jlangham
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 11:32 am

alohart wrote:
jlangham wrote:Some said that it had to do with the 12v battery, so went out, clicked the remote LOCK - it locked! Hit UNLOCK - and it unlocked and started charging!

Did you check the 12 V battery?

The symptoms could be explained by a weak 12 V battery. Whenever an i3 is being actively charged (as opposed to just plugging in an EVSE with a fully-charged battery pack), the 12 V battery is being charged also. So a while after each charging session, your 12 V battery's voltage is high enough for the car to function correctly. However, after sitting for a while, the 12 V battery discharges to the point where errors are set and thinks don't work correctly.

Of course, the problem could be something totally different…


Art, I haven't put a meter on the battery yet, but the last one that happened was right after being plugged in overnight on the charger. I know I'm not supposed to trust my display, but it is showing my 12v battery was fully charged when it happened last.

I'll ask the dealer if they put in a new battery since this is a CPO. If not, I'll see if I can get them to put one in based on this issue.

alohart
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:33 pm

jlangham wrote:Art, I haven't put a meter on the battery yet, but the last one that happened was right after being plugged in overnight on the charger.

Testing the voltage of the i3's 12 V battery isn't as easy as with many ICE vehicles because unlocking or opening the doors, rear hatch, frunk, etc., activates the high-voltage system. The power consumed by the various controllers that boot during the activation process will drop the 12 V system voltage significantly. When the voltage drops below a certain limit (12.0 V??), the DC-DC converter will begin charging the 12 V battery which raises the 12 V system voltage to ~14.3 V.

To be able to measure the 12 V battery resting voltage reliably, I had to connect voltmeter leads to the 12 V terminals under the rear cargo compartment floor that BMW recommends using for charging the 12 V battery. To avoid the need to open the rear hatch to read the voltmeter, I ran the leads up through the underside of the car to the 12 V terminals.

Also, a weak 12 V battery could have a normal resting voltage, but the voltage would drop precipitously under load. So load testing is a better way to test a 12 V battery.

jlangham wrote:I know I'm not supposed to trust my display, but it is showing my 12v battery was fully charged when it happened last.

I'm confused by how you are determining the charge level of your 12 V battery. There is nothing on an i3 display the indicates the charge level of its 12 V battery.

jlangham wrote:I'll ask the dealer if they put in a new battery since this is a CPO. If not, I'll see if I can get them to put one in based on this issue.

A BMW dealer can test the 12 V battery. If it doesn't pass their test, they should replace it under warranty. However, if it passes their test, they would likely not replace it.

I continually monitor the voltage of the 12 V system using a 12 V voltmeter plugged into the auxiliary power port below the climate control system controls. I have never owned a car whose 12 V system voltage behaves like that of our i3, so I thought that our 12 V battery must be failing. Our BMW dealer tested it, determined that is was normal, and explained why the 12 V system behaves as it does. So after 4.5 years, our 2014 BEV still has the original 12 V battery.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

jlangham
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:52 pm

Sorry, I assumed the little battery pictured next to the level indicator was the status of the 12v battery - I was incorrect.

I will have the dealer check my car out this week. For now, I'm plugging it in every day - even if it doesn't need much of a charge.

TheMK
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:57 pm

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:52 pm

My i3, a 2014.7 REx still has the original 12V battery, and seems to be doing fine. I think there are two different versions of the 12V battery. Mine is the 20Ah AGM battery. https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/i01- ... y/1LiMpr2r. According to this page the battery should be good until (at least) 70,000KM. (43,495mi). Now, that doesn't account for age of the battery, but it suggests that it should have a reasonable service life.



As to this thread's original question, I've experienced the drive train malfunction error. If you have the REx model like I do, it has a standard check engine light for REx engine related things, if this light comes on it also seems to trigger the "Drive train error".

jlangham
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:01 pm

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:59 pm

TheMK wrote:My i3, a 2014.7 REx still has the original 12V battery, and seems to be doing fine. I think there are two different versions of the 12V battery. Mine is the 20Ah AGM battery. https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/i01- ... y/1LiMpr2r. According to this page the battery should be good until (at least) 70,000KM. (43,495mi). Now, that doesn't account for age of the battery, but it suggests that it should have a reasonable service life.



