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General BMW Model Discussion
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:29 PM   #1
bman05
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BMW X5 won't start! Please help!

I have an '03 BMW X5 with just over 50K and I haven't had any starting problems w/ it until today. I get out of work, start it up with no problem and drive it to a local store. Come out minutes later to start it up and....nothing. I replaced the battery (the original was in the vehicle) and checked all fuses and still nothing. When turned, there's a dull "thunk" noise from under the hood. Blown starter/ignition? Is the immobilizer engaged? Help! Thanks!
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Old 01-30-2010, 09:23 AM   #2
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:34 AM   #3
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Is it really cold out?

If you want to check the starter, there's always a chance that if you tap it a couple times with a hammer, the car will start. That will be a good sign to replace the starter.
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:03 PM   #4
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Did you try a different key? The sensor tied to the ignition on the key you've been trying could've went out. Thats what happened to me. ( 03 Z4 though)

When i went to the dealer to get a new key, they said the keys had 2 sensors, one for ignition and one for the unlocking/locking/trunk of car. They are connected to different power sources. So even if your key could unlock and lock you wouldn't be able to start the car (this is what happened to me) Don't know if this is true but sounded logical to me lol
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:08 AM   #5
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How cold was it outside when this happened?

I might be able to help, I work as a tech for a BMW dealership in Canada.

What kind of "thunk" do you hear? Starter not engaging, like a rapid tick,tick,tick or a deeper noise like if something was holding the engine from turning?

Is the truck a V8 or L6?

The V8 are notorious for hydro lock when it gets very cold.
What happens is if you drive the truck for short distances and turn it off often, condensation builds up in the closed loop crank case vent system and the diaphragm freezes, next time you try to start the engine it suck oil trough the dipstick, fills the cylinders and basicaly locks the engine.
If you're lucky, nothing else happened and all you need is having the oil sucked out, if you're not so lucky, you might need an engine.

Open the hood, remove the plastic trim from the top of the engine and valve covers, remove both rear ign. coils and spark plugs and put a screwdriver or something in the hole and pull it out, if you have oil on it you're in trouble. You'll have to have the oil sucked out or, if you don't minde splashing oil everywhere, just remove all spark plugs and crank the engine, oik will come out, but you'll have a mess on your hands and everywhere else for that matter.

Hope it helps, hope that this is not the case and hope that I did'nt scare you with my worst case scenario.

Cheers from Canada.

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Old 02-12-2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Alex,

You are correct in your diagnosis. The CCV valve "froze" and hydrolocked the engine with oil that was sucked through the vacuum hoses. The estimate to repair this damage (drain engine of oil, replace hoses and plugs, etc) is $2,150and there's no guarantee that there is no engine damage.

I called BMWNA and spoke to an extremely unhelpful and unpersonable rep there ( Nate Grimash at ext. 7744 ) and after a full week or so of playing phone tag (mostly me calling him), he informed me that BMWNA will not assist me in any way as my X5 is just over 1,000 miles out of warranty. I requested some "goodwill" assistance from BMWNA (a warranty labor rate as opposed to retail or some help with the parts) and was flatly refused. I have never been so disappointed in a car manufacturer before and will most likely sell this X5 after the repair and go to another brand.

While I understand the vehicle is out of warranty and the CCV valve failure is due partly to weather and partly to wear, there is a definite design flaw in this vehicle and am equally amazed that this vehicle is prone to this type of failure due to short trips in cold weather. There is a Technical Services Bulletin (TSB 11 08 03) that deals with a fix for this issue (heated vent lines), however I was never informed of this issue and I don't believe many owners were.

I've spoken with several BMW techs in my area and there are a plethora of X5's that have been coming into local dealerships for this repair in recent weeks in the New York area.

There is some talk about litigation (class action) for this issue and I'd like to learn if anyone has pursued this. I work in NYC and handle litigation for a business and would love to see this pursued if meritorious. I have a hard time believing that such a well-engineered machine is prone to catastrophic failure due to, ostensibly, cold weather, repeated short trips and a valve.

My faith in BMW is shaken. I did not even mention the gas pedal that broke 400 miles out of warranty that I paid for, the radio button that broke 600 miles out of warranty that I was quoted $450 to fix and the folding mirrors that failed 700 miles out of warranty that I haven't had the heart to get a quote on.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bman05 View Post
...The estimate to repair this damage (drain engine of oil, replace hoses and plugs, etc) is $2,150and there's no guarantee that there is no engine damage...
Goog god for that price, you could fly me down fron Montreal, pay for my food and a few drinks while I'm there, pay parts and my labour and still come in under that price, that is ridiculous.

They're a bunch of morons, tell them to suck the oil out and perform a leakdown test before they do any repairs. You could also have this done anywhere else for a much lower fee. You don't need to be a BMW enginieer to peform these repaires. It's uncomfortable but, very easy to do.

