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Old 08-14-2018, 07:59 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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2008 BMW 328i serpentine belt broke!!

Hi,

I have a 2008 BMW 328i, ~75K miles. Today I took it to the dealer to do the recall work - Airbags, Blow-by motor, blower motor wiring, PCV valve heater. He also did a multi-point inspection and pointed out a few minor oil leaks.
While driving back from the dealer after around 2-3 miles, the serpentine belt broke and the power steering stopped responding. Luckily I was near a gas station and was able to pull over safely (Phew!).
I had to get it towed back to the dealership and there the rep started getting defensive and he said it might not be related to any work that they did and this could have happened at any time.
I've never had the belt breaking and had replaced the belt a few months back. I suspect that one of the mechs might have screwed up something during the repair which caused this !?
Do you guys think that the serpentine belt issue might be related to the work done ? If yes, how can I point that out to the dealer because I am expecting him to get defensive and come back with a huge bill
Also, he never mentioned anything about the belt after the multi-point inspection.
Please help!
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:01 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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Oh yeah, they also replaced the valve cover gasket under the SULEV warranty saying that they saw some minor oil leak
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:23 PM
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PICS .. PICS .. PICS

A belt most often walks off it's track when an oil leak lubes it and/or the belt tensioner is worn and in need of replacement.

Was it shredded? Hope not!
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Old 08-14-2018, 08:35 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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Sorry, couldn't take pics before giving it back to the dealer. It definitely looked like it was shredded. It was a mess under the hood. I could see the belt wound around on one of the pulleys.
Didn't drive it too far after hearing the noise, probably a few hundred meters and less than 5 mins!
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by neohip View Post
Sorry, couldn't take pics before giving it back to the dealer. It definitely looked like it was shredded. It was a mess under the hood. I could see the belt wound around on one of the pulleys.
Didn't drive it too far after hearing the noise, probably a few hundred meters and less than 5 mins!

Brother, I'm very sorry to say: You got trouble!

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Old 08-14-2018, 09:11 PM
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And...the mystery of your SA's defensive attitude is all cleared up....
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Old 08-14-2018, 09:54 PM
ctuna ctuna is online now
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Its the tensioner that usually causes this.
Or oil leaking on the belt.

broken belt
https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1305990
https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?t=1231881
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showpo...3&postcount=23
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1477111
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Old 08-15-2018, 12:28 AM
gbalthrop gbalthrop is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neohip View Post
...2008 BMW 328i, ~75K miles. Today I took it to the dealer to do the recall work...PCV valve heater. He also did a multi-point inspection and pointed out a few minor oil leaks.
While driving back from the dealer after around 2-3 miles, the serpentine belt broke
ANYTIME someone works on your car, you should ask for details on what they propose to do, as if you do NOT know what they are going to do, and how they are going to do it, you have NO IDEA whether or not a fault, that occurs within 3 miles of driving AFTER the repair, is related to what they did.

YOU ARE IN LUCK, because in this instance, you KNOW what they did. Attached is a PDF of the recall procedure related to the Breather Heater, Recall Campaign 17V-683. The file is RCRIT-17V683-0566 and it is what BMW has told NHTSA is the "Fix" they propose to do per this recall. When they perform the procedure, they record in BMW records when, where & HOW the procedure was performed, presumably pursuant to this document.

The STEPS PERFORMED in the procedure begin on page 7 of the pdf, and the second step on that page is: "2. Remove the alternator as per Repair Instruction 12 31 020 "Removing and installing or replacing the alternator".

Here is the referenced "Repair Instruction 12 31 020 Removing and installing or replacing alternator":
https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/e...-parts/HTnziDm

To access the breather heater, they have to either remove the intake manifold which is OVER the heater, or remove the alternator to get access at the front, and the latter is quicker & easier (it's all about doing it in as little employee time as possible from their perspective). The "Complimentary Multi-point Inspection" is a Marketing Tool to make you think they are concerned about your safety and your car's condition, but they are trying to find something they can make money by doing. You 'gotta get a bit cynical here to understand what happens.'

