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Cooling System Failure + Potential Engine Damage - Extended Warranty / CPO

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by dapellegrini, Apr 13, 2008.

    dapellegrini guest

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    Cooling System Failure + Engine Damage - Extended Warranty / CPO

    Hello all -

    I am about 10 months into my first BMW - a used (one previous owner) 2003 330i on Extended CPO through Feb 2009. Just this last week I had a pretty serious cooling system failure that MAY have also damaged the engine - looking for thoughts on feedback on my case.

    A small amount of back-story - The only long standing problem I have had is an intermittent issue with the tail light warnings on the dash/console lighting up. I have brought it in twice for this, once with the service bulletin about adding the second ground to the tail lights and the issue was never completely resolved. I also had one of my headlights not come on for a day maybe 8 months ago, and never had the problem again - and in the first couple months of ownership the back-up sensor alarm would go off for no apparent reason - with a solid beep sometimes when the car was in reverse. The dealer was unable to recreate the problems and wrote them off.

    Well, on my way into work this last Wed the car went nuts... It started with a new yellow warning light on the console that appeared to be either a radiator or water pump light. my first reflex was "hmm I wonder if the ghost in my electical system has found a new home". Well after this light came on, then I got yellow BRAKE, ABS and DSC lights... At this point I thought I was experiencing some kind of strange electrical problem and decided to bypass work and bring the car into the dealer.

    Next, a strange warning light between the S & D on the transmission console lit up, then the whole console flickered, faded and died taking the radio with it. I turned off the radio, A/C, headlights, etc and about 3 seconds after it went dead it came back up with a "bang". Kinda felt like the system tapped the brakes once very quickly. It proceeded to do this 2 or 3 more times over the next several minutes. Then all the warning lights stayed off, and the car was still driving fine, engine temp was about in the middle of the gauge, so I continued into the dealer.

    A few miles out the car felt like it was riding hard, but at this point I had no valid or understandable warning indicators on the console and no way of really knowing what was going on. When I arrived at the dealership and killed the engine I could see steam coming up from under the hood. Popped it open and saw pieces of the radiator fan enclosure shattered every which direction. The service reps told me to start it up and pull it into the garage, and while I could start it, it just immediately died - so we ended up pushing it in.

    ....

    So the car has been with them since Wed morning around 7:00am and this is what I am being told so far: The computer recorded a high engine temp of 137.3C. It appears that the water pump failed and the system was not holding pressure. The are thinking that the shaft from the water pump to the radiator fan popped, and got stuck in the radiator fan blades, shredding them. They are guessing that the fan shattering into pieces caused the strange issues with the electrical system and stopped the alternator...

    They are waiting for an OK from BMW to open the valve cover to verify that there is no engine damage, and have still not determined the "official root cause of failure". Apparently though, if their is engine damage they may try and tack that as on me as negligence (driving on an overheating engine) ??? And I am told that the whole engine would have to be replaced. Best case the engine is fine, they replace the cooling system on CPO and I have my car back on Wed or so, worst case who knows... Apparently they should know more on Mon or Tues.

    In the meantime they have given me a 2008 335i loaner car...


    Sorry for the book - wondering if anyone out there has had anything similar happen and/or any advice on dealing with CPO claims with BMW.

    dapellegrini guest

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    the service rep called today to tell me that they have determined the root cause of failure to be the fan clutch. Apparently it seized. They removed the valve cover and tell me the the heads are blown. As a result the engine will need to be replaced.

    My rep has not dealt with a case like this before and is not sure about next steps. Apparently it is back with BMW to accept or decline my CPO for a new engine. I am told that they should know more tomorrow or Wed...
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    330indy1

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    what is the mileage on this car?

    dapellegrini guest

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    53,000 miles

    dapellegrini guest

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    I also was just going through the user manual online to re-verify all of the warning lights that I got and NONE of them fall under the RED Stop Immediately category.

    The first light was the engine coolant level light.

    [IMG]

    Then the ABS/DSC failure light.

    [IMG]

    Then the Transmission warning

    [IMG]

    then EML and Service Engine Soon.

    [IMG]

    ALL of these codes indicate that it is safe to continue to your destination - which in my case was straight the the dealership.

    I am unaware of when the engine might have overheated - and had no sure sign until I arrived at the shop.

