Highway Robbery...

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by dexternjack, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    Need some quick advice here. A shorter version of my dilemma...I have a 2009 BMW X5 and recently have had some gear slippage. I tried to blow it off by resetting the computers, downloading new software codes and the like.

    Well, the wife talked me into taking it into a certified BMW dealership to have it checked out, that was a mistake. I have heard that they try to pin new tranny's on most transmission issues and I discovered that first hand. How do I know if it is legit? Many have said the gearbox never needs to be replaced but that is what they suggested. They claimed many tests and diagnostics were ran and it shows my transmission is shot.

    Well, it has been a few days now with an occasional "lurch or slip" going from first to second gear but smooth in the rest of gears. The trans failsafe mode has came on only once along with the check engine light, but no other warnings showed up on the computer in the dash.

    Today, all the warnings went poof and have not come back. I am afraid to replicate the issue again though, so have been driving extra careful.

    We went shopping tonight and found a 2011 Porsche Cayenne, but it is quite expensive. Are we jumping the gun too soon by not getting a second opinion?

    The warranty expired 5k miles ago, how convenient right? They are wanting 9k for a new transmission, not including a possible wiring harness, which is an additional 1.2k.

    So, here lies my problem....we are still upside down on the SUV, by almost 8k. If we do a fast trade in, we have to put down about 14k due to TTL and payoff difference. They come out pretty even except we will owe quite a bit more on a new car.

    Coming up with the 14k is going to hurt, maybe doable, but it is going to hurt because it will be cash, not on credit cards.

    Need some input please, especially from mechanics :)

    Should I go to an outside mechanic for another estimate and is 9k way, way too much for this?? Even if they say they can repair for 6k, that is still too much IMO, maybe time to dump it.
  2. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    Do a search and look at all the problems people are having with the 3/5 transmissions. Much is on the BMW forum siteNot being the original owner I don't know what recourse you have for a Lemon or recall issues. www.bimmerfest.com/forums/

    Is the transmission slipping in gears 1-4? What makes it slip? Hard enough acceleration yada?? Does it do this when the car is cold, hot or doesn't make a difference. What is the indicated engine temperature each time the transmission slips? What are the normal shift patterns? Hard/soft, rpms shifted normal driving 1-4 and 5,6??? Have you checked your fluid level? Rebuilding anything automotive often gets you a leak somewhere. Slow leaks (1+years) could mean low ATF. PS: Don't assume the dealership checked it or anything else. If the car runs on the hot side at times then check to be sure there isn't trash around the radiator which houses the transmission cooler. Check the wiring harness and be sure its got secure connections, no cracks, yada. A wiring harness is less than $200 I think but you can check. Ask on the forum if there is a reputable transmission shop which can check the car out for you within reasonable driving distance. Put some clean paper (newspaper ok) under the car overnight preferably garaged and see if there is a leak.

    These are some things you can do yourself without a lot of time and expense.

    I'd consider selling the car if it were mine but I wouldn't have a fire sale and I wouldn't trade it in. I'd sell it on the open market. You can talk to BMW about the car and tell them they've had so much trouble with the transmission you'd like them to help you as best they can. If they insist on a trade make sure you know the resale value of your car on the open market and I'd go in ahead of time to 'buy' a new car and get your best price before mentioning a trade in. And remember the dealership generally wants to do the right thing but always wants to make money. Unless you've dealt with them on more than one occasion then they may not care about you as much as you think. And no don't trust their 'you need a new transmission and it will cost you 10+k and then some'. They want you to trade it in and buy a new car. They can fix the car on the cheap.
  3. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    The transmission only hiccups when accelerating from 1st to 2nd in a hurry. Like almost stopping at a yellow light but running it because it is the only way(thats LA for ya). It seems this occurs when the vehicle is at operating temp and never goes hot. If I switch to manual mode, the problem lessons and not sure why. Gears from 2 to 6 are normal with not one problem. The RPM's do go awry sometimes when it happens but straightens out fast once into third gear.

    The car never runs hot and there are no leaks, at all. It drives great except for the occasional slippage. I have read that this is "lurching" like being rear-ended. Once past 2nd gear, all is well.

