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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'll tell you right up front this story has no specific point. In fact the ending isn't even written yet. But it is fresh in my mind and I know you'll at least relate to the frustration.

My car, for the record, has 90K miles on it. Lately it has been making a few noises - one, a valve-train-speed tick - my diagnosis was a stuck lifter. Also, a jingly-marbley sound on initial acceleration, like a steel ball rolling around in the catalytic converter. Thirdly, I had noticed one of my rear axle seals was leaking (not the first time I've needed one replaced - anyone else have this problem?)

I have the National "Pinnacle" extended warranty, which is probably one of the better ones. But for those of you expecting to purchase an extended warranty, or who have one but haven't used it yet, this will help prepare you for "the way it works" which is in no way, shape or form remotely like the factory warranty.

I brought the car in on May 9, described my complaints in full to the service advisor. I suggested I go for a quick ride with a mechanic to demonstrate the jingly noise, but there was none available. One of the exasperating things about the extended warranty is that I have to commit to a $140 "diagnostic" fee for each complaint. If it turns out to be covered by warranty, the diagnostic fee is covered. If not, however, I have to pay. I've encountered this before, so I wasn't surprised. On the other hand I was pretty confident the ticking (the only "serious" sound), being (I thought) caused by "an internally lubricated part" - would easily be covered.

Day 1: I get a call that afternoon - "We are just getting into your car, we'll have to keep it overnight." I'm used to that. I'm lucky to have a borrowed car for as long as I need it. Otherwise I'm looking at $25/day worth of rental car. Why they make appointments for service they can't perform is beyond me, but it is par for the course, at least at my dealer.

Day 2's phone call - "The rear axle is indeed leaking" (Duh!) - It is covered by the warranty. Yes, the ticking noise sounds like a lifter - we have to open it up to find out. I need you to authorize $1885." I'm not happy about being on the hook to come up with this cash if the warranty company finds a way to wiggle out, but again, I'm reassured it is a lifter problem and, knowing I have never run the car out of oil, I know it isn't my fault. I authorise the tear-down.

Day something (I lost track) "OK, we inspected the lifters and they were all fine. It turned out to be a loose spark plug. So the warranty doesn't cover it. I am out for diagnostic, labor, a new spark plug and boot." "What about the jingly noise?" I inquire. "He says it is the Vanos accumulator. And since it is a noise, not a defect, it isn't covered.". I wonder aloud how it can possibly be the Vanos accumulator but I accept my fate and elect not to spend $500 for a new one.

Today I was told I could pick up the car. I went and did the paperwork, forking over $536.76. Then I asked to speak to a mechanic so he could explain the "accumulator" diagnosis to me. We sit in the car, I make it make the noise (right there in the parking lot) and he agrees - no way it is the Vanos. It is coming from further back on the vehicle. I believe the false diagnosis came from an assumption on their part that I was complaining about the M5's well-known, pre-ignition-like-noise on initial throttle blip, that IS related to the Vanos system. I chose to live with that a long time ago. Of course, I would have described that noise as a pre-ignition-like-noise on initial throttle blip, NOT a jingly-marbely like sound on any physical acceleration or deceleration (which is, in fact, how I described this noise and how the service adviser put it down on the work order.)

I told them there's no way I wasn't happy about paying $140 for a "diagnosis" that defied basic logic - and they had no choice but to agree. They're keeping the car and will re-diagnose the problem.

Meanwhile I lost two hours of my day, and I spent $530 on a freakin' loose spark plug.


:mad: AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!! :grrrrrrr


I guess there is one moral: If you hear ticking that sounds like a stuck lifter, check/tighten your sparkplugs!

P.S.- I think that its about time to shop for a good independent mechanic - if anyone knows of one on the peninsula, S.F. or Santa Rosa area, please let me know.....
 

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Sorry to hear of the frustration...

...but you didn´t have to pay the $1800 for the teardown, did you? That is at least something.

Did the "ticking" sound go away completely when the sparkplug was tightened?

David
 

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****-it that irritating Greg. I had a loose plug in my old e34 525iT, it made more of a metallic knock sound that your ticking sound. Good luck with the other noise. It is frustrating when a SA sits there and listens to you spend 5 minutes explaing a fault, with hand motions, diagrams on napkins etc and then to type in "customer complains of rattle noise". I've gone as far as taking the shop 'hard copy' of the r/o and writing elaborate notes in my own handwriting, which at least lets them know that YOU know what you're trying to explain, and usually gets you a phone call to ask...

Me, i'm still waiting for CSAA to "authorize" my hit and run door repair, after sitting at the body shop since 8am monday (which i reported and informed them of my appointment over a month ago), and me in a dodge durango rental... Funny story (now) i locked the keys in it (the rental) with the engine running, and wipers going, this morning in my driveway... I wondered how long it could idle on 25 gallons of gas, or if it would overheat, or if the wipers would catch on fire from the friction... AAA actually showed up in 15min so no drama...
 

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Just think how you'd be treated if you didn't know the drill...People are just screwed day in and day out.

