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Old 04-23-2012, 10:53 AM   #1
tritone88
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Fuel filler nozzle keeps shutting off

Hi E46 members,

Have a 2004 325CI 82K miles automatic which is designated as a CAlifornia SLEV vehicle which apparently is important info for diagnosis. I'm pretty good at figuring stuff out and have been turning wrenches for about 25 years, but here's a new one on me.

All of a sudden, when you try to fill the gas tank, the nozzle keeps shutting off as if it is full when in fact, the tank is no where near full.

This is NOT related to a particular gas station or brand of gas. Turning the nozzle to various positions makes no difference either. (I noticed some posts thought it was due to a particular gas station).

Check engine light (SES) was on too and I pulled a P1446 from the OBD port. DM-TL signal too low or something. So I replaced the DM-Tl pump hoping this would stop the fuel fill problem. Well it fixed the SES P1446 code, no more check engine light, but the fuel filler problem is still there.

There are no bent filler necks or any obvious damage near the tank or with any of the hose under there.

I gave up and took it to an independent BMW repair place and they said they think the fuel tank needs to be replaced and that it would be $8000. That's right 8 with three zeros. Yikes. They said this is becasue the tank is a sealed a unit becasue the car is an SLEV California car. They said they pulled a few proprietary BMW codes not in the OBD scan indicating there was a fault with the tank.

So of course, I checked on the emission warranty with BMW USA and it ends at 70K miles. Perfect!!!

My questions are these: Has anyone else had this issue and how was it resolved? And secondly, if it is the tank, WTF??? is there a less expense course?

Thanks
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:28 AM   #2
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You need to search SULEV. First the emmissions are warrtied for 150K, 15 years. Take the car to the dealer and have them read your codes. Anything fuel system related on these cars are under warranty. You will also get some very usefull SULEV info after a search.
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #3
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What is a DM-TI pump?
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:49 AM   #4
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Something does not sound right here. I think you have an excellent question for the Bureau of Automotive Repair. they have an 800 Number.

Fuel flows through the filler hose until the tank fills, then the fuel backs up into the nozzle, and the pump detects this as a Full Condition. You are getting the full condition a very long time before full happens. If you can pump the fuel in slowly as opposed to full speed, and it works, then you will discover that the problem is that there is some manner of obstruction in the filler hose. As fuel is going in, there is displaced air that must be able to be expelled and captured by the vapor recovery of the pump and nozzle. If you can pull the vapor boot back and get a good fill, then you will have discovered there is an obstruction in the venting system. If the vapors can't get out, then the gas can't go in, and the pump will detect this as a full condition.

So, you have two tests to do that are quick and easy. 1.) slow the delivery speed and see if you can get the car to fill. 2.) pull the vapor recovery boot (the large rubber boot on the gas nozzle) up so it is not sealed against the car. If one or the other of these provides relief, then this changes the scope of the repairs. I don't believe you need an $8,000 gas tank. A third test is to combine the first two -- pull the boot back and change the fuel delivery speed. I'm gonna guess that pulling the boot back will solve the problem. (It's not a fix, it's only an indication of where the problem is coming from.)

But, California is not gonna want you to be pulling the boot back so that vapors can escape while gas is going in, and I'm pretty sure the BAR is the place to go to find out if the automaker has to fix this, or if it is considered a maintenance item for the owner. I suspect this is a system that the BAR will want the automaker to cover. All it will cost you is a phone call. I think I'd do the tests I mentioned before I placed the call. If you call the BAR with a report that BMW wants $8,000 to fix the filling station problem that you can work around by simply pulling the vapor boot back from the filler hose, they will know what the problem is and guide you through the repair process.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
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Very serious here. The complete fuel system from filler neck to injectors are a part of the SULEV designation for these vehicles and have a special warranty (150K/15 year)and I would suggest letting the dealer do a diognostic. I would hate to see someone having their warranty cancelled because an unautorized person worked on the car. Again a wealth of info on here from owners that have delt with fuel system issues. You might want to contact BMWNA also with the problem.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:23 PM   #6
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...and I'll just mention that I often get shut off too soon also...just in the summer. I'm not sure, but I think it still may be due to how you're hooking the nozzle into the filler neck.

Nice to hear you have a longer warranty than you thought!
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
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Thanks to you guys for responding with such detail. First, I will do a search on SULEV to see what I find. The 150K warranty would be wonderful but I did contact BMWNA already and they pointed me to the 70K warranty. Perhaps they didn't know I had an SULEV car.

