I3boy
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:27 am

i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Sat Jul 03, 2021 2:33 am

Help!
BMW have advised that the EME motor and possibly the gearbox needs replacing on my 2015 i3 with 89k miles on the clock. £5k and £3K respectively. No goodwill available due to mileage and BMW UK tell me that the design life of the car is 90K miles (150k kms). 8 years warranty on the battery in not much good if you have to pay £8k+ to replace the drivetrain every five years

Anyone know of an independent who will put in a salvaged motor/gearbox?

I am shocked that BMW can produce an environmentally friendly vehicle with such a low design lifetime and make it so unreliable. Any manufacturer that claims to produce an ECO friendly car and that car needs a drivetrain replacement every five years is a fraud.

regards

i3boy

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MKH
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Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Sat Jul 03, 2021 4:27 am

First off, that BMW rep telling you the design life of the car is 90K miles is total BS. You need to email or write the Managing Director of BMW UK with this info, as that person should be fired on the spot for making up cr@p like that while representing BMW. BMW has had media releases showing i3's on the road with 200k plus miles, and I have seen many owners posting their high-mileage i3s with over 200k, even 300k miles on them, still going strong. Think about it. If the this were the case, this and other i3 boards would be so full of dying i3 complaints you would see nothing else. Of course that is small consolation if you happen to own that 1 car in 10,000 that ends up with an expensive failure needing repair.

That said, this is a scenario I thought about before buying, and deciding on not taking an (very expensive) extended warranty. I will transpose my logic on to your situation. With the mileage on your 2014, if you were to go looking to buy that retail at a dealer, you'd be paying around $9,000 pounds. Trade-in/wholesale would be around $6,000 pounds. Salvage value on the car should be around $5,000 to $6000 pounds (the battery pack alone is worth $4k for home solar system backup). You have to ask yourself (as I would) does it make economic sense to spend as much as $8,000 pounds to repair a car (if you can't find an independent mechanic to work on it) that will end up still only being worth $6,000 pounds after the repair? With the i3 already discontinued in the USA this month, and will be discontinued in the Europe in a year or so, for me, I'd be taking my lumps, selling my car as salvage, and moving on. There are several 'scrappers' in and around the EU buying salvage i3's and parting them out - one in Lithuania in particular I see on eBay frequently, selling used i3 parts. Copart UK aslo auctions off salvage cars.

You might also post on the i3 FaceBook page, if you are on FB. Lots of UK owners there, who might have advice. https://www.facebook.com/groups/BMWi3
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

I3boy
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:27 am

Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:25 am

There are many reports of gearbox/motor failures, most are fixed under warranty, so make sure you get a warranty. Of course some cars will do more than 100K although I doubt that many 64ah BEV's will have, given the poor range.

The BMW lifecycle cost model is based on 150K Kilometres/90K Miles and they don't provide warranty for cars beyond 90k.....Google it. BMW offer the lowest warranties possible with "optional" extensions so customers can take three year or longer leases. Warranties from other manufacturers are way better than BMW. Avoid!

alohart
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Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:16 am

I3boy wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:25 am
There are many reports of gearbox/motor failures, most are fixed under warranty, so make sure you get a warranty.
I've been a member of this forum and the Facebook Worldwide BMW i3 group for ~7 years. I've read very few reports of motor or gearbox failures, certainly many fewer than A/C compressor failures, for example. I felt no urgency to buy an expensive extended warranty when our included warranty expired because the percentage of i3 owners who had experienced expensive failures seemed very small.
Aloha,
Art

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

2020i3
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Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:50 pm

I'm with Art on this. There's probably more that can go wrong with just the engine in many ICE vehicles than there is on this entire car. I said no to the extended warranty too, especially with my 2021 being a BEV and not a REX.

I3boy
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:27 am

Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:51 am

New, immature technology has new (and interesting :-)) failure modes. Batteries were a big concern - hence the 8 year warranty on the battery -- but the battery warranty is not much use if the motor/gearbox/EME fails after five years and 90K miles.

Quite a bit of EV related electric motor bearing wear research out there :

Paper: Electrical bearing failures in electric vehicles Feng HE, Guoxin XIE*, Jianbin LUO* State Key Laboratory of Tribology,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China Received: 08 September 2019 / Revised: 26 November 2019 / Accepted: 17 December 2019 © The author(s) 2019.

Abstract: In modern electric equipment, especially electric vehicles, inverter control systems can lead to complex shaft voltages and bearing currents. Within an electric motor, many parts have electrical failure problems, and among which bearings are the most sensitive and vulnerable components. In recent years, electrical failures in bearing have been frequently reported in electric vehicles, and the electrical failure of bearings has become a key issue that restricts the lifetime of all-electric motor-based power systems in a broader sense. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the bearing premature failure in the mechanical systems exposed in an electrical environment represented by electric vehicles. The electrical environments in which bearing works including the different components and the origins of the shaft voltages and bearing currents, as well as the typical modes of electrical bearing failure including various topographical damages and lubrication failures, have been discussed. The fundamental influence mechanisms of voltage/current on the friction/ lubrication properties have been summarized and analyzed, and corresponding countermeasures have been proposed. Finally, a brief introduction to the key technical flaws in the current researches will be made and the future outlook of frontier directions will be discussed.

All that current flowing around when you max the throttle could take out the motor bearings. This failure mode doesn't exit in ICEs.

If you go into your dealership with bearing noise from the back end, the first thing they will tell you is .... Sorry to say motor/gearbox failure does happen and if not covered by the warranty that'll be 9k ... thank you.

Arm
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:53 pm

Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Fri Sep 17, 2021 7:45 am

I3boy wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 2:25 am
There are many reports of gearbox/motor failures, most are fixed under warranty, so make sure you get a warranty. Of course some cars will do more than 100K although I doubt that many 64ah BEV's will have, given the poor range.

The BMW lifecycle cost model is based on 150K Kilometres/90K Miles and they don't provide warranty for cars beyond 90k.....Google it. BMW offer the lowest warranties possible with "optional" extensions so customers can take three year or longer leases. Warranties from other manufacturers are way better than BMW. Avoid!
Are there any tell-tail signs of this happening before it happens? Or is it a sudden onset?

JTY
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:46 pm

Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:55 pm

We had motor failure with our i3 MY2015 and around 71,000km on the clock.
Last week the car started to make some metallic noise when driving around 40-50km/h, at first it was not so loud but quickly came louder. It was easier to get noise if the torque was little higher when accelerating and after that coasting between 40-50km/h.

Went to BMW service on monday, after few hours service guy confirmed the noise and said that the car is not safe to drive and needs to stay in service cneter.. Yesterday I got the answer from BMW service what's really wrong with the car and they told the motor is broken and needs to be replaced with new one (5400eur for the motor and around 1700eur for the work)
The sad thing is that we bought the car about two weeks ago :D

eNate
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Re: i3 Motor/gearbox failure... help!

Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:50 pm

JTY wrote:
Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:55 pm
...
The sad thing is that we bought the car about two weeks ago :D
Doh!

Private party purchase, I presume? That's terrible!
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