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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took delivery of an X5 diesel in early May and until yesterday, it's been the best vehicle I've ever parked in my garage. We were within 65 miles of home after a 2,500 mile trip to Colorado when a rhythmic knocking started. It got progressively louder over the course of a few minutes and ended with a bang and sudden jerking. It felt as if we had hit something, so we turned around, fully expecting to see chunks of mechanical debris flying out behind the vehicle. No debris or drama. The engine had stopped running, so we coasted into the parking lot of an abandoned towing company along US Highway 287 just outside Decatur, TX. At this point, it wasn't clear what broke. Attempts to restart the engine failed and resulted in the illumination of a yellow warning indicator on the dash, a gear icon with an exclamation point in the middle. We called up BMW Roadside Assistance using the SOS button and they called for a tow. The driver took us and the X5 to our original Arlington dealership. It was after hours, so we left the key in the night drop with a note and a friend drove us home to Dallas. After 24 hours, it's still unclear what happened. There are no visible signs of damage on the exterior or underneath. When they connected the vehicle to electronic test equipment today, nothing looked out of the ordinary, probably because BMW doesn't include an "engine shredded" fault indicator in the diagnostic programs. The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block. I don't have any more details about the damage, nor do I know how they'll fix it. Funny thing... It was no more than an hour before the Big Bang when I had made a comment about how reliable the X5 had been over the past six months and 13K miles, and that it had passed the Lemon Test by completing its third major cross-country road trip. Talk about a jinx!
 

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The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block. x!
Sorry to hear. Glad there is a warranty....

Personally my biggest concern would be that the technician at the dealer might not have extensive experience with these motors. The more complete a factory assembly they can get to replace 'in toto' the better off you may be...

Keep us posted

A

PS Assume you are in a loaner...might not need it, but it seems to make them work a bit faster...
 

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...The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block.....
Sorry to hear about your loss and hope it all gets fixed ASAP.

BTW in most engines, there are very few square inches of 'engine block' that you could punch a hole through without spilling coolant or oil or both. And about the only moving part with enough mass and velocity to punch a hole in the "block" would be a rod, rod bolt or rod cap. In all cases this is seriously bad news. Either this was a material failure, assembly error or the engine had been run way too low on oil.

I agree with the others and would demand a full engine replacement.

Funf Dreisig
 

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Wow what a way to end a trip! You were lucky in the sense that you were able to coast into a safe parking area and were not stuck on a major freeway in the fast lane during rush hour! The remedy for you has to be a totally new crate engine from the factory. I would be very surprised if BMWNA didn't want your old engine sent back for total factory teardown and evaluation of what went wrong. Let us know how this turns out for you. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.

Got an X5 xDrive30i as a loaner. No gadgets (nav, bluetooth, CA) but at least I have transportation. (Now... Where the hell did I put my bluetooth headset?!)

Pretty lucky the Big Bang happened close to home. It could have been so much worse. We were frequently in remote mountain areas without cell phone service and the closest dealerships were hundreds of miles away.

Hopefully, the transmission wasn't affected but we won't know until the new engine is in place. I assume something shears away to protect the transmission when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
 

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Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.

Got an X5 xDrive30i as a loaner. No gadgets (nav, bluetooth, CA) but at least I have transportation. (Now... Where the hell did I put my bluetooth headset?!)

Pretty lucky the Big Bang happened close to home. It could have been so much worse. We were frequently in remote mountain areas without cell phone service and the closest dealerships were hundreds of miles away.

Hopefully, the transmission wasn't affected but we won't know until the new engine is in place. I assume something shears away to protect the transmission when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
Sorry to hear that. I've had mine since January and I've only had a check engine light. The part is on back order since August 4th. Engine temp control sensor. The parts availability isn't good. They re ordered the part last week as critical. I would be asking for a new car. Let us know once you get it back.

Craig
 

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Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.
....
when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
All the enginesare built in Germany. But I would have thought they could get one from the factory. Looks like a case where "just in time" parts delivery to the factory works great for BMW but not so great for BMW owners. :(

If the engine actually siezed (i.e. RPM dropped to zero instantly) what probably happened is that the crank jammed the end of a loose rod into the side of the block -- OUCH. This is not good for ANY of the drive train. As you say hopefully there is a Woodruf key (AKA half moon key) in the transmission shaft that sheared off allowing the tranny to settle down a bit more gently.

I agree with d geek. Please let us know what actually happened when you can.

Funf Dreisig
 

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sorry about the engine

Wow. That's a big surprise. Please keep us posted. I'm going to pick up my new X5d next week and sure would like to hear the final report on your failed engine.
 

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Here is my best guess at what happened to your engine....

Assuming the oil was not low, the most likely cause is a material failure of one of the rod bolts. The progressive knocking you heard is probably when the rod cap was working loose and stressing the other rod bolt to the point of failure. Once both rod bolts failed, the now loose rod end was probably hit by the crank shaft slamming/wedging it into the side of the engine block. This would 'seize' the engine dropping RPM to zero instantly.

It would be interesting to hear what actually happened but I won't be holding my breath for full disclosure from BMW about the failure of a 35d engine :(

Funf Dreisig
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
...The progressive knocking you heard is probably when the rod cap was working loose and stressing the other rod bolt to the point of failure. Once both rod bolts failed, the now loose rod end was probably hit by the crank shaft slamming/wedging it into the side of the engine block. This would 'seize' the engine dropping RPM to zero instantly.
A quick deceleration of all that spinning machinery might explain the strong jolt we felt, one powerful enough to make me think I had run over something. I really wanted to see the video feed from that little camera. There's no visible damage outside. No dripping fluid. Just an idiot light on the dash and no starter response.

The whole situation is fascinating. Annoying and inconvenient, but fascinating.
 

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Three to four weeks? Shouldn't take that long to air freight a new crate engine from Germany! Perhaps you should be asking for a new car to replace the damaged one. It seems as if you have a case for diminished value here what with having to replace the engine. Personally I would ask for a new X5d and get on the road a lot sooner than a month. Even after the new engine is installed it might take a few return visits to get the glitches out of the systems. Best case, seamless. Worst case, lots of niggling little things that need fixing. Just my opinion:dunno:.
 

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Three to four weeks? Shouldn't take that long to air freight a new crate engine from Germany! Perhaps you should be asking for a new car to replace the damaged one. It seems as if you have a case for diminished value here what with having to replace the engine. Personally I would ask for a new X5d and get on the road a lot sooner than a month. Even after the new engine is installed it might take a few return visits to get the glitches out of the systems. Best case, seamless. Worst case, lots of niggling little things that need fixing. Just my opinion:dunno:.
+1 Check my earlier post...

Craig
 

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X5d

Thank you for keeping us updated as they work thru the issues with your X5d. I just ordered the '10 X5 35d and have never had a diesel before, so this makes me a little nervous. The good thing is, BMW has always taken good care of me, so...we'll see.
 

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That is quite an upsetting thing to happen, and I'm sure we would all be interested in learning what caused the failure.

I could be incorrect, but hasn't the M57TU2D30 engine been in use for several years now, albeit not in the US? If so, how reliable have they been?

It seems to me that the only "new" features on the 35d vs. the earlier d models are the emissions control systems, as the engine has been in use for several years and the E70 is now in its 4th model year.
 
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