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BMW Diesel Owners / Enthusiasts
Do you own a diesel powered BMW? Maybe a 335d or a BMW x35d? Come and talk about what makes your car great!

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  #1  
Old 06-03-2011, 06:08 PM
ard ard is offline
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Mein Auto: '12 X5 35d/E39M5/996TTX50
SES/CEL: Code 4BB2....Anyone else?

29k miles, 2010 X5 35d

Yellow CEL, persists for multiple starts. Appointment next day, pulled a code with the generic scanner: P2201 NOx Sensor Bank 1; CKT Range/Perf

Dealer reports BMW code 4BB2. "DeNox Cat, plausibility"

Performed BMW test plans, upstream of SCR cat passes, downstream fails. Road test, retest- both up and down pass this time. Next performed 'catalytic Converter system test', then NOX metering failed: "Exhaust gas reduction not achieved within a plausible period." Repeat cat system test, fail

Puma case. BMW say replace SCR Cat converter.

Part on national back order, delivery from Germany, no ETA.

Car home, no CEL currently.

Thoughts?

A
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  #2  
Old 06-03-2011, 06:43 PM
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I am far from an automobile mechanic so try to disbelieve everything I write.

The advanced diesel workbook, that someone posted a link to (and which I think is used to train BMW mechanics), talks about plausibility tests on page 30. If you are failing a plausibility test then it makes sense to conclude that something isn't working right. If the problem is a faulty SCR system then it makes sense BMW would want yours sent back for analysis.

This system is downstream in the exhaust. If it's not functioning correctly then it seems like the only negative repercussion is that your car emits more than the allowed level of NOx. Don't run your car in the garage, and don't perform an emissions test, and you'll probably be fine while waiting for the shipment from Germany. If that disagrees with your conscience then you could try convincing the dealer to give you a loaner to reduce NOx emissions during the wait.

The document does seem to indicate that a different fault is stored if the problem is that DEF is not being supplied properly. However, page 31 seems to indicate that "unsuitable" fluid is detected via SCR effectiveness monitoring. That sounds like unsuitable fluid generates the same fault code you would get if the SCR unit is malfunctioning (from page 30.)

Do you know if the dealer tried draining and replacing DEF. Was your DEF refilled or topped off recently? How long ago was your last oil change where the dealer would have topped off DEF? What is your vehicle build date?

The document has additional info about the SCR system beginning on page 80. It's an interesting read.

Last edited by autoJeff; 06-03-2011 at 06:51 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-03-2011, 09:05 PM
Penguin Penguin is offline
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BMW might take a different approach, but I have found a plausibility test to typically mean something "impossible" is happening, e.g., higher Nox after the SCR cat than before the SCR cat, meaning there must be a sensor error or something. If the system was simply measuring too high of NOx after the cat but not higher than before the cat, it would typically throw a code indicating the SCR cat was not working correctly.

But, as I said, maybe BMW take a different approach to plausibility.
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  #4  
Old 06-03-2011, 09:13 PM
ard ard is offline
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It is an interesting read and tlak77 deserves a few "Thanks!" for that...

At this point I am posting to start a reference thread, and maybe see if anyone had more details... (I am not at all concerned with the emissions, as I have a F250PSD and a Kubota, both of which spew far more crap! )

My main concern is that BMW is guessing at the Cat based on the results of their known-to-be-garbage software that is doing the testing... at the end of the day, I suspect it will be something other than the CAT that has failed. (Like a flakey DEF metering valve, not bad enough to cause it's own code, but enough to impact SCR performance and 'fake' BMW into guessing it is a cat.)

But we shall see.

They did not mess with the DEF, it was topped off at the last service about 6 months/8k miles ago. Vehicle build was one of the very first 2010s built, aug or sept 2009 as I recall, whatever the first build week was after they changed over from 2009 to 2010.

Thx

A

PS While I am not overly concerned with emissions and the wait, I will be very annoyed if this 'guess' is wrong... anyone know what the state of California says about how quickly a mfg must perform emissions repairs?

Last edited by ard; 06-03-2011 at 09:28 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-04-2011, 04:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin View Post
plausibility test to typically mean something "impossible" is happening, e.g., higher Nox after the SCR cat than before the SCR cat, meaning there must be a sensor error or something. If the system was simply measuring too high of NOx after the cat but not higher than before the cat, it would typically throw a code indicating the SCR cat was not working correctly.
Hmm, that does sound like a reasonable interpretation of the word plausible. I looked again at the workbook and found the following.

