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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)

F10 / F11 (2011 - 2016)
The sixth generation of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) was produced from 2011 - 2016 with LCI updates arriving in 2014. In the US BMW offered a hatchback 5 Series Gran Truismo (F07) and the rest of the world also go a Station Wagon/Touring version F11.

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  #1  
Old 05-13-2016, 04:32 PM
Ant123 Ant123 is offline
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Drivetrain Malfunction error still prevalent issue?

I just spent over an hour reading threads about BMW 3- and 5-series (e.g., F30, F10, N52 and N55 engines...) that experienced the "Drivetrain Malfunction" error. Seems like new and used cars alike have experienced these issues. I know this error message is fairly generic, but have the issues that many have encountered still prevalent? Has BMW gotten to the bottom of these issues with "recalls" (e.g., VANOS Bolts, etc.)? I am in the market for a 2013 BMW 535i and was hoping to keep my next BMW for more than 3 years, but it sounds like it could be a nightmare to have to deal with these type of issues outside of warranty. Wondering if it's worth the risk or if I should just consider another car... Hoping to hear that these issues are behind us now.
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2016, 04:38 PM
SemperFi SemperFi is offline
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I have a 2011 535 M sport with 46,000 miles and my car has not had the issue. With that said I would still recommend getting a CPO car. FWIW my Mercedes has had so many electrical and other problems that I'll never by another one.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2016, 04:59 PM
Carbon Fiver Carbon Fiver is online now
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2013 535i here with 34,000 miles and never had a drivetrain malfunction. Seems more prevalent on the 550 from posts here.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2016, 06:12 PM
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ezaircon4jc ezaircon4jc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SemperFi View Post
I have a 2011 535 M sport with 46,000 miles and my car has not had the issue. With that said I would still recommend getting a CPO car. FWIW my Mercedes has had so many electrical and other problems that I'll never by another one.
A friend had a MB where his heated seat caught fire.... WITH HIM ON IT!!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbon Fiver View Post
2013 535i here with 34,000 miles and never had a drivetrain malfunction. Seems more prevalent on the 550 from posts here.
Have just over 72K on my '12 535i. I've had it since ~45K... Haven't seen a DM yet!! No record of one either...
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2016, 08:39 PM
vkl168 vkl168 is offline
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I encountered a drivetrain malfunction error when my 2012 had about 15K miles on it but it went away after a restart. At 57K miles, I encountered another one and it showed up with multiples misfired when I hook up to a reader. I replaced all the plugs (pretty bad) anbd fuel injectors. No more problem for the past week not (about 200 miles of driving). I would say that one should definitely look at replacing the spark plugs after 50K miles. It's relatively cheap.
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2016, 10:19 PM
SemperFi SemperFi is offline
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Vkl168 thank you for the advice and I will be changing mine around 50,000 miles especially after reading the forums. Roughly how much does it cost to change the fuel injectors?
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2016, 10:21 PM
SemperFi SemperFi is offline
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[QUOTE=ezaircon4jc;9672096]A friend had a MB where his heated seat caught fire.... WITH HIM ON IT!!!!!




Thankfully that hasn't happened yet, and I have read about a few instances of that happening in the MB forums. Hope your friend didn't get hurt.
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2016, 12:03 AM
Javel Javel is offline
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At work in the UK I look after a number of F11 525D's and the drivetrain malfunction message really is a generic code covering anything from a blocked EGR valve to a suspension fault such as a rear strut leaking air. Ultimately without some further information be it an obvious visible fault or having access to diagnostic equipment to interrogate the ECU's you're pretty stuffed working out what this message could relate to.
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  #9  
Old 05-14-2016, 07:24 AM
vkl168 vkl168 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SemperFi View Post
Vkl168 thank you for the advice and I will be changing mine around 50,000 miles especially after reading the forums. Roughly how much does it cost to change the fuel injectors?
Not sure what the dealer would charge you but I am guessing around $1000.

I changed mine myself and got the injectors from ECSTuning. I replaced both plugs and injectors with stock. Just be sure to get the correct injectors for the N55 if you do it yourself. There are two styles. You will also need to be able to code the new injectors. I use Rheingold. Cylinder #5 and #6 is what's hard about the job (in term of having to remove more parts).

