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View Full Version : Stuck on cruise control/ accelerator causes big crash


JonnyBMW
02-14-2007, 04:29 AM
A couple of days ago I was driving my 2004 530d on the motorway for about 30/40 miles without any intervention at all from myself. It was late at night no traffic around etc...

When I came to leave the motorway however, on the slip road, I couldn't do anything to turn it off! The brake wouldn't overide the settings, nor the steering wheel button. With no more time to try anything else - I entered the roundabout at full motorway speed running a red light and hitting 2 cars, before parking it in the barriers! To say it's a write off is a massive understatement - but luckily noone was hurt.

Has anyone else had any experiences of this happening to them, or am I the unluckiest man in the world?

bargamon
02-14-2007, 07:44 AM
Im not aware that what you said can happen.

I'd be curious to hear the outcome.

In a panic situation we do funny things.

At worst could you have not just put the car in neutral?

You may be the unluckiest man in the world, but at least your alive! Better than being an "unlucky corpse"!

But then again, how many kilometers did you drive again?

gbelton
02-14-2007, 08:13 AM
A couple of days ago I was driving my 2004 530d on the motorway for about 30/40 miles without any intervention at all from myself. It was late at night no traffic around etc...

When I came to leave the motorway however, on the slip road, I couldn't do anything to turn it off! The brake wouldn't overide the settings, nor the steering wheel button. With no more time to try anything else - I entered the roundabout at full motorway speed running a red light and hitting 2 cars, before parking it in the barriers! To say it's a write off is a massive understatement - but luckily noone was hurt.

Has anyone else had any experiences of this happening to them, or am I the unluckiest man in the world?

No.

Glad to hear you are ok.

itzeug
02-14-2007, 08:21 AM
holy snap makes me want to use my cruise control much less often =/

btw couldnt you pull the handbrake?

Me530
02-14-2007, 08:28 AM
Wow, that's crazy! Could you have shifted into N and turned off the engine? Or was there even enough time to think of that?

JonnyBMW
02-14-2007, 09:02 AM
I'm waiting for the engineers report on the car, that the police are insisting on to find out what actually caused the problem. It was a pretty scary moment though. Hitting the slip road junction at full motorway speed.

I know there was a story in the British press about a year ago of a similar incident involving a BMW which had to be escorted by the police for about 50 miles on a motorway because the driver couldn't slow it down (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4796264.stm), and just wondered if the problem had affected any other cars.

Maybe I should of moved it into neutral or turned the engine off, but it wasn't a time for rational thinking!

grover432
02-14-2007, 02:08 PM
I'm waiting for the engineers report on the car, that the police are insisting on to find out what actually caused the problem. It was a pretty scary moment though. Hitting the slip road junction at full motorway speed.

I know there was a story in the British press about a year ago of a similar incident involving a BMW which had to be escorted by the police for about 50 miles on a motorway because the driver couldn't slow it down (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4796264.stm), and just wondered if the problem had affected any other cars.

Maybe I should of moved it into neutral or turned the engine off, but it wasn't a time for rational thinking!

It is easy for me to say (not being in your circumstance), but why didn't you hit the start/stop button or pop the key? Scary though. Glad you are OK. I hope you'll post the investigator's findings here.

M550
02-14-2007, 02:20 PM
It is easy for me to say (not being in your circumstance), but why didn't you hit the start/stop button or pop the key? Scary though. Glad you are OK. I hope you'll post the investigator's findings here.


Wait a min. If the engine is shut off, would he lose braking power?

Me530
02-14-2007, 03:03 PM
Wait a min. If the engine is shut off, would he lose braking power?

You'd lose the hydraulic assist for sure, but I think you'd still be able to break.

WilyB
02-14-2007, 03:34 PM
A couple of guys tried to pull that same trick a few years ago with Renault in France. There were also stories of Audis suddenly accelerating about 10 years ago.

It took much time and effort to debunk them all, but they all, at the end, proved to be hoaxes or drivers***8217; errors.

