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Piacere di guidare
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1,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, gang, my long-delayed ED adventure is off to a flying stop. After a thirteen-month wait (remember the 72 people last May who were denied ED slots in September ’07 because of the convergence of several BMW production/availability issues?) and now a grand total of 136 miles in my shiny new 335i cabrio, I was halted by a transmission error code just outside Fussen this afternoon. And at this point in time, stranded in a hotel in Schwangau, when I’m supposed to be in Chur, Switzerland tonight and on my way to Lake Como tomorrow, that oh-so-strong quality message I got from the Munich factory tour yesterday is hanging by a gossamer thread.

Leaving Fussen this afternoon, accelerating gently at a low speed, the transmission up-shifted with a harsh kick - feeling for all the world as though I’d been bumped in the back by someone at a stop light. “Well that was weird,” I thought”. “Maybe just one of those strange combinations of the transmission up-shifting with the car slightly decelerating”. But when it happened again a minute or so later, I thought, “..that was no coincidence”. And immediately after, the I-drive shows me a nice, dramatic graphic that says “transmission malfunction – acceleration limited. Drive moderately to the nearest BMW Center”. Sure enough, the car won’t shift past third gear – paddles or no.

Okay, let’s pull over and see how the Bluetooth pairing to my cell phone works. BMW ED Roadside Assistance (actually Allianz) answers, and Regina at the other end is very concerned-sounding and tries hard to be helpful, but a spotty cellular connection makes it take 20 minutes before she’s got all the information she wants and I’ve got the address of a BMW dealership back in Fussen – at ten minutes to five in the p.m..

The car exhibits the transmission hiccup one more time on the way to the dealership, but is mostly okay, right up to my arrival just as the techs are pulling down the doors. Stefan, the Service Writer (maybe manager) at Autohaus Mendler, lingers to have my cabrio talk to the computer. “Yes, I see that it signaled an inability to shift from third to fourth, but it seems okay now and the fluid is fine,” he says 40 minutes later, suggesting that I just continue on my merry way the remaining 2,364 miles and 23 days of my planned sojourn in Europe. “I think it’s probably just a fault in the computer that tells the transmission when to shift. If it happens again, you can switch to the manual mode for shifting, or just turn the car off for 20 minutes, which will reset the computer and you can go on”.

Err - I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve never, EVER had a computer-type problem that happened one time and then just disappeared forever, never to recur. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? This just doesn’t sound anywhere close to an acceptable answer for me, and I ask to be directed to a local hostelry while Stefan sends an e-mail to Munich requesting instructions. He suggests that I reappear with said faulty automobile around 0900 tomorrow when he should have Further Instructions from Headquarters. Mm-hmm.

The Spousal Unit wisely insisted on a nice bottle of Chianti with dinner, which has since softened my mood considerably.

So I guess tomorrow should reveal A Number of Truths, including, but not limited to the following: how well BMW’s Roadside Assistance program for ED customers REALLY works; how concerned/ conservative BMW is with this kind of “soft” problem; and how big a p***k I’m prepared to be with a long-planned, highly anticipated trip hanging in the balance. A response from Munich along the lines of, “..zere iss nossing to fix – you may go now!”, really isn’t going to cut it. Too many miles and too many carefully-laid plans between now and June 17th for that.

Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln….

The ED delivery at Welt was better than advertised, and going through it essentially side-by-side with skywalkerbeth was extra fun. The factory tour was well worthwhile, the car’s a lot smarter (or at least I thought it was until this afternoon) than I’ll ever be and feels rock solid at higher speeds than it’ll ever see on US roads. I thought I had Comfort Loading dialed at Welt but couldn’t repeat my success this morning; and the weather was great for a top-down cruise this morning from Grainau near Garmisch over to Fussen.

I’ll post pictures when the trip starts to be fun again.. Trying to stay optimistic…
 

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Don't be a left lane hog
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3,190 Posts
I recall from some old posts where the car needed to go back to the shop, people were able to get a loaner from the factory. Don't know if your plans take you back to Munich in the end but that may be an option. As for how big of a brick you want to be, ask for the M3. :)

Hope things work out for you. Good luck. :thumbup:
 

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Skjoni's Dad
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1,733 Posts
Oh man, I'd be a wreck! So sorry for your troubles! Hope they FIX it (not just reassure you again) and your trip is awesome. At least you have a story to tell!
 

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Driving 'en Plein Air'
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2,274 Posts
Wishing you well... +1 on the M3, but I hope your car gets fixed and you can continue on your way. Keep us posted :)
 

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In the heat
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1,287 Posts
Sorry to hear about your problem, I have heard that BMW usually comes through because they understand what the ED program is all about. Good Luck. +1 on the M3, or any M car for that matter!!!
 

