Obioban
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 6:16 am

Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:24 am

I noticed there's been 5 different versions of it, updated in 07/14, 11/15, 07/16, and 11/18.

https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showpa ... Id=64_1978

I'm curious which versions people have had the expensive failure with/how comfortable/uncomfortable I should be with this potentially failing.

i3Alan
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:37 am

I took possession of my i3 in August, 2014. The only other AC work ever done was a recharge 2 weeks before the catastrophic failure.

Obioban
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 6:16 am

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:43 pm

i3Alan wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:37 am
I took possession of my i3 in August, 2014. The only other AC work ever done was a recharge 2 weeks before the catastrophic failure.
So you almost certainly had the first version for your failure, which is likely the least reliable version.

i3Alan
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Wed Apr 15, 2020 11:14 am

Obioban wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 2:43 pm
i3Alan wrote:
Tue Apr 14, 2020 11:37 am
I took possession of my i3 in August, 2014. The only other AC work ever done was a recharge 2 weeks before the catastrophic failure.
So you almost certainly had the first version for your failure, which is likely the least reliable version.
My guess is that the two most significant issues are the age and climate. Mine was subjected to the Phoenix desert for 5 years, getting both strikes. If age is a factor, then the 2014 being the least reliable (likely true), is only because it is the oldest, and this problem will start showing up more in later models as they age.

If anyone can determine if and when BMW started putting traps in these systems, then I suspect that will portend the end of this nightmare. Traps are pretty common in auto AC systems, but they do reduce efficiency. Most importantly, they do a good job preventing this kind of catastrophe and the i3s, at least the earlier ones, did not have traps.

The traps are even more important when considering the complexity of an AC compressor is driving two heat pumps (one heat pump and one cooling only system in the REX), and that it is plumbed inside the drive battery. That is, it would be very near impossible for such a catastrophic AC compressor failure do this much damage to any other vehicle, yet basic industry standard precautions against such extreme damages were not taken.

Obioban
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 6:16 am

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Fri May 29, 2020 5:13 am

Well, the only useful takeaway I see from this thread is that the only member on here who has had AC failure is i3Alan. I guess that's more reassuring than a distribution of AC failures by version.... :lol:

i3Alan
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Fri May 29, 2020 8:32 am

Obioban wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 5:13 am
Well, the only useful takeaway I see from this thread is that the only member on here who has had AC failure is i3Alan. I guess that's more reassuring than a distribution of AC failures by version.... :lol:
Could be that I am the only one to have joined this board and had the $22,000 AC catastrophic failure. Could also be that others with the issue immediately washed their hands of all things BMW and have no interest in talking about it here (probably not too likely). Could also be that BMW did agree to fix some cases conditioned with an agreement to not discuss the problem publicly. I am pretty certain, however, that there have been a minimum of 3 cases at my two local dealers (two cases before mine), and the i3 Facebook page has other cases not from this area.

Even if you assume that this is an extremely rare failure that should not cause much concern for any i3 owner, how do you feel about the response from BMW, which was, so sorry, but it is a year out of warranty, and here is $2000 towards the purchase of another one?

Obioban
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 6:16 am

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:17 am

i3Alan wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 8:32 am
Obioban wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 5:13 am
Well, the only useful takeaway I see from this thread is that the only member on here who has had AC failure is i3Alan. I guess that's more reassuring than a distribution of AC failures by version.... :lol:
Could be that I am the only one to have joined this board and had the $22,000 AC catastrophic failure. Could also be that others with the issue immediately washed their hands of all things BMW and have no interest in talking about it here (probably not too likely). Could also be that BMW did agree to fix some cases conditioned with an agreement to not discuss the problem publicly. I am pretty certain, however, that there have been a minimum of 3 cases at my two local dealers (two cases before mine), and the i3 Facebook page has other cases not from this area.

Even if you assume that this is an extremely rare failure that should not cause much concern for any i3 owner, how do you feel about the response from BMW, which was, so sorry, but it is a year out of warranty, and here is $2000 towards the purchase of another one?
I think once your warranty is over their obligation to you is complete, so $2000 was a nice gesture.

I can see why you wouldn't want to buy another, but they weren't in the wrong. I don't think I'd do any different in their shoes-- is losing your worth more or less than $20,000? I'd guess significantly less.

i3Alan
Posts: 294
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:08 pm

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:08 am

Obioban wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:17 am
I think once your warranty is over their obligation to you is complete, so $2000 was a nice gesture.

