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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,658
    I came across this in the Feb 2010 issue of Automobile which is relevant to our discussion of tire speed ratings.

    You may never achieve high speeds like this at home but all new car and truck tires sold in the United States have speed ratings on them. A tire's ability to deal with high speeds doesn't necessarily increase it's handling and braking but generally there is a correlation--so if you're looking for a higher performance tire, look for a higher speed rating.

    (Emphasis added)

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • The 2009/10 E60 with N54 is an amazing vehicle - when it runs. In the past 5 years, I've purchased a 645, 750, and two 5s, all brand new. Never a single issue with any, until the '09 535i (N54B30).

    What a nightmare, and BMW NA refuses to even help. In 8 months (since I took delivery), the fuel pump failed (HPFP), water pump failed, fuel control system failed, each time a tow and an extended period out of service. Now the charging system won't charge the battery - 2 more tow trucks in the past 3 weeks. After a looong drive, it will hold the charge for about 4-days, then it's dead again. "Click". BMW Emergency Road Service is in my speed dial!

    It's been "out of service" for 24 days (in 9-months) and BMW NA said "that's normal". Local dealer, where I purchased 4 NEW CARS, recommended I change my driving habits to accommodate the weak charging system, aka take longer trips. Hmmm, change my life because the car won't charge.....

    My driving habits/trip length is identical in the 528i, which has never had a single problem.

    Now I'm hearing about all kinds of buy-backs, lemon law-based arbitration cases, etc., due to these known problems with the N54. Yet they deny there's anything wrong with my unreliable lemon.

    So how come BMW won't take this dog back (zero sum) and let me spend even more money on a nice new X-6??
  • I have a 2000 528i manual tranny which I have always had serviced at the dealer until they told me they wanted $300 to replace the winshield washer motor and a reputable indy shop did it for $80! So yesterday I took it in for an oil change- this shop used Pentosynth 5w-40 which looks like it is ok (is it??)- but the main thing that got my attention is I am supposed to get it changed again in 5,000 miles- well I have never done that- I only put about 9,000 miles/yr on the car- not enough to put all the green lights out on the oil service indicator, so I have been having it changed once a year at the dealer. If I have to get it changed more than this because of this Pentosynth oil then it would be cheaper for me to go back to the dealer. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • Have you had a lawyer send a written notification to BMW NA? Depends what state you live in, but after so many attempts to fix an issue, the lemon law applies. Also if the car is out of service more than 30 days. I think you have 1 yr/12K miles for these events to occur.

    My dealer has stated that there are issues with the HPFP on the twin turbos - 335, 535, etc.. I've also been asked if my battery has gone dead. I've had fuel injectors, HPFP, cylinders, etc. replaced. After the last fix, had major acceleration lag, especially off the line. Dealer couldn't find anything wrong, kept it for 8 days, but magically it is fine off the line, and I feel a slight lag as it shifts through the gears. it is not safe to drive as it has broken down like yours. Sometimes I travel into very cold areas with no cell service, so cannot take a chance on breaking down, and having to walk at least 10 miles in -28 degree weather.

    My car is under consideration for the Lemon Law. Should get a response this month. If no from BMW NA, next step is BBB for arbitration, which is only binding to the dealer. You can then move onto a lawsuit. In the end you will recoup lawyer's fees, rental fees, etc. My suggestion is to have an attorney send the written notification to BMW NA - see section on this in your warranty manual - stating your intent to go the distance.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,285
    You should be good with an annual oil change; I've had the oil analyzed in my wife's X3 2.5 at almost every oil change and 9000 miles is a perfectly acceptable interval for any decent synthetic.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • Thanks for your reply!
  • 045045 Posts: 2
    Thanks for the reply Sportcourtguy. How did you get them to pay?

    Our first experience ended up with our vehicle being down 6 days and with no repair but the dealer charged us $300 to dry the car out and sugested a sunroof repair that would be over $1k but that they were not confident that it would solve the problem. Our service advisor (who is now no longer employed) told us that they cleaned out all of the drains and to let them know if it happens again. So in other words they did not find the problem.

    It just rained this past Saturday and the car was again full of water on the passenger side. While it was still raining we took the car back to the dealer and the new service advisor was "shocked" to see the amount of water and put his "top" technician on it. Yesterday the service advisor calls and asks me to come in because they found the problem. It turns out that under the hood on the passenger side they said that there were a bunch of leaves cloging the cabin filter drain and that water was overflowing from this and donw towards the heater box. From there it was landing on a tray with a chanel that enters the passenger side just under the dash which the tech explained to me is to allow air in to cool the ECU. This channel is filling up with water which then is pouring into the car! Now I am no engineer but this does not sound like a very good design. Also in looking at this water is going down into this area and there is nothing we can do to prevent this. Long story short they want over $2k now to dry out the car, replace the sub woofer that is completely under water along with everything else. They are unsure if any sensors are damaged so it may be more. We are not happy with this needless to say. Also there is nothing being done to address the source of the water intrusion. They ae telling us that they will take responsibility for the repair.....what repair?
  • I realize the posting above was almost three years ago, but my 2001 530i exhibits the same symptoms of the the Nikasil problem for M60 engines.
    Was the M54B30 engine also a Nikasil engine?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The I6 engines of the E39 line of cars did not use a lined cylinder as did the older V8 engines.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Nope. What kind of miles are on your engine?

