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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > cracked subframe



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      06-28-2011, 10:02 AM   #1
purquh1
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cracked subframe

I've never posted to one of these sites before and i'm hoping my msg comes through. I leased a 2009 335ci and in Sept 2010. Within a few months, I was having issues with the runflat tires and bending rims. The car has also had alignment issues - it took BMW 2 weeks to diagnose the car with a cracked subframe. BWM wont repair under warranty and told me to use my insurance. I dont think i should use insurance for an issue that is related to poor engineering.

Theyve also threatened to start charging me for the loaner car if i dont return it - immediately.

Last edited by purquh1; 06-28-2011 at 10:07 AM.
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      06-28-2011, 11:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purquh1 View Post
I've never posted to one of these sites before and i'm hoping my msg comes through. I leased a 2009 335ci and in Sept 2010. Within a few months, I was having issues with the runflat tires and bending rims. The car has also had alignment issues - it took BMW 2 weeks to diagnose the car with a cracked subframe. BWM wont repair under warranty and told me to use my insurance. I dont think i should use insurance for an issue that is related to poor engineering.

Theyve also threatened to start charging me for the loaner car if i dont return it - immediately.
This is what happens when you tried to drive a very heavy car with little suspension travel and stiff suspension and large, heavy rims and tires like an SUV with lots of suspension travel and soft suspension.

The 3 series is not designed to be driven like that. You must avoid going over potholes and expansion joints and railroad tracks at high speed. There's not enough suspension travel to allow the energy of the impact to dissipate. The problem lies with the user, not BMW.

What you have stated is the classic symptom of most sports car suspension when driven in an abusive manner over rough surfaces. They'll break something. The bent rim(s) is a dead give-away that you've ran over your share of curbs, speed-bumps, or pot-holes at excessive speeds.

Sure, BMW probably could have made the subframe stronger. But the end result would have been failure at other points of the chassis and ultimately, a very rough and unrefined ride. IMO? BMW gave you the best solution possible. Contact your insurance company and tell them this is the result of pot-holes and hope you have a small deductible and comprehensive coverage.
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      06-28-2011, 11:52 AM   #3
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i wonder if OP is 'that' kind of driver?
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      06-28-2011, 12:25 PM   #4
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Are we talking about a cracked subframe or cracked subframe mounting points on the unibody? That's a common fault on e36 and e46 3ers.
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      06-28-2011, 12:52 PM   #5
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It was a common issue on E46's... This is the first one i've heard of on a E90 platform.

I'd try and see if they can do anything for you or call BMW NA... it's a 3 year old car and short of you driving it off a cliff the subframe shouldn't crack.
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      06-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #6
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There is no way you should have to go to insurance for a subframe on a new car. I understand rims, shocks/spring and even control arms etc being the users fault if he abuses the car but a subframe? First of all, we don't even know OP's driving habits so to blame him is crzy but for dealership to say that OP's insurance should cover it is ridiculous on a 2 year old car.

OP, pls let us know if it's cracked subframe mounting points...
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      06-28-2011, 02:56 PM   #7
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wowwww! i gave bmw houston my car last wednesday and they gave me a call yesterday saying i have a cracked subframe as well...
but my SA said that he's seen a few cars with the same thing come through so he's waiting on approval from bmw na to do the work...
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      06-28-2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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could a cracked subframe be the reason why my front wheels were squeaky from 0-20mph
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      06-28-2011, 03:18 PM   #9
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Call BMWNA and ask nicely. If that doesn't work, ask a lawyer to write them a letter. I know a dozen people who've had claims denied by dealers but got their cars fixed by contacting the manufacturer.
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      06-28-2011, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
This is what happens when you tried to drive a very heavy car with little suspension travel and stiff suspension and large, heavy rims and tires like an SUV with lots of suspension travel and soft suspension.

The 3 series is not designed to be driven like that. You must avoid going over potholes and expansion joints and railroad tracks at high speed. There's not enough suspension travel to allow the energy of the impact to dissipate. The problem lies with the user, not BMW.

