Drivetrain
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat May 09, 2020 9:22 am

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

Sat May 09, 2020 9:49 am

Hi,

I have a 2014 ReX at about 80,000 miles and have just had an amber drive train warning come up.

It happened the day after a red parking brake warning came up (which came up once and has now gone).

I have taken it to my local (Bosch) garage who say the error code was about High Voltage Insulation and said they were not set up to work on it. I took it to a local independent BMW specialist garage and he told me the same code came up for him too (I didn't tell him I had already been somewhere else). He said he reckoned he would be up for it, but that it would likely cost me an arm and a leg.

I have it back home now and have opened up the motor section and had a look around for anything obvious. Think I really need to get under it to see any likely rubbed wires or whatever. Though I do see it may not be that straightforward as finding a rubbed wire, unplugging it and then plugging in a new one... oh for the day it is.

Enjoyed youtube videos by a Scottish guy who has had some similar problems.

The handbrake actually did stick on at one point at traffic lights and then the nearside rear brake got very hot after I got it going and pulled over. Hoping there is a correlation.

Had it for just over a year and apart from one fault which ended up being a frayed wire on a rear sensor it has run like clockwork.

Any thoughts much appreciated.

Peace and Plenty

Drivetrain
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat May 09, 2020 9:22 am

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

Sat May 09, 2020 9:50 am

Don't know why that 'B' word tuned into a hyperlink

alohart
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

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

Sat May 09, 2020 12:08 pm

Drivetrain wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 9:50 am
Don't know why that 'B' word tuned into a hyperlink
This Website automatically makes some words hyperlinks that reference its sponsors, sometimes very inappropriately.
Aloha,
Art

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

jadnashuanh
Posts: 5070
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

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

Sat May 09, 2020 6:41 pm

BMW service costs seem to be in line with many of its similar brands from Audi, MB, etc. The hourly service costs seem to be in line. That doesn't mean they are inexpensive! Some of it might depend on whether they're using 'book' hours, or actual time. The guys that work on the thing a lot can often do the job in less than the book hours, but normally you pay for the book time. An independent shop might charge you actual time, even though that might exceed the book time, but their hourly rate may be lower.

FWIW, some parts I find are quite inexpensive, while others seem to be way more than I'd expect, so it just depends. Some of it is based on the volume, some on the complexity, and some on whether they use the same part in other models.

Not all techs are created equal, either. Unless the shop has enough volume to justify dedicating their best techs to an i3, you'll have this kind of thing...sometimes, another dealership might provide a very different experience.

The dealership can often have a very big part of whether you like a car or not.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

Jason
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:38 pm

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

Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm

Have had 2014 i3 towed to bmw dealer twice for DRIVETRAIN MALFUNCTION. This time they replaced one of eight High Voltage batteries.Took a month because I am in Hawaii..Read all the feedback, and must agree this is not a car I can afford to keep without Warranty. So I asked what a one year plan would cost. $4,300. Guess I should just take a $15,000 loss and unload it as a trade in if any other dealer will take it. My 2 year warranty is almost up.
So I got out the customer book and read that the HV battery has an Eight year/80,000 mile Warranty in this state. There was also good coverage for Corrosion, and the REX engine. Has anyone had to use these services.? I would keep the car longer if i had assurance that the battery pack was covered. Paid $507 for 12v. Replacement battery.