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  • on a 2000, 540i, the car smokes in the morning when first starts, any idea of the cause and repair. Thanks
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    If it smokes for a bit on start up and then goes away, chances are this might be valve stem seals. Also if your car has an "oil separator" (a fancy PCV valve system), this can cause oil burning since oil from the defective part can seep into the intake manifold.

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  • I've recently purchased a pre-owned 2008 535i. I have 23K miles and the car seems to delay and "jump" forward from a stopped position from time to time. In addition, when I've started the car the last couple of days, it cranks longer than typical before it starts. I thought the "lurching" may have been transmission related but now that I am researching, I understand it may be the High Pressure Pump on which some owners are commenting. Has anyone else experienced this problem?
  • 125K. The car (2001 530i) lurched to a stop a few months ago. I had just filled it with gasoline; 30 mpg on a 70% highway/30% town driving mix on the previous tank which had been the norm. Towed the car to a mechanic. The mechanic did a compresssion test. "0" compresssion in all cylinders. He took off the head. Tops of the cylinder walls were seriously "etched". A sample of the gasoline had some water in it, and a funny black/multi-colored substance floating on top. I had the fuel analyzed. They simply said it had water in it, and was slightly weathered. Apparently the substance on top was not analyzed. The engine is toast.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I seriously doubt that water injected into the engine via the fuel injectors was enough to be able to cause that kind of damage, that said, I've heard of some pretty serious damage being caused to gasoline engines when diesel fuel is inadvertantly added to the gas tank. I'm wondering if some diesel was incorrectly added to the tanks of the gas station where you'd just filled up.

    I think I'd be talking to the station directly or through legal representation if I was in your shoes.
  • The delay and jump symptom sounds like an acceleration lag off the line. Lurching could be a fuel injector misfiring. With the misfiring, I was experiencing very rough idling and above 50 mph the car almost felt like it was bucking, which was the misfiring. The long cranking is a symptom of the HPFP. I would take your car into a BMW dealer for evaluation of the software (acceleration lag - new update was out in Jan 2009 per a class action resolution), HPFP (long cranking), and fuel injectors (lurching). Make sure you tell them all the symptoms so they look at everything. They don't really have resolution to the issues except replacing parts with no guarantee from what I am told by my service manager. There hasn't been a recall.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Can't say without seeing a photo of the damage, but it could be related to severe detonation----very odd diagnosis, that ALL cylinders would be absolutely "0". This suggests, if true, a total catastrophe of some kind that should not be hard to identify. Your report is very puzzling to me. Are you quite sure your timing chain didn't snap, or that the car did not severely and rapidly overheat?

    IN any event, I don't see this related to the gasoline issue. Now, if someone had put gasoline in a diesel engine, well....maybe...but diesel or water just makes an engine stop from lack of combustion.

    I'd like to hear a *much* better explanation of how we lost compression in all cylinders simultaneously. Until we have that, I don't think you have a case here.

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've seen two gasoline engines that were violently destroyed due to diesel fuel being used. From the looks of things, detonation was occuring at the extreme and the valves and piston domes took the brunt of the damage. That said, it was summer time and both of these engines were carbureted; I'm not at all sure the injectors of a fuel injected engine (operating in the winter time no less) would be able to feed enough diesel fuel into the induction system to cause the detonation I saw on those engines.

    Best regards,
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I can't even imagine someone attempting to drive a gasoline car that was struggling to run on diesel fuel. There would be so much smoke, noise, sputtering etc, it would seem rather reckless to push an engine to such extremes. I can't imagine how the car could go 5 miles on diesel fuel.

    Of course, we are talking about *pure* diesel fuel, not a cupful. A cupful in a tank of gas wouldn't hurt anything IMO. Even a cupful of water wouldn't do much more than cause sputtering (maybe) and a clogged up fuel filter perhaps.

    Sudden loss of compression on all 6 cylinders is a pretty amazing occurrence. I was thinking there would be an obvious answer to why this happened.

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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The two engines that I saw had both been filled in a "Full Service" lane by an attendant, and both had at least a quarter of a tank of gasoline when the fill-up event occurred.

