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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-11-2011, 01:19 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Would it work to team up and call the NHTSA to correct E39 safety defects?

Based on information in this E46 thread today:
- E46 ZKW Reflector Recall-Open NHTSA Investigation

Quote:
please call the NHTSA at 888-327-4236 to report a vehicle defect. ... Or go to http://www.nhtsa.gov and click the blue banner to the right "Report a Vehicle or Child Seat Defect," then choose to "File an Online Form" and go from there.
I wonder if it will work to correct E39 safety defects if more than a few of us called the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to report safety-related failings in the BMW E39?

For example, the Hella headlight adjusters which cause the headlights to point dangerously low - and - which are permanently sealed - so that the replacement ($1,000) isn't what most consumers will pay (making it all the more dangerous as it will go uncorrected).

Yet, when I ran a search, NOBODY had ever reported to the NHTSA the headlights as a safety-related defect!
(in fact, there were only 25 reports, in toto, submitted to the NHTSA for the entire 2002 BMW 525i model run!)
- http://www.safercar.gov (click on "VEHICLE OWNERS" & then "Search Complaints")

These extremely low numbers encourages me ... that we 'can' (possibly) effect change - if ... if we all choose the most important E39 defects (known to us) to complain to the NHTSA about.

Together, we could (possibly) effect real change!

Which safety-related problems should we (collectively) team up on?

Quote:
Why your complaint is important

Your complaint information will be entered into NHTSA-ODI's vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists. More...
  • If a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must provide a remedy at no cost to the owner. Your complaint is the first step in the process.
  • We do not have to receive a specific number of complaints before we look into a problem. We gather all available information on a problem. Your complaint is important to us.

Last edited by bluebee; 07-11-2011 at 01:50 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-15-2011, 12:33 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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For the cross-linked record, this post yesterday, is related to the NHTSA complaint system for our BMWs:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > looking for a recall
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2011, 10:54 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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This post today about the obvious safety-related defect in the ABS:
- E39 ABS Module, what if one does not code the VIN

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMW4RE View Post
I'd like to try to forget about this very poor design, at least as far as the location of sensitive, delicate electronics, ASAP. BMW really should have handled this as an extended recall based on its sure failure between what, 3-5 years? How many times did that request fall on the deaf, unaccommodating ears at BMW?
Elicited this related response from me just now:
Quote:
To put it bluntly, it's OUR fault. Not BMWs.

I researched the number of 2002 MBW 525i reports to the NHTSA, and ... guess what. Only 25 in the entire history of the vehicle!

Then, I asked others to report the known problems ... and nobody (to my knowledge) took me up on that offer.

So, it's OUR fault for not reporting it to the NHTSA!
- How to report a BMW safety problem to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration for a product recall (1) and what E39 safety repair problems have already been reported to the NHTSA (1) & BMW E39 ignition coil recall information (1) & the safercar.gov recall search engine (1) & how to find out if your BMW E39 is involved in a recall (1) (2) (3) (4)
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  #4  
Old 10-14-2011, 03:46 PM
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bcbp14 bcbp14 is offline
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Will BMW pay for a new ABS module? If so sign me up.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2011, 04:34 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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I suspect it's too late; ny defect can be explained by stating it's beyond the designed life of the vehicle at this point; the car is three gnerations old now. In the case of the later E60s and the F10s there's a good case to be made. There's so many issues that those cars have (similar to our cars) that they would be able to accomplish quite a bit I think.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2011, 09:22 PM
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530iman 530iman is offline
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Headlight. Complaint filed, took all of 10 min. Beyond the designed life of the vehicle? bmw_n00b13 please explain. I have other vehicles as old or older than my E39, headlights should never fail in the manner that mine has even 20 years later. I can understand other parts of the vehicle but the adjustable headlight design was poor from the get go.
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  #7  
Old 10-15-2011, 04:53 AM
bhuter24 bhuter24 is offline
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Headlights and ABS I sign count me in as well...
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  #8  
Old 10-15-2011, 12:09 PM
BMW4RE BMW4RE is offline
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Plastic

The headlight adjuster problem is just another poor use of plastic by BMW. It may also be the effect of engine heat that gets to those parts and breaks down the plastic. I think that my car went 120K miles before the headlights started bouncing around, requiring adjuster rebuild. At least mine was a '99, where they could be rebuilt. I understand that later models have the problem but you can't fix it other than by throwing hundreds of dollars at it.
I once mentioned my dismay/disgust at the failing plastic parts near the engine compartment to a BMW dealer parts dude. He told me it was because of the EPA that BMW used all of the plastic. If that's the case, BMW should love the EPA for making them sell cheap parts at a huge markup far before their time would be expected to be up. I'm not quite sure why the EPA would be involved in headlight design. Head-light pollution?
Other plastic problem places: The piece that crumbles up on top of the firewall, cabin air ducts that twist lock, or should I say break, in place. I haven't even bothered to price those. Frankly, I'm afraid to.
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  #9  
Old 10-15-2011, 03:43 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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The manufacturer of the vehicle warrantees the vehicle to be totally trouble free for the first X miles or Y years, then optionally extends that coverage (CPO). There is no burden on them to ensure the vehicle is trouble free outside of the warranty, outside of federally mandated warrantees on the emissions control (8 years). Even if it's a key safety issue (i.e. 15 years to the day after the car leaves the factory the master cylinder just blows up in your garage) it will be difficult to argue that it's not a user error (how old is YOUR brake fluid? Is it perhaps ATE Super Blue, which is technically not the correct fluid?) or an environmental problem that is beyond BMW's reasonable testing.

