As it is, the service manager at BMW of the Hudson Valley was clear in stating that the fuel pump in my car failed because of the deteriorated fuel lines. Therefore, it is my position that BMW should reimburse me for the full cost of replacing both the fuel pump and the fuel tank. Anything less than that would represent an abdication of responsib
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Comments

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited April 2011
    Given the age of the car and the mileage, I really don't think it matters what caused the failures. Given that they have already made an adjustment, I'd just let it go if I were you, because you did get 100K of use out of the parts, so you have to consider the value received.

    While I don't believe than ethanol at 10% can deterioriate fuel lines, it does act as a solvent and could conceivably cause a fuel pump failure due to debris being churned up.

    If anything I think your complaint is with the gasoline companies, not BMW.

    Just my two cents, and I dont' wish to imply that I don't have sympathy for your plight. I'm just trying to explain how I would feel if it were my car.

    100K is more than a natural lifespan for a fuel pump or fuel lines----some go more, some go less but it's certainly in the realm of probability.

    What ticks me off about your story is that you have to replace an entire fuel tank for the sake of some lines---that strikes me as poor design.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    I completely agree with you. I could easily absorb the fuel pump failure -- stuff happens with cars. I could even absorb the fuel line deterioration as the cause of the fuel pump failure. But if fuel lines are vulnerable, then you treat them like brake pads and air filters: you design them to be changed every 50 or 75 or 90 thousand miles so they don't wear out. In which case you don't embed them in the walls of the fuel tank.

    As it is, however, this is a problem waiting to happen in every similarly designed new or used 3-series BMW on the road: a $3500 hit somewhere down the line, at 100,000, or 150,000, or 200,000 thousand miles. Along, quite possibly, with a sudden loss of engine power, power steering, and power brakes at highway speed.

    That's bad design from a car company that prides itself on its good engineering.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited April 2011
    it definitely sucks. Did you ever get to SEE those fuel lines? Neoprene is supposed to be impervious to ethanol unless somehow E85 got in there.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    I didn't see the fuel lines. My sense is that they're built into the wall of the fuel tank. But clearly, whatever they're made of is vulnerable to ethanol. And I mean it when I say I've used "top-tier" Mobil-brand gasoline 90% of the time, driving the same route back and forth between upstate and New York City, stopping at the same stations. No doubt I've occasionally used some lesser-quality premium gas from time to time, but here again, isn't it reasonable to expect a certain minimal level of robustness in a well-engineered car?

    So it took 96,000 miles for this to happen in my car. But sooner or later, this has the potential to affect every 3-series owner, new and used. And when it happens, its $3500. Just like that. I don't think it's right to expect the owners of a high-priced, high-performance car to just absorb that cost. And when you think about it, what's meant by them refunding me $1000 of the $3500 repair cost? That's sort of accepting a "little" responsibility for the problem.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You should also report this to the NHTSA. If enough people complain, it might get their attention about a recall. As I said, fuel lines should not disintegrate with 10% enthanol.

    Interestingly, BMW has had problems with its fuel pumps on both the turbo cars and the normally aspirated X5 models.
    BMW Fuel Pump Recalls

    Perhaps your car will be next?
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    Thanks for the encouragement. I did sent a copy of my letter to the NHTSA yesterday, and I'll keep you posted on how they respond. I can't say I'm enjoying this. I really love my car (within reason, that is!).
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,308
    edited April 2011
    ... I think your service advisor is talking out of his... er.... hat..

    1) Almost everywhere I go, 10% ethanol is the norm...

    2) "Oh... Mobil is good gas.. but, those Mobil stations on the thruway put extra ethanol in their gas".. WHAAATTTTT??!!! Does he think the Mobil station keeps a big tank of ethanol out back, and slips a little in the Premium grade tank, when they need to make their numbers for the month? This is just service advisor BS for: Yes, something went wrong with your car, you are out of warranty, and I really have no idea if it could possibly be BMW's fault, but if I blame it on something else, you won't be mad at me.

    BMW has had trouble with the high-pressure fuel pumps on the turbo models... but, of course that wouldn't apply to your car.. If ethanol in gas caused BMW fuel lines to deteriorate, then there would be a rash of problems... and, I sure haven't heard of them...