alohart
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

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

Sat Jun 06, 2020 9:48 pm

Jason wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm
Have had 2014 i3 towed to bmw dealer twice for DRIVETRAIN MALFUNCTION. This time they replaced one of eight High Voltage batteries.Took a month because I am in Hawaii..
I have read about excessive delays in the replacement of a battery pack module in other U.S. locations, so I doubt that the delay is due to your living in Hawaiʻi. It might be that airlines won't transport Li-ion battery cells so these modules must be shipped by sea and land from Germany. I would think that they could be stocked in a North American BMW parts warehouse, but that doesn't seem to happen for many i3 electronic modules and parts.
Jason wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm
Read all the feedback, and must agree this is not a car I can afford to keep without Warranty.
The general warranty on our 2014 BEV expired in November, 2018. I know that an expensive electronic module, the A/C compressor, the plastic motor mount bracket, etc., could fail which could result in a repair cost that is a significant percentage of the market value of the car. However, this seems like a fairly low probability, so I don't worry about it.
Jason wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm
So I asked what a one year plan would cost. $4,300. Guess I should just take a $15,000 loss and unload it as a trade in if any other dealer will take it. My 2 year warranty is almost up.
Unloading it is a guaranteed loss. Keeping it might result in a significant loss, but that's not guaranteed.
Jason wrote:
Sat Jun 06, 2020 1:38 pm
So I got out the customer book and read that the HV battery has an Eight year/80,000 mile Warranty in this state. There was also good coverage for Corrosion, and the REX engine. Has anyone had to use these services.? I would keep the car longer if i had assurance that the battery pack was covered. Paid $507 for 12v. Replacement battery.
I assume that your battery pack module was replaced under the battery pack warranty which, according to this warranty manual, is 8 yr/100,000 mi. In addition to being warrantied against defects in materials or workmanship, the usable battery pack capacity is warrantied not to decrease by more than 30%. So your battery pack is covered by a warranty for at least 2 more years, depending on the date your i3 was originally sold. Battery pack failures have been very uncommon although it might not seem so to you.

As you discovered, BMW dealers charge way too much for a 12 V battery replacement. I plan to replace the 12 V battery in our i3. BMW of Honolulu's price for a battery was ~$210 a year ago. I ordered the same battery from an East Penn Manufacturing retailer in Honolulu for $150 including shipping. Replacing the battery isn't difficult, so I will do it when the original battery fails. I understand that not everyone would be comfortable doing this, but I don't want to overpay for something that I can do myself.

I plan to keep our i3 until it's totaled in a collision or it has a repair cost that exceeds its market value.
Aloha,
Art

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

User avatar
MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 645
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

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

Sun Jun 07, 2020 6:16 am

Jason, look at it logically. There have been more than 150,000 BMW i3's sold. In that total, catastrophic failures are likely around .01%. And even if that extremely rare occurrence happens to your car, as a non-running salvage-for-parts-car, it is still worth about $7,000.

Statistically you'd need to buy at least 10,000 i3's to get 1 that had a failure/repair costing so much that it totaled the car.

Pretty good odds - my 2015 is out of warranty, and I'm not going to get worked up about the chance of an 0.01% 'what-if'. Not going to spend 25% of the value of the car on an extended warranty that in all likelihood will never pay back its cost. Not going to lose money/value by prematurely dumping a perfectly good vehicle, because it 'might' be the one in 10,000.

I'll just drive it until the wheels fall off :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

Jason
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:38 pm

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

Tue Jun 09, 2020 12:47 am

Hey Art and Mark, thanks for the sensible advice. Even if the wheels fall off, I have a neighbor who knows how to take the remaining batteries and run my off grid solar house on 48 volts. All mu Outack inverters are conveniently 48 volts, as are the HV units of most EVs, including Beamers. The car charges slowly but dependably on solar power.

sheadit
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:54 am

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

Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:13 am

My 2016 REX came to a sudden stop on the way home - big red "check drivetrain" message telling me not to drive and to call BMW mobile support. Couldn't move the steering wheel and the wheels were locked. I was in the middle of a small lane blocking the traffic. Switched off and then on again and thankfully it restarted. Diagnostics showed no faults (!) and I managed to get home. Then started thinking what if I was in the outside lane of a motorway when this happened? Anyway took it to BMW and diagnosis is replacement electric motor (£7,000) plus £2,200 of labour. They are going to pick up the cost of the parts plus 50% of the labour so guess I should be grateful since it is out of warranty - but that's not how I feel.... Anyone know how long it should take to replace a motor - seems like a lot of labour to me.

MagicCarpet
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:17 pm

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

Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:05 pm

When you say came to a sudden stop, do you mean the warning came on and the car slowed until around 3 Km/hr then self engaged Park and locked the transmission, or something else?

Any more info form the dealer? 2014 / 2015 REX models had an issue with moisture getting into the electic machine and elecronics causing intermttent HV insulation shutdowns but another cause might be wear on the transmission splines or broken mount bolts?

Pleased they are helping out with this, I'm nervous with anything about the REX or AC or control systems mine was built late 2016

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