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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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#1 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 06:33 PM
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In the last 3-4 weeks I have had a new clutch fitted - non BMW, and an Oil service (after 9000 miles), which included a new set of wiper blades and a brake light bulb for £98 - BMW wanted to charge me £160 for the service alone before looking at blades and bulbs - And before you start a rant the people that serviced it deal only in AUDI, PORSCHE, MERCEDES AND BMW, there was even a £70,000 Carrera 4 on the next ramp next to my car.

She runs as if it were the first day off the production line, smooth as a baby's ass. So F*** all BMW dealers that want to charge £100 an hour labour, this place charges £25, and they have all the correct kit and knowledge to look after any high performance german marque but don't feel the need to rip customers off - they even did a couple of repairs and adjustments for free!!!! BMW quoted me £350 for a new MAF - WTF, these people just noted that some BMW monkey previously had mounted the MAF the wrongway around (despite the friggin great arrow depicting the inlet direction) and simply turned it around - HEY PRESTO- she runs great now. Oh and in answer to the mass of oil related questions asked usually - Castrol Magnatec Fully Synthetic is what these people recommend and supplied - they make a living looking after the big german sports cars ( a couple of rs4's were in too) so they know there shit.

PS. for all the anal thinking people that think an oil change must be performed every 3000 miles or so - my oil and filter came out as clean as the day it went in - no black shit, no metal bits - after 9000 miles!!! and I thrash the ass off of her - but then again that's early for a Euro car.
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-05-2005, 10:41 PM
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Beelz -

Glad to hear you are enjoying your car to its fullest and are even feeling some extra satisfaction at havin saved a buck/pound or two. I am guessing you have "Murphy's Law" over there in the U.K. too, so be careful not to boast too much!

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#3 (permalink) Old 02-06-2005, 05:33 PM
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Murphys law has nothing to do with it, I have just found a bunch of honest techs with all the right equipment and knowledge to do the job right without ripping off it's customers - they rely on repeat trade, NOT hitting the customer hard in the first place and not caring whether they come back or not.

They even offered to help me mod my car by offering their knowledge in what will/won't work for free. And lets remember these people make business by word of mouth alone but are always booked up by people with cars worth 3-10 times what mine is worth but who trust them explicitly _ they were performing a drop on a £70,000 carrera 4 while I was there, the owner trusts them explicitly as he has used them for years and at that level it has absolutely nothing to do with cost but more to do with expertise (who would spend 60-70 grand on a car and worry about a £160 oil service cost???? Noone, but the quality is what matters.) - cost is just a bonus for people like me.

How do you explain a main BMW dealer wanting to charge me £350 for a new MAF and not one of their techs realised it was fitted the wrong way around, despite the bloody great arrow depicting intake direction (and me questioning this with them), but these backstreet fellas found the problem and rectified it free of charge?????????????

BMW will never, ever receive a £ of my hard earned money.
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-06-2005, 07:50 PM
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The best way to avoid auto repair rip-offs is to be prepared. Knowing how your BMW works and how to identify common BMW problems is always good start. Knowing you BeelZ? I am confident you are one of those guys. For sure, you are not so easy of a customer to get ripped-off; especially when it comes down to your car; you do know your stuff. But let us not forget that:
1. BMW techs are simply employed by the dealers. They get their proper training and equipments and go to work just like any other professional out their such as MDs, pilots, engineers, drivers and construction workers-- to name a few.
2. Techs are also humans, no one is going to disagree I hope, can be subjected to an all out assault from all directions. These assaults ranging from personal problems all the way to disliking his/her job.
3. Yes and of course I can sit back as (rich/poor BMW owners/customers) and say “well if the tech does not like his life, boss, wife, job this is not my problem-I pay money and I want it to be fixed right now/1st time.”
4. Well life is not that easy; and here where we part company and I do strongly disagree. simply because I like to leave some room for “human errors” as such installing a MAF with its big pointy arrow towards the air filter is an error indeed BUT NOT a catastrophic one in my own humble opinion. It could’ve been easily caused by “human error” or by overworked BMW tech on a rainy Friday afternoon, or non of the above!!

What I am saying everything including “human error” is possible. Many countries have well trained Navy/Air force pilots bombing their own troops due to human error and what do they call it? friendly fire!!, and you may well think about hundreds of thousands of fatal accidents claiming so many lives which have been caused by “human error”. I am afraid these incidents/errors are not easily avoidable; it is part of our human life.