    Now, just like your service advisor (lol), I have no idea what caused your problems... I do think it's great they took off a $1000 on the repair, considering how far out of warranty you are... But, I wouldn't blame it on the gas..

    regards,
    kyfdx

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  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    Ditto on your entire posting. If this was widespread, it would have been in the forefront as much as the HPFP issues.

    And, seeing how the EPA wants to increase ethanol content upwards to 15% in 2007 and later models, I can't buy the explanation that a little extra ethanol caused the issue. Since mileage is reduced by the lower energy content of ethanol, the OP would have been complaining about really poor mileage well before any failure occurred.

    Of course, if one of the stations screwed up and put 85% in the wrong tank, which subsequently wound up in the OP's fuel tank, that may be an issue. However, I would think the engine's maintenance system would have gone nuts running on e85...

    Anyway, that's my opinion...
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    Dear kyfdx,

    Please don't get me wrong. I am simply operating on the basis of what BMW told me. When I contacted them -- not the dealer, the company -- it's not as if they suggested that something else caused the fuel pump failure. They seem to agree with the service manager that the cause of the pump failure was deteriorated fuel lines, and that the deterioration was caused by a high level of ethanol in the gas.

    If it had been a simple matter of my fuel pump failing at 96,000 miles, and me paying BMW $875 to fix the thing, this whole conversation/controversy would not be taking place. It's their explanation for the added $2500 cost of having to replace the entire fuel tank that sent me over the edge.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Their explanation makes little sense on the face of it, but oh well.....
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    Here's my question on the alcohol idea...

    Exactly how is one to know what % of alcohol content is in the gas.... Keep a mini-lab in the trunk to test a sample before filling?

    That position would be a great aid to a competitor in an advertising campaign...

    "Our competition blames you for fuel-related" failures. We don't!".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited May 2011
    A gas station can't be pumping 15% ethanol without telling people--it would have destroyed 90% of the cars in the neighborhood. The place would be surrounded by torches and pitchforks.

    Unless your car is specifically "multi-fuel" designed, it can't safely run on 15%.

    Regular neoprene fuel line should be impervious to 10% ethanol.

    This whole explanation makes my bogusometer go off.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    OK, so what do you think could be happening? My fuel pump failed. BMW told me the reason it failed was that the fuel lines had deteriorated, and had to be replaced, and that the only way to replace them was to replace the entire gas tank. Do you think that my dealer, BMW of the Hudson Valley, was just padding an $750 fuel pump repair with an additional $2500? If so, why? And if the explanation was bogus, why would the company then back up the service department at BMW of the Hudson Valley? I told them I was going to take this to the NYS Attorney General's Office, and I'm doing just that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I really have no idea what they are talking about. As I said, their explanation (at least as it has been relayed from them to you to me) makes no real sense---the deteriorating of fuel lines from normal gasoline makes no sense, the replacement of the fuel tank makes no sense, and how a fuel pump is destroyed by fuel lines going INTO the pump makes no sense. Do they mean the filler neck tube? What fuel lines "going in?" And why aren't the rest of the neoprene fuel lines in the car destroyed as well in that case?

    Maybe it's all on the up and up and it's just a communication problem, I can't say.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    The explanation was: the elevated level of alcohol causes the fuel lines to swell; when they swell enough, they crack; when they crack, chips of neoprene or whatever the line is made of fall off and foul the pump. One would think there should be a filter before the pump intake preventing this from happening, no? Perhaps the filter is installed earlier on the fuel line. Does anyone know a BMW mechanic who could comment on this, or are we just the blind leading the blind?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I don't think you need a BMW mechanic here. I think you need someone to explain to you how E85 got into your tank, because normal gasoline with 10% ethanol can't do that to fuel lines.

    And also why the rest of your fuel lines aren't destroyed, just the ones in the gas tank.

    And why you have to replace the entire gas tank rather than clean out the old one.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    Thanks to the gentle prodding I received as a result of this posting and thread, I just called BMW and asked them for a better explanation. Here's what they told me: the fuel pump in the 2007 328xi (and, I strongly suspect, other 3-series cars from that and maybe other model years) is located inside the fuel tank, and the fuel tank is a "sealed unit." What this means is that if a fuel pump fails on that car -- for any reason -- the entire fuel tank has to be replaced, at a cost of $2500 (plus the cost of a new pump). In other words, the fuel pump is in the fuel tank, and the fuel tank cannot be disassembled.