- Page 30 speaks to SCR effectiveness monitoring. NOx sensor plausibility is a precondition.

- Page 31 says that DEF suitability is determined through SCR effectiveness monitoring.

- Page 32 speaks to the NOx sensor and uses the word 'implausible'.

Combining all this, it seems unlikely that unsuitable DEF is the cause of your implausibility fault.

Page 106 contains a state machine. A plausibility test (I'm guessing the test that the subject car is failing) is performed in NOPRESSURECONTROL mode. A fault causes a transition into STANDBY mode and seems to stay there until shutdown. The inability to transition into PESSURECONTROL_METERINGCONTROL, due to the fault, means that the car consumes no DEF once the fault has occurred. It was indicated that on some trips no fault is displayed. Perhaps on fault-less trips the SCR system functions properly.
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  #6  
Old 06-04-2011, 04:58 AM
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By the way, part of the reason I started thinking about unsuitable DEF is that DEF supposedly has a shelf life and the shelf life is reduced when stored at high temperatures. BMWNA changed the CBS oil change procedure to no longer drain and refill DEF, but to instead just top off DEF. It follows that the tank in a low mileage car may contain degraded DEF that that no longer meets specification (effectiveness).

In the workbook document page 113 speaks to storage and durability of DEF. "Decomposes at an accelerated rate at temperatures above 25C." It says storage should be below 30C. That's 77 and 86 degrees F. Fluid stored below 25C should meet spec until it is at least 12 months old. The period is shortened if this temperature is exceeded.

This doesn't say that life time is 'only' 12 months. I'm curious what other manufacturers with SCR systems are recommending. And what BMW is recommending in Europe.

Based on material in the workbook, I'll take a guess that slightly degraded DEF is mostly a self-correcting situation. Long term adaptation adjusts the correction factor to increase consumption, which shortens the interval before refill is necessary. When DEF degrades to the point that the correction factor can no longer adequately compensate then a fault is thrown. That would be a different fault than the one that is the topic of this forum thread. I'm not aware of any BMW diesel owner indicating a bad-DEF fault.
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  #7  
Old 06-30-2011, 10:40 PM
ard ard is offline
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SCR Catalyst failure.

New Cat ordered from Germany, arrived, installed around 6/27. (Took a few weeks to arrive)

Tech reran all the SCR tests and it passed (failed before). Hard to understand how a cat goes bad at 29k miles...We'll see how it goes. 150 miles and no CEL.

Also did maintenance- front brakes (pads and rotors), engine oil, micro filter, air filter, brake fluid flush, 5 gallons DEF... no wash, no detail. Oh and it seems like half a page on doing the air pressure in the tires!

First service they flushed my DEF. THis time they topped it off. Given that I used 5 of the 6.5 gallons (more or less) I am not concerned with aging, nor do I think degradation was a factor in the cat failure.

Just FYI

A
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2011, 04:01 AM
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Good that it is fixed. This is the SCR cat, not the DPF, right? It does seem odd that it failed. Too bad you'll probably never find out what caused it even if BMW performs an autopsy.

29k miles sounds early for brakes. Track the car much? Hilly terrain? Or maybe I don't drive mine as hard as I should
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2011, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ard View Post
Tech reran all the SCR tests and it passed (failed before). Hard to understand how a cat goes bad at 29k miles...We'll see how it goes.
Thanks for the update.

As for failure, if you happened to get off-road (non-low-sulfur) diesel in the 335d, it could contaminate the cat and make it fail. I topped off my 335d the other day from a can I had around for *my* Kubota; had to stop and think when/where I got it from.
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  #10  
Old 07-01-2011, 07:18 AM
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For those of us who do not speak gearhead what does Cat refer to? Catalytic converter?
Sorry to be a noob but I'm picking up my d in 3 weeks and the whole diesel thing is really new to me and I want to be aware of issues I may run into.

Thanks
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  #11  
Old 07-01-2011, 07:51 AM
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floydarogers floydarogers is offline
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Originally Posted by 3ismagic# View Post
For those of us who do not speak gearhead what does Cat refer to? Catalytic converter?
Sorry to be a noob but I'm picking up my d in 3 weeks and the whole diesel thing is really new to me and I want to be aware of issues I may run into.
Yes, "Cat" is shorthand for "Catalytic Converter". FYI, all gasoline-fueled autos in the US have had catalysts since the late '70s (unleaded gas necessary). (And lest you think the Europeans are out in front on this issue, they didn't have regulations that required cats until about 10 years after the US.)