As to this thread's original question, I've experienced the drive train malfunction error. If you have the REx model like I do, it has a standard check engine light for REx engine related things, if this light comes on it also seems to trigger the "Drive train error".



As I said, mine is a BEV so it's not just a REX issue. Thanks for the battery info. I'll be in touch with my dealer to see what they will do about all this.

alohart
Posts: 1504
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:23 pm

TheMK wrote:I think there are two different versions of the 12V battery. Mine is the 20Ah AGM battery.

I believe that all North American i3's were delivered with a 20 Ah AGM battery. The 40 Ah flooded-cell "warranty replacement" battery listed in RealOEM is physically too large to fit in the i3's battery box according to a forum member who tried.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

BLecure
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:19 am

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:32 am

I am a two time victim of the Drive Train malfunction error code. I have a 2014 BEV with less than 20K miles and 10 weeks off of warranty. Dealership diagnosed a bad EME module along with a bad safety box, etc. at a cost of over $9000 (after a ton of negotiating off of the original $12,000 bill). Was given a 2 year warranty on the repair. Less than 400 miles later, the same thing happened, the error code and the complete shutdown of the car. In the post repair check after the initial repair, the E-Transmission seized up which also damaged the drive axle, wheel hub and engine mount on left side. Since I had not received the car, the Dealership agreed to fix the E-Transmission at their cost (I believe the technician screwed up the repair and caused the second damage). After driving the car for 400 miles, the same error code and total shutdown happened. Now the dealership is telling me that BMW engineering has determined that the battery cells and harness needs to be replaced for another $5000!! I don’t see the connection between the battery cells and the drivetrain malfunction code. I am currently in negotiations on the second repair but the dealership is trying to rip me off once again.

Bottom line...........Stay far away from this car.......if you must or do own one.....DO NOT OWN AN i3 THAT IS NOT UNDER WARRANTY. The costs of repair are astronomical and the car is worthless without the repair since it will not operate.

MKH
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:22 am

I'm sorry, but if the Dealership told me their "fix" on a 2014 car with a market-value of $15K was going to cost over $9K to repair, it would be in my garage getting dismantled and the usable parts sold piece-by piece.

Had a friend do that with a SAAB. Value was about $12K used, and the repair quote was over $7K. Junking it and piecing it out, he made over $14K,
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 20 inch wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

TheMK
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:57 pm

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:34 am

That's a big problem with the i3. It's low volume, and far too new to have tons of old, used parts in circulation, old enough now that it's depreciated a bit- though the value seems to have hit a floor of around $15,000. What this means, is it still costs like a $50,000 car to fix, even though its not. That being said, I have plenty of confidence in this car, so i don't loose sleep over what potential repair costs might be.

PBNB
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:28 am
Location: Vancouver, BC

Re: How many have had the drive train malfunction error?

Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:22 pm

BLecure wrote:Bottom line...........Stay far away from this car.......if you must or do own one.....DO NOT OWN AN i3 THAT IS NOT UNDER WARRANTY. The costs of repair are astronomical and the car is worthless without the repair since it will not operate.


Sorry to hear about your series of events. I know that the right thing to do would be for BMW to come to the table and help you out. There are so many cars with similar drivetrain issues that they can't ignore this and expect individuals to cover these huge costs.

Perhaps the drivetrain errors need to be consolidated and brought to BMW's attention with the assistance of a lawyer? We only hear about the problems that get posted on the forums but I am sure there are many more and I am not too sure how capture those to help light the fire.

My i3 has only 22k Kms on it and so far has been trouble free after 6 months of ownership and I did extend our warranty so we have that to fall back on. I think most CPO buyers didn't extend their warranties and will be heading into this situation if the drivetrain issues happen to them.
Ours was not a CPO as we bought it from a Honda dealership who imported it from California. I am concerned that we are all Beta testers for BMW's next line of electric cars!
2015 i3 REX

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