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      12-06-2012, 06:03 PM   #1
bvanderbilt
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Dealer denies warranty claim for differential bolt failure - $6100 bill

Apology in advance: I am bad at summarizing; I will try to be concise as possible.

1. I love M cars. I currently have two E46 M3s and a 2011.75 E92 M3. The E92 M3 6MT has 26,000 miles on it. Unlike my E46s, I drive the E92 to relax and it has never seen the track. The car is completely mint and 100% stock (never modded) inside and out and has not been abused. Dealer confirms this. I have not driven the car much in the last four months so I know exactly where and when I've driven it.

2. A few weeks ago I began to hear a faint clunking from the rear. Next weekend heard the same clunking followed by a metal scraping sound on a downshift. Parked car immediately and had it towed to dealership where I bought the car.

3. Dealership calls me a week later and says BMW FSE inspected the vehicle and claims I must have run over something (I was shocked to hear this) so there is no warranty coverage for "accident damage." Says that differential bolt is broken and there are signs of impact to the underside. I am handed a $6100 quote for a new rear axle carrier, differential, and fuel tank. I am told by the technician that my car is "perfect" "very well taken care of" and "obviously not abused" and that they "have never seen a broken differential bolt before."

4. I am told to contact my insurance; I do and find out claim will be considered an at-cost accident and will likely result in a rate increase next cycle. I have a perfect driving record that I do not wish to ruin.

5. Since I bought the car from this dealership I would expect them to argue my case against BMW (be on my side) if BMW is denying warranty coverage. I am (or was going to be) a repeat customer -- I was in the process of negotiating the purchase of a 2013 M3 on the other side of the dealership when I got the call telling me there was a $6100 bill and a denied warranty claim.

6. I ask to be shown evidence of impact and find that evidence consists of a tiny scratch to the fuel tank, a slightly bent fuel tank hanger, and a little burring on a couple differential fins. I took some pictures:

Failed differential bolt:



Dealership claims this is evidence of impact to differential:



The pictured scratch on the fuel tank and slightly bent belt/frame are the dealership's primary claims to deny warranty claim:



Obviously no impact damage:



I would like to get your advice on how to proceed.

I feel very wronged by the dealer for the following reasons. I am:

a) adamant that I did not run over anything
b) do not believe that the 1/2" long scratch on the fuel tank is somehow related to the differential when the exhaust that sits lower has no damage whatsoever
c) after reading numerous threads on this forum (one over 100 posts) about differential bolt failures I feel I am being unjustly denied warranty coverage and that the dealer/BMW searched for a problem to blame it on. It seems they were unable to find any evidence of abuse, mods, or damage, and resorted to using what is essentially rock chip damage.

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by bvanderbilt; 12-08-2012 at 01:26 AM.
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      12-06-2012, 06:10 PM   #2
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The last time I was under my M which was last week I noticed the bottom of the fuel tank was plastic!

If you ran over something, you would of ruptured the fuel tank first not just scratch it!

I say take to another dealership.
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      12-06-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
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i don't see any pictures.
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      12-06-2012, 06:16 PM   #4
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i don't see any pictures.
+1 - I can't see any pics either
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      12-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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go to another dealer.
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      12-06-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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Switched image hosts; hope the pics work now.
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      12-06-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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Name of the dealership?

Seems like they are trying to get your insurance company to pay for their warranty repair.
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      12-06-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
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They can deny for road hazard..you will have to escalate this to BMW N/A
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      12-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #9
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stealerships, what a joke. sorry to hear about another dealer trying to weasel out of a repair.
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      12-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mjolnir View Post
Name of the dealership?

Seems like they are trying to get your insurance company to pay for their warranty repair.
If negotiations/arbitration end up being fruitless I will eventually post the dealership name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pontrelli View Post
They can deny for road hazard..you will have to escalate this to BMW N/A
I don't think the damage pictured supports their claim. The bolt is quite large, there would be need to be a substantial impact to cause that bolt to shear. There is no damage to areas lower and larger than what they are identifying - the exhaust and shields in the surrounding area are as new. What they've pointed out could easily be caused by driving over some gravel on the highway and would not break a differential bolt. Likewise, would it make sense for BMW to deny engine repair due to rock chips on the front bumper?
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      12-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #11
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the aluminum fins on the differential cooler would be obliterated if they took a blow hard enough to shear a steel bolt.

nobody can argue with that.

the scrape on the tank is probably a minor rock chip, same with the differential. all cars are rittled with little chips and scratches underneath.
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      12-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #12
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I'm sorry to hear about your damage.

