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Discussion Starter #1
I've been looking at a very nice 1992 3.8 this weekend with relatively low mileage and I'm considering a purchase. The car looks immaculate in every way, but there's something strange with the airbag. The red airbag warning light on the dashboard is lit and according to the owner that's related to the compulsory installation of the aftermarket alarm 4 years ago when the car was imported from Germany.

Apparently the mechanic had to disconnect all kinds of things and when he put it all back together, the airbag light came on. The owner then returned the car, complaining about the warning light, but he was told that as a side effect of the alarm installation the speed governor was disabled, together with the airbag. Re-enabling the airbag was possible, but would also re-enable the speed governor. He then decided he liked the extra speed more than the airbag and kept it.

What makes this already strange story even funnier is that the owner says the car is indeed quicker than before and can reach 265km/h. Of course 265km/h on the speedometer is probably 250km/h in reality, so this doesn't convince me, but what's more is that the third throttling cable that is controlled by the speed governor is still connected.
I didn't get the chance to do a test run with the digital speedometer in the hidden part of the OBC to see if it really exceeds 250km/h.

Anyway, is this story even remotely true?
Is is possible that the speed governor on a 3.8 gets "accidently" disabled while fiddling with the electronics? Is it possible that the same happens to the airbag? And is it possible that these two are related in a way that it's either all or nothing?

:cheers:
Erik
 

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I couldnt really answer your question. However, if it has crashed to the extent where the airbag deployed it should be fairly obvious. Take a real good look underneath the front of the car, and inside the engine compartments and the structure of everything and the wheel wells or wheel liners. If possible, have an independent mechanic check it out and they should be able to tell you as well.
I doubt the airbag light and the speed limiter would have anything to do with each other especially on an older car like that.
I know on the newer BMW's, that you will void the warranty if you hit the speed limiter (the data is stored and at your next service check you will be told). Also supposedly if you launch an smg m3 (turn the switch all the way to power, traction control off, holding both paddles in neutral or 1st i believe and rev), that this will void the warranty after 3 times.
 

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I thought the limiter for these cars was cable operated and therefore would not have anything to do with electrics..

My limiter was removed by undoing the limiter cable and if you search through some other threads, disconnecting the cable is simple enough.

With regards to the airbag light, mine came on a while back. It was caused by a faultly "squib ring" (not sure if i got the name right), but basically a part in the steering column was replaced.

That fixed the airbag light problem.

Hope that helps?
Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #4
redl1nerpm said:
I know on the newer BMW's, that you will void the warranty if you hit the speed limiter (the data is stored and at your next service check you will be told).
They void your warranty if you hit 250? Then why giving these cars so much power? ouich
I'd say that's none of their business. We've already got the police to make sure we drive safely.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
hertfordshire1 said:
I thought the limiter for these cars was cable operated and therefore would not have anything to do with electrics..
I know. That's what makes this such a strange story.
 

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Prutser said:
I know. That's what makes this such a strange story.
Story is the correct term.

I don't beleive a word of it, espicially when bits of that story are not true!

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter #7
redl1nerpm said:
I couldnt really answer your question. However, if it has crashed to the extent where the airbag deployed it should be fairly obvious. Take a real good look underneath the front of the car, and inside the engine compartments and the structure of everything and the wheel wells or wheel liners. If possible, have an independent mechanic check it out and they should be able to tell you as well.
I doubt the airbag light and the speed limiter would have anything to do with each other especially on an older car like that.
I know on the newer BMW's, that you will void the warranty if you hit the speed limiter (the data is stored and at your next service check you will be told). Also supposedly if you launch an smg m3 (turn the switch all the way to power, traction control off, holding both paddles in neutral or 1st i believe and rev), that this will void the warranty after 3 times.
If it was crashed and salvaged then it's most probably resprayed (possible - the car really looks new on the outside). Are there common tricks I could apply to figure out if a car was resprayed?
 

