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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > Regional Forums > USA - New England > Engine decided 64,000 miles would be a great time to stop working...



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      09-10-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
dwells
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Engine decided 64,000 miles would be a great time to stop working...

So on my commute to work yesterday morning, I got a low coolant message and then went into limp mode. Fearing the water pump had blown, I had the car flatbedded to Munich Motorsports in CT - friend of mine with a couple M3s recommended them as they mainly work on M cars and building track racers. He says they definitely know their stuff (though the $105 an hour labor is rough).

After the initial diagnostic, turns out the water pump isn't what caused it, it's actually the VANOS system related to the exhaust and camshaft according to the codes. I'm still waiting for the call back with their complete diagnosis, but in person I was given the impression that I'm looking at a repair in the thousands.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed that such a major issue went wrong so early in the life of the engine. My "certified" BMW has been through three fuel pumps, has nasty interior rattles, and a few other issues, and now this. My father's X5 crossed 70,000 miles recently and needed to be flatbedded for VANOS issues as well. He's also had to have the whole HVAC system done and is on his fourth sunroof repair now. My brother bought a 328i coupe not that long ago and at 20,000 some odd miles has already needed the whole radiator and some supporting pieces replaced after the car started getting 12mpg and running the fans at jet turbine speed.

I know it's wrong to judge a company by anecdotal evidence, but the number of problems I've seen and then the lousy attitudes I've dealt with from both dealers and BMWNA is really starting to sour me on the brand. Between that and BMW's new direction of making every model car they can and focusing less and less on driving mechanics, I'm not so sure there's another BMW in my future...



Anyway, end rant. Just venting as I wait for the phone call informing me that I'll be dumping several grand into getting my car running again.
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      09-10-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
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Damn that sucks, good luck with that.

On a positive note, my E92 328xi just hit 96,000 and not a single thing has ever gone wrong with it.
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      09-10-2013, 10:58 AM   #3
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Damn that sucks, good luck with that.

On a positive note, my E92 328xi just hit 96,000 and not a single thing has ever gone wrong with it.
Wish I had your luck! Maybe my family's cursed - I'm half expecting to see my mom's 335is on a flatbed next time I go visit them!

Once my car's up and running, I think I'll write BMWNA a polite letter regarding my experiences thus far with the vehicles and the dealers. How a company responds to a polite but disappointed customer says a lot.

That said, even if they manage to restore my confidence enough for me to wind up in another BMW in the future, it's going to have to be a lease so anything that goes wrong is their problem, not mine.
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      09-10-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwells
So on my commute to work yesterday morning, I got a low coolant message and then went into limp mode. Fearing the water pump had blown, I had the car flatbedded to Munich Motorsports in CT - friend of mine with a couple M3s recommended them as they mainly work on M cars and building track racers. He says they definitely know their stuff (though the $105 an hour labor is rough).

After the initial diagnostic, turns out the water pump isn't what caused it, it's actually the VANOS system related to the exhaust and camshaft according to the codes. I'm still waiting for the call back with their complete diagnosis, but in person I was given the impression that I'm looking at a repair in the thousands.

Needless to say, I'm pretty pissed that such a major issue went wrong so early in the life of the engine. My "certified" BMW has been through three fuel pumps, has nasty interior rattles, and a few other issues, and now this. My father's X5 crossed 70,000 miles recently and needed to be flatbedded for VANOS issues as well. He's also had to have the whole HVAC system done and is on his fourth sunroof repair now. My brother bought a 328i coupe not that long ago and at 20,000 some odd miles has already needed the whole radiator and some supporting pieces replaced after the car started getting 12mpg and running the fans at jet turbine speed.

I know it's wrong to judge a company by anecdotal evidence, but the number of problems I've seen and then the lousy attitudes I've dealt with from both dealers and BMWNA is really starting to sour me on the brand. Between that and BMW's new direction of making every model car they can and focusing less and less on driving mechanics, I'm not so sure there's another BMW in my future...



Anyway, end rant. Just venting as I wait for the phone call informing me that I'll be dumping several grand into getting my car running again.
Denis,

What exactly is the issue with the vanos? I'm under the impression that they are not a huge fix on the n54... I took mine out and cleaned them once per a DIY (linked below) and the shop charged me an hour labor. There are threads on here saying that the replacement vanos are not expensive... On many other BMWs they are very expensive, but seem pretty easy on the n54.

I'm very curious to see what exactly happened. What codes is the car producing? Is it just the 2A37 and 3100? If so, does the car remain in limp mode when you turn it back on or is it ok? I have a code reader if it would help.

Here's a thread that's worth reviewing (and might provide hope):
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=486201
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      09-10-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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Denis,

What exactly is the issue with the vanos? I'm under the impression that they are not a huge fix on the n54... I took mine out and cleaned them once per a DIY (linked below) and the shop charged me an hour labor. There are threads on here saying that the replacement vanos are not expensive... On many other BMWs they are very expensive, but seem pretty easy on the n54.

I'm very curious to see what exactly happened. What codes is the car producing? Is it just the 2A37 and 3100? If so, does the car remain in limp mode when you turn it back on or is it ok? I have a code reader if it would help.

Here's a thread that's worth reviewing (and might provide hope):
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=486201
Thanks for that thread - that doesn't look like anything I couldn't do myself if that turns out to be the issue. Unfortunately I don't know the exact codes, the guy read them to me rather than giving me the numbers. The car did the limp mode once and I had it towed immediately after. Only time it was started since was to move it on and off the flatbed, and it didn't limp automatically after. I'm still waiting to hear back from the shop to find out exactly what the issue is.

