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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:06 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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2006 325i died 30 miles after purchase!

I just bought a 2006 325i advertised on line. It had body damage including a smashed out sunroof. I got it cheap with a salvage title. The interior was a little wet and dank smelling.

The car had been sitting for some time and had to be jump started. After letting it idle for ten minutes or so to charge the battery, I gave the car an extensive test drive, and a thorough mechanical inspection.

I also called and talked to the previous owner before buying it. She said that a large branch had fallen on the car during a thunderstorm and knocked out the glass of the sunroof allowing rain to get in. She had struggled to put trash bags over it but the interior still got wet. She said the car was otherwise in perfect shape having just received a new BWM battery and brake service shortly before it's unfortunate meeting with the falling branch.

The car was declared a total loss by her insurance, which surprised her (and me). As I said I gave the car an extended test drive (over twenty five miles and nearly an hour) and it ran great showing no problems of any kind other than the dank smelling interior and the aforementioned body damage, which is not of a structural nature and I am certain I can fix.

I bought the car and drove off with my sister trailing me in her car. The car had very little gas left in the tank and the trip computer began to count down the miles until empty. The dealer was out in the country and the nearest gas station was about 20 miles away. I made it to the gas station with 5 miles to empty showing on the trip computer.

Everything was great for about another five miles when BLAMMO! The engine stalled and the car coasted to a stop. It will crank normally but shows no sign at all of firing. I let the car sit for an hour and tried to start it again. It still just cranked. After some cajoling and threatening the dealer sent a mechanic to check the car out.

He claimed that the car had no pressure at the Schrader valve on the fuel rail and that perhaps I had gotten some bad gas or that I had sucked some debris out of the bottom of the tank when I ran it so close to empty.


I had to leave the car at a good Samaritan's house and drive the 500 miles back to my home in Indiana with my sister.

I came back with my F-150 and a flat bed trailer to get the car three days later.

I have fully charged the battery and the car still just cranks. I haven't had time to check anything yet but it didn't display any warning lights before dying and now it just shows a red car on a lift and says SERVICE in the little window on the dash when I push the start button.

I am an experienced amateur mechanic with many years experience but this is my first BMW. (Not a very impressive start I might add.) The 2002 F-150 I pulled the 325i back with has an engine I rebuilt among other systems I have repaired, to name just one vehicle I have brought back from the dead.


I'm excited to get started on the Bimmer but thought I'd ask advise from some folks that have worked on them, before I jumped in. Anyone have any idea of what the problem might be or where to start looking?
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:21 PM
harkirath harkirath is offline
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Possible this is one of the earlier Hurricane Sandy cars?
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  #3  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:44 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Nope, the previous owner said it was just a thunderstorm. The car wasn't submerged or anything although the interior and the trunk were still a bit damp.
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  #4  
Old 01-31-2013, 11:59 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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I just read a BMW bulletin that said ethanol in fuel could cause fuel pump failure. Many brands of premium fuel contain 10% ethanol.
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  #5  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:09 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Well, the dealer telling you there's no fuel pressure may be a place to start. It's possible there's bad gas (siphon some out and try to run your mower with it), or the fuel pump could have coughed up its skull. I'd discount the ethanol concern at this point. While ethanol isn't a good thing for any engine, most of us are stuck with 10% all the time.

A red "car on lift" with no other light is either a warning that it's time for a 30k mile inspection (on at powerup only) or one of the following failure warnings:
  • "Starter Failed"
  • "Ignition Malfunctioning - Engine restart only possible when brake is depressed"
  • "Lighting system failed - Low beams / tail lights / brake lights remain functional"

I'd certainly start with pulling codes on the engine to get a more detailed view of what's wrong. Could be something as simple as the brake switch has failed and the car doesn't know you're pressing the brake (although I believe that it would not crank in that condition) to a major failure somewhere else from water corroding something in the wiring. I know that some cars have all sorts of control modules which don't like water tucked in places that can accumulate it. IIRC, the transmission control module for my Passat was in the passenger footwell.

Again, best place to start is pulling the failure codes. As a side note, you've got to be given credit for having real brass ones for taking on a car with a salvage title and water damage.
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Last edited by Zooks527; 02-01-2013 at 05:27 AM.
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  #6  
Old 02-01-2013, 07:21 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post

Again, best place to start is pulling the failure codes. As a side note, you've got to be given credit for having real brass ones for taking on a car with a salvage title and water damage.
Well the car wasn't submerged or anything. As far as I can tell the carpet just got wet and the condensation accumulated in the trunk from sitting closed up for a month.