Assuming this is not a hoax, if you***8217;re an old driver, I would recommend some herbal or nutritional supplements. If you***8217;re young, cutting off a Guiness, or two, might help! :D

windnsea00
02-14-2007, 03:36 PM
I know there was a story in the British press about a year ago of a similar incident involving a BMW which had to be escorted by the police for about 50 miles on a motorway because the driver couldn't slow it down (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4796264.stm), and just wondered if the problem had affected any other cars.

The driver could have just put it in neutral, let it bounce off the rev-limiter and pull over...problem solved.

cheapa55
02-14-2007, 05:23 PM
My wife's aunt used to be a Secret Service agent for one of the president's and she said not to drive in the rain with the cruise control ON. The reason: if you hit a puddle, the car will accelerate and cause you to crash.
this might have been what caused it. If you hit a slippery spot, the car will just accelerate since it has no traction and maybe you were slowing down but the car was speeding up? I have no idea what I just said.

Just a thought. Bottom line: never drive with cruise control if it's wet or icy.

the-oneil
02-15-2007, 05:29 AM
.........The brake wouldn't overide the settings


Are you saying you have lost the brakes?!!!

doug_999
02-15-2007, 06:26 AM
Full brakes are supposed to override full throttle. Supposed to....

Glad you are ok.

bargamon
02-15-2007, 10:44 AM
My bait was asking miles or kilos? This guy is a troll.

Do e60s have cruise on the steering wheel? No.

Do you drive Mile or Kilos in the UK? Maybe someone living abroad, but even when I am on the continent I refer to local measurments.

Would you hit a circle at highway speed, or kick it off and modulate as you approach?

Granted, it was not me, but I drive a manual and if Naturally If I were hitting a circle I would be on the clutch before I was on the brake. Ok, say its an auto, Im on the stick going to "N" before Im in the "Steering wheel" button.

This sounds fishy to me. Maybe a Lawyer trying to find info if it ever happened to others to gain support for a client who perhaps panicked!

dawi
02-15-2007, 11:28 AM
[QUOTE=bargamon;2179325]My bait was asking miles or kilos? This guy is a troll.

What do mean by the "my bait" comment:dunno:

bargamon
02-15-2007, 12:29 PM
"Baited" to take the "hook" of debate. Clarify his position. Never took it.

Veight
02-15-2007, 01:26 PM
Wait a min. If the engine is shut off, would he lose braking power?

The steering would become very tough as the power would cease. The Brakes would work initially but would fade.

bimmerrg
02-15-2007, 04:20 PM
One of my colleague sent us a mail alert few weeks back.

Apparently, if you have cruise control on and go on a wet road and start hydro-planing, the vehicle will pick up the maximum speed it can go for and shoot off.

Looks like a lady in Texas or so per his email experienced the same, was trying to maintian consistent speed on wet conditions thru cruise setup, hit lot of water on road, hydroplaned, got into accident. Cops warned her not to do that any more in wet conditions!!!!

LESSION TO LEARN IS : AVOID CRUISE CONTROL IN WET/RAINY CONDITIONS, HYDROPLANING MAKES YOUR VECHICLE A PLANE!!!

bimmerrg
02-15-2007, 04:24 PM
As there is no traction between the tires and road.

I told this to my wife, and warned not to do that.

She said, where are the cruise control buttons??? Don't even know/used them before! So she is all safe!

chuck92103
02-15-2007, 04:40 PM
A couple of days ago I was driving my 2004 530d on the motorway for about 30/40 miles without any intervention at all from myself. It was late at night no traffic around etc...

When I came to leave the motorway however, on the slip road, I couldn't do anything to turn it off! The brake wouldn't overide the settings, nor the steering wheel button. With no more time to try anything else - I entered the roundabout at full motorway speed running a red light and hitting 2 cars, before parking it in the barriers! To say it's a write off is a massive understatement - but luckily noone was hurt.

Has anyone else had any experiences of this happening to them, or am I the unluckiest man in the world?

No, sounds like drunk driving or you fell asleep and panicked and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. The whole concept of cruise locking you out is possible, but highly unlikely.

When leaving the motorway, you had to have at least 5-10 seconds in which you could have turned off the motor and stopped. By your description, you were in cruise control mode when you exited the freeway which means you exited at a high rate of speed.