Since 2007 in the US, diesel cars and light trucks (and currently heavy trucks - not sure phase-in date) have to meet the same emissions standards as gasoline-fueled autos. This requires a catalyst and soot filter. The filter gets the soot, the catalyst reduces NOx (oxides of nitrogen - higher in a diesel engines than gasoline engines), HC (hydro-carbons - un-burned fuel) and CO (carbon monoxide).

Because of various items unique to diesel combustion (high NOx levels) a special cat using a process called Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) is used in modern diesel exhaust systems. The SCR used the DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) in concert with the catalytic metals in the Cat to reduce emissions.

Hope I got that mostly right.
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  #12  
Old 07-01-2011, 08:04 AM
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  #13  
Old 07-02-2011, 02:54 PM
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If my memory is correct, our diesel vehicles with SCR system end up putting out lower nox levels than an equivalent-powered gasoline car.
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2011, 10:29 PM
ard ard is offline
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CEL returned.

New Code. PUMA case.

They are recommending- get this- a replacement of the NEW scr cat that was just installed.

I don't know who is more annoyed, me or the tech.... More to follow, but not happy.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2011, 03:15 PM
ann2010X5d ann2010X5d is offline
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Same issue -- one step behind you

Same exact issue as ard -- they just ordered me the new nox sensor from Germany and said that will fix it...ahem....this was the third time I've had the car in for the same CEL issue. Mine only had 20K miles when this started. Shows faults 4BB2 and 4D16, not sure if yours showed the second one too? What's happening with it now since 7/7 and what is PUMA case? very helpful postings here...
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  #16  
Old 08-22-2011, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ann2010X5d View Post
Same exact issue as ard -- they just ordered me the new nox sensor from Germany and said that will fix it...ahem....this was the third time I've had the car in for the same CEL issue. Mine only had 20K miles when this started. Shows faults 4BB2 and 4D16, not sure if yours showed the second one too? What's happening with it now since 7/7 and what is PUMA case? very helpful postings here...
PUMA is the BMW NA escalation process for warranty work. If the local dealer can't figure out what's wrong, or it's going to be an expensive repair, they have to talk to regional/national.

As I've said before, the techs aren't very familiar with our diesels, and BMW is using the US/CA to beta-test these emission systems before they have to put them on the EU vehicles in a couple years.
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  #17  
Old 08-22-2011, 06:00 PM
ard ard is offline
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Sorry, after multiple attempts, parts, reprogramming, they finally realized they had a buyback claim. They had the car for 4 weeks when I was on vacation- and frankly I gave up on tracking codes and what they did. I do have the final work order and can transcribe that in the next week.

I'm doing the buyback and upgrading to a 2012 Diesel for not very much $$.

A
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  #18  
Old 08-22-2011, 06:09 PM
ann2010X5d ann2010X5d is offline
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Sorry, after multiple attempts, parts, reprogramming, they finally realized they had a buyback claim. They had the car for 4 weeks when I was on vacation- and frankly I gave up on tracking codes and what they did. I do have the final work order and can transcribe that in the next week.

I'm doing the buyback and upgrading to a 2012 Diesel for not very much $$.

A
thanks so much for the update and yes, I'd love to see your final work order when you can get to it -- will be worth it if I have to do the buyback, I LOVE this car in every way...they just gotta get this diesel stuff resolved

Thanks!
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  #19  
Old 08-23-2011, 02:34 PM
kestrel kestrel is offline
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That sucks, but at least you got the buy back.

I have a 10 x5 built around the time yours was (october 2009)...got the cel light, and they replaced the active tank. I didn't check which code I got, though I should have. That was at around 26 k miles.

good luck with the new one.
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Old 10-08-2011, 10:35 PM
ard ard is offline
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Buyback done.

Details: http://www.xoutpost.com/846433-post20.html


For this final error, they wound up replacing the SCR cat twice, and the pre and post cat NOX sensors...and reprogrammed a bunch of modules... by that time it was 50+ days, and we decided to lemon it.

Buying a new 2012 Diesel- great car.
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Old 10-09-2011, 09:01 AM
ann2010X5d ann2010X5d is offline
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thanks so much for your follow up! They replaced my nox sensor and so far, CEL hasn't gone on again after 2 weeks, but I'm waiting....

