Elektrey
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Re: Air conditioning failed

Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:12 pm

Hey Guys,

just to chime in my car has what seems like the same problem. It's in BMW service right now and they are still diagnosing but it doesn't look good. Last I heard the AC compressor wasn't working and they're going to check everything for damage and to make sure nothing else is broken.

I am appalled that a car could be so badly designed to total itself randomly from normal wear after only 4 years and 30,000 miles.

I am even more appalled that this issue is common enough to show up multiple times on threads on the internet for a car that sold 5-10k units a year.

Sadly even if I come away with it not being totaled I am going to sell it and I am no longer recommending this car (or BMW for that matter) to anyone, which is a shame because I really love it and it made a good impression on me of BMW as this is my first BMW.


Will keep you guys updated.

panamamike
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:21 am

Re: Air conditioning failed

Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:25 am

Elektrey wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 6:12 pm
Hey Guys,

just to chime in my car has what seems like the same problem. It's in BMW service right now and they are still diagnosing but it doesn't look good. Last I heard the AC compressor wasn't working and they're going to check everything for damage and to make sure nothing else is broken.

I am appalled that a car could be so badly designed to total itself randomly from normal wear after only 4 years and 30,000 miles.

I am even more appalled that this issue is common enough to show up multiple times on threads on the internet for a car that sold 5-10k units a year.

Sadly even if I come away with it not being totaled I am going to sell it and I am no longer recommending this car (or BMW for that matter) to anyone, which is a shame because I really love it and it made a good impression on me of BMW as this is my first BMW.


Will keep you guys updated.
Can you tell us the year and version of the i3? Can you describe the symptoms you experienced? Thanks for sharing, let's hope for a good outcome.

panamamike
Posts: 121
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:21 am

Re: Air conditioning failed

Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:46 am

Anyone know if the BWM extended warranty would cover this failure.

Elektrey
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Re: Air conditioning failed

Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:09 pm

Can you tell us the year and version of the i3? Can you describe the symptoms you experienced? Thanks for sharing, let's hope for a good outcome.
2015 BMW i3 BEV. 34,000 Miles, got it at 17,000 miles 18 months ago.

Approximately two months ago I noticed a humming noise coming from the underside of the car. It starts to become noticeable around 25-30 and ramps up but once you go past 30mph it is a constant volume level.
Approximately one month ago I noticed the A/C wasn't blowing cold. It may have not been blowing cold before however, as it was winter and I wasn't using the a/c much if at all.

They're telling me now that the Compressor and Heat Pump Shutoff Valve need to be replaced and are quoting me $4,520.72 to fix those items and say that there is a chance that more parts need to be replaced but they need to replace those two first.

I've already spent $660 in diagnostic fees and the car has been there for 4.5 Business days.

I'm having my service adviser talk to his manager/sales/etc. to see what they can do.

Absolutely ridiculous.

I advise anyone who owns this car to sell it ASAP, it is not worth the headache even if this is only happening to a small amount it is not worth the risk.

EDIT: I just want to add some more info to this:

The service adviser said it was caused by a failure of the part and their solution is to replace it with the same exact part. He said there is no newer part available.

My warranty ran out 9 months ago, in April of 2019.

User avatar
MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 606
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:28 am

They're telling me now that the Compressor and Heat Pump Shutoff Valve need to be replaced and are quoting me $4,520.72 to fix those items and say that there is a chance that more parts need to be replaced but they need to replace those two first.
Have you talked with BMW-NA to see if they will cover some of the repairs under 'good-will'?

That said - it's a used car past warranty - you have to expect that there can be repair costs. When I bought my i3, I mentally back-burnered at least $5 grand in 'expected' repairs over the the life of my ownership. This is from experience. Owned a Mercedes D - every trip to the mechanic was $1,000 plus - and it made the trip at least twice a year. Owned a Saab, and chased expensive electrical issues with it for years. Went from a Honda Element to the i3, when the Honda was in need of $3,000 in AC repairs, a $2,000 trans rebuild, and $1200 on a transfer case, plus a lot of odds and ends, like failed window regulator, worn shocks, etc. to the tune of about $8 grand in needed repairs - on a car with a book value of $4.000.