Getting a recall to stick to a manufacturer is pretty tough. ABS systems are a common failure point across numerous vehicles. My father in law has a GMC truck that has a bad ABS sensor. No lights on the dash, but when you come to a stop the ABS kicks in around 5kph and all of a sudden you don't have brakes! There's numerous other examples; I believe even Volvos had problems with their Bosch ABS computers (Bosch makes crap, from what I can tell) but there's still very few ABS recalls.

The plastic use is combined German and EU environmental laws, with a hefty dose of beancounters. The accountants take all the quality that the engineers call for and reduce it to the bare minimum.

It will be more useful to make the owners of newer cars aware of the need to report problems to the NHTSA. For example, the N52 engine (325, 330, 525, 530) has a problem where the head bolts shear around 100k miles (iirc). It's a pretty major problem, and BMW has decided it could only happen if the car is tracked….so no warranty coverage.
Similarly, the N54 has a well documented HPFP problem. It has been recalled, but I'm not sure if the recall works, or is just a patch and it'll delay the onset until it's out of warranty.
Additionally, there's a problem with the brake kit on the 1M. The calipers are cast aluminium, made in China, and have a tendency to crack under heavy use. BMW again dodges this with "the car must have been tracked, so it's not our problem." It's a sports car….where are we supposed to use it?
Then there's the rather nasty coolant pipe in the N62 engine, which costs $10,000 to fix unless you use the All German Auto fix. Not a safety issue, but rather a serious design flaw.

We can use our knowledge to encourage owners of newer vehicles to get reports of all manufacturing failures to the NHTSA and force manufacturers to use a modicum of common sense when building their cars
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'99 528i ('98/12 build). 174,000km BY29428/Royalrot
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Mods: Stoptech SS brake hose, 280piece toolkit resting on trunk floor, Beisan VANOS seals
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  #10  
Old 12-20-2011, 04:55 PM
geobrick geobrick is offline
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I just reported my module failure on the NHTSA website. It lasted 118,000 miles but it seems this safety related part eventually fails in a similar way on every car. Mine lasted a good long time but if it goes unreported then "it never happened". Sure we all know about it here and I'm sure BMW and every other manufacturer the uses a similar bocsh part knows it as well. It's just another data point for them. I even noted in my report that it lasted a long time without an issue.
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  #11  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:55 PM
E39 touring E39 touring is offline
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IMHO I don't believe BMW are any worse @ admitting faults/launching recalls or the like than any car maker.
Recalls or free replace doesn't last for long as they presume that car won't pass through 10 owners and everybody would have purchased the new model.
Read this in an UK BMW magazine and I liked the story sorta goes like this;
BMW owner has a noise in his fairly new 3 series,visits the dealer and talks to service department,they agree to put the car on a hoist and find rear shock mount torn away from body,service manager replies "never seen that before''.
Owner is not happy to recieve a answer to the effect that puts his driving (or offroad driving ) into question and recieves an estimate to repair of several thousand pounds from the dealers bodyshop.
The owner finds out the location of the independant bodyshop and visits the manager who clearly states he has carried out 7 repairs on this model because of same fault,he then goes on to say a special upgraded repair section will have to be ordered from Germany that is most likely a "backorder".
End result is that the repair is free and the owner is without his car for 1 month as the part has to be made.
My point is that if nobody stands up there is no one to listen,complaining makes a difference,TOP MARKS to OP.
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  #12  
Old 07-17-2014, 10:02 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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This recent E46 recall thread spans our E39 years ...
> E46 (1999 - 2006) > BMW to Replace Passenger-side Front Airbags in 2000-06 3 Series, As a Precaution

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie@Bimmerfest View Post


Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – July 16, 2014 – …. BMW announced today that it has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of the company's intent to voluntarily recall all model year 2000 – 2006 BMW 3 Series vehicles, produced between May 1999 and August 2006, to replace the passenger-side front airbag as part of a worldwide recall. Potential problems with the airbag inflator which may rupture in vehicles produced by other manufacturers using similar systems from the same supplier have become evident in rare cases. BMW is not aware of a case involving a BMW vehicle. The replacement campaign is a voluntary precautionary measure that aims at minimizing the risk of faulty airbag activation. The number of potentially affected vehicles in the US is approximately 574,000.

This is a voluntary extension of the recall campaign announced in May 2013. At that time, the supplier stated a production period during which potentially faulty airbag inflators were installed in passenger-side front airbags. Following this, BMW recalled 42,000 3 Series vehicles in the US. The supplier has now extended the production period.

In order to ensure maximum safety of our customers, BMW has decided to replace the passenger-side front airbags in the vehicles from the suggested production period, and additionally as a voluntary precautionary measure, the passenger-side front airbags in all model year 2000 – 2006 BMW 3 Series vehicles equipped with this airbag module. The 42,000 units recalled in May 2013 are excluded from the current replacement campaign.

BMW will notify customers with potentially affected vehicles will be informed by mail. Customers with questions should contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-525-7417 or email customer.relations@bmwna.com.
See also:
- How to report a BMW safety problem to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration for a product recall (1) and what E39 safety repair problems have already been reported to the NHTSA (1) & the safercar.gov recall search engine (1) & how to find out if your BMW is involved in a recall (1) (2) (3) (4)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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