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I want to buy a '06 M5 that had this service bulletin addressed, but I am concerned about reliability moving forward. This car does not have a CPO on it.

The car was in for service in 2009 for the subject bulletin (18,000 miles), and it's 18,000 miles later and the car now has 36,000 miles on it. I assume majority of the SMG failures had something to do with this bulletin. What is the reliability of the SMG for those who have had the SMG engine/motor/brush replaced? See below for details.

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SUBJECT
Service Action: Replace SMG Hydraulic Unit Electric Motor on M5 Vehicles


MODEL
E60 M5 with S85


SITUATION
Carbon brushes of the electric motor for SMG hydraulic system may wear prematurely. This condition may cause a failure of the motor, resulting in insufficient hydraulic system pressure.

Fault codes related to low hydraulic pressure will be stored in SMG control unit (e.g. 4F42, 4F43, 4F40), and a transmission warning will be displayed in the Check Control. Gears may not be selected or changed. If SMG transmission is stuck in any gear, the engine cannot be restarted.
 

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I want to buy a '06 M5 that had this service bulletin addressed, but I am concerned about reliability moving forward. This car does not have a CPO on it.

The car was in for service in 2009 for the subject bulletin (18,000 miles), and it's 18,000 miles later and the car now has 36,000 miles on it. I assume majority of the SMG failures had something to do with this bulletin. What is the reliability of the SMG for those who have had the SMG engine/motor/brush replaced? See below for details.

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I've never heard of the term "carbon brush wear" but:

Bottom line, the reliability of the SMG varies, and is hit or miss. There are multiple threads on this issue, so I recommend doing a forum search and/or use google (search term + m5board).

Some SMG units last a long time, others wear out prematurely. Causes vary from SMG pump, clutch wearing out, release/throwout bearings, etc. It seems the average is between 35-50K miles is when most units need some sort of repair for various causes.

If a SMG transmission scares you, then I recommend finding an e60 M5 with a 6 speed manual transmission.
 

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Love the SMG...hate the thought of ripping it out on my nickel to repair it. Are there symptoms indicative of SMG failure? Is it true that the cost of repair can exceed $10,000? I test drove the car and the only thing I noticed was a delayed clunk in the rear end when backing up and putting the car in park.

If a SMG transmission scares you, then I recommend finding an e60 M5 with a 6 speed manual transmission.
 

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Love the SMG...hate the thought of ripping it out on my nickel to repair it. Are there symptoms indicative of SMG failure? Is it true that the cost of repair can exceed $10,000? I test drove the car and the only thing I noticed was a delayed clunk in the rear end when backing up and putting the car in park.
short answer, it all depends on what the issue is. If the whole transmission needs to be replaced, then yes, I can see that costing around $10K.

If it's just the clutch and necessary clutch components, then that can cost around $3K +/-

If it's just the SMG pump or clutch position sensor, then maybe less.

The SMG transmission for the e60 M5 is not exactly one of BMW best engineering pieces. It is ok, but reliability is hit or miss. That, and they tend to be costly to repair. That is why for the new M5, it is now a DCT transmission.

Symptoms vary. Sometimes its clutch judder, loose or rough engagement of gears, gear slip, etc. Sometimes you'll get intermittent idrive warnings that come and go.

Some members are fine, and have no issues, others have not. This board tends to exaggerate the issue since all you see are the problems.
 

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Is it true that there's a technique to driving the SMG, and you can "wear" down the tranny based on how you shift (lift before shifting vs. staying on the gas while paddle shifting)?
 

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I have no idea. Never heard of that in my 3 years on this board. If you do launch control a lot, you'll put more wear and stress on the clutch and components. Additionally, the car's transmission and computer system "learns" your pattern of driving and will adapt shifts based on your driving habits.

I just drive my car. If I spent all my time worrying about every nitnoid thing on shifting, driving, what the state of my transmission is, i'd never drive it and it would be a garage queen.

If you buy this car, just be financially ready to assume the cost of ownership. You will experience more frequent visits to the gas station, higher cost for repairs, and maintenance. It's the price we all pay to own a e60 M5. Warranty is good to have, but so is some funds set aside for repairs and/or maintenance not covered by warranty.
 

