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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 12-22-2009, 09:58 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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TPMS Valve Stem Caps - Warning!

If your car has TPMS, and they all do since 2005, don't put aftermarket metal valve caps on the stems!
The stems require silver colored plastic caps, or nickel plated metal caps. If you use chrome plated caps, or metal caps made the old way then you may be in for a big surprise. I had to tow in a car today which the customer put metal replacement caps on two years ago. When he tried to remove the metal cap the valve stem snapped off, the core popped out and the tire deflated before his shocked eyes.
We tried every trick we know to get the other three caps off. We couldn't, they had become one with the valve stem. All four TPM sensors had to be replaced.
What is happening is that road salt is getting between the components and causing corrosion to accelerate. Eventually corrosion eats right thru the stem greatly weakening it.
Although I've read about this problem for a while in the trade mags, this is the first time I have personally encountered it.
So, a special advisory to you snow belt 'Festers; don't use those fancy looking aftermarket metal caps. You could get a rude shock one day when you go to add air to a low tire.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2009, 10:17 AM
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captainaudio captainaudio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
If your car has TPMS, and they all do since 2005, don't put aftermarket metal valve caps on the stems!
The stems require silver colored plastic caps, or nickel plated metal caps. If you use chrome plated caps, or metal caps made the old way then you may be in for a big surprise. I had to tow in a car today which the customer put metal replacement caps on two years ago. When he tried to remove the metal cap the valve stem snapped off, the core popped out and the tire deflated before his shocked eyes.
We tried every trick we know to get the other three caps off. We couldn't, they had become one with the valve stem. All four TPM sensors had to be replaced.
What is happening is that road salt is getting between the components and causing corrosion to accelerate. Eventually corrosion eats right thru the stem greatly weakening it.
Although I've read about this problem for a while in the trade mags, this is the first time I have personally encountered it.
So, a special advisory to you snow belt 'Festers; don't use those fancy looking aftermarket metal caps. You could get a rude shock one day when you go to add air to a low tire.
I think the main problem here is that he had obviously not checked the air in his tires in two years. As you are aware I use after market metal valve caps. I coat the threads with on the stems with vaseline before I put the caps on. I also remove them once a month to check tire pressures.

I rarely drive in road salt. I had to take the car out yesterday and when I got home it was dirtier than it has never been. It was washed as soon as I got back to the garage and is now happily sleeping under its cover.

CA
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Last edited by captainaudio; 12-22-2009 at 10:19 AM.
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2009, 10:44 AM
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Galvanic Reaction. Years ago I was installing the sprinkler system in a Post Office. When it came time for the punch list corrections, one item on the list was a 1/2" brass nipple in the otherwise galvanized piping for the alarm valve. Shaking my head in disbelief, I approached the inspector (Lieutenant, Army Corp of Engineers, newbie) and asked about it. He says that the brass nipple has to be removed due to possible galvanic reaction. I started laughing and pointed out that EVERY valve (drain valve, inspectors test, check valve..) in the system is brass and oh yeah, what about ALL the sprinkler heads, they are brass, what are we gonna do with them? He agreed and the nipple remained. Bottom line, No Electrolytes (salts), No Corrosion, at least in sprinkler systems.

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  #4  
Old 12-23-2009, 02:06 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfitter View Post
Galvanic Reaction. Years ago I was installing the sprinkler system in a Post Office. When it came time for the punch list corrections, one item on the list was a 1/2" brass nipple in the otherwise galvanized piping for the alarm valve. Shaking my head in disbelief, I approached the inspector (Lieutenant, Army Corp of Engineers, newbie) and asked about it. He says that the brass nipple has to be removed due to possible galvanic reaction. I started laughing and pointed out that EVERY valve (drain valve, inspectors test, check valve..) in the system is brass and oh yeah, what about ALL the sprinkler heads, they are brass, what are we gonna do with them? He agreed and the nipple remained. Bottom line, No Electrolytes (salts), No Corrosion, at least in sprinkler systems.
There's more to it....the higher the proportion of copper or copper alloy to iron, the faster iron will corrode in water, or it's sacrificial anode, zinc [galvanizing]. And vice versa. Copper will be inhibited.

