Archive | Case Studies

BMW Radiator – Replacement and Prevention

Why
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 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 Ignition Coil Problem – Catalytic Convertor Replacement

What
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.

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.

Problem
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

77445170IMG_00000811 IMG_0360 bmw_n54_turbo_2

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

BMW X3 Sunroof Replacement

Just another day at the Atlantic Motorcar Center Planet Of Fun.

Being serviced under the delicate ministrations of our Senior Service Technician Shaun.
Lesson here, don’t let your family member push up on the sunshade.
Interior and headliner out of car, 10 hours later, new sunroof installed.

Yes, BMW does build and ship in the wooden “coffin case”.

Problems with your BMW, or your BMW Panoramic Sunroof, we’re the experts, and know these like the back of our hands, and feet, and…
Anyway, you get the message, done right, the first time, warrantied for 2 Years Nationwide, exceptional service for exceptional cars!

Just give us a call, and prepare to be delighted – (207) 882-9969

– Bruce and the AMC Service Team

 

Car Tip/Life Hack – Dealing With Insurance Companies

Recently we were engaged to work with customer’s insurance company on a problem with his BMW’s glass sunroof. It was, to put it mildly, an interesting experience. Having done this for more than a few years, thought I might pass along some tips in the interest of helping our customers.

1) Get An Independent Estimate, Always –
As far as much possible, have a trusted, independent professional service provider provide an estimate BEFORE the insurance “adjuster” shows up. You don’t need to get the traditional “3 estimates”, just a single, well written estimate, from a professional. Remember, the insurance “adjuster” is really looking out for the insurance company’s interest, not necessarily yours. It takes time and delays your auto repairs, to get the adjuster to come back out and look at additional work needed.

2) The Insurance Adjuster Is Looking Out For the Insurance Company, Not You –
If you remember anything from this list, remember this one – while most adjusters are fair, they are paid to minimize claims, not necessarily look after your best interest. He or she may be friendly, or want to offer you a payment check on the spot, but it is much harder to go back and correct the estimate later, than it is to get it right in the first place. Again, most companies are fair, but like anything else, you do need to stand up, or have an independent shop, stand up for your rights. Ask questions!

3) The Insurance Adjuster Is Not An Expert On Your Car –
Most are well trained, but by simple statistics of the vehicle population on the road, they are largely familiar with domestic cars. Your European or Japanese import might be a different matter. This is where a estimate from a qualified professional independent service facility is to your advantage, and helps speed up the claim process.

Example – We recently had to work with a customer’s insurance company about a glass sunroof issue on his BMW. This was the very complex, two part “Panoramic Sunroof”. The adjuster admitted that he was not familiar with the vehicle, and it took well over a week to finally write and settle the claim. It was only after 3 phone calls to us, and my suggestion that he contact BMW directly to confirm our diagnosis and repair course, that he realized that extent of the repair. If we had not been involved, the customer would have likely ended up with a denied claim, or worse, had a used assembly installed (yes, that was the original offer), and had to deal with the problem again in a short while, after the warranty expired…a 10 hour, $3,000 repair.

4) Estimates Are Not Written In Stone –
It is not uncommon for hidden damage to be found, especially in the event of collision or impact accident damage. Most shops know this as well, and should work with your insurance company to write what is termed a “supplement” for additional repair work. A professional shop will look out for your interests here, and call and work with the insurance company to make sure your car is repaired to “pre-loss condition”, not just the way the insurance provider wants.

5) Warranty, Be Sure Of The Warranty –
Insurance work is funny, oftentimes the insurance company will attempt to have the shop install “used” parts in an effort to save the insurance company money. Problem is that used parts often only have a 30 day warranty, leaving you on the hook, for expensive repairs, from day 31 on.

A quality shop will look out for your best interest, and press the insurance company to cover any repairs for at least 1 full year. Ideally, you want NEW parts installed on the car, rather than used, but your insurance company has to consent. There have been times, when we could not get an insurance company to agree to new parts, we suggested to the customer to pay the difference, just to assure a quality job…the difference is often surprisingly small. At Atlantic Motorcar, we warranty all service for 2 Years, Nationwide, you should expect nothing less.

Summary – This is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you have questions, please call. And remember, we are not knocking insurance companies or adjusters, we just want to show you have the game is played, the rules of the road if you will.

If you have questions relating to the repair of your car, please contact us. Likewise if you have experienced a loss, we’re happy to provide a fair, independent assessment of the damage, and offer a suggested course of repair. We’ll work directly with your insurance company to make the procedure painless, and simple!

At Atlantic Motorcar Center we’re all about relationships, with you, and your car! Let us know how we can help you.
(207) 882-9969
– Bruce and the AMC Service Team

Tech Tip – How’s Your Sunroof? Mini Cooper, BMW and VW

Tech Tip – How’s Your Sunroof?

Important service tip, make sure your sunroof drains are clean and clear. Modern sunroofs are not designed to seal perfectly from water entry, some always gets through, especially in the large glass panoramic designs.

Normally this water entry is not a problem, but when the drain tubes get clogged, all manner of havoc can break loose. These tubes are designed to take the water that makes it around the seal, and drain it down the front “A Pillars”, the metal channels on either side of the front windshield. Once these tubes clog, they often allow water to leak inside the car, making for a wet headliner, carpet, dash, or giving rise to all sorts of electrical gremlins.

We’ve had two of those, over the last week, one a VW and the other a Mini Cooper, where leakage had occurred inside the car, including one diagnosed by another shop as needing the complete sunroof assembly, to the cost of $3,000. Needless to say our simple cleaning service made us new AMC friends and customers.

At Atlantic Motorcar Center, we check these on a regular basis, and clean as needed, usually twice yearly. It’s important, if you are having your vehicle maintained elsewhere, to make sure this simple, but vital service is carried out. An ounce of prevention, worth a pound of cure. By the way, this is not use a Mini Cooper or VW problem, we see the same issue on Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Saab, Lexus, and other brands.

There you go, a simple, time, and money saving tip, from your friends at AMC.

Happy Motoring,
– Bruce and the AMC Service Team

 

When Mickey Comes To Visit – Mercedes Wiring Damage

From time to time we find Mickey Mouse has taken up residence in one of our customer’s autos, this was a particularly egregious example. This auto presented with a number of warning lights on, after a winter of storage.
Removing some of the interior trim allowed us to the follow the magic trail of bird seed, acorns and other debris. Damage has been done to the CAN BUS network wiring, Yaw sensor and Lateral Acceleration Sensor wiring, and of course the carpeting. It’s repairable, and the car will live again, but quite a project.