Originally Posted by BNagy330ci
BMW Blew Up My Engine Nightmare
On the morning of April 2nd, 2013 at approximately 9:20am, I took my 2005 BMW x5 4.8is SUV to BMW Northwest in Fife Washington for a routine oil change service.
After about 45minutes I noticed them take my vehicle away for the multi-point inspection. After an additional 10 minutes they came back and pulled my vehicle into the shop to begin the oil change.
After approximately one hour, I was notified by the service advisor that there was a problem with the oil pumping unit that injects new oil into engines during servicing. The machine had shut off unexpectedly and there would be a delay, as they needed to turn pump back on, finish the oil change and have my vehicle washed.
After another 30 minutes I watched as they backed my vehicle out of the shop and I couldn’t help but notice blue smoke that billowed out of my exhaust before my SUV disappeared around the end of the building. About 45-60 minutes later, the service advisor notified me that he needed to put me into a loaner car because the technician had accidentally overfilled my engine with an excessive amount of oil and that they needed to drain the overfilled engine, and refill the oil to the recommended level. He checked me into a loaner car and I headed home, somewhat confused about why it would take so long to simply re-fill my oil.
At 4:00pm, after not hearing from the dealership all day, I contacted the service advisor who informed me that the technician was still working on my vehicle. He also informed me that they have drained and refilled the oil to the proper level, however when the technician turned over the engine my vehicle made a really “nasty” noise. He told me that the tech was going to run a few tests, pull the plugs and he would call me back soon. Just after 5:00pm the service advisor contacted me with the horrifying news that they had pulled the plugs and turned over the engine again and it was making a lot of rattling and clinging inside the engine so the technician immediately turned off the ignition. The technician then pulled the belt to turn the engine manually and discovered that the entire lower half of the engine was seized. The service advisor apologized numerous times about the situation, and promised that BMW Northwest would make it right, even if that meant replacing the engine.
On April 3rd, 2013 I received a call at work around 10:30am from the BMW Northwest service manager, Ingell Pallumbi, who apologized for the terrible mistake and inconvenience, and told me that the loaner car, a 2013 328i coupe, was mine to drive until this situation is resolved. He stated that he needed to contact their insurance company and open a claim on this crisis in order to fix it. He told me to just keep filling up the tank on the car and he will make good on this issue, again apologizing greatly.
On April 5th, 2013 at about 11:00am I received a phone call from the service manager with the news I never would have expected; the insurance company had made a decision to TOTAL my new/used vehicle, and offer me a ridiculously low cash settlement of $23,000.
ABOUT MY VEHICLE: I had just recently purchased the vehicle seven months back, in August of 2012, for $28,500, and then invested nearly $3500 in upgrades. The vehicle is rare, and a one of a kind, and it had only 45k miles on it at that time. It is NOT a standard X5, this one had the late 2005 larger motor, a 4.8is. The 4.8is was offered for less than 2 years in select models. This was the largest engine produced for the x5 with race car like horse power and torque that no SUV had in it class could match. This vehicle was also offered with 4 corner self-leveling airbag suspension for ultimate ride comfort. Along with the rare mechanics of the vehicle it is fully loaded with every option available making this SUV stand out from the competition.
Due to the insurance companies LOW offer, I refused to accept my vehicle as totaled, so I sent supporting documentation in the tune of over 50 pages to support a much higher value, and the insurance company then agreed that the vehicle was worth repairing, and agreed to rebuild or replace the motor.
They disclosed that they were rating my vehicle based off the blue book trade in value of $19,900 when the cost of the engine was $24,000. After a quick look on the internet to see the market price of my vehicle in similar condition proved that my vehicle cost and is worth much more than the $19,900 that she quoted me. For example, a 2006 x5 4.8is with 100k miles was selling for $23,000. A 2005 x5 4.8is with 120k miles is selling for $19,750. A 2006 x5 4.8is with 70k miles is selling for $26,000. These prices are based on supply and demand. The fact is that there are very few in existence. These SUVs are favored with a large fan base, which I am one of, that is trying to get their hands on them. Once we were able to prove the FAIR market of my SUV, I then provided supporting documentation of the amount of money that I invested in it to bring it up to a top notch personalized car of my dreams which amounted to the tune of $3500 in upgrades which included the replacement of my entire suspension to brand new with lifetime warranty (due to BMWs Air Suspension having chronic problems with users).