Actually, I just reviewed the thread and read those codes. I'm nearly positive those are exactly what the codes were on my car. Looks like $100 for a solenoid and a half hour of labor at most according to the thread. So if this shop is as honest and as good as I've heard, they shouldn't quote me more than $350 or so for the whole job, right? If they do, I'll eat the diagnostic fee and get the car towed back to my driveway and DIY and use Zbylut or Abba in the future for service.

Wish I had known you had a code reader - I'll have to remember to contact you in the future since you're literally walking distance from me! I just panicked when I got the coolant warning and then the limp mode and assumed the water pump blew and had it towed - didn't think the coolant light would be a coincidence.
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      09-10-2013, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
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Denis,

What exactly is the issue with the vanos? I'm under the impression that they are not a huge fix on the n54... I took mine out and cleaned them once per a DIY (linked below) and the shop charged me an hour labor. There are threads on here saying that the replacement vanos are not expensive... On many other BMWs they are very expensive, but seem pretty easy on the n54.

I'm very curious to see what exactly happened. What codes is the car producing? Is it just the 2A37 and 3100? If so, does the car remain in limp mode when you turn it back on or is it ok? I have a code reader if it would help.

Here's a thread that's worth reviewing (and might provide hope):
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=486201
Thanks for that thread - that doesn't look like anything I couldn't do myself if that turns out to be the issue. Unfortunately I don't know the exact codes, the guy read them to me rather than giving me the numbers. The car did the limp mode once and I had it towed immediately after. Only time it was started since was to move it on and off the flatbed, and it didn't limp automatically after. I'm still waiting to hear back from the shop to find out exactly what the issue is.

Actually, I just reviewed the thread and read those codes. I'm nearly positive those are exactly what the codes were on my car. Looks like $100 for a solenoid and a half hour of labor at most according to the thread. So if this shop is as honest and as good as I've heard, they shouldn't quote me more than $350 or so for the whole job, right? If they do, I'll eat the diagnostic fee and get the car towed back to my driveway and DIY and use Zbylut or Abba in the future for service.

Wish I had known you had a code reader - I'll have to remember to contact you in the future since you're literally walking distance from me! I just panicked when I got the coolant warning and then the limp mode and assumed the water pump blew and had it towed - didn't think the coolant light would be a coincidence.
I have brought DIY threads from e90post to shops for them to see exactly what's needed. Sometimes they'll want to do it their way to warranty the work, but I often say that I only want what I'm specifically asking for done...

I bet that your car would drive normally right now. I got those codes and the limp mode reset once the car was restarted. I drove around (hitting 13 lbs of boost often) for two weeks before cleaning the vanos and the limo mode did not return during that period.
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      09-13-2013, 10:19 AM   #7
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Shop wound up replacing both solenoids and doing an oil change with Motul - $600. $375 solenoid, $125 oil, $100 diag. I would've backed out and done it myself after hearing the price, but then I would've gotten billed the full diag which would've been an extra couple hundred and negated my savings for DIY.

Nice shop with knowledgeable and kind guys running the place and some cool M3 race cars amongst all the other Ms, but damn, they're even more expensive than the dealership is.

I was warned there's a good chance of the error coming back and the cam ledges being bad as well which is where we get into multi-thousand dollar repairs (I'd sell the car before I'd be willing to pay for that).

In the meantime, I'm going to start doing oil every 7,500 now and using the higher-quality Motul instead of BMW oil. Maybe I'll try fighting with BMW again for an oil cooler retrofit (one of the few cars with the sport package and upgraded wheels that they didn't bother sticking an oil cooler in).

I grabbed the car yesterday and took it to BMW New Country for the battery recall I got a letter for, got a call today and was told it doesn't apply to my car. So that was a colossal waste of time. Gotta go take the loaner back. On the upside, the new 328i gas mileage is unbelievable. I got 38mpg average in Hartford during traffic and an average speed of 71mpg including some city driving, so I wasn't babying it. I reset it for my city commute and have been averaging 28mpg. That's incredible for a car that does 0 to 60 in 5.6s.

Too bad the steering feels so artificial - the electric motor in sport mode provides some resistance/weight, but for anyone who plays racing games with a force feedback wheel setup, it feels exactly the same and is immediately recognizable. Which is due to the fact that is almost exactly the same system.

Anyhoo, now it's a matter of getting the spots in my Opticoat fixed, finding out why the wheel is shaking between 45 and 55, changing my brake fluid, finding out why the brakes are sticking and making noise, fixing my taillight error, getting the walnut blasting done, and then if I want to comply with the forum recommended maintenance, having the coolant, diff, transmission, and power steering fluids changed. Yikes.

Looks like it's time to find a good shop or forum member who is willing to do affordable labor.
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      09-14-2013, 10:03 AM   #8
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$105 is more than dealers? The local Chevy dealer is $120 I thought most BMW dealers were at least $120?
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      09-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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$105 is more than dealers? The local Chevy dealer is $120 I thought most BMW dealers were at least $120?
The oil change was more than the dealer ($99) and the total cost for solenoid install was more than a couple people I talked to paid at their dealers ($350). As for the actual labor cost, I've seen BMW dealers charging $100, but that was a couple years back - don't know what it costs now.
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      09-14-2013, 07:23 PM   #10
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      09-15-2013, 08:09 AM   #11
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The oil change was more than the dealer ($99) and the total cost for solenoid install was more than a couple people I talked to paid at their dealers ($350). As for the actual labor cost, I've seen BMW dealers charging $100, but that was a couple years back - don't know what it costs now.
I haven't been in there myself in a while but my brother-in-law just had his e46 ZHP at New Country for service and he said the shop rate was $150/hr

For comparison, they wanted something like $1250 for a walnut cleaning versus about $600 at MM. This area just seems to be very overpriced when it comes to automotive service.
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