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      09-03-2016, 09:01 PM   #15
49design
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Drives: 2013 BMW X3 xDrive35i
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oakland, California

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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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