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Help! Anybody have a contact at BMW North America?

Discussion in 'E70 X5 (2007-2013)' started by Wolnski, Apr 17, 2014.

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    Wolnski

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    I bought my first new BMW in 1994 and I have owned nothing but BMW’s ever since. That first one was a 325i that I put over 200,000 miles on before I passed it on to my son. My next one was a Certified Pre-Owned 540 6-speed that I bought in 2002 and drove for a year before I bought my next new BMW, a 2003 X5. Again I put over 200,000 miles on that one before I passed it down to my daughter and bought my current model – a 2011 X5 35d. I custom ordered this vehicle. It has almost every option that BMW offers. (I got it just the way I wanted it!)

    Over the years I have had nothing but good things to say about BMW. People ask me all the time “how do you like your car” and I consistently sing their praises and try to dispel the myth that they are expensive to maintain. I bought my new 2011 X5 35d expecting it to provide the same long service life that I have enjoyed with all of my previous BMW’s.


    The only real problem I experienced until recently was a bad EGR cooler. (This part has since been redesigned and replaced by BMW.) My EGR cooler cracked and constantly leaked black soot into my engine compartment. I contacted BMW customer relations for help with the replacement of the part but they would not agree to help me so after months of black soot I broke down and paid to have my EGR cooler replaced with the newly designed part.

    One week later I was informed by my BMW service department that I have a blown head gasket. They quoted me $19,970 for a new engine, installed.

    My car has less than 120,000 (mostly highway) miles on it. It still looks brand new. I have changed the oil religiously and taken extremely good care of it. I was looking forward to driving this car for a long long time. This just does not make sense. I have done everything I know to do to take great care of this car (even replace updated parts) and the next thing I know I need a new engine?

    I don’t know if there is any link between the replacement of the newly designed EGR cooler and my blown head gasket but as a loyal, long term BMW customer I can't help but think they would help me out if I got my story in front of the right person.

    We have all heard stories of people who had a bad experience with a brand who have vowed never to touch that brand again. I do not want that to be the case with me and BMW. I really don’t. But as you might imagine right now I am concerned.

    Does anyone have access to a contact at BMW that might be able to help?
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    MGarrison

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    You might look in the Roundel chapter services pages for the contact information for the club ombudsmen. Not familiar particularly with your engine, but a blown head gasket begs the question why did it blow, which I would think your service people would have offered up some insight or speculation. Also, given all the electronic nannies and monitoring systems, if your head gasket blew catastrophically, you should have known it immediately. Besides clouds of coolant/oil smoke billowing out from under the hood, your instrument cluster should have lit up like a Christmas tree. Seems like the engine would running roughly at that point too. I know diesels are high compression engines, but, head gaskets and the like should be engineered to deal with that. I wonder in what scenarios you could have a diesel head gasket leaking in such a fashion that you'd be unaware of it and not getting all kinds of lights and warnings on the dash display, that could end up damaging things so catastrophically as to require full engine replacement vs. replacing the head gasket, changing the oil & filter, and cleaning out any contamination of the cooling system, &/or replacing the radiator, expansion tank, etc.
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    charlson89

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    Really a head gasket in the M57Y engine I am highly skeptical about that. I have serviced many, many of those engines and never really had any issues. Also if your EGR cooler was cracked (high pressure one) leads to another question of did you have the EGR bracket recall done because thats the whole reason for the recall. The weight of the intake is to much and cracks the High pressure EGR and makes it leak soot. If the recall was done and the EGR was leaking then it should have been replaced no questions asked. Second is what kind of problems are you having that leads them to a head gasket? Also what tests did they do to determine that it is for sure the head gasket?
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    Wolnski

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    I agree 100%. They did not offer any explanation as to why the head gasket would blow. My instrument cluster never lit up like a Christmas tree. I did get a yellow engine light that the manual attributes to the exhaust system. I eventually got a coolant level low message. I would get white smoke from the tailpipes but only at random times. It seemed as though once the car was warm it usually did not emit smoke. I never experienced smoke from under the hood - only out the tailpipes. The engine really never ran that rough during all of this. It failed to start once due to built up pressure but other than that it runs fine. It still runs fine. I actually drove it to the dealership for diagnostic testing. (I was really hoping they were going to tell me I had a cracked radiator or expansion tank - or better yet, a bad hose!) Why they don't repair instead of replace is beyond me.

    And to answer charlston89's question, yes, I did have the EGR cooler bracket recall replacement done. I even lobbied for a replacement EGR cooler at the time but they would not help. They just left the leaking EGR cooler in place.

    I asked "are you sure it's the head gasket? Could it be anything else?" The dealer said that they were sure. They ran extensive tests, put it under pressure and said that it is surely a blown head gasket.

    That is really upsetting to hear that the reason for the recall was to prevent cracking of the EGR cooler! I specifically requested a new EGR cooler at the time of the recall work and they denied my request.

    None of this makes any sense. I wish I had a way to get my story in front of the right person at BMW.
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    MGarrison

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    Unfortunately, it also sounds like you should get a 2nd opinion on the head gasket from another dealer or a BMW Indy shop that knows what they're doing, which would be more outta pocket. :(
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    Wolnski

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    Actually, the dealer is the second opinion - the first opinion came from my trusted independent BMW mechanic of 25 years. He is the one who installed my new EGR cooler for me. It wasn't even a week later that I first saw the yellow engine icon light come on. Then a day later I began seeing white smoke coming out of the tailpipes.

    Could the new EGR cooler have been the cause of the blown head gasket?
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    steven s

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    Oddly enough someone at work brought her X5 in for an oil change and was told she needed a head gasket.
    I need to find out more to the story.
    Why would a dealer test for a head gasket when a car comes in for an oil change?
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    Wolnski

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    Was her's a diesel too?
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    steven s

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    I don't believe so and it's older. Just seemed odd. A head gasket after bringing it in for an oil change?
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    MGarrison

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    That's something I don't know, not being familar with the specifics of that engine - maybe Charlson will have some insight. You might email Mike Miller & see if he has any thoughts.
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    charlson89

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    Highly unlikely that a EGR cooler would cause a head gasket to blow. I would say though that it could cause coolant to be burnt if it cracks and starts to leak coolant in to the exhaust gas which then travels to the cylinders and gets burnt. On your particular vehicle there are two EGR's a low pressure one and a high pressure one either could leak.

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