Last post on Feb 16, 2013 at 11:05 PM
You are in the BMW 5-Series
What is this discussion about?
BMW 5 Series, Sedan
#6791 of 12737 Transmissions
Jun 16, 2003 (5:06 am)
When talking about the transmissions in current and recent BMWs, we really should specify the manufacturer, type, and model. BMW doesn't build transmissions. They buy their's from various sources: GM, ZF, Getrag, etc. Even within manufacturer, there can be different models (e.g., multiple models of 4- or 5-speed manuals).
Even in manual transmissions, there is a lot of discussion about long-term reliability. Seems like many sources prefer Getrags. BMW used to use a lot of Getrag manuals. Now use more ZF manuals. Here is what Mike Miller wrote in his article titled "Buyer's Guide: BMW E34 5 Series", European Car, August 2003:
Talking about changes in 1994: "Sadder still, and often glanced over, was the demise of the superdurable Getrag manual gearboxes, which passed with the E34 535i. BMW now uses less-hardy ZF manual gearboxes in all but the bigger V8s."
#6792 of 12737 Maintenance: Dealer or nondealer?
Jun 16, 2003 (7:13 am)
My BMW will be under warranty until October. Until then, I will use the dealer for service. What do people think after that, dealer or nondealer? Any good ways of finding a good nondealer mechanic? Is there really that much cost savings to the latter?
#6793 of 12737 Independent Garages
Jun 16, 2003 (7:16 am)
diver110... There is an group of BMW independent mechanics that advertise together in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines. Listed by state. Thinking they might have a web site. Forget their full name or acronym, but they have members in a lot of states. You might check them out.
#6795 of 12737 standard stereo upgrade for 530
Jun 16, 2003 (1:48 pm)
Just took delivery of a new 530 over the weekend and would really like to upgrade the standard stereo system that came with the car. Previously I had an S80 Volvo with a wonderful stereo...only thing I really miss about that car.
Can anyone tell me the details of their upgrade...components used, cost, amount of improvement, if in fact you have gone through any kind of an upgrade? Also, how did you determine who to let do the upgrade? The first stereo shop I visited flatly stated they would not work on a BMW due to the complexity of the car. Any input or suggestions would be appreciated.
#6796 of 12737 IAIBMWSP Association of Independent Garages
Jun 16, 2003 (3:20 pm)
diver110... International Association of Independent BMW Service Professionals.
Found their ad in the latest issues of Roundel/BMW CCA (p. 101) and Bimmer magazines (p. 48). Nearest ones in VA and PA.
Roundel ad groups shops in western (17 shops), eastern (16 shops), and central (20 shops) USA. Three in Virginia and three in Pennsylvania.
Bimmer ad lists 46 sites in 18 states. Two are listed in Virginia and 2 in Pennsylvania.
You should also check out the other ads in both publications. Each lists other independent BMW service shops, ones not in the IAIBMWSP listings.
#6797 of 12737 Re: dealer or non dealer
Jun 19, 2003 (3:24 pm)
Hello, all. I found the question on dealer vs. non-dealer very interesting. FWIW, I'll share my perspective. The non-dealer is great for a variety of things, and I haven't heard anyone complain. My 1999 528 sport would not start a couple of weeks ago...wouldn't even attempt to turn over. I took it to non-dealer repair guy. He had it for a couple of days and said it needs a new EWS module (controls the key-lock system), but since he doesn't yet have the equipment to work with it, I had to take my car to the dealer. Not my top choice ("why" is another chat topic altogether!), but it's my only one in this instance. I thought this would be a quick fix. The dealer has had my car for a week, and after installing a new EWS module the car still will not start. The dealer thinks the solution may be with a new key. We'll find out soon. Bottom line? I prefer to work with non-dealer. And even when you have to/choose to work with a dealer, you may not receive what you think you should. By the way, has anyone else experienced the EWS module/key issue?
Jun 19, 2003 (3:55 pm)
I wouldn't worry too much if a chop isn't in IAIBMWSP's web site. They're missing Curry's in Virginia, who have a great reputation. They also don't list Bimmerhaus in Colorado, the only shop I take my Bimmers to. Also MIA is Koala in Ohio, and Brett Anderson, the owner, is one of the technical advice columnists for Roundel.
#6799 of 12737 Dealers or non/dealers
Jun 19, 2003 (4:59 pm)
Not to say one is better than the other, but there are some things that only the dealer can do. Like dinanger's EWS module. Only a dealer can obtain and install it. And given the amount of electronics that are used in these cars, non dealers will be out of the loop because they aren't licensed to work with them. Think Microsoft with closed code software. Non dealers also face the problem of being up to date on the latest software and training. Time for non dealers is critical, and most don't have the time or money to properly train their' technicians. I work in a dealership, and I understand the desire to save money. I know plenty of good shops and a lot of bad ones. Good shops usually have techs that were trained by a dealership. If you can save money on Inspections and routine maintainance, I say more power to you. But given the cost of the car, I want the most experienced tech working on it.
#6800 of 12737 Dealer vs non-dealer
Jun 19, 2003 (8:09 pm)
I've had my '03 530i for only 3 months so with free maintenance I've got a while before I have to start paying or doing things myself.
My previous car was a Passat and during the free maintenance period I had some experience with dealership work and things are not as clear cut as bmwguru suggests. Some of the dealership work is good, some is just ok and some is pretty bad. I had an oil overfill and had to drain it myself. On another oil change the filter wasn't changed (got a free oil change out of that one though). On a tie rod recall, the alignment wasn't done properly which needed a re-visit.
Once the free maintenance period was up, I asked around for a good independent. I was pointed to a small shop (4 techs) that works only on Porsche, Audi & VW. It is owned by a guy who was a VW service manager and then ran the VW/Audi Canada motorsports division. I made 3 visits to this shop while I had the Passat and each time the work was superior. An example: my wipers stopped working and they tracked the problem to a seized pivot. The VW tech literature says that the wiper mechanism is non-serviceable and has to be replaced. The guys at the shop took the whole mechanism apart, cleaned and lubed the pivots and they let me watch while they did the work. The job took 2 hrs but they charged me book which was 1 hr to replace the mechanism.
A dealership would never have given this level of service. They would have simply replaced the part according to the book and I would have paid a small fortune instead of 1 hr labour.
Bottom line IMO:
1) You are not guaranteed expert service at a dealership but you are guaranteed to pay top dollar.
2) You probably run a risk if you just go to any general independent or franchised chain. There are some cowboys out there.
3) Any time that you spend looking for a top notch independent who works exclusively on your make of car will pay off. Once you find a good one, stick with them like glue.