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shaftdrive 03-23-2005 09:05 PM

My first BMW service (please advise what you would do)?
 
1 Attachment(s)
My very first BMW service has some, shall we say, "inconsistencies".
Please advise if this is normal and what you recommend I do.
(Bear in mind I purchased this 2002 525i automatic only one month ago so I have no idea about its prior history other than the BMW "Vehicle History Report" which is clean of battery indications.)

QUESTIONS:
a) Where can I find official SHOP HOURS for this battery repair?
b) How can I determine if the old battery actually "fit" the 2002 525i (and if it could have "harmed" the warranty)?
c) What is the "correct" battery for the 2002 525i?

What would you do & whom would you speak to if this were you?
===========================================

The "New Vehicle Warranty" period is still in effect, with more than 9 months and 17,000 miles to spare. Therefore, at around 10:30 am, today, I brought my new 2002 525i to the local dealership for what I thought was warranty work as the battery would not hold a charge.

Within a fourty-five minutes after dropping off the vehicle, the service manager, we'll call him "D", said the battery was "not a BMW battery" and therefore was not covered under warranty. He wrote down that the charge would be $300 USD saying extensive diagnostics needed to be performed (at a shop rate of $150/hour). I agreed reluctantly asking for a copy of those extensive diagnostic results . Within ten minutes "D" came back saying the charges would actually be $375 and again I repeated that I wanted to see written details of the extensive diagnostics. By a few minutes after noon, when I signed for the $381.42 charges for a new battery & diagnostics, I still had not seen the written diagnostic results so I wrote in large letters before I signed that invoice "Pending receipt of diagnostic written report". My copy of that invoice has an "R.O. OPENED" time of 10:39am and a "READY" field of 12:11 23MAR05, with $225.00 in labor (11 ENGINE MECHANICAL 906 CP), $144.50 for the battery (PN 61-21-8-381-762), and $11.92 in sales tax.

Upon receipt of the car, I noticed a new 1/4" scratch in the door two inches above the driver-side keyhole (which I reported to "D" later that day after confirming with my wife that the scratch was not there previously). As this scratch is not pertinent to the question at hand, no further mention shall be made (but the overall experience is pertinent as this is my very first visit to a BMW dealership).

Back at work, I waited for the diagnostic report to be faxed to me. I gave two calls to "D" at the BMW service desk, both of which he answered saying he "had the report on his desk and he was going to fax it to me but that he was swamped". He promised to get the report to me before the close of the day.

Meanwhile, I had explained my situation to the BMW coworker who had jumped me from his BMW the afternoon before. That coworker was surprised as he had compared his battery with mine when he jumped it and had determined that it was definately a BMW battery. Hmmmmm.

By 5:30 PM, I still had not received the faxed written diagnostic report so I decided to drive the 15 miles to the dealership to talk to "D" myself about the inconsistencies. My cell phone shows I last called "D" at 5:56pm telling him I was coming down to inspect the battery & to pick up the written diagnostic report. To his credit, "D" was still there when I arrived around 6:30pm. Almost apologetically, "D" handed me a blank intact two-page (with a single carbon sheet in between) "BMW of North America, LLC 2001 Models (except X5) Service Maintenance Checklist" (BMW NA SD92-157 6/01).

Nothing whatsoever was written on that intact checklist save the one-line hand-written note on the bottom stating "Statement checked Battery, 12.6 volt, chargering (sic) 14.6 volt and no voltage draws". I was surprised as this in no way was what I expected of the long-promised "extensive diagnostics written report". I told "D", upfront (I'm an straight shooter as you well know), that I did not believe that this represented what he had promised and that I was beginning to wonder if anything near an hour and a half of diagnostics (including battery R&R) was performed at all. To his credit, "D" listened attentively and respectfully and said he'd walk me to the service technician's bay to examine the battery and any other relevant information.

"D" then walked me into the spacious brick-floored BMW shop (this place is like a palace) to the work area where "J" reputedly replaced the battery showing me what he said appeared to be my battery on a block of wood on the floor. (Another battery was nearby, but it was black and mine was clearly white.)

