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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 03-05-2014, 04:20 PM
bmwpk bmwpk is offline
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Unintended Acceleration in 328i

Hi everyone,

I posted this question in a different section of this forum but was told that some here might have an answer....

I just joined this forum because I need advice about a scary incident that happened to us February 27th.

While we were at a stoplight behind a few cars I noticed the tachometer ramp up from idle to about 2K. I thought that was a bit weird. I took my foot off the brake and the car wanted to drive forward pretty quickly, so I braked again as saw that the engine was revvinng. I put the car into neutral and it rev'ed up really high, like near redline. I then put the car into park, and it continued to rev really, REALLY hiigh. It scared both of us, and we put the flashers and and turned the car off. We thought we were going to have to have the car towed. I restarted the car and it went back to a normal idle. Since we were only a couple of blocks from our house, I drove the car home.

I drove the car to the dealership the next day and they've been looking into it. They say that they can't find anything wrong and the car isn't throwing any codes that would indicate any problem or that the car even did a unintended acceleration. Yesterday (five days later) they tell me that they want me to come pick the car up and that there is nothing they can do. A mechanic had even driven the car home with him to see if he could reproduce the problem, to no avail.

I don't know what to do. I've told the dealership that they should inquire with BMW of North America because I've heard of occasional reports of unintended acceleration. I told the service person that I really don't think the car safe to drive. My wife is the primary driver of the car and I really don't want to put her in danger.

What do people on this forum recommend?

thx.
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2014, 06:44 PM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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I think the term "unintended engine revving" is a better description.

Please try not to take this the wrong way, but are you sure that your right foot wasn't pressing on the edge of the accelerator?

Time and time again these incidents are found to be due to the false perceptions of the driver.

Also, if I may ask, how old are you?
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Old 03-05-2014, 06:56 PM
bmwpk bmwpk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BashedBarrique View Post
I think the term "unintended engine revving" is a better description.

Please try not to take this the wrong way, but are you sure that your right foot wasn't pressing on the edge of the accelerator?

Time and time again these incidents are found to be due to the false perceptions of the driver.

Also, if I may ask, how old are you?
I was born in '58. I actually tried to see if I could get my feet to hit both the gas and the brake at the same time and found it next to impossible. My wife was in the car with me at the time and we both couldn't believe that this was happening. It was very bizarre and very scary.
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:16 PM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
Hi everyone,

I posted this question in a different section of this forum but was told that some here might have an answer....

I just joined this forum because I need advice about a scary incident that happened to us February 27th.

While we were at a stoplight behind a few cars I noticed the tachometer ramp up from idle to about 2K. I thought that was a bit weird. I took my foot off the brake and the car wanted to drive forward pretty quickly, so I braked again as saw that the engine was revvinng. I put the car into neutral and it rev'ed up really high, like near redline. I then put the car into park, and it continued to rev really, REALLY hiigh. It scared both of us, and we put the flashers and and turned the car off. We thought we were going to have to have the car towed. I restarted the car and it went back to a normal idle. Since we were only a couple of blocks from our house, I drove the car home.

I drove the car to the dealership the next day and they've been looking into it. They say that they can't find anything wrong and the car isn't throwing any codes that would indicate any problem or that the car even did a unintended acceleration. Yesterday (five days later) they tell me that they want me to come pick the car up and that there is nothing they can do. A mechanic had even driven the car home with him to see if he could reproduce the problem, to no avail.

I don't know what to do. I've told the dealership that they should inquire with BMW of North America because I've heard of occasional reports of unintended acceleration. I told the service person that I really don't think the car safe to drive. My wife is the primary driver of the car and I really don't want to put her in danger.

What do people on this forum recommend?

thx.
You post this rather serious event, but don't even indicate the year of your car, mileage or maintenance details.

What kind of response do you expect?
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2014, 08:18 PM
DozerDan DozerDan is offline
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Why would it be 'not safe to drive' It may self destruct but a reving engine is not unsafe. Provided the brakes work as does the shifter.

The one thing I never got with the whole 'stuck accelerator' thing. Drop it in N and let it blow.

But a TPS or a MAF sensor acting up could cause that, not overly common and may not trigger a code depending on how it is set to read.

Brakes work? Shifter works? Engine start/stop works? Drive it!
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:25 PM
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I agree. Many many years ago the throttle return spring broke on my 66 Mustang while I was driving on PCH. I simply moved the shifter from D to N steered to the side of the road and turned the ignition switch to off. A little drama with no damage, I don't see why things are any different today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DozerDan View Post
Why would it be 'not safe to drive' It may self destruct but a reving engine is not unsafe. Provided the brakes work as does the shifter.