P.s. I don’t wish anyone to read the above statements as a defense to BMW dealers or their techs. I do fix my own car on my own whenever I can and I am not related to any BMW techs. either! If any conclusions to be drawn get this: these poor soul techs go through hell in training especially to get BMW certifications; to be able to work on a high tech car like BMW you got to know your stuff; technology and computers don’t make the life of these techs easier either and above all they are humans--subject to errors just like me and you.. I trust you do understand………
Regards
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#5 (permalink) Old 02-08-2005, 08:20 PM
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I just want to add, it's not ALWAYS the tech that is trying to "rip-off" the customer. Some times it just falls down to the Service Writers. I won't say anything about one of our service writers, but I know he gets alot of his sales the slimiest ways you could imagine. I wish you guys/gals out there didn't have to deal with the slimy people in the industry, but they are every where...

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#6 (permalink) Old 02-11-2005, 04:47 PM
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You seem to have missed the bit where BMW wanted to charge me £350 to replace my MAF even AFTER I pointed out that the arrow pointed the wrong way - Am I missing something????? Are you telling me to accept a £350 bill because the Frigging BMW tech was having a bad day?????????????

WTF at the end of the day the MAF didn't look right, The arrow pointed in the wrong direction, the clips were loose because when the MAF is fitted the wrong way around there is nothing for them to clip onto, and I POINTED THIS OUT TO THEM - despite this they took the car into their garage for half an hour to "run some tests", and came to the conclusion that a £350 MAF was required - I STATE , the people that serviced my car simply turned the MAF around and charged me exactly £00000.0000000 for it - Am I supposed to cry a tear for the over worked BMW tech for missing this SIMPLE adjustment (which I stress again I POINTED OUT TO THEM)?????????????? or just fork out my hard earned cash to a fuckin over priced monkey with a propeller badge on his overalls just cos you think he may have had a bad day?????????????
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-13-2005, 06:03 AM
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There are plenty of good independent shops out there. As with all makes of vehicles, factory trained mechanics leave dealerships to open their own business. I've known several Vovlo technicians that did. Not only that, but some of them used to work at BMW dealers too. Independents are a good alternative for our older cars. However, you can't substitute BMW's warranty for parts a labor. If your car has a repair that fails within that period and you happen to be in another town with a BMW dealer, you're all set. Chances are that independent does NOT have a shop out of his original town.
But our cars break again once fixed? Never!
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-16-2005, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BeelZibub@Feb 11 2005, 05:47 PM
You seem to have missed the bit where BMW wanted to charge me £350 to replace my MAF even AFTER I pointed out that the arrow pointed the wrong way - Am I missing something????? Are you telling me to accept a £350 bill because the Frigging BMW tech was having a bad day?????????????

WTF at the end of the day the MAF didn't look right, The arrow pointed in the wrong direction, the clips were loose because when the MAF is fitted the wrong way around there is nothing for them to clip onto, and I POINTED THIS OUT TO THEM - despite this they took the car into their garage for half an hour to* "run some tests", and came to the conclusion that a £350 MAF was required - I STATE , the people that serviced my car simply turned the MAF around and charged me exactly £00000.0000000 for it - Am I supposed to cry a tear for the over worked BMW tech for missing this SIMPLE adjustment (which I stress again I POINTED OUT TO THEM)?????????????? or just fork out my hard earned cash to a fuckin over priced monkey with a propeller badge on his overalls just cos you think he may have had a bad day?????????????
[snapback]290037[/snapback]
All what I said above is this :What I am saying everything including “human error” is possible This is a far cry from justifying spending your hard earned British pounds!!! AGAIN that tech with a propeller badge is not a monkey and I cannot/should not perceive him as such. His boss is the one who hires him and will fire him if he (the boss) does not get our money. YES BMW dealers are expensive but let us give these hard working techs a break...they do deserve it.....

Note: Once I complained to a VERY NICE counter part person--at a nearby dealer--that the parts I was buying were so expensive in comparison......His answer was well 1st I don't make prices up and 2nd you driving a BMW (image/luxury etc) He said: Bill if you think this is too much please go buy yourself a KIA and stop complaining.......Guess what BeelZ? He was absolutely positively RIGHT ON THE MONEY; and I did tell him that before (not after) he offered me that free hot chocolate. It was good drink!!
regards
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 09:03 PM
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I've gotta agree with BEELZ on this issue. When I got my 3-Series I read up all I could on the forum and decided a new metal impeller water pump was a must do item immediately. I asked around and the dealer said they would do it for me BUT they would have to include all the previous inspection fees as well since my car was used and THEY didnt have the service history of the vehicle....WTF?

I ended up sourcing a garage with competent mechanics to do the job for me. Result is.....PERFECT running car now and I do all my own service items except for major ones where I take it to the same garage!

