I have recieved numerous requests for Baltimore Bimmer shirts and now have some. If you’re interested they are $20 each and if you need any size other than XL please call 24 hours in advance.
I have recieved numerous requests for Baltimore Bimmer shirts and now have some. If you’re interested they are $20 each and if you need any size other than XL please call 24 hours in advance.
It’s official. I’m fed up. I have done my very best to believe in the ability of businesses to uphold their responsibility to do business in good faith. Especially the Carchex warranty. I’ve been wanting to do a blog on these wolves for sometime now but I now have the drive, the initiative, and the motivation to do this blog. If it sounds like I’m a little upset with Carchex, you would be correct, and i’ll tell you why.
You see here at Baltimore Bimmer we have one mission, well a few, but the most important mission we strive to accomplish is quality work and quality service. Now you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time but frankly, we do a darn good job from the feedback i get from my customers.
I have been dealing with a range of warranty companies(aftermarket) and i must say they are the biggest crooks out there. They are inefficient, uncaring and attempt, at every instance of a real claim, to weasel their way out of their contract provisions. Honestly, it’s not only Carchex, it’s every single one of these buggers. If you search a “rip off report” BEFORE you get scammed by these fellas you will see page after page of UNSATISFIED customers. Because like I said, they will do ANYTHING to get out of their contract.
So here’s the story. A good customer of mine comes in on December 3rd and inquires about a warranty. She is concerned about the possible costs of her 750il in the event of a failure. I say warranties are crap, they weasel their ways out of every possible scenario and advise that she should put the money in a savings account and continue to make payments to this account in the event you need to make repairs or if the repair is too expensive you have a nice down payment on a new car.
Well she purchases a Carchex warranty anyway on Dec 4th. Now when you sign up for a contract of the extended warranty type there is a provision that you must drive 1000 miles and have the current contract effective for 30 days before the contract is in effect. Well Carchex has attempted to exploit this provision in the contract claiming a “preexisting” condition. You see this customer had come in on December 3rd for a battery, and we recorded her mileage. She signed up with Carchex on December the 4th. Per the contract she drove the required 1000 miles(actually 1389) and she was almost a week into her contract. 6 days to be exact. In the morning she started her car to go to work as she does normally. She heard a light tapping and, not being a technician, thought it was no big deal. The vehicle was cold and she figured it just needed to warm up. She began driving to work and the noise became consistently louder. She called the shop and I told her to come in immediately. She came in and appeared as if she saw a ghost. This is a very stressful situation for anyone. She loves her car and takes very good care of it. This isn’t supposed to happen to people that are responsible. But thanks to Mr. Murhy and his laws, this happens all to often to kind, responsible individuals.
We contacted Carchex and informed them of the situation immediately. They stated that the cause of the failure had to be determined and that the customer was under obligation to pay for tear down. We removed the engine, placed it on a stand and began a tear down of the engine. We found excessive scoring on cylinder 1 and quite a bit of metal shavings within the oil pan.
An inspector was sent out from Carchex and he wanted to know the cause of the piston failure. We called Carchex the next day and inquired as to the status of the claim. The individual on the other end of the phone stated that the claim was not in denial, just that the diagnosis was not complete. I made the mistake of thinking it was obvious that the engine was toast but the gentleman on the other end of the line, while basically being rude, stated that he “can’t tell me how to do my job”. Now lo and behold he was actually doing me a favor by being rude. You see when it comes to warranty claims, if you are the insurer, you can’t inform the other party of exactly how to proceed to get your claim approved. You kind of have to figure it out for yourself. Thank god for my ability to (sometimes) be able to read through the lines. Basically he was saying “you need to tear the engine down further until you have a definite cause of failure.”
OK, I get it and we tear down the engine farther and find a spun bearing on cylinder 1. Bingo! See, i told you it wasn’t a preexisting condition! So we call carchex back and say, “Hey! We have a spun bearing on cylinder 1″ They rebut with “She’s only been eligible for 366 miles and 6 days.”… So you’re saying she’s eligible? But they continue to rebut that it’s been “only” 366 miles and 6 days. But you just said she’s eligible…. Please hold… (7 min later) “Hello?… we’re sending someone out to look again.” Thank you.
There is also an exclusion in the contract that states they aren’t liable for “any preexisting condition prior to the contract PURCHASE date”. Therefore it’s been 1389 miles
Now as of this writing we still don’t have approval for this claim. But further in this blog of mine I need to illustrate a few VERY IMPORTANT THINGS you can do to protect yourself against any and all BAD WARRANTY COMPANIES.