What you have stated is the classic symptom of most sports car suspension when driven in an abusive manner over rough surfaces. They'll break something. The bent rim(s) is a dead give-away that you've ran over your share of curbs, speed-bumps, or pot-holes at excessive speeds.

Sure, BMW probably could have made the subframe stronger. But the end result would have been failure at other points of the chassis and ultimately, a very rough and unrefined ride. IMO? BMW gave you the best solution possible. Contact your insurance company and tell them this is the result of pot-holes and hope you have a small deductible and comprehensive coverage.
And you know OP's driving habits, how?
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      06-28-2011, 04:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
This is what happens when you tried to drive a very heavy car with little suspension travel and stiff suspension and large, heavy rims and tires like an SUV with lots of suspension travel and soft suspension.

The 3 series is not designed to be driven like that. You must avoid going over potholes and expansion joints and railroad tracks at high speed. There's not enough suspension travel to allow the energy of the impact to dissipate. The problem lies with the user, not BMW.

What you have stated is the classic symptom of most sports car suspension when driven in an abusive manner over rough surfaces. They'll break something. The bent rim(s) is a dead give-away that you've ran over your share of curbs, speed-bumps, or pot-holes at excessive speeds.

Sure, BMW probably could have made the subframe stronger. But the end result would have been failure at other points of the chassis and ultimately, a very rough and unrefined ride. IMO? BMW gave you the best solution possible. Contact your insurance company and tell them this is the result of pot-holes and hope you have a small deductible and comprehensive coverage.
So are you saying its better to run heavy or lighter wheels? Im a little confused about your opening paragraph
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      06-28-2011, 09:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samchoi604 View Post
And you know OP's driving habits, how?
Bent rims with RFTs. Those RFTs with reinforced sidewalks require a ton of force to allow rims to bent. The only way to bent rims is if your suspension had bottomed out and there's nowhere for the impact force to go. I've managed to bent two OEM rims with runflats and I can tell you it required me running over a giant pothole about two feet wide and 3-4" deep at 40+ mph. And it did enough damage to bend my strut body AND crack the shock tower because the suspension has very little movement available and by the time the wheel struck the opposite end of the invisible pothole I knew I was screwed because the suspension had bottomed out at that point.

The fact that the OP reported bent rims with RFTs means there's a very high probability that he's impacted large obstacles at speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tibra1 View Post
So are you saying its better to run heavy or lighter wheels? Im a little confused about your opening paragraph
Lighter wheels will likely minimize the damage since there's less force to obsorb by the chassis and subframe. Just like lighter cars will be less likely to incur same damage. Unfortunately, a 3 series is a heavy car with little travel in the suspension. Great for handling (the short suspension travel) but terrible for absorbing impact force.
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      06-28-2011, 09:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The HACK View Post
Bent rims with RFTs. Those RFTs with reinforced sidewalks require a ton of force to allow rims to bent. The only way to bent rims is if your suspension had bottomed out and there's nowhere for the impact force to go. I've managed to bent two OEM rims with runflats and I can tell you it required me running over a giant pothole about two feet wide and 3-4" deep at 40+ mph. And it did enough damage to bend my strut body AND crack the shock tower because the suspension has very little movement available and by the time the wheel struck the opposite end of the invisible pothole I knew I was screwed because the suspension had bottomed out at that point.

The fact that the OP reported bent rims with RFTs means there's a very high probability that he's impacted large obstacles at speed.
Thanks, I see what you mean now and I agree. OP lives in New York and I heard that the roads there are pretty horrific.
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      06-28-2011, 09:37 PM   #14
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Agree 100% with The HACK that you have to really be abusing the car if you bend the OEM wheels with the run flats...
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      06-29-2011, 08:56 AM   #15
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Not the mounting points

I'm not an abusive driver. But I do live in NY and the roads are rough. However, I owned other BMWs - same routes, same roads not the issues. My last was a 2006 325xi and a 2000 525i.

