View Full Version : BMW being sued over 335i/135i

10-18-2010, 04:33 PM
Unsafe at any speed? A friend sent me this:

Press release

Class Action Law Firm takes on BMW for Systematically Concealing Safety Risks of Defective High Pressure Fuel Pumps and Turbo Chargers

The lawsuit alleges that BMW systematically concealed information from the public and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding defective fuel pumps and their risks to consumers.

Flawed engine design of BMW twin turbo models leaves consumers stranded

Sacramento, CA (Vocus) October 5, 2010

Sacramento, California based class action law firm Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, LLP, recently filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of individuals who own various BMW vehicles released between the years of 2007-2010. The lawsuit, No. CV10-2257 SI filed in the Northern District of California, seeks to compel BMW to initiate a recall in order to replace all of the high pressure fuel pumps (HPFP) in the affected vehicles.

According to the complaint, in 2006, BMW announced with much fanfare the development of its new N54 twin turbo engine. BMW touted the new engine as incorporating state of the art technology that included dual turbo chargers and a newly developed fuel injection system. BMW represented to the public that this new technology would eliminate 'turbo lag,' a common problem in turbocharged vehicles, and that its new state of the art fuel injection system greatly increased the performance and fuel efficiency of its vehicles.

Plaintiffs allege that the new engines that were so highly touted by BMW in fact contain serious design flaws that render the vehicles unsafe to drive. There are essentially two design flaws at the center of the case. First, the plaintiff asserts that BMW's new fuel injection system that supposedly incorporates a new 'state of the art' fuel pump actually malfunctions at an alarming high rate. As a result, many BMW owners have had to repeatedly replace their fuel pumps, sometimes within 1,000 miles of vehicle ownership.

Lead attorney on the case, Stuart Talley of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, noted, "When these fuel pumps fail, the car comes to a complete stop or loses substantial power. If this happens while someone is driving on a highway at high speeds, this can create a very serious safety hazard. We believe the defect is so significant that it makes these cars unsafe to drive."

The second problem relates to the BMW turbo chargers. Specifically, the complaint alleges that owners of the affected vehicles were told that BMW's new engine had eliminated 'turbo lag.' 'Turbo lag' is the delay between the time that driver of a vehicle presses the accelerator and the time that turbo chargers on the engine essentially 'kick in' to provide added power to the engine. However, shortly after the vehicles were released, BMW began to receive complaints from owners that they were hearing strange noises from the engine along with a delay in throttle response. BMW eventually discovered that these problems were the result of a design defect in the turbo chargers.

Plaintiffs allege, however, that rather than repair the defective turbo chargers, BMW implemented a secret 'software fix' to hide the problems from consumers. Any time a consumer brought their BMW in for repair or routine maintenance, BMW would 'upgrade' the vehicle's software. This software tweak kept the turbo chargers from operating at full capacity, ensuring that their defects would go undetected.

Apparently owners aren't happy. A number of user generated forums, petitions and blogs have cropped up criticizing BMW for their handling of the issue. On the BMW Blog, several consumers reported their BMW's going into 'limp mode.' They also complained of excessive power loss and 'turbo lag,' the very condition BMW said it had eliminated with its 'state of the art engine.' The plaintiff's complaint seeks to force BMW to repair the defective turbo charges and/or reimburse consumers for the diminution in value to the vehicles.

Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff have demonstrated their dedication to protecting the legal rights of consumers, as well as their ability to devote substantial resources through trials involving large corporations. Their product liability lawyers have represented thousands of victims of defective vehicles and dangerous products in cases throughout the United States, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuit recoveries for their clients and the classes they have represented.

10-18-2010, 04:44 PM
It was a matter of time before this was gonna happen. My HPFP was replaced within the first year at 15k miles and its been fine since; unfortunately a lot of others have gone thru several.

1996 328ti
10-18-2010, 05:50 PM
I thought the main problem leading to the failure was the type of fuel being used.
Isn't it recommended to use only Toptier fuel?

Last year I spoke with a BMW guy and he was telling me the people who drove the car like it was intended did not have a high failure rate.
It was only those who babied the car who had problems.

10-18-2010, 06:54 PM
I thought the main problem leading to the failure was the type of fuel being used.
Isn't it recommended to use only Toptier fuel?

Last year I spoke with a BMW guy and he was telling me the people who drove the car like it was intended did not have a high failure rate.
It was only those who babied the car who had problems.

Not sure Toptier gas is the solution since many suspect its the ethanol in most metropolitan gas stations that could be the cause. i've seen both track rats and garage queens go thru fuel pumps too

1996 328ti
10-18-2010, 06:59 PM
I'll let Rafael know he babies his car too much.


I'm just going by what I was told.
The internet is a tough place. :)

1996 328ti
10-18-2010, 09:03 PM
There's a rather humourous heated discussion on the BMW CCA forum regarding this topic. All about evil lawyers (Hi, Ed and Roy). Some people should wear looser underwear.

VicPlease don't make me go back there.

10-19-2010, 09:43 AM
I've heard BMW is on their 3rd generation high pressure fuel pumps, but some dealers are not installing them for everyone that comes in with a "limp mode" problem. The issue of secretly changing software would really piss me off if I owned one of these cars.

10-19-2010, 03:49 PM
It's at least the 4th or 5th generation high pressure fuel pump. It's a disgrace. the 08 to 10 cars do get a 10-year, 120,000 mile warranty on the part... now we'll see if the 2011s have the same issue. some forum messages show they do. It's not ethanol. The problem exists in Europe, too, where ethanol is not much of an issue, if at all.

