These 3,4,5 series BMWs are some of the best handling and safest
vehicles on the planet. The M62, M62TU, M54, M52, & M52TU engines
are bulletproof, and the suspensions superb.
Yet, part of owning a bimmer is fixing it yourself. Otherwise you'll
go broke with the repairs. I know of scores who have "repaired"
their trunk wiring loom - but I don't know of any who went to the
stealer to have it replaced.
I was only answering the question of what BMW says to do.
We all work on our own vehicles so we repair them ourselves.
Cost to "repair" is about $20 give or take - but the real question
is why it breaks in the first place. It looks like, from the discussions,
a combination of poor choice is insulation plus a badly designed snorkel.
respectfully and completely disagree on that. the stranding is
perfectly fine if the insulation remains intact. once the insulation
cracks, then you have substantial strain concentrated in just one spot.
even fine wire high count stranding will break if subject to such a
the fix is both better wire insulation that doesn't become brittle, AND
re-routing to avoid the elbow bend. then you can keep using cheap wire
and don't need to spend money on the expensive hi-flex stuff.
my wife broke the inside passenger side..
i've learned to use only two fingers to pull on the handles, don't
i agree they are not very rugged...
but it's about the only flaw i've found with that car (knock knock)
besides the rear door wires which i understand like the BMW is a very
common spot for wires to break on this car...
and interestingly the rear door is used maybe 1/100 of the time
compared to the drivers door so you would have to think there is
something "special" about the way those particular wires are designed
and/or built to make them break before the drivers door wires break
The inside handles seem to be designed to break at the 8 to 10 year
mark. The have a slot molded in to the highest stress point, I might add
I don't see any reason for it. Other than to help the dealer sell
Other than the door handles I'm a happy Toyota owner, had a Camry,
have a T-100 still a sharp looking truck, have a Lexus and an Avalon.
My wife is a persistent patient shopper, and will wait until she finds
a great used car at a steal.
Of course it can be. If BMW uses some hippie green
insulation that isn't as pliable as other insulation, then
the insulation will crack. We can't do a forensic investigation
from some pics that don't show how it's mounted, how
much it moves, what tensions are on it, etc. But I'd bet
that area has more bending, tension, etc than the rest of
On 03/14/2013 01:11 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Yes, that much is true. Someone had mentioned that having the wire in
that area flex in torsion would be preferable and I agree with that
statement as well. Would be simple to have accomplished by having the
hole in the body offset by a few inches (actually as far as possible
would be preferable) from the hole in the trunk lid, and using a
correspondingly longer rubber boot. then most of the flexing of the
wire as the trunk lid opens and closes would result in a slight twisting
of the wire rather than a sharp bending.
The same holds true for wiring running from a body pillar into a door
e.g. for power mirrors, windows, speakers, etc.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Nate Nagel wrote on Thu, 14 Mar 2013 06:30:59 -0400:
Luckily the door wiring on these E38, E39, and E46 (7, 5, 3 series) bimmers
is just fine. It's just something wrong with the way the trunk wiring
loom is designed that makes it crack in at the same point in all these
Now, don't even get me started on the BMW window regulators (which
constantly break on all these bimmers!).
On Thu, 14 Mar 2013 20:14:01 -0400, Nate Nagel wrote:
The bimmer handles well, and the power train is phenomenal.
However, the window regulators break on almost every BMW
older than about 5 years, while the blower motor final stage
resistor (FSR), aka the final stage unit (FSU) will fry itself
more than once on every single bimmer ever built in the late
90's and early 2000's.
The VANOS seals are made of a material that won't last the warranty
period; and the Bosch 5.7 ABS control module was placed far too close
to the engine for cost reasons, which fries almost every single one.
The DISA valve, which appears to be an amazing engineering feat,
is practically designed to loosen the pin, which, if the engine
ingests that steel pin, will wreak havoc on the valves as the
pistons pummel it to pieces (there is nothing between the DISA
valve and the intake manifold!).
The almost criminal design of the DISA is dwarfed by the clearly
deficient design of the cooling system, where almost every bimmer
older than a few years has had a catastrophic failure of, and very
many multiple failures. Thousands of bimmers every year are destroyed
by owners not realizing that a single overheating episode causes
cracks in cylinder 3 (e.g., in the M54 engine) that essentially
turn the otherwise fantastic power plant into so much rubbish.
And, there wasn't an E39 ever built (5-series, 1997 to 2003) which
did NOT have the cluster and MID pixels turn to unreadable junk within
a few years of manufacture (due to the infamous "pink tape").
Likewise, not a single E39 is immune to the horrid choice of PBT
plastic for the headlight adjusters, turning $1000 fiber optic
Halogen H7 and Xenon headlights into veritable candles within a
few years of the heat baking the plastic.
Likely not one E39 hasn't had its power steering hose leak under the
fluid reservoir, and not a single E46, E39, or E38 (3,5,6 series)
bimmer hasn't had the CCV valve fail on them (i.e., a PCV valve
which costs hundreds of dollars to replace, frequently).
For the V8, they all have valley pan gaskets leaking, and all the
bimmers I'm talking about have had their thrust arm bushings tear.
Probably not a single bimmer of the categories above hasn't had the
vapor barrier leaking (due to an extremely poor choice of design
coupled with lousy sealant); and half the bimmers have cables slip
out of the otherwise fancy seat, causing the infamous "seat twist".
I could go on (and on), (e.g., more than half will have the windshield
washer pumps leak, and a huge percentage will lose their jack pads,
while a healthy percentage will melt their center brake lamp housing,
and even the roundels will chip away at the car wash until nothing
but silver is left).