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Wife is driving the BMW
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254 Posts
<snip>Err - I don***8217;t know about the rest of you, but I***8217;ve never, EVER had a computer-type problem that happened one time and then just disappeared forever, never to recur. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? This just doesn***8217;t sound anywhere close to an acceptable answer for me, and I ask to be directed to a local hostelry while Stefan sends an e-mail to Munich requesting instructions. He suggests that I reappear with said faulty automobile around 0900 tomorrow when he should have Further Instructions from Headquarters. Mm-hmm.<snip>
I've had to reboot the computer (turn the key off/on) in my Corvette to get a problem
to clear.
 

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Registered
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37 Posts
Boothguy,

It was good getting to meet you the other day at Harms, even if it was only for a moment. I was there with my father dropping off my Montego Blue X3 when you and your "Spousal Unit" stopped by to fill out paperwork.

I am sorry to hear about your difficulties. Hopefully everything will get resolved, and the rest of your trip will be wonderful.

James
 

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Piacere di guidare
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1,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ever seen one of these in use before?

I sure wish I hadn't. Yep, that's your faithful OP in stylish BMW-logo warnweste standing next to our scattered luggage and assorted interior parts of the car on a Swiss highway, talking to BMW, trying to find a wrench that wasn't there to disconnect the battery to try to clear the transmission malfunction code. No joy.

Problem hasn't gone away, although that's the overwhelming impression I get from everyone in this increasingly sorry saga thus far. They just want me and my problem to go somewhere - anywhere - else. They only seem to want to pass me and my problem car downstream to the next poor schmuck until I finally get righteously pissed enough to make a scene. And we've finally arrived at that point.

It ranges from the a-hole engineer at BMW in Munich who insisted to the service writer in Fussen this morning that they've seen instances of air bubbles in the trans fluid that will go away after a couple of hundred miles, and that the car was perfectly fine to drive today - no repair authorized. To the service writer himself who claimed that his hands were tied, but that the car would be drivable in manual shift mode (it wasn't) or that sitting with the ignition off for 20 minutes would clear the problem code (oh-for-three). To the entire service staff here in Chur, where no one really wants to talk to me, or actually fix my car. Seems they have an intro for a new BMW model tonight that's much more important. I offered to be a guest speaker at the party, but they took a dim view of that idea.

You'll love this one. They tried to tell me at Alpina AG (dealer here in Chur, Switz.) that I had a fault code in the rain sensor for the wipers. (!) "Yeah, and&#8230;? How does that affect the gearbox?". "Vell, ve also cleared the code on za gearbox, and now iss fine", came the reply. "Well, it won't be fine for long," sez me. "The trans is F-ed up. Didn't the computer show you the fault code?" "Vell, yes, but now iss fine". "Uh-huh. Let's go for a ride and see".

So ten minutes later (already after closing, of course), here comes the service manager, looking highly insulted that I had questioned his shop's diagnosis, who grabs the key and says in his only apparent English, "I drive". Sure, champ, go right ahead. I climb in on the passenger side and we roar off. Luckily for me, the trans started missing gears right away. "Ah-ha! Kaput!" is the best I can muster in Schweitzer-Deutsch. He dropped it into manual mode and it behaved better, but it's clearly not right. Or fixed. Or in shape for 22 more days. And the service manager at least gets that part. So we're now TWO days behind schedule and now missing part of our time in Karen's favorite place on the entire trip: Cernobbio, on Lake Como. Tears are in tonight's forecast.

BMW ED Roadside Assistance is whining about the European Soccer Championship causing a shortage of cars, and wanting to put me into a BMW 118 for the balance of the trip. Haven't looked on line at exactly what a 118 is yet, but I'm paying for a 335 cabrio and I don't think this 118 business is going to fly.

The dealer is going to look at the car between their ACTUAL customers' appointments tomorrow, but this shows no signs of being solved or solvable in the near term. Loaner car from the dealer? Apparently a USA-only phenomenon. We've got all our stuff out of the car in preparation for driving away in something else tomorrow. Thirteen months and countless hours of preparation for this trip are circling the drain, along with the BMW brand's reputation.
 

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BMW Fahrer
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4,675 Posts
Sorry to hear about these problems. I would advise you to stop dealing with the locals right away, and call the BMW ED at the Welt. Escalate to their highest authority and tell them they left you stranded somewhere in Switzerland, that it's simply not acceptable for a company of BMW's reputation, and tha you want a suitable replacement car to continue your vacation. Suggest an M3, M5 or M6 from their press fleet.

In the past, the folks at the ED center, which are directly involved with the customers, have been very helpful to other people in similar situations.