Altho the run flat tires maybe at issue here. I'm not sure. Cars may hit potholes everyday I dunno that a cracked subframe is excusable.

Last, the dealers described this as the subframe being cracked not mentioning the mounting points. Dealer says "The rear sub frame is cracked from impact and needs to be replaced along with the lower camber arm and upper tow arm"
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      06-29-2011, 11:52 AM   #16
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1-I'm not tryin to convince you of my driving habits. Unless I was jumping ramps, this car should be fixed by BMW. Simple

2-I've had further discussions w the service manager. To further clarify - It's the subframe mounting welds that are broken.
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      06-29-2011, 12:35 PM   #17
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First of all, whoever is callin the OP out for his driving habits should go see how difficult it is to avoid potholes in NY. It's ridiculous and chances are you are bound to hit somebody if you do try to miss 'em. Furthermore, it's Bmw's problem if a car that is only 2 years old, can't withstand the roads of NY.

I do think getting rid of runflats will greatly help our cars. However, the subframe mounting points were an issue with the e46 M3s too (not sure of the 330s etc) so it's not like this is something random for Bmws. And they did issue a recall to fix this on those models. If I member correctly, member "cambertoe" in Jersey had a client recently with similar issue.

I think you need to call & email BMW directly and speak to them cuz this car is under warranty. They need to take care of this ASAP. If not, tell them you will have to contact consumer affairs or whoever it is in the U.S. that deals with these types of issues on behalf of the consumer.
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      06-29-2011, 12:47 PM   #18
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can anyone post a pic?
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      06-29-2011, 01:44 PM   #19
purquh1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ano0oj View Post
wowwww! i gave bmw houston my car last wednesday and they gave me a call yesterday saying i have a cracked subframe as well...
but my SA said that he's seen a few cars with the same thing come through so he's waiting on approval from bmw na to do the work...
Anyword on your car in Houston? this is obviously an issue for more than people in NYC -
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      06-29-2011, 01:55 PM   #20
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I think most of us understand potholes. I live in the dc metro area and I've hit potholes that would crack in half all of these cheap reps people run on their BMWs. I have yet to bend the OEM wheels w/ RFTs. I have absolutely no idea what I would have to hit in order bend an OEM wheel, lower camber arm, upper toe arm, and crack the rear subframe.
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      06-29-2011, 02:03 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swifty View Post
First of all, whoever is callin the OP out for his driving habits should go see how difficult it is to avoid potholes in NY. It's ridiculous and chances are you are bound to hit somebody if you do try to miss 'em. Furthermore, it's Bmw's problem if a car that is only 2 years old, can't withstand the roads of NY.

I do think getting rid of runflats will greatly help our cars. However, the subframe mounting points were an issue with the e46 M3s too (not sure of the 330s etc) so it's not like this is something random for Bmws. And they did issue a recall to fix this on those models. If I member correctly, member "cambertoe" in Jersey had a client recently with similar issue.

I think you need to call & email BMW directly and speak to them cuz this car is under warranty. They need to take care of this ASAP. If not, tell them you will have to contact consumer affairs or whoever it is in the U.S. that deals with these types of issues on behalf of the consumer.
Swifty, Its good to hear someone speaking with perspective. I do have pics the service dealer sent this morning but they are not very clear...

So far the servicing dealer cant seem to understand that this is not accpetable on a 2year old car with 16K miles. BMW Corp has been utterly useless and tried to passify me by offering to pay the deductibile to use my insurance...
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      06-29-2011, 02:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertt View Post
I think most of us understand potholes. I live in the dc metro area and I've hit potholes that would crack in half all of these cheap reps people run on their BMWs. I have yet to bend the OEM wheels w/ RFTs. I have absolutely no idea what I would have to hit in order bend an OEM wheel, lower camber arm, upper toe arm, and crack the rear subframe.
I would agree, as I hit nothing I'd consider major and i didnt bend any wheels, BUT I found out 3 of my factory wheels were cracked and I 100% blame the RFTs.
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