If you need a car that won't cost you a dime to maintain - then you lease new ones - those are the ONLY ones that will be 'maintenance free'. Google 'car-repair' in your town, and count how many repair shops are within 10 miles of you. Think they are their because cars never break down???

I prefer used for the value, paying around $20,000 for a car that sold new for $54,000. If it costs me $5,000 - $8,000 in repairs the next few years, that's almost what I would lose just in trading it in on another car, and I'm close to saving that amount just in reduced running expenses vs an ICE vehicle (and I get to drive a great fun car). And if I'm lucky, repairs will end up at the lower end, not the higher end. :D
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

Elektrey
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:46 am

MKH wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 6:28 am
They're telling me now that the Compressor and Heat Pump Shutoff Valve need to be replaced and are quoting me $4,520.72 to fix those items and say that there is a chance that more parts need to be replaced but they need to replace those two first.
Have you talked with BMW-NA to see if they will cover some of the repairs under 'good-will'?

That said - it's a used car past warranty - you have to expect that there can be repair costs. When I bought my i3, I mentally back-burnered at least $5 grand in 'expected' repairs over the the life of my ownership. This is from experience. Owned a Mercedes D - every trip to the mechanic was $1,000 plus - and it made the trip at least twice a year. Owned a Saab, and chased expensive electrical issues with it for years. Went from a Honda Element to the i3, when the Honda was in need of $3,000 in AC repairs, a $2,000 trans rebuild, and $1200 on a transfer case, plus a lot of odds and ends, like failed window regulator, worn shocks, etc. to the tune of about $8 grand in needed repairs - on a car with a book value of $4.000.

If you need a car that won't cost you a dime to maintain - then you lease new ones - those are the ONLY ones that will be 'maintenance free'. Google 'car-repair' in your town, and count how many repair shops are within 10 miles of you. Think they are their because cars never break down???

I prefer used for the value, paying around $20,000 for a car that sold new for $54,000. If it costs me $5,000 - $8,000 in repairs the next few years, that's almost what I would lose just in trading it in on another car, and I'm close to saving that amount just in reduced running expenses vs an ICE vehicle (and I get to drive a great fun car). And if I'm lucky, repairs will end up at the lower end, not the higher end. :D
I'm ok with paying for repairs, even with the 5K if thats the end of it, but I'm sure they'll find more damage based on what im reading online and I'm sure by the end of it it will be totaled in repairs. And it's not acceptable to me to replace the part with the same exact part if failure is this expensive, doesn't make sense.

It's pretty apparent that the failure mode of the AC compressor is a hugely flawed.

Those repairs you listed didn't happen to cars with 30,000 miles did they?

I will reach out BMW-NA after I try to see what the dealership can do first.

I am okay with maintenance and paying for repairs but I am not paying for BMW's faulty design of their AC compressor that damages the car so badly when it fails that the coolant system and consequently the car has to be rebuilt. Especially when the AC compressor fails so commonly and early from what I am reading.

Your Honda element example is completely uncomparable and its comparing apples and oranges. You say the Honda element had a book value of $4,000. This puts it (at least at the moment) at a 2006-2007 model.

