Saturday, October 3, 2015

BMW 335 Engine Light Troubles

Image result for bmw yellow engine light

It all started back in the spring, I was driving up the road one day and my engine light came on.  I pulled into the nearest parking lot and consulted the owner’s manual.  According to the manual the yellow engine light indicates loss of power.  I could actually feel the loss of power but at the time I was thinking it was just one of those strange quirks with the BMW.  I turned the car off and back on again and the light was gone so I dismissed it.

A couple of weeks later I was merging onto the highway and again I felt the loss of power and the yellow engine light came back on.  Again once I stopped and turned the car off the light went away.  I called BMW to set up an appointment to have it checked at that point.  I brought the car in, they couldn’t replicate the problem so they just told me to call them back if it happened again. 
So of course it happened again and again so in May I brought my car back in.  The diagnosis was that I needed to update the DME software before further diagnosis could be done.  They charged me $213.50 for the diagnosis and sent me on my way.  The software update would run me about $350 so I went away to mull it over knowing very well my car had a REAL PROBLEM not a software update problem.

The light problem continually worsened to the point it would come on under all heavy acceleration such as going uphill or merging onto the highway.  In August I brought it in for the DME software update but when I went to pick up the car they told me the software update didn’t resolve anything and that they noticed the wastegate on my turbo was seized shut.  This basically means there was no exhaust gas passing through the turbo so it was not functioning at all.  This explains both the engine light and loss of power.  They told me this is the first time they have seen a malfunctioning turbo and they would have to replace it, the good news is it was probably covered under warranty.  They also noted one of my control arms and ball joints could use replacing but they were also covered under warranty…. probably.

The next step was to bring my car in so the warranty company could inspect it to make sure I did not cause any of the damage.  This on top of the multiple trips I had already made was really starting to agitate me but I went in, they did the inspection and low and behold the repairs would be covered under warranty.  They said overall the vehicle was in great shape, which I knew.  I saw the quotes they had done for the work and the turbo work was $5,500, ball joint and control arm were about $1,000 each so my $4,000 warranty was seeming to pay itself off in short order.

Now I had to wait for the parts to come in so they could do the work.  Two weeks later they called and said it was ready to go so I brought my car in, and as of right now that was two weeks ago on Friday September 18.  At that time I was given a loaner car, a 2013 Hyundai Elantra…… I guess if you don’t buy your BMW from BMW they just stick it to you at every opportunity, but at least I had something to drive.

My first call to check on the vehicle was the following Tuesday, September 22, and I was informed that they were waiting on fittings for the repair job, apparently they had the parts but not the nuts and bolts to install them.  So this was not going well.  I called back on Thursday, September 24, and they said they had the fittings but were having some minor issues and there were a couple of hoses that were seized, so they had to replace them and they were NOT covered under warranty to the tune of about $300.  On Friday, September 25 at 4 PM or so I received a call from the service manager, which is never good.  He told me they could not get the turbo installed, their hoses and fittings would not work with it because it was not an original equipment turbo they had received.  He apologised profusely, told me they would make it up to me blah blah blah.  My car was gone for a week and we were back to scratch.  He said he was going to call the warranty company and make sure they sent the proper part and would call me with an update next week. 

So I waited until the following Wednesday to give them a call after I hadn’t heard from them.  The service person told me they were still waiting for the turbo to be MANUFACTURED by a company in Quebec.  The service manager was off that day who would have had more information on it.  At that point I knew it would be into the next week for sure until any progress was going to be made.  So here it is Sunday October 3 and my car is really no closer to being fixed than it was when I brought it in 16 days ago.

Monday, September 21, 2015

It's been too long.....

I've been out of the blog post business for too long, I really have no explanation as to why I haven't kept it up but I am going to make a concerted effort to do some catch up.  Maybe I just needed a year's worth of new material.

I've got lots of interesting topics such as.... my new 2011 BMW 335 Coupe and the ups and downs that come with owning a FGC... my son's adventures into the world of motorcycling.... lessons learned about how irresponsible traffic tickets can cause you years of angst (and money).... and a raft of new car care products I have tried.