    I am a member at Bimmerforums and have heard conflicting reports. My only worry...is having the car completely die before I trade it in, we are in trouble if that happens. BTW, they said a wiring harness is 1.2k(with labor) which is ridiculous!

    As for the open market, it would be hard to sell with a potential major problem, we would not get near what it is worth.

    I think my first mistake was taking it to Beverly Hills BMW service center. It is like a museum in there and did not feel comfortable at all. I am 80% certain they are screwing me but I can't take the chance of having it die on the freeway somewhere :(

    I have rebuilt a couple of cars and know my way around but have no idea where to start with a BMW.
  4. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    I wrote an answer to this but lost my connection here in China and had to reboot. Sry. Here's a rebuild kit which any good tranny shop should be able to install. http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-X5-TRAN...Parts_Accessories&hash=item2a0bd6780a&vxp=mtr

    There are other solutions online including used trannies, rebuilt yada. Found a wiring harness for 55euros.

    I'd drive it awhile and see if it gets worse or have a reputable tranny shop check it. For ATs I like tranny shops not the dealer (which I don't care for much unless I know them well). I'd consider watching it and if it continues I'd update the firmware and if that doesn't help then get a new wiring harness which you should be able to do yourself.
  5. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    Thanks Doc, my best guess after hours of Googling is the wiring harness too. I don't see how the whole tranny is shot. LOL as to me doing that myself, all my tools are in storage in Houston so I am flying solo here. We are under a time crunch too, supposed to be taking a scenic drive from LA to Seattle over to Yellowstone and down to Vegas in the next couple of weeks.

    My wife is in full panic mode and I am trying to convince her to get other opinions first before we jump into a larger debt. The only problem is that the BMW is our only car out here, the others are back in Houston at my parents house being kept, can't get one out here in a hurry :(

    I will def look into rebuilt trannies but have heard horror stories as well. I am definitely stuck in a corner here :(
  6. jobberone

    jobberone Kane Ala Staff Member

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    I think you appear to be stuck. :) Don't let her box you into a worse corner though. I'd bet a lot of money the car won't strand you. If she's that worried then take it to someone then come back with the report you want her to hear. Then take your time to do this right. I will say I won't buy a BMW with an AT for quite awhile.
  7. kapolani

    kapolani Well-Known Member

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    Are you dead set on getting another BMW or Porsche?

    We just got a new car for the wife. She wanted a midsize SUV.

    I've had BMW's in the past. 2 M3's, 740il, and an X3.

    We started looking at Audi's and BMW's (wife doesn't like Porsche).

    In the end she chose an Acura!

    We went with the MDX with all the bells and whistles. Price came in way cheaper than the other brands.

    She's really digging the car. I love the way it drives. AWD hasn't been fully pushed yet (still breaking in). It may not have all the power an X5 or Porsche has, but it's enough for her.

    Just thought I'd give another alternative.
  8. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    I can't help you from a repair perspective, but is it possible to rent a car for your trip and deal with the repair aspect of it afterwards?

    As far as I know, you can still rent luxury cars if that's your preference.
  9. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    Yes, we will look at other brands when it comes to that, I like the MDX as well.

    WG, we already thought of that :)
  10. Idgit

    Idgit If you food, you gonna be ate. Staff Member

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    I had a similar issue with the transmission on my MDX. Looked into it and they had a transmission recall on the next model year of my vehicle. When that happens, the manufacturer often also allocates a budget for model years prior to the one with the recall so that dealerships can quietly repair the vehicle without the threat of the recall being expanded. I was able to get my $8k tranny repair for dealer cost, $1,500 this way. If you're lucky enough to be in this situation, I'd just casually mention that you were participating in a forum discussion on the topic and understand that they can sometimes make allowances for known recall issues. Wink, wink, if you don't make one for me, I'm going to make a deal about it.

    Other than that, I'd consider maybe working with an auto broker in your area to flip the car at auction. They take a $500-$1000 cut, but it's their job to assess the car and get it sold. Autos sold this way typically go to dealers, anyway, who would have the wherewithal to fix the transmission if there's a problem, and you can buy your replacement vehicle (caveat emptor) via the same route, effectively passing off your lemon for someone else's.