Are BMW's such delicate hot house flowers that you can't leave the sunroof open in a rainstorm without selling the car for salvage? I believe the reason the insurance company wrote the car off was the body damage.

Thanks for the heads up on the codes. I did see that bit about the red car on a lift in the owners manual.

Has anyone bought the Bavarian Technic code reader/analyzer? I'm thinking about buying one, but it would be great if a forum member near central Indiana could loan me his/hers.
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2013, 08:17 AM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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If you want diagnostics cheap

Get a coding setup.
You need to know your way around computers to set this up buts its
not ultra difficult.
You can order a setup off ebay along with inpa ebidas ncsexpert dis57 and SSS for around
50 bucks.
It allows you to code and do diags and is not vin number limited.
Its not as user friendly as the canned stuff.

http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=368

You only need a Kcan cable for a 06.

The Bavarian technique cables are vin number limited so people are not likly to loan you
one as it uses up one of the three vin numbers you are allowed.
For the non shadow codes any reader will do even and elm327 for 20 bucks but you need
to translate the codes.

This may be of use also

http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=16

http://www.e90post.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=378

There is also this

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...highlight=code

Last edited by ctuna; 02-01-2013 at 08:31 AM.
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2013, 08:32 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Well the car wasn't submerged or anything. As far as I can tell the carpet just got wet and the condensation accumulated in the trunk from sitting closed up for a month.

Are BMW's such delicate hot house flowers that you can't leave the sunroof open in a rainstorm without selling the car for salvage?
Well, I won't speak for BMWs, but I do know that more than one B5 series Passat (same time frame as the 2006 325) went toes up for just that reason. If you put a quart or so of water in the passenger footwell, you would start killing modules.

Do I think getting rain in is a guaranteed problem? Not if you dry the car out right away, but that doesn't sound like what happened here. It sounds like it got wet and was left that way. I would guess that if it was condensing water in the trunk, it was condensing water elsewhere, and that's certainly not going to help anything.

The BT cable does have a strong following here, and Orient's fuse check is certainly a fast/no cost thing to hit today.
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ED May 12, 2009, Munich dropoff May 16, Redelivery June 22, 2009




Prior 33 years of cars: 1967 BelAir wagon / 1968 LeMans Tempest / 1970 Mustang Mach 1 / 1972 El Dorado / 1978 Corvette (kept until first Bronco) / 1981 Subaru GL wagon AWD / 1983 s10 Blazer 4x4 (big mistake) / 1985 Bronco 4x4 / 1996 Bronco 4x4 / 2004 Passat 4motion
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:03 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Has anyone bought the Bavarian Technic code reader/analyzer? I'm thinking about buying one, but it would be great if a forum member near central Indiana could loan me his/hers.

I certainly recommend it....INPA next....remember to visit coding forums.
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  #10  
Old 02-01-2013, 08:14 AM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Well the car wasn't submerged or anything. As far as I can tell the carpet just got wet and the condensation accumulated in the trunk from sitting closed up for a month.

Are BMW's such delicate hot house flowers that you can't leave the sunroof open in a rainstorm without selling the car for salvage? I believe the reason the insurance company wrote the car off was the body damage.

Thanks for the heads up on the codes. I did see that bit about the red car on a lift in the owners manual.

Has anyone bought the Bavarian Technic code reader/analyzer? I'm thinking about buying one, but it would be great if a forum member near central Indiana could loan me his/hers.
Check the fuses for the fuel pump. How low did you run the tank? Pump may have failed.

I have a bt cable, its a very good investment, but the enthusiast version really isnt loanable-- its vin locked to a max of three cars. The pro version isnt, but its 2x the cost.


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  #11  
Old 02-01-2013, 08:48 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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As I said the car ran great (for over an hour) until I filled up the tank with 93 octane premium at an Exxon station in Buchanan Virginia. Then five minutes later it just shut down.

I suspect fuel pump but I will start with the suggested fuse check -->> relay check-->> first.

I will also check out the various diagnostic connectors and softwares since I keep cars FOREVER and do all of my own repairs (except exhaust, just too messy).