There are several subset topics to my BMW such as how to drive a 335 responsibly, the necessity of an extended warranty, and how to make your awesome ride look even more awesome!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine - Almost Mine

It's been forever since I did any kind of post, but I have some material that I can't pass up.  I've recently been getting the itch to get myself a new car, the Optima is now just over 2 1/2 years old so it's about time.  The only problem is of course that 2 1/2 years into a five year purchase will probably leave me under water a bit on the car loan.  I've been doing some looking around and getting a feel for where I am at if I were to trade in the Optima but I want to skip over all that detail for now and get to my recent BMW visit.

I saw they had $3,000 off a demo on their lot so figured I would check it out.  I got some numbers on the demo and it worked out like this:

Car price before tax - $56,740
Less discount - $3,500 (they bumped it up from $3,000)
Financed amount - $53,240
Residual - $23,150 (for four year lease)
Rate - 1.9%
Payment - $687 + $89 HST = $776

As usual it is not humanly possible to work out the lease payment manually and this was about $100 more than the website payment per month.  I could see the residual was about $1,000 lower on the dealer calculation, they had excess wear coverage included which was about $1,200, $595 dealer admin fee and other misc items like window tint, wheel locks and all weather mats.  They also probably just jack the price up above MSRP for some additional profit margin.  So I could almost see where the difference was coming from.  As usual with Newfoundland car monopolies you were going to pay through the nose.

The next step was to get a ballpark figure on my trade.  He figured it would come in around 13-14 k which was what I heard elsewhere but that was too low to make the BMW worth my while at this point.  Before I left he figured he could squeeze out $14.5 k which was still too low but he told me he would send me a revised quote with the trade worked in.  When I got the quote I was shocked, the trade was in at $16,500 and on top of that I get the tax savings on the trade so I was at about $18,650, leaving me out only a small amount on the Optima.  He also snuck out the excess wear coverage to make the payment exactly the same as it was before the trade was worked in, making it seem like I was losing nothing on the Optima.

In the meanwhile I had taken the car out for a test drive and absolutely loved it.  It was a silver 2014 BMW 328i xdrive with the sport and premium packages.  It had significant kms on it though since it was a demo, 11,000.  I figured that's why they came up in the trade, they needed to get rid of it ASAP. I'd give more details on the car but it's not the important part of this post.  Needless to say it was awesome.

The deal wasn't fantastic but it seemed reasonably fair with the trade at $16,500 so off I went with every intention of getting the car.  I had also double checked the trade amount and the salesman assured me it was correct.  So I went in, took a second test drive and started the paperwork.  The salesman went off to finalize the deal and came back saying HE MADE A MISTAKE ON THE TRADE.  Yes the trade was actually $14,500 meaning I was out $2,600 with the tax savings.  I was upset beyond belief, I'd like to think this was an honest mistake but I'm not sure it was.  He tried to tell me it was only $X more a month but I just got up told him I was very disappointed and left.  It would seem like he manipulated the numbers to get me in hoping I wouldn't leave..... but I'm hoping that wasn't the case.....

Oh well.... close but no cigar!

Monday, April 14, 2014

First car wash and wax of the season

Bodywork Wash & WaxRiccardo YELLOW Detailing Clay Original  (8oz)Riccardo Premium Clay Lubricant

We had our first weekend with temps above 0 degrees so of course it is time to start the car washing season!  It was actually close to ten degrees so we were just at the temp where I could use my new Menzerna Power Lock sealant ($44) and my new yellow clay bars from Riccardo ($22).  The Menzerna is a 32 oz bottle so while it was a bit costly it will probably do me about 10 uses and the Riccardo clay came with three decent sized bars.

Step one was to wash the car using my Autoglym Was & Wax.  A little bit of this goes a long way, it's not too sudsy but it gets the job done.  I also had the chance to try out my new Chamois which I bought at Costco.  I found it awkward to use, you had to first get it wet and wring it out before use but then I found it difficult to pick up the water off the car like I would have liked, maybe it just needs to be broken in.

Either way I washed and dried the car, although I left some dampness behind since it would help with the clay barring.   Next step was to clay bar my vehicle to get rid of all the nasty bits and pieces that embed themselves in the paint over the winter.  I used my Riccardo clay bar lubricant with the clay bar and it took about 1/2 hour to do the entire car.  If you have never used a clay bar before you just spray one panel at a time with the lubricant and rub the clay bar over the surface until it moves smoothly without any resistance whatsoever.  If you hear any scraping noise (you have to listen very closely) just keep sliding it over the surface until the sound dissipates.  Once you do a section use a microfibre towel to wipe off any excess lubricant.