1. Never sign up for a contract unless you READ THE CONTRACT. If they tell you you can’t see the entire contract, DON’T BUY IT
2.When you read the contract, if at anytime you don’t understand it, CALL US. If necessary we can read over your contract for you for a small fee.
3. Understand that if you live in Maryland, if the initial company denies your claim and you believe it is done unfairly, you can contact the real insurance company that backs the original company. This companies contact information is within your contract.
4. Warranty companies will do ANYTHING possible to get out of their contracts. If you haven’t changed your oil every 5000 miles or within every six months they don’t have to and won’t pay your claim.
5. If you continue to drive your vehicle when you notice something isn’t right, you run the risk of not having your claim approved. When you have a warranty, most of them come with roadside assistance. Just call the tow service. Otherwise, you could be on the hook for thousands in repairs after you already paid thousands for warranty coverage.
The main point I’m trying to drive home here is that YOU MUST READ YOUR CONTRACTS! Do not rely on a service contract to save you if you forget to uphold your end of the contract provisions. If you don’t read and comprehend your end of the contract you can basically figure you’re throwing your money away. The warranty companies are hedging a bet that they will pay out less than you pay for your contract and they will exploit every single one of the provisions in the contract in order to KEEP YOUR MONEY.
So we’ve had quite a few of these faults and unfortunately they are commonly related to each other.
There is a couple of reasons that this fault may occur in these vehicles. First, the Crankcase vent valves may be torn, and in that instance the codes would be accompanied by codes indicating a lean mixture on one or both banks of the engine and the second reason, the most common cause, is worn valve guide seals in the cylinder head.
If the seals are worn, they will allow oil to seap down the valve stem on the exhaust side and cause oil to coke up and close off the secondary air ports. To perform this repair, you will have to remove the cylinder heads. There is no option to keep the cyinder heads in the car as you will have to drill out the secondary air passages and in order to do this correctly, you’ll need the exhaust valves out of the head.
If you don’t have all the necessary tools don’t even think about attempting this repair. Additionaly, if you have no experience with the N62(TU) engine I strongly discourage you from even starting. This is a very complicated repair and should be performed by a factory technician who knows exactly what they are doing. Right now and indefinately Baltimore Bimmer will be offering a flat repair fee of $5000.00 for this service. This includes a complete regasketing of the entire engine. It is basically a full rebuild and will take approximately 2-2.5 weeks. The engine will be removed from the car and the rebuild will be performed solely by Joshua. It comes with a one year, unlimited mileage warranty. If you have this problem and are looking for the best value for the money and a knowlegable technician to handle this for you please go to the “Contact Us” page and schedule your appointment.
We look forward to seeing you and putting an end to you’re BMW V8 problems.
I feel that I have to do a blog on this one. I almost met my match as to a diagnosis and repair. Currently the 2004 BMW 325i is not fixed but I know exactly what is wrong and the verification and repair is slated for Monday.
The vehicle in question came in to us on Wednesday. It had been to numerous shops and had a very perplexing issue. While driving the Check engine light, the EML light, The DSC, ABS and Brake warning light would come on, the vehicle lost all power and the accelerator pedal refused to respond. The customer had already replaced the MAF and the IAC (Idle air control motor). We read codes for DME-DSC CAN interface, and the infamous P16A7 MAF signal implausible code. I ran through the Test plan in the GT-1 and the MAF sensor read properly. I ran through another test plan that tests all major sensors and all were correct and within proper operating range with the exception of the LOAD (mg/stroke) and there was a negative fuel trim on one bank and a positive on the other. Bank 1 was at 3.48% and bank 2 was -1.67%. At idle it’s supposed to be between 40-80 mg/stroke(the load reading) and the mixture adaptations should be 0-8%. We were reading 0 on the load measurement. Furthermore, on the test drive the vehicle was severely underpowered, and would respond very anemically to throttle inputs. It was just slow and power was in the range of a Hyundai 4 cylinder.
The real issue was when we were climbing up a hill. The lights would come on (see above) and then it ran as if the engine was in failsafe mode. It’s a manual transmission so manipulation of the gear ratios allowed me to still nurse her back to the shop, and if left running the ONLY code that came up was the 16A7 MAF signal implausible-currently present. Once the car was shut off, it returned to operational but the car still severely lacked power. Also, none of the lights came back on. It was like it never ran improperly.
So, we checked all wires going to the MAF from the DME. Voltage was correct and all other wires had continuity. I mean 0 Ohms, not even .1 which is typical and expected due to the resistance in the wires.