The funny thing is that BMW DOES know how to design a powerplant.
It appears that the Germans in Bavaria simply 'care' about some
things (just count the ashtrays, for example, and then compare
them to the unanimously ridiculous cupholders of the E39 era)
while they don't care about others.
Clearly BMW cares about handling and efficiency of the power train;
yet, just as clearly, overall product quality is NOT even on their
ok, you're not going to like a lot of what i have to say, so i'm going
to preface this by reminding you that i recognize that you may be
sincere in what you believe - so don't take all this personally.
bmw's power trains are indeed "phenomenal", but for entirely different
reasons than those by which others would measure.
bmw are pioneers in transmission life limitation. gm and frod used to
do this by simply using cheapo clutch packs in their automatics, and
cheapo steel in their sticks so they'd wear out or spall respectively.
bmw didn't like these failure modes, so, not content with "sealed for
life", they decided to design fatigue /into/ their cogs so they'd
fatigue and break. [the beauty of fatigue is that you don't get "whiny
transmission" or slippage symptoms that develop over time - one second
it works, the next, it's a catastrophic failure.] i know this because
one of my old profs was their outside consultant, and it was interesting
to us as students because the metallurgical problem was how to ensure
that individual ratios would fail when each one operates somewhere
within the three [very different mechanism] fatigue "regimes". it's a
"phenomenal" technical achievement and one that bmw paid a lot of money
to solve. all the majors are now reputed to have followed their lead to
some extent. the real kicker is that it costs bmw ~20% more in
materials and q.c. to ensure this life limitation, but the mba's did
their math and it pays because it causes big ticket repairs to vehicles
that are depreciated thus ensuring that the vehicle gets junked.
it's not cost dude. see above.
for a company that spends hundreds of millions each and every year on
research, [although that's substantially less than they spend on
advertising!] do you really think all that is simply oversight?
not from where i sit they don't. single row timing chain, poor
materials, both are manifestation of their overall design philosophy -
they don't sell you a car, they're selling you a period of usage with a
whole bunch of marking brainwash attached.
no they don't - they use macpherson strut. if they were serious, they'd
now, bmw are at least smart enough to have realized before most others,
porsche included, that rear suspension is crucial to making a cheaply
made car handle better, so they do at least concede to a little extra
expenditure on that, but by definition, any front suspension that offers
no camber control is just cheap junk.
it most definitely is. bmw are the pioneers of modern life limitation
control. nobody has spent more on ensuring that whatever they use works
for a closely defined period, and not a moment longer. as said before,
it costs more to do this, but it pays. customers buying new are snowed
into believing this "ultimate driving machine" advertising [the ultimate
meaningless tagline!] so they don't care. and second [or later] owners
have no recourse. it gets older bmw's [and their parts] off the road,
and keeps sales up.
Everybody does this, though. This is how cars are designed. I believe
that GM was the original innovator of the concept, at least according to
my old statics professor who had been a GM engineer in the fifties. He
was very enthusiastic about the whole concept of designing for specific
That said, I have 480,000 miles on the transmission in my old 2002, and
I had a Chrysler Laser that went through five transmissions before I gave
up on the thing.
I think some of the failures, like VANOS seals and the DISA failures, are
the result of trying to push the technology too hard too fast.
And some of them, like the perpetually underdesigned cooling systems,
are the result of German engineers not understanding that the weather
around the world is not the same as it is in Bavaria.
But some of them are the result of typical German Engineering Disease,
where engineers will never use one part to do a job when they can use
Still, when I drive the 2002, it makes me smile. I'm willing to put up
with a remarkable amount of crap for that. Not everyone is, but that's
why they make so many different kinds of cars.
That is the philosophy of the entire auto industry and singling out one
manufacturer for it is disingenuous.
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
correct. i'm referring to the technique which bmw use - as i said, the
"traditional" approach was having stuff wear out, which customers hate.
sudden failure is the way to keep them all hooked, and particularly
with bmw, "you must be a hard driver - it's the price you pay for
driving a 'sports' car" excuses that go with it.
also correct - they tried to get into this stuff in the late 70's,
didn't get very far, and didn't get it figured out [with outside help]
until the early 80's. there are plenty of old bmw's on the road, but
there's a honking great gap between them and anything older than ~10.
it could just be incompetence, but seals are well known, the materials
are well known, so there's no real reason for it to be oversight.
especially if you read some of the german technical literature - they
have multiple phd's crawling over every slightest detail.
germans travel the globe dude. they know /exactly/ what they're doing.
and no cooling system fails on their target market owner - the one who
wants a new "ultimate driving machine" every three years.
part of that is keeping it complicated thus helping to ensure that only
/their/ shops work on their vehicles. why else would you have a 7mm
allen socket on a brake caliper pin when 6 or 8mm would do and is widely
available??? and bmw pioneered the "check engine light" concept and
tried to lock it down so that only /their/ dealers could service their
cars. fortunately, independent repair shops lobbied and congress
stepped in on that one. [initially at least. we now have all the
proprietary "tier two" codes which can be locked, but that's a war of
who lobbies the most.]
the other part is that their design teams tend to work in isolation.
each single component can be well designed, but having them all work
together wasn't part of the original spec.
sure - it's the last of the era where they had the "good" part of the
engineering figured out, and before the mba's took over.
i'm singling them out because their efforts at life limitation and
lock-out are well over and above that of any other. "sealed for life"
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