(Once done, you'll need to let us know if it's tinker bells buddy)

Knock on wood, but I've never had serious issues with the M...with other cars I insist on a drive/discussion with the mechanic. I know, they just wear you down with "sir, we'd be happy to have one drive, but they are all busy"...


Good luck

A
 

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Best of luck with the repairs, I am sure as our cars age there will be many stories to come of un before seen problem. Josh
 

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I'm sorry Greg, if that was me I would be livid beyond all belief. On the plus side, no damage was caused by the loose plug. I had a plus losen up on my old GTI, and the resultant lean condition burned one of the exhaust valves. That was only $1000 is diagnostics and repairs...all for a $4 plug.
I understand why you wanted to tear it down though, as a stuck lifter can cause some problems. Not even to mention getting metal shavings in the oil depending on how badly it was abused. It's just too bad that wasn't the issue. Hopefully the blood pressure will slowly go down, as burst veins do nothing for appearances. :haha:
:cheers:
 

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grrrrrrr

Annoying! Yup, sounds like you are on the right track to go to an independent mechanic who you can trust that knows what he is doing (and you know what he is doing as well!)

"Of course, I would have described that noise as a pre-ignition-like-noise on initial throttle blip, NOT a jingly-marbely like sound on any physical acceleration or deceleration (which is, in fact, how I described this noise and how the service adviser put it down on the work order.)"
 

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Greg,

Sorry to hear your tale of woe. I bought a top-of-the-line extended warranty and the company promptly went belly up. grrrrrrr grrrrrrr

The last 6 months of my ownership, mr car was out of regular warranty. Every time I went to the stealers (that that was very frequent) I had to authorize $180 for diagnostic. It was highway robbery. Unfortunately, my independent mechanic lacks the tools to zero in on the failed parts even with fault codes. It is not his fault, few has the $million set up that allows one to know if its the O2 sensor, or the MAFS sensor that went bad.

I love an M5, but the thought of one not covered by a reasonable warranty (like the original 0-50k miles wararnty) REALLY scares me. To the point that I have now decided that I will not pick up another M5 again. I have yet to hear if the CPO program makes you fork over the diagnostic fees. And many recent threads asking about nagging issues with higher-miles cars did not help matters. These cars are so complicated that in many cases, I have little choice but visit the dealers, and they do not run 'shy' service departments.

It goes beyond money. If I was Bill Gates (and I'm not) I would still be mad. It is the aggrevation and the knowledge that I was taken for a sucker that galls me.

CP
 

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chunpng said:
I have yet to hear if the CPO program makes you fork over the diagnostic fees.
CP
I have a great relationship with my bmw dealership, so my experience may be different. I have not had to pay a diagnostic fee. When i go in for any warranty stuff, i am quoted my $50 co-pay and anything else is dependant on the findings. I try to bundle any problems, since it's a $50 fee per visit, not per problem. I've been pleased with the cpo program. Now it does not cover a lot of electronics, like stereo equipment, nav system etc, but i've modded a lot of that anyway. My dealer has also been pretty good about my mods, although they can't resist occasionally saying "problem might be related to aftermarket parts".

While i had a bunch of issues right after purchasing my car (still under factory warranty), it has been generally reliable (knocking on wood). I can't imagine any other car that can deliver this level of performance, and comfort being any better. Heck, my wife's 05 lexus has had issues, and that car, in my mind, should just be an appliance, get in, drive, occasionally wash and maybe a yearly service!

The problems brought up by this post are typical of an aftermarket warranty program, which is essentially an insurance plan. Like most insurance, the insurer or it's salesman is typically the one who profits... That's why the dealers sell them.
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #11
DavidS said:
Sorry to hear of the frustration...

...but you didn´t have to pay the $1800 for the teardown, did you? That is at least something.

Did the "ticking" sound go away completely when the sparkplug was tightened?

David


I didn't have to pay the $1800.

The ticking sound DID go away. Verified that before I gave it back to them to fix the other noise.

They have now called and told me it was the driveshaft. I can't imaging how a driveshaft can can make such a noise, but that's their problem for now. We'll see what the full story is when I get the car back, hopefully on Monday.
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles, hopefully you get everything squared away soon:sad1:
 

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greg said:
...I would have described that noise as a pre-ignition-like-noise on initial throttle blip, NOT a jingly-marbely like sound on any physical acceleration or deceleration (which is, in fact, how I described this noise and how the service adviser put it down on the work order.)
Good point. I'll have to make sure everything is written exactly as I stated when I bring my car in.

Also, you can schedule an appointment with a loaner if you schedule it about a week or two ahead of time, even with or without a 3rd party warranty. Seems like it's up to your appointment scheduler to grant it. Some will say yes, some no. I always try to be kind to them.

As of now for me, with 3rd party warranty, it's not the dealer I'm worried about, but the warranty company. I assume the dealer doesn't care who pays them, whereas with the factory warranty BMW takes the hit. It's all speculation as of now, until I bring my car in and experience 3rd party service for myself.

Fortunately, I have a long list of electronic glitches that can be diagnosed with the GT1. Unfortunately, 4 of my 5 electronic glitches are intermitted and I'm afraid they might not show up on the GT1. I will have to request for a copy of the GT1 report just in case of future problems. It seems that mechanical problems are harder to prove coverage.