    Just a couple of ideas.

    On a side note, other than the transmission problem, which as I said, Acura stood behind, my MDX has been tires and brake pads. Third row seating and 4 wheel drive in a mid-sized SUV (for fuel purposes). They're great cars.
  11. CowboyStar88

    CowboyStar88 Well-Known Member

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    Where are you at in LA? I can refer you over to a BMW service center.
  12. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    PM sent :)
  13. DallasCowpoke

    DallasCowpoke Fierce Allegiance

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    Maybe, you should learn to live within your means? ;)
  14. trickblue

    trickblue Not Old School...Old Testament...

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    My Land Rover LR3 has a BMW engine. My BMW mechanic said to avoid the 5 Series as they have issues.

    He said they are fundamentally engineered wrong and are difficult to work on.

    Anyways... I realize it's a little late...
  15. ninja

    ninja Numbnuts

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    Not trying to be intentionally rude, but, if you are having trouble accumulating $14k, what are you doing driving a BMW and looking at a Cayenne as a replacement? It sounds like you are out of your league and not living within your means (based on what little info provided). The vehicles you are driving and are considering are high maintenance (to me). $9k for a new transmission after only 4 years? I wouldn't even consider another BMW if that happened to me.

    If reliability and price are big issues for you, why not 'step down' and look at something like a Honda CR-V or Toyota?
  16. dexternjack

    dexternjack World Traveler

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    I never said we couldn't come up with the 14k, but it would take a chunk from savings and it would hurt because that money is going to be used for something in the near future, opening a new business. This would set that back some.

    I guess I could put on a credit card but want to avoid that and looking for a better solution. That would be living beyond my means :D

    Not all BMW's cost 80-100k BTW and mine is well below that but I did learn a valuable lesson......always get the best warranty possible :(
  17. kapolani

    kapolani Well-Known Member

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    For high ticket prices I would agree.

    I have never bought a warranty from the dealership, though.

    I've been a loyal Geico customer for the last 10+ or so years because of their MBI (motor vehicle breakdown insurance). It's a 7yr/100k mile bumper to bumper warranty. They cover anything the original factory warranty won't cover.

    I had my brake rotors replaced on my M3 because I warped them. I didn't tell them it was at VIR though!
  18. CowboyStar88

    CowboyStar88 Well-Known Member

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    You generally don't see these kind of problems at 72k miles on a BMW at all. But it sounds like something more simple and the place he took it to has a reputation for pulling stunts like this. Also I do not believe he is that upside down on this BMW they hold well on the value from what I've seen. Usually on a car like this the idea spending the money he did was getting a car that had services covered and a good service contract and basically didn't require out of pocket expenses especially while the car is still has a note on it. Maybe at the time he should have considered the extended service contract so he avoided this problem. But it doesn't sound like he is living past his means at all especially here in LA.
  19. CowboyStar88

    CowboyStar88 Well-Known Member

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    Also if you buy the car through a buying service you will get a way better deal then at the dealer and also finance it through the credit union. For instance if it's a new car and you have neg equity in your trade and purchase it through a buying service you are most likely to get the car at invoice or very close to invoice. What does that mean? Well most credit unions will allow you to finance the car at 120% of MSRP (if it's a new car) so if there is neg equity in the car he would most likely be able to roll most of it if not all of it into the new loan. Now a used car is an entirely different loan especially when it comes to neg equity.


    2009 BMW X5

    Trade ave $23,290.00
    Owes $31,000.00
    Difference $6710.00 Neg

    New car Acura MDX
    Base MSRP is $42,290.00
    Invoice Est. is $40,090.00 (What he would pay)

    Vehicle price $40,090.00
    Doc $80.00
    Tax 9% $3615.30
    Total $43,785.30
    Lic/reg $ 450.00

    Total $44,235.30
    Plus Neg $6710.00

    Total price is $50,945.30

    Now the Credit unions will finance 120% of 42,290.00 which would be $50,748.00

    So if he qualified he could get out of his BMW for 200.00 bucks, now obviously I don't know what he owes on it but this is a typical example I see on a daily basis.

    on a side note the new Lexus is a great buy especially for what we can get them for.

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