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Old 12-06-2017, 06:15 AM   #1
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Unhappy Help with a problem that has stumped Indy and Stealership

08 535xi
149k miles

Fixes:
2 gaskets replaced
All ignition coils replaced
All spark plugs replaced
Windshield wiper fluid pump replaced

So my car has been riddled with problems since I bought it used. I took it to an indy who did a pre-buy inspection, found some problems, and told me that after the few fixes I should be good... not the case. It seems like the more work I do, the more work needs done. I'm frankly just getting exhausted from trying to figure it out. Please help if you have any idea. Neither mechanic seems to have a definitive answer, and i'm sick of them doing the "well we could try and replace X and see if that does it" routine.

Original Problem

The car would have an occasional hiccup/ stutter when driving. Nothing crazy, just a sheer annoyance originally. I wanted to get it fixed to try and get my car to "square 1" after buying it. They replaced a coil on a misfiring cylinder. not the fix. Rinse and repeat. Then entered the larger and more current problem.

Large Problem (Main Symptom)

The car idles choppy and then continues to misfire while driving. It doesn't happen constantly which is the weird part. The car seems to drive in "4 different states" which cycle each time the car is turned on:

1) Car drives fine [usually the mechanics get this or a few drives after I take back possession]
2) Car drives ok, with the occasional hiccup or stutter when driving
3) Car occasionally starts to idle choppy and misfire while driving
4) Car constantly idles choppy and misfires while driving

I've been able to manage it by figuring out within the first few minutes of starting the car which state it will be in. If it starts a "misfiring state" I pull over and restart the car until its in one of the "non-misfire states" and then it drives completely fine for the duration of that drive.

Smaller problems (potential symptoms)

- I've had a problem that has only occurred once where I started my car, pulled out of my spot, and the dash board displayed a "Can't use SOS phone feature" light and then the entertainment console screen cut to black. I pulled over, turned my car off, and it took like 4 or 5 attempts to start the car before it worked.

- Feature where the right sideview mirror tilts down when backing up no longer functions. It did initially when I got the car

- TPMS doesn't work for the front left tire. Tire guy looked at it when they balanced and aligned my tires. Said its not an easy fix, and I'd have to get BMW to do it.. He also advised it wasn't worth it, so I didn't proceed with anything.

My shot in the dark

The fact that it is a cyclical problem that changes between start ups and my various computer/electrical problems, makes my gut feeling think that it might be something to do with the computer or electrical systems of the car, but I have no idea. It would be awesome if this was like a software update issue, but the little hope I have left is running. Could upgrading or downgrading software help or hurt the situation?
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:05 PM   #2
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- Software isn't going to do anything for you

- Did the tire guy replace the sensor in the wheel? Doesn't need "BMW", just a competent tire shop.

- What we need is error codes that say that a misfire did in fact occur and where as well as any other codes related to fuel, O2 sensors, etc.

You need to get you a proper code reader - look at the Carly software for your phone

Off the top of my head for possible remedies:
You need new injectors,
Intake ports cleaned,
Fuel pump problems,
??
??
??
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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I brought the car back through the Indy today and they checked the codes after the misfires following the replacements of all the coils and plugs. It was misfires on #1 and #6. He was saying that with cold start misfires like these its most certainly the fuel injectors which they can replace for $2200 which doesn't seem terrible if it wasn't for all the other crap I've had fixed.

I'm leaning that route, but I really wanted to see if anyone had something similar to this. The last thing I want is to sink that much more money into it and come out on the other side with problems again.

The dealership seemed to half ass it and I'd rather not take it back to them just to pay another $100 plus time and hassle just for a bull crap diag that doesn't tell me anything helpful again. The indy doesn't seem like 100% certain this is the fix either so i'm just stressed! This thing is going to give me PTSD!

Also, the Tire guy said the TPMS couldn't be fixed with a replacement so the suggested taking it to the dealer since it was a larger issue. They seemed competent enough, but maybe not.

Last edited by dgreenzalis; 12-06-2017 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:32 PM   #4
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Ha... everyone has has something similar to this!

Chasing misfires is a rite of passage on the N54 engine. It is going to be awesome car once you get the neglect taken care of.

Needing plugs and coils is just normal car stuff no waste is getting those done.
The injectors... well this is an 11 year old car with 150,000 miles on it. Perhaps the prior owners never got them replaced back when the were given an extended warranty (due to all the problems with the earlier injectors). If they are original they certainly need replaced.

If they are relatively new, then this may be lost money in hoping it fixes the problem. You can tell by determining what series injectors are installed. They all have a number on them that ends in a -xx. -12 is what you want.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:51 PM   #5
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Here's hoping! The small percentage of time its driven fine, it feels amazing!

