Archive | Case Studies

Headlight Lens Refinishing – We Do That – Save Money And See Better

Tech Tip – Headlight Lens Refinishing
– Save Money And See Better –

Headlight refinishing - Volvo. We can do the same on Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Saab and Lexus.

Headlight refinishing – Volvo. We can do the same on Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Saab and Lexus.

How many of you get in your car that’s a few years older now and find that your headlights are no longer shining like they used to? More and more cars have gone from glass headlight housings to plastic ones for cheaper production costs and weight reduction.

One side affect we see more with lights of this type is heavy pitting and discoloration from the natural elements we face on our daily commutes. In just a few years the once clear surface can become cloudy and opaque, resulting in not only a cosmetic issues, but also a safety one – less light on the road at night.

Before jumping into a repair that may be more costly than necessary, we like to offer our customers a far more cost effective solution to restore both the look and performance of the lights their car once had when it first rolled off the assembly line.

As you can see in this comparison photo on these Volvo XC90 lenses, the damage was actually far worse than the image portrays, but even so they were able to be brought back to a great condition.

By using multiple stages of sanding, wet sanding, and buffing, we’re able to remove the outer layers that may be pitted, contaminated, or discolored from the sun, ultimately restoring your headlights to the original manufacturers specifications, be it an Audi, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Volvo, or Volkswagen.

Feel free to call or stop by find out more on how we can help you get your car back to the condition you both deserve! Just call (207) 882-9969.

Thanks – The AMC Service Team

Porsche Cayenne – Leaking Coolant Tubes Damage Starter Motor – Update Kit

Porsche water tube update kit

Porsche water tube update kit

If only we had been the ones servicing this car earlier, might have saved this customer some heartache and expense.

Chasing a mystery coolant leak? If your 2003-2006 Cayenne is losing coolant, odds are you can trace it to the original plastic coolant pipes located beneath the intake manifold. Porsche Cayenne V8 models from 2003-2007 came from the factory with plastic coolant tubes located beneath the intake manifold that are notorious for leaking. The problem is widespread, and we’ll show you the fix. On the earlier Porsche Cayennes, when the coolant tubes on these engine leak, they slowly fill up the engine valley with coolant, and subsequently damaging the starter motor, and potentially the engine flywheel.

You can see from the worn drive teeth from the photos, left without correction, the starter stays engaged, and causes very expensive damage to the engine flywheel. Fortunately, in this case, it appears we caught it before the flywheel sustained damage.

If you have an early Cayenne, and have not yet had the coolant tube update, or if you have had the update, and are adding coolant on a regular basis, suspect leaking coolant tubes, and have your vehicle serviced at the soonest opportunity. The Atlantic Motorcar Center is uniquely trained and qualified to handle this update in Maine, and most services are handled the same day. Please contact us at (207) 882-9969. Thanks!

BMW Service – Taillight Wiring Electrical Problem

BMW E60 (528Xi) – The car presented with an intermittent turn signal and brake light, warnings being received on the dash mounted iDrive system. Examination by our BMW Service techs quickly reveled that the fault was the rear rear circuit board, and wiring harness for the passenger side.

BMW electrical connector, noted melted ground contact pin.

BMW electrical connector, noted melted ground contact pin.

You will note that the ground lead wire and electrical connector have melted into the plastic wiring plug, damaging both the wire, the connector, and the taillight circuit board. BMW has had an issue with this on the E60, and on other BMW models, and has developed an improved wiring harness and circuit board to correct the fault.

In this case the repair consisted of cutting off the damaged connector and plastic plug, and preparing the wires to accept new connectors. These new connectors were then installed into the new plastic plug. The circuitboard for the taillight was replaced with an updated part, and all of the light bulbs changed at the same time.

We know from experience of common faults like this, which also allow us to diagnose them rapidly, and repair them correctly, the first time. Our philosophy when carrying out service on a BMW, or any other make, be it Audi, Mercedes, Saab, Volvo, VW, or Lexus, our technicians always consult numerous information sources to look for what are termed pattern failures, and also manufacturer’s technical service bulletins (TSBs). Our diagnostic suite is fully equipped with the state of the art tooling and computers to service even the newest autos.

BMW Radiator – Replacement and Prevention

Why

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW E60 Radiator, you’ll note leaking at the cores on the bottom rows. The cause became quickly evident, the back of the radiator was covered with leaves and other debris that had been drawn into the radiator core. Nearly impossible to clean without removal, or extensive disassembly, it can help if you are able to clean out any visible leaves. Also a strong underbody car wash may aid in displacing the debris.