BTW.. My car was serviced by BMW from day one. I had a visit to the dealership @48K miles to make sure evertyhing was in order before warranty went out. No major problem at that visit but was hit with two major issues since (in a span of 6 months)

1. Filter housing gasket (oil leak)
2. Multiples misfired (drivetrain malfunction).

I can only report what I've experienced but definitely be on the lookout when your N55 is out of warranty. The N55 has been a great car (coming for a e39 540i) and I do plan to keep it for at least another few years to give to my son when he is old enough to drive.
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2016, 08:31 AM
ragtop steve ragtop steve is offline
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I recently encountered this drivetrain malfunction error with my 2011 F11 535D with 52k, the car came to a complete stop and had to be recovered, ended up being a small engine control module and the steering column electrics, both were replaced under the extended BMW warranty that I took out when purchasing the car.
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  #11  
Old 05-14-2016, 02:33 PM
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JT 550i SD JT 550i SD is offline
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My 550i is in now for the umpteenth time due to drivetrain malfunction. This time its for a VANOS solenoid.
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  #12  
Old 05-15-2016, 12:05 AM
kamsbimmer kamsbimmer is online now
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I have a 2013 535i XDrive with M package. I actually experienced the Drivetrain Malfunction issue just 4 weeks ago while driving home. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't under the warranty since my car had already passed and is currently on 63,300 miles. I took the car to BMW Rallye and they diagnosed the issue. Luckily I had gotten a 3rd party warranty that actually covered the repair, diagnose and parts. The issue was Vanos and fuel filter. They replaced it and backed it with 2 years and unlimited miles warranty. But the bill was $3345.
Hope this helps
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  #13  
Old 05-16-2016, 06:27 AM
vkl168 vkl168 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamsbimmer View Post
I have a 2013 535i XDrive with M package. I actually experienced the Drivetrain Malfunction issue just 4 weeks ago while driving home. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't under the warranty since my car had already passed and is currently on 63,300 miles. I took the car to BMW Rallye and they diagnosed the issue. Luckily I had gotten a 3rd party warranty that actually covered the repair, diagnose and parts. The issue was Vanos and fuel filter. They replaced it and backed it with 2 years and unlimited miles warranty. But the bill was $3345.
Hope this helps
That's the thing about BMW. Don't visit the dealership out of warranty expecting to spend a few hundred dollars. Expect to pay high labor rate (as if you are visiting the doctor's office) for your car. My local dealership has all the fancy monitors with appointments and status but heck, try to get someone from the parts department to answer or return my calls? Not going to happen. They will gladly call me back when I want to schedule an appointment but I can count on them not ever calling me back if I want to order a part.

So back to OP's question. Just be ready for the expensive service bills when it's not under warranty. BMW are not cheap to maintain at the dealership (even when the parts are not expensive).
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  #14  
Old 05-16-2016, 08:37 AM
Ant123 Ant123 is offline
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I really want to drive another BMW, but many of the failures that people on this forum have had seem random and unavoidable even if the car has been well-maintained. These issues also seemed to occur in BMWs that were fairly new! However, I don't know whether the people on this forum are representative of what most BMW owners experience. It's not what I experienced with my older BMW.

I've been driving a 2000 BMW 528i and I've spent approximately $16K in maintenance/repairs over 16 years. Those expenses were reasonable and made it totally worth it to own and drive a BMW.

Is BMW reliability really as bad as this forum would lead you to believe? I'm talking about repairs that go beyond normal maintenance and wear and tear items. I would be willing to pay for some breakage, but within reason. I am not expecting perfection, but obviously I do not want a money pit either. To drive a newer BMW with low mileage getting into limp mode or leaving me stranded would be a huge inconvenience, frustrating, and embarrassing. This would be my daily driver and I don't want to be constantly thinking is this the day my car is going to break down far away from home. Please tell me that I should expect the same level of reliability in my 2000 BMW 528i or better. Are my concerns overblown. Sorry for the long-winded post. Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 05-16-2016, 09:04 AM
Trian Trian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant123 View Post

Is BMW reliability really as bad as this forum would lead you to believe?
Take a look at how many BMW's have been sold in the US in the last 2-3 years and then take a look at how many owners post here. It has been said in countless threads, that people with car problems go looking into Forums to find a solution to their problem. It is my strong opinion, that the problems encountered here for the 528's and 535's are rare for most owners. And some may think the same for the 550's.

