MikeBrace
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:20 am

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:25 am

OK, I just posted this on another Drive Motor Malfunction post but it bears worth repeating on this forum:

I don't drive a REX, just a straight BEV i3; 2014 w/37,000 miles on it. About a month back it threw the Drive Train Malfunction code on me just trying to back out of a parking spot on a rainy Florida evening. The car wouldn't go anywhere. I called BMW Roadside assistance and they promised a tow to the dealer in 48 hours; so I called my car insurance company for a tow and they said "45 minutes". Fortunately I was walking distance home so I went back for my motorcycle. On the way back I thought I would try to trick it into Neutral and see if it started back up. I managed to, and it started up, so I called off the tow and drove it home.

About 2 weeks later I started off for work, and was just as I was about to turn right on to a busy highway (with no shoulder) when the car threw the code again and shut down. [The worst part is that as it stops it goes into PARK and there's no pushing it out of the way. (I have since talked to the dealer and BMW N. America about this and there is nothing they can do. It seems everyone hates this feature and complained to their dealer about it, so I reported it as a vehicle hazard to the NHSTA).]

Before I called the tow truck this time I waited about 15 minutes and it started back up, so I drove it home and parked it. I called the local BMW shop and they towed it in. The said there was some issues with the HV battery pack so they had to drop the whole pack and replace a half dozen sensors & modules. That took about 10 days. I got it back Saturday morning (yesterday) and drove it to work; no issues. Later that night I was headed back home and just started merging onto the local freeway (where I needed to cross 6 lanes of traffic to take a left-hand exit in about a 1/2 mile) when it threw the DTM code again!

Yikes! I puckered up like a carrier fighter pilot that just lost thrust on a cold cat-shot (I know, I used to be one!)

I had gotten up to about 60 mph and was just 2 lanes away from the turn lane when it threw the code and died. Even though the car wouldn't glide very well (like it would in Neutral) fortunately traffic was light that time of night and I had enough momentum to make the exit and glide to a stop. I called a friend for a rescue but just as he was getting into his car I got the car to start back up again so I drove it back to my work.

I'm going to call the shop again and have them tow it in [where they will probably just replace some other sensor, throw some more pixie dust on it and pray for a miracle].

First question: does anybody have an idea of what's wrong with the car? Obviously the dealer has no idea and BMW Germany is staying quiet. Any particular module or sensor they should be looking at or testing?

Second question: Now that I am officially scared shitless of ever driving this car on the freeway again (and it's my only car so I'll have to get around on my motorcycle from now on) does anybody know of any legal recourse against BMW in case it happens again AFTER they try to repair it again? I'm serious...I'd just as soon never drive this car again knowing what it does when it throws that code (especially for no real reason).

bwilson4web
Forum Supporter
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:50 am

MikeBrace wrote: . . .
I'm going to call the shop again and have them tow it in [where they will probably just replace some other sensor, throw some more pixie dust on it and pray for a miracle].

Where is this car?

The reason I ask is knowing the location, perhaps someone can make a 'house call.'

MikeBrace wrote:First question: does anybody have an idea of what's wrong with the car? Obviously the dealer has no idea and BMW Germany is staying quiet. Any particular module or sensor they should be looking at or testing?

The gross symptoms are not terribly useful. We really need the error codes from the car computer(s).

MikeBrace wrote:Second question: Now that I am officially scared shitless of ever driving this car on the freeway again (and it's my only car so I'll have to get around on my motorcycle from now on) does anybody know of any legal recourse against BMW in case it happens again AFTER they try to repair it again? I'm serious...I'd just as soon never drive this car again knowing what it does when it throws that code (especially for no real reason).

What year and mileage is the car to compare with the warranty?

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

MikeBrace
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:20 am

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:13 am

The car is back at the dealer. It is still under warranty (4 yrs old, 36K mi.) As for the error codes, according to the dealer they were: Faulty EME, SME, CSC.

According to the work order I was given: "Puma advised to check each battery cell using Deutronic Charger and wiggle the CSC Wiring Harness checking for voltage drop. Found CSC for 2, 4, 7, 8 dropping voltage. They replaced the CSC wiring harness, installed 8 CSC Modules, SME and new cover. Performed EOS; passed. Programmed car for SME, performed test plan to Input CSC numbers into CSC Modules." (That's the abbreviated version. The actual report is 3 pages long.)

None of that worked one bit.

