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      01-27-2016, 10:34 PM   #1
mxa121
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Another Water Pump Failure - '13 X3 35i

SYMPTOMS:
Just last week, my girlfriend is driving along, about a half hour from home and a yellow warning appears on the dash. "Engine Temp High - Drive Moderately" or something like that and it goes into limp mode. Soon after a red warning appears, "Engine Overheat - Stop". Yay...

64,500 miles

Luckily temps are low enough, a quick cool down and I tell her to take it home and put it in the garage until I figure it out.

The Internet!
Not long after I search the symptoms does it become clear, the water pump has failed.
-Engine oil temp on dash was perfect.
-No codes were thrown, no CEL.

So, without as much as looking under the car, I order parts and search for a DIY guide. (Dealer wanted over $700 labor)
I found several DIY guides for the 335i cars that looked simple enough. Move the sway bar out of the way and voila, swap it. "Hey, I can do that."

PARTS:
1. Genuine BMW Coolant - 1 gallon $21.37
2. Genuine BMW Thermostat $93.39
3. Vemo Water Pump w/hardware $393.70
note: I went with the Vemo branded pump because it is literally the same casting and part number as the BMW one. I saved some money. All of these prices are ECS prices.

Total parts cost: $508.46

THE JOB:
Let me tell you now, folks. I got under the car, removed the undertray, then slowly cursed to myself. I could not see a clear way to get the water pump and thermostat out without moving the radiator. On the DIY's I found, the sway bar mounted from the bottom. Easy to get out of the way. Our X3 sway is mounted from the top, with little to no access from the underside.
.....
So...I put the undertray back on and dropped the pig off at a local Indy. Defeat.

LABOR:
Replace Water Pump and Thermostat $415.80
Hazardous Materials $16.63

Total labor cost: $432.43

TOTAL JOB COST $940.89

I am a bit sad/disappointed that it cost this much and happened this soon for a simple water pump replacement, but that is the joy of electric water pumps that are hard to get to. I heard a rumor that the new turbo sixes are getting belt driven pumps, I hope it's true just so they 1. last longer and 2. are cheaper to replace.

All of you shoppers out there looking at the N55 powered cars. You have been warned.

In the end, just happy to have it back. It really is a fantastic SUV that shames most others in comfort, looks, power, tech, utility, etc. I am just happy this didn't happen on our recent trip to NYC and back! (2,000 miles)
That would have sucked.
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      01-27-2016, 11:01 PM   #2
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My 2010 A4 at 60,000 kms last winter had the same issue. Crack somewhere in the water pump and dumped out all the coolant. I ended up paying $950 (Canadian Dollars.. this was before it became closer to Canadian Pesos) parts and labor at an indy. Seems like a german thing.
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      01-28-2016, 11:36 AM   #3
Polo08816
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This would have been covered by an BMW Extended Warranty, no?
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      01-28-2016, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polo08816 View Post
This would have been covered by an BMW Extended Warranty, no?
Hopefully, although I have had BMW NA try to tell me that a Heater Core was not covered. I guess anything is possible.

Technically, in this case, the water pump did fail. It's broken. So it would be covered by CPO. (that is my understanding. They said the heater core wasn't "broken" so it wasn't covered. I won that battle)
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      01-28-2016, 02:55 PM   #5
epiphone3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxa121 View Post
SYMPTOMS:
Just last week, my girlfriend is driving along, about a half hour from home and a yellow warning appears on the dash. "Engine Temp High - Drive Moderately" or something like that and it goes into limp mode. Soon after a red warning appears, "Engine Overheat - Stop". Yay...

64,500 miles

Luckily temps are low enough, a quick cool down and I tell her to take it home and put it in the garage until I figure it out.

The Internet!
Not long after I search the symptoms does it become clear, the water pump has failed.
-Engine oil temp on dash was perfect.
-No codes were thrown, no CEL.

So, without as much as looking under the car, I order parts and search for a DIY guide. (Dealer wanted over $700 labor)
I found several DIY guides for the 335i cars that looked simple enough. Move the sway bar out of the way and voila, swap it. "Hey, I can do that."