So ask them if they followed the procedure in RCRIT 17V-683-0566, and why they didn't reinstall the alternator & belt correctly. The repair of the nearly new belt, and anything else on your engine that was damaged when it shredded is ON THEM.

BTW, be prepared for some excuse such as: "Well, the idler or tensioner must have failed, and those parts are your responsibility." They had to deal with each of those parts to remove the belt and remove the alternator, so should have inspected and notified you if any of the belt track parts were worn or faulty.

George
Attached Files
File Type: pdf RCRIT-17V683-0566 BreathHeat.pdf (1.06 MB, 68 views)

Last edited by gbalthrop; 08-15-2018 at 12:35 AM.
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:10 AM
neohip neohip is offline
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Thanks everyone for the info!

@gbalthrop, wow! thats some great info that you posted! Thanks much! Hope they acknowledge their mistake and fix it! Now I can go armed with the materials you provided and talk with the service manager directly.
Waiting for the call from the SA and will keep you guys posted on what happens
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:30 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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So, as expected the dealer called back and they are saying that the belt broke due to the oil leaks and they are quoting around $680 to fix the belt and the tensioner
There are not ready to accept that its their fault even though I told them about the new belt and tensioner that I had put in. They said they would have to first take it down and check the engine for any debris (which is likely in this scenario).
The service manager had also called and she was pretty much unwilling to do any repairs or accept the fact that it was caused during the PCV valve heater change
Planning to get it towed back to my mechanic for him to take a look now
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neohip View Post
So, as expected the dealer called back and they are saying that the belt broke due to the oil leaks and they are quoting around $680 to fix the belt and the tensioner
There are not ready to accept that its their fault even though I told them about the new belt and tensioner that I had put in. They said they would have to first take it down and check the engine for any debris (which is likely in this scenario).
The service manager had also called and she was pretty much unwilling to do any repairs or accept the fact that it was caused during the PCV valve heater change
Planning to get it towed back to my mechanic for him to take a look now

I smell a tort....
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:12 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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What else can I do ?
I spoke with the rep and her boss (service manager) for an hour but she was unwilling to budge. She kept repeating that there is an oil leak which could have caused this and I just happened to be unlucky. They followed all the procedures while doing the recall work and there is nothing more they can do.
And since the belt and tensioner was not replaced by them they cant guarantee anything on the prior workmanship. Any other suggestions/data to confront them ?
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:31 PM
gbalthrop gbalthrop is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neohip View Post
So, as expected the dealer called back and they are saying that the belt broke due to the oil leaks and they are quoting around $680 to fix the belt and the tensioner...
Planning to get it towed back to my mechanic for him to take a look now
BEFORE you remove the vehicle from the Dealer's premises:

1) take photos of the front of the engine and belt shreds remaining;

1B) GET AT LEAST HALF OF THE FAILED BELT & TAKE WITH YOU; that belt is your evidence as to whether it was damaged by oil (over time) or failed due to improper re-assembly following recall procedure.

ONCE AGAIN: HOW could tech removing & reinstalling belt have missed the fact that it was oil-damaged, if in fact it was. Dealer employee error in any event. In some states, contributory negligence on your part might be a defense by the dealer, but then, there's always "Last Clear Chance." Can't afford to litigate this though due to legal fees, and Dealer knows that, so a "political" or "Good Will" solution with BMW NA is probably your best bet.

2) Present a written statement to Dealer citing RCRIT 17V-683-0566 requiring removal of alternator, and stating improper installation of belt following that alternator removal is what MUST have caused belt failure within 3 miles of leaving repair site.

3) Ask Dealer to sign a copy of your written statement, acknowledging receipt of your statement on the date you picked up the car.

4) Advise the Dealer that if they will NOT do the necessary inspection and repair resulting from the failed belt, that YOU expect them to reimburse you for any such expenses paid to a shop required to do such inspection and repair.