A 13 year old car with $8,000 in repairs for multiple items that are designed to wear on a car worth $4,000 is different than a 5 year old car with $20,000 in repairs from a single part with 30,000 miles on it on a car worth $15,000.

alohart
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:06 pm

Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:46 am
I am okay with maintenance and paying for repairs but I am not paying for BMW's faulty design of their AC compressor that damages the car so badly when it fails that the coolant system and consequently the car has to be rebuilt. Especially when the AC compressor fails so commonly and early from what I am reading.
It's difficult to ascertain how common A/C compressor failure really is. It can result in an expensive repair bill which tends to generate posts in fora like this one. There are thousands of i3 drivers in this forum and in the i3 Worldwide Facebook group, yet only a tiny percentage of these drivers have posted about A/C compressor failures. If this were a really common problem, these groups would have far more posts about this problem.
Aloha,
Art

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

i3Houston
Posts: 232
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:30 pm

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:20 pm

alohart wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:06 pm

There are thousands of i3 drivers in this forum and in the i3 Worldwide Facebook group, yet only a tiny percentage of these drivers have posted about A/C compressor failures. If this were a really common problem, these groups would have far more posts about this problem.
It may be specific to early i3, 2014,2015 or issue occurs after 3-4 years.
TM3 Reservation holder/ 2015 i3 Rex

Elektrey
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:16 pm

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm

alohart wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:06 pm
It's difficult to ascertain how common A/C compressor failure really is. It can result in an expensive repair bill which tends to generate posts in fora like this one. There are thousands of i3 drivers in this forum and in the i3 Worldwide Facebook group, yet only a tiny percentage of these drivers have posted about A/C compressor failures. If this were a really common problem, these groups would have far more posts about this problem.
It is a small percentage but I think it's big enough for it to be an issue and reason to stay away from this car. I've read way too many "AC compressor" failure stories online for a car that sold 6-10k a year and is driven less than other cars. Many of these stories I've read the issue was covered under warranty. I wonder how many other drivers do not post because they get it replaced under warranty.

Seeing as how there is no fix other than to just hope that the next compressor they throw in there doesn't give you a 20k repair bill 3-4 years down the line, this is completely unacceptable.

I am not on facebook but I read on one forum that a lot of people on the i3 facebook group have AC problems.

For an issue that is this large, for a part that fails either prematurely without reason or under a very small amount of wear compared to the expected life of the car, and that causes the repair cost to exceed the cost of the vehicle on a 5 year old car, I would think any amount of occurrence of an issue this big would be unacceptable even a tiny fraction of a percent.

It's bad engineering on two fronts, one being designing a part that fails without a good amount of use of the car or within a few years, and two designing that part so when it fails it destroys the entire cooling system and requires the car to essentially be rebuilt.

BMW should have never sold or produced this car with these flaws that when combined create a massive issue.

Also, this thread being about the AC compressor failure is the most active and longest thread (besides coding the i3) in the technical bmw i3 discussions. That says a lot about how big this issue is.

I urge BMW to do the right thing and buy back people's cars who have failed from this defect and to correct the issue causing this massive failure and send out a TSB to all BMW service centers. Anything else would frankly be negligence on their behalf IMO.
It may be specific to early i3, 2014,2015 or issue occurs after 3-4 years.
I am thinking this is a part that fails after a certain time period from looking at when the other posts were for this issue. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2015 and 2016s started popping up with this issue more and more as time goes on.

alohart
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Air conditioning failed

Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:35 pm

Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
I've read way too many "AC compressor" failure stories online for a car that sold 6-10k a year and is driven less than other cars.
This and other i3 forums don't have just U.S. participants. BMW had a 30k annual i3 production capacity until 2018 (?) when the capacity was doubled due to demand. I think annual worldwide sales has averaged ~30k.

While the average annual mileage of an i3 is less than that of a similar ICE vehicle, the A/C compressor almost certainly operates for a higher percentage of the time in an i3 because it's responsible for cooling the battery pack as well as providing cabin heat in BEV's with a heat pump in addition to cabin cooling. However, the compressor isn't next to a very hot, vibrating ICE, so I would think that it should last longer in an i3.
Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
I am not on facebook but I read on one forum that a lot of people on the i3 facebook group have AC problems.
I am one of over 18k members of the Facebook group. Today, A/C compressor failure isn't among the top 9 topics being discussed. The number of members who have experienced A/C compressor failure and posted about it might be no more than 10 (difficult to determine). Of course, not all 18k members own or have owed an i3, so it's impossible to determine the percentage of i3 drivers in this group who have experienced A/C compressor failure. However, it's certainly a very low percentage.