The one thing I never got with the whole 'stuck accelerator' thing. Drop it in N and let it blow.

But a TPS or a MAF sensor acting up could cause that, not overly common and may not trigger a code depending on how it is set to read.

Brakes work? Shifter works? Engine start/stop works? Drive it!
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:09 PM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Originally Posted by BLT View Post
I agree. Many many years ago the throttle return spring broke on my 66 Mustang while I was driving on PCH. I simply moved the shifter from D to N steered to the side of the road and turned the ignition switch to off. A little drama with no damage, I don't see why things are any different today.
Yep, same on my Grand Am back in the day. Stuck at WOT.

The strange thing is that these cars have a throttle override - so pressing the gas and brake would disable the gas pedal.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:18 AM
bmwpk bmwpk is offline
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Thank you for the responses thus far, and I apologize if I haven't provided enough info on the car or the incident.

It's a 2009 with 84,000 miles. All routine maintenance has been done and the car is out of warrantee.

The dealership has sent the data to the regional BMW office for analysis, but unfortunately they can't find any yet. They're recommending that the dealership mechanics drive the car for a while to see if it can be reproduced.

I guess what I'm hope to learn on this forum is if someone else has had a similar issue and has found a solution. I now understand that one can brake hard and/or put the car into neutral to deal with the "revving", but I'm hoping that there might be a real fix out there.

thx again for the responses.
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2014, 06:00 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
I was born in '58. I actually tried to see if I could get my feet to hit both the gas and the brake at the same time and found it next to impossible. My wife was in the car with me at the time and we both couldn't believe that this was happening. It was very bizarre and very scary.

Let's see....what would cause the ECU to call for more power?

Hmmmmm. Have a look at the Go Pedal. Throttle by wire?

OTOH, you're married! Were you in a 'conversation' with your wife?


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  #10  
Old 03-06-2014, 06:07 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
I was born in '58. I actually tried to see if I could get my feet to hit both the gas and the brake at the same time and found it next to impossible. My wife was in the car with me at the time and we both couldn't believe that this was happening. It was very bizarre and very scary.
1958. So your 55 or 56. OK, we can rule out the geezer factor.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:54 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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2 options for now as I see it,
Drive it and if it does it again, then take it back to BMW "again"
or Sell the car if you are afraid to drive it

anything that is an intermittent problem, if its not doing it when you take it in chances are they will not be able to figure it out, unless there are codes associated with the problem
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:42 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DozerDan View Post
Why would it be 'not safe to drive' It may self destruct but a reving engine is not unsafe. Provided the brakes work as does the shifter.

The one thing I never got with the whole 'stuck accelerator' thing. Drop it in N and let it blow.

But a TPS or a MAF sensor acting up could cause that, not overly common and may not trigger a code depending on how it is set to read.

Brakes work? Shifter works? Engine start/stop works? Drive it!
Also, long press (6 or seconds) of the start/stop button will shut the engine down. Don't believe it, try it in a large empty parking lot - start the engine and drive the car at slow speed, then press and hold the start/stop button until the engine stops. It takes something like 6 seconds, but the engine will be shut down. If not, then there is a reproducible error that can be demonstrated to the dealer service dept.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:45 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
Thank you for the responses thus far, and I apologize if I haven't provided enough info on the car or the incident.

It's a 2009 with 84,000 miles. All routine maintenance has been done and the car is out of warrantee.

The dealership has sent the data to the regional BMW office for analysis, but unfortunately they can't find any yet. They're recommending that the dealership mechanics drive the car for a while to see if it can be reproduced.

I guess what I'm hope to learn on this forum is if someone else has had a similar issue and has found a solution. I now understand that one can brake hard and/or put the car into neutral to deal with the "revving", but I'm hoping that there might be a real fix out there.

thx again for the responses.
Doing that runs the risk of over-revving the engine. See my post above regarding shutting down the engine.
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:29 PM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Doing that runs the risk of over-revving the engine. See my post above regarding shutting down the engine.
Why? What happened to rev limiters?
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:12 PM
bmwpk bmwpk is offline
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Thanks again for the responses. Sadly, I don't think I'm in the "young-un" or "geezer" category, thought I'll glad portray a cantankerous b-stard on TV.

So, what are my options? Sell it and pass on the uncertainty to someone else? Live with the possibility of revving in traffic and killing my wife and someone else? Report to the Federal Highway Safety folks (who will probably do nothing)?

I'm hoping that BMW will take ownership of this and find out a fix or get me out of this vehicle. A Google search shows a some very simliar incidents.