    Anyone care to venture a best and worst case scenario on this?

    niemibl guest

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    How far did you have to drive it after the warning lights came on?
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    330indy1

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    I think it is fair to say

    If any BMW owner experiences any warning related to the coolant/system, pull over and stop the engine. like right now.
    The reading on the gauge is essentially 'digital' ... meaning there is no gradual incline of heat as an analog reading on the meter.

    It goes critical in the blink of an eye, and by the time you see steam from under the hood, it's sadly too late. :(:(:mad:

    dapellegrini guest

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    Ya, it looks like you are right. :( I just don't understand enough about the CPO and dealing with BMW to know if they are going to cover it without a fight.

    From what I am being told, if they can prove "negligence" on my part then they will not cover it. As far as I am concerned, I was not being negligent in the slightest, and in fact reading through the warning light info in the user manual reinforces the fact that I was doing as they recommend (at least in writing). None of the error messages that I got indicated that I should stop the car immediately - not to mention the circumstances, which would have forced me to stop the car in the middle of rush hour traffic - in a construction zone with nowhere to pull of the highway, thus in the middle of a lane of moving traffic...

    I guess I will know soon enough if they are going to do the right thing and fix it or if this is going to become a fight...

    dapellegrini guest

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    so the engine heat gauge is digital? could it have been effected by the electrical system failure? I am wondering if I should be worried about the whole electrical system at this point ???

    Autohaus guest

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    Let us know what happens. You have a CPO warranty on this and the fan clutch/engine and everything else should be replaced at your cost of $50 (deductible). If they throw it back at you for saying that you were operating in negligence, then as Mike Miller would say, "Call up BMW NA and tell them that you have lost faith in the BMW product unless they fix this under the CPO warranty agreement. Those are key words." I bought a 2003 325xi that was a CPO car from the 2nd owner, and the carfax came up with 2 accidents. After I bought it, it was leaking power steering fluid. My independant mechanic told me this happened after the 2nd accident (new front end, radiator, etc...). I took it to Prestige BMW in New Jersey and they replaced the steering rack, nuts/bolts and a few hoses all for the $50 deductible. Good luck!

    87 528e
    01 525i
    03 325xi

    dapellegrini guest

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    I will let you all know as soon as I know more...
    • Member

    Anerbe

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    please do keep us up to date - i would be shocked if it's not all covered.

    dapellegrini guest

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    thanks, i hope you are right.

    no update yesterday or today - hopefully i will hear something tomorrow.

    dapellegrini guest

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    I just got a call back just after they closed this evening.

    Basically, the paperwork has been submitted but the rep at BMW NA has been out of the office and unable to deal with my case in detail - I was told that apparently some emails have been exchanged between my rep's boss and BMW NA, but nothing conclusive at this point.

    I am not sure that my rep got the whole story right, but he thinks he should hear back Monday or Tuesday on BMW's disposition on the matter. He is quick to say they should cover everything and I really shouldn't be worried, but then he was quick to say their probably wasn't an issue with the engine also. And he tells me that issues if overheating are always "gray" and very much in the details of the situation.

    After reliving the event in my head a few thousand times this week, I am absolutely convinced that this should be covered on CPO and I am ready to raise royal hell if they somehow think otherwise at this point - though I REALLY hope it doesn't come to that. I cannot think of a single thing I could have done better in the situation I was in, given the circumstances and will be extremely disappointed/disgusted with BMW if I have to fight this.

    This entire incident will be a great public example of how well BMW stands behind their CPO cars.

    Dr Obnxs guest

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    It should be covered....

    but there is no guarantee that it will be. As you said, there were no warnings that say "stop driving NOW" Good luck on this stuff.

    FWIW, electrical gremlins can often be caused by the body control module starting to go. (lights, windows, door locks, cabin lights etc) But I'm not familiar enough with your particular model to know for sure.

    Matt

    Autohaus guest

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    Any update on this? Let us know......

    dapellegrini guest

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    Still no update :(

    At this point I hope they are just fixing it, but I doubt they would do that before letting me know...

    Autohaus guest

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    I would call them up. I would be losing sleep over this! I wish good news for you...
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    Bimmerdan

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    Our fingers are crossed for you on this one. There are a lot of people watching this closely to see how it comes out.

    Good luck!!

    dapellegrini guest

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    Just got a call back from the dealership and it is official - BMW will be covering the entire incident! Thanks everyone for your support. I should have my car back in a week or so.

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