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1-5-3-6-2-4
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Unwanted Exhaust Mod, Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love road salt

I'm a little surprised at the use of plain, old steel machine screws for holding the electric actuator in place for the exhaust flap. As you can imagine, mine have failed after 2500 miles and exposure to road salt for the past 3 months.

My wife returned home from errands on Saturday and I saw this:



The three screws that secure the motor housing to the bracket have sheared off... the remaining screw pieces are still in the bracket and are quite rusty.



The heads just broke right off, I assume. We found one of the three in the garage.



I did wire the flap open to keep it from rattling at idle. It was very, very loud. The wire and plug going to the actuator have been zip-tied up out of the way and protected from road dirt by electrical tape and a piece of a plastic shopping bag... all held well away from the pipes and muffler.

So, yea. Kinda depressing to know that no forethought was put into materials used on the car in the NA market. Despite how dirty the car is in the photos (it had just returned from playing in the remnants of Nemo), I generally keep the car pretty clean all winter, including rinsing the underside fairly well. I don't mean to imply that I keep it spotless, but I'm sure there are new 335s out there that stay far dirtier all winter than ours does.

Oh well. Appointment made. Hopefully they will replace the screws with something less susceptible to corrosion.

exhaust, flap, rattle, screws, corrosion, f30, 335i, road salt, actuator
 

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838 Posts
Wow!

As a lifelong Texas resident, I am always shocked at the road conditions you guys go through and the potential impact on the undersides of these cars. Stuff like this (and looking at the underside of your car) would drive me absolutely nuts. I can't imagine taking a brand new $50K+ car through the muck you guys experience. If I ever have to move up north, I know for sure to get a winter beater now!
 

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Bimmerfest Founder
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That is surprising, BMW does a lot of cold weather testing. I wonder if it is a one off issue or something we'll start seeing a lot of.

Tim
 

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///Multiple
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That is surprising, BMW does a lot of cold weather testing. I wonder if it is a one off issue or something we'll start seeing a lot of.
Cold weather testing means nothing if the area that one is testing in doesn't use salt on the roads in winter. The only way they could test this would be to spray a salt solution on the undercarriage every day for months or years.

I grew up in Detroit in the 50's and 60's and lived there through the 80's. You didn't have to know how old a car was, you could probably tell by how much rust there was on the car. Underneath Detroit is one of the world's largest salt mines so it was a very cheap solution to icy roads in winter. I never owned a car there for more than 60,000 miles because I wanted to sell it before it rusted through.

Rust protection has improved a lot since then, but salt on the roads is still the enemy of cars. I don't miss it at all!
 

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///Multiple
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I just assume were there is snow they use salt on the roads.

Tim
Salt is not used everywhere there is snow, sand and other material is used in some places. There is a large salt mine in Germany in the Berchtesgaden area, but I've never driven in Europe in the winter so I can't say what they use there.
 

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Cray
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3,883 Posts
There's a rust problem (i.e lack of proper galvanization/corrosion prevention) in BMW's manufactured using the universal platform the F30 uses (i.e BMW's smaller cars). I've seen lots of pics of F30's and F20's with rust underneath seats, in the dash area (in HVAC vents, etc.), around the area that extends from the belt buckle, etc. Seems this issue can now be thrown into the mix.

For whatever reason, this is something that seems to have been either overlooked or cost cut (can't tell which is more alarming) in the smaller BMW cars coming out in this aspect. The larger cars that sit on the F01/F10/etc. shared platforms use different steel suppliers apparently and don't suffer such rust issues.
 

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They're just not built like they use to be.
We can blame BMW all we want (and in this particular case it might be appropriate), but this is no country for new BMWs. Most of it isn't. Where do we put blame for bent wheels, shattered windshields, broken front bumpers, baseball-sized hail damage, flood damage, dinged doors, first-in-line-to-get-a-ticket, a-holes road raging for nothing more than a legal pass on dotted two-lane road ... and on and on and on ... where do we put a blame for that?

We should all get the best vehicle to own in U.S. - beaten-up 7 years old pickup truck. Says a lot about our road transportation system, doesn't it?
 

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Registered
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3,259 Posts
There's a rust problem (i.e lack of proper galvanization/corrosion prevention) in BMW's manufactured using the universal platform the F30 uses (i.e BMW's smaller cars). I've seen lots of pics of F30's and F20's with rust underneath seats, in the dash area (in HVAC vents, etc.), around the area that extends from the belt buckle, etc. Seems this issue can now be thrown into the mix.

