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I am a new owner of a M5 and a new member of these boards. This is a story of my adventure with my recent acquisition and the attempts to pass emissions test in order that I could register it in Virginia. For those not interested in reading a long tale, here is the spoiler: Mice had their way with my fuel diagnostic system and thus preventing the car from passing an emissions test.

Dec. 31, 2010 - I purchase a 2001 M5 with only 48k miles on it. My dream car. I am one happy boy. During the test drive and during the drive home, I notice an error message but I can't decipher it, because, as many owners here know, there are too many dead pixels to know what the hell it says.

One of the very first things I did after I the car was home was to take out the instrustment cluster and send in it for repair. That took 1.5 weeks. Once fixed and back in the car, the message was clear as day: CHECK FILLER CAP. My first thought was the fuel cap isn't on tight enough and/or the computer hasn't reset yet. Regardless, the SES light isn't coming on at all. I feel comfortable enough to take the car to a local shop for an state inspection and emissions test. The car passes the inspection but fails emissions because of the filler cap code left in the computer.

My next thought is the fuel cap has gone bad, so I order a new cap from Bavarian Auto. Once it arrives, I promptly put it in. This does not solve the problem. The message will only display after I have started the car and begin to drive. At no other point does the error message occur. Perplexed, I bite the bullet and take the car to a local and reputable shop. They immediately start talking about hoses and pumps and canisters that have nothing to do with the actual fuel delivery system. My eyes begin to glaze over and I feel like crawling under a table folding myself into a fetal position. Are they just filling my ears with nonsense or being honest?

The first call from them: They hooked the car to a computer attempting to engage the fuel diagnostic pump - no dice. WTF is a fuel diagnostic pump? After some searching around the inter-webs, I found out it is part of the emissions system and the pump tests the fuel lines/tank for any leaks. This is how the CHECK FILLER CAP error message was coming on. I asked the shop to did in further.

The second call starts like this: Do you have a problem with mice?

This is not the first thing you expect to hear from your mechanic. While the shop tech didn't actually find any mouse corpses, he did find evidence of a nest built ON TOP of the fuel tank. Upon further inspection, the mice had chewed through the Vent hose (#9) and also disabling the fuel diagnostic pump (#12). (Realoem.com->Fuel Supply->Ventilation) When I had finally picked up the M, I spoke with the mechanic who worked on my car and I pulled out my laptop with the webpage up (yes, I'm a geek) and I asked him to point out the parts.

After all the repairs were complete, no more error message, and the car finally passed the emissions test.

Here is what I think happened: as I am the second owner of the car, I have reason to believe the previous owner had kept the M as a garage queen, where she spent much of her time. Mice, looking for a habitat to make even more mice, happened upon this out of the way, dark nook that doesn't move much, even if it smells like gasoline. Either papa mouse or momma mouse must have gnawed on the vent hose, because we all know how yummy rubber hose is. When the car finally did move, the mice scurried as only mice can, but the vent hose was now open to the environment, sucking in dirt, mouse s**t, and/or moisture - a holy trifeca of motor badness.

When I first noticed the filler cap message, I came here first, searched (like a good noob poster), and didn't find anything like this, so I decided to share.

FYI: The mechanics in the shop also informed me mice HATE the smell of Irish Spring soap and recommended if I was going to store the beast in a garage that could be full of furry critters to cut up a bar and place in various locations in the car. Who knew?
 

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Excellent detective work! Glad to hear you got it sorted and appreciate you sharing. Funny about the Irish Spring thing...I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand the smell. Heh.
 

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Guy in Herndon area had a Green M5 for sale. Apparently the mice got inside under the console and chewed up some of the airbag wiring causing an airbag fault to show up.

I recently did some work for someone with a Nitendo Wii in a home theater system that did not work correctly. The IR sensor bar was not working. When I went to install the new IR sensor bar, I found mice had chewed up the wire! I figured this out once I found the mice droppings after looking around closely!

Anyway, cars that sit are real magnets for mice, chipmunks & squirrels. These rodents need to chew to keep their teeth from growing too long. They also gather foam and other material for nests. What a mess they can make!

Chock one up for another mouse story.
 
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