Together, we examined the label on this battery & found it to contain the BMW logo and the part number 61-21-8-361-050 (with labelled specifications of 70Ah, 320A, 575CCA, & 120RC). Additionally, there was a side label (Mfg. by DBMC, Winston Salem, NC,27107) & heated-brand stamp (A04083). "D" then told me that, even if the battery was a BMW battery, that it was the wrong battery for that car, and they had to replace it with the correct battery for that car, and they could not do so under warranty as they had to return the same old battery to BMW in order to be reimbursed for the repair. I asked why he didn't tell me that the battery was a BMW battery during his earlier estimates and he replied he was unaware of that apparent fact. He said the old battery could not be warranted (even if it was a BMW battery) if it was the wrong battery for the application as that might cause it to fail. I told him I was unsure if that was a true statement and that I would research that particular detail.

On the way out, I clearly noted to "D" that there were inconsistencies in what seemed to transpire today to which "D" professionally stated we'd talk tomorrow about that and I left for the evening, not wholly satisfied with the circumstances. (We also discussed the paint chip but again, that is not relevant to the battery circumstances.)

Back at home, checking the ETK, I find *different* part numbers than either listed above for the 2002 BMW525i (see photo below), so, I need your help.
===========================================
QUESTIONS:
a) Where can I find official SHOP HOURS for this battery repair?
b) How can I determine if the old battery actually "fit" the 2002 525i (and if it could have "harmed" the warranty)?
c) What is the "correct" battery for the 2002 525i?


What would you do & whom would you speak to if this were you?

Shaftdrive
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...id=47015&stc=1

M.Wong 03-23-2005 11:08 PM

I don't have specific answers to your questions, but it sounds like you were charged a diagnostic fee and a battery removal/install fee.

Quote:

Originally Posted by shaftdrive
61-21-8-361-050 (with labelled specifications of 70Ah, 320A, 575CCA, & 120RC).
(Mfg. by DBMC, Winston Salem, NC,27107)

61-21-8-381-762 shows specs of 90Ah,720A,850CCA, & 160RC.

DBMC is the OEM
Douglas Battery Manufacturing Company.
500 Battery Drive
Post Office Box 12159
Winston-Salem, NC 27107
1-800-DOUGLAS (800-368-4527)

Everything I see E39 shows 381-762 (Group 49) is the correct battery. That is the one for at least the 97 528i, 98 540i, 99 528i, and what came stock in the 03 540i.

I don't know where the 361-050 battery belongs. 361-049 came in the E46 3er, but I did not see any posts about the 361-050.

If the wrong (not spec'ed out by BMW) battery was in your car, I would not be surprised that they would not cover it under warranty. It's possible the previous owner put in the wrong battery, or if the car was purchased from a non BMW dealer they might have thrown in just any BMW battery to sell the car?

I thought the new car warranty did not cover a dead battery anyway?

Battery listed in ETK for 2002 525i is the 381-762.

shaftdrive 03-24-2005 08:58 AM

What is the shop time for an E39 battery R&R with diagnostics?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the help (especially the 525i battery manufacturer 411 information)!
I will call that number today to see what we can learn.

A BMW battery is DEFINATELY covered under the new vehicle warranty!
I checked with the BMW service department even before coming down; and then again with the service manager "D" before even handing BMW the key.

What worries me isn't the battery; it's the total lack of the promised report.

By the way, if I pay nothing, then I say nothing.
However, if I pay for premium service, then I expect what BMW promised
(especially when they asked me to pay extra twice).

I payed almost 400 dollars to replace the battery only BECAUSE BMW (thrice) promised a written "extensive diagnostic report".

What I received (I suspect was hand-written by "D" moments before I arrived on the scene to collect what I was promised and what I paid for) was decidedly NOT extensive diagnostic information collected at my cost over the span of an hour and a half of shop time. He just didn't have time to doctor the entire report with fake numbers is what I told him to his face (As you already know, I'm an upfront guy who says what he thinks to let it stand or fall on its own merits). "D" didn't deny it.

Where can I find the shop time for this type of job?

I don't mind purchasing the data ... I just don't know where it lies.
Is this in the BMW KSD?


http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...id=47058&stc=1

FireWalker 03-24-2005 11:32 AM

If I were "D", I would pay YOU just to get rid of you! :rofl:

Seriously though, this is just another example of dealers using "creative accounting" to generate business.
The battery IS covered under the original warranty. Ask them to run the Repair History on your car to see if in fact the battery was replaced by a BMW dealer.
If it was replaced by a BMW dealer, then it STILL should be covered, even if the wrong one was installed at the time.
As far as the time required for battery replacement, I would call couple other BMW dealers and ask them what is the "shop time" for this job.
Good luck.

shaftdrive 03-24-2005 12:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FireWalker
Ask them to run the Repair History on your car to see if in fact the battery was replaced by a BMW dealer.

