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Allstate called me thur and told me that there team of investigators found the cause of the fire that took the life of my car on May 1. They said they found that it was the "correct me if I say this wrong" B cable going to the starter was pinched and caused the ignition. Everyone, I think that is a defect. So I would hope all of you when you go to your local dealer for any reason just ask to have them check to see if your "B cable going to the starter is pinched." Should I buy another BMW with this check I got from the ins company? :tsk:
Heath
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97294
 

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It could be either a manufacturing defect when it was put together at the factory, or a defect in workmanship from a repair, or a design defect, or something could have broken and caused the cable to be pinched.

It is not surprising though - the main battery cables which go to the starter carry a lot of amperage, almost all that a battery can put out, and if they pinch and get grounded, they will cause a lot of sparks, heat and quite possibly fire.

On cars/motorcycles that I modify or build, I often replace the stock battery cables with heavier guage braided welding cable that will carry a lot more amperage with less resistance - to get the best performance from the starter and battery. The difference is often like night and day as a lot of manufacturers use the smallest cheapest cable they can get away with.
 

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Lash2578 said:
Allstate called me thur and told me that there team of investigators found the cause of the fire that took the life of my car on May 1. They said they found that it was the "correct me if I say this wrong" B cable going to the starter was pinched and caused the ignition. Everyone, I think that is a defect. So I would hope all of you when you go to your local dealer for any reason just ask to have them check to see if your "B cable going to the starter is pinched." Should I buy another BMW with this check I got from the ins company? :tsk:
Heath
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97294
Get a new BMW. Take this as a blessing in disguise.
There are still lots of 2005 models remaining.

Let us know what you decide.
 

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I say get another BMW. Odds are your new one won't catch fire! I've only had mine for 4 months, and I have really fallen in love with it. I can't imagine driving anything else. Thanks for posting your story. Quite interesting. I'm glad to see you are going to come out of it okay. That's what insurance is for!
 

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thanks for keeping us updated.
 

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Adventure Rider said:
On cars/motorcycles that I modify or build, I often replace the stock battery cables with heavier guage braided welding cable that will carry a lot more amperage with less resistance - to get the best performance from the starter and battery. The difference is often like night and day as a lot of manufacturers use the smallest cheapest cable they can get away with.
The only downside to welding cable is that is the insulation designed for the continuous high temps that engine compartments see? The same can be said of any wiring you put under the hood. Buy a good aftermarket automotive cables. They'll be more than the welding cables, but a safer bet.
 

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cwsqbm said:
The only downside to welding cable is that is the insulation designed for the continuous high temps that engine compartments see? The same can be said of any wiring you put under the hood. Buy a good aftermarket automotive cables. They'll be more than the welding cables, but a safer bet.
A good point, but I think the insulation is okay and I have never had any problems - even when it ran near a hot exhaust, and I have seen plenty of OEM cables melt their insulation in the same conditions.

I haven't actually done this mod for years - I was going to do it to my GS but never got around to it before the trans broke, so now I have the Ducati and I just don't worry about this kind of stuff any more. Maybe someday if I get back into the hobby, but for now I would rather ride than fix - so I let the shop work on it ($600 service every 6K miles - Ducatis are not cheap to own bikes).
 

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GET another man.

I about cryed when i say the pictures of your car man. Just get yourself a M3 this time, or a 740. That should make you happy!
 

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Well, it was a pretty "freak" defect albeit one w/ catastrophic consequences. Rationally speaking, the odds of getting another BMW that has a similar problem are probably the odds of getting struck by lightening. But, its understanable if you never want to see another Roundel in your life. If I were you, I'd probably have a hard time buying another BMW.
 

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John Firestone
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robg said:
Rationally speaking, the odds of getting another BMW that has a similar problem are probably the odds of getting struck by lightning.
I wonder about that.

To give lightning the greatest chance of prevailing, let us consider just the United States which arguably is the greatest country in the world for lightning, tornados, and other forms of natural violence. About 500 people are struck by lightning each year in the U.S. so the odds of that happening to you under America's friendly skies are about 600 000 to 1.

Offhand, I don't know how many BMWs are running around the U.S. but as a generous guess let's take last year's sales, 300 000, and multiply it by 10 years for a total of 3 million BMWs. If the odds of having a BMW catch fire are the same as getting struck by lightning, about five BMWs should catch fire each year.

I don't know how many actually do, but we can probably make a conservative estimate from the total number of car fires reported for Germany. I expect the average car owner there maintains his or her ride at least as well as the average American BMW owner, and I bet a higher percentage of car fires get reported than in the U.S.

There just so happens to be a report about car fires in the current issue of auto motor und sport. According to that, there were 31 682 of them in Germany last year out of roughly 50 million registered vehicles. Supposing there are 3 million BMWs in the U.S., about 2000 should catch fire each year.

Even if my rough estimating is off by a factor of ten, the chances of having your car catch fire must be much higher than getting struck by lightning.
 