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Hi!!
The speed governor works through a cable, but operation is electronically controlled(speed sensors etc) so obviously there must be a possibility that the governor could be disabled though electronics(though I have never heard it to have been done).
The airbag story could be as simple as when installing the alarm he has disconnected parts of the airbag circuit and had the ignition on, this will make the airbag light blink until the memory is reset at service. So if the car hasn`t been through a service at authorised BMW-garage after the alarm installation the light will blink.
Of course you have to be sure that there isn`t any other reason for the blinking lights.
I`ve never heard of an alarm that requires disabling the airbag . And if he has done this without reconnecting airbag, then he isn`t very good at his job isn`t he?
:wroom:
Sakke
 

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Once reading this, I am sorry but alarm bells are ringing for me.

You say it is a low mileage car, and all that rubbish about an alarm that disconnects the airbag and speed limiter are a bit well, pie in the sky.......

Obviously I don't know the whole facts but what I do know is that if you removed the dashboard or the stearing wheel, to remove the dashboard, then when you put evrything back the airbag light comes on. I have done this when I had to replace the bulbs in my dash board on my e34. Put it back then the airbag light came on. I went to my BMW specialist and he told me it was usual. He put his reset tool on and simply reset the airbag light.

Now if the airbag light is on and the car has low mileage then it looks like someone might have given this car what is known in the trade as a "haircut", i.e. some of the mileage has mysteriously dissapeared. An by the sounds of the explanation given I think this might be the case.

I would get the VIN and ask a dealer to check it. They will be able to tell you when it was last serviced, at what dealer and at what mileage.

Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Amjad Ali said:
Once reading this, I am sorry but alarm bells are ringing for me.

You say it is a low mileage car, and all that rubbish about an alarm that disconnects the airbag and speed limiter are a bit well, pie in the sky.......

Obviously I don't know the whole facts but what I do know is that if you removed the dashboard or the stearing wheel, to remove the dashboard, then when you put evrything back the airbag light comes on. I have done this when I had to replace the bulbs in my dash board on my e34. Put it back then the airbag light came on. I went to my BMW specialist and he told me it was usual. He put his reset tool on and simply reset the airbag light.

Now if the airbag light is on and the car has low mileage then it looks like someone might have given this car what is known in the trade as a "haircut", i.e. some of the mileage has mysteriously dissapeared. An by the sounds of the explanation given I think this might be the case.

I would get the VIN and ask a dealer to check it. They will be able to tell you when it was last serviced, at what dealer and at what mileage.

Cheers
I'm suspicous too, but the mileage seems backed by the car's history that dates back to 1997 when the car was still german. 1992 to 1997 is missing though.
I just called my local dealer and they're not capable of tracing a car through its VIN. The best they can do (they say) is check their own local database to see if the car has ever been serviced there. I'll give it a try at BMW's Dutch importer firm.

What if I let a dealer simply reset the airbag light? Will it come back on if there's really something wrong with the airbag?
 

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Prutser said:
I'm suspicous too, but the mileage seems backed by the car's history that dates back to 1997 when the car was still german. 1992 to 1997 is missing though.
I just called my local dealer and they're not capable of tracing a car through its VIN. The best they can do (they say) is check their own local database to see if the car has ever been serviced there. I'll give it a try at BMW's Dutch importer firm.

What if I let a dealer simply reset the airbag light? Will it come back on if there's really something wrong with the airbag?
Yes, it will come back and additionaly there will be a fault code/message on the dealers machine that could explain what is wrong...

:typing:
Sakke
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
DrSakke said:
Yes, it will come back and additionaly there will be a fault code/message on the dealers machine that could explain what is wrong...