If you have clay barred properly, the paint should feel as smooth as glass.  However, especially if you have a light colour vehicle you may see some yellow spots that look like rust in the paint.  If you have a white vehicle you will definitely see some of these, it's harder to see on dark colour vehicles.  This is not body rust, it is small bits of iron from brake dust and other items that embed themselves in the clear coat and then rust, and these need to be removed.  I've found that a good Meguiar's Ultimate Compound spot treatment is the best way to remove these.  I tried a spray called Trix iron remover and it worked well but it smelled horrible and needed a lot of care when being used.  The compound requires more elbow grease but it works great without the smell or health risks of Trix.

At this point you should have smooth paint with no yellow spots and be about 2 hours into the production.  Now there are several options, you can polish, then sealant, and or wax.  I didn't feel like I needed to polish so I went right to my Menzerna Power Lock sealant to protect my smooth defect free paint.  Took about 1/2 hour to apply a thin coat by hand and then let it set a few minutes before buffing off with  a microfibre cloth.  The bottle says you can reapply a second coat after a few hours but instead I think I will rewash and apply some Meguiar's Ultimate Past Wax on our next nice day..... which will hopefully be tomorrow.  Check out the results so far, I didn't bother shining up the winter tires since they will be coming off this week:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Salt Eraser - Does it work??

Costco had two cans of Salt Eraser on sale for $10 so I figured I would give it a shot.  With my new Weather-Tech floor mats, there wasn't a lot of salt on the carpets this year except where they filled up with water and then passengers sloshed the water up over the sides.  On the front mats this would cause a salt ring at the top of the mats but in back it just ran under the seat in front, here is a before picture:

You can see where the mat ended and the overflow went under the passenger seat.  There was a fair bit of salt build up.  The instructions said for hard salt to put some warm water on it first, which I did.  I didn't put a whole lot of effort into loosening the stain since I figured that was why I bought the eraser in the first place.  So I gave it a good spray and here is the result after two applications:

You can see it worked really well on the light salt stains but there was still some residual from the larger ones.  I did a few spots in front and back and used up about 1/2 the can, so it doesn't go very far, like I said I never had much salt in the car due to my super winter mats.

It was easy to use but I don't think it is worth buying, I could have brought out the mini steam cleaner and did a better job with just a little more effort.  I will use my two tins and won't be buying it again.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler Sport - Part 1

I've been out looking around thinking we need another vehicle for my oldest son.  I was considering a few options, of course as mentioned in previous posts I have been testing out the Mercedes C Series and Cadillac ATS which I liked very much as a vehicle for myself.

As fate would have it I heard on the radio that Jeep had $3,500 off Wranglers, I thought there would be a catch so I cheeked it out.  Sure enough online there is $3,500 off so it caught my interest a bit.  I emailed the Jeep salesperson I knew (I know salespeople at every dealership in town now) and they actually had a deal on where you could get a better deal today than advertised. So he was offering $4,500 off even a base model jeep.

I quickly went to the online inventory and they had a very basic black Jeep sport automatic for $25,635 + tax and dealer charges like admin fees.  I was liking the idea of a Jeep for about $25,000 since they hold their value so well I could probably buy it and sell it tomorrow for about the same amount.

My next step was to contact my Jeep salesperson and drop by for a visit.  Myself and oldest son dropped in this afternoon..... A $500 deposit later I am almost the proud owner of  new Jeep...

Details to follow!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mercedes - Test Drives

I had some time to kill on a Saturday so I stopped by Mercedes for a test drive, which ended up as two test drives.  I took out a 2011 c300, it is really nice to drive but I was hoping for a bit more get up and go.  Not that it was slow or anything but maybe after testing the 3.6 L ATS a couple of weeks ago most cars will be a bit slower in comparison.  The car is nice on the inside, the info screen is a bit strange, more like a digital radio screen than info screen but it covers up if you don't want to use it.  One especially interesting option was headlight washers that activate every 5 times you wash your wind-shield.  I never pushed on price because I am not at the commitment stage yet.  They have good deals on certified used at 1.9% financing for 5 years and they make your first three payments for you.