PARTS:
1. Genuine BMW Coolant - 1 gallon $21.37
2. Genuine BMW Thermostat $93.39
3. Vemo Water Pump w/hardware $393.70
note: I went with the Vemo branded pump because it is literally the same casting and part number as the BMW one. I saved some money. All of these prices are ECS prices.

Total parts cost: $508.46

THE JOB:
Let me tell you now, folks. I got under the car, removed the undertray, then slowly cursed to myself. I could not see a clear way to get the water pump and thermostat out without moving the radiator. On the DIY's I found, the sway bar mounted from the bottom. Easy to get out of the way. Our X3 sway is mounted from the top, with little to no access from the underside.
.....
So...I put the undertray back on and dropped the pig off at a local Indy. Defeat.

LABOR:
Replace Water Pump and Thermostat $415.80
Hazardous Materials $16.63

Total labor cost: $432.43

TOTAL JOB COST $940.89

I am a bit sad/disappointed that it cost this much and happened this soon for a simple water pump replacement, but that is the joy of electric water pumps that are hard to get to. I heard a rumor that the new turbo sixes are getting belt driven pumps, I hope it's true just so they 1. last longer and 2. are cheaper to replace.

All of you shoppers out there looking at the N55 powered cars. You have been warned.

In the end, just happy to have it back. It really is a fantastic SUV that shames most others in comfort, looks, power, tech, utility, etc. I am just happy this didn't happen on our recent trip to NYC and back! (2,000 miles)
That would have sucked.
Someone who knows BMW's will know this. They used to be belt driven water pumps and they failed once every 3 to 4 years regularly. The electric ones have a much better reliability record and, in my opinion, are way better for temperature management.
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      03-02-2016, 02:02 PM   #6
arkow
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I just had mine replaced on 2012 x3 35i at 53k miles. Total cost: 1k at BMW dealer., had battery replaced as well.
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      03-02-2016, 02:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxa121 View Post
I heard a rumor that the new turbo sixes are getting belt driven pumps, I hope it's true just so they 1. last longer and 2. are cheaper to replace.
Doesn't the water pump continue to run after the engine is shut off to cool the turbo?
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      03-03-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The X Men View Post
Doesn't the water pump continue to run after the engine is shut off to cool the turbo?
Looks like they addressed that by adding a stand alone turbo cooler that is electric.

http://f30.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1133836
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      03-07-2016, 08:49 AM   #9
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Definitely a design defect in B55 engines

Mine failed at 80K, 1200 nannas. I have two other BMW's with this same engine which I will now dispose of.
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      04-01-2016, 12:53 PM   #10
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I think mine is about to go. Got the yellow light after about 30 min of freeway driving. Pulled over, restarted and was fine. Later in the day noticed the water temp was all over the place. Also heard a loud whirring which I assume is the pump struggling or maybe a fan? '12 35i with 77k miles (ext warranty expired at 75k, and going to trade in this summer, ugh!)

Last edited by 5against8; 04-01-2016 at 03:54 PM.
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      04-02-2016, 07:15 PM   #11
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Holy crap is that expensive!

I feel for you brother.
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      04-08-2016, 11:28 AM   #12
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If you have a N55, this is definitely something you will have to replace between 50-100k. I have preventatively replaced these in all my other BMWs including my N54 335 which went out at ~78k.
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      04-09-2016, 11:50 AM   #13
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Agree, it is what it is. (my Cayman is worse at eating pumps apparently)

I have to be honest. When the pump failed, I was disappointed, mad, etc. But it's fixed and we enjoy having the car. I don't see any other SUV on the road that I would prefer, except the X5. And I wouldn't trade the N55 for an NA v6 from another manufacturer.
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      04-11-2016, 01:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxa121 View Post
SYMPTOMS:
Just last week, my girlfriend is driving along, about a half hour from home and a yellow warning appears on the dash. "Engine Temp High - Drive Moderately" or something like that and it goes into limp mode. Soon after a red warning appears, "Engine Overheat - Stop". Yay...