Cheers
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-18-2005, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BEX@Feb 18 2005, 10:03 PM
I've gotta agree with BEELZ on this issue. When I got my 3-Series I read up all I could on the forum and decided a new metal impeller water pump was a must do item immediately. I asked around and the dealer said they would do it for me BUT they would have to include all the previous inspection fees as well since my car was used and THEY didnt have the service history of the vehicle....WTF?

I ended up sourcing a garage with competent mechanics to do the job for me. Result is.....PERFECT running car now and I do all my own service items except for major ones where I take it to the same garage!

Cheers
[snapback]294631[/snapback]
Bex

I neither doubt nor disagree with what you have done. We all suffer from these highly charged dealer prices whenever that temp gauge pass the 1/2 mark and/or check engine light comes on. this is one serious BMW issue especially when our budget gauge is approaching the red mark...even then I Can NOT place a blame squarely on another hard working human being like the BMW techs….I say it again and again…it is NOT their call thus NOT their problem or fault either.

Regards
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#11 (permalink) Old 02-19-2005, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by billB+Feb 19 2005, 04:56 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(billB @ Feb 19 2005, 04:56 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-BEX@Feb 18 2005, 10:03 PM
I've gotta agree with BEELZ on this issue. When I got my 3-Series I read up all I could on the forum and decided a new metal impeller water pump was a must do item immediately. I asked around and the dealer said they would do it for me BUT they would have to include all the previous inspection fees as well since my car was used and THEY didnt have the service history of the vehicle....WTF?

I ended up sourcing a garage with competent mechanics to do the job for me. Result is.....PERFECT running car now and I do all my own service items except for major ones where I take it to the same garage!

Cheers
[snapback]294631[/snapback]
Bex

I neither doubt nor disagree with what you have done. We all suffer from these highly charged dealer prices whenever that temp gauge pass the 1/2 mark and/or check engine light comes on. this is one serious BMW issue especially when our budget gauge is approaching the red mark...even then I Can NOT place a blame squarely on another hard working human being like the BMW techs….I say it again and again…it is NOT their call thus NOT their problem or fault either.

Regards
billb
[snapback]294644[/snapback]
[/b][/quote]


Bill - WTF - I am sorry man, I respect you enormously and you have been a welcome break to the forums but I say again WTF "I Can NOT place a blame squarely on another hard working human being like the BMW techs….I say it again and again…it is NOT their call thus NOT their problem or fault either"[I][U]

YES IT IS THEIR CALL, SO A F**K UP/ERROR IN THEIR CALL (they are employed to diagnose and repair our vehicles so if itsn't their call then who's is it????????????????????????????????????????????) IS THEIR PROBLEM AND THEIR FAULT. Jesus man have you gone absolutely mad - if they misdiagnose, it is no ones fault but theirs. The tech that said I needed a new MAF even after I pointed out a glaring problem made a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY WORNG CALL is that my fault or his??????

I think you just don't want to offend any BMW techs that may grace the forums. They rely too much on computers than actually doing a bit of "mechanicing" and finding the real problem and also they (as you mentioned earlier) have to bring in the bucks, so they will lie through their teeth to make the COMPANY happy NOT the customer. I am deeply sorry to disagree with you so strongly but I will not ever believe that a BMW tech is anything more special than a FORD tech, a mazda tech, a kia tech or a whatever tech, and that they work for the customer - THEY ALL WORK FOR THE COMPANY THEY ARE EMPLOYED BY AND WILL LIE AND CHEAT TO THE CUSTOMER TO KEEP THEIR JOBS SAFE. Sorry but I have a bit of knowledge (I used to work in the trade!), so I know this is true and I generally know when I am being lied to which is almost every time I take a car for a service/MOT/repair - the amount of times I have machanics/techs eating their words is ridiculous. And when my fiancee takes her car for repairs/service and then I take it to the same place and get a different diagnosis is unbelievable - the belief that women are an easy target is still rife.

So I'm sorry Bill, but I don't believe for a minute that a BMW tech is a knight on a white horse to do our bidding - more to do the bidding of the BMW CORPORATION maybe????

A good tip for when a mechanic/BMW tech tells you that a part needs replacing is to demand that "the old part is given to you in the box that the new part came in. If indeed they were stating a correct repair you will have a nice worn/damaged part to inspect when you pick up your vehicle - in the box that the new part came in, just to make sure that a new part (not a recon/ second hand) was fitted and you can have the part analysed to see if the change was necessary (if you can't tell yourself that is), personally I do this EVERY time I am told a repair/replacement is required. Often they are correct and I receive an old worn part in a new box, but also often the mech changes his mind all of a sudden and can "make adjustments".
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#12 (permalink) Old 02-19-2005, 08:22 PM
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Jesus man have you gone absolutely mad?BeelZ absolutely NOT……I mean it too!