Thanks for the input guys! I'm stoked about my new Bimmer and can't wait to drive it again. That first hour or so was golden. The car is a six speed manual (as God intended) and I was driving it on the scenic winding roads of the Blue Ridge mountains.

I was in Bimmer heaven until the thing stranded me on the side of the road!
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  #12  
Old 02-01-2013, 09:01 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I just bought a 2006 325i advertised on line. It had body damage including a smashed out sunroof. I got it cheap with a salvage title. The interior was a little wet and dank smelling.

The car had been sitting for some time and had to be jump started. After letting it idle for ten minutes or so to charge the battery, I gave the car an extensive test drive, and a thorough mechanical inspection.

I also called and talked to the previous owner before buying it. She said that a large branch had fallen on the car during a thunderstorm and knocked out the glass of the sunroof allowing rain to get in. She had struggled to put trash bags over it but the interior still got wet. She said the car was otherwise in perfect shape having just received a new BWM battery and brake service shortly before it's unfortunate meeting with the falling branch.

The car was declared a total loss by her insurance, which surprised her (and me). As I said I gave the car an extended test drive (over twenty five miles and nearly an hour) and it ran great showing no problems of any kind other than the dank smelling interior and the aforementioned body damage, which is not of a structural nature and I am certain I can fix.

I bought the car and drove off with my sister trailing me in her car. The car had very little gas left in the tank and the trip computer began to count down the miles until empty. The dealer was out in the country and the nearest gas station was about 20 miles away. I made it to the gas station with 5 miles to empty showing on the trip computer.

Everything was great for about another five miles when BLAMMO! The engine stalled and the car coasted to a stop. It will crank normally but shows no sign at all of firing. I let the car sit for an hour and tried to start it again. It still just cranked. After some cajoling and threatening the dealer sent a mechanic to check the car out.

He claimed that the car had no pressure at the Schrader valve on the fuel rail and that perhaps I had gotten some bad gas or that I had sucked some debris out of the bottom of the tank when I ran it so close to empty.


I had to leave the car at a good Samaritan's house and drive the 500 miles back to my home in Indiana with my sister.

I came back with my F-150 and a flat bed trailer to get the car three days later.

I have fully charged the battery and the car still just cranks. I haven't had time to check anything yet but it didn't display any warning lights before dying and now it just shows a red car on a lift and says SERVICE in the little window on the dash when I push the start button.

I am an experienced amateur mechanic with many years experience but this is my first BMW. (Not a very impressive start I might add.) The 2002 F-150 I pulled the 325i back with has an engine I rebuilt among other systems I have repaired, to name just one vehicle I have brought back from the dead.


I'm excited to get started on the Bimmer but thought I'd ask advise from some folks that have worked on them, before I jumped in. Anyone have any idea of what the problem might be or where to start looking?

Yeah. Start at a BMW coding forum.

Wonder if you're aware of how complicated these vehicles are - like government, the computer has its fingers into everything....
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  #13  
Old 02-01-2013, 02:05 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Yeah. Start at a BMW coding forum.

Wonder if you're aware of how complicated these vehicles are - like government, the computer has its fingers into everything....
I have worked on other modern automobiles (Ford, GM, Toyota, VW, Mazda etc.) that have ECUs that control multiple systems such as Air/Fuel ratio, fuel injection, ignition, ABS, traction control, transmission safety systems etc.

I doubt that the 325i is that much more complex.
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  #14  
Old 02-02-2013, 02:19 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I have worked on other modern automobiles (Ford, GM, Toyota, VW, Mazda etc.) that have ECUs that control multiple systems such as Air/Fuel ratio, fuel injection, ignition, ABS, traction control, transmission safety systems etc.

I doubt that the 325i is that much more complex.

Maybe you have a dipstick?
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  #15  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:40 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Maybe you have a dipstick?
Golly, ya mean this new fangled contraption aint got no dipstick? I best push 'er to the side of the road and walk back to the holler and just keep driving my '54 DeSoto.

I must admit that I was somewhat annoyed that I couldn't check the oil level and condition of the car before starting it up. I didn't know the condition of the oil or if there was even oil in the engine. I'm fine with electronics that monitor oil level and condition but eliminating something as cheap and simple as a dipstick seems like poor engineering to me.