If you car has the symptoms noted above, you might want to give us a call, BEFORE the failure occurs. The update cost is minimal compared to the damage which can result. Our goal at Atlantic Motorcar’s BMW service, to provide the lowest possible cost by preventing problems first, rather than just repairing them.

Help
We advise our new customers all the time to make certain that their car ends up with someone who really knows, and cares about it. This is just another example of “knowing” rather than just “woking on” on BMWs, the whole ounce of prevention thing. It’s not the fancy building (think about who pays for that), but the people inside who fix the cars…

So how do you find an ethical shop, judge by the reviews online, by meeting the service team, by asking friends. Then once you have a quality facility, support them, build a relationship with them. You wouldn’t “shop around” every time you need a dentist for dental work, so go to the folks who know and respect you, and your car. If you are out of our service area (we cover Falmouth, Freeport to Camden), call and ask for a referral to one of our service network members. Your car, and your pocketbook will thank you. And so will the AMC Team.

Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your BMW, or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

BMW radiator installed

BMW radiator installed

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW engine radiator, clogged with debris.

BMW Service Engine Clogged Breather System – Oil Consumption Use

BMW Service Valve Cover

BMW Service Valve Cover -
Note sludge or clogging in ventilation port

BMW Service with N52 Engine – This vehicle came from another shop with an uncorrected engine oil leak and high oil use. Consumption was on the order of 1 quart per 100 miles, yes, you read that right.

We started by finding the incorrect engine oil fill cap had been installed by the previous facility, causing an oil leak on the top of the engine, but that was only one problem. The real culprit was a problem with the crankcase ventilation system. Using our special BMW service diagnostic tool, we confirmed a severely clogged engine breather box, on this engine located in the camshaft cover. Not an easy job as this engine has “Valvetronic”, but one that needed to be handled. In the past, we’ve found these breather failures are much more common in colder weather.

On the earlier BMW service, the ventilation or breather system, sometimes called the oil trap, was replaceable. On the later cars it is now part of the camshaft cover, sometimes called the valve cover, and cleaning a clogged breather is next to impossible, replacement usually being the only proper correction.

In the photos below, you’ll note the large camshaft cover assembly that must be replaced for clogging. Such clogging has become an issue with the later breather systems. The build up of this material prevents the crankcase ventilation system from functioning correctly, and will lead to an increase in crankcase pressure, external oil leakage. In severe cases it can build up enough pressure to damage engine seals, including the rear main seal. Any problem with multiple engine oil leaks must first be dealt with by inspecting and servicing the crankcase ventilation system.

If you car has the symptoms noted above, you might want to give us a call, BEFORE the failure occurs. The update cost is minimal compared to the damage which can result. Our goal at Atlantic Motorcar’s BMW service, to provide the lowest possible cost by preventing problems first, rather than just repairing them.

Precautions
Here is how you can take some simple precautionary steps:

  1. If you have no choice but to make short trips, try and take your vehicle on the freeway at least once per week, as this will help burn off condensation.
  2. Avoid excessive idling or allowing the car to warm up.
  3. Keep Your vehicle garaged at night, if possible, when the temps are very low.
  4. Change your engine oil every 5,000-7,000 miles, always using full synthetic.
    We strongly advise not to follow BMW’s 12,000-15,000 mile oil change intervals, we have an expression here, “Oil is cheaper than metal”, keep your engine oil clean, and change on a frequent basis and your BMW will serve you well.

    BMW Service Valve Cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover – New camshaft cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover -
    Note sludge or clogging in ventilation port

    BMW Service Valve Cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover – Note sludge or clogging in ventilation port

    BMW Service Valve Cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover – Replacement part

    BMW Service Valve Cover

    BMW Service Valve Cover – Service Completed

BMW Service – Ignition Coils – Catalytic Convertor Replacement

What
BMW Service – That flashing red or yellow Check Engine light? It means something, and on later model BMW, Audi, Mercedes, and other imports, it frequently means that one or more ignition coils have given up the ghost, especially if you’ve got 80,000 to 100,000 miles on the odometer.

Bosch coil, Bosch is OEM for BMW on this part.

Bosch coil, Bosch is OEM for BMW on this part.