After taking out the C300 I noticed a nice red CLA 4-matic on the lot. (Pictured above)  Since I was there and had some time to kill I took the CLA out for a spin over the same route as the C300.  Driving the red CLA I got a lot of looks from other drivers, this thing really stands out.  The 4-matics have nice flared rear fenders and honeycomb rear grill.  Unfortunately I din't enjoy driving it as much as the C300.  It wasn't bad to drive it just didn't feel as planted as the C series.  I am also not a fan of the info screen sitting on the dash although it did seem more useful than the screen in the C300.  There was also some noticeable lag but once it got going it had plenty of power.  

The CLA looks really stand out but I'm torn on the styling whereas the C series is more conservative and classic.  It also drives better in my opinion.  Right now the new C has $3,000 off and 0.9% financing as their starting point and obviously they could do better.  The MB dealership here is much smaller than the BMW, they only have 4 C series on the lot for instance, whereas there are about 20 3/4 series on the bmw lot at any one time.  The lack of selection is a bit of a downside, and with the new C coming out in the summer they probably won't be getting many more 2014's in.

Anyway something else to think about......I really don't need a new car but it doesn't hurt to look!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cadillac ATS Test Drive

Opulent Blue Metallic

Took a trip to my local Cadillac dealer last week to try out an ATS.  I had my eye on a black 2.0T performance edition but they couldn't seem to locate it.  The guy was looking everywhere and had the key in his hand when I got there but it seemed to be on the missing list.  I was there earlier in the week looking myself and they had 6 ATSs on the lot but I couldn't see the black performance anywhere.  

So he had the 3.6 L Luxury ready for me.  Maybe it was the bait and switch but I couldn't be sure, either way the 321 HP V6 sounded good to me.  He assumed I would want him to come along but I told him I'd rather go myself so eventually he just let me go.  The salesguy was a younger guy and he said he had fun "burning" the caddy earlier and when I started it up the music was blaring.  

The leather seats were nice, and it was well appointed.  Right away I noticed the lack of buttons on the dash, it was all touch.  I tried to adjust the radio volume and it was more difficult than I would like, one volume knob would have gone a long way.  There was not one single knob on the entire dash.  I wasn't too concerned however because I only had about 20 minutes and I wanted to take this baby for a good run.  

I headed straight for the highway and this 3.6 beauty can put out.... there is about a 1/10 of a second it thinks about it and then kicks in big time, major pick up and acceleration.  It handles really tight and braking is great.  The ride is a bit harsh but maybe that is normal for a stiff handling car.  I switched between driving modes but they were all a bit rough.  Unfortunately at this time of year NL roads are full of potholes and bumps, I'm sure with a normal road it wouldn't be quite so bumpy.

The car handled wonderfully and had tons of power.  If I'm looking to lease I can get into this for less than $700 / month while a similar Mercedes is about $900 and BMW $1,000.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jayco Dealership Experience

I gathered some interesting primary research on the Jayco Jay Flight 267bhs today.  These trailer guys are more old school than the local Lincoln dealership, but after about 100 questions I go all the answers I needed price-wise.

As a starting point, the dealer website clearly has 2 Jay Flight Swift 267bhs models for 23,999, one of which is here:

But when I went in to get some pricing they told me it was $25,999.  I mentioned the website price and they just said they have problems with their website.  I was turned off right from the start but soldiered on.  I took a look at the unit, I mean it has everything we need with an electric awning and front jack which is nice.  Right away he went to the $105 bi-weekly payment, which is over 20 years.

My next steps were to reverse engineer that payment since each dollar on 20 years of bi-weekly payments is about $500.  Using my handy dandy excel spreadsheet and their 5% rate I come up with a price before tax of about $30,500.... which is $4,500 more than the already jacked up $26,000 selling price.  Just as another note, if you amortize a camper over 20 years you pay about $20,000 in interest at 5%.  More than likely we would keep it a few years and unload it but would have next to none of the principle balance paid off in a few years with a 20 year loan.

Anyway I had to figure out what made up that $4,500... and here it is.... extended warranty up to 7 years ($2,000), pdi ($600), bank fees ($300), sway bars ($300).... and that was it, so I am still $1,300 short even with all that foolishness added in.  Then it hit me, they were "including" a $1,000 gas card, actually I was probably just pre paying for $1,000 gas.  

So obviously this won't work for me, I don't mind paying for what I like but I'm not going to pay more than I should for what I like.  I am going to go back to the dealer but I am getting a sour taste already.