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      09-13-2010, 08:11 PM   #1
offthewall
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335 Engine destroyed from hitting a puddle

A friend of mine has a 2008 335i convertible. He claims he hit an unseen 6" deep by 50' long puddle under a highway overpass at speed. The engine immediately stalled. He tried restarting it and it would not start and had to have it flat bedded to the dealer. The dealer claims the entire engine needs to be replaced at his cost. Does this even sound possible that irrepairable mechanical damage could occur under these circumstances? I can't see how enough water could get past the air filter without submerging the car to destroy an engine.

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      09-13-2010, 08:12 PM   #2
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covered under insurance if your friend has any.

water doesn't combust.


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      09-13-2010, 10:46 PM   #3
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      09-14-2010, 06:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthewall View Post
A friend of mine has a 2008 335i convertible. He claims he hit an unseen 6" deep by 50' long puddle under a highway overpass at speed.

Comments?
Unseen and 50 feet doesn't sound right. I am sure he may at first didn't see it, but at some point he should have stopped. I also have a feeling it was deeper than 6 inches.

My guess is that he saw the puddle, everyone was going slowly through it, he then was being a douche and tried to go through it at highway speeds, engine stalls, people pointing and laughing at him, he blames BMW.
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      09-14-2010, 08:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
My guess is that he saw the puddle, everyone was going slowly through it, he then was being a douche and tried to go through it at highway speeds, engine stalls, people pointing and laughing at him, he blames BMW.
All very entertaining responses so far and you're scenario may not be far from the actual truth, but I'm still looking for an answer (for my own education) as to how it's possible to destroy a 335 engine with water short of submerging it.
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      09-14-2010, 09:20 AM   #6
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6" deep? that would submerge my 335i? I hit a 2" pothole and feel it, something isn't right but he needs to talk to his insurance company, and 6" deep and 50 ft long isnt a puddle, its a pond
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      09-14-2010, 09:27 AM   #7
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Maybe he crashed into a canal
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      09-14-2010, 09:27 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by offthewall View Post
I'm still looking for an answer (for my own education) as to how it's possible to destroy a 335 engine with water short of submerging it.
He would have to get water splashing ~ up to the hood since the air intakes are positioned at the top of the kidney grills.

6" of water at a crawl should be no sweat. You have to keep moving so the car won't stall as the water plugs the exhaust.
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      09-14-2010, 09:47 AM   #9
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6" is more then enough to scoop water up and send it up the front of the bumper and past the intake scoops. And if he was under throttle the intake would have been sucking up air like a hoover. So this scenario makes sense.

Water does not compress, and at RPM it would screw the cylinder up. Would happen to any car.

Just to confirm, stock intake?
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      09-14-2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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Six inches is enough to make the car float away.

That said, his engine stalled and he might have been OK - but then he tried to restart it.
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      09-14-2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MteK View Post
6" is more then enough to scoop water up and send it up the front of the bumper and past the intake scoops. And if he was under throttle the intake would have been sucking up air like a hoover. So this scenario makes sense.

Water does not compress, and at RPM it would screw the cylinder up. Would happen to any car.

Just to confirm, stock intake?
I'm sure it is bone stock. He's not a "mod" type of guy. What seemed odd to me is that I would have thought the air filter would prevent a momentary 'Wave" of water from actually allowing any substantial water into the turbos and cylinders. If the car was actually submerged for period of time, yes but hitting even a HUGE puddle could only allow the intakes to be exposed for a second or two.
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      09-14-2010, 10:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MteK View Post
6" is more then enough to scoop water up and send it up the front of the bumper and past the intake scoops. And if he was under throttle the intake would have been sucking up air like a hoover. So this scenario makes sense.

Water does not compress, and at RPM it would screw the cylinder up. Would happen to any car.

Just to confirm, stock intake?
Really? Hmm..maybe you're right about that. 6" doesn't seem like at that much.
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      09-14-2010, 10:52 AM   #13
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I was caught in a storm last week driving on a state route last week. I went through two flooded areas that were deep enough to cover my fog lights and tear off my license plate holder part way. I drove EXTREMELY slow through them in my 328 sedan that is bone stock and did all right. I imagine you had to be doing something like driving too fast, or have a lowered car to do that much damage. It's not impossible though. My SA was telling me that he had three cars waiting for new engines. Oh wait, they were Mercedes
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      09-14-2010, 08:09 PM   #14
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http://www.smartdriving.co.uk/Drivin...ies/Floods.htm

http://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/epr/disasters...r-disaster.wmv

http://www.floodsafety.com/national/...icledanger.htm

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/flood.shtm
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      09-14-2010, 08:31 PM   #15
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I wouldn't argue that it wasn't the wisest of moves to drive into 6" of water in that type of vehicle. I was just surprised it destroyed his engine. I think cb1111 made a good point that it was probably the act of trying to restart the car that ultimately did the engine in.
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      09-14-2010, 10:36 PM   #16
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Was your friend told what was wrong with the engine to warrant a replacement?
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      09-15-2010, 08:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Was your friend told what was wrong with the engine to warrant a replacement?
No I didn't get those details other that it could not be repaired. I just told him I'd ask around to see what the forum thought. I was hoping for more technical explanations like. "X amount of water entering point A could cause Y type of damage" etc.

I don't have a turbo car. Looking under the hood of my 328xi, I didn't see how it was possible to get enough water past the air filter with what sounded like a quick "wave" of a soaking from smacking into a deep puddle like he described.
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      09-15-2010, 08:39 AM   #18
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I'm not sure your friend's story is totally accurate. If he hit a 50' long 6" deep puddle at highway speed I doubt he would have maintained control of the car, but if he was lucky and the stability control was able to keep his car from going out of control then I'd bet he splashed enough water up in front of the grill that the engine ingested enough water to hydrolock one of the cylinders. One cylinder is .5 liters and it only takes a few ounces of water to hydrolock a cylinder.

He needs to call his insurance agent.
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      09-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #19
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he might install his Air Scoops too low
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      09-15-2010, 01:42 PM   #20
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On my prev stock '01 330i, I got caught in a deep puddle (6-8 inch) in my neighborhood while it was still dark (so I couldn't see how deep it was), due to heavy rain the night before (drains blocked) - while taking my kids to school.

Car stalled out, and couldn't restart - eventually towed to dealer who ended up flushing the engine and oil (a couple of times)- and said it was good that I hadn't tried to turn the engine over as it would have done-in the cylinders (water doesn't compress). Found out from a local BMW owner (that did that same as me), that I could claim from my Insurance Co - they paid up the cost to "clean" out the engine - just had to dry out the headlights.
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      09-15-2010, 10:28 PM   #21
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Sounds like he hydro-locked the engine, which would not be something covered by warranty. At TDC the combustion chamber becomes tiny, if even 200ml of water were sucked up between all the cylinders, it's enough to bend the connecting rods.
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      09-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #22
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Did your friend have a Stett or Ultimate Racing cold air intake which has the air filter in the bumper ? If so, this can be explained.
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