After all the documents were provided and proved, the insurance company pulled back their claim to total my and then decided on plan B, which is to replace my motor with a used motor. After searching online they found the alternative was to replace my engine with a used motor from a junk yard in Texas called Ronda Auto Parts. This early in the game we chose to accept the offer for an engine with 47k miles on it. BMW Northwest sent Ronda Auto Parts a check for the cost of the engine which covered all the costs to expedite shipping. After the deal was made I chose to contact the yard in Texas and check up on the engine that we have ordered which includes running the VIN number on CARFAX to find out the vehicle history. When I called down to Ronda Auto Parts I inquired on the engine that was purchased from BMW Northwest and they confirmed it. They then gave me the VIN upon request. After I ran the VIN number that they gave me it appeared that they gave me a VIN for a motor out of Washington (the state in which I live) that had the last odometer reading of 98k miles and failed emissions twice.
I immediately called back in thoughts that this was an error and I could not get ahold of them. After emails, text messaging and voicemail messages they did not call me back. I waited until the following day and made the call once again. This time I got through to someone and began to confirm the correct VIN number. Their reply was, “that is the correct VIN number,” I explained that the engine we ordered was supposed to come out of Texas, not Washington. The employee began to tell me that they found one in Washington because it would cost too much to ship the engine we ordered to Washington, so they were going to drop ship one, I explained that I will not accept any engine other than the one we ordered. (The employee began talking to someone in the background) He then told me, “Have the person who ordered the motor call us, we cannot give out any information to anyone other than the person who ordered the engine.” He then ended the call. I then contacted the service manager at BMW Northwest to fill him in on what took place with my phone call. The service manager assured me that he will get to the bottom of it. 20 minutes later I received a phone call from the service manager telling me that the engine is being shipped from Texas as originally planned and that he wasn’t sure who I spoke with or if what they were telling me was valid. Again he told me to rest assure that everything is fine and to trust him because he’s been doing this for a long time.
With a pit in my stomach, I decided to make a trip down to BMW Northwest and speak with the service manager face to face. I explain to him that he is being manipulated by the supplier, and he needs to get to the bottom of it now and find out why I was given false information and request documentation on the shipping location and tracking number. By doing so the service manager made the call down to the Ronda Auto Parts and requested the information. At that time the service manager had to hold the phone away from his ear as the employee on the other end of the line was yelling into the phone in frustration. The employee began saying that I the owner is making problems by contacting them for information. After defending my right to ask and request information the service manager repeatedly asked the employee or supervisor where the engine is coming from and finally got an answer of California. The service manager began asking the employee why he is being sent a different engine when he had paperwork proving the purchase for an engine out of Texas. The employee mentioned to the service manager that the cost of shipping was too steep so they are sending an engine from California. The service manager explained that they paid the full amount to cover all costs to get the engine but the service manager accepted the engine from California. I tried to deny the engine but the service manager gave us the impression to trust him once again. He also stated that if the engine does not look in good shape he will return the engine. He told me that this isn’t his first ball game and these are baby steps to getting a new engine. At this point, I requested that no engine is to go into my vehicle without proper documentation with a VIN number attached and records showing the vehicle history and mileage, the service manager agreed.
Two weeks later the engine arrived with no markings, no documentation and no information as to whether or not it was a good, bad, used, new, or a stolen motor. Due to the facts surrounding the motor, we rejected it, and would not agree to have it installed. BMW Northwest then tried to return the motor to the place that they purchased it and the company would not accept a return and would not refund BMW’s money. That engine is now sitting at BMW collecting dust. It was back to the drawing board, and I requested that BMW simply rebuild my motor. Once again they turned to the insurance company to request funds to do the job.
After 3 weeks of waiting for the insurance company to do the paper work on this issue they gave BMW Northwest the amount they were willing to pay for a rebuild. BMW came back to me with 2 options, either I pay $1750 to have BMW Northwest rebuild my motor with a 2 year warranty in which they are meeting me half way from the price of $3500 that the insurance company would not cover, or, I allow them to remove my motor and have it sent down to Bavarian Auto Recycling in California for a total engine overhaul with no money out of pocket and a 5 year portable warranty based on information printed on the company’s web page.
I agreed to have my engine rebuilt in California, as I could not afford to pay the $1750 for them to rebuild the motor. (It is ridiculous enough that I went in for a $100 oil change and they would even ask for $1750 out of my pocket to fix their mistake.) I was promised a maximum 3 week turn around including engine shipped and engine received. The Insurance Company said that this company comes highly recommended and they do fast work with minimal turnaround time.