Latest rumors are the new generation of M3s will use the N55 engine, stroked, with more forced induction (S55). They better figure out how to pump gasoline in direct injection engines.

10-19-2010, 04:10 PM
I'm on my 3rd pump and thought that by now it would have been solved. I still like the car a lot and wouldn't sell except to get a faster, newer one :-).

10-25-2010, 06:10 PM
Hi everyone...just moved to the area from Germany and joined BMWCCA and this chapter...looks like a great time!

I had a fuel pump replaced on my 335 while in Germany, so it is definitely not just a NA thing. The SA there told me that BMW was "working the problem" in his broken English, but I did manage to get a second generation pump after he contacted Munich directly. Every once in a while I still get a long crank, so I suspect that I will have to replace again, but I do love the car! My symptoms were long cranks and a CEL light. Luckily I never went into limp mode.

1996 328ti
10-26-2010, 09:55 AM

10-26-2010, 11:28 AM
Do they finally have a FIX -- RECALL of the twin turbos !!!

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 26, 2010... BMW of North America has notified the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to conduct a voluntary recall of some model year 2007-2010 BMWs equipped with twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engines, all of which feature BMW’s High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system. It has also asked for approval from the California Air Resources Board to conduct this action. Affected vehicles may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump.

Symptoms include long-crank engine starting times along with the illumination of the “Service Engine Soon” light. In certain cases, the driver may experience reduced engine performance in a Safe Mode accompanied by a tone and the illumination of the “Engine Malfunction” light.

Based on the individual service history of the vehicle, the action will entail replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and/or a software update.

Approximately 130,000 vehicles are potentially affected with about 40,000 expected to require a new high pressure fuel pump. Affected BMW models include:

* MY 2007–2010 335i models.
* MY 2008–2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes
* MY 2009 – 2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i

In a separate action, BMW has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will voluntarily recall approximately 20,800 MY 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles equipped with normally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engines to replace the low-pressure fuel pump. In this case, should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational.

Letters will be sent by First Class mail to owners of affected vehicles in the coming weeks, requesting the scheduling of a service appointment with an Authorized BMW Center to have the update performed.

No injuries have been reported with either of these issues.

In the case of either issue, if the customer experiences a problem, they should contact their authorized BMW Center. Customers with additional questions should contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-563-4269 or email CustomerRelations@<hidden>.

Ethan Blank
10-26-2010, 12:14 PM
Note the language in the recall: replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and/or a software update

The "fix" by a reprogram (which as I understand it greatly diminishes acceleration response and gives the "turbo lag" that many complained about) is, although not being done clandestinely (which I agree with Woody wasn't really a proper solution), not really a response. If all BMW does is reprogram, this time openly instead of in secret, they really haven't solved anything.

I just had my HPFP replaced for the second time a few months ago, I wonder if I'll have to bring it back again for replace #3. Since I'm now experienced in HPFP failure, I let the HPFP fail for a while before bringing it in, just to avoid any potential issues with the service department. Joe Diss at Tischer had said when I dropped off that they would need a day or two to run tests and get approval from corporate to do the replacement, but because of how long I had let it go, how many times it went into limp mode, they ended up agreeing to replace it within a few hours of my dropping the car off. The limp mode was not a horrible experience, it came and went on re-start, and the car, while noticeable slower and less responsive, still moved decently in traffic at highway speed. I didn't want to give BMW corporate any chance to not replace the HPFP!

Given that my lease is up in February, maybe time to consider my options......

1996 328ti
10-26-2010, 12:55 PM
Did it take this long for BMW to admit their problem with the E46 M3 motors way back when?

10-26-2010, 02:17 PM
The E46 M3s where failing during the 01-03 model years. During this time, as I recall, they did 1 rod bearing and oil pump recall, then another bearing recall. By model year 04 production, around the middle of 2003, they had fixed it.
I have my doubts whether this high pressure fuel pump issue is solved yet.

10-26-2010, 02:40 PM
Steven: Yes - BMW dragged their feet on the E46 M3 rod bearing issue for about as long. It was only forced to closure by one guy who created a website that listed VIN numbers, build dates etc of failed engines. BMW first claimed there was no problem, then suggested that the wrong oil was being used, and then that the problem was confined to the U.S.. The comprehensive (and very public) listing showed it wasn't just a U.S. problem. The some major car magazines and websites picked up the story (just like in this case) and it "got legs" and BMW was forced to deal with it. Turned out BMW had used out of spec rod bearing shells.

It appears that BMWAG's policy is to deny the problem, then fix it quietly - then wait for the media and Internet to force it out into the open where is becomes a PR problem that can affect new car sales.

Ethan Blank
10-26-2010, 03:43 PM
Anyone think this might affect my resale value (and arguably my purchase option price in my lease expiring in two months?)

Doubt BMW financial will take that view.....

10-26-2010, 08:06 PM
Fuel pump warranty was extended to 100k miles so that should help.

10-29-2010, 01:51 PM
What it did for the E46 M3 was make the first year (without a problem) and newer models desirable and worth extra money. The 03.5 and up models had the same extended warranty, but none of the issues the 01-03 models had. When I went shopping, I wouldn't consider an older one because I just didn't know what rod bearings it had, and didn't want to worry about it.

10-31-2010, 01:07 PM

That is too bad. I have started to experience longer cranks again, the same initial symptoms that I had with my first failed HPFP. I like you will wait until I get several problems before taking it in. BMW in Germany had my car 3.5 days before being done...you would think that since they had the car, they would have fixed it correctly the first time. Oh well.