Something made the car want to rev up. What is it? I think BMW should figure it out.

Last edited by bmwpk; 03-06-2014 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:31 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Why? What happened to rev limiters?
Rev limiters are not an absolute guarantee against over-revving. BMW has had to replace engines that have over-revved, especially when the engine was mated to an SMG transmission, since they could not claim operator abuse.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:24 PM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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I agree that this is not acceleration, it's revving.

Seems fairly obvious to me that one of two things probably happened:

1) The right foot was partly on the throttle. BMWs are designed for heel and toe driving, and it's extremely easy to get on both brake and gas at once. This is not a design flaw, it is a feature specifically included on the assumption that competent drivers often enjoy using heel and toe technique. (It's not a bug, it's a feature.)

2) The gas pedal assembly sent erroneous signals to the engine, resulting in fuel being delivered to the engine. If that's the case, it may be a one-time or intermittent problem that the dealer was unable to replicate.

I would have no reservations at all about driving the car. Why? Because the cat can't overcome its brakes. If the revs pick up, use the brakes as hard as needed, then turn it off. The brakes will stop the car regardless of how much gas it's getting. I rather doubt it will happen.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:51 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I agree that this is not acceleration, it's revving.

Seems fairly obvious to me that one of two things probably happened:

1) The right foot was partly on the throttle. BMWs are designed for heel and toe driving, and it's extremely easy to get on both brake and gas at once. This is not a design flaw, it is a feature specifically included on the assumption that competent drivers often enjoy using heel and toe technique. (It's not a bug, it's a feature.)

2) The gas pedal assembly sent erroneous signals to the engine, resulting in fuel being delivered to the engine. If that's the case, it may be a one-time or intermittent problem that the dealer was unable to replicate.

I would have no reservations at all about driving the car. Why? Because the cat can't overcome its brakes. If the revs pick up, use the brakes as hard as needed, then turn it off. The brakes will stop the car regardless of how much gas it's getting. I rather doubt it will happen.
^^^This^^^ If OP recalls, they were able to stop the car attempting to accelerate by applying the brakes.... Any doubt about the ability of the start/stop button to turn off the engine can be removed with a brief test in a large open parking lot.

There may be a defective gas pedal assembly, but as Pilgrim posts, there is no way the car can overcome its brakes.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:50 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
Thanks again for the responses. Sadly, I don't think I'm in the "young-un" or "geezer" category, thought I'll glad portray a cantankerous b-stard on TV.

So, what are my options? Sell it and pass on the uncertainty to someone else? Live with the possibility of revving in traffic and killing my wife and someone else? Report to the Federal Highway Safety folks (who will probably do nothing)?

I'm hoping that BMW will take ownership of this and find out a fix or get me out of this vehicle. A Google search shows a some very simliar incidents.

Something made the car want to rev up. What is it? I think BMW should figure it out.
sadly, BMW cannot fix a problem thats not happening when you take it to them,

If you dont trust the car or your ability to manage the car if it happens again, then I would suggest selling the car, All cars are drive by wire now, so whos to say you dont get another car that on a rare occurrence will do the same thing, Then what? Sell that one too

Now that you know its happened you wont be that scared when it happens again, but if your wife wont drive the car, no choice but sell it
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:27 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
So, what are my options? Sell it and pass on the uncertainty to someone else? Live with the possibility of revving in traffic and killing my wife and someone else? Report to the Federal Highway Safety folks (who will probably do nothing)?


I had an Oldsmobile Omega that started to miss badly on my way to work. At lunch I changed the spark plug wires and since I was wearing a suit I pulled the greasy old ones out of the way and left them in next to the new ones.

On the drive home that afternoon, one of the loose wires worked its way into the throttle linkage and caused it to stick. The accelerator linkage jammed in the full throttle position.

It was rather distressing (to put it mildly) when I lifted the gas pedal but the engine "raced" to full throttle. Once I realized what was going on I pressed the brake pedal and easily slowed the car into a parking lot and turned off the engine. I was a bit shaken but never in any real danger.

When it happened again, on the same drive home, I was prepared and it was merely annoying, and not particularly frightening. I pulled over and found the offending wire and removed it. (No NHTSA investigation or product liability suit, since it was my fault for not removing the wires to save on my dry cleaning bill.)

As others have said, the engine can not overpower the brakes. If your wife is a reasonably experienced driver it should be a rather simple matter to explain to her that if the car's engine begins to "race" she should

1) apply the brakes with sufficient force to slow the car safely
2) pull over to the side of the road when it is safe to do so
3) press and hold the start button until the engine stops.
(She should NOT press the start button until she has safely stopped since stopping the engine will disable the power steering and power brakes making it harder to control the car.)