64,500 miles

Luckily temps are low enough, a quick cool down and I tell her to take it home and put it in the garage until I figure it out.

The Internet!
Not long after I search the symptoms does it become clear, the water pump has failed.
-Engine oil temp on dash was perfect.
-No codes were thrown, no CEL.

So, without as much as looking under the car, I order parts and search for a DIY guide. (Dealer wanted over $700 labor)
I found several DIY guides for the 335i cars that looked simple enough. Move the sway bar out of the way and voila, swap it. "Hey, I can do that."

PARTS:
1. Genuine BMW Coolant - 1 gallon $21.37
2. Genuine BMW Thermostat $93.39
3. Vemo Water Pump w/hardware $393.70
note: I went with the Vemo branded pump because it is literally the same casting and part number as the BMW one. I saved some money. All of these prices are ECS prices.

Total parts cost: $508.46

THE JOB:
Let me tell you now, folks. I got under the car, removed the undertray, then slowly cursed to myself. I could not see a clear way to get the water pump and thermostat out without moving the radiator. On the DIY's I found, the sway bar mounted from the bottom. Easy to get out of the way. Our X3 sway is mounted from the top, with little to no access from the underside.
.....
So...I put the undertray back on and dropped the pig off at a local Indy. Defeat.

LABOR:
Replace Water Pump and Thermostat $415.80
Hazardous Materials $16.63

Total labor cost: $432.43

TOTAL JOB COST $940.89

I am a bit sad/disappointed that it cost this much and happened this soon for a simple water pump replacement, but that is the joy of electric water pumps that are hard to get to. I heard a rumor that the new turbo sixes are getting belt driven pumps, I hope it's true just so they 1. last longer and 2. are cheaper to replace.

All of you shoppers out there looking at the N55 powered cars. You have been warned.

In the end, just happy to have it back. It really is a fantastic SUV that shames most others in comfort, looks, power, tech, utility, etc. I am just happy this didn't happen on our recent trip to NYC and back! (2,000 miles)
That would have sucked.
Could the xDrive drivetrain layout have complicated this? Most procedures in the Bentley Service manual for the F30 are much easier to complete if the car is RWD instead of xDrive.
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      09-03-2016, 09:01 PM   #15
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Surprise Water Pump Failure - A Common Problem?

My 2013 X3 35i gave me a similar shut down and pull over going into 40mph limp home mode when I was on the freeway. I finally pulled over and stopped, turned everything off and was looking up AAA's towing service phone number.

But first I noticed that the car screen was asking if I wanted to call BMW Roadside Assistance which I did and talked to a technician, and while waiting decided to try and restart the engine and see what happens. As others have said, the temperature gauge read normal so I didn't think this was really overheating, but the main dash screen said it was and to pull over, and going into limp home mode was very distressing. But when on the phone with the technician I restarted and it revved right back up like normal, so I kept driving and the technician was mystified but said it sounds like it's OK, just keep an eye on it. This was an hour drive to a meeting, then coming back it happened again.

I called the dealer who was mystified too, and set an appointment. Then decided to call H&B my private service and Allen Hardy knew exactly what it was, a failing water pump - that they now are plastic and electric - not mechanical and metal anymore. Of course I'm just out of warranty at 55,000 miles! It take it and leave it and am waiting to hear the verdict but Allen said this is very common but usually happens at 80K plus so I'm early, and will cost around $1,500 and they change the thermostat too.

The extended warranty, I just found out though I remember reading the fine print when I bought it for like, $2,000, said it did not cover the engine or drivetrain - what? I did it anyway, as it covers your normal service after the original warranty wears out. Great.

So I drove to H&B through some rush hour traffic, some freeway, it gave me the error message once on the return trip, I pulled over, stopped and restarted and it seemed OK. Took it to H&B and it's there now as I write this. My main worry, since the temperature gauge did not show extreme overheating nor did I see steam or water, is did I damage the engine on the return trip? We shall see.