-You seem to be pretty well versed in this area, you mind humoring some questions?

So my next conundrum is, stick with the Indy repair for ~2350 or go to the dealer for ~3000?
My luck is pulling me two ways:
1) Save the Money and stick with the indy, because this might not be this fix and its getting costly
2) Maybe going to the dealership is a safer bet as they are specialized. But so far, they seem to suck.


The dealer mentioned replacement of one injector (Which would run roughly 800), but to my knowledge I thought you needed to replace them all at the same time? And if you're able to replace one at a time "technically", what are the pros and cons of that besides cost? A

Also, in general I know OEM parts are better since they are from the manufacturer, but if the indy uses after market parts is there going to be major repercussions? Like is it more of just a performance dip, or more of a "you used aftermarket parts so the repairs didn't work. Go back to Start and use OEM"?

I'm trying so hard to adapt to this car life!
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:03 PM   #6
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Having a good dealer service department can be just as hard to find as a good independent shop. Can't really suggest one or the other for you sorry to say. I would suggest that you be a "considerate" customer and don't burn any bridges with either one. Your service options can get limited real quick if you become a "problem" customer so don't let your frustrations out on them - assume they have the best intentions until they don't.

Injector replacement has several considerations and it all has to do with what series injector you have (and perhaps software update on the DME - I'm not sure).

Certainly 1 injector can be replaced if the others are of the same series. If they suggested this then it may imply you have pretty new injectors and this would be a smart choice.

Injector series can be incompatible with each other which is why you read about them needing replaced together but only because no one will put a new injector in with a batch of older ones.

You won't have much of a choice on whose injectors to get - just educate yourself on what a releasable price is. Look at parts at ECSTuning and FCPEuro.
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:38 PM   #7
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So I looked up injectors on FCP Euro and they have the -12 kit marked at $787 so $131 a piece, which is like a third of the cost that my mechanic quoted for parts and even lower than BMW quoted. I've been at the shop while they've looked parts up before and it seems to be from the same website every time. I'd like to give these guys the benefit of the doubt because they've been really cool and helpful so far, but is there a reason it would be almost 3 times more expensive on their end? And should an Indy be open to letting me supply my own parts or suggest a different place to source them? I'm going to call them tomorrow, but again, i'm new to this whole world of "intensive repairs" so I don't know if this is strange or not.
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:46 PM   #8
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Your BMW service guy has to get his parts from the parts department and their pricing is whatever they want it to be. Best I can say is go in with all the information and negotiate a better price. They always have room.

You won't get much of a warranty if you supply your own parts - just have to ask and see how these shops like to work.

I recently supplied my own upgraded fuel pump and my BMW svc guy did the work. No reason for them to warranty a pump I got from someone else.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:13 PM   #9
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Okay I just want to offer some advice
My friends E60 had a constant misfire
She would do as you said pull over restart the car and it would run okay for a while but then start shuddering again

Especially in the mornings or when the car had sat for a few hours

The dealership replaced all the coils as fault codes where coming up every time

But no matter what they did it would continue
They had no fault codes except for the misfire in a particular cylinder

Then one day when she was at my house she started the car and the car was shaking and vibrating when she started it again

She was ready to throw the car away
I did a simple code check and suddenly it said the rear air/ fuel exhaust sensor was faulty

This fault had never come up before

Lucky for her I had recently bought a full set to put into my car but hadn't done them as yet

I replaced all four sensors then
Removed the fault codes and the car has been perfect ever since

So I don't blame the dealership as there was no fault codes except the misfire
But it was caused by a faulty sensor

I would be looking at the causes of misfires and not the misfire itself

And BTW she never ever paid me for those sensors either!
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Old Today, 01:55 PM   #10
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NoQuarter - My indy mechanic basically said I could supply my parts, they just wouldn't be covered by them if something goes wrong, and they'd be less lenient about the labor cost. The nice thing about me starting to look into the cost and specific parts was that it made them also look into parts as well! So instead of being the 300-some that they initially quoted, they found some that will work for 190 a piece and they will be covered by the shop. It's not the 130 per injector I found on FCPEuro, but this way they'll cover them if something goes bad. My car goes in on Wednesday, so hopefully all goes well.

E60Japanese - Thanks so much for sharing! Like I said above, the injectors are getting replaced on Wednesday, but with my luck I feel like there is a 50% chance that's not actually the fix. I feel like I'm in the same boat as your friend, my patience with this car is running thin. Was there anything specific that triggered the sensor fault code? Like you said, I feel like both the indy and BMW mechanics are only looking at the misfires and not the cause of the misfires, but my knowledge of cars is limited.

Thanks for the input, you guys are being really helpful!
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