As far as the gross symptoms not being useful, what part of DRIVE TRAIN MALFUNCTION Fault Code is not useful? Especially after 4 times. One of a many micro-switches, sensors or modules are throwing a fault code, and apparently it's not one of the ones they listed. And since there is no redundant circuitry to test the validity of the fault, it simply shuts down. One might think that only one or two specific sensors would be capable of shutting down the car NO MATTER where it is at, but apparently that ain't so.

It's simple: whatever they did to fix it over the 10 days it was in the shop didn't work. Not even for a 12 hour period. I think they are shooting in the dark here, and I would be willing to wager [unless they do something else radically different] it will do it again within 2 weeks or sooner.

This is the forth time this fault code has shut the car down, and I would like to think that something in the error codes would tell them exactly what is wrong, but no such luck so far.

bwilson4web
Forum Supporter
Posts: 607
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:43 pm

MikeBrace wrote:The car is back at the dealer. It is still under warranty (4 yrs old, 36K mi.) As for the error codes, according to the dealer they were: Faulty EME, SME, CSC.

Electrical machine electronics (EME)
Control unit, battery managment electronics (SME)
CSC(Cell Supervising Circuit)

MikeBrace wrote:According to the work order I was given: "Puma advised to check each battery cell using Deutronic Charger and wiggle the CSC Wiring Harness checking for voltage drop. Found CSC for 2, 4, 7, 8 dropping voltage. They replaced the CSC wiring harness, installed 8 CSC Modules, SME and new cover. Performed EOS; passed. Programmed car for SME, performed test plan to Input CSC numbers into CSC Modules."

Their working hypothesis is a battery management problem.

MikeBrace wrote:(That's the abbreviated version. The actual report is 3 pages long.)

Time to escalate the problem. Could you digitize the 3 page report and share? Perhaps take a photos and post images?

MikeBrace wrote:As far as the gross symptoms not being useful, what part of DRIVE TRAIN MALFUNCTION Fault Code is not useful? Especially after 4 times. One of a many micro-switches, sensors or modules are throwing a fault code, and apparently it's not one of the ones they listed. And since there is no redundant circuitry to test the validity of the fault, it simply shuts down. One might think that only one or two specific sensors would be capable of shutting down the car NO MATTER where it is at, but apparently that ain't so.

It's simple: whatever they did to fix it over the 10 days it was in the shop didn't work. Not even for a 12 hour period. I think they are shooting in the dark here, and I would be willing to wager [unless they do something else radically different] it will do it again within 2 weeks or sooner.

This is the forth time this fault code has shut the car down, and I would like to think that something in the error codes would tell them exactly what is wrong, but no such luck so far.

Are you within 300 miles of Huntsville AL?

I would like to do a 'house call.'

Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

MikeBrace
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:20 am

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:35 am

Hi Bob, unfortunately I'm in Jacksonville FL and the car is back in the shop. It went back in Monday and they have been quite as to what's going on. I suspect they will have it a while, but when they do give it back I'll let you know.

I do have the report in PDF. Would you like me to send you a copy? If so, where to?

Mhoepfin
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:44 pm

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:03 pm

Sounds like the throttle position sensor on a Jaguar XJR I had. If the sensor’s redundant reading didn’t match it would immediately put the car in limp mode and would not accelerate. The reasoning is that if it can’t reliable tell where you have the throttle, it’s not going to guess and run you into a wall. A price we have to pay for mechanical things now that are only connected by bits and bytes.

MikeBrace
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:20 am

Re: DriveTrain Error and loss of power whilst over taking

Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:36 pm

Here it is 6 weeks later and I just got my car back from the dealer. :D Over the last 6 weeks they tried a variety of fixes, and each time the car tried to kill the service tech by shutting down with each attempt. Finally they surrendered and replaced the THE WHOLE BATTERY PACK (of which I was told was a $35K fix) and gave me back the car this morning. Before this last service call happened I had offered to let them by the car back at a reasonable price, but seeing how the bluebook value of my $50,000 car has plummeted to below $13K :o , they only laughed (along with BMWUSA) and handed me back the keys. But hey, at 36,600 miles at least I have a new pack. :roll:

That's the good news...

The bad news is that if you were like me, and bought the BMW EV because it was one of the few affordable cars with a modular battery pack, and had hopes of popping in the new pack somewhere down the road (like the new one they offer on the 2018's [lighter, further, sexier...]) you'll be disappointed to learn it ain't happening. The new i3 pack is not backwards compatible. We are stuck with the old pack. My BMWUSA i3 rep (with whom I have gotten to be on first-name basis with) told me BMW had looked at making it so, but gave up on the notion.

Maybe someday some outside firm will offer an upgrade, but as of today it's not going to be coming from BMW. :cry:

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