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Old 10-08-2017, 06:46 PM   #1
John V
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E90s suck.

At least the AWD ones do, as far as working on them. It's as though BMW went out of their way to make them difficult to work on (perhaps this was not accidental).

I happen to have one of these in the garage right now for what are some fairly basic repairs. A front lower control arm bearing (literally, a spherical bearing, not a bushing) failed. To replace the control arm, which has two attachment points, would normally be pretty easy. Remove the bolt holding it to the front subframe, remove the nut securing the outer ball joint, break the taper, and replace the arm.

But because it's AWD, the nut for the outer ball joint is directly below the outer CV boot. That's annoying but not a huge deal - there's plenty of room to get a box wrench in there. Except BMW cast a "guard" into the knuckle that interferes with a typical box wrench AND the open end of the same wrench. You have to use a socket (and not an impact socket - a thin-wall, deep socket). Which means the axle has to come out of the hub.

Simple stuff like the rear brakes - one of the suspension links interferes with a hex bit on a 3/8" ratchet when attempting to pull the slide pins. And the rear CV boot interferes with a socket and ratchet when removing the caliper brackets, so you have to use a wrench.

And I guess everyone knows this, but when you replace a battery on one of these things, the battery has to be "coded" to the computer. Awesome.

I feel a little better after ranting. It's good to remind myself when I see cars for sale cheap that I have zero desire to own a newer BMW.
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Old 10-08-2017, 07:03 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by John V View Post
It's good to remind myself when I see cars for sale cheap that I have zero desire to own a newer BMW.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John V View Post
At least the AWD ones do, as far as working on them. It's as though BMW went out of their way to make them difficult to work on (perhaps this was not accidental).

I happen to have one of these in the garage right now for what are some fairly basic repairs. A front lower control arm bearing (literally, a spherical bearing, not a bushing) failed. To replace the control arm, which has two attachment points, would normally be pretty easy. Remove the bolt holding it to the front subframe, remove the nut securing the outer ball joint, break the taper, and replace the arm.

But because it's AWD, the nut for the outer ball joint is directly below the outer CV boot. That's annoying but not a huge deal - there's plenty of room to get a box wrench in there. Except BMW cast a "guard" into the knuckle that interferes with a typical box wrench AND the open end of the same wrench. You have to use a socket (and not an impact socket - a thin-wall, deep socket). Which means the axle has to come out of the hub.

Simple stuff like the rear brakes - one of the suspension links interferes with a hex bit on a 3/8" ratchet when attempting to pull the slide pins. And the rear CV boot interferes with a socket and ratchet when removing the caliper brackets, so you have to use a wrench.

And I guess everyone knows this, but when you replace a battery on one of these things, the battery has to be "coded" to the computer. Awesome.

I feel a little better after ranting. It's good to remind myself when I see cars for sale cheap that I have zero desire to own a newer BMW.

The battery coding thing is so freaking weird. What happens if you don't do it?
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:13 PM   #4
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@JST, it over charges the battery causing it to fail early. Basically, it adjusts the charging cycle based on the learned performance of the battery.

@JV, I think it may be an AWD issue more than an E90 issue. I still haven't done the oil pan gasket on the e46 because the entire front drive system has to be removed.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:35 PM   #5
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@JV, I think it may be an AWD issue more than an E90 issue. I still haven't done the oil pan gasket on the e46 because the entire front drive system has to be removed.
Eh, it's not that bad of a job. And hey, you can always replace the front control arms, control arm bushings, tie rods, power steering lines, oil level sensor, rod bearings...

Seriously though, oil pan gaskets are not things that are replaced often, if ever. I'd argue that control arms should be designed with some amount of replaceability in mind.
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:50 PM   #6
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Oil pan gaskets shouldn't need replacement often. Except... all but one BMW I've ever worked on has had a leaking oil pan gasket. Matt's 330i didn't have a leak there... but his E90 does.