Galvanic corrosion will proceed without salts predissolved in water. Pure water is relatively agressive stuff. Certain salts in high concentration are used to prevent corrosion.

If you have chlorides (road salt), they'll do a number on some metals without galvanic corrosion, in the wet.

Road salt and galvanic corrosion (current flow) will certainly cause corrosion when wet.

All above requires water to complete the corrosion cell. Vasoline prevents water/metal contact, so no, or greatly reduced, corrosion.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 12-23-2009 at 02:09 AM.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2009, 11:04 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captainaudio View Post
I think the main problem here is that he had obviously not checked the air in his tires in two years. As you are aware I use after market metal valve caps. I coat the threads with on the stems with vaseline before I put the caps on. I also remove them once a month to check tire pressures.

I rarely drive in road salt. I had to take the car out yesterday and when I got home it was dirtier than it has never been. It was washed as soon as I got back to the garage and is now happily sleeping under its cover.

CA
Absolutely right and that's what happens when we come to think that electronic devices are going to save our *sses. Why should he check his pressures, the TPMS will tell him when the system needs attention! Yeah, right.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:00 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Captain/DSX,
Please clarify re: "aftermarket valve caps". Are these one and the same as the caps sold under the P/N 36 11 0 009 840 that are available from BMWUSA?
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2009, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
Captain/DSX,
Please clarify re: "aftermarket valve caps". Are these one and the same as the caps sold under the P/N 36 11 0 009 840 that are available from BMWUSA?
If they are not plastic, and you are worried, do what CA did and Vaseline them. No Worries.
Also presumable you check your tire pressure more often than every 2 years.

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  #8  
Old 12-22-2009, 01:20 PM
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Nordic_Kat Nordic_Kat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfitter View Post
If they are not plastic, and you are worried, do what CA did and Vaseline them. No Worries.
Also presumable you check your tire pressure more often than every 2 years.

dj
Thanks, DJ, but that wasn't why I was asking. I don't know if the caps I referenced are plastic. I was hoping someone else might know. I was just getting ready to purchase a set of the ones I referred to. I was hoping for a little guidance before I bought something that could be potentially a big problem. Hence, my question.

And yes, I am pretty good about checking my tire pressures on a regular basis.
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  #9  
Old 12-24-2009, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfitter View Post
If they are not plastic, and you are worried, do what CA did and Vaseline them. No Worries.
Also presumable you check your tire pressure more often than every 2 years.

dj
Yes, vaseline will work, but Anti Sieze compound is better. I have had metal caps on my rims for over 2 yrs now. Dive in salt in winter and have no issues getting them off. But lubrication IS necessary to prevent galvanic corrosion.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:29 PM
bmw-hoya bmw-hoya is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nordic_Kat View Post
Captain/DSX,
Please clarify re: "aftermarket valve caps". Are these one and the same as the caps sold under the P/N 36 11 0 009 840 that are available from BMWUSA?
Nordic_Kat - I have the same valve caps. For sh*ts and giggles, I took one off to look at it more closely. They appear to be plastic, despite having a chrome look. They are much too light to be metal, me thinks. So I think we're okay! Anyone else with these(?)- always nice to have a second opinion!
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Old 12-24-2009, 08:17 AM
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MrBones MrBones is offline
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Originally Posted by bmw-hoya View Post
Nordic_Kat - I have the same valve caps. For sh*ts and giggles, I took one off to look at it more closely. They appear to be plastic, despite having a chrome look. They are much too light to be metal, me thinks. So I think we're okay! Anyone else with these(?)- always nice to have a second opinion!
Dang! I told my family I wanted a set for Xmas-so I know I'm getting them. I had called the store (Bavarian) first and they told me they were "metal." We'll see. I guess i'll vaseline them if they are.
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:37 AM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
If your car has TPMS, and they all do since 2005, don't put aftermarket metal valve caps on the stems!
The stems require silver colored plastic caps, or nickel plated metal caps. If you use chrome plated caps, or metal caps made the old way then you may be in for a big surprise. I had to tow in a car today which the customer put metal replacement caps on two years ago. When he tried to remove the metal cap the valve stem snapped off, the core popped out and the tire deflated before his shocked eyes.
We tried every trick we know to get the other three caps off. We couldn't, they had become one with the valve stem. All four TPM sensors had to be replaced.
What is happening is that road salt is getting between the components and causing corrosion to accelerate. Eventually corrosion eats right thru the stem greatly weakening it.
Although I've read about this problem for a while in the trade mags, this is the first time I have personally encountered it.
So, a special advisory to you snow belt 'Festers; don't use those fancy looking aftermarket metal caps. You could get a rude shock one day when you go to add air to a low tire.
you had to replace the sensors?? or just the stems?
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  #13  
Old 12-22-2009, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orient330iNYC View Post
you had to replace the sensors?? or just the stems?
Isn't it all one piece?

