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ABC News investigates BMW fuel pump problems – Click above to watch video after the jump

ABC News has cottoned on to the story that BMW is in some hot water over the high-pressure fuel pump on its potent twin-turbocharged N54 inline six-cylinder engine. As we first told you about earlier this month, the pump seems to have an abnormally high rate of failure and can cause intermittent stalling, backfiring and loss of power in certain 135, 335, 535 and X6 and Z4 models. But that doesn't mean that BMW has issued a recall to fix the problem just yet. As a result, a number of lawsuits have stacked up against the German automaker including at least one class-action suit in California. After a number of complaints, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration conducted an investigation in 2008 and decided that the pumps did not pose a threat to owner safety.

BMW, meanwhile, says that what drivers are experiencing is a built-in limp mode. It may feel like the vehicle has completely stalled because of a lack of power, but it maintains that afflicted cars and SUVs can still be driven to a safe place. Likewise, the company says that vehicles experiencing the failure don't rapidly decelerate, so there's no danger of being rear-ended should the fuel pump fail. The company also said that it sent a letter to vehicle owners warning of decreased engine performance and has extended the warranty on the fuel pump to 10 years. After being harangued by ABC producers, however, BMW has also reportedly agreed to take major action on the subject in the near future – an action that could come as soon as today.

ABC aired a story segment on this morning's Good Morning America on the issue as well as a full-length piece on tonight's Nightline. Hit the jump to watch today's GMA story. Thanks to Robin for the tip!

*Update: BMW has announced that it is voluntarily recalling 2007-2010 135i models, 2008-2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i models as well as 2009-2010 Z5 Roadster sDrive35i models. Hit the jump to see the press release.

[Source: ABC]

Show full PR text
BMW to Conduct Voluntary Emissions and Safety Recalls

* 26.10.2010
* Press Release

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – October 26, 2010... BMW of North America has notified the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to conduct a voluntary recall of some model year 2007-2010 BMWs equipped with twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engines, all of which feature BMW's High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system. It has also asked for approval from the California Air Resources Board to conduct this action. Affected vehicles may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump.
Symptoms include long-crank engine starting times along with the illumination of the "Service Engine Soon" light. In certain cases, the driver may experience reduced engine performance in a Safe Mode accompanied by a tone and the illumination of the "Engine Malfunction" light.

Based on the individual service history of the vehicle, the action will entail replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and/or a software update.

Approximately 130,000 vehicles are potentially affected with about 40,000 expected to require a new high pressure fuel pump. Affected BMW models include:

* MY 2007–2010 335i models.
* MY 2008–2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes
* MY 2009 – 2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i

In a separate action, BMW has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will voluntarily recall approximately 20,800 MY 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles equipped with normally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engines to replace the low-pressure fuel pump. In this case, should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational.

Letters will be sent by First Class mail to owners of affected vehicles in the coming weeks, requesting the scheduling of a service appointment with an Authorized BMW Center to have the update performed.
No injuries have been reported with either of these issues.

In the case of either issue, if the customer experiences a problem, they should contact their authorized BMW Center. Customers with additional questions should contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-563-4269 or email CustomerRelations@bmwusa.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      garbage! buy American. The Germans and Japs are getting their revenge on us now!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have a 2007 335i and the HPFP issue has been around for years. Mine was replaced in 2008 by the dealer because it was the original design. I wasn't having any problems with it, but they replaced it anyways. BMW has also extended the warranty to 10 years, 100,000 miles if you have a HPFP problem. I am fine with how BMW has addressed the problem and don't see the big deal. My car has a DINAN ECU upgrade so the N54 engine is upgraded to 380 HP and 420 ft-lbs and is an amazing car. I track the car 5-6 times a year and it holds its own against cars 2-3 times the price. Still a great car.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I recently purchased a 2008 BMW 535i vehicle. I am monitoring the car for any potential problems.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Poor 25 yr old daughter with a brand new 335i.... What a tough life
      • 4 Years Ago
      btw, in the 3 years i was there, not one turbo was ever replaced. wastgates are replaced seperately.
      • 4 Years Ago
      While I think this was a huge failure on the design aspect of the engine, I feel that BMW did a good job at taking care of their customers. My friend owns a 335xi and he told me that once it breaks, they will repair it for free, and if it breaks 3 times, they will offer to buy back the car based off its worth on the date of the first breakdown.

      Of course, I am hoping that they'd fix the problem even if the car was out of warranty, but I'm not sure.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ohh I stand corrected then. Guess it's just because I live in CA.