Thanks for the helpful advice(I feel so very alone in this effort).
Wow! BMW repair histories are vastly more laconic than Lexus service histories!

In addition to Dealer #, Claim #, RO #, Entry Date, etc., the cryptic report states:
00,009 miles, Service Code 65100914A5
26,496 miles, Service Code 6313051200
26,496 miles, Service Code 6312221200
28,786 miles, Service Code 85990092MP
28,786 miles, Service Code 61610077MP
28,786 miles, Service Code 6134001000
29,321 miles, Service Code 34117777MP


Deciphering the codes with the BIMMERFEST secret-decoder ring, I conclude that NONE were for a battery replacement, i.e.,
Service Code 65100914A5 apparently indicates a radio MASK/ASK malfunction (A5=?)
Service Code 6313051200 apparently indicates turn signal problems (00=under warranty)
Service Code 6312221200 apparently indicates low-beam failure (00=under warranty)
Service Code 85990092MP apparently indicates a level 1 inspection (MP=maintenance plan)
Service Code 61610077MP apparently indicates replacement wiper inserts (MP=maintenance plan)
Service Code 6134001000 apparently indicates the lighter kept falling out (00=under warranty)
Service Code 34117777MP apparently indicates replacement front brake pads (MP=maintenance plan)
REFERENCE:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=86613

I then called the dealerships who did the work; none indicated any more information than I had already determined as shown above. I must tentatively conclude that the BMW battery, if it was previously replaced, was replaced outside the dealership.

But, the battery isn't really the issue that bothers me.
What bothers me is that BMW promised to provide "extensive diagnostic reports" to which they twice asked me to pay more for ... yet they never delivered on that promise.

This is dissapointing in that I trusted BMW (like I trust Lexus) to charge me for premium service and then to deliver on what they promised. In this case, it seems to me, BMW did not deliver on what they promised. But, maybe this is normal.

Do you think I am being unfair to BMW?

1Dreamer 03-24-2005 02:01 PM

I think you need to insist on the promised extensive diagnostic report which you wrote right on the invoice was a condition of payment and they never objected to. If they can't provide it, insist they reverse the charge. But I think you're going to have to pay for the battery.

According to M. Wong who is always very knowledgable and helpful, the battery was the wrong battery for the car . . . . and according to your research, the vehicle history shows nothing indicating a battery issue/replacement. Since you bought the car used and you didn't buy it from a BMW dealership, unless you can come up with some evidence of how the wrong battery ended up in the car, I think you're stuck paying for it.

Bottom line based on the info provided in this thread - you don't pay for what they can't document/prove, and they don't pay for what you can't document/prove. From a legal perspective, I think that's the way it would come out in the end.

shaftdrive 03-24-2005 02:44 PM

Wow. You, M. Wong, & Firewalker provide excellent advice for all of us
(I believe any problem for one of us can affect someone else at any time; so a healthy discussion benefits even those who don't have the problem yet.)

Quote:

the battery was the wrong battery for the car ... unless you can find evidence of how the wrong battery ended up in the car
I do not plan on disputing the battery charges as $144.50 appears to be only about a 50% dealer markup - which - in my experience - is acceptable.
I might take you up on that research though, as I just noticed the "Vehicle History Report" contains the complete name and address of the original owner. (Amazing ... you'd think her name, address, and phone would be private information that I should have no access to. Do they provide everyone our names and addresses when we sell our cars to just anyone?)

If I can find the phone number of that original owner, I'll give her a call.
Quote:

Originally Posted by 1Dreamer
I think you need to insist on the promised extensive diagnostic report which you wrote right on the invoice was a condition of payment and they never objected to.

Good action plan. I called today. Left a message. "D" called back within an hour. I appreciate the responsiveness. "D" was professional. He agreed when I reiterated that the promised "extensive diagnostic report" wasn't satisfactory. He offered to run that report for me the next time I brought the car in (which is scheduled for next week to replace the pixels).

The catch is he asked ME what diagnostic report I wanted.

Uh ... er ... um ... hey ... I'm not the BMW professional here.
I mean, I understand amperage, current, capacitance, inductance and all that, BUT, I do not know what an hour and a half of "extensive diagnostics" would consist of for a brand I've only owned for a month. I thought they knew what to test for (they certainly knew how to charge for the test). :)

Still, the ball is now in my court.