Had a 2004 X3 that did something similar, but then Allen @ H&B told me that BMW uses plastic radiator and cooling tubing which gives out at around 100K, which it did. Now that was a recognizable failure, temperature gauge went full hot, water coming out of the bottom of the car, steam, very obvious. And I could not keep going like I just did yesterday with my 2013, had to be towed and got that fixed for $2,500. Then it happened to my wife's 325i, same exact problem.

Allen Hardy has told me twice (for both X3's) that the temperature gauge is an on off switch, it really doesn't give you a temperature range, it is either OK or it's full hot overheated, that they might as well eliminate it and replace it with a red light or something.

Still I really like the car, the smooth power, ride, handling, even like the run flat tires and never have trouble with them or the car, until now. And we have a 2014 328GT so we'll see if we have a repeat issue. If the water pump failure turns out to be the issue and the cost is as I've been quoted (and I think it will be) and I didn't totally ruin the engine and I'm good to go next week, though I've had thoughts of getting something cheap and reliable like a CR-V or RAV4, I'll probably continue with the X3 because we own it outright, it's paid for, and it is a great car despite these problems.

Have had BMWs starting with a 1979 320i that had super-overheating problems, a hot day in rush hour was a nightmare, in the early days of smog control and BMW's inadequate response to it technologically. The other four BMW's we've had since then have been OK though probably needing more $ and attention than your comparable Toyota...but we can't drive a Toyota after a BMW, sorry.
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      09-04-2016, 11:21 PM   #16
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Mine is a 2012 35i and had the exact same warning today. I had driven about 40 miles highway with AC on and at 75-80mph. Got the warning and then within a minute or two the overheat warning in red comes on and now I'm into the breakdown lane. I shut off the engine. About 3 minutes later I started it up and drove the last 10 miles without AC on and no warning. I looked in the engine compartment and everything was dry..no steam coming out of the engine. The engine sounded fine. Then about three hours later I drove back home 40+ miles at 60mph without the AC and then the last 10 miles I put the AC on and boosted the speed to 70+mph and no warning pops up. So what gives? Is this the beginning of a water pump failure? I'm going to see my local mechanic on Tuesday. This is just a few days after I got a warning about a damper malfunction. Geez...could it be that there is something wrong with my main computer and not any actual mechanical malfunctions? The car now drives fine.
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      09-07-2016, 08:51 PM   #17
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Well it's been 3 days now since I had that OVERHEATING warning. Since then I've driven about 100 miles and that warning hasn't shown up. I checked my reservoir and there is enough coolant in there. My question is this: If it's an electric pump, could it be a loose wire connection to the pump? How do you know that the pump is bad without physically taking it out? If it is going, wouldn't I have had an overheating situation since then? Now granted all of the last 50 miles of that 100 have only been 6 mile trips of less than 40mph and no AC.
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      09-07-2016, 09:03 PM   #18
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All that you can do is a visual inspection around the pump (don't expect to find drips underneath due to the aerodynamic panels) and check for codes.
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      09-07-2016, 09:24 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02420X3 View Post
All that you can do is a visual inspection around the pump (don't expect to find drips underneath due to the aerodynamic panels) and check for codes.
Everything in the engine compartment is dry looking at it from the top. I hope there was a code that was stored to read. But I think if there was a code, it would just say that there was an overheat situation. I can't imagine it would be detailed enough to say what is wrong with the pump.

Last edited by cadman50; 09-07-2016 at 09:42 PM. Reason: add comment
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      09-07-2016, 11:20 PM   #20
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With the 35i we also have an oil cooler which could be a problem. Codes.
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      09-08-2016, 04:39 PM   #21
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The electric motor quits in the pump, so you don't lose any coolant. When mine failed on my N54 you could clearly hear it trying to kick in but the electric motor was dead.
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      09-08-2016, 08:57 PM   #22
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going tomorrow to my local mechanic to have my pump and thermostat replaced and part with about a grand. Ouch!
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