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Same story. $8000.00 to remove and clean the heads!! This is getting crazy. Premium fuel, 8.00/litre oil, 70K miles and this is what happens. I am really really dissapointed in BMW. Of course my warranty company is denying the claim because "Carbon" and other deposits are not covered. I am going to run Auto RX in the engine and see if that unplugs the carbon - once and if that happens I am driving straight down to the Lexus dealer and ridding myself of these cars. They drive beautiful but are poorly engineered - plain and simple.
 

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Did SES light prompted you to check into this, any other symptoms?

Thanks.

CP
 

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The SES light came on, they changed the Secondary Air Pump and some O2 sensors. Back on the SES light another morning. I take it in and they determine after checking every other option that carbon is blocking the exhaust system causing a low pressure fault on the secondary air system. But don't worry, as long as you have $8000.00 bucks lying around, BMW has a protocal and handy parts kit to fix this issue. Wow - I would think for such a limited production engine and such a "rare" issue they would been scratching their heads a little further about the fault.

In my opinion I think this is going to be one of those issues that is going to keep appearing on these cars as mileage increases. It is a product of poor design, there have been several cars over the decades that have had this type of issue but it is not acceptable for a modern, expensive car. The whole idea of cleaning this by “opening it up” is particularly humorous. People have been speaking of a design change to the heads at some period but I have not been able to confirm that with ANYONE from BMW – I think it is one of those assumptions rather then an actual issue. $8000.00 is a crazy amount of work to simply clean out carbon that is the product of poor design, NOT poor operating. I am certain that this issue will keep appearing in more and more cars – there are only about 10,000 of these cars and I have seen an alarming number of posts about this issue to make me think this is not a high mileage flaw with these engines.
 

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Sorry to hear about your problem. $8000 sound too much for the work they are going perform. If the car is still under factory warranty I would try to contact BMW NA to see if they will agree to cover part of the repair bill. Best of luck!
 

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How do you drive this car? Hard/soft, city,highway? How many miles/year? Is it stored in the winter? I'm curious how driving style would play into this. Maybe this car is made to be driven hard...not allowing carbon to build up. I don't know...just thinking out loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I drive it very hard. I regularly take the care on spirited back country drives well exceeding 5K RPM's every time I drive it. I live in a moderate climate - the car has never been driven in cold weather. The harder these cares are driven the more blow-by that occurs which could be one cause, the other is that these cars run notoriously rich causing the continuous formation of deposits. I definitely know it is not from my driving the car soft. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
 

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That sux tether.

All of these issues I'm reading about are scaring me. I'm already thinking of trading my 2 and 1/2 week old car for an E55 AMG.
 

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The temperamental behavior is inherent to all high performance engines. Those AMG guys are suffering from their own share of their bittersweet relationships. Check their forums.
 

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MINENCE said:
The temperamental behavior is inherent to all high performance engines. Those AMG guys are suffering from their own share of their bittersweet relationships. Check their forums.
I wouldn't say all. My Corvette runs like a champ at 6 years old and 65,000 miles. (knocks on wood)
 

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hmm, first one i've heard of in california, so much for our clean gas. WHat's you production date? Pre 3/00? (guessing because of the 10/60)
Mike
 

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dmz said:
And who said that your Vette has a high performance engine :1:
Hardy, har, har! hiha
 

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mottati said:
hmm, first one i've heard of in california, so much for our clean gas. WHat's you production date? Pre 3/00? (guessing because of the 10/60)
Mike
Who said cali has clean gas? We have the ****tiest gas out of the whole country.
 

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Bummer Tether-

I wonder if a BMW warranty (standard, extended or cpo) would have made the dffernece with coverage?

I also wonder if the definition of the failure -oil blowby leading to carbon- might have been covered? ANyway, what a pisser

AutoRX is purportedly a good product. You might consider FP60- might help in the combustion chambers..

Good luck

A
 

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tetherM5 said:
Same story. $8000.00 to remove and clean the heads!! This is getting crazy. Premium fuel, 8.00/litre oil, 70K miles and this is what happens. I am really really dissapointed in BMW. Of course my warranty company is denying the claim because "Carbon" and other deposits are not covered. I am going to run Auto RX in the engine and see if that unplugs the carbon - once and if that happens I am driving straight down to the Lexus dealer and ridding myself of these cars. They drive beautiful but are poorly engineered - plain and simple.
Please read the other 'carbon build-up' thread entitled:

"FAQ on Carbon Build-Up Issue (First Attempt)"

There is a wealth of discussion and detail here, including a diagram of the secondary air system and lots of photos from LLCool on page 5 of 6. I just cleaned my secondary air pipe and installed a new valve, changed the belts while I was there. Did not have to remove the radiator as LL describes. Still took me over 6 hours. I will post my information on that thread. My secondary air pump was working, I could hear it running when the car was cold so I did not change that. I think your dealer jumped to conclusions. I will clear the codes and hope that I am good for another 48K miles.