The are some interesting engineering differences between the E90 and the E46. On the E46, the wiring harnesses around the engine generally clip to reinforcing ribs on the engine using simple stamped sheet metal clips that also clip to the wiring harness. They're beautiful in their simplicity.

On the E90, the wiring harness has a clip that attaches to a stamped sheet metal bracket that bolts to the engine. Just another part that didn't really need to exist.

I'm not opposed to complexity if it solves a problem... but from what I'm seeing on the E90, some of the complexity seems to be caused by lazy engineering. That bothers me.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:12 PM   #7
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So I still don’t get the battery thing. If the engine’s control computer is capable of reacting to the battery as it gets older, there shouldn’t be a need to “reset” it—if the car is reacting to the battery, it should react to a new battery differently than an old one, right?

The only way a “reset” switch makes sense is if the car has a linear map of some kind that it applies to battery charging. But that’s insane, since batteries wear at different rates depending on conditions.

I think it’s a means of forcing you to go to the dealer for a new battery, pure and simple.

EDIT:

Ok, some googling yielded some additional detail:

http://bimmertips.com/bmw-battery-re...ing-explained/

Here, the allegation is that if you don't reset the battery, the car will overcharge it, damaging the battery, because it will assume that the old battery is still in the car.

But.

Haven't cars had to deal with this problem since literally the day batteries were added to cars? Doesn't every car have to have a means of determining when the battery is charged, and not overcharging it? Why would the super fancy modern electronic IBS (which doesn't stand for irritable bowel syndrome in this application) be *less* able to do this than any other alternator?

I will admit I'm not an expert on electrical systems, but this semi-plausible explanation raises more questions for me than it answers.

EDIT TO EDIT:

I'm with this guy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by some guy on Jalopnik

Why is it that my $65 AC/DC digital quick charger for the LiPO batteries in my radio control airplane and helicopters can determine current charge state, amperage, back current, and cell resistance in order to automatically optimize the charge rate and voltage of cells and packs from 2.7 to 19.2 volts in capacities of 20 to 20,000mAh (I don't remember this spec exactly, but the range is something like that...) without causing the notoriously fragile LiPO packs to have degraded life or catch on fire but BMW can't build a charging system that can figure out how to do the same with notoriously rugged AGM/Lead-Acid automotive batteries unless the dealer calibrates it?

Probably has something to do with optimizing service billing.
https://oppositelock.kinja.com/repla...ous-1681775778

Last edited by JST; 10-08-2017 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:55 AM   #8
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Ugh. Really? Do you think it's an AWD thing?

An early model E90 is on my shortlist for my next car, but I want RWD and manual. I know you have had plenty of E46s, but isn't the chassis and evrything a step forward from the E46?

What are the other frustrations with the E90?
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:31 AM   #9
John V
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Originally Posted by Biggins View Post
Ugh. Really? Do you think it's an AWD thing?

An early model E90 is on my shortlist for my next car, but I want RWD and manual. I know you have had plenty of E46s, but isn't the chassis and evrything a step forward from the E46?

What are the other frustrations with the E90?
The chassis is certainly a step forward from the E46 in many ways. It's much stiffer (or at least feels much stiffer) and the geometry is much improved over the E46/E36 cars. The dual balljoint front end fixes the scrub radius issue that makes the E46 tramline so badly.

My brother's 328xi has been very reliable for them, so they can't be all bad. From what I'm seeing, though, I don't want to own one. Having said that, at just over 100k miles my brother's is starting to develop some leaks, I know the valve cover gasket was something he already had to do on it and it's a harder job than on the earlier stuff because of course it is.
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Old 10-09-2017, 12:57 PM   #10
rumatt
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Originally Posted by Biggins View Post
An early model E90 is on my shortlist for my next car, but I want RWD and manual. I know you have had plenty of E46s, but isn't the chassis and evrything a step forward from the E46?
More discussion: http://forums.carmudgeons.com/showthread.php?t=139825
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