    That said, BMW still does maintain that the most likely reason that the fuel line deteriorated and/or "ruptured" was ethanol in the gas, so we're back to Square One on that issue.

    For those of you who are thinking that this has to be about the stupidest way to design a car that you have ever heard, you'll be happy to know that BMW changed the design on later model years of the 3-series, so that now the pump can be accessed and changed with requiring the replacement of the entire fuel tank.

    What I said about these cars still stands, however: every 2007 3-series BMW is waiting for this to happen, and when it does, its a $3500+ repair.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    edited May 2011
    "What I said about these cars still stands, however: every 2007 3-series BMW is waiting for this to happen, and when it does, its a $3500+ repair."

    Nah, if what you say is true, there'd be 2007 328i models dropping by the thousands, and that just ain't happening. However, if your statement had said:

    "What I said about these cars still stands, however: every 2007 3-series BMW which has inadvertently had E85 added to the tank is waiting for this to happen, and when it does, its a $3500+ repair."

    then I'd agree with you.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    Sorry to be such a dope. What's E85? And how would it be added to my gas tank?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    E85 (which has been talked about in this thread) is fuel comprised of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Most gasoline sold in the U.S. these days can be called E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline mix), and good old gasoline can be called, for lack of a better term, E0 (my invention, not a convention used in discussions like this).
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2011
    Sorry to be such a dope. What's E85? And how would it be added to my gas tank?

    Well, I would say we now understand your problem.

    At some point, you (or another person) most likely filled your tank (maybe multiple times) with e85 instead of regular 10% blended gasoline. That would explain your situation perfectly.

    However, I'm a bit surprised that you didn't notice the significant hit it would have had on reducing your mpg... since ethanol only has about 65% of the energy content of 100% gasoline.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,308
    Or... maybe he just has a defective fuel pump.... or the fuel lines went bad for some other reason..

    Blaming it on ethanol is just a convenient excuse, I think... that absolves them from blame...

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  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Either way, I don't see this as being a fleet wide problem as has been suggested.
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    I wish that was my problem -- at least it would explain something. But no, none of the places I buy gas sell anything like this e85 product that you're describing, and BMW has never suggested that that is what caused this problem. I live in New York State, and I've never seen the product for sale. Who would buy it, anyway? I'm afraid the e85 angle is a red herring.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I thought they told you that "alcohol" in the fuel deteriorated the fuel lines?
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    Yes, by which they meant an "elevated" percentage of ethanol. But not this e85 fuel that people have been posting about. The notion of "deterioration" (their word) suggests a process that happened over time, not an infusion of the wrong kind of fuel.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited May 2011
    Okay so they are saying that E15 caused this then?

    (from Wikipedia)

    "In October 2010 the EPA granted a waiver to allow up to 15% of ethanol blended with gasoline to be sold only for cars and light pickup trucks with a model year of 2007 or later, representing about 15% of vehicles on the U.S. roads. In January 2011 the waiver was expanded to authorize use of E15 to include model year 2001 through 2006 passenger vehicles. "

    also THIS:

    "The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducted tests to evaluate the potential impacts of intermediate ethanol blends on legacy vehicles and other engines. In a preliminary report released in October 2008, the NREL presented the results of the first evaluations of the effects of E10, E15 and E20 gasoline blends on tailpipe and evaporative emissions, catalyst and engine durability, vehicle driveability, engine operability, and vehicle and engine materials.This preliminary report found that none of the vehicles displayed a malfunction indicator light as a result of the ethanol blend used; no fuel filter plugging symptoms were observed; no cold start problems were observed at 24°C (75°F) and 10°C (50°F) laboratory conditions"
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    I guess so. But they're not being all that definitive about anything. They've just told me: this is what happened (fuel pump failed), this is how it happened (deteriorated fuel lines), and this is why (high levels of ethanol in the gas). Does that mean 10%? 15%? 20%? I don't know.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    On what basis can they demonstrate "high levels of ethanol"? did they do a chemical test or something?

