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Old 10-27-2013, 06:27 PM   #1
SKR7
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Subframe cracking - class action

G'day fellow Aussie E46 owners.

I'm the proud owner of a 2004.5 E46 m3 which sadly has been diagnosed with the infamous subframe cracking that all E46's seem prone too. My car was recently assessed by BMW Australia and their preferred body shop (Panel One) and subsequently refused for repair.

The email refusing the repair advised that as my car had 'been to various dealers around Australia on very limited occasions' 'due to the age, mileage, limited dealer servicing and not being the original owner we will not assist with any goodwill for this repair'. This came from Trent Moore who I understand is the servicing manager for BMW NSW.

I addressed each of Trent's observations in my email to him this morning, to wit:-

Dear Mr Moore,

I am the owner of the above mentioned vehicle that was recently refused by your goodself for a structural subframe cracking repair.

I would like to comment on your email to Matt Rosenthal at BMW Rushcutters Bay dated 15th October 2013.

In your email you cite a number of reasons for your refusal and I would like to address each.

1. Service History. Since taking ownership of the vehicle the car has been serviced at least twice between each required service interval. Additionally the oil and filters are changed every 7,000 klms with the correct TWS oil and OEM filters. In short, I am a meticulous owner and have been gradually bringing this car back to its best since taking ownership.

2. The car is less than 10 years of age. The age I understand manufacturers will typically stand behind structural warranty claims in Australia and around the world, notably the United States.

3. Mileage. The car is driven substantially less than the average Australian motor vehicle and its mileage, for its age, is considered low.

4. Ownership/Goodwill. Yes, I am not the original owner. However for a car that was sold into the market at +$142,000, for which I paid $65,000 a little over 2 years ago I am concerned that an organisation like BMW Australia would not wish to stand behind what has for many years been considered its hero model. The M3.
Additionally, this is my 5th BMW and my wife currently drives a 2007 BMW X3. Collectively my company, my wife, and I have spent over $500,000 on BMW vehicles.

I am aware of a number of BMW E46ís all of which are showing the same structural defect. Several are not M3ís. I will be liaising with those owners, the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) and the BMW Owners Club of Australia (of which I am a long time member) to ensure all of our cars are not subject to a structural defect notice by the RMS. I have been advised the issue is considered a potential safety defect by a Mechanical Engineer and as such should not have been sold into the Australian market, at all, manufactured in such a manner.

I would welcome your comments to the above mentioned as frankly speaking the arbitrary manner in which this issue was refused, after receiving a quote to repair it, suggests the issue of safety is not considered, nor is brand reputation. Rather the motivation appears to be financial only.

ends.

I am not a lawyer but know with some confidence that BMW are obliged to correct this issue, not least due the safety of the owners, but also due the impact to their own brand / market goodwill.

I have a copy of the quote to repair the issue and Panel One in Alexandria have quoted $6,600 to repair it with cavity expansion foam. The fact that BMW sought a quote to repair it suggests to me they acknowledge the cars have an issue but without a collective voice don't feel inclined to assist.

I would ask that anyone that has an issue posts their details here. I intend taking this further and feel that with a large enough group of owners we just might get BMW AU to realise they have a duty of care. Not only to all E46 owners, but to their parent company. Who place significant value on their brands reputation, particularly here in Australia where a multiple of what is charged for our cars overseas is charged here.

cheers,
Matt
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:45 PM   #2
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Old 10-27-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
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good luck mate!
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
ating
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Good luck! Let us know how you go. I haven't reinforced my subframe/mounts yet but I'm thinking of doing it. The thing holding me back was this 10 year structural warranty, but if you're saying that BMW Australia won't repair it out of goodwill...hmm. I know a few people lately have been reinforcing them. How many cracks do you have and how big are they?
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:17 PM   #5
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Good luck with your endeavours to get it repaired. Like Eric says, its a popcorn moment. It was a still a nervous wait to see if they would cover it back when the cars were only a few years old and getting 100% dealer serviced.