I can see why you wouldn't want to buy another, but they weren't in the wrong. I don't think I'd do any different in their shoes-- is losing your worth more or less than $20,000? I'd guess significantly less.
First, BMW designed this vehicle without the industry standard AC trap that could have prevented the catastrophic failure. Most auto AC systems have a particulate trap in the dryer to prevent exactly this kind of catastrophic failure should the compressor start flinging parts. Having an abnormally complex dual loop system, including at least one heat pump and one cooling loop on the REX, or two heat pumps on the BEV greatly increases the value of such a trap that BMW left out. THEY WERE IN THE WRONG.

Second, the actual loss I suffered was not the $22,000 repair quote, but the loss in book value due to the failure. That was about $8000. Had BMW advanced me $8K towards a new i3, that is most probably what I would have done. For anyone who asks, there is almost a certainty that BMW will find a reason to give $1K, be it first BMW, or previous BMW owner, or veteran, or student, or senior, or member of a BMW club, or whatever. BMW is very generous with $1K discounts on their cars, so the $2K in my case was rather insulting.

They decided to underdesign the AC system to not have the protective trap, and they likely had a pretty good estimate of how many catastrophic failures that would cause. If they assumed that these failures would all occur out-of-warranty and cost them nothing, then double shame on them. They apparently are helping current victims of this problem with paying all but about $5K of the cost by only charging the customer for the cost of the compressor replacement and covering all the rest of the downstream damage. This is entirely reasonable. They didn't treat me so well, and I would have been satisfied at half that cost to BMW with a new i3 purchase to boot.

Obioban
Posts: 76
Joined: Wed May 22, 2019 6:16 am

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:52 pm

i3Alan wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 10:08 am
Obioban wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:17 am
I think once your warranty is over their obligation to you is complete, so $2000 was a nice gesture.

I can see why you wouldn't want to buy another, but they weren't in the wrong. I don't think I'd do any different in their shoes-- is losing your worth more or less than $20,000? I'd guess significantly less.
First, BMW designed this vehicle without the industry standard AC trap that could have prevented the catastrophic failure. Most auto AC systems have a particulate trap in the dryer to prevent exactly this kind of catastrophic failure should the compressor start flinging parts. Having an abnormally complex dual loop system, including at least one heat pump and one cooling loop on the REX, or two heat pumps on the BEV greatly increases the value of such a trap that BMW left out. THEY WERE IN THE WRONG.

Second, the actual loss I suffered was not the $22,000 repair quote, but the loss in book value due to the failure. That was about $8000. Had BMW advanced me $8K towards a new i3, that is most probably what I would have done. For anyone who asks, there is almost a certainty that BMW will find a reason to give $1K, be it first BMW, or previous BMW owner, or veteran, or student, or senior, or member of a BMW club, or whatever. BMW is very generous with $1K discounts on their cars, so the $2K in my case was rather insulting.

They decided to underdesign the AC system to not have the protective trap, and they likely had a pretty good estimate of how many catastrophic failures that would cause. If they assumed that these failures would all occur out-of-warranty and cost them nothing, then double shame on them. They apparently are helping current victims of this problem with paying all but about $5K of the cost by only charging the customer for the cost of the compressor replacement and covering all the rest of the downstream damage. This is entirely reasonable. They didn't treat me so well, and I would have been satisfied at half that cost to BMW with a new i3 purchase to boot.
Poor design does not mean they are responsible after warranty. Lots of things on lots of cars have poor design. Unless that is directly leading the deaths (and sometimes not then-- E.g. chevy truck brake lines), your experience is what I'd expect.

skeptic
Posts: 63
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:31 pm

Re: Which versions of the AC compressor have people had failures with?

Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:32 pm

Obioban wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:52 pm

Poor design does not mean they are responsible after warranty. Lots of things on lots of cars have poor design. Unless that is directly leading the deaths (and sometimes not then-- E.g. chevy truck brake lines), your experience is what I'd expect.
As crappy as it is, I have to agree. Speculation as to how or why aside, it's a design flaw that does not result in danger to the driver or anyone else. It would be nice if BMW would stand behind it's customers and do the repairs for a reasonable cost. Even better if they issued a recall for whatever models/years this affects and fixed them so this wouldn't happen in the future. However, they are under no obligation to do so and I'm not surprised at all by their $2k offer.

What I am surprised about is the fact that you (i3Alan) are still here. If it were me I'd almost certainly have given BMW the proverbial finger, never bought another BMW, and left all BMW forums, facebook groups, etc.

I do wonder about one thing. Who did the AC recharge? It's suspicious to me that this catastrophic failure happened only 2 weeks after you had the AC recharged.

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