So what is the ignition coil? Quite simply, this small little electronic device provides the voltage that fires the spark plugs, and is the heart of your BMW’s engine performance…unfortunately, it’s also one of the key things that can disable or damage the car. In this case study, the car came out of the BMW dealer, and had been previously serviced by another shop, who had installed incorrect, aftermarket coils. It was towed to our facility for diagnosis and evaluation. Unfortunately the defective ignition coils damaged the catalytic convertors on this nice BMW X5, leading to an expensive replacement of both convertors. My Mom, a retired nurse, taught me well, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, and nowhere is that more true than here with the ignition coils. Read on to see how the Atlantic Motorcar Center handles this problem.

Why
Ignition coils are key to the efficiency and performance of your BMW and newer cars have 4, 6, or 12, depending on the engine size. They’re just as important as spark plugs. Starting with the M42 engine in 1990, BMW’s ignition systems use an individual coil for each cylinder (coil-on-plug ignition). This system, while offering better performance than the old single coil system, does have a shorter lifespan. We see coil failures between 80 and 100K miles, and have developed a service procedure, outlined below, do this right the first time.

Problem
As we mentioned, this car came out of the BMW dealer, and had been previously serviced by another shop, who had installed incorrect, aftermarket coils. The engine was not running correctly, and unfortunately the car was driven for some distance. With a faulty coil, the spark plug is not igniting the air/fuel mixture properly and that can lead to problems anywhere in the engine and exhaust (including catalytic converters and O2 sensors). In this case, it damaged the convertors, melting the ceramic monolith structure inside.

Correction and Prevention
BMW recommends replacement of the spark plugs on it’s newer cars at 90-100K miles. We agree, and also suggest replacement of all the ignition coils at the same time, to prevent problems just like this. In the past we’ve seen cars come in one new coil, then a short time later we see the same vehicle again for yet another coil, reminds me of the old christmas tree lights, one fails, then another, then another. Since all the coils have the same miles on them, it just makes sense to replace them at the same time.

In this case, we replaced the ignition coils with the correct type, also replaced the spark plugs. The vehicle was then road tested, and when the convertor fault returned, we verified and replaced both catalytic convertors, then carried out another extensive road test, just to be certain, before returning the car to the customer.

Help
We advise our new customers all the time to make certain that their car ends up with someone who really knows, and cares about it. This is just another example of “knowing” rather than just “woking on” on BMWs, the whole ounce of prevention thing. It’s not the fancy building (think about who pays for that), but the people inside who fix the cars…

So how do you find an ethical shop, judge by the reviews online, by meeting the service team, by asking friends. Then once you have a quality facility, support them, build a relationship with them. You wouldn’t “shop around” every time you need a dentist for dental work, so go to the folks who know and respect you, and your car. If you are out of our service area (we cover Falmouth, Freeport to Camden), call and ask for a referral to one of our service network members. Your car, and your pocketbook will thank you. And so will the AMC Team.

Questions, or if we can be of help in any way with service on your BMW, or other European (and now Japanese) import, please contact us. Our team of Service Specialists are here to help, for even the newest autos! (207) 882-9969.

Knowing, not just “doing”, that’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way of life.
Thanks!

Warmly,
The Atlantic Motorcar Center Service Team

Tech Talk – BMW 535Xi – Engine Oil Leak

This BMW came into our workshop with a severe engine oil leak int he area of the front timing cover. The previous “Specialist” servicing facility had attempted to correct the oil leak, unsuccessfully.

IMG_00000811Problem
See that “curly cue” material? That’s a shredded engine drive belt, which had wrapped itself around the crankshaft, and wiped out the oil seal. So the other “oil leaks” were corrected but the prime culprit was not found, until it visited our facility.

Cause
When belt broke it wrapped itself so tight behind the crank pulley it pushed itself into the crank seal, tearing out the rubber sealing surface. Left unchecked, this very quickly could have worked it’s way into the front timing chain and sprocket, resulting in a catastrophic engine failure.

The Truth
Folks, it’s not about the fancy building, or the “name”. It’s about the people inside, the people who care, are treated well, and treat you (and your car) well. Fancy buildings and big egos do not fix cars, people do. Our approach is always to work as a team, to network, to solve even the most complex problems, each time, every time. We’re not happy until you’re happy, and we really mean that.

