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Discussion Starter #1
I need some opinions.

I took my car to my local indy BMW shop. Supposedly good reputation, Dinan authorized, 30 years in business, etc. I need some routine stuff done that I didn't want to do (diff fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, ss brake lines).

What started off as preventative maintenance on a car that is running well, has turned into a nightmare. The bill is close to $3K. I think I am being screwed. Here are three examples:
1) "we won't flush your radiator until we can fix this tiny little leak we can see between the water pump and thermostat housing. Flushing it would make the leak worse."

2) I was told the idler pulleys were "shot" and would need to be replaced. The SA said he was surprised they were not making noise. (They were not)

3) When they were replacing pulleys, they noticed that the water pump had a tiny leak. "You need to replace that - it is going to go"

4) "While we are there, we should replace the thermostat as well"

This car has 57K miles. It has been well maintained. I have read this board for a year now. I don't remember reading about idler pulleys and water pumps going bad routinely. Yes, I have heard of thermostats sticking and that is probably good. But, i think I am being had here. Those parts are very expensive, and the labor is hours and hours. The motor has run quietly and smoothly, the coolant level was always at the right level, and I just can't remember seeing a leak when I was under that car and poking around the motor. Was there really something wrong? Are these guys making this stuff up?

Please tell me these problems are not unusual. I will feel better.
 

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Wow, this does sound like a sort of nightmare merry-go-round. I don't know too much about the frequency of the repairs you mention. I can tell you one thing...if your car was under BMW warranty (especially CPO), none of this would probably have been "found" or commented on. Now that of course does not mean that the shop does not know what it is doing and of course all of us here believe in preventive maintenance.

It's a hard situation. It sounds as if you don't really trust the shop, so I'd get my car out of there and bring it to another shop or the dealer for a second opinion. If the shop is legit, they should not mind and even encourage you to do what you need to feel more comfortable.

Good luck and let us know.
 

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I can't tell you if you're being screwed, but I can tell you that all those things you mentioned are normal wear items. The only thing that puts up a red flag for me is the pulleys. While the idler pulleys do go bad, they usually make a high-pitched whine before they become "shot." Also, it is very possible to have a coolant leak and not even know it. It could be just slow enough to evaporate before it hits the ground and your Indy may have saved you from getting stuck somewhere. If you don't yet have a comfortable relationship with your Indy, perhaps you should've asked to see the problems before they did the work. If they balked or got defensive, then you know something's wrong.

PS: While our Beasts are very dependable, given what they are, repairs tend to be MUCH more costly than most cars...
 

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Just a point of reference, on my 01, I had the thermostat replaced at about 58K, my water pump at about 68K along with various belts and hoses. From what I gather, failed water pumps are not that uncommon and it was recommended by my Indy to have it replaced proactively when I got to around 75K since when they do fail, the result can have some serious negative impact on your car. I was fortunate though that this was all covered under my 3rd party warranty since my Indy was able to convince the warranty firm that there was proof that these parts were indeed failing.
 

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2) I was told the idler pulleys were "shot" and would need to be replaced. The SA said he was surprised they were not making noise. (They were not)

Please tell me these problems are not unusual. I will feel better.
The idler pulley usually is shot when you can hear it. If there isn't any noise, I wouldn't worry about it at this point. What I would do is make sure there are no cracks/rips in the accessory belts. My pulleys were fine but I had the belts replaced at 40k. The shop did tell me that the pulleys were making noise, but I didn't hear anything so I didn't replace them.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
I can't tell you if you're being screwed, but I can tell you that all those things you mentioned are normal wear items. The only thing that puts up a red flag for me is the pulleys. While the idler pulleys do go bad, they usually make a high-pitched whine before they become "shot." Also, it is very possible to have a coolant leak and not even know it. It could be just slow enough to evaporate before it hits the ground and your Indy may have saved you from getting stuck somewhere. If you don't yet have a comfortable relationship with your Indy, perhaps you should've asked to see the problems before they did the work. If they balked or got defensive, then you know something's wrong.

PS: While our Beasts are very dependable, given what they are, repairs tend to be MUCH more costly than most cars...
Good points. When I challenged the SA, he said, "you are welcome to come and take a look". Maybe things are OK after all.
 