Also, being prepared for the situation would mitigated the surprise and distress should it occur.

You could even take her to a parking lot and have her press the accelerator to the floor with her right foot and then press the brake pedal with her left foot. Thus demonstrating the ability of the brakes to easily stop the car even at full throttle, and assuring her that she is in no danger and further preparing her for the possibility.

If it indeed happens again then you can pursue the matter further with BMW or sell the car. Of course if you believe that the car does have a dangerous fault then not telling any perspective buyer would be unethical and a legal liability on your part.

Last edited by BashedBarrique; 03-07-2014 at 04:30 AM.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:48 AM
BashedBarrique BashedBarrique is offline
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I still believe that the most likely cause of the incident was your right foot hitting the left edge of the accelerator when pressing the brake.

I am also born in 1958, thus not (quite) a "geeser" or a "rookie" driver but it happened to me.

I am 6' 3" and my wife is 5' 0". We have a single lane driveway. Her car was blocking mine so I had to move it before taking my car to work. I was in a hurry so I slid the seat back only part way and squeezed into the car. My legs were at an odd angle to the pedals. I started the car and put it in reverse. Since it was cold the fast idle sent the car backwards rather quickly. I went to hit the brakes and to my surprise the car accelerated. I pressed harder and it accelerated more!

Luckily there was nothing behind me and I realized that the odd position of my legs had placed my foot on the accelerator not the brakes. I moved it over to the brake pedal and stopped the car before anything happened.

But it was a very freaky feeling while it was happening. I was certain that something was wrong with the car. If I had hit something before realizing what happened I would have been sure that I was a victim of unintended acceleration.

So don't feel foolish and please be open to the possibility of driver error. Hey, you are human right?
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:28 AM
ddeliber ddeliber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwpk View Post
I was born in '58. I actually tried to see if I could get my feet to hit both the gas and the brake at the same time and found it next to impossible. My wife was in the car with me at the time and we both couldn't believe that this was happening. It was very bizarre and very scary.
By chance, do you have floor mats, that may not be anchored completely? All it would take is for one of the screw in hooks to come loose and a little twist on the mat to "bump" the skinny pedal. I know because it happened to me - it wasn't like it pushed the accelerator to the floor, but it was enough to keep pressure on the pedal after I took my foot off.
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Old 03-07-2014, 06:57 AM
RobertoCervezas RobertoCervezas is offline
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Originally Posted by ddeliber View Post
By chance, do you have floor mats, that may not be anchored completely? All it would take is for one of the screw in hooks to come loose and a little twist on the mat to "bump" the skinny pedal. I know because it happened to me - it wasn't like it pushed the accelerator to the floor, but it was enough to keep pressure on the pedal after I took my foot off.
I was thinking of floor mats as well. I've been in a car that experienced "unintended acceleration" once, and the issue ended up being an all weather mat that was on top of the carpet mat. Fortunately the driver kept her cool, and promptly removed the 2nd floor mat.
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Old 03-07-2014, 03:46 PM
bmwpk bmwpk is offline
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Originally Posted by ddeliber View Post
By chance, do you have floor mats, that may not be anchored completely?
This was the first thing the dealership check. Not the issue.

I was at a stop light, engine idle at about 800. Then it blipped up to 2K. Thinking that that was weird, I put it in neutral and it went us way high. Same thing in park. Cutting the engine and restarting it brought things back to normal.

Something triggered the engine to increase rev. I don't know what, but it wasn't the floormats or my foot hitting the accelerator. Just wierd and I hope it never happens again.
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Old 03-07-2014, 04:39 PM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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Interesting things happen with throttles.

When I had a 1966 GTO, I was once driving a twisty back road in Idaho and the return spring fell off the throttle as I was accelerating in between corners.

I shifted down (4 > 3) for the next corner, and the throttle went wide open as third gear hit.

If you've ever driven in or ridden in a 389 V8 GTO, you may imagine that a rapid increase in velocity resulted. And the next corner was about a 35 MPH twister.

I stuck my toe under the gas pedal, pried it up off the floor, and the car slowed. Braking helped. I then used the gas pedal as a cruise control until I had a place to stop. Fortunately, I stopped next to an abandoned service station with some hulks out back, so I robbed a spring off a junk car, installed it and drove away.

It's not the end of the world. If it's a bad gas pedal, it will happen again. If you can't find the problem before then, when it happens turn the car off and have it towed to a dealer so they can check the pedal while it's (hopefully) still in failure mode. This makes a good excuse to upgrade your car insurance tow coverage.
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