The Difference
Just because someone uses the name “Specialist” does not mean that they really know, or care about your particular car. There are ethical shops out there, but judge by the reviews online, by meeting the service team, by asking friends. Out of our area (we cover Falmouth, Freeport to Camden), call and ask for a referral to one of our service network members. Your car, and your pocketbook will thank you. And so will the AMC Team.

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Team

 

BMW IBS – Intelligent Battery Sensor – What Is It, What Does It Do?

BMW ISB Battery Sensor

BMW ISB Battery Sensor

The IBS is a mechatronic component for monitoring the battery condition. The IBS is secured and connected to the negative terminal of the battery. The power supply for the IBS is fed across a separate cable. For data transmission, the IBS is connected to the DME (Digital Engine Electronics) or DDE (Digital Diesel Electronics) via the BSD (bit-serial data interface).

The software in the PC-board of the IBS calculates “State of Charge” and “State of Health” of the battery and sends the information to the DME via the Bit Serial Data link. Off-load current measurement: When the vehicle is not in use, the IBS continuously monitors the data relevant to the battery indicators. The IBS is programmed to “wake up” every 14 seconds so that it can update the measured values with new measurements. The measuring time is approx. 50 milliseconds (ms). The measured data are entered in the IBS memory for monitoring the offload current. When the engine is restarted, the DME / DDE reads off the off-load current curve. In the event of a deviation from the definedoff-load current curve, an entry will be made in the DME / DDE fault memory.

The sensor is very easily damaged by improper or rough handling during battery service, or by water leaks into the rear battery area (more common than you might think.) If you experience any warning messages, or have battery problem, please contact us to have this checked. (207) 882-9969

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Why “Cheap Service” Is Just Too Expensive – Volvo Engine

This poor Volvo XC70 presented with an engine oil pressure light on.
One quick look at the engine oil pan provided what we in the business call a “clue”. A huge amount of RTV sealant oozing out of the oil pan to engine block area. The car had recently been at another repair facility…

Once our Senior Service Technician Ryan removed the oil pan, it was quite clear what had happened…and it wasn’t pretty.
1) The previous servicing shop had resealed the engine oil pan with the incorrect sealant.
2) Had used an excessive amount of sealant, to the point where it oozing inside and outside the engine oil pan.
3) Excess sealant had entered the engine oil pickup, and was subsequently sucked into the engine lubrication system, restricting oil flow to critical engine parts.
4) Sealant used appears to be something you’d buy at Home Depot to caulk your windows, not properly repair your Volvo…really, not kidding here.Holy clogs Batman, this is a mess. Also the three O-Ring seals, Volvo uses for the engine oil pickup to oil pump interface, were not replaced, and if you look carefully, you see one is actually folded over.Cost of the seals, perhaps $7, cost of the correct sealant, about $25, cost to replace the engine, close to $6,000.We’re hoping to be able to salvage the engine for the customer, but needless to say, this was a good “teaching moment” on the true cost of a “cheap repair”.Professional automotive service isn’t “cheap”, it’s priceless.

Having someone who cares about your car as much as you do, also priceless.
For fair priced, proper service, with a 2 Year Nationwide Warranty, just call us, we’re here to help (207) 882-9969.

– Bruce and the AMC Team

Tech Tip – Volvo Fuel Filter Changes, Prevent Problems and Save Money

Tech Tip – Volvo Fuel Filter Changes, Prevent Problems

See the photo? That’s a electric fuel pump, you don’t want to have to buy one, read on for a a quick way to save yourself some real money, and headache!

Volvo has a 105K or 120K mile schedule for replacement of the engine fuel filter. Lately we’ve been seeing an increasing number of the electric fuel pumps failing. We feel that this problem is brought about by extended intervals between fuel filter replacement. In the past, fuel filters were often changed at 30k or 60K mile intervals…and we rarely had pump failures. A clogged or dirty filter makes the pump work harder, resulting in premature wear, and soon, failure.

The cost to replace the fuel filter, usually under $100, is dwarfed by the replacement cost of the electric fuel pump, in some cases over $1,300. We strongly advise changing the fuel filter in your 2001-2007 Volvo on a 60K interval.

Part of professional auto service to not just replacing parts, but determining why they failed in the first place. Armed with this knowledge, we can make recommendations to save you both time, and money. That’s the Atlantic Motorcar Center way, preventing problems before they occur, everyday.

Questions, or if we can help you with your auto, just call us at (207) 882-9969, we’re here to help!

– Bruce and the AMC Service Team