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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 07-27-2004, 10:41 PM
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Huge BMW dilemma

I have a HUUUUGE dilemma regarding a 2001 certified 325i that we own. We purchased the car in the spring of 03 and drove it through the end of 03 with only a few relatively minor repairs necessary. In February of this year, we took it in to the dealer because it started running very rough. The dealer made significant repairs to the car several times over the next couple of months to no avail. We took it in again for the same problem on April 8 of this year, AND THAT’S THE LAST TIME WE SAW THE CAR!

The car has now been in the shop for almost 4 solid months, and despite the best efforts of everyone from the factory on down, they have admitted they cannot fix the problem. The list of repairs that this car has undergone is staggering, and includes things like new ignition coils (multiple times), new wiring, new module, new cams, boxes, lifters, new fuel pump, new fuel regulator, and the list goes on and on and on. From that list, you can probably get a sense that they (including factory engineers) had no idea what was wrong. At retail, the repairs already are up into the tens of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, it’s all covered under warranty.

Four months later, everyone has finally thrown in the towel and the decision has been made to completely replace the engine. It is due in this week and will be installed early next. Now here is our dilemma…

When a future buyer of this car looks at the maintenance records, they are going to encounter a printout that looks like the rap sheet of a lifelong criminal. It will include dozens of major repairs culminating in the installation of a brand new engine.

Now there are two schools of thought on this issue, but one seems to dominate. For savvy car owners who can understand the evolution of a complex mechanical problem and the steps taken to fix it (like those who probably frequent this list), the response might be that a new engine is a great bonus as long as the rest of the car is in good shape. However, for nearly every lay person I’ve asked, the response has been universally negative. For reasons that sometime can’t even be articulated, nearly everyone says they would be completely turned off from buying a car that had this type of history… regardless of the reasons. To the average car buyer it says “this car is a lemon – stay away”.

This leaves us with a car that has been seriously devalued due to its troubled maintenance history, and it’s clearly the fault of BMW. Had they been able to fix the car properly when it first came in, we’d have no issue now. The fact that they were never able to figure out the problem indicates some serious deficiency in their engineering or troubleshooting processes, and this deficiency is what caused the cascading series of events that led us to this unfortunate situation.

So I’d like to ask some questions…

1. What to do about this situation? What is appropriate remedy? Do you agree that the resale value has been seriously impacted by this process?

2. Has anyone else ever encountered a problem with a BMW where the best minds of the company could not figure out the problem?

3. What does a situation like this say about the complexity of today’s vehicles?

4. Are situations like this (and I’ve been told by representatives of the dealership that ours is not an isolated incident) representative of some type of decline in the quality of German automobile engineering?

Answer one or all of the questions if you like. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions.

The one thing I’d like to avoid is second guessing the cause of the problem and the troubleshooting procedure the company used. At this point it’s no longer relevant to the discussion since the new engine is due to arrive and be installed this week, and all the previous repairs are already a matter of record. The damage is done and there is no way to turn back the clock.

Finally, please indicate if you would be amenable to sharing your relevant insight and experiences with a journalist. If so, please contact me directly at gregl@patriot.net.

Thanks!

Regards,

Greg Letourneau
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#2 (permalink) Old 07-27-2004, 11:09 PM
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I have a 2001 325xi which I bought this month and so far its been running great (have clocked about 1000 miles so far).......now I am taking it in to the dealer for a brake squeaking noise which I am not sure what it is (the car is still under warranty till end of this year).

There have been an increasing number of posts regarding E46s and their unreliability but then as some one on the post said five bad posts for the 3,000 BMWs sold each year isnt that bad. As far as problems are concerned they are goin to happen and more so with used cars. Also as someone said depends on how the previous owner used the vehicle make a load of a difference. If he was doin 200 on a race track you are in a soup but that does not mean German engineering has gone down. The ride I am having in my 325xi is far awesome as compared all my previous rides (granting none of them have been european yet).

Coming to your specific problem it is unfortunate and I guess I am with everyone on buying this car. I would not take it even for half the price you have in mind cause its history unless I am a gearhed who values the engine more than the car itself (very few of those there). I refused a 01 325xi from the dealer I bought my beemer for 4 grand less cause it had cigarette marks all over the interior. If I am buying a good lokin car and for that much money I better get a good deal.

All I can say is that it could have been anyone of else (heck my vehicle can have this probelm tomorrow) but the bottom line is that its you and you who have to figure whats to be done.......I dont know how BMW is goin to react to this but I guess they are not goin to care for the devaluation of the price........they did what they promised they would do under the warranty. Looks like your last chance is to plead with someone at BMW and maybe yu might be lucky and they might offer yu a great trade in on a similar ceritifed vehicle.......talk to them and be frank.

Ciao and hope everything works out for ya.
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 10:45 AM
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Have you checked your options under your states lemon law? I live in Maryland and I believe (I'm not a lawyer so I'm not certain) that used cars are covered under this states lemon law if they have been offered with a warranty.

You may also want to check with an attorney about your options under the Magnuson-Moss Warrenty Act - The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.