Should I open a separate thread on what enthusiasts consider reasonable diagnostics to determine why this 2002 BMW 525i (manufactured in 11/2001) is on its third battery three years later?

Note: I opened a separate BMW General thread on how we can protect OUR personal information: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92183

SARAFIL 03-24-2005 03:29 PM

I just got some quick numbers for you:

6120001-- Checking battery in high current test-- 3 FRU
6121511-- Replacing battery-- 4 FRU

7 FRU = 0.875 Warranty Hours * 1.6 = 1.4 Customer-Pay Hours, using the typical conversion formula I've seen.

shaftdrive 03-24-2005 05:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SARAFIL
7 FRU = 0.875 Warranty Hours * 1.6 = 1.4 Customer-Pay Hours

1.4 Customer-Pay Hours * $150/hour Shop-Rate = $210 Labor Amount

Given these numbers (what does FRU stand for?), the $225 "Labor Hours" charged seems to fit Bimmrefest community expectations.

The only thing that seems missing is the "extensive diagnostic" report.

What should we expect to ask for by way of BMW diagnostic numerical output?

NOTE: I asked BMW NA Customer Relations today for assistance (as per General BMW thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=92132 but they only handle manufactured parts, not dealers or service).

By the way, where can I obtain these FRU numbers (are they in the KSD)?


SARAFIL 03-24-2005 07:14 PM

A FRU is a "flat rate unit", equal to 1/8 hour of warranty time.

As for a diagnostic report, I don't really know what you are expecting. It sounds to me like your dealer gave you some false expectations. The only "report" that I could think of would be a print out from their battery tester giving you the stats on the battery that was in the car. Also, they could possibly have a print out showing that the fault memory in the car's computer was clear. Other than that, I have no clue what they could possibly have meant.

Terry Kennedy 03-24-2005 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M.Wong
I don't know where the 361-050 battery belongs. 361-049 came in the E46 3er, but I did not see any posts about the 361-050.

Most single-digit differences in the last digit of a part number indicate new / refurb (for electronic modules) or factory part / dealer part (presumably for things like this battey).

iove75 03-25-2005 01:14 AM

$150/hour for diagnostic of a battery?!? sheesh! My local BMW labor rate is only $99.00 and I highly doubt it took over an hour to figure out that the battery was dead!

But at the very least, did they take care of your scratched door? And don't forget to participate in the BMW followup survey for you future service visits.

shaftdrive 03-25-2005 11:09 AM

Quote:

did they take care of your scratched door? And don't forget to participate in the BMW followup survey for you future service visits.
When I showed the scratch to "D" the day of service, he offered that the painters who work behind the dealership could fix it but he made no mention at whose cost. I figure I'd just pick up some touch-up paint as I can't prove they did it. Next time though, I'll snap digital photos of the entire car BEFORE dropping it off.

When I picked up the 525, it had a flimsy plastic bag over the seat and a paper floormat on the floor with my key in the ignition and that survey card with a big red three-digit number on it on the dash. I was surprised the BMW dealership left the car in that condition so I just grabbed the whole lot and disgustedly threw it in the trash at the dealership after glancing at the card. I didn't even think of it again until these threads mentioned that survey card.

shaftdrive 03-25-2005 05:01 PM

The dealer offered to provide the diagnostics I paid so dearly for.
However, they asked ME what diagnostics I desired.
After a bit of study (I've owned a BMW car for only a month, & I bought it on a whim, so I know next to nothing about it), I made a preliminary first-pass attempt and posted that to this separate BMW General thread.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...10#post1133210

If you understand BMW charging & discharging systems, please help us all by answering that thread.

Thanks,
Shaftdrive
http://www.snapondiag.com/new__image...ery-tester.jpg

shaftdrive 10-18-2005 05:22 PM

UPDATE:

I had let this problem go as we never could find definitive "extensive diagnostics" criterion for the BMW dealership technician to run (which makes me all the more suspicious any tests were run at all). However, upon subsequent visits to the same dealership, a similar pattern emerged. Hence, I revisit this old topic to provide an update for the bimmerfest community.

Basically, this BMW dealership experience seems to meet the test for fraud:
1. A material false statement by the dealership.
2. Victim material reliance on that statement to agree to the service.
3. Damages occurred to the victim ($400).

In addition, there was intent to defraud, as no tests even exist (according to the technician "John" at that dealership who supposedly ran the non-existant tests); so the dealership never even planned on running them; and, there was the victim's sole reliance on the statements of the dealership, with the victim not being an expert and the dealership presumed to be an expert.