5) Determine the appropriate person/department of BMW NA (BTW, where are you located exactly?) to send a full description of the incident/complaint to, in writing. Prepare & Send. EMPHASIZE that this was an error committed by an employee of the Dealer during the performance of a federally-mandated Recall, and NOT as a result of some service elected by you.

Good luck,
George
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:34 PM
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The problem with "lawyering up" here is proof. Even if they admit that they touched your belt while working on your car, it would be very hard for you to prove that they must have damaged it (just because it failed so soon?). Even in small claims court, you have to have more than circumstantial evidence. Sorry, but you probably just have to suck it up on this one and get on with life (and use good independent mechanics as much as possible).
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:56 PM
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A lawyer is not worth it for a few hundred bucks worth of damage (assuming your engine didn't suck the belt in).
Your best bet would be to call BMW NA and explain to them in detail your situation.
I'm very sorry that you are stuck in a situation where you probably will never find the cause of your broken belt.
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:32 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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Thanks guys!

I mentioned all the points while talking to the service manager and specifically why they did not mention about any belt damage. Their reply was that because of oil leaks the belt can slip and get damaged at any point of time. Also, since they did not replace the belt and tensioner they cannot vouch for the job and are not responsible for any damages to that part. They also said that they have followed the recall procedure by the book and they have done many such recall fixes and never saw any issues.
Its hard to argue beyond a certain point if they are not willing to admit even a possibility of error on their part because they are the authority on this and I'm a nobody even though I am presenting detailed technical aspects about the repair!
@gbalthrop
I am located in San Jose, CA. I will prepare a letter and present it to the dealer but highly unlikely that they will sign it! I can just handover a copy of it to them even if they are not willing to take a look at it. Probably will mail it in to them as well.
Btw, do you guys have the contact for BMW NA ? I called up the number on this link:
https://www.bmwusa.com/contact-us.html
But the guy who picked up the phone told me that the dealerships are independently owned and operated and they cannot do anything about it. Who is the right person to talk about this in BMW NA ?
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:57 PM
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neohip ---> Do you have a repair estimate?
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:04 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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From the dealer ? For the belt replacement around $680. With rest of the items she said ~$5K.. Its a joke.. This is not including any engine damages!
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by neohip View Post
From the dealer ? For the belt replacement around $680. With rest of the items she said ~$5K.. Its a joke.. This is not including any engine damages!
Has the oil pan been dropped?
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:31 PM
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Hey if all else fails, give Chrissie Hallquist a ring. He/She could do with a cause we can all get behind. Um....yeah!


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Old 08-15-2018, 09:37 PM
gbalthrop gbalthrop is online now
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...the guy who picked up the phone told me that the dealerships are independently owned and operated and they cannot do anything about it. Who is the right person to talk about this in BMW NA ?
I have NOT examined BMW NA's Organizational Chart, or Public Relations "Brand Burnishing" organization, but your leverage is via that part of BMW that deals with NHTSA. As I tried to emphasize earlier, your serpentine belt was re-installed by the Dealer's Tech as part of a NHTSA-mandated National Recall Campaign. That Tech was working either as an Agent for BMW in the performance of BMW's duty to NHTSA (and you) or as a designated contractor following express instructions of BMW. That tech was (negligently) performing a duty BMW (NOT the Dealer) owed: (1) to NHTSA, and (2) to you as an owner of a vehicle subject to a Recall, to properly perform the recall without further damage to your vehicle. He failed.

The Tech handled your serpentine belt at least twice (1) removing it before removing the alternator, and (2) reinstalling it after re-installing the alternator (each pursuant to RCRIT procedure for performing the Recall). The Tech either (A) failed to properly inspect the belt that he handled at least twice and notice that it was "oil-damaged" (Dealer's argument) or (B) he improperly reinstalled the belt, didn't get it on all of the pulleys, tensioner or idler properly, and didn't inspect it after starting the engine to make sure the belt was NOT "walking off" the pulleys due to improper installation.

The belt was shredded in less than 5 minutes operation after leaving the dealer's lot. It may have even come off before you got in it. Did you ever hear any screech or thumping sound from the engine compartment (belt slipping and then breaking)?

