Archive | Case Studies

BMW Engine Water Pump Failure – How, Why, and What To Prevent

What

BMW Water Pump - Failed

BMW Water Pump – Failed

This BMW 540 has was diagnosed with a defective engine coolant pump. Symptoms were overheating and damaged drive belt system. Disassembly of the front cover and removal of the water pump allowed for inspection of the pump.

How
The mode of failure with this pump appears to be simple age and miles, likely exasperated by a lack of coolant changes. The bearing failed on the pump, allowing the plastic impeller to contact the aluminum housing, you can see the growing on the surface. Finally the plastic impeller itself failed, the vehicle overheated, and came to a stop. As the water pump impeller is made from a plastic material, the plastic becomes brittle with age and extended immersion in the hot engine coolant, sometimes simply cracks apart, even without a bearing failure. The defective pump, and pieces of the failed impeller, are on the left side of the photo, the new pump on the right.

Prevent
On these water pumps, we suggest replacement at the 80,000 mile interval. Failure usually occurs very soon after the car hits this milage mark. There is a better pump available, we use one with a metal, rather than plastic impeller. When replacing any cooling system part for an overheating concern, it is very important to replace the engine thermostat at the same time, the thermostats are almost certainly damaged from the overheating, and it inexpensive insurance to do so. As you can see from the photos, it is a bit of a process to access the pump, so be sure to always replace the drive belt and tensioner at the same time.

Aside from protecting from freezing, antifreeze also contains lubricants for the water pump bearing, as well as corrosion inhibitors, unfortunately both of these fade with time, and must be renewed with a coolant flush. As this car is an aluminum alloy engine, it is always a good policy to flush the cooling system at least every three years, and to use a quality antifreeze with corrosion inhibiters.

Final
Not a simple repair, yes, but one, if done correctly, will last another 100,000 miles. That’s our goal with BMW, and other autos here, fix it right the first time, and prevent problems from happening in the first place. 30 years of service experience have well taught us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Be cured, once and for all, and give us a call, we’re happy to answer any service questions you might have on your BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo or Volkswagen.

Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years. Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.

If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team

 

Saab Story – Saab 9-3 – Engine Oil Leak, Just In Time

Leaking Sensor

Leaking Sensor

What Happens
On the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 vehicles, a common item to leak oil is the engine oil pressure sensor. Located behind the engine starter motor, we’ve seen this leak time and time again. Often misdiagnosed as a defective crankcase breather box (which do leak as well), the sensor requires removal of the starter motor to access for service.

Struck Oil?
See the oil in the photos? Aside from the engine oil leak making a mess in your garage or parking space, and possible engine damage from low oil level, that oil has a nasty habit of finding it’s way to your engine’s catalytic convertor. Oil on a very hot item like a convertor at speed, aside from smoking and smelling bad, presents a very real fire hazard, not good. In addition, that oil finds its way into the engine starter, leading to premature and expensive starter failure. So yes, correction ASAP is important, very important.

How We Can Help
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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews. If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team

BMW Engine – When Good Oil Pans, Go Bad – Oil Leaks

Drive Oil Level Data

Drive Oil Level Data

I title this when “Good Oil Pans Go Bad” to illustrate a point, 99% of the time, the engine oil pan does nothing but hold your engine’s oil, but when the gasket between the engine block and pan fails, it’s a bad thing.

What
Aside from the engine oil leak making a mess in your garage or parking space, and possible engine damage from low oil level, that oil has a nasty habit of finding it’s way to your engine’s catalytic convertor. Oil on a very hot item like a convertor at speed, aside from smoking and smelling bad, presents a very real fire hazard, not good. In addition, that oil finds its way into the engine starter, leading to premature and expensive starter failure. So yes, correction ASAP is important, very important.

When
As BMW Specialists in Maine, we see this leakage occur between 80,000 and 120,000 miles, on almost every late model BMW we service. It is not a customer or service caused problem, but rather a design issue, all sealing media have a finite design life, and for the BMW oil pan gasket, this is about it.

The good news is that we’ve developed a service protocol to fix it, the first time, and keep the parts kit on hand to do so. This is not a job for the new BMW tech, or the faint at heart, for it requires removal of front suspension subframe, drive axles, and suspending the engine in the air while the subframe is removed. We’ve developed to tooling to do this in efficient manner, without any stress on your auto, at a steep savings from the BMW new car dealer prices.

How
Some things to consider while the engine is apart, again the goal of our BMW technicians at the Atlantic Motorcar Center is to prevent problems, or catch small problems before they become big ones:

1) The front differential is right there, be sure to reseal it at the same time, and change the fluid as needed.

2) The engine oil level sensor, which has been a problematic item on the cars when the mileage gets up there, is simple to change at this point, with a very low labor cost, cheap insurance to make sure you’re not back in a week or two with a oil warning light.

3) Great time to look at the power steering rack, and pressure hoses for any wear, leakage or damage, never easier to replace then when the steering rack is out.

4) Steering rack coupler, we often find the small universal joints in the steering coupler, which connects your steering wheel shaft to the steering rack, are binding, which, if left uncorrected, leads to tight steering and/or premature steering rack failure. Again, cheap insurance to check or change the coupler at this time.

5) Steering alignment, since the steering gear is out of the car, it is almost mandatory to check, or adjust the vehicle’s front suspension alignment.

Final
Not a simple repair, yes, but one, if done correctly, will last another 100,000 miles. That’s our goal with BMW, and other autos here, fix it right the first time, and prevent problems from happening in the first place. 30 years of service experience have well taught us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Be cured, once and for all, and give us a call, we’re happy to answer any service questions you might have on your BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Lexus, Volvo or Volkswagen.

Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years. Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews. If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team

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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews. If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and 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.

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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews. If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team

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.

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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.
If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team

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 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.

    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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

    Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.
    If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

    Warmly,
    Bruce and the AMC Service Team

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

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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.
If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC 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.

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! Earning your trust, every time you turn the car…that’s what we do…every day…for the last 30 years.

Click here see what our happy customers have to say about us and our service at AMC Customer Reviews.
If you have questions, or if we can be of further assistance, just call us at (207) 882-969, we’d love to meet you, and your car!

Warmly,
Bruce and the AMC Service Team