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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Summary: Can catastrophic engine damage be caused by seemingly minor collision damage ?

Recently, my 2006 M5 E60 was parked in a street when a transit van crashed into it :rolleyes:

I didn't witness the incident and I don't know how fast the van was going but the collision was loud enough for my neighbours to come out of their houses to see what had happened.

There was visible damage to the front-right wing / wheel-arch and, if I'm honest, it didn't look too bad ... a bit of a crunch but it seemed to me to be cosmetic and certainly repairable with a replacement panel or two. HOWEVER, when I got in to drive it so see if the front wheels could turn without touching the caved-in wheel-arch, I got a warning message:

Engine Oil Pressure too -
- Engine oil pressure too low
- Engine damage possible
- Stop engine. It is not possible to continue your journey

I stopped the car immediately and the car was transported (flatbed truck) to my local BMW dealer for repair.

Although the 3rd party's insurance company has accepted liability for the accident and has authorized repair of the bodywork, they claim that the engine issue is an unrelated mechanical fault (having apparently been advised this by an independent engineer) ... but the facts are:

  • the car was running perfectly before the accident;
  • the car is religiously maintained by BMW;
  • I had an oil service 3 months before the accident and there were no issues reported;
  • I've covered 1k miles since the last oil service (a combination of motorway and town driving but absolutely no racing or red-lining);
  • No advisory messages before the accident (proved by diagnostics)
BMW recorded the car as a "non starter" to prevent people starting it up and potentially causing more damage, though I understand one of the engineers did start it and immediately switched it off again as he said it "sounded like a bag of spanners".

BMW have carried out some preliminary investigations - which included draining and replacing the oil. When they checked the new oil, they found that it contained metal fragments and have said they need to either strip the engine to find the source of the problem .... or replace it. It doesn't sound good.

The 3rd party insurer is refusing to pay for anything other than the bodywork repair - maintaining that this is an unrelated engine issue.

I can prove that the car is religiously maintained, full BMW service history (of course!), recent oil change and, from the diagnostics, I can also prove that there were no advisories before the accident ... but if the independent engineer deems the engine issue to be unrelated, I don't know what I can do - other than pay for an engineer myself to challenge their engineer.

Can anyone on here speculate as to how a minor collision to the front-right wing could cause engine trouble ?

Any advice would be very, very well received. I have always maintained this car without compromise but I'm not sure my pockets are deep enough to pay out for a new engine if that's what's required :crying2:

I hope to hear some encouraging words from someone ........... please !!

Thank you :)

PS: it's a UK car, right-hand-drive but I don't know if this means it is arranged any differently under the hood.
 

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Honestly from the way you've described the "minor" accident, if any engine damage can result. Also "catastrophic" is a pretty strong word and I'm almost certain nothing of that nature would result from a minor accident. The weird thing is you're experiencing all these engine malfunctions after the accident, which could be coincidence, but I cannot be certain. Replacing an engine due to an accident is pretty severe and almost would mean your car was totaled. Obviously it wasn't. I'm still scratching my head...

Dan
 

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Did you check to see if any oil had leaked where it was parked? Any leaking inside the engine compartment? Does not sound like the impact could've damaged the engine....

Edit: "sounded like a bag of spanners"......do these folks work on many S85's? They all sound like this on start up....
 

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From what people have said on this board. If this car is in gear, it cannot be forcibly rolled backwards otherwise damage to the vanos pump can occur. This might even be in the manual. Was it hit from the front forcing it backwards?


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This.

Broken VANOS pump teeth. I love "engineers" who have no idea how the engine works. This is the reason TIS specifies the vehicle can not be towed unless in neutral. Since the main oil pump is driven by the VANOS pump via chain, no VANOS pump motion = no oil pump motion = bag of spanners.
 

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This.



Broken VANOS pump teeth. I love "engineers" who have no idea how the engine works. This is the reason TIS specifies the vehicle can not be towed unless in neutral. Since the main oil pump is driven by the VANOS pump via chain, no VANOS pump motion = no oil pump motion = bag of spanners.

But why does the vanos pump get damaged from rotating in the wrong direction? I remember your rebuild with detailed pics and the pump and sprocket looked like straightforward gearing which I would think would work in either direction?


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But why does the vanos pump get damaged from rotating in the wrong direction? I remember your rebuild with detailed pics and the pump and sprocket looked like straightforward gearing which I would think would work in either direction?


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I believe its due to the hydraulic lock. I believe there is a check valve internal to the VANOS pump on the inlet that prevents back-leakage of high pressure oil into the main oil pump which feeds it.
 
T

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Is it your oil pressure sensor under the passenger headlight that is in the oil filter housing? I have seen many fail this way from accidents


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Depending on how hard the impact was and if it did roll then I can see it causing more damage that what the naked eye can see. As you were not there then it's hard to tell how hard of an impact it was.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for your replies so far.

The car was definitely in 'Drive' and was hit from the front and *was* shunted backwards - not much, maybe 50cm (see pic - I was parked inside the bay before the shunt).

The van that hit it left a big black mark (from its bumper presumably) on the front bumper - between the front-right wheel arch and the front-right parking sensor, directly under headlight as it wraps round to the side of the car (again - see pics).

I didn't notice any oil leakage and BMW have said there were no visible signs of leakage in the engine bay.

I used the word 'catastrophic' engine failure because the BMW engineers say they won't start the car after again hearing what it sounded like until they've stripped it down.