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  #14  
Old 12-22-2009, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
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Isn't it all one piece?

dj
No, they're Beru's as suggested by Orient, above, but I didn't want to go into too much detail. Beru makes a two piece unit and the stem can be purchased separately. Only Beru makes them this way.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
No, they're Beru's as suggested by Orient, above, but I didn't want to go into too much detail. Beru makes a two piece unit and the stem can be purchased separately. Only Beru makes them this way.
Good to know.
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Old 12-24-2009, 07:43 AM
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Good to know.
True, so the wary owner can have a response ready for the SA when (s)he is told that the repair requires replacement of the whole unit. Not so. (Unless of course the battery in the sensor has croaked or the orifice has been plugged up with Fix-A-Flat or other goop.)
Battery? What battery? Do I mean to say that these things are all doomed to failure no matter what you to do to maintain your Bimmer? Do I mean to say that eventually you are going to have to pay over 500 bucks, maybe way over, to replace dead tire pressure sensors?

Yes.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:13 PM
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Our Acura MDX (and my dad's Honda Rdigeline)--both with TPMS--had a safety recall for this exact issue. The vehicles came with metal caps standard, and Honda just mailed out four replacement gray plastic caps to every registered owner on file, with the instructions to swap them out.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:21 PM
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It does not take 2 years for galvanic corrosion to wipe out your valve stems. My MDX valve stems froze to the metal caps in one summer stored in my garage basement. The tire pressure checks you all seem so fond of making your selves are not necessary in the MDX because the TPMS reads out in PSI so you can check your pressure any time (and watch them change as the sun hits the tires on a freeway good for 1-2 PSI depending upon the season). So when I put my tires on in the fall, all 4 stems were frozen, and I don't carry Vaseline or any anti-seize for my schrader valve stem caps so don't even start with that.

Cost the boys at TireRack 4 TPMS, mount and dismount, plus my friendly face in their office for an hour!

BTW, who checks air pressure every month? Do you all have leaky valve stems? Tires hold air, then they go flat, why check them all the time? My BMW tires hold air, all the time, every day, it's weird, but I think tires are supposed to hold air.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Helm View Post
It does not take 2 years for galvanic corrosion to wipe out your valve stems. My MDX valve stems froze to the metal caps in one summer stored in my garage basement. The tire pressure checks you all seem so fond of making your selves are not necessary in the MDX because the TPMS reads out in PSI so you can check your pressure any time (and watch them change as the sun hits the tires on a freeway good for 1-2 PSI depending upon the season). So when I put my tires on in the fall, all 4 stems were frozen, and I don't carry Vaseline or any anti-seize for my schrader valve stem caps so don't even start with that.

Cost the boys at TireRack 4 TPMS, mount and dismount, plus my friendly face in their office for an hour!