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...he informed me that BMWNA will not assist me in any way as my X5 is just over 1,000 miles out of warranty. I requested some "goodwill" assistance from BMWNA (a warranty labor rate as opposed to retail or some help with the parts) and was flatly refused...
When I hear things like that, I'm almost ashamed of letting people know I work for these tyrants.

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Originally Posted by bman05 View Post
There is a Technical Services Bulletin (TSB 11 08 03) that deals with a fix for this issue (heated vent lines), however I was never informed of this issue and I don't believe many owners were.
The lines are not "heated", they're insulated with a big layer of foam. The reason why people are not informed of this is that we don't boughter, when we do the repair, we just install the upgraded parts. The upgraded parts are the vent lines from a 740i.

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...will most likely sell this X5 after the repair and go to another brand.
That would brake my heart but, I can understand.

There is one thing that I tought of, that could solve this problem for good. I never tried it yet cause, my employers won't let me do it... why fix something that brings us lots of $$$$ right... I would drill a hole in the cover of the oil separator and install a normal PCV valve from a MINI. In the event that the diaphrgme freezes again, instead of sucking oil, it'll be easier for the vacuum to pull the PCV valve open and suck in fresh air. Meanwhile, as the engine heats up, the ice in the separator will melt, humidity will be sucked into the intake and it'll start working again, the PCV will close and the system resume normal operation. I could even plumb the PCV's intake side to the intake tract after the MAF so, no check engine light would come on.

Last edited by Darth Bimmer; 02-12-2010 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:06 AM   #8
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This is one of the things that worries me so much. Esp with the cold weather we've been having. OP, I'm very sorry that this happened and Darth, thanks for the good info! I may look into getting these upgraded hoses you mentioned to prevent this from happening to my X5. Do you happen to know how much they cost and how much the install would cost, don't wanna get hosed there either.... (my apologies for the bad joke ) Also, do you have any other tips on how to prevent this from happening, any preventative maintenance we can do???
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:15 AM   #9
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Dam...how much I love X5s...they are just full of problems
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments Alex, I am going to get a few additional quotes from indy shops near me. problem is that the towing of the vehicle is going to cost me $250 or so just to get it out of the dealership and to the closest decent indy shop. That is a factor I have to deal with as well.

The dealership said they'd try to help me out, however after the zero help BMWNA provided, I can't bet on their assistance. At most it would be a token few hours.

I am reviewing my options now. At the least a letter to BMWNA is in order as is the possibility of exploring a class action lawsuit. I may set up a website specifically for this problem and see how many responses I get.

This is my 3rd BMW. I understand repairs (and costly repairs) come hand in hand with these vehicles, but a catastrophic failure like this that is endemic for 01-05 X-5's is unforgiveable, particularly where BMW knows of this weakness and does nothing to rectify the situation.

BMWNA's behavior with regard to this issue is both pathetic and condemnable.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:32 PM   #11
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Get AAA service and your towing problems are solved. I would just do what Alex said and fix it my self sounds pretty easy to fix. Or just fly Alex in and let him fix it.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:03 PM   #12
Darth Bimmer
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... Do you happen to know how much they cost and how much the install would cost, don't wanna get hosed there either.... (my apologies for the bad joke ) Also, do you have any other tips on how to prevent this from happening, any preventative maintenance we can do???
Here are the P/N and prices for the hoses. #2 & 3 in the illustration. http://bmwfans.info/parts/catalog/E5...e_ventilation/
As for installation cost, it all depends on where you go. It should'nt take the average mechanic more than an hour to replace only the hoses. When you look at the price of the parts, one can wonder how thay came up with a 2K+ quote for BMAN05
If you are at least a bit mechanicaly inclided (if you can change brakes yourself you can do this) you could do it yourself. As you can see on the illustration, these hoses are just clipped on so, just break the old ones off and clip the new ones in. You only have to remove the plastc engine covers to do this. Do them one at the time so, when you removed one, you can compare it to the new one to know were which one goes were. The only problem is that they are at the rear of the engine and it's an incofortable job. Your back will hate you when you're done. The way I do it at work, to save my back a bit, is that I remove both front wheels and lower the hoist untill the front discs almost touch the ground.


Your joke was quite funny in fact.

As a way to "prevent this" the only way that I can think of is that, if you know you're just going to make a short trip, let the engine warm up completely before you go. This way, as you drive, the humidity in the system will have time to evaporate and make its way out. It might also sound stupid but, most of the time, when people dammage or completely rip off the engine's undertray, they don't rplace it. Having that cover there keeps cold wind from blowing into the engine compartement from underneith when the car is parked so, the air around the engine cools down more slowly and will help.
Quote:
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...problem is that the towing of the vehicle is going to cost me $250 or so just to get it out of the dealership and to the closest decent indy shop. That is a factor I have to deal with as well.
just suscribe to AAA, it'll cost you a fraction of the price of a tow truck and you can immediatly redeem a service. Have the car towed to the closest INDY that you trust.