I am curious as to why the rear axle carrier, differential and fuel tank need to be replaced... is there damage to the subframe (rear axle carrier)? Is there a puncture in the fuel tank? The differential looks to be hanging but is it destroyed? Was it dragged on the road? From the pictures, you have a broken diff bolt - a common problem with 6mt e9x m3s. The bolt is a couple bucks to replace. Unless your subframe is bent/damaged, I don't know why everything has to be replaced.
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      12-06-2012, 09:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjw2331 View Post
I'm sorry to hear about your damage.

I am curious as to why the rear axle carrier, differential and fuel tank need to be replaced... is there damage to the subframe (rear axle carrier)? Is there a puncture in the fuel tank? The differential looks to be hanging but is it destroyed? Was it dragged on the road? From the pictures, you have a broken diff bolt - a common problem with 6mt e9x m3s. The bolt is a couple bucks to replace. Unless your subframe is bent/damaged, I don't know why everything has to be replaced.
This. Plus damage to undercarriage could have happened during towing. Hitting something hard enough to shear those bolts would have done significantly more damage. Dealer is a weasel.
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      12-06-2012, 09:09 PM   #14
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They can deny for road hazard.
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      12-06-2012, 09:10 PM   #15
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A dealership trying to screw a customer over by denying a warranty claim and coming back at you with an outrageous bill full of unrelated/uncessary stuff. How sadly common. Been there myself with another issue.

Oh and it's also common practice for them (and BMW in general) to say that they "have never heard" or seen a common issue before. Eg: vanos blowing up on the E46 M3s.

Anyhow, what you need to do is put up a fight and escalate to BMW NA corporate. In this particular case I would really be surprised if they did not take care of you, given how new and low mileage the car is.

Your other option -if your time is precious and you don't want to fight- is to just bring your car to the nearest reputable independent BMW repair shop and have them extract the broken bolt and install a new one. That shouldn't be more than ~a couple hours of labor.

Last but not least: the chips on differential = just road stuff, rocks etc when driving. Same stuff that chips the paint off the bumper. Normal.

Good luck and let us know how things play out!
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      12-06-2012, 09:18 PM   #16
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I also suggest getting a second opinion. Take it to different dealership, I'm sure you would get a different answer.
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      12-06-2012, 09:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanderbilt View Post
If negotiations/arbitration end up being fruitless I will eventually post the dealership name.



I don't think the damage pictured supports their claim. The bolt is quite large, there would be need to be a substantial impact to cause that bolt to shear. There is no damage to areas lower and larger than what they are identifying - the exhaust and shields in the surrounding area are as new. What they've pointed out could easily be caused by driving over some gravel on the highway and would not break a differential bolt. Likewise, would it make sense for BMW to deny engine repair due to rock chips on the front bumper?
How close to Baltimore is the dealer?? For avoidance reasons...
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      12-06-2012, 09:58 PM   #18
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Dealer going to say shit happens that is their excuse for everything
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      12-06-2012, 10:02 PM   #19
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They never take responsibility without a fight...

Just know you're dealing with unreasonable people.

Just like when they told me that my track driving caused my wheel bearings to leak greese and mess up the handbrake holding. Total bunch of garbage.
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      12-06-2012, 10:34 PM   #20
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Im sorry to hear this, but I can't say I'm surprised. BMW's warranty coverage is the worst I have ever seen. It really makes me question if I will ever buy a BMW again and I am not just saying that.
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      12-06-2012, 11:02 PM   #21
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I think until a couple of people start putting up a fight, BMW will not look into this and write it off as abuse.

E46 rear subframe failures anyone?
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      12-06-2012, 11:09 PM   #22
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Anyone (you, tire shop, thieves?) jack up your rear end using the diff? Weird problem they found. I hope it works out in your favor.
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