Deal direct with BMW Australia because you have no dealer goodwill so they wont do much to support your case, it isn't in there interest if you aren't buying from them or servicing there and they would only be making $40 a year off you from filters so by dealing with BMW Aus you can sell your case for goodwill in its true meaning in that you provide an intangible benefit to them by being a brand ambassador.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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Re: Subframe cracking - class action

Good luck.
I had mine paid for in 2009 and mine is a late 99, right on the 10 year limit. But at the same time people were being denied with much younger cars. Mine had full BMW service history until my ownership but at a Sydney dealership, I dunno.
I dealt with Doncaster BMW. Took a long time to get it sorted.

Seems to be getting harder and harder for it to be covered.

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Old 10-27-2013, 08:35 PM   #7
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thanks guys. keep them coming. Arbitrarily covering one car and not another is ludicrous. Its a structural and therefore safety issue, BMW should address it collectively and not leave it to individuals within their group to make decisions based on assumptions.

At this point I can only see a single hairline crack which suggests if I can see one, there are more. In fact, enough for BMW Rushcutters to send it off for assessment.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:03 PM   #8
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thanks guys. keep them coming. Arbitrarily covering one car and not another is ludicrous. Its a structural and therefore safety issue, BMW should address it collectively and not leave it to individuals within their group to make decisions based on assumptions.

At this point I can only see a single hairline crack which suggests if I can see one, there are more. In fact, enough for BMW Rushcutters to send it off for assessment.
I can understand an argument from BMW saying they won't cover the full amount if damage is extensive and they argue would've been picked up earlier had the vehicle been serviced by BMW. Your description doesn't sound like that's the case though..

Good luck with the fight, I hope you get a quick resolution.

If it makes you feel any better the previous owner of my car paid 14k to fix the subframe in my M..
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:40 PM   #9
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$6600 for foam? damn.

i cant help you with your quest to get BMW to cover it, and i wish you all the best. Unfortunately that class action lawsuit occurred in the US and not here so i dont think they are under any legal obligation to do anything about it. But maybe if you make enough noise they'll come to the party.

FYI i also found a crack, my car is much older (late 02 build) but is still covered by the statutory second hand vehicle warranty from when i bought it. I sought some quotes and the repairer that BMW in SA used gave me 2 prices. One is the BMW official repair (weld in new floor pan) and that was around 10 grand. The other was to fit re-enforcement plates (redish in this case). That was $2300 labour with plates to be provided by customer. At no point did they suggest foam, i had actually thought they stopped doing that.

Plates work out to be around $330 shipped to AUS. I gave all that info to the car dealer, let him have the car for the day to get it all checked out to his satisfaction, and he was happy to go that way. win / win.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DeclanM3 View Post
I can understand an argument from BMW saying they won't cover the full amount if damage is extensive and they argue would've been picked up earlier had the vehicle been serviced by BMW. Your description doesn't sound like that's the case though..

Good luck with the fight, I hope you get a quick resolution.

If it makes you feel any better the previous owner of my car paid 14k to fix the subframe in my M..
lol i remember you going through all the receipts
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who da F done that?
prestige warehouse or who?
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:06 PM   #11
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If it makes you feel any better the previous owner of my car paid 14k to fix the subframe in my M..
Ouch the previous owner must have had a mind snap. I can't imagine anyone charging anything like that....
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:12 PM   #12
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Ouch the previous owner must have had a mind snap. I can't imagine anyone charging anything like that....
Mine was just shy of 20k back in mid 2007.

Search for 02_PRUV subframe repair and do that if you are intending to keep the car.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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lol i remember you going through all the receipts
My favourite was $110 for mounting number plates! #ballsohard
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:45 AM   #14
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Good luck.
I had mine paid for in 2009 and mine is a late 99, right on the 10 year limit. But at the same time people were being denied with much younger cars. Mine had full BMW service history until my ownership but at a Sydney dealership, I dunno.
I dealt with Doncaster BMW. Took a long time to get it sorted.

Seems to be getting harder and harder for it to be covered.

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I believe that BMW has a list of which cars are what they consider --'defects in the manufacture' (also know as under engineered)---- and it is by model and year. I suspect that high on that list is the 1999/2000/2001 years, and perhaps limited to certain models such as the 328, but not the "M" series which they probably consider subject to more abuse and aggressive driving. Also because you are not the original owner will downgrade your claim. I am saying that based on extensive research on this issue.
Good luck mate. It is a shame that an owner is faced with this. I would recommend that the fix be done via weld method, and not the epoxy method.
It would be interesting to see BMW's statistics on this defect, worldwide by model and year. It most likely confirms what I state above.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:35 AM   #15
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Subframe cracking - class action

Lovely read.