Other good points, I will also have to make sure everything is resolved before I take it home so that I don't have to pay the per visit deductible.

I'm thinking about carrying around a camcorder to catch my intermitted electronic glitches so that I don't have to duplicate the glitches before I bring it in.
 

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a_ok2me said:
I'm thinking about carrying around a camcorder to catch my intermitted electronic glitches so that I don't have to duplicate the glitches before I bring it in.
An exceptional idea-

I had my wife's little point and shoot digital in the car when the Nav became possessed. Just took the camera and shot a 2 minute MPEG...

The radio was turning on and off, switching from tape to cd to AM to FM, and the tape door was opeing and closing- best decription was possessed.

Went in to the dealer and said "Something wrong with the nav", SA gives me "The Look". (You know, the veneer of concern overlying total indifference, contempt and derision). He says, "Oh, what's wrong"

I said let's open my laptop so you and the tech can witness it. They watch it, and the tech says "prolly need to replace the nav computer, we'll take care of it"

Point is, without the Mpeg I would have received "Navigation and radio working properly at this time".

A
 

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ard said:
...Point is, without the Mpeg I would have received "Navigation and radio working properly at this time".

A
Exactly! I've had that trick pulled on me with my 528i while it was under factory warranty. After the warranty expired, I had an idependent GT1 test done with a report that gave a billion faults! I had the seat back fall from me while I was driving and I could not lift it back up. Definitely a saftey issue. The owner's manual said to contact the US Department of Trans for safety issues like this. I still need to do this.
 

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chunpng said:
It is the aggrevation and the knowledge that I was taken for a sucker that galls me.

CP
I can relate to that...

David
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Re: A Tale of Extended Warranty, High Blood Pressure and Woe - happy ending

Well, I got the car back today. The jingly noise was somehow related to the driveshaft, which was "failing internally", whatever that means. I know the driveshaft has a U-joint at one end, a CV joint at the other and a center bearing. I do NOT know which parts are included with the "driveshaft" - the only part listed on the repair order besides some butyl tape and one nut and bolt.

I just can't imagine how a heavy piece of metal could have made such a light noise - but it just goes to show mechanical noises in complex devices can be extremely deceptive. I wouldn't have suspected the driveshaft in a million years - my best guess was a loose piece of metal inside a catalytic converter.

In any case, the repair was $630 labor and $723.11 in parts+tax - and the extended warranty covered it all. The dealer refunded the $140 diagnostic fee I had already paid, reducing the cost of my loose spark plug to just under $400. BTW, the axle shaft seal parts and labor were worth $357, so this visit alone was $1710 worth of repairs that were covered by the extended warranty. Add to that a camshaft position sensor failure a few months back, and the warranty has more than paid for itself.

So - aside from the aggravation of bad diagnosis, and the stress of committing to a bunch of repair $$ that I ultimately didn't have to spend, the story ends pretty well.

On the other hand I've been using a borrowed Lexus LS400 with 130,000 miles on the clock, and it still runs great, and it has never needed a repair beyond basic maintenance. Makes you think....
 

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Re: A Tale of Extended Warranty, High Blood Pressure and Woe - happy ending

greg said:
...So - aside from the aggravation of bad diagnosis, and the stress of committing to a bunch of repair $$ that I ultimately didn't have to spend, the story ends pretty well...
Very good news. I'm surprise you got the refund for the diagnostic. My warranty has a $200 deductible, which basically equates to the diagnostic + tax.
 

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Greg,
Glad to see you survived your ordeal!!!!



mottati said:
I have a great relationship with my bmw dealership, so my experience may be different. I have not had to pay a diagnostic fee. When i go in for any warranty stuff, i am quoted my $50 co-pay and anything else is dependant on the findings. I try to bundle any problems, since it's a $50 fee per visit, not per problem. I've been pleased with the cpo program. Now it does not cover a lot of electronics, like stereo equipment, nav system etc, but i've modded a lot of that anyway. My dealer has also been pretty good about my mods, although they can't resist occasionally saying "problem might be related to aftermarket parts".

While i had a bunch of issues right after purchasing my car (still under factory warranty), it has been generally reliable (knocking on wood). I can't imagine any other car that can deliver this level of performance, and comfort being any better. Heck, my wife's 05 lexus has had issues, and that car, in my mind, should just be an appliance, get in, drive, occasionally wash and maybe a yearly service!

The problems brought up by this post are typical of an aftermarket warranty program, which is essentially an insurance plan. Like most insurance, the insurer or it's salesman is typically the one who profits... That's why the dealers sell them.
Mike
Mike,
I'm hoping my dealership would handle a BMW extended warranty the same as they would a CPO one. I have a CPO warranty on my M Coupe, but have never had to use it. I do have a good, trusting relationship with my service department at my dealership though.

My concern is I have literally about 600 miles (about 2 weeks) to decide on whether to buy the BMW extended warranty or not--And I'm still on the fence!! Maybe I should just do the old coin flip or rock, paper deal!!
Anita
 
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