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As a shop in a business to both perform services on cars and turn a revenue as well, they tend to be overly cautious in recommendations. Most of the time a small leak will constitute them at least making you aware of it. Sometimes you are reluctant to do it immediately since the car is running fine. At least now you know its not on your immediately to-do list ;)
 
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Good points. When I challenged the SA, he said, "you are welcome to come and take a look". Maybe things are OK after all.
You might post up parts cost and labor times to see if you got treated fairly.
Regards,
Jerry
 
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You can always ask them to give you any of the parts which they did replace since its not being replaced under warranty. Tell em to throw the stuff in a box for you.
 

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You can always ask them to give you any of the parts which they did replace since its not being replaced under warranty. Tell em to throw the stuff in a box for you.

This is good advice.

My indie gives me the parts he has replaced as a matter of routine and I trust him because of it.
 
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The prices seem high, but you didn't break it down by hours and parts, etc. However, you know none of the parts prices are cheap, and labor these days isn't either.

Another argument for learning how to do stuff yourself.

Me personally, if I couldn't do this stuff myself - I wouldn't take a chance with the cooling system. One bad incident of overheating and you've just toasted a very expensive engine! Not worth taking a chance.

Michael
 
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Not sure if by the bill being $3k you're saying that the work's already been done, or this is the projected amounted after you give approval. If it's the previous then he has no right to bill you for work you haven't signed off on (trust me, this is the reason I now have two new calipers, two new rotors, and sets of pads for the front). If it's the latter, then posting the cost breakdown will help determine the level of screwdom taking place.
 

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+1...Whenever i get some things done for my car I always end up getting a box of parts in the trunk (that were replaced in car) from [email protected] http://www.bmstuning.com/ ...:thumbsup:

You can always ask them to give you any of the parts which they did replace since its not being replaced under warranty. Tell em to throw the stuff in a box for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update

Thanks for the input guys. I picked up the car today and spent time at the shop handling the broken parts they saved for me and asking lots of questions.

The guys were open, polite, and stayed long to talk to me. The parts did look worn. Maybe not really broken parts, but I am satisfied the money was not wasted and the work was justified.

I argued a little with them on parts prices and they made some concessions. Crown BMW's website is a nice asset for this. I don't disagree with the shop's right to mark parts up to cover their costs, but $469 for a water pump that sells for $226 at crown seemed a little outrageous. They agreed and lowered the charges.

For those who are interested in the breakdown:

Todays work: replace thermostat, gaskets, o-rings, water pump, o-rings, flush and replace coolant, pressure test, replace main and A/C serpentine belt pulleys.

Parts $939
Labor $705

The $2800 is the total I have paid them over the past few weeks for this service and another big one.
 

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As a shop in a business to both perform services on cars and turn a revenue as well, they tend to be overly cautious in recommendations. Most of the time a small leak will constitute them at least making you aware of it. Sometimes you are reluctant to do it immediately since the car is running fine. At least now you know its not on your immediately to-do list ;)
Also keep in mind that they tend to recommend things so that if the car is towed in a week later for something, the customer can't say "Hey, I had my car in here last week and now it's broken again!".

It's just a case of covering their arses.
 

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Also keep in mind that they tend to recommend things so that if the car is towed in a week later for something, the customer can't say "Hey, I had my car in here last week and now it's broken again!".

It's just a case of covering their arses.
+1

Snow: glad you were able to see the worn parts and get a reduction in price. With the pulley replacement did you also have the belts inspected/changed?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
+1

Snow: glad you were able to see the worn parts and get a reduction in price. With the pulley replacement did you also have the belts inspected/changed?
Yes. Belts are in great shape.

As a side note, the guys explained that if the idler pulley seizes, you might get lucky and just get noise. However, they said a few months ago they had a guy with a 540 who had his fan go through the hood when the pulley went bad. His repair bill was $6K.

I don't think I know why the fan would blow apart like that, but I do remember reading similar posts in the past.
 

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However, they said a few months ago they had a guy with a 540 who had his fan go through the hood when the pulley went bad. His repair bill was $6K.
Impossible. There are 4 bolts that connect the pulley to the water pump. And the fan is connected to the pulley (tightened in counter-clockwise fashion). Unless the whole water pump was ripped off, I don't but his story...

BTW a little advice, in the future after hearing your cost and the parts needed, always ask about the shop's warranty on their parts and labor. If you ask after the job is done, they really are not pushing the sale anymore, because they already have your money. But if you ask before-hand they will tend to try to be more generous on warranty(trying to push the business).
 

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same...

Sounds like something I went through with my E46 M3... after it was all over and done with.. I spent well over $8000... granted the car has 89,000 miles on it.
 
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