Prior to my BMW, I had 3 years of continual problems with as 2011 Audi A6, 3.0t. But here, many people think the Audi is a great car. Sometimes, a car is just a lemon and not representative.
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  #16  
Old 05-16-2016, 09:45 AM
Andy11 Andy11 is offline
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I have a 2011 550i with almost 59K miles and had this issue. it took three dealers to figure this out. One dealer replaced the fuel pump which is a recall item (not enough flow) then one of the turbo chargers blew and that was under the emission warranty beardless of mileage ($3,800) then after a week of driving normally, the drive train malfunction came on again. The dealer drove the car for 5 days with over 70 miles and could not replicate the code. It happened again, took a pic and back to the dealer. It was the solenoid, another $1300.. All this is after the plugs were changed. I read many forums and found this issue on the 550's but it could be many things, 250 according to the service adviser. Car runs great now but that was frustrating.
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  #17  
Old 05-16-2016, 09:50 AM
Andy11 Andy11 is offline
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I totally get where you're coming from. After owning many Mercedes, I have never had issues like with the BMW but I really enjoy my 550i. It has been one problem after another but the 550's are seemingly more prone to the drive-train malfunction. In 6 months I dropped $6,600 in maintenance...that;s more than all the Mercs I ever owned but I still enjoy this BMW. I must be nuts or bitten by the bug.
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  #18  
Old 05-16-2016, 09:51 AM
Andy11 Andy11 is offline
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Me too!
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  #19  
Old 05-16-2016, 09:58 AM
Andy11 Andy11 is offline
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Last edited by Andy11; 05-16-2016 at 09:59 AM. Reason: wrong format
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  #20  
Old 05-27-2016, 12:35 PM
dury69 dury69 is offline
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2011 535i x-drive. I have gotten this error code like 5 times. First time the car wouldn't go over 10 mph after the error showed up. It would have killed me if I was pulling into fast moving traffic. Took it to dealer and he basically had no clue but still charged me $800. I suspect it is software because after I restart the car it goes back to functioning normally. Just got it again 30 minutes ago and I am now considering selling the thing - but I like how it drives and I am really frustrated. I wouldn't mind spending the money, but I have no faith in local dealer's competence or trustworthiness. The service manager is kind of sleazy.
Anyone know a good BMW mechanic in central NJ that is not at Bridgewater BMW?
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  #21  
Old 05-27-2016, 12:49 PM
kamsbimmer kamsbimmer is online now
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Try to find a reputed technician and or take it to a BMW dealer. I had my car diagnosed and the problem was found right away by the technician. And wow $800 ducks for what?!? Usually diagnoses charges are from $300-$400
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  #22  
Old 05-28-2016, 06:35 AM
dury69 dury69 is offline
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@katsbimmer - he replaced several parts that I have never heard of. He always using the same tactic: he gives me a huge quote, then the next day tells me he convinced BMW to give me a good-will discount. Then 3 weeks later, the same error shows up.
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  #23  
Old 05-28-2016, 07:27 AM
vkl168 vkl168 is offline
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Originally Posted by dury69 View Post
@katsbimmer - he replaced several parts that I have never heard of. He always using the same tactic: he gives me a huge quote, then the next day tells me he convinced BMW to give me a good-will discount. Then 3 weeks later, the same error shows up.
Drivetrain malfunction is a generic error. What does it show when hook up to a code scanner? Mine came up with misfires, on #5 and #6. When I had it connected to Rheingold, there were more specific error codes.
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  #24  
Old 05-28-2016, 07:46 AM
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Had DM numerous times on my 2011 550i. Only twice on my 2014 550i.

You should make certain and get a CPO car OR plan on getting a third-party warranty for a non-CPO unit.
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  #25  
Old 05-28-2016, 10:20 PM
kamsbimmer kamsbimmer is online now
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I agree with 550newbie. The best option is to get a 3rd part warranty if your current warranty has expired
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