The Magnuson-Moss statute gives consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers of lemon cars. A car buyer is guaranteed that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase.

Regarding "lemon cars", this law greatly affects the rights of car buyers. For any product which has a written warranty if any part of the product, or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product.

Law firms have argued successfully to juries that the lemon manufacturers should be given three attempts to fix the defect. Continued attempts to repair beyond the initial three should not be allowed. This is called the "three strikes and you're out" principle.

A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Law. Attorney's fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer does prevail.

Due to this particular condition, there is quite a bit of financial pressure on the manufacturer to settle consumers disputes before going to court, as this would keep their expenses down.

Like I said I'm not a lawyer but I hope this helps. I would attempt to get a replacement vehicle.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 11:01 AM
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If all the previous repairs/parts replacement had to do with the motor and now you're getting a new motor then you have the answer.

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#5 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 11:40 AM
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It seems to me gregl that you are:

1: Not techically saavy
2: and more worried about re-sale value than your driving experience.

If you speak to 'lay people' who are not technical, OF COURSE they are gonna say that its a bad idea.


There won't be to many people on this board who will say that though.

So think about the reason you bought the car in the first place. If you consider it an investment, then get the new engine, cut your losses on a trade in and go for a Volvo or Merc.

If you bought a bimmer for the driving experience, then drive the snot out of the new engine, because your car's life just went up another 200K miles.

Oh, and let's no start ragging on the 'quality' of BMW's engineering. There is no one company that can claim ZERO defects. Congradulations, you bought one of the few BMW lemons. I was one who owned one of the few Honda lemons. I will never buy a Honda agian, and you will probably never buy a BMW again.

Sorry about your loss....

In so many ways...

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#6 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 02:27 PM
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Hey guys,

Lets not go dogging people about their unfortunate experiences with a car. Sure we all love BMWs, that's why we're on a BMW Forum! It's true that anyone should be more concerned about the drive than the resale value. But the man hasn't seen the car in 4 months! He's not even getting "the drive". Just because he's worried/concerned and upset because this car has been bad doesn't mean we should reject him and tell him to get another type of car.

Hey - it if was me - I'd make a deal with the dealer and get a new car. Sure - you'll lose money on it - and I'd recommend buying new. But it'll fix two problems: 1) you'll have a car to drive and 2) you'll know that it's not a defective car. Who knows - it may turn out to not even be the engine!

Buy another BMW - I'm sorry about your experiences and I hope that you'll give it another try. It's true that BMWs usually require TLC - and it sounds like you did what most BMW owners did: the car showed issues and you took it in. You don't have to be a mechanic to own a BMW.

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#7 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 06:28 PM
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From my experience buying and selling cars, as long as the car has not been in an accident no one is going to know about the mechanical issues unless you bring them up.
You don't have to keep all the mechanical repair records, just keep the new engine record.
Say you keep the car another year or two then sell.
Are you gonna tell prospective owners you didnt have the car for 4 months in 2004?
You will just tell them you had the car looked over before the warrantee expired and they found something wrong with the engine.
They asked if you wanted them to rebuild it or replace it.
You chose to replace it.
End of story.
As long as the car gives you no problems after the new engine is installed you have NO WORRIES!
Have fun with the new engine and hope that this solves all the previous problems.
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#8 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 06:35 PM
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just have them trash the motor and replace it.

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#9 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tmontele@Jul 28 2004, 10:25 AM
Have you checked your options under your states lemon law? I live in Maryland and I believe (I'm not a lawyer so I'm not certain) that used cars are covered under this states lemon law if they have been offered with a warranty.

You may also want to check with an attorney about your options under the Magnuson-Moss Warrenty Act - The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is a Federal Law that protects the buyer of any product which costs more than $25 and comes with an express written warranty. This law applies to any product that you buy that does not perform as it should.

The Magnuson-Moss statute gives consumers considerable rights in dealing with manufacturers of lemon cars. A car buyer is guaranteed that certain minimum requirements of warranties must be met, and provides for disclosure of warranties before purchase.

Regarding "lemon cars", this law greatly affects the rights of car buyers. For any product which has a written warranty if any part of the product, or the product itself is considered defective, the warrantor must permit the buyer the choice of either a refund or replacement of the product.

Law firms have argued successfully to juries that the lemon manufacturers should be given three attempts to fix the defect. Continued attempts to repair beyond the initial three should not be allowed. This is called the "three strikes and you're out" principle.

A consumer may pursue legal action in any court of general jurisdiction in the United States to enforce his rights under the Magnuson-Moss Law. Attorney's fees based on actual time spent will be covered if the consumer does prevail.

Due to this particular condition, there is quite a bit of financial pressure on the manufacturer to settle consumers disputes before going to court, as this would keep their expenses down.

Like I said I'm not a lawyer but I hope this helps. I would attempt to get a replacement vehicle.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply. This type of insight is precisely why I chose to post the message in the first place.