Just talk directly to them and be polite, but firm. I hope your luck turns around!!!
 

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Piacere di guidare
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1,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, four hours of sleep, even with Ambien, is all my stomach acid would permit. It's now 0540 local and I'm trying to round up names of people to escalate to. Any ideas?

The pity is that this could have been solved much more simply yesterday when I was in Fussen. But no. Herr Beilschmidt at the factory knew better: "..no problem, nothinng to repair. Send him on his way".

The trip and my impression of BMW is already damaged. It's now a question of how badly damaged and how recoverable.
 

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Registered
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141 Posts
I'd recommend calling your dealer where you bought the car. See if there's anything they can do to help you in the morning (US time). I'm really sorry to hear about your experience, and as someone who's going to fly to Europe for ED pickup in 6 days this isn't happy news to hear. But lets hope they pull thru and do the right thing for you.

BTW I have the BMW European Delivery Program" brochure (ED07-0107-30M) and on the page headed "BMW's European Assurance Policy" it says
While traveling, authorized BMW centers in Europe will honor the US model warranty coverage up to one year without mileage limitations.
 

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Piacere di guidare
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1,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Already been that route. This issue, of course is not whether the European dealers will honor the warranty. They certainly will. But without the Steptronic dangling from the car in two pieces, all they're willing to do is clear the code and send me on my way...to the next 150-mile breakdown.

The irony in all this, of course, is that ED exists for BMW to build brand loyalty amongst its customer base. I've been savoring this deal since last April, when my original ED was denied. I've been blabbing about to anyone who will listen. Even got a good friend to do one as well, coming up in a little over two weeks now.

And do I ever feel like a schmuck.
 

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3 pedals only!
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2,713 Posts
Hang in there.

I'd politely push to see if they can get you into a 3er for the rest of your trip. Make up some stories about how your childhood dream is to cruise the French Riviera in a convertible.

However, if they can't, take the 118. It's a heck of a fun car. While it will lack some power compared to the 335, you'll save a ton in gas.

I know you're frustrated, but try not to let some minor adversity spoil your trip.
 

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A year later and :-))
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116 Posts
ED has the obvious inherent risk of getting a car with issues so before deciding to do it I googled "European Delivery Nightmare" and got the impression that the worst-case scenario is, I could lose time equal to approximately one day and wind up with a loaner vehicle that is not as nice as the one I ordered. That last part is disappointing (i.e. not great customer relations) but that seems to be the deal.

Given I am going in with these expectations, if I wind up in your shoes a week+ from now, I would abandon the "enjoying my car" half of the deal, which is not guaranteed, take the 1 series, and enjoy the rest of my trip that I spent so long planning! But I'll be the first to admit I'm probably just too much of a pushover, and my trip is a lot shorter than yours. Hope you manage to get a better deal!
 

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Piacere di guidare
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1,474 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Current update

Fellow Festers

Here I sit for another day in windy Chur, waiting for something to actually happen. Was met with a continuation of yesterday's shrugs upon arriving at the garage this morning. Best news is that I discovered the service writer speaks Italian, as do I, and we were able to communicate with far less tension. That of course did nothing for the car being drivable. We did agree, however, that it would be dumb to drive further on, just to have the same problem or worse recur a little farther down the road. BMW ED Roadside Assistance rounded up a 118 last night and when I protested loudly about the downgrade in equipment, was offered a Z3 later on; that as of now - 4:30 pm local, has yet to arrive from Lindau. Here I sit: Bimmers, Bimmers everywhere, but none for me to take.

My requests from this morning fell mostly on your sleeping ears. Jonathan S was able to contact BMW NA ED on my behalf and get them pushing from our side of the pond, which I'm convinced was helpful.

Up until about lunchtime, the major action was Roadside Assistance telling me over and over that the car would be here soon, and how much it was going to cost over and above the coverage limits. More Italian than actual Italians. Then about 1:00 a guy from the ED in Munich put his oar in the water and got the support engineers involved again.

The prevailing opinion now is that an hydraulic part on the Step needs to be replaced. The bad news is that it's in Dingolfing and the car is in Chur - and the two are about 300km apart. It may get here tomorrow, it may get here Monday. It "..for sure - certainly" will solve the problem, insists the man from ED. We'll see. Guess at my confidence level in BMW support Engineering's status right now.

As things stand at the moment, reuniting self and repaired car is going to be on me, time and expense-wise.

And as I gaze out the door of the service department and see the techs are hosing down the bays, I realize with no small amount of nostalgia that I've been here twenty-four-and-a-half hours. Three days of my trip down the terlet thus far. Hope things improve.

Thanks for all the good thoughts and replies to my yell for help.
 
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