Plan C is underway and I couldn’t help but remember hearing something about that company’s horrible customer service from the forums that I attend. I did a little research and learned that they are the worst at keeping their word and making deadlines. I chose to make a call down there to check on their rebuilding options and the amount of time they claim it takes to rebuild an engine. The employee stated that they no longer offer rebuilds and they shut down their rebuilding portion of the company. Again I went back to the forums and read that they are liquidating and selling off their equipment and are closing the doors on their rebuilding department. I contacted the Service manager and explained my new found information and again I was told not to worry. He explained his years of being a service manager and that he has it all under control. The Service manager explained that this company comes highly recommended by the insurance company and they are used all the time.
I contacted the service manager later that week and checked to see if my engine was shipped. I was informed that my car has now been put on the back burner because during this process another car came into the shop with engine problems (probably under warranty) and was taking up the engine lift bay, so as soon as they are done with that car they will lift my car and remove the engine. After three weeks the car was finished and they informed me that they are moving forward on the engine removal.
On 6/10/2013 I was contacted by the service manager who proved my claims to be correct. After my engine was pulled and they had it on a pallet ready to ship out, BMW learned that the company changed their terms on the rebuild and wouldn’t have the engine back for 3 months minimum. Frustrated while talking to the service manager, he gave me another option which is to receive a used motor, and do an engine swap without a warranty. At this point, that offer was completely unacceptable.
At this point it had only been two months since the engine seizing oil change.
Here is a quick recap of the situation:
1. I took my nearly new SUV in for an oil change, and they seize my engine.
2. The Insurance Company tried to total my SUV with a cash settlement that was less than what I owed so I had to prove the value of the SUV to prevent them from totaling it. The insurance company pulled back their total claim and decided to pay for a used engine out of Texas
3. We order the engine with a 90 day warranty and the company pulled a bait-and-switch to save money and make out on the deal. After I caught them red handed I am now receiving an engine from California. The engine arrived with no markings or information.
4. I reject the motor so in return BMW tries to send the engine back to get their money back but the company in Texas refuses the refund.
5. BMW sends in a quote to the insurance company to rebuild my motor and the insurance company spends 3 weeks deciding the value and worth.
6. BMW then asks me to cough up $1750 to have them fix their mistake for a 2 year warrantied rebuilt engine by BMW Northwest. After I refuse the pay out they give me the option to send the engine to California for a total engine overhaul with a 3 week turnaround and a 5 year portable warranty.
7. After I accept the deal, my car sits for an additional 3 weeks while another car has moved in front of mine on the engine lift bay.
8. BMW finally preps my vehicle and removes the engine and gets it ready to ship when the company changes their terms and informs BMW that the job will take 90 days minimum to complete.
9. BMW cancels the rebuild and offers me another used motor.
On 6/11/2013 after a long talk with the service manager explaining that I refuse to take a step backwards in this process and that the bottom line was that I want a brand new motor, he completely agreed. He found two brand new factory remanufactured engines left in the entire database, one in the USA and one in Germany. He tried to get his hands on the one located in the USA and that plan failed. He the attempted to get the one in Germany and that plan was successful. He promised us that the engine will be shipping out on the 17th of June 2013 and should take a couple weeks. After a few of weeks passed we still did not have the engine.
Just before the 4th of July, I contacted the service manager and asked for an update on the progress of my engine, he said that they still have not received it and that there was an issue with customs and that he has several parts on order for several vehicles that are delayed due to this, but it should be shipping out soon and that he would update me after the holiday. He also offered to do other work on my car while it was there so I took him up on the offer. I did want to replace a part and he quoted me for the job. After a bit of prying for him to lower his price and match another shops price he asked that I provide a statement of the quote. I e-mailed him a statement and awaited his reply.
On 7/9/2013 I hadn’t received any update on the situation or an e-mail back. I called down to BMW and asked for the service manager by name and I was told that he no longer works there (but they will not tell me where he went or why he changed position, if that is really what happened) and that there is a new service manager to take his place; would I like to speak with him? I got on the phone with the new service manager Kyle Canalizo and introduced myself and explained who I am. The new service manager seemed to be up to speed on the situation and explained to me that they are doing everything they can to locate the engine and get it shipped to their shop as soon as possible. I brought up the conversation that I had with the previous service manager about replacing a part for a specific price and he told me to bring it in and he would take care of it.