So we loaded what is now the proverbial “shotgun” and fired a DME into the car. (This decision was not made without some serious discussion with the customer as to the likelihood of it’s possible reluctance to work and fix the car but it’s all we had to go on based on the faults and wiring checks as well as the BMW test plan from the GT-1) We received the DME the next day, coded and programmed it and lo and behold, it didn’t work.
We started the head scratching once again and I performed as best a research I could on the internet to find similar cases and I found a few cases similar to this case but no solutions. It was up to me, Jeb and Tom. We had no help. It was up to us to figure this one out and get the word out to the masses. So here is what we figured:
The DME is a computer. It believes inputs and appropriately directs certain actuators to do what they do and make the engine perform as to the inputs from the driver. The 2004 uses AFM sensors, not typical O2 sensors. They actually measure the A/F(air/fuel) ratio coming out of the cylinder. This reading is sent to the DME and appropriate changes are made to the open time of the fuel injectors(changes fuel mixture). That’s common knowledge. Well, common to us mechanic types out here. But we take something for granted. We make assumptions. And that Fuel Trim difference has been bugging me. Like a thief about to steal my soul, lurking around the corner. Then it hit me like a train. The Catalytic Converters! The exhaust did sound strange when driving, but it still drove and always restarted the instance it cut off. I bet they’re plugged.
So today, Jeb and I took out the AF sensors (Pre-CAT O2′s) and removed the hood insulation (didn’t want to melt anything) and took it out for another quick test drive around the lot. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! She was ALIVE! And with the O2′s out it allows the engine to properly exhale and make room for that clean air and fuel to mix stochiomectrically and VROOMMMMM! We were pretty sure it was the Catylitic converters but to be sure we need to remove the post CAT exhaust system (AKA the downpipe)and make sure someone didn’t shove a banana up the customer’s tailpipe. We’ll have our answer Monday but let me take the time to explain why we got stuck and how you can tackle this problem if it ever rears its ugly head at your shop.
The Code P16A7_HFM_SIGNAL_IMPLAUSIBLE code is set because the HFM has Sensor PRIORITY. The DME is programmed to believe that the HFM will never lie to it and it uses the AFM sensors to back it up. When the AFM sensors say “Hey man we’re running lean” and the HFM says “I have this much air coming in” the DME knows how much fuel it’s adding to the mixture and the bore and stroke and it applies the calculation and when things don’t measure up the assumption is that you have a vacuum leak. I’m guessing (and it is a rather educated guess) that the engineers that designed the programming for the DME left out the chance that the engine has been running rich and let this situation go on for so long that it allows the Catalytic converters to cinder.
A Catalytic Converter has three precious metals; platinum, rhodium and palladium. These metals have specific properties that take the unburned hydrocarbons (gasoline) and oxygenate them, changing them from poisonous gasses into stable safe gasses. They also change other combustion byproducts but I’ll get to those in another blog or you can look up Wikipedia online here(opens a new window). They do their job sort of in the same way that your stomach and digestive track “burn’ the food you eat. Calories are a measurement of heat. I’m sure you’re familiar with the term Calorie. Well those precious metals hold on to oxygen molecules and release them when needed, oxidizing the fuel and thus “burning” excess fuel. In the case where the cat has to burn too much fuel it gets so hot it melts these precious metals and since the cat is visually identical to a bees honeycomb, the holes close up clogging your exhaust system and prevent your engine from exhaling. If you could inhale all day but couldn’t exhale you’d be dead pretty quickly. So, the engine builds excessive backpressure and no more air can make it in or in this case, only enough air comes in and goes out to allow idle power so as to confuse us mechanics into believing, much like the DME that the HFM can’t lie. In this case, the car had sufficient flow thorough the Cats to operate at idle. Once you crack open that throttle the engine can’t exhale enough to keep up with the increase in incoming air, it gets stopped up, especially in increased load applications, the DME can’t believe it’s program, and waves the white flag in the form of the Christmas tree of lights in the cluster and the engine enters Failsafe mode.
I Hope if you come across this problem this article helps you. I believe it is the only explanation of its kind on the internet and I’m so excited that I can close this case as solved. Until the next big problem, this is Josh, signing off. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
We replaced the Catylitic Converters today and man! that sure wasn’t the same car that came in here! It had all the power back and then some! Well it felt like it in comparison to when it came in. We were happy that this case was closed and we look forward to the next challenge.
I decided that it was time for a little getaway. My wife was telling me that I needed to take a little trip to “Go away” for a little while. I think I was just geting on her nerves since it’s been 5 years since I’ve taken any sort of vacation. So I hop in the old 540 and take a trip. Honestly I didn’t know where I was going to go. I was planning on driving to the keys(key west) but then I did the actual math on how long it would take for me to get there and it just wasn’t in my cards. Seriously, i’m not going to drive that long.