BTW, who checks air pressure every month? Do you all have leaky valve stems? Tires hold air, then they go flat, why check them all the time? My BMW tires hold air, all the time, every day, it's weird, but I think tires are supposed to hold air.

So tires have two states, full and flat?
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:32 PM
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So tires have two states, full and flat?
Maybe he can tell by looking at them, "well they don't look flat to me" yet.

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Old 12-24-2009, 03:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfitter View Post
Maybe he can tell by looking at them, "well they don't look flat to me" yet.

dj
That sounds like a quote from my wife.
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Old 12-22-2009, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Helm View Post
It does not take 2 years for galvanic corrosion to wipe out your valve stems. My MDX valve stems froze to the metal caps in one summer stored in my garage basement. The tire pressure checks you all seem so fond of making your selves are not necessary in the MDX because the TPMS reads out in PSI so you can check your pressure any time (and watch them change as the sun hits the tires on a freeway good for 1-2 PSI depending upon the season). So when I put my tires on in the fall, all 4 stems were frozen, and I don't carry Vaseline or any anti-seize for my schrader valve stem caps so don't even start with that.

Cost the boys at TireRack 4 TPMS, mount and dismount, plus my friendly face in their office for an hour!

BTW, who checks air pressure every month? Do you all have leaky valve stems? Tires hold air, then they go flat, why check them all the time? My BMW tires hold air, all the time, every day, it's weird, but I think tires are supposed to hold air.
This wasn't the point of the thread, nor was the 2 year time frame. What is the point, you already found out about, and my tire pressure may not change monthly, but how would I know if I didn't check. The TPMS will let it vary (2-3 psi?) by more than I want.

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Old 12-22-2009, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djfitter View Post
This wasn't the point of the thread, nor was the 2 year time frame. What is the point, you already found out about, and my tire pressure may not change monthly, but how would I know if I didn't check. The TPMS will let it vary (2-3 psi?) by more than I want.

dj
+1, check them weekly myself, but this has been covered in another thread I'm sure
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Helm View Post
It does not take 2 years for galvanic corrosion to wipe out your valve stems. My MDX valve stems froze to the metal caps in one summer stored in my garage basement. The tire pressure checks you all seem so fond of making your selves are not necessary in the MDX because the TPMS reads out in PSI so you can check your pressure any time (and watch them change as the sun hits the tires on a freeway good for 1-2 PSI depending upon the season). So when I put my tires on in the fall, all 4 stems were frozen, and I don't carry Vaseline or any anti-seize for my schrader valve stem caps so don't even start with that.

Cost the boys at TireRack 4 TPMS, mount and dismount, plus my friendly face in their office for an hour!

BTW, who checks air pressure every month? Do you all have leaky valve stems? Tires hold air, then they go flat, why check them all the time? My BMW tires hold air, all the time, every day, it's weird, but I think tires are supposed to hold air.
Here's why some of us check pressure more than others; we know the importance of varying tire pressure for the conditions. My E92 has an acceptable and required pressure range from 32 to 40 (!) psi. Proper inflation pressure varies with speed and load. The proper inflation pressure for my car is 40 if I have four passengers and luggage, or if I will be travelling at very high speeds.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:42 AM
DHC8 DHC8 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by From the Helm View Post
...BTW, who checks air pressure every month? Do you all have leaky valve stems? Tires hold air, then they go flat, why check them all the time? My BMW tires hold air, all the time, every day, it's weird, but I think tires are supposed to hold air.
I check them every two weeks. I also adjust them for the conditions, upward for a long trip at highway speeds and down a bit when we are in the snow season. Why own the "ultimate driving machine" and not pay attention to the tires?

I am also old enough to have have picked up more than a few nails, screws and what not over the years. A slow loss of air pressure tells me to start looking at the tire. And I don't trust TPMS to be reliable enough for use as a maintenance system.

This new God given right of Americans to not have to look at the machine, let alone do any maintenance, puzzles me.
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