What is the rest of the story?

sayemthree
02-16-2007, 12:57 AM
No, sounds like drunk driving or you fell asleep and panicked and hit the accelerator instead of the brake. The whole concept of cruise locking you out is possible, but highly unlikely.

When leaving the motorway, you had to have at least 5-10 seconds in which you could have turned off the motor and stopped. By your description, you were in cruise control mode when you exited the freeway which means you exited at a high rate of speed.

What is the rest of the story?

yep - another excuse of why I crashed. I see it all the time : "its not my fault" - I was riding along with my Iguana on my shoulder and all of a sudden I woke up it a crash and he was dead underneath me. thats the best one I have seen so far.

FloridaBimmer
02-16-2007, 11:04 AM
My wife's aunt used to be a Secret Service agent for one of the president's and she said not to drive in the rain with the cruise control ON. The reason: if you hit a puddle, the car will accelerate and cause you to crash.
this might have been what caused it. If you hit a slippery spot, the car will just accelerate since it has no traction and maybe you were slowing down but the car was speeding up? I have no idea what I just said.

Just a thought. Bottom line: never drive with cruise control if it's wet or icy.

Not sure that I buy this theory. Cruise control works by measuring the rotational speed of the wheels, information from the speedo, and engine speed. If you hit a slippery spot the rotational speed of the wheels would increase and the cruise control should shut down. Given this theory the same thing should happen when you are going down a hill, does the car speed up going down hill? Mine doesn't and no other vehicle (that I've ever owned) with cruise control has either. I believe it to be imprudent to drive with the cruise on during inclement weather but I think loss of control theory is bunk. :soapbox:

stevepow
02-18-2007, 08:53 PM
I'm pretty sure a normally oerating BMW wouldn't do this - all those mentioned scenarios and more have surely been tested - come on.

My bs-ometer went of big time when I read this one.

krash
02-19-2007, 07:27 AM
A couple of days ago I was driving my 2004 530d on the motorway for about 30/40 miles without any intervention at all from myself. It was late at night no traffic around etc...

When I came to leave the motorway however, on the slip road, I couldn't do anything to turn it off! The brake wouldn't overide the settings, nor the steering wheel button. With no more time to try anything else - I entered the roundabout at full motorway speed running a red light and hitting 2 cars, before parking it in the barriers! To say it's a write off is a massive understatement - but luckily noone was hurt.

Has anyone else had any experiences of this happening to them, or am I the unluckiest man in the world?

I agree with some others. OP could be a TROLL. If he did enter the offramp with the Cruise Control on, then that isn't very bright at all, but that is not why I think he is a troll.

The thing that sounds fishy too me is the part that "noone was hurt." I was in an accident not too long ago, it was very bad, and nobody was going nowhere near "full motorway speed." He said he was driving at "full motorway" speed, hit 2 cars and nobody was hurt.

It could be true, but talk about being lucky. If you get hit by a car going 60mph, you're pretty much toast.

chuck92103
02-19-2007, 09:54 AM
I agree with some others. OP could be a TROLL. If he did enter the offramp with the Cruise Control on, then that isn't very bright at all, but that is not why I think he is a troll.

The thing that sounds fishy too me is the part that "noone was hurt." I was in an accident not too long ago, it was very bad, and nobody was going nowhere near "full motorway speed." He said he was driving at "full motorway" speed, hit 2 cars and nobody was hurt.

It could be true, but talk about being lucky. If you get hit by a car going 60mph, you're pretty much toast.

+1, he has not been back. Only 4 posts total. Most likely a Lexus driver. :eek:

AzNMpower32
02-21-2007, 03:13 PM
I know the OP's post (whether real or not) says the brakes couldn't be operated, but does that make sense? I know ACC can apply the brakes, but as far as I'm concerned, BMW doesn't have the "Brake-by-wire" system found on some MB and the Lexus GS430. So shouldn't you be able to hit the brakes and override the cruise system? Plus, I believe hitting the brakes cancels cruise.

