320d Almost Killed Parents - Help Appreciated - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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#1 (permalink) Old 02-17-2005, 08:15 AM
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Hi Everyone,
This is my first post. I'm writing this on behalf of my parents who both almost died last year as a result of the 320d accelerating out of control while the brakes had no effect.

My parents bought the car in early May 2003. The accident occurred in Hungary on 25 June 2004.

My Dad was driving along the road at 50MPH, with a good distance between him and the lorry infront. He wasn't using cruise control. The car suddenly surged and started accelerating very quickly. My Dad pressed the brakes. Nothing. He slammed on the brakes. Nothing again. There was resistance, but no braking effect. He swerved to avoid going under the lorry, and they went into a ditch, unfortunately hitting a tree after a while at over 50MPH. They both had broken backs/ribs etc. but survived.

Since talking to many people, many people with BMWs, Freelanders and other cars that use BMW engines etc. have had similar problems with their cars accelerating out of control. According to some mechanics, if there's a computer fault the anti-lock break pistons move into place to stop the braking fluid reaching the brakes.

A rover person I spoke to said there was a service fix for the problem, but the car never made it to it's first service. My email address is steve@holisticplanet.net. If any of you kind souls have any information, or have experienced a similar problem, please get in touch. My Dad is a very safe driver and this shouldn't have happened to them.

Please help and get in touch.
Many thanks,
Steve
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 12:32 PM
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2001BMW330iRob is an unknown quantity at this point
Sorry to hear about the accident...glad to hear your parents are alive.

I own two BMW's, a 1997 318i, and a 2001 330i.

One night while driving home from work, I was on the HIGWAY and noticed my car had a lot more power, I thought it was the gas I put in it, as I had just filled up with a higher grade than usual.

I then turned off the highway and was driving down a street with traffic lights.

I had to stop and go, I then noticed the car was revving higher than normal even at a standstill, I had to really hold down the brake to keep from rear-ending anyone in front of me.

Needless to say I thought there was something seriously wrong with my car...I got home and stepped out of the car, with it in park still running, I noticed the revs went down...I thought this was odd.

I then remembered than I just bought new floor mats from a hardware store and cut them to fit the interior of the car.

They were thick rubber, and were the cause of the sudden acceleration.

It turns out my foot was pressing against the rubber matts and pushing them agains the gas pedal, as the BMW gas pedal is attached to the floor.

I cut more off the floor mats, these are winter mats, I have custom summer mats that I paid $200 for. These rubber mats were only $15, they almost caused a major accident.

Not saying that is what caused your parents accident, however I would caution anyone who uses rubber mats and cuts them to size, just be careful and understand that the floor mats can cause such a situation!

Good luck!
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#3 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 02:30 PM
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Hi Rob,

Thanks for your reply. I don't think this is a possibility because the car was under a year old, original mats and the way the acceleration happened:- my Dad was just cruising along when the car acted as if he'd suddenly slammed on the accelerator, and the brakes had *no* effect.

Current possibilities include (however likely or unlikely):

*Faulty injectors (although according to news this would just cause deceleration, rather than acceleration)
*Engine oil igniting in the turbocharger unit
*A faulty ECU
*A bad decision on the braking system, thereby not allowing brake fluid through to the brakes.

Apparently, this is a problem that has occurred on many cars with BMW parts, but only rarely results in a near fatal accident. I've talked to many groups of friends, and many have said they've either had the acceleration problem themselves, or someone else they knew had.

If you've had the problem, please write even if you don't know why/how it happened. Any contact is appreciated.

Thanks,
Steve
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 03:22 PM
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2001BMW330iRob is an unknown quantity at this point
If your saying it had the original mats in it then it surely wasn't them.

Your post just reminded me of that day.

Good luck with the fight!
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#5 (permalink) Old 02-19-2005, 07:11 PM
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very sorry (about the accident certainly), buit allow me to say this:

NOT POSSIBLE to have brakes with no effect. even if the electronics on the 320 went nuts (they can occasionally do that in common rails). NOT POSSIBLE , cos there is a hydraulic connection between the pedal and the discs. unless lines blew out, which from your description they did not.

dad easily scares?

wears glasses to tell the right from left pedal?

brakes generate about 100 times more torque than the engine. just step on the pedal, even if the abs pump failed. even if all the sensors gave up ghost, computer fried its silicone, NOT POSSIBLE.

also, stepping on the clutch helps, eventhough it can blow out the motor...

this kind of nonsense killed perfectly functional audis for about 4 years in the states...

peter
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-19-2005, 11:28 PM
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What I was thinking....Peter said.

Even about the Audi issue.

Sounds like pedal confusion.

Even at that. It is great that they were not killed!

Hug em'
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 12:59 AM
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sorry to hear about the accident but it's great your parents are alive.

diesel engines have always had the phenomenon of runaway engines. unfourtanetly I don't have much knowledge with diesel engines, but I've heard many stories and I can tell you this much: a runaway engine is caused by the glow plugs heating up to a temperature that can ignite the compressed oxygen in the cylinder, and theoretically starts to run on it's own. if this happens after shut off, you can stop it by cutting off the engines air intake (with a shirt or whatever you have available). unfourtanely for you parents it happened while in motion, where your options are limited.

good luck!
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 08:49 AM
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the last post very true, but for the last century.

common rail diesels have the fuel already pre-compressed, waiting for the injectors to open. the injectors are controlled solely by the discretion of the computer.

so if the computer decides for whatever reason to give you full throttle, you are up the creek, with the only paddle being the brake pedal.

glow plugs by themselves just eat electricity and may cause pre-ignition, whcih will lower the power if the injectors are squirting according to a fully functional computer map. this gets complicated cos the puter can vary both the timing AND the volume of the squirt.