:typing:
Sakke
Good. I'll arrange a dealer visit then :)
 

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Prutser said:
I know. That's what makes this such a strange story.
Hmm, yes well Im not 100% sure if its true either, but a buddy of mine who sells cars at BMW and is their most knowledgable M car salesman told me about it. He said if the car is pretty new and you hit the governer, when you bring your car in for the next service, some code or message will tell them and they can void the warranty. Maybe its not true but he seemed confident that it was.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
redl1nerpm said:
Hmm, yes well Im not 100% sure if its true either, but a buddy of mine who sells cars at BMW and is their most knowledgable M car salesman told me about it. He said if the car is pretty new and you hit the governer, when you bring your car in for the next service, some code or message will tell them and they can void the warranty. Maybe its not true but he seemed confident that it was.
Maybe when you're still running the car in. Beating the crap out of a brandnew engine with no milage can certainly hurt. From that perspective, I think they should also install a chip in every car that records each time the car is pushed to redline while it's still cold. Especially when buying an older car, that would be a figure I'd like to know about!
However, when an engine is warm and properly run-in, I don't see the point of having big brother watching over my shoulder.
 

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If the car is really 'sweet' in all respects as you say; have a professional do an inspection on it, even your local BMW dealer, well worth the £200 in this instance. Could be an excellent buy, would indicate all problems.

Also, if the seller agrees then you are long way to a really good buy?




Prutser said:
Maybe when you're still running the car in. Beating the crap out of a brandnew engine with no milage can certainly hurt. From that perspective, I think they should also install a chip in every car that records each time the car is pushed to redline while it's still cold. Especially when buying an older car, that would be a figure I'd like to know about!
However, when an engine is warm and properly run-in, I don't see the point of having big brother watching over my shoulder.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
yewcorner said:
If the car is really 'sweet' in all respects as you say; have a professional do an inspection on it, even your local BMW dealer, well worth the £200 in this instance. Could be an excellent buy, would indicate all problems.

Also, if the seller agrees then you are long way to a really good buy?
I'm certainly getting a professional inspection if I decide to go ahead with this. I already have a 1992 3.8 and I don't want (can't afford) two of them :) Hence, I'll be looking for someone to buy mine at the same time.. My ebay auction closes this wednesday. Unfortunately there seems to be very little demand at the moment and I haven't had a decent bid yet.

Another thing about the car is that its history indicates that very little stuff has ever been replaced. It still appears to be sitting on its original shocks (no EDC) and clutch. Of course this is a good sign (hopefully hasn't been driven very hard), but everything wears out eventually so it could mean I'm looking at a series of potentially expensive maintenance in the near future. I've had a similar experience with my current 3.8 that is now in pretty good condition with new EDC shocks, springs, gearbox bearings, etc.
 

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Prutser said:
I'm certainly getting a professional inspection if I decide to go ahead with this. I already have a 1992 3.8 and I don't want (can't afford) two of them :) Hence, I'll be looking for someone to buy mine at the same time.. My ebay auction closes this wednesday. Unfortunately there seems to be very little demand at the moment and I haven't had a decent bid yet.

Another thing about the car is that its history indicates that very little stuff has ever been replaced. It still appears to be sitting on its original shocks (no EDC) and clutch. Of course this is a good sign (hopefully hasn't been driven very hard), but everything wears out eventually so it could mean I'm looking at a series of potentially expensive maintenance in the near future. I've had a similar experience with my current 3.8 that is now in pretty good condition with new EDC shocks, springs, gearbox bearings, etc.
So it was your car I saw advertised on autotrader..... BTW, sounds to me like you've just paid all the expensive bits... Why not just keep it?
 

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You should link us to your auction. Might be people here interested in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Stevie said:
So it was your car I saw advertised on autotrader..... BTW, sounds to me like you've just paid all the expensive bits... Why not just keep it?
Mostly because of the mileage of the other car and because it's avus blue with creme leather interior. I've always found that the best combination for the E34. It doesn't have the nurnbergring suspension kit though, so it's a little less firm in corners than my current car.

I'd like a newer, 6-speed even better, but it's nearly impossible to find a pristine one in holland.
 
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