So glad it worked out for you in your buyback, I'll track on mine and post if anything changes. Enjoy your 2012!
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  #22  
Old 10-09-2011, 11:35 AM
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OP:
How did dealer help you with the buyback ? Were they nice ???
Did BMW USA have to step in and buy it back ?
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2011, 01:46 PM
ard ard is offline
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Dealer always was straight with me-this was a drawn out process with much head scratching, but it was usually out of the local folks hands... I'd know it was a waste of time...so did the people doing the work, but I'd never take it out on them (the dealer staff). In the end, they documented the service history and underlying defects promptly and completely- so that BMWNA really had no wiggle room in the end. I was NEVER annoyed nor cross with the dealer- however it is very much a two way street.

BMWNA was a TOTAL pita to deal with. First, they seem overwhelmed with their work load...second, there is zero 'customer service' focus on this whole process (afterall, you are asking to 'not be a customer' in a sense.) Arguably I was buying a 2012, but that really was tangential to their focus. It took two months to negotiate final terms. (Which was OK with me, as I turned in the car yesterday and should have the new one in a week....had it been faster, I'd have had to wait longer for the 2012 diesels, since x5 production was started in week 39). Still, even just scheduling a turn in date with their "independent" third party was like pulling teeth. I travel all the time (right now at 28,000 feet over Kansas (goginflight)) and just cannot get there on weekends at this point.

The ONLY entity that does 'buybacks' is BMWNA. I suppose a dealer might, but once a car is lemoned, they will take a $30k hit...why would a dealer do that? The lemon law requires the MFG to back this process. Really, once BMWNA steps in, your dealer is just a bystander. (So don't hammer on them, they cannot control it- hammer on BMWNA.)

The other PITA was the return process... at the end of the day I compromised a bit...BMW uses the "lease return checklist" even though there is no legal basis for using these criteria- 4/32" of tire tread is above the legal limit in CA. I got into it with them and they ultimately agreed to take them below that...but the state of CA requires the car be returned in 'good condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted'... they weren't nutty about the 6 or 7 one-two millimeter rock chips; I replaced a windshield ($100 deductible) and the wheels had a few dings (no curbing, just stuff you get after 32k miles).

Interestingly, the mfg is required to use a calculation to determine the buyback, which is the original sales price minus a fraction of the original price that is the total use attributable to your use before your problem occurred. This is the "Miles at which defect first occurred" divided by 120,000. The earlier you can document the first defect- even if ultimately you go on to drive the car for another 23k miles, the better off you are....anyone doing a lemon, be aware of his end game when you FIRST approach the case, and build the rationale back to the earliest visit you can. Depending on your failures, or multiple failures, there may be some wiggle room here.

Hint: at least in CA. If you hire an atty, and you prevail, BMW must pay for the buyback AND Atty fees. (Beware, some attys will also take a % of your part). I didn't use an atty, and we reached a number...unfortunately a few minor $$ issue came up with the turn in stuuff... But the 'hammer' I had was this: "BMW, we've agreed to a number- if you want to fight over X, y znd Z, you can- but KNOW that if I prevail on ANY ONE OF THESE, then CA law will allow me to add attorney fees onto the amount you've already agreed to." This was part bluff, but part not- I could buy the 2012 for cash and fight this for a while- but someone there recognized the folly and we didn't need to. Just FYI.


My impression- based on a few board and private conversations- is that BMW 'Aftersales' has been getting HAMMERED over their poor field support...and shortly after my stuff all transpired ANY diesel emissions fault is an immediate PUMA case. For many of my issues, the diagnostic tree ended in blanks...so the dealer was forced to just say "I dunno"... BMW is now realizing these errors DO occur, and the DO need work instructions ...and to not have instructions results in bad customer service, pissed off dealer staff and big $$ buybacks.

in terms of a feedback system where- after a while- the knowledge base for the car will improve and the stability of the operating software and diagnostic software improves, it is interesting to see. I really have no concerns over the 2012, I am a believer in total quality systems and see this as part of their process.

A
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2011, 03:26 PM
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Thank you for sharing your experience with us and yes I know your 2012 will be the hit!
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  #25  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:31 PM
ard ard is offline
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Full circle...just brought home a 2012 X5 Diesel.

Looks nice, hard to get too excited as I've had the same car for 2 years, but look forward to a fresh detail...and figuring out some of the e-features.

A
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