Tom L.
 

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tetherM5 said:
I drive it very hard. I regularly take the care on spirited back country drives well exceeding 5K RPM's every time I drive it. I live in a moderate climate - the car has never been driven in cold weather. The harder these cares are driven the more blow-by that occurs which could be one cause, the other is that these cars run notoriously rich causing the continuous formation of deposits. I definitely know it is not from my driving the car soft. ffice:eek:ffice" /><O:p></O:p>
Mine is probably one of the highest mileage cars on the board with almost 180,000km and I have not had this problem, gas in the UAE is low octane aswell as far as I know.
WillM5AD
 

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tmlesko said:
Please read the other 'carbon build-up' thread entitled:

"FAQ on Carbon Build-Up Issue (First Attempt)"

There is a wealth of discussion and detail here, including a diagram of the secondary air system and lots of photos from LLCool on page 5 of 6. I just cleaned my secondary air pipe and installed a new valve, changed the belts while I was there. Did not have to remove the radiator as LL describes. Still took me over 6 hours. I will post my information on that thread. My secondary air pump was working, I could hear it running when the car was cold so I did not change that. I think your dealer jumped to conclusions. I will clear the codes and hope that I am good for another 48K miles.

Tom L.
Readers (and TetherM5): I would echo Tom's referral to the "FAQ" thread which discusses this issue in detail. The evidence to date suggests that the full $8000 cleaning procedure may not be necessary, and that simply clearing the secondary air pipes may be sufficient to resolve the issue. Tom's procedure is the third example we have of this 'intermediate' approach to the problem. It remains to be seen whether the SES light stays off in Tom's car. LLCool's problem appeared to be resolved (at last report) after several weeks of cold starts. In LLCool's case, the pipes were completely clogged, which obviously would have triggered the fault. There is a third example from another board member (who's name escapes me at the moment) who had an independent garage perform the procedure which resolved the fault. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, his secondary air pipes were again completely clogged a year later. It was speculated that his secondary air shut off valve might be leaky making his secondary air system suseptable to carbon condensation. I'm not aware of any follow up on this possibility.

To summarize the information to date from the Carbon Buildup Poll, there is not single example of a non-US car that we are aware of experiencing a carbon build up problem. In the US, we have seen the issue in as early as 17,000 miles in a '01 MY (Hawaii), and we've seen high mileage 99-00 cars that have not had the issue. We've also seen the issue with almost zero oil consumption, and we have an example (UK car, ~60k mi) where there has been no carbon issue despite very high oil consumption (1 L/500 mi) and predominantly low speed stop-and-start driving (conditions one might associate with high carbon deposits). Basically, the evidence points away from oil consumption and driving habits as the key factors in the problem. The association with the problem with 99-00 cars may be simply that this group has higher mileage on average than '01-03 cars. It seems reasonable that carbon build-up tendencies will in most cases manifest as a problem as the mileage piles up. The question of regional/geographic differences in gas quality may be an important variable, but we have no substantive data on this.

TetherM5, my recommendation is to make a lot of noise with your BMW dealer and BMWNA, and pursue a goodwill repair. If this doesn't work, consider a secondary air pipe cleaning procedure, which may well fix the problem at a fraction of the cost.

Good luck and keep us posted! :)

Cheers,
 

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wilsodh said:
To summarize the information to date from the Carbon Buildup Poll, there is not single example of a non-US car that we are aware of experiencing a carbon build up problem. In the US, we have seen the issue in as early as 17,000 miles in a '01 MY (Hawaii), and we've seen high mileage 99-00 cars that have not had the issue. We've also seen the issue with almost zero oil consumption, and we have an example (UK car, ~60k mi) where there has been no carbon issue despite very high oil consumption (1 L/500 mi) and predominantly low speed stop-and-start driving (conditions one might associate with high carbon deposits). Basically, the evidence points away from oil consumption and driving habits as the key factors in the problem. The association with the problem with 99-00 cars may be simply that this group has higher mileage on average than '01-03 cars. It seems reasonable that carbon build-up tendencies will in most cases manifest as a problem as the mileage piles up. The question of regional/geographic differences in gas quality may be an important variable, but we have no substantive data on this.

Cheers,
Since the secondary air system is controlled by software, and the U.S. emission requirements are probably unique (an assumption on my part), could U.S. models be programmed to operate differently which contributes to the problem?

Also, you do know that previous BMW models have had the same problem with carbon buildup in the heads (my sister's 325 being one of them)?
 

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tetherM5 said:

In my opinion I think this is going to be one of those issues that is going to keep appearing on these cars as mileage increases.



I have not seen this problem yet. My car gets an oil change once a year with one quart in between; Mobil 1. I buy gas at Sams Club. I am still on the factory installed brake pads. The car rarely sees over 5000 rpm, and I mean rarely.

Steve
00 M5, 55k miles, runs like a top
 
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