    If not, why can't we say "no, the fuel lines were a manufacturing defect". Prove THAT wrong if you can't prove excessive ethanol correct.

    My personal opinion, based on what's been posted, is that no one has a clue why the fuel lines disintegrated, and since you apparently haven't seen them, even IF they deteriorated.

    Also I've never heard of throwing away a fuel tank because the fuel pump inside of it is defective. If that were true, why do they allow you to extract the fuel pump at all?
  • jongouldjongould Member Posts: 13
    You're right. I just spoke to my regular mechanic -- not the BMW dealer. He tells me that the fuel pump costs $328 and takes 1.2 hrs to replace -- and it is replaceable. So much for the $750 BMW charged me for that. As for the gas tank, it costs $980 and takes 7.2 hrs to replace. So much for the $2500 BMW charged me for that. This is getting weirder and weirder. On to the NYS Attorney General's Office...
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,308
    Has that really gone on sale? Anywhere?

    Every place that I've bought gas in the last year ..... has only had E10...

    I know they've considered sellling E15, but not sure it's actually happened.

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  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    Has that really gone on sale? Anywhere?

    Every place that I've bought gas in the last year ..... has only had E10...

    I know they've considered sellling E15, but not sure it's actually happened.


    According to what I have read, e15 must have a separate pump and be clearly labeled as e15. Since a new pump cost in the neighborhood of $20 large, I doubt you'll see it become widely available anytime soon.
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    edited May 2011
    I live in New York State, and I've never seen the product for sale. Who would buy it, anyway? I'm afraid the e85 angle is a red herring.

    The link below is a listing (6 months old) of New York state gas stations selling e85...

    http://e85vehicles.com/e85-stations/e85-new-york.html

    Notice there are several Mobil stations included in the list. Any of those stations look familiar to you???
  • whittonmwhittonm Member Posts: 30
    My 2008 335xi was beginning to take a long time to start when cold - cranking for 10 to 20 seconds before firing. I took it in to the dealer who replaced the fuel pump under the recall, and also replaced some of the fuel injectors, which are also on recall. There was a third recall that escapes me as well. It did take 3 days for the repairs, and the dealer, as usual, did not have a loaner even though I was promised one and booked two weeks in advance. BMW deals are like Hyundai dealers except they have fancier coffee machines.. Car runs fine now, we just made a 1200 mile round trip to Canada with no problems. Seems to have more power and fuel economy seems unchanged.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 14,573
    edited May 2011
    BMW deals[sic] are like Hyundai dealers except they have fancier coffee machines.

    Really? My BMW dealer is first rate- to the point that my wife refuses to consider any other brand. She's taken it to them a couple of times(with no appointment) when the tire pressure warning illuminated and both times they checked it out and repaired the tire in under an hour. Once I asked for a transmission software update for her X3; it was already supposed to be online but it turned out that BMW NA had delayed rolling it out. So instead of simply saying "Sorry." my dealer shipped the TCU Next Day Air to BMW NA in New Jersey to get it flashed. Meanwhile, they gave me an X3 3.0 M Sport for an additional three days.
    Yeah, I suppose the only difference is the coffee maker...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • whittonmwhittonm Member Posts: 30
    It is good that you have a decent dealer. I unfortunately have to go to lousy BMW dealers who promise loaners and back out on the day of service, do not have the car ready on time, etc. The buying experience is also bad - we wanted a test drive and the dealer rolled out a unit from the parking lot covered in pollen and then wondered why we did not buy one. My wife also likes BMW's, purely for the status - the dealershis are inferior to our Infiniti and Acura dealers.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    The dealer where I lived in no. California really stunk. The local BMW owners referred to it quite regularly as The Evil Empire.

    But that's the nature of a franchise. Some places the burgers taste great and the bathrooms are clean and everyone's smiling at you, and some you don't wanna go near them.

    A bad dealership is the product of bad management/ownership.
  • bmazzabmazza Member Posts: 1
    Does anyone know where it is located .My husband is a mechanic and cant locate it. It just wouldnt turn over and thats what hes thinking that its the fuel pump
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,308
    edited August 2011
    I'm pretty sure the pump is inside the fuel tank...