Best,

Gregl
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#10 (permalink) Old 07-28-2004, 11:16 PM
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I would get the BMW representative and the dealer in the same room and negotiate a GREAT PRICE on a replacement auto. You should be holding most of the cards in the deck. Get out of the one that you currently are driving. I doubt that you will ever trust it based on it's history. Good luck!
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#11 (permalink) Old 07-29-2004, 07:42 AM
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2001BMW330iRob is an unknown quantity at this point
Greg I understand your dilemma completely.
A BMW dealership selling a ceritified used car and the car turns out to give nothing but problems.
You said "We purchased the car in the spring of 03 and drove it through the end of 03 with only a few relatively minor repairs necessary. In February of this year, we took it in to the dealer because it started running very rough."
So you drove the car for about a year before any major problems showed up.
I that case it would be difficult to say the car was a lemon when you bought it.
So the dealer probably sold the car in good faith that the car was infact without issues.
Be happy that you paid a little more and bought the car through a dealer as ceritified.
Not sure if the car would be still under warrantee if you bought it private.
If it was without warrantee now you would be paying for all the repairs now and dropping cash for a new engine.
I am not downplaying what has happened to your car just saying it could be a lot worse.
My buddy bought a 300zx twin turbo back in the 90's private within 6 months he had dropped about 15k for a new engine, turbos, and a list of other things.
Before selling it for less than what he paid for it a few months later.
I assume the dealer has given you a replacement car for the time being while the car was in the shop.
I still feel any car can develop major mechanical issues, for the lucky ones there is no cost out of pocket, for the unlucky ones these costs have to be paid by them.
Don't be hung up on the car is a lemon, how is this going to affect the sale price, as long as the problem is resolved one way or another and the car returns to running fine you will be ok.
Obviously if you can swing a deal to get a replacement car that would be best but as long as the dealer is paying for all the repairs I would not worry too much.
Again as long as they have given you a replacement car to drive in the meantime.
Good luck and I hope everything works out.
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#12 (permalink) Old 07-29-2004, 08:01 AM
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A new engine would be a bonus to me, not a deterrant. It's more likely than not that when you sell the car, the people looking at it will probably have some knowledge of cars and would take a similar view.

Assuming that the engine swap had been done and the car had covered a few problem free miles since, I wouldn't bat an eyelid.

4 month is unacceptable. If they couldn't fix the car in a couple of weeks then I'd have demanded a new engine pronto.... after 1 month I'd be camping outside the dealer's front door and making their lives a misery until they sorted it out!

Either that or make the dealer do a no-cost swap for a similar value car.

<span style='color:blue'>&quot;So my BM makes me a flash bastard? Then I guess you're just keeping it real from the seat of your nova?&quot;</span>

<span style='color:gray'>&quot;...and the home of the brave..... is bravey 130bhp from a 7 litre engine? 100bhp/litre or don't bother building it!&quot;</span>

<span style='color:red'>&quot;Aaahh the UK; where every road is jammed, under construction, poorly maintained and unfairly policed, at least we don't get over-taxed for it........ HA HA HA!&quot;</span>
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#13 (permalink) Old 07-29-2004, 08:28 AM
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Pmolfese,

It's not dogging. Well, maybe it is. Being an educated as an engineer and working in the automotive field, I consider myself having a technical propensity. Most of the guys on this board, at least on the e36 and older forums, seem to be the same.

I deal with customers in my business that drive medium, severe, and heavy duty trucks and tractors. From the most podunk, back woods tow truck driver to the large fleets; getting a new engine is understood as a plus. In this business, though, a new engine will RAISE the re-sale value of said truck.

Although that isn't true in the automotive business, it is usually undereducated people whose understanding of a car consists of where to put the key and how to open the gas tank, that think a new engine is a bad thing.

If jojo wanted legal advice, a simple web search would have helped him figure out his state's lemon law.

I really take it personal when people cannot appreciate what a BMW really is.

Those who feel it is just another conveyance are missing out. Those like me, who realize these are the finest automobiles in the world today, also realize that even BMW (and Honda) can produce a lemon.

It sucks, but this is not necessarily a legal advice forum.

Need a new sig...

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#14 (permalink) Old 07-29-2004, 08:54 AM
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^ I might be wrong but I don't think that Honda have had an engine failure in the last 15 MILLION cars produced.....

<span style='color:blue'>&quot;So my BM makes me a flash bastard? Then I guess you're just keeping it real from the seat of your nova?&quot;</span>

<span style='color:gray'>&quot;...and the home of the brave..... is bravey 130bhp from a 7 litre engine? 100bhp/litre or don't bother building it!&quot;</span>

<span style='color:red'>&quot;Aaahh the UK; where every road is jammed, under construction, poorly maintained and unfairly policed, at least we don't get over-taxed for it........ HA HA HA!&quot;</span>
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#15 (permalink) Old 07-29-2004, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr White G@Jul 29 2004, 08:34 AM
^ I might be wrong but I don't think that Honda have had an engine failure in the last 15 MILLION cars produced.....
My in-laws had both engine touble and 2 transmission failures in the last 6 months of their lease on a 2000 Honda Accord (it spent 4 of those months in the shop). All manufacturers build cars that have problems and compaired to a Ford, Dodge, or Chevy BMW's are on the lower end of the defects per car list.
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