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.
* 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.