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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 03-03-2014, 09:09 AM
sbussard sbussard is offline
BSE90
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: '06 325i
'06 E90 - Electrical smoke, and total electrical system failure, need some help.

I have an '06 325i, that just rolled over 112,000 miles. On my way to work this morning, I was stuck in a pretty bad traffic jamb. I wanted to pop the sun roof up for a little fresh air. It was -6 F outside, and the glass ended up being frozen shut. I pushed the button forward to make the roof latch back down, but didn't hear or see it do anything. I figured it must have blown the fuse.

Roughly 20 minutes later, still stuck in what could basically be called a parking lot, I started to smell an odor similar to very hot brakes. No one had moved in quite some time, so I determined it must be electrical. I was really hoping the smell was coming from the car in front of me, but it got more intense. I started checking for signs of smoke, or a malfunction somewhere, but didn't notice anything abnormal. About 2 minutes later, the car on the lift appeared for a split second, then EVERYTHING except the engine died. I quickly managed to get to the shoulder, and killed the engine. Smoke began billowing from the ceiling, and vents, and the SOS system went into overdrive. Other than the engine, the only electrical item that continued working was the dome lights, and SOS system. Exterior lights, door locks, windows, trunk, etc, were all dead.

For the next 30 minutes the car continued calling the SOS system. When it finally stopped, I was able to call roadside assistance. I was then informed that I evidently have roadside coverage, because the SOS system works, however I do not have BMW roadside assistance. Shortly after hanging the phone up, I heard the Navigation disk start to spin. I tried the door locks, and they worked, so I figured maybe the system would allow me to continue. Knowing that the only thing I had tried to use that failed during my trip, was the sun roof, I pulled the fuses for it (neither one was blown ). Seems like current draw high enough to nearly start a fire, should have blown the fuse. I also pulled the fuses for the phone and SOS system. After pulling the fuses, I was able to complete the final 20 miles of my trip, with no issues. The smell was fairly strong, but did seem to dissapate as I drove.

Has anyone run into a similar situation? At this point, I'm assuming that I may have had a switch or relay malfuction on the sunroof, which forced it to continue to try and open, even though it was stuck. This in turn must have overloaded either the motor itself, or the power wires. Am I on the right track with my assumption? If anyone has seen this before, where should I start first?

I'm guessing #1, I need to pull the head liner and check the condition of the feed wires, as I'm assuming they are at the very least melted somewhat. Obviously, I want to avoid an actual fire if at all possible. Is there a way to check the switch? I'm guessing there is a relay for it. Does anyone know where that specific relay is located? What are the chances the motor was damaged? Is there a way to test that? If the motor is damaged, anyone know where to get one cheap?

Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give me.
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2014, 12:29 PM
sbussard sbussard is offline
BSE90
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: '06 325i
I did a little more investigating over lunch, by re-installing the fuses 1 by 1. I was able to re-install all by #12 (20 amp). I put #12 back in, and was able to hear the relay click, but no movement occurred, then I got the malfunction alarm. I pulled it back out to prevent any further damage. The smell is pretty overwhelming, especially up by the dome light. I will need to pull the head liner down to investigate further. At this point, I'm guessing the motor is toast. I found a used one on ebay for $69. I don't normally buy used parts, but this is far less expensive than the $500 new price from the dealer.

Anyone think there is a good argument to buy the motor new, if it's required? Has anyone else pulled the head liner down on their E90? I'm not totally sure what all is holding it up. Also, does anyone know how much work is involved with running new wiring to the motor? I'm pretty sure I'll need to replace that section of the harness, and am a little concerned about how much of the dash will likely need to be removed.
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2014, 12:39 PM
Watchme Watchme is offline
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Location: ma
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 304
Mein Auto: 328i
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbussard View Post
I have an '06 325i, that just rolled over 112,000 miles. On my way to work this morning, I was stuck in a pretty bad traffic jamb. I wanted to pop the sun roof up for a little fresh air. It was -6 F outside, and the glass ended up being frozen shut. I pushed the button forward to make the roof latch back down, but didn't hear or see it do anything. I figured it must have blown the fuse.
So I did read your whole entry. However, the part above is confusing. You said you tried to open the sunroof - did it budge at all, did you hear motor whine, did it crack open at all? When you say frozen shut, meaning it didn't move at all, right? Then I wouldn't expect you try to close something that hasn't at all opened?

This would help to understand it it's indeed motor related. You need to take the motor out or at least get close to the gearing / levers of the sun roof. Not sure about E90, but most cars lose lubrication on the rails and get gunk in there which make motors work much harder.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2014, 12:55 PM
sbussard sbussard is offline
BSE90
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: '06 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Watchme View Post
So I did read your whole entry. However, the part above is confusing. You said you tried to open the sunroof - did it budge at all, did you hear motor whine, did it crack open at all? When you say frozen shut, meaning it didn't move at all, right? Then I wouldn't expect you try to close something that hasn't at all opened?

This would help to understand it it's indeed motor related. You need to take the motor out or at least get close to the gearing / levers of the sun roof. Not sure about E90, but most cars lose lubrication on the rails and get gunk in there which make motors work much harder.
Initially, before the smoke, and bells and whistles, etc, the motor was working. The glass tried to pop up, but it was frozen to the seal. This has happend in the past, and I just pushed the button forward to lock it back shut, until it warmed up enough to thaw the ice around the seal. After the ice would thaw, it would work fine again.

When I pressed the button this morning, to lock it back in the "closed" position, it did not attempt to shift back into the locked position. I figured the motor had strained hard enough trying to open, that the fuse had blown. Not the end of the world, and certainly nothing I was going to pull over for, to replace immediately. I guess that was a bad call. I use the sun roof quite frequently. Although I've never checked to make sure it was well lubricated, it has always been very smooth and quiet, with no issues (unless the glass was frozen to the seal).
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  #5  
Old 03-25-2014, 02:42 PM
sbussard sbussard is offline
BSE90
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 29
Mein Auto: '06 325i
Okay, so it's been a while since this incident, and I just finally got around to checking out the damage. Surprisingly, there are no melted wires, so it should be a simple motor swap. The problem is, I can't get the dome light / control panel down, to pull the motor out. I checked out several videos on YouTube, that made it look so easy. Unfortunately, none of the cars on YouTube were an '06 325i with the premium package. I'm not sure what differs structurally, but mine doesn't come out like they show. I was able to reach the motor by pulling the head liner down, but there's not enough room to do anything else.

I need to get the dome light / control panel out of the way, before I can go any further. Does anyone have any experience doing this? The major difference I can see, is that the vehicles on YouTube had separate light and control panel assemblies. My car has one solid assembly.
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