I think you just don't want to offend any BMW techs that may grace the forums.
Not True

THEY ALL WORK FOR THE COMPANY THEY ARE EMPLOYED BY AND WILL LIE AND CHEAT TO THE CUSTOMER TO KEEP THEIR JOBS SAFE.
A very good Possibility

So I'm sorry Bill, but I don't believe for a minute that a BMW tech is a knight on a white horseNo need to be sorry this is your opinion and me too I don’t think they are….Again I think they are human beings subject to err just like me and you.

A good tip for when a mechanic/BMW tech tells you that a part needs replacing is to demand that "the old part is given to you in the box that the new part came in.
Yes for older car/without warranty but when repairs are done under warranty does it really matter?

Often they are correct and I receive an old worn part in a new box, but also often the mech changes his mind all of a sudden and can "make adjustments".
Now you talking….it is not the tech's fault; he is following the boss' directions and furthermore he will do whatever it takes to please his boss even if it means taking your 350 pounds.

To reach a conclusion or two: I will stick to my guns and maintain my earlier premise:
A. Techs with/without computer knowledge are humans subject to errors.
B. I will never defend a dishonest tech (anyone under any circumstances) simply because he may grace the forum. This is a moral issue and that is NOT me; and since you don’t know me that well, MY WORDS and DEEDS are the only options you got and you can take this one to the nearest bank. That much I can assure you!!!
C. At the end of the day (we may reach a common ground here) it boils down to the dealership itself. Would you spare the poor techs the agony of defeat and say some dealers are BETTER than others in terms of honesty/dishonesty, and customer’s satisfactions?
D. Better yet; I’ll give another window of opportunity here to get my main point: If we agree that the techs are the soldiers of the dealers (officers: service tech writer/manager etc) and simply put they tend to follow the dealer’s rules/regulations/commands; then the tech options are:

Techs working at dealership with bad reputation: cheating BeelZ out and hiring unqualified techs (if it goes unchecked by BMW HDQRs)
1. Begin with a tech as a bad mechanic; does not know what he is doing, thus installs your MAF backward. Or
2. His boss tells him: Cheat BeelZ out of 350 pounds and insert his MAF facing the wrong way.
3. The tech has 2 options: follow the BAD rules or else, yes you guessed it: he’ll be fired.

Techs working at dealership with good reputation: No cheating and simply hiring the best:
1. The same tech in 1 above will not be hired; even if he slips through the system he will be fired.
2. No cheating here even when the same tech is tempted to place your MAF in his pocket to go; he will get both, caught and fired.
3. He will face the same consequences as 3 above. But this time follow the GOOD rule or else; yes you guessed it again: he will be fired too.

Dear BeelZ: Please feel free to disagree with me “return trip” from here to London; but please let me keep my sanity on this forum. This is what all forums are about to exchange/share ideas in agreements/disagreements. But in both possible scenarios above, I don’t see any connection to the techs in these problems. After all I’ll ask you again: Is it really the techs faults?

Regards
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#13 (permalink) Old 02-19-2005, 11:05 PM
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Is it just me, or hasn't this dead horse of good vs. bad, superior vs. inferior mechanics/techs/dealer service been beaten quite enough yet?

This is all lively discussion, but IMHO a resolution to this debate can never be reached because you are dealing with too diverse of a population: "all" BMW mechanics. And like any other group of humans, there will be some that are honest and some that are not, some that are competent and some that are not, some that are careful and some that are not. There may be general trends, but there will be numerous exceptions as well.

My two cents is that the dealer-based mechanic trade is rife with incompetence and fraud (I wasn't in that line of work but a good friend was), but there are talented and honest techs as well. I believe the end game is that BMW mechanics are maybe "on average" or "more likely" to be capable and honest, but that's relative to a pretty dismal baseline of camparison, so there are no guarantees.

The basic tone of Beelz letter (minus the words beginning with F) is probably the best advice: educate yourself, shop around, proceed with caution. Above all, simply TALK to your mechanic and service advisor. If you get bad vibes or bad prices, move on.

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#14 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 09:22 AM
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Eric: Well put argument and this was my first sentence in the 1st reply above:
The best way to avoid auto repair rip-offs is to be prepared.

regards
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#15 (permalink) Old 02-20-2005, 11:21 PM
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My opinion is, if the BMW technician cannot provide excellent, if not perfect, service...what justifies their higher labor cost compared to an independent BMW technician??? If they can charge more, I EXPECT MORE! If not, stop ripping us customers off.

There might be possible, and excuseable "human error"...
but there is no room for stupid and careless error, like putting on the MAF sensor backwards! NO WAY! Especially Not when they charge premium labor for their careless mistake!

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