    Thinking further about this, it seems logical that when the car was started, and when the owner pulled out of the station, the engine was still running on gasoline that was in the carb bowl(s) and in the fuel lines, so it's possible that both cars were up to speed before the diesel started making its way into the engine.
  • Mr. Shipo and Mr. Shiftright,
    I appreciate your responses. I will take your ideas to my mechanic. He's independent but works on many BMWs. The "event" actually happened last August, so it was warm. Situation. After work, drove .25 mile to get "fuel". Then drove about .5 mile when the car started lurching, whereby I put in the clutch and coasted to a stop. Hasn't run since.
    I'll try to see if the mechanic can take some photos of the cylinder walls. I've seen the walls, not pretty.
  • jkaudia6jkaudia6 Posts: 77
    edited February 2010
    Hi Re: I'm thinking of purchasing 1991 525i [kturner00]
    I just parked my 1990 5 Series with 287,000 Km's, that's about 200K Miles.
    Got tired of putting more money in to it.
    With a current market value of about 1400 Euro's at that mileage
    130kilometers you can count on repairs.
    But to answer your questions:
    Control Arms in the front will be a repeat repair.
    Wheel bearings in the rear tend to rust and if you wait to long
    they have to be Torched out.
    Valve train ( lifters or vanos will eventually start making noise.
    The only repair for that is replacement.$$$$
    The end muffler I replaced 4 times in twenty years (ever 5yrs.)
    One clutch disc in twenty years.
    One water pump.
    The list goes on, but you get the picture.
    Let me just say in closing, I kept that car in top shape for twenty years
    but it bleed me to death.
    That should answer your questions about gasoline, I think.
    Best regards
  • iwseiwse Posts: 27
    Just received a letter today from BMW corporate acknowledging problems with high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) problems on 2008/2009 535i models, and as such is extending the warranty on the HPFP from the normal 4 years/50,000 miles to 10 years/120,000 miles, whichever comes first. I'm saving that letter for any unfortunate future reference.

    My HPFP went at 17,000 miles on my 2009 535i x-drive. Dealer knew immediately the cause, though did not acknowledge any known problem when I questioned them on it. Surprise, surprise. Otherwise, the car has been problem-free and one sweet ride.

    I wonder if the recent Toyota debacle has given the entire auto industry a wake-up call. I certainly hope so for the sake of both the industry and us consumers. The cost of recalls and extended warranties pale in comparison to the cost of a damaged brand.
  • gardisgardis Posts: 185
    Hi Guys,
    wow after reading about these 535i problems, I'm so glad I didn't go with the one I saw at Bridgeport BMW (CT) last year! Something just told me to not go with a new model (turbos) instincts were right. Anyway..........have a beautiful 2007 530i, just had it serviced under the warranty 30K......came through with flying colors, didn't cost me a CENT. Service tech said see ya next year, but I'm wondering, an oil change every 15K miles, does that sound correct? It just seems like a lot of miles to go between oil changes. Guys thanks. I've learned so much from these boards.

    Gardis - CT
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,285
    I'm wondering, an oil change every 15K miles, does that sound correct? It just seems like a lot of miles to go between oil changes.

    There are lots of opinions on the proper oil change frequency. I change it every 8,000 miles in my wife's 2004 X3 2.5, primarily because used oil analysis indicates that the oil's additive package is almost depleted by that mileage. Other have good luck with the @15,000 mile interval, but not me...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    It depends on the type of driving you do. Lots of cold starts and city driving and 15K might be too long. Mostly highway, it might be okay. Also depends on the oil they use (Mobil 1?) and the volume. I have an Infiniti that I've been using synthetic in and having the oil analyzed. 11K on my engine is about near the end of useful protection with a 60/40 mix of highway/city. Their service interval is 3750miles, but analysis shows that that is way overkill unless it was hot/dusty/short severe service.
  • kevin530kevin530 Posts: 25
    I just never felt right about a 15,000 mile interval, seems way too long, for a high compression engine. For new cars under warranty that offer free maintenance, like BMW, if you say change the oil at 15,000 instead of say 7,500 or 10,000, the cost savings are obvious for the company and the car is out of warranty most likely before any major damage is evident. My gut tells me that a 7,500 mile interval with synthetic oil is reasonable and that is what I have been doing. Valvoline does it for about $90 with the extra oil required.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    The one sure way to tell is to spend the $25 or so and send in a sample of the oil at your 7500 mile interval to see how much life is left in it. Then, you have a valid assessment of the life left in the oil. If it saves an extra $90 oil change, and confirms the oil's good, or bad, then you have a basis for discussion with the dealer about what needs to happen.

    Many of the synthetic oil companies offer their own warranty if you use their oil and follow their recommendations - Mobil 1's recommendation is 12000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.

    A car that is designed for extended oil changes usually has more oil in the sump than a more 'normal' engine. This means a larger reservoir of addatives and often, a longer change interval.
  • My 2006 BMW 525i keeps giving me warning "low coolant" about a week after I filled it up. I took it to a local shop. The technician tested it (blowing air to the coolant openning) and he found no leaks at all on the tubes and radiator, although we saw water leaks to the bottom tray. He then open the engine oil cap and said the water must have leaked to the engine because the oil color has changed to light brown. He susggested to take it to the dealer for further testing and repair. My questions are:
    1) Was his diagnostic correct?
    2) If he knows what's wrong, why didn't he accept the job to fix it?
    3) How big a job to repair the problem when coolant mixing engine oil?
    4) What shops (in Orange County, CA) are good to repair the car besides the dealer to reduce the cost?
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