I want to see the condition and level of the oil for myself not rely on a sensor and computer system to do it for me.

I assume I am not alone in this preference.
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  #16  
Old 02-02-2013, 08:47 AM
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boramkiv boramkiv is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I have worked on other modern automobiles (Ford, GM, Toyota, VW, Mazda etc.) that have ECUs that control multiple systems such as Air/Fuel ratio, fuel injection, ignition, ABS, traction control, transmission safety systems etc.

I doubt that the 325i is that much more complex.
Maybe you don't have Valvetronic?
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  #17  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:18 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Originally Posted by boramkiv View Post
Maybe you don't have Valvetronic?
Do you suppose that the Valtronic system suddenly went belly up because the rear seat carpets got wet? Or are you just implying that BMW's are too complex for little Ol' me to figure out? I have degrees in physics and mathematics and have worked as an aerospace engineer (not to mention working on cars for over thirty years) so I think I can figure out why my 325i isn't getting fuel pressure.

I just came in here to get some advice from guys that have experience working on this particular model.

Sorry if I have offended some of you by treating the car as well a car.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2013, 09:54 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Do you suppose that the Valtronic system suddenly went belly up because the rear seat carpets got wet? Or are you just implying that BMW's are too complex for little Ol' me to figure out? I have degrees in physics and mathematics and have worked as an aerospace engineer (not to mention working on cars for over thirty years) so I think I can figure out why my 325i isn't getting fuel pressure.
I don't know of a single engineer who has time to purchase salvaged BMWs and go for (multiple) 500 mile road trips to pick them up. We're not trying to give you a hard time, it just seems silly to purchase a car with so many potential things wrong with it and then get upset when it dies on the way. (In fact, who purchases a salvaged vehicle with potential issues and then plans to drive it back 500 miles??)
Either way, you did get some advice on where to start. Its a forum, people share their opinions.
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  #19  
Old 02-04-2013, 05:24 AM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post

I doubt that the 325i is that much more complex.
[diabolical laughter]Really?[/diabolical laughter]

A basic design philosophy of BMW engineers seems to be "Why design anything to be simple when you can design it to be complicated?"

If you want Zen-simple, buy Japanese. I am not at all shocked that a totaled BMW that has an interior that got wet has an electrical problem.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:26 PM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I just bought a 2006 325i advertised on line. It had body damage including a smashed out sunroof. I got it cheap with a salvage title. The interior was a little wet and dank smelling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I am an experienced amateur mechanic with many years experience but this is my first BMW. (Not a very impressive start I might add.) The 2002 F-150 I pulled the 325i back with has an engine I rebuilt among other systems I have repaired, to name just one vehicle I have brought back from the dead.
Really? You're not impressed with the reliability of a vehicle that suffered water damage and was totaled by the insurance company?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
After some cajoling and threatening the dealer sent a mechanic to check the car out.
You threatened the dealer because your water damaged, salvage title vehicle had problems? Really?
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2013, 02:39 PM
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boramkiv boramkiv is offline
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Really? You're not impressed with the reliability of a vehicle that suffered water damage and was totaled by the insurance company?


You threatened the dealer because your water damaged, salvage title vehicle had problems? Really?
I agree. You really have to be easy with this car now. It should be looked at as a project car right off the bat. You can't expect to have that smile on your face that you get when you purchase a brand new bmw off the lot with the dealer in the passenger seat going over all the systems with you.
Take the knowledge here and walk with it, use your mechanical expertise and get the car working. It may take a while, but if you know your way around a box of tools like you say, that car will eventually be running right.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:33 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Originally Posted by boramkiv View Post
I agree. You really have to be easy with this car now. It should be looked at as a project car right off the bat. You can't expect to have that smile on your face that you get when you purchase a brand new bmw off the lot with the dealer in the passenger seat going over all the systems with you.
Take the knowledge here and walk with it, use your mechanical expertise and get the car working. It may take a while, but if you know your way around a box of tools like you say, that car will eventually be running right.
I bought the car as a "project" like the 2002 F-150 I used to tow it back to Indiana. It took me about six months to rebuild the engine, replace the interior, repair some body damage and get it all up and running.

I bought that truck at auction for less than $1000 and after about $1500 (and admittedly many hours of my own labor) I now have a like new 2002 F-150 that hauled the 3200lb Bimmer and the 1,000lb trailer across the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia back to Indiana in comfort and style.

