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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > And @ 149,300 miles ... WATER PUMP



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      07-19-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
ENINTY
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And @ 149,521 miles ... WATER PUMP

It's toast. The breakdown was my fault. It's been talking to me with fault codes for the past few months. I was going to get to it. Of course it fails today in 100 deg weather, on RT 66 in Virginia, out of cell range... of course.

BMW assist does answer the phone even if you don't pay the monthly fee. They were nice and connected me to my Insurance company's road side assistance. $245 tow bill and 3 hours later, I'm home with the car ready to go on the lift over the weekend (if Tischer can get me the parts by Friday). Insurance covers the tow bill. Well most of it. I'll discuss that with my agent.

I'll let you guys know how the install goes.

And BTW, the warning totally sucks: Ding! Yellow coolant over temp warning, 2 seconds later RED coolant over temp warning... Dove for the sholder (light traffic thank God) and shut it down. Coolant puked from the reserviour.

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      07-19-2011, 11:26 PM   #2
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This will eventually happen to all of us who plan to keep the car after warranty. Please write a DIY for this

Actually 149,300 miles is not bad. I've heard some fail at ~30k on these forums.
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      07-20-2011, 12:08 AM   #3
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yeah, you really can't complain about almost 150K miles on a BMW water pump, LOL! Most of them have failed or are gonna fail by 100K.
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      07-20-2011, 12:42 AM   #4
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mine failed at 60k, also out of warranty and in the dead middle of nowhere at 2am. bmw assist towed the car and gave me a ride (thanks cpo) over 200 miles and had a rental car at the dealer waiting for me.

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      07-20-2011, 04:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkStory View Post
This will eventually happen to all of us who plan to keep the car after warranty. Please write a DIY for this

Actually 149,300 miles is not bad. I've heard some fail at ~30k on these forums.
+1

what codes?
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      07-20-2011, 05:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chromisdesigns View Post
yeah, you really can't complain about almost 150K miles on a BMW water pump, LOL! Most of them have failed or are gonna fail by 100K.
I guess so, but I'm disappointed a bit about the engineering. I get it, the water pump has a tough job. It has to push very hot water around for long periods of time. BMW's idea about using an electric water pump is a good concept, but poor in execution on their part. First off there are no warning signs (other than the fault codes - but how many owners except a gearhead like me would ever know they are there), second there is no water temp gauge to keep an eye on engine temperature (yes the 335i has an oil temp gauge, but that'll not do you any good to indicate a pump failure), and finally the over temp warning is almost after-the-fact; my car literally when from normal condition to overheating (red indicator symbol) in about 5 seconds. If I was stuck in traffic, say in the center lane of a 4 lane freeway, I can't imagine how much engine damage would have occurred. I was lucky because when my car indicated an over temp condition I was able to pull to the shoulder and shut the engine off in maybe 10 - 15 seconds. But I knew exactly what had happened because a) I knew my water pump was suspect (throwing codes), b) it was high-mileage, and c) I knew the conditions of over temp from reading the owner's manual and from threads on this Forum. The typical BMW owner knows none of these things and would let the engine seriously over heat, which could really damage the engine with a blown headgasket, or worse a warped cylinderhead (fingers crossed my car has no such problems).

It's a poor design. Most (belt-driven) water pumps have a weephole that begins too leak and provides a distinct smell of coolant to give you some time to have the car inspected and repaired before the pump fails. Other belt-driven pumps are driven from the camshaft belt and have a periodic replacement schedule that coincides with the cambelt replacement interval, so they rarely fail. And most belt-driven water pumps DON"T COST FUCKING $500. It's fine to design an electrically driven water pump, and it did go 150,000 miles (which is attributable to the fact it's not driven off a belt), but the pump also costs over 5-times as much as a conventional belt-driven pump, so where are the life-cycle maintenance savings I expected to get from this design. And there are no fuel cost savings (to the owner) because what ever fuel mileage is gained by driving the pump electrically is lost in the repair event. Even though the pump is a fancy electric motor driven design, it doesn't need to, and it shouldn't cost $500 (and the new unit is a remanufactured part to boot!).