STEP ON BRAKES REALLY HARD AND KEEP PRESSING.
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by peterkulesza@Feb 20 2005, 01:11 AM
very sorry (about the accident certainly), buit allow me to say this:

NOT POSSIBLE to have brakes with no effect. even if the electronics on the 320 went nuts (they can occasionally do that in common rails). NOT POSSIBLE , cos there is a hydraulic connection between the pedal and the discs. unless lines blew out, which from your description they did not.

dad easily scares?

wears glasses to tell the right from left pedal?

brakes generate about 100 times more torque than the engine. just step on the pedal, even if the abs pump failed. even if all the sensors gave up ghost, computer fried its silicone, NOT POSSIBLE.

also, stepping on the clutch helps, eventhough it can blow out the motor...

this kind of nonsense killed perfectly functional audis for about 4 years in the states...

peter
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Sure it's possible the brakes had no effect. The brake peddle was hard (so it obviously wasn't the accelerator) and if the anti-lock pistons are extended to stop the hydrolic oil from getting to the brake pads, then you can press on the brake all you like and it will feel firm, but there'll be no braking effect, and this is what happenend. The pistons for the anti-lock brakes/traction control is all computer operated. Bless.

I really feel that was totally out of order to say my Dad scares easily. The fact that you make fun of this in my opinion shows a total lack of sympathy. How would you like to be driving along with your car accelerating out of control only to find you try slamming on the brakes twice and find that it has no result and you have to swerve to avoid a lorry in front of you. I wonder if you'd be a little scared yourself.

And I didn't ask you for your opinion, just help and information. I hope this doesn't happen to you - it's happened to many BMW owners. Tell them all that it's not possible.
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 09:00 AM
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I have to say I have never heard of it happening!
I have also had many diesels and never had any of them "runaway"!

Dave G.
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'86 528e - Sold
'84 528e - Soon to be 533i
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OO=[][]=OO
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#11 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 09:13 AM
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As I recall, the ABS acts as a supplement to the hydraulic brakes, not a replacement. Hence the reason the ABS don't kick in during normal braking sessions. Even if the ABS locked itself to the point where it would provide no supplemental assistance, the direct hydraulic connection between the brake pedal and the brake lines would be maintained. The ABS system can't (as far as I'm aware of) remove fluid regularly in the lines.

I have experienced the braking problem you describe though in several cars, not just BMWs. My Honda and Chevy both did this to me several times and it is spooky. I'd suggest something was wrong with the lines or the levels of fluid in the lines.

As for the engine going out of control, this is the first I've heard of it.

Your Lane ------>
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#12 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 10:59 AM
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i presume it was an automatic correct? My friend has a 1991-1995 (or somewhere around there) i think 318i (I-4, two door 3 series). His car is standard, so it has no effect on driving it, but, whenever the car is on it constantly revs to redline and then drops down to idle about every 5 seconds. I took it to a mechanic i know and he said "I have no idea, its BMW." It might be something in BMWs in general, but i doubt it.

Edit: Though it revs constantly, you can still control the throttle yourself, and it typically stop when you engage the clutch. But it still seems like the same kind of thing.

1996 3.8 Mustang 5-Speed
-Cold Air
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#13 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 11:07 AM
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brakes: NO. abs pumps operate with minimal piston extension, especially the bosch systems used by bmw (you do not feel pedal rise up these days...). the force of your foot on the pedal will overcome this no matter what the computer wants to do. even first generation systems were designed with the pump/computer failure in mind: braking is less effective, but IT WILL STOP THE CAR.

dad: i do not care a squat about your feelings, but rather about reality. since unintended acceleration is EXTREMELY scary, most people cannot handle it, and cause accidents. it is not an opinion, but fact.

i had two full throttle incidents myself. in one, the entire gas pedal collapsed due to rust, and the rods locked the return springs. this was on a busy interstate, in traffic.

believe me, my pants were full. really full. 9/10 on super scary scale. but, i learned from this, and so should you. don't be such a crybaby.
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#14 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 05:41 PM
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first of all i do not know a lot about braking mechanics, so dont flame me

but as far as legal advice, if it has happened to others as you say and you can prove it is a malfunction with the car

under the doctrine of negligence and strict liability
you can legally sue bmw for negligent manufacturing
and also the manufacturer, distributor, and retailer under strict liability.

im not saying go sue bmw cuz i am fond of them, but if your parents broke their backs, im sure there is some hefty medical bills which they would be able to collect.

for more information do a search on JARVIS VS. FORD

this is a case where the same thing happened to a woman kathleen jarvis, in a ford aerostar, it was a malfunction of the brakes and also the cruise control
maybe it would be worth a look
good luck
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#15 (permalink) Old 02-21-2005, 06:31 PM
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You can't be sure that he did in fact press the brake pedal...

The brakes will work no matter what because it's a simple system that just pushes the fluid through the lines and pushes the pads against the rotor... nothing complicated there.

The rear brakes would probably get fried due to the speed etc, but you would still stop, because there is nothing turning the front wheels... and you would be left doing a brake stand once you stop.

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