I bought this 325i for less than half of the Kelly Blue Book dealer price and expect to put plenty of sweat equity (and some dough) into it to get her back to the graceful beauty she was two months ago.

I am hoping that you guys can guide me through some of the process, at least as far as the BMW specific issues are concerned.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:22 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Really? You're not impressed with the reliability of a vehicle that suffered water damage and was totaled by the insurance company?


You threatened the dealer because your water damaged, salvage title vehicle had problems? Really?
Gasp! How dare I threaten to stop payment on a check when I was told the car was in good mechanical condition and then it didn't make it 30 miles. The car was supposed to have been salvaged due to body damage not water damage and was represented to me as such.

All I was asking was to tow me off the side of the mountain I was perched on to level safe ground somewhere nearby. Hardly an unreasonable request since the dealer specializes in damaged cars and has several wreckers on hand.

Are you always so worried about people taking advantage of those poor innocent auto dealers?
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2013, 03:32 PM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Gasp! How dare I threaten to stop payment on a check when I was told the car was in good mechanical condition and then it didn't make it 30 miles. The car was supposed to have been salvaged due to body damage not water damage and was represented to me as such.
It doesn't matter what you were told. The car had a salvage title due to water damage. The insurance company totaled the vehicle for a reason. And it wasn't because they had too much money laying around and didn't know what to do with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
All I was asking was to tow me off the side of the mountain I was perched on to level safe ground somewhere nearby. Hardly an unreasonable request since the dealer specializes in damaged cars and has several wreckers on hand.
It's not an unreasonable request. What was unreasonable is to threaten them. If they did anything for you it was because they were being nice. Not because they owed you anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
Are you always so worried about people taking advantage of those poor innocent auto dealers?
My objection has nothing to do with the dealer but rather someone expecting others to take care of an issue with a vehicle that was totaled by an insurance company and had a salvage title. IOW you had full knowledge this might be a problematic vehicle yet somehow you feel this is their responsibility and indicative of the reliability of BMW's in general. That's plain foolish.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:16 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Location: Carmel Indiana
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny5280 View Post
It doesn't matter what you were told. The car had a salvage title due to water damage. The insurance company totaled the vehicle for a reason. And it wasn't because they had too much money laying around and didn't know what to do with it.

Uh, no. It had a salvage title due to a huge tree branch smashing out the sunroof, denting the roof, hood and fender. I was specifically told that the car DID NOT have water damage. I was also told that it was driveable and that I could obtain a 3 day temporary tag from the Virginia DMV to drive it home.

The bit about the 3 day tag was a lie. The local DMV told me they NEVER issue temporary tags for salvaged cars. So the dealer had lied to me. I know, what a shock.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny5280 View Post
It's not an unreasonable request. What was unreasonable is to threaten them. If they did anything for you it was because they were being nice. Not because they owed you anything.
They had encouraged me to drive the car home. As I said, I own a full size truck and have free access to my brother-in-law's trailer so I was perfectly fine towing the thing home...except they told me it would be fine to drive it, including lying about the three day tags.

Had it made it out of the county I would have chalked it up to laissez faire, buy at your own risk, capitalism. But since it didn't make it to the next zip code I felt that the dealer should help me out at least as far as getting the thing out of the way of the log trucks that were zooming buy on the mountain road where it was perched.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunny5280 View Post
My objection has nothing to do with the dealer but rather someone expecting others to take care of an issue with a vehicle that was totaled by an insurance company and had a salvage title. IOW you had full knowledge this might be a problematic vehicle yet somehow you feel this is their responsibility and indicative of the reliability of BMW's in general. That's plain foolish.
I only threatened to stop payment on the check after they at first refused to help me and again lied about the three day tag.

After further conversation the dealer sent the mechanic and then called me the next day to see if I needed any further assistance. They offered to send a couple of guys to where I had stashed the car to help push it onto the trailer but it turned out I didn't need the help. They said they were interested in keeping my business in the future and asked me to let them know how things turned out.

You of course are entitled to your opinion. If I had sold a guy a car and it didn't make it out of shouting distance I would certainly be amenable to helping the guy at least get it to a safe place. Your moral code may be different. Remind me never to do business with you in the future.
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