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07-04-2009 12:36 PM #1
CEL on road trip, problem with dealer.
Sorry for the long post. We're on a long road trip from Austin TX to Monterey CA (where we are now, go Nicky!) then up along the coast to Vancouver, across to Banff, and back down through the mountains and across west Texas to Austin. Coming into Monterey the check engine light came on. We took it to the local dealer who scanned it. The service writer was busy so he said to the tech "Tell Mr. Canon about his car." The tech said that it was one of two things: The ECU was showing a false positive for bad cats, or the cats are indeed going out.
Relieved that it wasn't a trip ender in any case, we asked what our options are. The tech said that we could try a $300 reprogram of the ECU released for the E46 M3 S54 engines that was never specified by BMW for the Z3M S54 cars. He said that it was the most expedient option, but might not work. If we have the time, he suggested just having the cats replaced under the emissions warranty. We said what the heck, Monterey/Carmel isn't too bad a place to have to spend a couple of extra days, let's do the cats. I know we can drive the car for the rest of the trip like this, but I'm concerned about driving through some fairly remote areas and not being alerted to additional engine problems because my CEL is already lit from the cat issue.
From that point forward the service writer has been less than helpful and even passive aggressive. He said "first we have to see if the cats are even still under warranty. I'll call you tomorrow." In the mean time I emailed my service writer in Austin and was told that the federal mandate for emissions warranty was 8 years/80k. The local service writer didn't call me back all day so I called the parts counter to see if the cats were available. They aren't at the dealership but they are at the local warehouse and can be at the dealership in a day or two. I called the service writer back at the end of the day and he said that he still didn't know if the cats were available, I told him the were because I checked with parts. Then he said that I had to pay for the reprogram before they would replace the cats under the emissions warranty. I pointed out that the ECU reprogram wasn't specified for my car by BMW and that they weren't even promising it would work. He maintained that it still had to be done first.
We have an appointment early Monday morning. I think I want to have his boss there and request that they warranty the cats like the tech said from the beginning. Any comments or suggestions? Anyone had a similar issue with CEL/cats that they were able to get the dealer to resolve satisfactorily?
07-04-2009 07:32 PM #2
I wouldn't assume that the problem is the cats
Much more likely that the downstream O2 sensor is bad ... or it's just a spurious false positive, it does happen. I can't imagine why you'd need to reprogram anything ... just have the dealer (or Pep Boys, or Midas, or any repair shop) reset the CEL and see if it occurs again. Most will do CEL diagnosis for free.
If you don't like the service in Monterey, come up here to the SF Bay Area where you'll find 10+ BMW dealers and countless very capable independent shops. The independents probably won't help much with an emissions warranty repair or a new flash for the stock ECU, but otherwise will do great.
Even if one of your cats does have a catastrophic failure, what would happen is that it would essentially block the exhaust flow for 3 cylinders. It won't run WELL, but it will run. You'll be able to get to the next major city. But I personally think that's unlikely to occur.
I guess I would personally just drive it until the holiday weekend is over, then deal with it wherever you are then.
<a href="http://www.godoggoracing.org/">Go Dog Go Racing</a>
08-21-2009 11:43 AM #3
I had a CEL light go on 2-3 years ago under extended warranty and it turned out to be one of the cars. Just a couple of weeks ago I had it come on again so I did my research and thought that it would possibly be an O2 sensor or another cat going bad which would be fine since it would be under warrantly.
I ignored it for about a week. I go to start my car a couple of days ago and it sounds like hell. No power, can barely stay on, bogs down when I give it gas but it drives. Felt like a coil pack to me since I had quite a few go bad on a previous Audi.
I then remembered there was a service bulletin / recall for coil packs. Into the dealer it went, 6 coil packs later it runs fine.
So, for those that get a CEL you may try to get your dealer to replace the coil packs as a preventative anyway but that CEL doesn't have to be strictly emissions related.
08-22-2009 10:34 AM #4
Re: I had the exact same symptoms and
it now the 3rd time with this issue.
I went through all the brainstorming with everyone and everyone has their own views on what it may be and where I should start with replacing stuff.... but ...after sleeping on it I decided to relook at what has been the cause of this previously
A DIRTY M.A.F. SENSOR
had the bogging down the loss of power etc., etc., etc.
and for the tird time now its the MAF.
where I messed up is with the spray can cleaners I choice. Starter fluid was suggested as a cleaner but come to find out it ate up the MAF workings
then with my second MAF i ended up after a few months with these engine problems once again and this time I bought some "Throttle body Cleaner" based on my logic being this is where the MAF is attached so this should work////wrong again, ate this MAF up.
So I bought a nother (used) MAF ($100.00) installed it in 10 minutes and months later the same engine problemscame up again... but the difference this time was...I used CRL- MAF Cleaner that has just come onto the market in the last year or so. This stuff works fine and all the warning lights that had mislead me into believing it was mu O2 sensors or Coilpacks etc, etc. were put to rest and its been over a year now with no problems...
why you ask is the MAF giving me problems...
I WOULD SAY ITS THE AFTER MARKET K&N AIR FILTER that has what seems to be to pourous a air filter and its leting dust get into the throttle body area..
so I'd spend the $8.00 for a can of CRL MAF sensor cleaner and take the MAF out and spray it for 10 to 15 seconds and that should do the trick.
If not then I would make the next move onto spending bigger moneys.
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