louelio
02-23-2007, 05:15 PM
i had the same type of problem last night, feb 22. i was on the highway going home, around 75 mph i think, when the car felt like it was driving itself. i took my foot off the gas, but never slowed as if the cruise control was on. i tried the lever and sure enough it would speed up and slow down, but wouldnt turn off by the lever or tapping the brakes. i even looked to see if my floor mat (one of those heavy rubber jobs for catching a ton of water/snow) rolled onto the pedal, but it was fine. i had no problem getting off the highway or stopping at a couple lights, but the rpms never went below 2500, and even putting all my weight on the brake, the car felt like it was going to go anyways, i think it still may have rolled a little though slowly, and i could feel/hear the engine revving hard like when you hold the gas pedal down and your in park. when the light turned green and i let go of the brake i shot out like a horse in the kentucky derby. i never stepped on the gas the last mile home, but used the brake to keep me at 35mph. when i got home and tried to park, shifting thru nuetral made the car sort of scream/cough but i was able to turn it off ok. i tried restarting thinking maybe it would get back to normal, but as soon as i turned the key, the thing revved up to 6000+ rpm in a second so i turned it off right away.

anyways i searched the forum (ive only been here a few months, and really only check in when i have a problem) and i feel kind of sick reading about this guys crash. maybe im lucky cause i changed my brake pads and rotors in november. but i hve a 4 mo old and a 19 mo old kid, and the thought of getting wrecked on the highway with them in the car freaks me out. i dont even want to move the damn car (95' 525) for fear of the thing blowing up on me or something. i was hoping there was some simple explanation to where i could at least drive it to a mechanic or something.

people have suggested the carburator is stuck "open" and shooting a ton of gas into the engine(?), or somethings wrong with the accelerator, or maybe the cruise control. i think it has to do with the cruise, cause why would it turn on by itself, not accept commands, and now the car revs as if im doing 75 mph when im in park?

chuck92103
02-23-2007, 05:28 PM
i had the same type of problem last night, feb 22. i was on the highway going home, around 75 mph i think, when the car felt like it was driving itself. i took my foot off the gas, but never slowed as if the cruise control was on. i tried the lever and sure enough it would speed up and slow down, but wouldnt turn off by the lever or tapping the brakes. i even looked to see if my floor mat (one of those heavy rubber jobs for catching a ton of water/snow) rolled onto the pedal, but it was fine. i had no problem getting off the highway or stopping at a couple lights, but the rpms never went below 2500, and even putting all my weight on the brake, the car felt like it was going to go anyways, i think it still may have rolled a little though slowly, and i could feel/hear the engine revving hard like when you hold the gas pedal down and your in park. when the light turned green and i let go of the brake i shot out like a horse in the kentucky derby. i never stepped on the gas the last mile home, but used the brake to keep me at 35mph. when i got home and tried to park, shifting thru nuetral made the car sort of scream/cough but i was able to turn it off ok. i tried restarting thinking maybe it would get back to normal, but as soon as i turned the key, the thing revved up to 6000+ rpm in a second so i turned it off right away.

anyways i searched the forum (ive only been here a few months, and really only check in when i have a problem) and i feel kind of sick reading about this guys crash. maybe im lucky cause i changed my brake pads and rotors in november. but i hve a 4 mo old and a 19 mo old kid, and the thought of getting wrecked on the highway with them in the car freaks me out. i dont even want to move the damn car (95' 525) for fear of the thing blowing up on me or something. i was hoping there was some simple explanation to where i could at least drive it to a mechanic or something.

people have suggested the carburator is stuck "open" and shooting a ton of gas into the engine(?), or somethings wrong with the accelerator, or maybe the cruise control. i think it has to do with the cruise, cause why would it turn on by itself, not accept commands, and now the car revs as if im doing 75 mph when im in park?

I don't doubt that the accelrator could get stuck on an older model. I would check the linkage.

spots
02-23-2007, 05:35 PM
I call BS. Why would you drive a car that you know was unsafe?
Pull over and have it towed. Not rocket science.

louelio
02-23-2007, 05:40 PM
glad to see someone was replying so quickly.

forgive me but i dont really know squat about cars, and since getting my sweet beemer in '95 i never really had to! the car has served me very well, and the worst problem i ever had was a burnt out tail light. but once i crossed that 100,000 mile mark last summer all hell broke loose:
"transprogram"
dead fuel pump
lost heat and ac
fan clutch which led to broken thermostat which led to overheating every 20 ft at the peak of summer
getting sideswiped
...ugh

what kills me is that the cost of upkeep is more than the value of the car, but i love the damn thing... (i dont like the looks of bmws for the last few years... the front grills and headlights look like an angry rat to me!)