When the car was put on the truck to transport it for repair, it was driven on (slowly) .. I don't know if any further damage was done at this point ?

The BMW engineer confirmed that the oil pressure sensor is just on the other side of the bit that was hit on the front-right (which is driver's side as I'm in the UK with right-hand drive); this could explain why the sensor was activated, but would not explain why the engine now seems to be damaged - as apparently evidenced by the metal fragments in the oil and by the noise that it makes on start-up.

So .. are we saying that if it was forcibly moved backwards when in Drive (which it was), there's a real possibility that damage would have been caused to the VANOS ?

i.e. as jcolley put it, "since the main oil pump is driven by the VANOS pump chain, no VANOS pump = no oil pump motion = bag of spanners".

If this is the case, I'll put this to the BMW "MasterTech" guy and see what he thinks.

Thanks all for your help so far ... I'd welcome any more advice or wisdom :)

Links to photos here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i7o03el6h7gv47q/photo%201.JPG?m=

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tkdraluo401vo8c/photo 2.JPG?m=

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ae99w69vjdg0ox/photo 3.JPG?m=

https://www.dropbox.com/s/opsi1r0so7mf9tw/photo%204.JPG?m=
 

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Wow, sorry to hear about all of this man. I hope you're able to get the insurance company to accept liability.

This does make me think twice about leaving my car in gear though. I think I'll be leaving mine in neutral from now on, losing my engine due to a small accident doesn't sound like fun.
 

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Thanks for your replies so far.

The car was definitely in 'Drive' and was hit from the front and *was* shunted backwards - not much, maybe 50cm (see pic - I was parked inside the bay before the shunt).

The van that hit it left a big black mark (from its bumper presumably) on the front bumper - between the front-right wheel arch and the front-right parking sensor, directly under headlight as it wraps round to the side of the car (again - see pics).

I didn't notice any oil leakage and BMW have said there were no visible signs of leakage in the engine bay.

I used the word 'catastrophic' engine failure because the BMW engineers say they won't start the car after again hearing what it sounded like until they've stripped it down.

When the car was put on the truck to transport it for repair, it was driven on (slowly) .. I don't know if any further damage was done at this point ?

The BMW engineer confirmed that the oil pressure sensor is just on the other side of the bit that was hit on the front-right (which is driver's side as I'm in the UK with right-hand drive); this could explain why the sensor was activated, but would not explain why the engine now seems to be damaged - as apparently evidenced by the metal fragments in the oil and by the noise that it makes on start-up.

So .. are we saying that if it was forcibly moved backwards when in Drive (which it was), there's a real possibility that damage would have been caused to the VANOS ?

i.e. as jcolley put it, "since the main oil pump is driven by the VANOS pump chain, no VANOS pump = no oil pump motion = bag of spanners".

If this is the case, I'll put this to the BMW "MasterTech" guy and see what he thinks.

Thanks all for your help so far ... I'd welcome any more advice or wisdom :)

Links to photos here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/i7o03el6h7gv47q/photo 1.JPG?m=

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tkdraluo401vo8c/photo 2.JPG?m=

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7ae99w69vjdg0ox/photo 3.JPG?m=

[URL="https://www.dropbox.com/s/opsi1r0so7mf9tw/photo%204.JPG?m="]https://www.dropbox.com/s/opsi1r0so7mf9tw/photo%204.JPG?m=[/URL]
What a shame.:crying: You can see from the pics just how far it was knocked out of that parking bay. I hope your insurance Co. does the right thing and you come out of this OK. Keep us posted.
 

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I'm not sure how this works in the UK. But here in the US this is why we pay for insurance. If I was in this situation I would expect my insurance to cover engine and then sue if necessary the other company that's refusing to pay to get back their money.


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T

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I have a member in Maryland who had a tow truck accidentally tow the car backwards up onto a flat bed. This turned the engine backwards and destroyed the Vanos pump.

So this sounds like a similar situation. Three or four people have done this in the past that I know of.


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Discussion Starter #17
BMW have just sent me a copy of the diagnostic report. There *are* VANOS errors that occurred immediately after the accident:

DME: VANOS oil pressure
DME: VANOS Control, exhaust bank 1
DME: VANOS Control, exhaust bank 2

To me, this is conclusive. No VANOS issues before the incident and VANOS issues immediately after the collision.

The trouble is, the independent engineer that has been appointed by the 3rd party isn't an M5 expert ... and, presumably, will have no idea what a VANOS pump is. I think I need to point him at this thread, then wheel in the lawyers.

Given these error codes, what would you say is the likely prognosis ?
 

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The mileage when the fault was detected should be captured by the car. I'd think that if the errors showed up at exactly the same mileage as the accident, this would at least indicate they're connected.
 

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Hmmm the oil filter is right behind there in the bumper. So probably the low oil pressure would be that the impact broke a part there or pinched an oil duct.
Then no oil pressure or not enough oil flow could have killer the vanos pump, rod bearings... Or the tow truck could be responsible, but I imagine that when you saw that warning and stopped the engine, you did not leave it in gear. In anyway I would say to turn the wheel to adjust its position on the tow truck, you or the operator would have to put ignition on, then the in gear alert comes and would have put it in neutral...
Have the BMW guys check around the oil filter for any evidence of something damaged that would explain the pressure loss, the answer should be there.
 
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