According to compressor parts numbers on realoem.com for our August, 2014, BEV, the current A/C compressor is the 6th different compressor since 2013 of which 3 have superseded the compressor in our i3, so it seems that BMW is aware of the problem and has tried to source more reliable compressors over the years. Unfortunately, that doesn't help existing i3 owners whose compressors fail other than the replacement compressor likely being more reliable.
Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
For an issue that is this large, for a part that fails either prematurely without reason or under a very small amount of wear compared to the expected life of the car, and that causes the repair cost to exceed the cost of the vehicle on a 5 year old car, I would think any amount of occurrence of an issue this big would be unacceptable even a tiny fraction of a percent.
I can recall only 1 or maybe 2 i3 owners whose A/C compressor failure resulted in damage whose repair cost exceeded the value of his i3. By far, the most common A/C compressor failure results in no cooling but no catastrophic failure that spreads shrapnel throughout the battery pack and cabin cooling plumbing.
Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
It's bad engineering on two fronts, one being designing a part that fails without a good amount of use of the car or within a few years, and two designing that part so when it fails it destroys the entire cooling system and requires the car to essentially be rebuilt.
As I stated, A/C compressor failure apparently rarely destroys the entire cooling system. However, the fact that this is possible and that the repair can be so expensive is worrying.

However, there are many examples of expensive cars in which component failure can be extremely expensive to repair. This is one reason I wish that Honda or Toyota had built a compact corrosion-resistant RWD hatchback EV like our i3. I had owned 2 very reliable and relatively inexpensive to repair Hondas but never had owned a BMW vehicle other than a motorcycle. Before buying our i3, I knew that the risk of a very expensive repair was greater than if it had been a Honda or Toyota EV. I took the risk in 2014 and have not had any out-of-warranty repairs in over 5 years of ownership. However, if the Honda Urban EV were available in the U.S., I would consider replacing our i3 with it because I think it would be less likely to have a very expensive repair.
Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
Also, this thread being about the AC compressor failure is the most active and longest thread (besides coding the i3) in the technical bmw i3 discussions. That says a lot about how big this issue is.
It actually means that many forum members have posted about this without actually having experienced compressor failure. It's a definite concern. However, it's easy to assume that this is a more frequent problem than it is.
Elektrey wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:43 pm
I urge BMW to do the right thing and buy back people's cars who have failed from this defect and to correct the issue causing this massive failure and send out a TSB to all BMW service centers. Anything else would frankly be negligence on their behalf IMO.
That would be nice for us i3 owners. However, auto manufacturers weigh the cost of doing as you suggest versus the harm done to sales by not doing so. So far, it seems that BMW has assessed that the harm to i3 sales has been minimal as evidenced by increasing worldwide sales. Judging by BMW's choice to delay the U.S. introduction of 2020 i3's despite few new 2019 models available for sale, 2020 i3 sales must be strong enough elsewhere to sell every i3 that BMW can build.

A broken motor mount bolt or the plastic mount itself could also cause catastrophic damage including to the A/C compressor. BMW replaced the bolt with a stronger bolt but did not authorize the expensive replacement of the plastic mount. So far, it seems that replacing the bolt has greatly reduced the incidence of bolt or mount breakage. The failure of one of the electronics modules like the Electric Machine Electronics (EME) would result in a multi-thousand dollar repair cost unless one is able to buy and install a used one which would be beyond the capability of almost all i3 owners.

An i3, like any expensive car, is a time-bomb waiting to explode. Fortunately for most of us, the explosion has not occurred yet and hopefully will never occur.
Aloha,
Art

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

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