The above is NOT "special BMW expertise knowledge" -- ANY competent Tech who is NOT in a hurry to get to something else should have taken the care to do what I describe in BOTH (A) and (B).

So whoever else you send the letter to, I would send a copy to whatever department of BMW NA is responsible for NHTSA Recall Campaign Compliance, and also a copy to the appropriate NHTSA office.

Sorry I can't give specific names & addresses. I would give BMW ONE LAST opportunity to act like they care about the owners of their vehicles (taking/recording name, location, title of anyone you speak to) and then deal with NHTSA (and tell them about BMW's run-around). The reference to "recording" above was intended to mean just making a written note of the information. However, if you are calling from a state where single party knowledge of digital recording (taping) phone conversations is legal (such as it is in VA) then it would NOT hurt.

Just start with the NHTSA Contact Info on the following link and work up:
https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

The NHTSA site that gives info on the Breather Heater recall 17V-683 also contains the following statement:
"If the manufacturer has failed or is unable to remedy this safety recall for your vehicle in a timely manner, please contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at: 1-888-327-4236 or TTY: 1-800-424-9153 or file an online complaint with NHTSA."

As I and others have already stated, it is NOT economically feasible to litigate this. However if you do NOT approach it with the same effort and detail in gathering information and documenting your "case" as you would if it were a multimillion-dollar claim that you DID intend to litigate, you are wasting your time. How much is principle worth to you? Some of us still care about such things. Don't let the BS-Artists win. ("They're just winning so much" -- they claim ;-)

Good Luck,
George

Last edited by gbalthrop; 08-15-2018 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:42 PM
neohip neohip is offline
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Thanks George!
At this rate it is definitely not adding up to spend more time with these crooks (dealers) or on the car. The trade-in value of the car is around $4K. So, now the law of diminishing returns is taking effect
In any case, I have bigger fish to fry and don't wanna spend more of my time with these low lives. But yeah, there is a part of me which hates the fact that they are getting away with this. I will do my best to smear bad reviews over all the online boards that I can find. I am actually looking forward to dumping this car and get a tesla
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Old 08-15-2018, 11:59 PM
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There 4 or 5 design flaws on these cars that will make you
rethink your loyalty to this brand and this is one of he bigger
ones.
Still haven't got my heater connector recall done.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neohip View Post
Thanks George!
At this rate it is definitely not adding up to spend more time with these crooks (dealers) or on the car. The trade-in value of the car is around $4K. So, now the law of diminishing returns is taking effect
In any case, I have bigger fish to fry and don't wanna spend more of my time with these low lives. But yeah, there is a part of me which hates the fact that they are getting away with this. I will do my best to smear bad reviews over all the online boards that I can find. I am actually looking forward to dumping this car and get a tesla

Model 3? Can't make enough of 'em. But BMW does make an appealing car, when it ain't broke.

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Old 08-16-2018, 09:17 AM
Mashman Mashman is offline
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Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
The problem with "lawyering up" here is proof. Even if they admit that they touched your belt while working on your car, it would be very hard for you to prove that they must have damaged it (just because it failed so soon?). Even in small claims court, you have to have more than circumstantial evidence. Sorry, but you probably just have to suck it up on this one and get on with life (and use good independent mechanics as much as possible).
For a civil case the burden of proof is a "preponderance of the evidence".

In this one trip to the dealer, their were 2 separate instances, where a damaged belt should have been identified. In the OP, it was stated that the dealership performed a multi-point inspection, during this inspection, the belt should have been checked - I'm pretty sure your dealer has something like this - https://www.njbmwservice.com/multi-p...nspection.html . Also when removing/replacing the drive belt, for any reason, it's SOP to check the belt for damage.

So, during the visit, the dealership twice failed to notice a drive belt that was in such bad shape, that it failed immediately after leaving dealership?

I think anyone asked, after viewing the facts of the case, would believe it more likely than not, that the belt was somehow damaged, or improperly replaced, after removing the alternator.
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