        Haha my friend just always talks about their service in a good light, but I guess he is somewhat biased because he's a huge fan of BMW
        • 4 Years Ago
        They offered to buy it back probably because there's a Lemon law in the state that allows consumer to have BMW buy the car back, whether they want to or not.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A friend has had his 335xi fixed a lot more than 3 times and no, they didn't offer to buy it back yet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yikes! Who can you trust these days?
      • 4 Years Ago
      My ugly Subaru gets me where I need to go, it's very comfortable, a ton of fun to drive, very reliable, and excellent in the snow.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LIES!!! All BMW vehicles are bulletproof. *end sarcasm*

      I love the performance that turbocharged engines have, but I have only driven various turbocharged Subaru models over the last 7 or so years. While I don't have the luxury, supposedly amazing handling, or status symbol that come with owning a BMW, I don't see myself owning anything but a Subaru.

      I love driving turbocharged Subaru vehicles, plus they're cheaper. The money saved can go towards more important things in my life than saying I own a BMW, and the possibly of getting a spot on ABC News (LOL).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, yeah, those amazing Subarus.

        How many transmissions have you been through, now? And it's a good thing you went with a turbo model as otherwise I'm sure you'd have replaced a headgasket or two as well.

        No car company makes 100% perfect cars. Though it does seem more and more that suppliers are ultimately being blamed, while the automakers take the bad rap.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I never blew any transmissions, or head gaskets. My '05 Legacy GT did have two injectors go on it. The '09 Forester XT has 26,000+ miles, and is running like a dream.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Subies are known for their premature failing wheel bearings and O2 sensors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, are you seriously blaming the manufacturer for a problem experienced after YOU made a non-factory modification?

      What was the point of this piece anyway? Is it a car review? News report? or editorial on the state of the auto industry? I can't tell what this was and I expect better from this site.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow, sorry about this. I use a form filling tool and for some reason it filled in the last comment I posted for a totally different story. Here's what I was going to say:

        Why are they not also recalling the 335i's? I had this very same problem with my brother's 09 just the other day. Basically, I was accelerating onto the freeway and about halfway up the on-ramp the check engine lights blared on and the car began to vibrate and shutter. The vibrations and shuttering did not seem to be coming from any one particular location on the car, it was just the sensation of the entire car vibrating. I attempted to continue to accelerate by mashing the gas pedal but the car responded with a slight RPM jump and what seemed like an increase in the vibrations and shuttering. I pulled to the side of the on-ramp and turned the car off. Waited 5 minutes, turned it back on and drove home. It was very dangerous where I stopped with lots of merging traffic. Not to toot my horn, but a lesser driver would have had trouble taking off again. BTW, I had the transmission in the (S) mode when this occurred.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm a bit dense. I just read the press release and they do mention the 335i. Whoops! Either way yes, very disappointing to say the least. If you're going to pay 53k, you expect better overall performance from a 1 year old car. My 09 VW Jetta has a better service record (ie, no problems @ 20k miles).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this has been blown way out of proportion.

      Choosing to get in a vehicle and drive is inherently dangerous. They are machines and things do fail. If some of these people (especially the 25 year old female on the interview) fear for their lives, they shouldn't be driving to begin with.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i was a bmw technician at a dealership for 3 years. i would do 3-4 of these pumps a week. bmw would tell us to reprogram the software, to perform completely pointless and low-paying tests on the fuel system. they would have us replace the low pressure fuel sensor, fuel injectors (sometimes all 6!), the dme (engine computer) and of course the HPFP. sometimes it took a week to reproduce the complaint (long cranking, misfire, etc). so it's obvious they were just telling us to replace the injectors, etc to satisfy the customers and give the engineers time to sort this situation out. we would have to write a "case" to get part replacement authorization to the bmw engineers. it was just one. big. freaking. mess. Not to mention several n54 engines had turbo wastegates replaced for excessive noise. and MAN were they noisy! anyone who has ever driven a car with a n54 will no doubtedly walk away impressed, but these cars make my 1997 3000gt vr4 look like a freakin honda civic as far as reliability goes! bmw is certaintly one of the most unreliable brands. they make awesome cars. but with these n54 problems, the airbags (passenger occupancy mats cracking), the rear subframe mounting points braking!!! holy crap... glad i got out of that company.

      ps when those cars go into "failsafe" or "limp home" mode, they really do not go anywhere. one of our techs got wrote up (almost fired) because he replaced the injectors on a 535i (like bmw told him to) but ended up being the hpfp. he got wrote up because the nice, sweet, elderly lady's hpfp failed as she was driving thru the ghetto to get home the day she got her car back. she freaked out and called the police to come help her...
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