So since I was headed south I got the idea to go to the BMW Manufacturing Plant in Greer SC. I’ve never been to a manufacturing plant and I decided to call and see if you needed to make an appoinment to get the tour. I’m glad I called because there was only 1 opening and it was the next day. So i continued on my travel plans and pointed my GPS toward Spartanburg.
When I came into Spartanburg I was pleasantly suprised with the southern hospitality. I don’t like to stay in regular hotels since I find that they are boring, and leave you with a feeling like you’re in Prison. I found a most wonderful Bed and Breakfast right in Spartanburg. The Inn on Main is a historic landmark in spartanburg. It has been completely remodeled and reminded me of certain castles I visited during my tour overseas with the Air Force. They were so kind and it really reminded me of the time when I would go over to my grandmothers house and she would spoil me. I was asked what I wanted for breakfast and where I was from and was made to feel so at home. Upon my arrival I was greeted by two other gentleman that were there on business from Louisanna. I was introduced and went about my own exploration of Spartanburg. It’s a quiet little town and the mood is just relaxing. Maybe it’s just the fact that I didn’t have a business to run for a day, i’m not quite sure.
That evening it rained and I was in the mood for a fantastic meal. I usually don’t eat out but when I do, I hate fast food so it’s not an option. I used Urbanspoon on my iPhone (it found the perfect resturant in VT on my honeymoon) and found a fantastic Italian joint that served “authentic” Italian food. Now I’ve been to italy and the italian food you get at olive garden and these other “Italian Resturants” is nowhere near authentic. It’s a joke, especially when you’ve been there and eaten that.
I came upon La Taverna and I asked the bartender what was the best food, ie., what does the chef love to make? (I found asking this question yields the best entree’s because the chef puts that extra effort into a dish he loves to make.) He said that the chef’s specialty is fish and that they had a special on the Grouper. Now I’m not a big fan of fish and the last time I saw a grouper was when I was at the national aquarium and I remember saying “Wow, that’s a really big fish!” Needless to say I’ve never had grouper and was nervous and excited at the same time. I remembered my philosophy and stuck to it. Im glad I did. The meal was fantastic and come to find out the owner was the chef, he was a chef in italy, he moved to New York, cooked for some really big names, and decided for a slower pace, and moved to spartanburg on a promise of a partnership that apparently fell through and he just never left. So now he lives there and enjoys life. His wife owns the BMW and He’s partial to Porsche. I tried to convince him otherwise but he wasn’t having it.
Well, long story short I went to the Plant the next day. You enter through the “Zentrum” (German for center) and inform the desk that you’re there for whatever time your slotted for. It’s $7.00 and they give you a ticket stub. While I waited I took a tour of their museum. They had some interesting displays of the old engines, a boxer engine, the new diesel, and my personal favorite, the 4 cylinder turbocharged formula 1 engine.
The time came to take the tour and it was far from boring. You literally get to see the X5′s and X6′s being built by hand. An interesting fact that I learned is that they export 70% of the BMW’s made there to the rest of the world thru the port of Charlston.(don’t quote me on Charleston, I think thats what they said.) It was funny seeing an X5, right hand drive.
Since no photography is allowed in the plant I don’t have any pictures to show you. You’ll just have to see for yourself. It’s a 9 hour drive, but well worth it. On the drive home, take 77 North. The scenery is breathtaking and take your BMW, the mountain roads demand it.
The hot new setup is the 1 series M Coupe. As if the 135i wasn’t fast enough at 300 horses in a chasis that weighs next to nothing, BMW’s Motorsport group is at it again with a new beast.
The M Coupe, not to be confused with the Z4 M coupe, stays with the concept, “If you don’t know BMW then you won’t notice how special I am.” On the outside there are a few subtle changes, but in the motorsport tradition, the untrained eye could only tell a difference if the hood was open or you were staring at the “M” badge on the trunk. The front spoiler is much more aggressive then the standard 1 series and who could miss the traditional 4 pipes at the rear.
Standard equipment is stiff suspension, awesome handling and crappy cup holders. This car will definitely remind you of why you love driving. Once again BMW has shown a true example of German engineering at it’s finest. If you don’t get a chance to take this one for a test drive you’ll be missing quite a treat.
I am a bit disappointed with the fact that the new M engine is only 40 more horses than it’s twin turbocharged predecessor. Granted it is indeed faster than the E46 M3 with a 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds according to BMW’s spec sheet available at their website. Although I was expecting 360-380 horses, this M has turned out to be a real “Beast” and will definately gain the approval of the true driving enthusiest.