On July 10th 2013 I showed up unannounced to drop off the part that I would like replaced and asked for the service manager. After a minute the new service manager Kyle came out and introduced himself. I asked the service manager if I could see my SUV and he replied, absolutely. I then asked him where it was and he turned to one of his techs and asked him where they put it (for whatever reason the “service manager” didn’t know where my SUV was). The tech explained that it was at the end of the shop outside. We walked through the shop toward the very end which is outside on the street side against the wall (I was under the impression throughout this whole ordeal that my SUV was parked inside protected from the elements). I walked around my SUV to notice that it still hasn’t been washed and that it has had the blistering summer heat on it every day. I also couldn’t help but notice the tire on the front right was completely flat with the rim touching the ground. When I asked the service manager why my tire was flat, the tech jumped in and said that they have been pumping it up and it keeps going flat. I asked why I wasn’t contacted about this issue and bee made aware and the tech did not have an answer (when I brought my SUV in for the oil change the tires did not have any issues).
The service manager and I spoke for a little while about the engine issue and he explained to me that BMW AG in Germany had to get the engine shipped to them and then have it shipped here to the USA and it needed to go through customs which can take some time especially because their “systems” have been having issues. (Now, what I do not understand is how a company like BMW who ships products in and out of the USA and Germany daily is having such a hard time locating and shipping my engine. Not to mention that they deal with customs so regularly, why is this becoming an issue now?) After I finished the conversation with the service manager about the engine, I made a comment, “now you know I expect my SUV to be fully washed waxed and detailed when I get it back, right?” The service manager told me, “don’t worry, you will be getting all kinds of goodies.” “At the end of this you will come out smelling rosy.”
Throughout that day I couldn’t help but be concerned about the flat tire I had. I have been planning a trip to eastern Washington which is about a 4 hour drive and now I have been made aware that I need new tires. I expressed my concerns to the service manager about the tire and read that flat tires can develop bulging walls from the rim pressing down on the tire along with flat spots from sitting for extended periods of time. If there was anything I could do about fixing a leak in the tire, I can’t anymore because the tire was ruined. I requested that the service manager come up with a solution on the matter and he said he would replace that tire free of charge, but only that tire (that means I would have two completely different tires on my SUV which would contribute to uneven wear, I know this, and I’m not an expert). He then explained to me that because I have chrome rims, they do deteriorate over time causing pits that promote leaking (bare-in-mind that these are factory rims). He quoted me for the same rims in silver not chrome for $600 each for the back and $500 each for the front, not including tires. I was then able to work out a deal with the Service manager who gave me a deal on a package of wheels and tires for $1400 as a good faith compensation for all my troubles.
Four months have now passed and I have not had my SUV for all of spring and now almost all of summer. The service manager again tried to get me to consider a total offer for my vehicle after all this because he can’t get any answers from the people above him. It is clear to me that he apparently hasn’t read the notes from the previous service manager who had already tried to go in that direction. He informed me of his contact out at BMW NA named Nick who is helping to deal with this issue has yet to have any answers for him. In the meantime I am again left completely in the dark and I am waiting on a hope and a prayer that we can get answers soon. I have contacted the BMW customer relations case manager Nancy McDonald and she still has no answers for me other than “At this time it looks like the service manager out at BMW Northwest is doing everything he can to take care of this situation and if she hears anything [I] will be contacted.” Throughout this entire process I have never been contacted for and update. My situation has taken the back seat and I have had to put forth all the effort to get answers and push the situation forward. I have spent countless hours speaking to the insurance company myself just to get a fair say in the events that have taken place. BMW would not even open my engine until they had funds to support the job even though it was their mistake.
My last 4 cars have been BMW’s and I come from a family that owns BMW’s. It is very upsetting that I am left asking myself many the following questions:
• Why does a car with the reputation of the ultimate driving machine have the worst customer service? (not relating to the personality of the employees)
• Why have I invested 8 years driving these cars with the impression that a luxury car company would stand behind their work and products to find that the company only cares about not losing money instead of how to make a customer happy?
• Why does BMW turn to their insurance company for answers instead of making customer service related decisions?
• Why didn’t they open up my engine immediately to find out the problem instead of waiting for the insurance company to come forward with money?
• Why is BMW getting paid to perform a job by the insurance company instead of absorbing this mistake?
• Why do I feel that if I didn’t contact the dealership for an update then I would never be contacted?
• Why do I find that I am the inconvenience here and that every time I spoke with the service manager he would end the conversation with, Trust me, I want your car out of my shop?
• Last, what incentive do I, my friends, my family, or the 10,000+ followers on local and international forums have to ever purchase another BMW or recommend this BMW brand to friends and family in the future when this nightmare has never had a positive turn of events?