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SULEV Warranty Clarification

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by surge98, Aug 19, 2019.

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    surge98

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    Hello, maybe someone can help me interpret the 15 year SULEV warranty on my 2010 128i. I recently had a new secondary air pump and valve put in under warranty, which did not resolve the check engine light. I took it back, and my service adviser is now telling me they believe the fault code is caused by a buildup of carbon in the cylinder head. The repair estimate is $4300. I had hoped to keep the car another two years, but I'm not going to put that much into a car that's only worth $6000-$7000. Before I start calling independents or shopping for a new car, this is what the warranty documentation says:

    1. If your vehicle fails a Smog Check inspection, all necessary repairs and adjustments will be made by BMWNA to ensure that your vehicle passes the inspection. This is your emission control system PERFORMANCE WARRANTY."

    2. If any emission-related part on your vehicle is defective, the part will be repaired or replaced by BMWNA. This is your emission control system DEFECTS WARRANTY.


    I interpret this as a two-part warranty, one that covers the individual parts in the SULEV parts list, and one that covers a failed emissions test. This problem will cause me to fail an emissions test, so I thought I may be covered under the first part of the warranty. Does anyone know what happens if the part that causes you to fail an emissions test is not actually an emissions control part?

    The dealer tells me I have to get approval from BMW, and BMW tells me it's up to the service manager. What's even more frustrating is that some research turns up two instances of SULEV owners with the exact same issue getting a cylinder head replacement covered under this warranty. If I can prove that it was covered for someone else, my dealer will take care of it. But I don't know who to reach out to, or if there's a way for BMWNA to tell me if a specific repair has been covered in the past. I've PM'd the e90post users who claim to have gotten this repair covered, but haven't heard back. If anyone can suggest what to do next, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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    MGarrison

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    Hrrm... I don't have an answer, but if you're getting the runaround between BMW & your dealer, maybe direct your inquiry to the 'CCA ombudsman, who might have suggestions or a recommendation on how best to proceed. Remote armchair guessing only goes so far - presumably there can be a variety of possibilities causing carbon buildup, although what I've heard that seems to be common is direct injection design having carbon buildup on the valves, which apparently is commonly addressed by a walnut-shell blasting cleaning process that does a reasonably good job of cleaning carbon deposits without damaging the metal parts. But, there are engine specifics I wouldn't know of, so maybe with your model/engine, cyl. head replacement is more common or needed. Offhand I wouldn't expect a $4300 quote for the walnut shell blasting, but I've never had to get it done yet. I'm no lawyer, but the performance warranty statement surely sounds broad enough that one would think if it's not passing smog check/tests, they're saying they'll do what's needed so that it will, at least for the warranty period. It would appear the warranty statements together do NOT say that ONLY emission-related parts will be repaired or replaced - indeed it would seem that would be the exact point of the performance warranty language (ie, that repairs or adjustments beyond just emission-related parts will be addressed).

    Welcome to the forums, btw!
    • Member

    surge98

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    Thanks. The $4300 quote is to disassemble everything and either clean or replace the cylinder head. The 128i does not use direct injection, so I'm surprised that it has enough carbon buildup to block airflow. I've always used top tier gas, I add a bottle of fuel system treatment before every oil change, and I had the walnut blasting done at 60,000 miles. In terms of preventative maintenance, I don't know what more I could've done.

    I did manage to track down another person who had the exact same issue and got it covered under warranty, I've asked my service adviser to reach out to the dealership who got the authorization from BMWNA. I don't know that I need to contact an ombudsman just yet, but I'll keep that in mind. This warranty has saved me a considerable amount of money over the past few years, but it's always a fight to get things covered no matter which dealer I take it to. Understandably, there's no financial interest for BMW to make things clear or publicize this warranty in any way, so it's generally been up to me to make multiple calls and try to gather all the information to submit warranty claims.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    If the dealer is having trouble determining what is covered on the vehicle for the sulev warranty they can call some one at BMW called AAM that can determine the coverage. The vehicle has to be registered to some one in a emission state in order for the warranty to apply. Here in the midwest we don't have those so sulev warranty doesn't apply. The carbon issue is a pain to deal with. The ports are so small and clog pretty easily. I have taken out the secondary air valve and poured sea foam down the channel and allowed it to sit. This will usually clean out the less severe clogged ones. There will be smoke on start up a lot of it that is normally. Also you can shoot some compressed air down the channels to help loose the carbon up. Hope this helps and look forward to hearing a positive outcome.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    sea... foam?? Accursed autocorrect? :D
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

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    Haha yes I just read that!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Was gonna say... that's some hellacious seafood ya got out there in Nebraska! :D
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    mattm

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    Surge98, go to another dealership. The one you are working with is not on your side.

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