The obnoxiously priced pump is what kept me from replacing it before it failed. Having a road-side breakdown cost me a towing bill of $200 (my insurance covers $100 of the total $300 bill). If the pump was reasonably priced, say $150, I would have replaced it when I did the thermostat back in February with 134K on the clock.

So if this happens to an uninformed owner, say a 34-year old young female executive who is concentraiting on her career and pays no attention to her car, she'd be out $200 for a towing charge, $500 for the part, and $500 for the repair labor. Think she'll ever by a BMW again when a water pump replacement costs $1,200 (even if it is covered under a warranty). I doubt it. BMW needs to rethink this design.

Considering how BMW is starting to go engineering-wise and build quality-wise, this will probably be my last BMW (and I've owned a 3-series since 1989). They are just getting too stupid with the over engineering.

Just my rant.

Last edited by ENINTY; 07-20-2011 at 06:05 AM.
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      07-20-2011, 06:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugus311 View Post
+1

what codes?
They are in my workshop computer. I'll have to dig them out. There are four codes (the Bentley repair manual mentions them) that basically say:

Slow pump speed
Blockage
No power
(I forget the fourth one)

But first understand that if you don't have a BMW scan tool (I have a BT scanner) and periodically run a scan of your car, you'll not know they have been thrown. No indicator light comes on (i.e. the Service Engine Soon light)telling you the pump is not working properly. I found the codes when I did have a SES indication for faulty VANOS solenoids and scanned the ECU. The codes are not OBDII codes and will not be read by an OBDII scan tool.
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      07-20-2011, 06:42 AM   #8
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I think this is why mike miller recommends preventive maintenance on these things no? You and I both know that changing out the pump while u were doing the t-stat would've saved you some $. Btw if you drove an E46 your experience with regards to warning lights would have been the same.
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      07-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #9
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I know exactly hoa you feel...that "DING" will haunt you for a good while. Imagined having a nice drive on a road trip and then you are interupted by a "DING". Looking for a way to tone down the "DING" volume.

I don't feel too bad for you since you have a shop lift tho. It should be a fun weekend with the car!
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      07-20-2011, 09:23 AM   #10
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I don't understand the rant that the car went ~150K before losing the pump. You knew it was going to happen - the boards are full of stories of '06 pumps going out way earlier than yours. And you were already in there when you changed the T-Stat.

It is a bitch about the pump being ~$500. I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to deferring maintenance - especially after a car starts getting close to 200K miles or so - and that is the kind of mileage when a car starts needing it most.
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      07-20-2011, 10:21 AM   #11
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First off, sorry to hear that your water pump went out. It sucks that it happened in the middle of nowhere.
On a personal note, I pay an extra 50 cents/mo for towing coverage with my insurance ... I added it when I got rid of the stupid run flat tires. Run flat tires on luxury European car? Now THAT's stupid - run flats give an extremely rough ride. (Side note - I got a leak in one of my tires but the TPMS warned me about it and I got it patched so I don't see a need for RFTs with TPMS).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
I guess so, but I'm disappointed a bit about the engineering. I get it, the water pump has a tough job. It has to push very hot water around for long periods of time. BMW's idea about using an electric water pump is a good concept, but poor in execution on their part. First off there are no warning signs (other than the fault codes - but how many owners except a gearhead like me would ever know they are there), second there is no water temp gauge to keep an eye on engine temperature (yes the 335i has an oil temp gauge, but that'll not do you any good to indicate a pump failure), and finally the over temp warning is almost after-the-fact; my car literally when from normal condition to overheating (red indicator symbol) in about 5 seconds.
That's extremely poor engineering. And driving with no temp guage bothers me, especially here in the desert Southwest. I'd like to make sure that the car isn't close to overheating when it's 120 degrees outside.
BMW has more than its share of Rube Goldberg engineers. Heck, I just checked my antifreeze level. Would it have been too hard to use semitransparent plastic with min/max markings like every other car company does it???