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All great points. And I completely agree...there's no point in being bashful with a machine like the M5
 

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I have no idea. Never heard of that in my 3 years on this board. If you do launch control a lot, you'll put more wear and stress on the clutch and components. Additionally, the car's transmission and computer system "learns" your pattern of driving and will adapt shifts based on your driving habits.

I just drive my car. If I spent all my time worrying about every nitnoid thing on shifting, driving, what the state of my transmission is, i'd never drive it and it would be a garage queen.

If you buy this car, just be financially ready to assume the cost of ownership. You will experience more frequent visits to the gas station, higher cost for repairs, and maintenance. It's the price we all pay to own a e60 M5. Warranty is good to have, but so is some funds set aside for repairs and/or maintenance not covered by warranty.
all great facts :applause:
 

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Carbon brushes are what usually fails when a starter motor wears out. They are actually a "wear item" even though not usually referred to as such in warranties. Often cheaper to replace the motor than disassemble and replace the brushes, which are usually hard to get to and under spring pressure making re-assembly difficult. For a starter, they are pretty universal and cost a couple dollars at a parts store.
It would be interesting for someone to take an SMG pump motor apart and look at the brushes. Could be they are replaceable and cheap. Although BMW would replace the entire pump and probably have it rebuilt for later sale with new brushes.
 

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I don't know the exact date, but only up to some point in 2006. Also, not all cars were affected. From what I've read (con't recall the source), there were either two different manufacturers of the motors for the SMG pumps or the one manufacturer produced a bad batch of carbon brushes. Either way, BMW was aware of which versions went into which cars and the dealership can still pull up your VIN in the system and it will tell them if the SIB was applicable to your car.

As I understand it, the defective brushes were of a different compound which wore much faster leading do premature failure. There are many different brush hardnesses as well as antifriction and conductivity treatments that those brushes can have. Unfortunately, although the bad brushes could have been changed for the correct one at a very low cost to BMW AG, there is a certain amount of brush which is worn off and electrolytically bound to the commutator of the motor under the correct ambient moisture conditions. This is actually a good thing as this "commutator film" reduces friction further and reduces resistance as well. However, if the wrong grade of brush is used, the "film" which is built up can only be removed by turning (as in grinding) or via a flex-abrase to remove it. This would have been far beyond the ability of a dealership to deal with and also against their corporate policy of component level repairs.

Check with your local dealership, they can even do it over the phone with just the VIN, just make sure you get the Service Manager or someone knowledgeable.
 

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Due to the F10 M5's which have been out for some time now, you can find very good deals in the used market for an E60 M5. With that said here's what you should know (am typing this post up very quickly, so please forgive any sp/gr mistakes)

I have owned a 2006, 2008, and 2010 E60 M5. I would never get a 2006. I would prefer a 2010, but would settle for a 2008. A warranty is necessary (i think a necessity) for these cars.

2006 Model Year M5
- 1st/2nd model year for the E60, therefore has (signifcant) first year bugs
- Old technology/old iDrive system that is very slow and very buggy (to some hardly useable)
- This model year has a number of warranty bulletins and is very prone to malfunctions and failures.

2008 Model Year M5
- 4th model year for the E60, and many mechanical issues have been worked out for this year.
- This model year is much, much more reliable than the prior years. It is not prone to any malfunctions or failures and has few major service warranty bulletins.
- This model year is not only mechanically reliable, but it's technology had been upgraded and is therefore technologically reliable. The iDrive went from laggy to snappy and outdated to updated.
- An interior upgrade was made to this model year. The doors (especially drivers door) was changed and center console had been altered (layouts of buttons, etc),

2010 Model Year M5:
- 6th model year for the E60, and also the last model year for the E60 before official end of production.
- To put it simply, the 2010 E60 is refined through 6 years of development. This is the strongest, most reliable E60 to date and an absolute pleasure to own. All and any problems with this model year are minimal.
- Mechanically this model year is extreamly reliable.
- Technology (iDrive) has been upgraded and the upgrade was a significant one (CCC to CIC iDrive).
- This is THE model year E60 to get.
 

