2F44 and 2F45 fault codes, DME/EWS issue
I have been having intermittent starting situation with my 2005 545 auto, with only 54K miles. Seems the car will start with either key, but only if the car is completely cold. I paid for a diagnostic $161 to have them check out the car. Prior to that it was a $75 fee to check alternator and battary checked. Those 2 items got a clean bill of healh. The Alternator is Valeo air cooled replaced in 4/10/12. The battery was replaced in May/2012, from a PB lead battery to new higher engery cranking amps AGM battery. I had Fields BMW Lakeland reset the battery to AGM style and register the battery specs for H8-AGM battery from Autozone. Since battery was replaced in April the car and starter has been running flawelessly. I have since personally replaced valve cover and timing cover gaskets and all o-ring and seals on top of engine. I did part of work on cyl 5-8 and had my local indy mechanic do cyl 1-4 as alternator need to be dropped and I didn't have a lift to get under the car. All electrical work had the battery disengaged on negative terminal. I am happy to say that I have no fluid leaks whatsoever, except A/C evaporator sucking out the moisture in the cockpit, which is a good thing in humid Tampa, FL.
My delimna is that car ran fine 3 weeks after the gasket and seal changes on top half motor for 3+ weeks with no issues whatsoever. I had no prior bad behavior from the car starting at all. On last Friday I drove home and then loaded up car with kids to run some errands. The car wouldn't start. Not even a click. I can hear the car wake up and fuel pump start up. Both key sets have plenty of power and I can turn on/off alarm repeated times to wake up car. I did notice that car appears to be going to sleep just fine. We have charged battery to full power on a couple of occasions to make sure this beast has plenty of power to the electrical system.
When the car is cold the engine would start just fine. When the engine is warmed or run for a lenghy drive, the car will not start again after turning off ignition. After a 6+ hour cool down, the car would start. I took the car to Fields BMW in Lakeland on a Sat morning and Cody could only run the alternator and battery test. They checked out fine. I humbly paid the $75 checkout fee and they asked if I wanted comp car wash; sure, thanks. After the porter pulled the car around to front I paid my bill and loaded up the car to head home. The car wouldn't start again. S.A. had Cody come out and check in parking lot and he stated it needed more diagnostic. I agreed to $165 diag charge for Monday AM and left the car over the weekend.
I got a call on Monday AM from Fields S.A., Mike Adkins, stating it was the starter that needed replacing. I asked how much and it was going to be, $2200 to replace a $400 Bosch starter. I told him that was outrageous and that my indy mechanic, who works on mechanical components on Euro cars and could do it for less than half that. We agreed to have me attempt to start car after cool down and on Monday AM I drove 30 miles back to my local indy garage. They went by the Fields BMW diaganosis of bad starter and they replaced it with original Bosch BMW starter. He cut me a huge break on the labor rate vs. dealer labor rates.
After my mechanic finished replacing the starter and putting car back together, the car wouldn't immediately start. They decided to let car cool down and then they were able to get car to start one time after clearing DME OBDII memory fault codes, post starter replacement. They then attempted to research the issue through their online support resources and discovered a few things. They checked all the fault codes and came up with 2F44 and 2F45. Those are the only fault codes being registered in the DME OBDII memory. The codes have to do with communication from DME to EWS/CAS modules. At the suggestion of a BMW Master mechanic I personally know, he suggested checking to see if the OBDII memory fault codes could be cleared out and if that would allow the engine to start again to drive back to Fields. My mechanic tried this procedure on multiple occasions and still not able to get the known good keys to start the engine. The keys have plenty of battery power as they both can enable/disable alarm system and lock/unlock all the doors and open trunk. The key in the ignition will turn on the electrical components, like Computer screen, lights, instrument cluster, and A/C system. There were no CB errors reported on the screen. When you turn key and press brake, the engine will not start.