As far as thetests proposed by jdstrickland, test #1 (slowly filling tank with boot sealed tight against the car) does work but of course takes a huge amount of time. I have asked the owner to try test #2 (pull back the boot and try to fill at full flow). Awaiting results of that.

BTW, she is also taking car to dealer to get their take on it in the next day or so. The previous diagnosis was done by certified BMW mechanic independent shop.

Stay tuned... and thanks again. I will post results of findings.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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It's a somewhat common problem and doesn't seem to be necessarily SULEV related (I have a SULEV). I have the same issue. I fill it slow and it seems to solve the problem for the most part; the first notch on the autofill pumps. I tried the nozzle at different depths a while ago; doesn't seem to help. I've also found that some pumps are worse than others.

Check the link in my sig for SULEV warranty information.
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Old 04-25-2012, 01:06 PM   #9
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The very same here. For me not a consistent problem but does pop up now and then. If I try normal and it shuts right off I know I have to fill it slow. Make sure BMWNA knows yours is a SULEV...they will act stupid at first but be persistent. Mention the EPA a couple of times. Briangl92 has compiled a wealth of info on our cars (Thanks).
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:12 PM   #10
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A lot of dealerships don't even realize that your car is different unless you tell them, and even so, a lot of the SAs probably weren't working there at the time these were sold and serviced, so they're not overly familiar with the differences and specifics.

I'm not sure if the filling issue is cause for a replacement...it'd be nice if it was though, because that'd mean new tank, filter, filler, fuel indicator, etc. That unit retails for +$6000. If you do persue it and end up with a result either way, please post back with the result, preferrably here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=915969 (also linked in my signature).

A lot of owners don't know what they're dealing with and the dealers will tell them to kick sand, so any information is greatly appreciated. This way we can go into dealerships with issues and be educated on what is/isn't covered, and hopefully save us all some money and headaches.


PS: to all the M54B25 owners that question why we own a SULEV and call us morons...they're warranties are expired

Last edited by briangl92; 04-25-2012 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:46 AM   #11
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Problem Solved - I hope

Okay the tip on checking if the fuel fill works with the boot pulled back fails too. So I finally relented and told her to take it to the dealer. They diagnosed a bad gas tank or whatever is in there and since it is an SULEV vehicle, they said it is covered under the 150K warranty. Yeah!!! $8500 to replace. Unbelievable! Of course, there is always a possibility that this won't fix the problem. I will post again with the final resolution after the tank is replaced.

Thanks again to all who answered.
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Old 05-04-2012, 11:11 AM   #12
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If it wasn't a bad tank were they going to charge for diagnosis?

Thanks for the info btw! I'll be making an appointment

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Old 05-31-2012, 01:11 PM   #13
tritone88
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Final Update: Dealer replaced tank under 150K emissions warranty ($8000). No charge. Problem solved; tank fills with no shut off. Thanks to all who replied!
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:18 PM   #14
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Thanks for the update!! I'm taking mine in soon. I just have to take care of a couple things before I bring it in
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tritone88 View Post
Final Update: Dealer replaced tank under 150K emissions warranty ($8000). No charge. Problem solved; tank fills with no shut off. Thanks to all who replied!
Did you get any feel as to what was wrong with the fuel tank? And, did you ever call the BAR for guidance?
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:25 PM   #16
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I read on the VW asspats if you "top up"/overfill the tank it causes a hydraulic lock in the charcoal canister which causes the back pressure which stops the fuel filler from filling.
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:40 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jaymemaurice View Post
I read on the VW asspats if you "top up"/overfill the tank it causes a hydraulic lock in the charcoal canister which causes the back pressure which stops the fuel filler from filling.
But is the remedy for that to replace the fuel tank? Seems to me that if you filled the charcoal canister with fuel, then the remedy would be to replace the canister, not the gas tank.
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:51 PM   #18
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I had this problem on my e36 on hot days. I basically filled it up while holding the pump handle half way.

On my e46 now that I'm in jersey I see the guys pumping it while the pump nozzle is upside down and it works
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:52 PM   #19
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I own a 323i and a ranger this is common in the ranger, it's the rubber/boot around the filler neck. It cracks and messes with it. Mines been like that for a while haven't gotten around to replacing it. Might be something similar. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 05-31-2012, 02:03 PM   #20
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just pull the nozzel back 1/2"
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