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I don't know the exact date, but only up to some point in 2006. Also, not all cars were affected. From what I've read (con't recall the source), there were either two different manufacturers of the motors for the SMG pumps or the one manufacturer produced a bad batch of carbon brushes. Either way, BMW was aware of which versions went into which cars and the dealership can still pull up your VIN in the system and it will tell them if the SIB was applicable to your car.

As I understand it, the defective brushes were of a different compound which wore much faster leading do premature failure. There are many different brush hardnesses as well as antifriction and conductivity treatments that those brushes can have. Unfortunately, although the bad brushes could have been changed for the correct one at a very low cost to BMW AG, there is a certain amount of brush which is worn off and electrolytically bound to the commutator of the motor under the correct ambient moisture conditions. This is actually a good thing as this "commutator film" reduces friction further and reduces resistance as well. However, if the wrong grade of brush is used, the "film" which is built up can only be removed by turning (as in grinding) or via a flex-abrase to remove it. This would have been far beyond the ability of a dealership to deal with and also against their corporate policy of component level repairs.

Check with your local dealership, they can even do it over the phone with just the VIN, just make sure you get the Service Manager or someone knowledgeable.
Thanks alot for the info! Very informative

Due to the F10 M5's which have been out for some time now, you can find very good deals in the used market for an E60 M5. With that said here's what you should know (am typing this post up very quickly, so please forgive any sp/gr mistakes)

I have owned a 2006, 2008, and 2010 E60 M5. I would never get a 2006. I would prefer a 2010, but would settle for a 2008. A warranty is necessary (i think a necessity) for these cars.

2006 Model Year M5
- 1st/2nd model year for the E60, therefore has (signifcant) first year bugs
- Old technology/old iDrive system that is very slow and very buggy (to some hardly useable)
- This model year has a number of warranty bulletins and is very prone to malfunctions and failures.

2008 Model Year M5
- 4th model year for the E60, and many mechanical issues have been worked out for this year.
- This model year is much, much more reliable than the prior years. It is not prone to any malfunctions or failures and has few major service warranty bulletins.
- This model year is not only mechanically reliable, but it's technology had been upgraded and is therefore technologically reliable. The iDrive went from laggy to snappy and outdated to updated.
- An interior upgrade was made to this model year. The doors (especially drivers door) was changed and center console had been altered (layouts of buttons, etc),

2010 Model Year M5:
- 6th model year for the E60, and also the last model year for the E60 before official end of production.
- To put it simply, the 2010 E60 is refined through 6 years of development. This is the strongest, most reliable E60 to date and an absolute pleasure to own. All and any problems with this model year are minimal.
- Mechanically this model year is extreamly reliable.
- Technology (iDrive) has been upgraded and the upgrade was a significant one (CCC to CIC iDrive).
- This is THE model year E60 to get.
Great post from your experiences!
I just bought a low mileage 2009, 10/08 build smg m5 (10/08 was last month build date for MY2009, 11/08 began MY2010 builds)
Do you think 2009s are good?
 

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I have no idea. Never heard of that in my 3 years on this board. If you do launch control a lot, you'll put more wear and stress on the clutch and components. Additionally, the car's transmission and computer system "learns" your pattern of driving and will adapt shifts based on your driving habits.

I just drive my car. If I spent all my time worrying about every nitnoid thing on shifting, driving, what the state of my transmission is, i'd never drive it and it would be a garage queen.

If you buy this car, just be financially ready to assume the cost of ownership. You will experience more frequent visits to the gas station, higher cost for repairs, and maintenance. It's the price we all pay to own a e60 M5. Warranty is good to have, but so is some funds set aside for repairs and/or maintenance not covered by warranty.
Clap, clap, clap. Well said.

It is indeed hit or miss. I have 93k on my SMG and it seems bullet proof, zero issues, still on original clutch too. I don't daily the car either, I take it out on runs and rape it.
 
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