    YouTube video on diagnosis and repair of fuel pump

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    says here if its the M54 engine you can replace it but if it's the M56 engine you have to replace the entire fuel tank. You cannot replace the pump by itself.

    Here's the scoop on the M56...maybe you can figure out which engine you have (M56 is SULEV, sold in CA, NY, MASS and VT, 2003--2005 only, automatic transmission only.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 14,573
    Enter the last seven digits of the VIN into the online ETK at realoem.com; that will tell you whether it's an M54 or M56.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    nice tip! Thanks for posting it. Geez, replacing the entire fuel tank---that's a drag.
  • tsaputojtsaputoj Member Posts: 2
    My 97 328i has 240K miles, I was going 65 on the freeway when I lost power and lucky got across 3 lanes of traffic to an exit. When it came to a stop, I tried to start it but it wouldn't turn over. I was real low on gas, so i put a couple of gallons in it and nothing. Everything lights up and the starter is working but it just won't turn over. Based on reading these past post it might be my fuel pump. Is there anything else I should check before jumping to that? I live in Colorado does anyone have an ideal on cost in my area, so that I don't get over charged!

    Thanks for your help.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well you should check to see if there is fuel in the fuel rail---no sense guessing with your checkbook. A mechanic could verify that in a few minutes, tops. If there's fuel in the fuel rail (pipeline to the injectors), then it's not the fuel pump.

    Next step would be to check for spark, also easy. So the mechanic should have it narrowed down to either no spark or no fuel within ten minutes. From there, each component has to be tested.
  • tsaputojtsaputoj Member Posts: 2
    My car was towed to my house and is sitting in my garage. My 20 something son already checked the spark plugs and we have spark. Would it be easy for me and my son to check the fuel rail our selves?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Well I guess if you are very very careful you could operate the schrader valve in the fuel rail and see if a little fuel sprays out of it (NOT WHILE CRANKING THE ENGINE!!!). Wear glasses or goggles.

    Or sometimes you can hear the fuel relay and fuel pump go on for a few seconds when you turn the key to the ON position, but I'm not sure on your particular BMW.

    If you can find the fuel pump relay you can sometimes by-pass it with a jumper wire.

    If you find you have a good spark and you have fuel then you must have a problem with the injector pulse.
  • nickkapposnickkappos Member Posts: 1
    I don't know if this helps at all, but last week my 2008 335i had a "Engine Malfunction" warning, followed by the check engine light - the physical reaction was reduced engine power.

    I took it to the shop and they said it was a bad fuel pump and said it was "covered under warranty." Now, my warranty has been up for over a year - so she may have meant it was covered under a recall? I'm not sure.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,308
    The 3.0 twin-turbo is pretty famous for having a high incidence of HPFP failures... I'm sure there is some sort of recall or extended warranty on them...

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  • 5539655396 Member Posts: 529
    The turbo's have a high pressure pump. It's a known problem and they stood behind it with a long extended warranty. Ten years seems to stick, but that's very long so I could be mistaken. But that's the way it should work.
  • abbiehightideabbiehightide Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2013
    My fuel pump failed on my BMW. It was sitting in my driveway. It was towed to the mechanic. He replaced the fuel pump. It sat over night in his garage. It would not start. He replaced the fuel new fuel pump again. I drove it home. It would not start the next day. I towed it to the mechanic. He replaced the fuel pump a third time. It sat over night. It failed to start in the morning. At this point, after thoroughly checking the car, he cut open the original fuel pump. The impeller had swollen. He emptied the fuel tank, saving a sample of the fuel. He believed that the fuel had caused all of the fuel pumps to fail. I also live in the Hudson Valley, NY. The issue here is neither the age of the car nor the age of the fuel pumps. Even the make of the pump cannot be blamed because my mechanic used both BMW and non-BMW parts trying to repair this 2001 BMW 325xi. Something is seriously wrong and potentially dangerous if alcohol placed in fuel can essentially melt the part. It's both the fault of oil companies and the car makers. For what it is worth, in Westchester Co, a higher ethanol content is required during certain months of the year, higher than surrounding counties.
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