I have a 330Ci 2000.5 model. At times I hear some slight crackling sounds coming from the rear, most of the time around corners. It only has an amazing 105k on the speedo !

I should be worried yes, but how worried should I be is the better question. I never much thought into the subframe regardless of the fact that I've read many many related issues :/


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Old 10-28-2013, 05:03 AM   #16
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Lovely read.

I have a 330Ci 2000.5 model. At times I hear some slight crackling sounds coming from the rear, most of the time around corners. It only has an amazing 105k on the speedo !

I should be worried yes, but how worried should I be is the better question. I never much thought into the subframe regardless of the fact that I've read many many related issues :/


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I would be concerned. The E46 (330Ci) from all my research is within the prime years and models, although the Ci is not as common as the "i" (sedan) for some reason. Mileage of 105k I would think is not going to be a consideration since I have heard of people getting this problem at lower mileage. And, one may accelerate this if they are an aggressive driver, not to imply that an conservative drive will avoid this problem.
Do what BMW recommends---take the car in for an inspection of possible sub-frame cracks. That will tell you if the problem exists today, but not about next month. I understand that the problem in the E46 is more lightly to show-up in the rear left area and may be as tiny as fine cracks that are almost unnoticeable to the inexperienced person, to much greater ones. It also MAY show up in the trunk (and definitely will if it gets bad)--remove the liner, everything on top of the tire---and look around edges on the cab side edge just above the tire. check all welts carefully, are they broken, then remove the tire and check under tire. There is a internet video someone made on this.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:13 AM   #17
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should have bought a vert, less hassles, more pu55y = win.
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:17 AM   #18
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If it helps, I had my 2000 build 323i covered in 2009 despite a incomplete service history, multiple owners, and resprayed paintwork from new bumpers.
Work was done by BMW Bodyshop in Port Melbourne and BMW Aus footed the entire bill.
I have some of the correspondence, and all the receipts from that work somewhere
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Old 10-28-2013, 05:26 AM   #19
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I had mine repaired by BMW as well, they replaced the whole rear floor section. If you need vin number or anything I'd be glad to supply.

Best of luck, I eventually said I was going to a lawyer and they reneged and repaired after initial refusal. I also provided BMW documentation on this forum about the USA class action.
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Old 10-28-2013, 08:53 AM   #20
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$6600 for foam? damn.

i cant help you with your quest to get BMW to cover it, and i wish you all the best. Unfortunately that class action lawsuit occurred in the US and not here so i dont think they are under any legal obligation to do anything about it. But maybe if you make enough noise they'll come to the party.

FYI i also found a crack, my car is much older (late 02 build) but is still covered by the statutory second hand vehicle warranty from when i bought it. I sought some quotes and the repairer that BMW in SA used gave me 2 prices. One is the BMW official repair (weld in new floor pan) and that was around 10 grand. The other was to fit re-enforcement plates (redish in this case). That was $2300 labour with plates to be provided by customer. At no point did they suggest foam, i had actually thought they stopped doing that.

Plates work out to be around $330 shipped to AUS. I gave all that info to the car dealer, let him have the car for the day to get it all checked out to his satisfaction, and he was happy to go that way. win / win.
You are say "10 grand" (about US $10,000) to weld. In the US the dealer will charge just short of US $5,000 but I am not sure if that is foam (epoxy) or welding. Based on research and experience, it will take about 10 or 12 hours to do it properly--which I believe is to weld, not the epoxy. Not an engineer, but epoxy got to be a weaker fix. I saw on the official US BMW site that they have listed the fix as Epoxy. I would use the Turner Kit with several plates and great instructions made especially for this, costs about $120 US plus shipping.
Just wondering if cost are much high in Australia compared to US. $10,000 vs in US the job is half that cost. For a point of reference, how much does the dealer charge an hour. How much is a dealer oil change?
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