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Dude

All i know is that you just made my head hurt dude. Hey i would say that the chances of having your bmw start on fire is equal to that of getting the wrong item givin to you in the drive through line at mcdonalds. Can you please tell me if im wrong or right?
 

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Multistrada?

Adventure Rider said:
A good point, but I think the insulation is okay and I have never had any problems - even when it ran near a hot exhaust, and I have seen plenty of OEM cables melt their insulation in the same conditions.

I haven't actually done this mod for years - I was going to do it to my GS but never got around to it before the trans broke, so now I have the Ducati and I just don't worry about this kind of stuff any more. Maybe someday if I get back into the hobby, but for now I would rather ride than fix - so I let the shop work on it ($600 service every 6K miles - Ducatis are not cheap to own bikes).
 

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johnf said:
I wonder about that.

To give lightning the greatest chance of prevailing, let us consider just the United States which arguably is the greatest country in the world for lightning, tornados, and other forms of natural violence. About 500 people are struck by lightning each year in the U.S. so the odds of that happening to you under America's friendly skies are about 600 000 to 1.

Offhand, I don't know how many BMWs are running around the U.S. but as a generous guess let's take last year's sales, 300 000, and multiply it by 10 years for a total of 3 million BMWs. If the odds of having a BMW catch fire are the same as getting struck by lightning, about five BMWs should catch fire each year.

I don't know how many actually do, but we can probably make a conservative estimate from the total number of car fires reported for Germany. I expect the average car owner there maintains his or her ride at least as well as the average American BMW owner, and I bet a higher percentage of car fires get reported than in the U.S.

There just so happens to be a report about car fires in the current issue of auto motor und sport. According to that, there were 31 682 of them in Germany last year out of roughly 50 million registered vehicles. Supposing there are 3 million BMWs in the U.S., about 2000 should catch fire each year.

Even if my rough estimating is off by a factor of ten, the chances of having your car catch fire must be much higher than getting struck by lightning.
Wow
Lots of words.
Just taking government statistics for "car fires" is making a huge stretch without being able to break down the causes. How many of those were caused by cigarettes? How old were the cars? How many were caused by cars that were not maintained properly?
Common sense and common knowledge says the chances of a car fire happening to any individual driving any relatively new car is pretty slim, but the chance does exist, regardless of the make of car. Life is full of risks. Life is not perfect. No car manufacturing process is perfect. Although I can understand the anger and frustration, I think it's silly to say I'll never buy a BMW again because of one isolated incident.
 

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John Firestone
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BMWONDUBS said:
All i know is that you just made my head hurt dude. Hey i would say that the chances of having your bmw start on fire is equal to that of getting the wrong item givin to you in the drive through line at mcdonalds. Can you please tell me if im wrong or right?
Sorry, I drifted off and started estimating like an e... -- ahhhh, I started jabbering. :(

One of the interesting points of the auto motor und sport article is that although the number of car fires per year has decreased by a fifth since 1995, the fraction caused by electrical faults has increased sharply (to 24%). People are blaming cars' increasing amount of electronics. I hope the engineers at BMW and their suppliers have been doing their homework!
 

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John Firestone
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MysticBlue said:
Just taking government statistics for "car fires" is making a huge stretch without being able to break down the causes. How many of those were caused by cigarettes? How old were the cars? How many were caused by cars that were not maintained properly?
FYI, the fire causes break down as follows:
  • 30% - leaked fuel, oil, etc.
  • 24% - electrical faults
  • 10% - multiple causes
  • 8% - exhaust system defects
  • 9% - air filter fires
  • 8% - arson
  • 6% - negligence
Whatever the answers are to your questions, I don't think they will provide the couple orders of magnitude adjustment you would need to suppose the risk of a car fire is as low as the risk of being struck by lightning. I wasn't trying to make any other point other than you'll probably see your car catch fire first.
 

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johnf said:
I wonder about that.

To give lightning the greatest chance of prevailing, let us consider just the United States which arguably is the greatest country in the world for lightning, tornados, and other forms of natural violence. About 500 people are struck by lightning each year in the U.S. so the odds of that happening to you under America's friendly skies are about 600 000 to 1.

Offhand, I don't know how many BMWs are running around the U.S. but as a generous guess let's take last year's sales, 300 000, and multiply it by 10 years for a total of 3 million BMWs. If the odds of having a BMW catch fire are the same as getting struck by lightning, about five BMWs should catch fire each year.

I don't know how many actually do, but we can probably make a conservative estimate from the total number of car fires reported for Germany. I expect the average car owner there maintains his or her ride at least as well as the average American BMW owner, and I bet a higher percentage of car fires get reported than in the U.S.

There just so happens to be a report about car fires in the current issue of auto motor und sport. According to that, there were 31 682 of them in Germany last year out of roughly 50 million registered vehicles. Supposing there are 3 million BMWs in the U.S., about 2000 should catch fire each year.

Even if my rough estimating is off by a factor of ten, the chances of having your car catch fire must be much higher than getting struck by lightning.
Thanks....Now, I wonder, what are the odds of a window regulator breaking in an e46 comparable to? :D
 
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