louelio
02-23-2007, 07:31 PM
to spots:

not bs my friend, and i dont drive the car, as i said it happened last night and will not drive the car... as for pulling over, i was 2 1/2 miles from my exit traveling over 70, and had another mile after that to get home. since i was able to brake, i figured thats all i needed to get home and was fine. why get towed for 1 mile? as i wrote, its not until i read the first story that i thought i may have dodged a bullet...

if the brakes didnt work , i would have had no choice but to drive till i was out of gas i suppose, and i had a half tank. whats scary is that i'm up near the illinois wisconsin border, and the scumbags running illinois have about 7 tolls up there, so i guess i would have to tear thru the ipass lanes, dodge traffic and hope for state police to chase me and clear a path or something... that kind of crap may seem fun in a movie like speed or the matrix, but if u think about reality and being in that situation on the actual roads u use, its not so funny.

AzNMpower32
02-23-2007, 08:50 PM
To louelio: we're not trying to be really mean or dismiss your problem, its just that we occasionally get the troll that makes up BS.

If I ever had cruise stuck or if the gas pedal was stuck, shift it into N, brake to a stop on the side of the road. Call a tow truck. Plus, there's always 911.

stevepow
02-24-2007, 10:23 AM
Well, not all of us have a spare 911 to use while the BMW is in the shop - I wish :D

doug_999
02-24-2007, 02:15 PM
Well, not all of us have a spare 911 to use while the BMW is in the shop - I wish :D

I think he means the phone number :)

louelio
02-25-2007, 02:15 PM
thats funny... it would be hilarious to pull over and pull a 911 out of the trunk.

anyways i found a link where some guy took apart a cruise control, and it seems quite simple, so i hope to get into the hood and see if something is blatantly wrong with mine

h t t p://www.bmw-540i.com/bmw-technical-downloads/#cruiseControlManual

unfortunately we got hit with 3 inches of icy "heart attack snow" and my car is in the street where i left it. it would be nice to be sure if the CC is the culprit before taking it somewhere and them trying to BS me into changing 800 parts and the paint color too

i hope to get this fixed this week (luckily my parents are taking a vacation so i can use their cars... i can pick from two mercedes or a 15 yr old ford cargo van from work... hmm, whatever will i do?

either way i will post the results of the problem, hopefully by weeks end.

louelio
02-28-2007, 11:35 AM
i finally had time to look under the hood last night. orgive my lack of knowledge on correct terms for the parts i will describe...

it turns out the cable from the cruise control to the engine came loose. what i first saw was the black plastic housing the silver wire/cable that goes to the engine was sort of popped up high. there were 2 plastic clips attached to this that seem to have come off of wherever they were attached to (some random engine part, just to keep the cable neatly tucked away). i felt along the wire housing, to where it dipped @ 8" deep into the engine area, and felt there was a little metal fastening ring that had come off, and the black housing pulled out of where it was supposed to be secured and the silver cable within was actually bared. if i yanked on the cable, the (?) moved back and forth (where ? is the bicycle gear looking thing at upper middle of engine that u can move with your thumb and gun the engine).

i guess after 11 years the cables just pulled loose. what i did to temp fix it is feed/push the black cable housing pretty much where it was originally, and use zip ties to really hold it in place at various points along its length (since 1 of the plastic holding clips i mentioned just crumbled in my hand) now the wire within moves, but the whole housing stays still. i guess as the housing came loose, and wanted to straighten out from the coiled shape its in to wind around the engine compartment, it basically appled pressure and pulled the silver wire within, mimicking the cruise control pulling for more gas to the engine.

the little metal nut/ring is still loose, so i have to take it someplace to really get the ends of the cable housing secured. am i right to assume the zip ties could weaken or melt away at some point? i can see a second cable (i assume the one to the gas pedal) next to this and that seems to be stretching as well.

does anyone know if the existing parts can just be refitted or would i need the cables from pedal and cruise replaced?