Seems to me this meets all the strict tests for fraud; hence my complaint to BMW NA Customer Relations about this dealership today.

Lastcall 10-19-2005 11:00 AM

This is the reason I usually go to an Indy shop, that is recommended by others.

540 M-Sport 10-19-2005 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lastcall
This is the reason I usually go to an Indy shop, that is recommended by others.

Careful there...while this event is "shady" to say the least, I don't think it can be construed as an indictment against all BMW NA dealers either. I have had nothing but competent, prompt and professional service from BMW Seattle, my local dealer.

I think referrals are terrific advice though.

Lastcall 10-19-2005 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport
Careful there...while this event is "shady" to say the least, I don't think it can be construed as an indictment against all BMW NA dealers either. I have had nothing but competent, prompt and professional service from BMW Seattle, my local dealer.

I think referrals are terrific advice though.


It was not ment as a slap against all, as I have had some very good experiences with dealers over my time owning various makes of cars.

huttey 08-18-2006 04:16 AM

bump

DMD 08-18-2006 04:52 AM

$150/hr wow....they must think they are lawyers.....

93LE 08-18-2006 02:01 PM

Not to critique your complaint but this is likely what happened. All dealers and most indy repair shops will have a battery charger / load tester machine. Their diagnostic test, if guilty of anything, is too fancy of a name for a simple charge and load test. The techie attempts to charge to batt, and then checks the voltage. If it looks good, they then perform a load test (ampherage sp?) and measure the voltage drop while doing so. If a battery is marginal or on the way out, it will show decent but not perfect voltage at rest. But when a load is applied, the voltage drops very quickly. The Service manager likely did not want to explain it in layman's terms becuase it just makes them look like crooks for charging so much for hooking up two wires to your battery, waiting an hour, then turning a knob while looking at the readouts. No reports are printed out because it is a pretty basic test. In short,m you were chgarged an appropriate amount for the repair.

Again, take some basic aut repair classes and you'll be better able to diagnose your own probblems. Next time Spend $100 and buy a Optima redtop and install it yourself in 10 mins. About the 3rd battery problem. You could have a dark current draw problem somewhere. Ask the dealer to perform a test for this and see if it is within factory specs. Better yet, buy a $40 voltmeter, do some research on the internet to see how to do this and spend the 15 minutes.

I learned how to work on cars, including re&re motors, trannys...etc because dealers and mechanics are only doing their job by charging you $100+ oper hour.

supradupe 08-18-2006 02:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shaftdrive (Post 1375667)
UPDATE:

I had let this problem go as we never could find definitive "extensive diagnostics" criterion for the BMW dealership technician to run (which makes me all the more suspicious any tests were run at all). However, upon subsequent visits to the same dealership, a similar pattern emerged. Hence, I revisit this old topic to provide an update for the bimmerfest community.

Basically, this BMW dealership experience seems to meet the test for fraud:
1. A material false statement by the dealership.
2. Victim material reliance on that statement to agree to the service.
3. Damages occurred to the victim ($400).

In addition, there was intent to defraud, as no tests even exist (according to the technician "John" at that dealership who supposedly ran the non-existant tests); so the dealership never even planned on running them; and, there was the victim's sole reliance on the statements of the dealership, with the victim not being an expert and the dealership presumed to be an expert.

Seems to me this meets all the strict tests for fraud; hence my complaint to BMW NA Customer Relations about this dealership today.


I don't know why one got so hung up on the dead battery, it only cost a hundred bucks and change to replace. For the cars under warranty, the dealer will just replace it and pro-rate the cost to you, they won't even bother to diagnose why the battery is dead. And you paid what? $400 to get them diagnose? I think they charge you more because of your stupidity.

93LE 08-18-2006 06:38 PM

woah, I must have missed the original poster's update before I wrote my above explaination of load tests.

If you insists on crying foul, then you get what you deserve. Blaming the dealer for your own ignorance is just, well...ignorant. Learn a few things about cars before you get lawsuit happy.

supradupe 08-18-2006 07:51 PM

exactly, the dealer is not battery expert, they test the battery, probably with a load tester, determined it ain't holding charge, replace it. end of story, what extensive report does one need? Plus a BMW battery is a BMW battery, it will be covered by the part warranty if not original vehicle warranty. If any owner ask them to do extra work, be prepared to pay for it.


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