For whatever reason, this is something that seems to have been either overlooked or cost cut (can't tell which is more alarming) in the smaller BMW cars coming out in this aspect. The larger cars that sit on the F01/F10/etc. shared platforms use different steel suppliers apparently and don't suffer such rust issues.
The seat rust issue is due to supplier Lear not using a coating. They now are using the coating again lol.
 

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Cray
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3,883 Posts
The seat rust issue is due to supplier Lear not using a coating. They now are using the coating again lol.
Ahh, good to know. Glad that was taken care of (and was something as simple as a supplier issue rather than a cost-cutting or overlooked engineering defect).
 

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Flying monkey herder
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8,166 Posts
tbh, it doesnt look like those bolts rusted through, they look like they are snapped off due to either overtorque at the factory, or defective materials.
op, does the bolt you have look sheared off? and are they steel or aluminum?
 

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Been there, Done that.
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5,152 Posts
We can blame BMW all we want (and in this particular case it might be appropriate), but this is no country for new BMWs. Most of it isn't. Where do we put blame for bent wheels, shattered windshields, broken front bumpers, baseball-sized hail damage, flood damage, dinged doors, first-in-line-to-get-a-ticket, a-holes road raging for nothing more than a legal pass on dotted two-lane road ... and on and on and on ... where do we put a blame for that?

We should all get the best vehicle to own in U.S. - beaten-up 7 years old pickup truck. Says a lot about our road transportation system, doesn't it?
That's no excuse because the 3 series cars sold in Germany are no different then the ones sold in the US, other then packing. In the US Market, they are considered to be 'Premium'(Not sure how much longer that's going to last with all these new models coming) but if I pay for a premium product, I expect it to be a premium product. BMW needs to tighten the quality control.
 

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just copacetic!!!
2019 230i MSptPkg
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1,643 Posts
tbh, it doesnt look like those bolts rusted through, they look like they are snapped off due to either overtorque at the factory, or defective materials.
op, does the bolt you have look sheared off? and are they steel or aluminum?
Agree, it takes much longer for rust to weaken a bolt that size and for all three bolts to shear. Sounds like over-torque on bolts made with cheaper material. I looked under my car tonight and it looks amazingly clean (at 4000 miles), but then again, it doesn't rain much in S. Calif. :bigpimp:
 

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1-5-3-6-2-4
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615 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
tbh, it doesnt look like those bolts rusted through, they look like they are snapped off due to either overtorque at the factory, or defective materials.
op, does the bolt you have look sheared off? and are they steel or aluminum?
I think it's steel and it does look sort of snapped... Not sure if the snap was caused by over torque or weakened state due to corrosion. The remaining pointy-end of the screws left in the bracket are very rusty.

I will attempt to post better pics of the screw tonight after I get home from work (will be late... Damn travel day).

Appointment with shop to get it fixed is tomorrow.
 

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1-5-3-6-2-4
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Discussion Starter #18
Here's a photo of the break point. It looks to my untrained eye as if corrosion weakened it to the point of breaking under whatever remaining stress was on the screw after install.

Anyone with actual experience in materials engineering would obviously be a much better judge of what may have actually happened. I offer this photo evidence merely as fuel for further conjecture and entertainment. :)

I'm heading to the dealer tomorrow. With luck, all I need are 3 corrosion resistant screws and to have my chicken wire removed from the flap pivot.
 

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1-5-3-6-2-4
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Discussion Starter #19
Agree, it takes much longer for rust to weaken a bolt that size and for all three bolts to shear. Sounds like over-torque on bolts made with cheaper material. I looked under my car tonight and it looks amazingly clean (at 4000 miles), but then again, it doesn't rain much in S. Calif. :bigpimp:
For giggles, can you reach up and grab the actuator body and give it a shake? I'm curious as to if yours is loose since you are lucky enough to have salt-free roads. Thx in advance!
 

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just copacetic!!!
2019 230i MSptPkg
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1,643 Posts
For giggles, can you reach up and grab the actuator body and give it a shake? I'm curious as to if yours is loose since you are lucky enough to have salt-free roads. Thx in advance!
Solid, no wiggles or looseness. I've taken a picture of mine for comparison. My manufacture date was 1st week of July, 2013.
 

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