Bimmerfest - BMW Forums - View Single Post - X5 xDrive35d catastrophic engine failure
View Single Post
Old 10-13-2009, 10:52 AM
JerrySpaeder JerrySpaeder is offline
Registered User
Location: Dallas
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 23
Mein Auto: 09 X5 35d
Update: Nothing juicy to report. Playing the waiting game while BMW ships a new engine from Germany.

To recap, it would appear the failure started in and was isolated to the engine but no one has confirmed this theory.

What I've observed:
  • Loud rhythmic noises from underneath while driving at highway speeds, increasing in volume over the course of a few minutes, culminating in a significant bang and sharp jolt. It felt as if the vehicle had hit something but no collision occurred and no parts sprayed onto the highway. Engine stopped running and I coasted off road into a parking lot. Unable to restart.
  • No leaks.
  • No broken, dangling parts underneath.
  • Prior to event - No warning lights.
  • During event - No warning lights. All fluid levels showed normal with green OK labels on the nav screen.
  • After event - Yellow warning indicator (gear icon with exclamation point) showed up on dash panel when attempting to start engine.

What I've done to modify the vehicle:
  • No tuning
  • No special hardware
  • Essentially... nothing. As suggested by Funf Dreisig, I'm pretty sure the vehicle growled at me when I opened the hood a few months ago, so I left things alone in there.

Fuel used:
  • ULSD
  • No special additives

What I've been told by the service dept:
  • Electronic diagnostics showed conflicting values.
  • Fuel tested OK. Nothing unusual found.
  • No signs of water in places where water shouldn't be.
  • A camera was used to look inside engine where pieces of metal were found in the oil. Camera also revealed a hole in the block.
  • A new engine will be shipped from Germany and installed. This will take three to four weeks.
  • If there are ancillary problems, we won't know of them until the new engine is in place.

My unanswered questions include:
  1. Did an engine component cause the failure? And if so...
  2. Was the failure isolated? Or did the abrupt engine stop damage the transmission? I wish I had the specific engineering/mechanical knowledge to answer this one. Or...
  3. Did a transmission problem cause the engine to fail?

The proposed resolution is to install a brand new engine. I think I'm OK with this as long as nothing else was affected. If the scope of the problem grows to include the transmission, it's probably time to replace the vehicle. But this is all speculation.

We've been treated well so far and have the use of a relatively new X5 while we're waiting on the replacement engine to arrive. The loaner is a bare bones 30i with leatherette and without all the gadgets, but it's still an X5. I suppose I could whine and complain but I'd rather save my breath. I might need it later.

At this point, I'm trusting they will be fair and reasonable. BMW and this dealership have never given me a reason to believe otherwise. Hope I'm not being naive.
Jerry Spaeder
Reply With Quote