I challenged my Fields BWM S.A. to cough up the Fault codes from the 1 hour diagnostic I paid for last Monday AM. To this date, a week later, they cannot provide me with the codes. Since the symptoms are the same pre and post install of new starter, I have to believe the 2F44 and 2F45 codes were in the memory when they wiped it. Why those codes were ignored or not reported by Fields diagnostic Tech and S.A. are quite disturbing. This could have possibly saved me a expensive starter repair bill. Had I agreed to have the starter replaced at Fields, it would have resulted in an unnecessary $2200 repair bill. Taking it to my indy mechanic to replace it minimized the out of pocket to $979, for the Fields mis-diagnosis. I firmly believe those other fault codes were there but the Fields Tech just didn't think through the information presented to him on the GT1/DIS diagnostic tool, assuming they even plugged it in. At one point prior, I even had the S.A. tell me it could be ignition module, but we will put the diagnostic tool on it and find out what is causing it. No sense in guessing until we have the data. Well we aren't getting any codes suggesting that ignition module is the case. Everything points to the EWS/CAS and/or DME not being in sync or partial failure of one or both of the modules.
I have read that calibrating/programming the 2 units with the keys will possibly address this issue, but requires some programming of the DME and CAS modules. I have also read that the antenna ring around the key ignition switch can go bad and may need to be relaced. It is possible it isn't able to pickup the unique ID code in the keys, which could trigger the EWS/CAS module to "immoblilze" the ignition system.
Based on previous feedback from the original owner of the car, he stated he reported to Pembroke Pines S.A, Ft Lauderdale BMW dealership this exact issue, intermittent start. Their diagnosis was a complete engine wiring harness replacement. The previous owner put in $4000 repair bill back in 4/10/12 with Pembroke Pines to resolve this very same issue and even they couldn't fix it. I thought I was getting a car that was well taken care of. Apparently they couldn't even get the diagnosis correct either.
I have been forced to learn more about the electrical operations of my car than many of the average ASE certified techs who are trained to work on these cars. I am a computer guru guy so I know how all this communication between modules can impact the overall operation of a car like this. It is a complete sham that BMW USA doesn't do a better job of training/certification of the techs that work on these cars. I suspect the Dealers have a lot to do with the level of training they send their techs to get certified and that learning on the job is the least expensive method of getting a good tech trained in 5 to 10 years, and then being able to retain them I hear are common problems. Unfortunately that leads to many unsatisfied customer repair bills outside of warranty for their Loyal BMW drivers/customers. High tech turnover also can leave a BMW dealership with less than adequate tech experience to fix these complex cars.
I have attempted to engage the Service Manager at Fields Lakeland, John Elmendorf, and he has yet to call me back after a full week has gone by. My car is still stranded 30 miles away with and DME to EWS/CAS communication issue. After 2 days of waiting for John's call, I engaged the General Manager for Fields Auto Group Lakeland (BMW and Mercedes), Gary Gordon, and he assured me that he would speak to John and have some sort of response to my situation and the $970 I am now out for a failed diagnostic, plus the $161 I paid for them to prove it was the Starter. I have yet to hear back from either John Elmendorf or Gary Gordon.
I will update this post, positive or negative, and plan to move the issue up to Fields Corporate offices and then to BMW NA in NJ or SC, if I don't get a satisfactory response that they will put their best electrical/programming tech on it to resolve these problems. I suspect that Pembroke Pines in Ft. Lauderdale has some culpability in all this, as they they took $4000 from previous owner to repair this problem and even they didn't get it right.
I love my BMW 545 and it is a pure blast to drive to work every day. Once these issues are resolved I am going to be forced (wife) to sell the car and unfortunately I'll likely end up driving a Hyundai SUV. I have been driving BMW for 16+ years and I am going to miss having one in my driveway. I don't know if I'll ever get another one after this experience.
Having car towed this morning back to dealer for proper diagnostic and repair.