Nevertheless, BMW has shown the world once again why they are and always will be on top of the world in terms of performance, agility and styling. Look for the 1 series M coupe at your local BMW dealership in the beginning of spring 2011.
Is it going to be another record breaking winter or will it be mild. One thing you can bet on. It’ll be cold enough to freeze. This is the time to make sure you’re coolant system is up to par. Also most cars run the risk of the Crankcase Vent Valve freezing and the car consuming all of it’s oil.
Coolant should be serviced every 4 years. If you can’t bring it to Baltimore Bimmer make sure whoever is doing it drains not only the radiator but the block as well. There is a 13mm bolt behind the air conditioning compressor on the M54 engine and needs to be removed so the block can drain and get the majority of the coolant out of the engine’s coolant system. At 100,000 miles it is also a good idea, from a preventative maintenance standpoint, to replace the thermostat an in some cases the water pump to save yourself from the all too common breakdown on the highway when you’re 30-40 miles from the nearest BMW service facility.
If you are having a hard time with the heat on the inside of your BMW don’t forget the thumb wheel in/on the center vents that control the amount of temperature blending blowing at your face. You’d be surprised at how many drivers forget about this wonderful feature and think that something is wrong with their heat.
Remember for all your service and maintenence needs Baltimore Bimmer is the only place where
“QUALITY IS NON-NEGOTIBLE”
See you soon and enjoy your Ultimate Driving Machine!
I have received numerous questions regarding this type of repair and although it sounds like a great cheap alternative to install the “All German Auto” coolant pipe, you may want to think twice. You normally get what you pay for and without proper technical knowledge of this repair you may think this repair is a great inexpensive alternative but in my opinion you’d be wrong and I’ll explain why.
The repair procedure according to BMW NA is to completely remove the engine from the vehicle, remove the cylinder heads and basically tear this bad boy down to the block and pistons to get to this pipe. Now I’m not going to explain in complete detail how I get this job done because although it is in use by many dealership technicians, BMW would lower the time in their system and dealer technicians feed their children on the tricks they learn and I’m not about to hurt a dealership technicians ability to feed their family, especially on warranty work. That being said this job can be completed with the correct parts and no engine removal in about 8-10 hours. You won’t even have to remove the intake manifold.
Now the reason for this particular blog is to explain why the German Auto “fix” isn’t a good idea. It basically boils down to the particular design of the original pipe. The original pipe has a gasket glued on the front that requires that the lower timing cover be removed in order to properly install the pipe. The pipe MUST slide in from the front. If you use the “All German Auto” fix you are unable to access this gasket and also since you have to cut the pipe to get it out, you’ll be leaving all of the metal shavings of the pipe in the block (of course you’ll try to get most of it out) and you definitely will be leaving ALL of the gasket material stuck in the lower timing cover since you’ll be ripping it off of the pipe. This means in all the time you spent doing the job quick and easy way, you eventually run the risk of the leak occurring again and it’s just not quality repair work.
Here at Baltimore Bimmer it’s our motto that: ”Quality is NON NEGOTIABLE”. This means we would rather send you down the road then do a poor job of fixing your car. This also means that although we’re not the cheapest guy in town, it is our goal to be less then the dealer, usually around 25-35% less. That’s because we’re Dealership trained and have all the latest technical knowledge and equipment to work on late model BMW’s and the older ones.
If you have any questions about this repair you can call us at the shop. We’d be happy to explain in more detail how this procedure is done. Thanks for reading and God Bless.
Here we are in the New Shop and we are doing very well. Thanks to some luck Baltimore Bimmer has been able to expand into a large shop. Here we rent bays so you can do your own work or you can have our mechanics perform the work for you. Baltimore-Bimmer and U Fix It Service Center have teamed up and now have the only automotive shop in Maryland that we know about where you can bring your own parts and your own tools and fix your car yourself, have help from a mechanic or keep your hands clean and leave it all to the mechanic. It’s your choice. You see what work needs to be done and you have the option of doing it yourself or at least being there while your car is worked on.
If you are experienced you can just come in and rent a lift. After signing a release waiver, you are pretty much free to fix whatever you like. If need be, there is ton of heavy duty equiptment for you to do those big jobs. An A/C recovery Machine, engine lift and stand, transmission jack, Factory GT-1 for the BMW enthusiest. Everything you could possibly need to do the big jobs if you have the ability. Come down to the shop for a tour or call and set up an appointment. We’re right off of Beltway exit 34 on Kenwood avenue.