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
It's a poor design. Most (belt-driven) water pumps have a weephole that begins too leak and provides a distinct smell of coolant to give you some time to have the car inspected and repaired before the pump fails. Other belt-driven pumps are driven from the camshaft belt and have a periodic replacement schedule that coincides with the cambelt replacement interval, so they rarely fail. And most belt-driven water pumps DON"T COST FUCKING $500. It's fine to design an electrically driven water pump, and it did go 150,000 miles (which is attributable to the fact it's not driven off a belt), but the pump also costs over 5-times as much as a conventional belt-driven pump, so where are the life-cycle maintenance savings I expected to get from this design. And there are no fuel cost savings (to the owner) because what ever fuel mileage is gained by driving the pump electrically is lost in the repair event. Even though the pump is a fancy electric motor driven design, it doesn't need to, and it shouldn't cost $500 (and the new unit is a remanufactured part to boot!).
Most BMW owners expect high priced parts. I don't think most will notice the $500 cost vs what it would cost on my wife's Acura.

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Considering how BMW is starting to go engineering-wise and build quality-wise, this will probably be my last BMW (and I've owned a 3-series since 1989). They are just getting too stupid with the over engineering.
This is my first BMW. I only opted to get one year license tags instead of two because I started to have doubts in the first 60 days of ownership.
The car seems to be Rube Goldberg'd to death. I had a Porsche 944 and did not find that to be the case with Porsche, although that may have changed with the newest Porsches.
BMW is a very anti-DIYer car. It's designed to be a moneymaker for the dealership's service department.
I am especially unimpressed with how BMW doesn't stand behind their maintenance warranty. My locks went berserk (covered under warranty) which caused my battery to die. The dealership charged me $387 for a stinkin' battery; I ended up suing for the cost of the battery (BMW settled before going to court).

Everything that you're talking about with respect to the water pump is the exact same way I feel about an e-dipstick. I do not find it to be an advantage in any way compared to a traditional dipstick (I was disappointed to learn that the Porsche Caymen also has an e-dipstick).

My license tags are up for renewal this November. I may have to trade this one in for something else (Porsche or high end Japanese) at that time.

Anyway, sorry to hear about the water pump failure and good luck on changing it this weekend.
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      07-20-2011, 05:45 PM   #12
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Oddly, I still haven't heard of any 328i with a failed water pump so far. This seems to be a 2006 and 335i problem. Let's hope that it stays that way.

I remember that you were against a preventive replacement of electric water pump. With this unfortunate experience, not talking about the 1-2 days ruined & stress, do you still stand by this position? It could have been worse, like happening in a traffic jam.
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      07-20-2011, 10:10 PM   #13
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I'll comment on everyone's responses.

Yes, I am still against it as a preventative maintenance item, as I said before, just for the fact that there is a huge disparity between failure times. Some pumps go at <60K, others at 100K, and mine at 149K. That tells me the quality of the manufacture of the pump is poor because it is inconsistent. Well engineered, designed, and manufactured parts should have relatively the same mean time between failure. It is common in industry to calculate the MTBF and determine a replacement interval. BMW should, being the engineering company that it is, provide a replacement interval for the pump. It shouldn't be guess work for the consumer to read Mike Miller's opinion and try to determine if it is worth paying upwards of $800 - $1,200 for a premature replacement. Just because the pump is electric it shouldn't be 5-times the price of a belt-driven pump. As I said before, a preventative maintenance part on a mass-produced car such as the 3-series should not cost $500. Mike Miller suggests on some BMW models that the entire cooling system, pump, radiator, hoses, etc. be replaced every 60,000 miles; my car with three times that distance.

Yes I was suspect of the pump because I inadvertently "discovered" the codes during another maintenance procedure and because of its age. Had the pump been reasonably priced I would have changed it a few months ago when I discovered the codes. I was going to scan the car last weekend, but got busy doing other things. If I had found the codes I was going to replace the pump at 150,000 miles, so I still would have broken down anyway.