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Old 02-12-2010, 01:07 PM   #13
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BTW, in your info it say NY. Do you live in the CITY of NY or somewere else in the STATE of NY. If you live close to the Canadian border I might even drive down and do it for you because, I'm ashamed of how the company I work for acts. Especially with the price they ask for their products.

If you do decide to do it yourself, just keep in touch i can PM you my e-mail. If you have any trouble while doing it, I'll guide you trough it.

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Old 02-12-2010, 01:27 PM   #14
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Alex,

Thank you very much for the kind offer, that's very cool of you. I live in downstate New York, in Westchester County; too far to travel.

I might go the indy route, although AAA will only pick up the first 3 miles of towing and I'd be on the hook for the other 20 or so miles (at $8 per mile) and that gets pricey. The dealership does warranty the work for two years as well. I have to balance the indy cost + towing vs dealership cost and see what gives me a fuzzier feeling. I'm going to take it across the chin either way.

I am handy and have done suspension work, changed the belts/hoses/plugs, alternator, water pump, removed the radiator fan, changed the brakes, etc, but would be hesitant at cleaning all the oil out of the engine.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:10 PM   #15
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You're right about taking the oil out... What you should do, (just kidding here) is take your plugs off in their parking lot and crank the engine, oil will come out the plug's bores and won't cost you a dime. Let them clean up the mess on the ground for trying to rip you off. With the oil out of the engine you'll be able to start it and drive it to your iny. Then just have your indy. do an engine shampoo before he starts working. LOL

As for towing. Take a gold AAA membership, they'll get you WAY further and here in Canada (we have CAA but, they're interrelated) it's about $130 for gold membership.
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Old 02-16-2010, 10:05 AM   #16
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BUMP for anyone that doesn't know about this damned problem in the X5's and also I just wanted to give a big thanks to Darth Bimmer for posting up some good info and the offers of help he made. It's nice to see there are some really good people out there

I personally will be upgrading the hoses whenever I finally get around to replacing the coolant expansion tank issue
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:32 PM   #17
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Alex,

You are correct in your diagnosis. The CCV valve "froze" and hydrolocked the engine with oil that was sucked through the vacuum hoses. The estimate to repair this damage (drain engine of oil, replace hoses and plugs, etc) is $2,150and there's no guarantee that there is no engine damage.

I called BMWNA and spoke to an extremely unhelpful and unpersonable rep there ( Nate Grimash at ext. 7744 ) and after a full week or so of playing phone tag (mostly me calling him), he informed me that BMWNA will not assist me in any way as my X5 is just over 1,000 miles out of warranty. I requested some "goodwill" assistance from BMWNA (a warranty labor rate as opposed to retail or some help with the parts) and was flatly refused. I have never been so disappointed in a car manufacturer before and will most likely sell this X5 after the repair and go to another brand.

While I understand the vehicle is out of warranty and the CCV valve failure is due partly to weather and partly to wear, there is a definite design flaw in this vehicle and am equally amazed that this vehicle is prone to this type of failure due to short trips in cold weather. There is a Technical Services Bulletin (TSB 11 08 03) that deals with a fix for this issue (heated vent lines), however I was never informed of this issue and I don't believe many owners were.

I've spoken with several BMW techs in my area and there are a plethora of X5's that have been coming into local dealerships for this repair in recent weeks in the New York area.

There is some talk about litigation (class action) for this issue and I'd like to learn if anyone has pursued this. I work in NYC and handle litigation for a business and would love to see this pursued if meritorious. I have a hard time believing that such a well-engineered machine is prone to catastrophic failure due to, ostensibly, cold weather, repeated short trips and a valve.

My faith in BMW is shaken. I did not even mention the gas pedal that broke 400 miles out of warranty that I paid for, the radio button that broke 600 miles out of warranty that I was quoted $450 to fix and the folding mirrors that failed 700 miles out of warranty that I haven't had the heart to get a quote on.

All of this just proves that BMW's are meant to break apart as soon as they leave the warranty. That is a terrible story. I'm sorry for you but there is life after BMW, I can't wait to start mine lol
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:48 PM   #18
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My pleasure!!! Always happy and ready to help a fellow Bimmeroolic. It always makes me feel warm inside when I know I just made someone save time, pain and money.

I just wish that bman05 (OP) would have known this before he got the car towed to the stealership, they're now going to try and rape him while he's vulnerable.
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:03 PM   #19
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this is a good thread...im sure many will benefit from it...thanks for posting OP and for Darth Bimmer and his advice
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:00 PM   #20
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My pleasure guys!
Any time.
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