Had the car towed back to the dealer in Lakeland this morning. I had a good conversation with the Service Manager who happened to be at BMW training the entire week. We both agreed that we just want to see the car fixed and they would do what they could and contact BMW if they cannot resolve this issue. I feel better having talked to John this morning. I think he knows my situation and frustration with the recent diagnosis and unnecessary repair with starter. I told him I would be patient while they sort it out. Hopefully good news to come.
I was encouraged to note that another BMW poster on another popular forum is having the exact same sort of issue. Not saying same root cause, but it does sound very close to my case. We'll see how that one turns out too.
Still no final update from Fields BMW Lakeland. John has been in regular contact with nothing to update. I drove 1hr, 45 min roundtrip to take the spare key up to the dealership so they could see if that key would start it. I told them that it would not. Perhaps the antenna ring around the ignition key hole is bad. The car's computer says everything is just hunky dory. Saw another post from a 2005 530 owner with very similar problem as mine. I think there may be something similar even though mine is a 8 cyl and he has a 6 cyl. Cannot immagine the CAS/EWS module under dash is very different. But DME on each car is very different. Hope they find it so. I hate rental cars.
Difficult issue resolved.
This a email/letter I sent to the GM at Fields BMW Lakeland... Great Job and I highly recommend them in Central Florida area.
First of all I want to say a huge thank you to John and his lead Tech, Terry. Terry has the auto troubleshooting skills I aspire to and the guy was just brilliant at finding the problem before we started ordering a bunch of expensive replacement parts. It turned out to be a single faulty wire on the wiring harness at the DME box. I believe the wire wasnít properly seated in the connector and had loosened to the point where the CAS/EWS module couldnít communicate with the DME. There is no diagnostic computer that would have isolated to that level. It is just pure experience and knowledge of the BMW wiring system to have found that problem. Had Terry not found that one wire causing the issue, John was ready to start quoting me prices for hardware replacement, even when the diagnostic computers werenít indicating a problem. We were that close according to John. These cars are so complex and I am glad that Fields BMW Lakeland has the human diagnostic skills to service my car. Kudos to Terry.
As for John taking oversight of this problem, I cannot think of a better person than John Elmendorf to lead your Service Team at Fields BMW Lakeland. I recall Fred G from your competitor in Tampa, then at Fields Lakeland and John just blows him away with his passion to resolve a difficult issue for the customer. Fred was one of the main reasons I stopped having my car serviced in Tampa. He came across as just an all business guy. I can only imagine how tough it is to run a Service business at a dealership. There are all kinds of people who own BMWs, but John saw my passion and knowledge of the car and was able to step back and say something isnít right about this situation and let his tech work through the problem. I cannot say enough about the gratitude I feel for how this was handled and settled with John. I hope the guys on his team learn and follow his passion to do your best and make the customer happy they serviced at your dealership. When you show your passion for what you do, it draws people to you. John and his team will continue to get the work I cannot or donít have time to do myself. In my retirement, I would love to work for John fixing BMW cars.
Finally, I want to say that I am sorry for venting as loudly as I did at the beginning. There is a very personal reason why I was so frustrated with the initial Fields starter diagnosis and repair that didnít fix the problem. My son is into BMX racing and we have been saving money to buy him the parts to build out his new racing bike for the upcoming 2013 racing season. We had a $1200 budget to spend on getting that bike frame race ready. When I found out we blew that money on a unnecessary starter replacement for my car and potentially unknown money on getting it to start again, I blew my own head gasket so to speak. I didnít have the heart to tell my son that I couldnít afford to get his bike finished for him before the start of the next racing season. I made a commitment to him that I would take care of that initial investment to get him started at a competitive level this coming year. Johnís handling of the situation and the settlement with me has allowed me to keep that promise to my son and we are looking forward to fun racing season all over the state of Florida. If you see a Titanium Silver 545 on the roads with a silver BMX racing bike on top, that will be us cruising in style to the next race. If you have a couple of small Fields BMW decals/stickers, we would be happy to put them on the bike frame and share this story with others across the state. We are both grateful for how your Service Team handled my car situation.
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