I don't find nor do I expect BMW parts to be expensive. I've been wrenching on BMWs for over 20 years. I have found most OEM parts to be quite reasonable. For example, I recently replaced one of the Ox Sensors. The part was $55 from Tischer. Most OEM Ox Sensors are in the $80 to $120 range.

What is disappointing is the car is way more capable of providing advanced warning of pending failures. If the water pump is prone to failure, and the diagnostics system has the capability to monitor pump speed and performance, and the car has no temperature gauge, the car should have a warning to replace the pump. The car shouldn't just overheat in one fell swoop.

Regardless of the new vs. old maintenance schedule debate, BMW used to be very clear on maintenance requirements and owner involvement in the maintenance process. It isn’t any longer.

Good news is the new pump is on its way (Tischer shipped it yesterday). Bad news is I'm not replacing the hoses just yet because I need to get the car back on the road and I'm pretty sure Tischer doesn't have all of them in stock. I can do them later. All it will cost is coolant and a little more wrench time.

Last edited by ENINTY; 07-21-2011 at 05:47 AM.
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      07-21-2011, 04:24 AM   #14
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I agree that it's disappointing for a lack sign/symptom for owners to detect early this catastrophic failure.

By the way have you done a coolant change before?
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      07-21-2011, 05:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I agree that it's disappointing for a lack sign/symptom for owners to detect early this catastrophic failure.

By the way have you done a coolant change before?
Yes, I actully wrote the DIY on it back in 2009. Two coolant changes; one at 75,000 miles and the other at 134,000.

Last edited by ENINTY; 07-21-2011 at 05:42 AM.
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      07-21-2011, 05:41 AM   #16
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[quote=txusa03;10060941]I know exactly hoa you feel...that "DING" will haunt you for a good while. Imagined having a nice drive on a road trip and then you are interupted by a "DING". Looking for a way to tone down the "DING" volume.

I don't feel too bad for you since you have a shop lift tho. It should be a fun weekend with the car![/QUOTE

It's funny, you get the DING!, look down and see a yellow over-temp symbol and all of a sudden it's as big as a movie theather screen in your eyes - haunting. Then, 1 second later it goes RED and you're like OH SHIT, MY MOTOR IS GOING TO BLOW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (This because as a longtime BMW owner you know overheating an in-line six is not good - blown head gaskets and cracked heads).
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      07-21-2011, 06:07 AM   #17
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dont forget about screws as they one time use
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      07-21-2011, 10:07 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Yes, I actully wrote the DIY on it back in 2009. Two coolant changes; one at 75,000 miles and the other at 134,000.
I wonder if the coolant changes prolonged th life of the water pump.
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      07-21-2011, 03:59 PM   #19
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I wonder if the coolant changes prolonged th life of the water pump.
I would believe so. 150k miles on the original water pump is actually incredible. I will be doing a coolant flush soon.
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      07-22-2011, 03:27 AM   #20
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      07-22-2011, 04:57 AM   #21
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So not to drag this on much longer, but the pump arrived yesterday. A PLASTIC impeller? Really, I mean really, a suggested retail price of almost $500 and BMW couldn't spec-out a metal impeller, say a nice cast aluminum, or better yet, stainless steel impeller. From what little you can see and feel of it it is not even ABS plastic. Mind you I have no issue with using plastic in automobile parts, but for $400 ($396 from Tischer) shouldn't the impeller on such a critical part on the car that if it fails under certain circumstances and with no notice can lead to catastrophic engine damage.

And the motor shaft moves in and out like some cheap model toy motor.

BMW is not winning in my book.

My car has a manual transmission BTW.
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      07-22-2011, 08:07 AM   #22
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I wouldn't mind spending $500 as a DIY every 150,000 miles for a water pump. I drive 10 - 12k per year that means I won't have to replace it for another 8-9 years!!!!!
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