vreihen
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Fri May 17, 2019 4:24 pm

My adventures in roadside assistance to pick up my car and take it to the dealership because the charger would not disconnect is documented in another thread.

Just received a call from the dealership. They somehow determined that the solenoid was broken through my negligence, and therefore is not covered under warranty. Apparently inserting a charge connector into the socket constitutes negligence to them. :roll:

The solenoid will be $400+ if they can order it separately, otherwise the entire charge socket is a smidge under $2K.

I told the service advisor point blank that I would sooner part out my week-old car on eBay before spending $2K for a charger socket, and I'd sooner neuter the solenoid myself before I pay $400+ to install a replacement part that would leave my car trapped again at some point in the future. They were trying to get me to authorize 1.5 hours of labor to pull the fender to take a look. If BMW isn't paying for the repair, then it isn't happening at their dealership. I'll drag it onto my enclosed race car hauler with the winch before I pay anything for them to fix a defective part that should be under warranty.

They are going to try and see if BMW will cover it anyway, but claim it is a long shot. To say that I'm not a happy customer right now is an understatement.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 14K miles

alohart
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Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Fri May 17, 2019 7:12 pm

As you state, it's difficult to understand how an i3 driver could damage this solenoid. Maybe someone forced unplugging a locked plug and damaged the lock pin or maybe the solenoid. The dealer really needs to explain the damage and how they determined that the failure is due to driver negligence.
Aloha,
Art

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

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

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Fri May 17, 2019 8:47 pm

There is a Youtube video about this with an i3 in the UK
If I remember correctly the solenoid is a bad type but the dealer had to wait to get a rubber gasket they werent allowed to re use the old rubber and the new part didnt include it. The guy would have probably got the car back earlier if they had that part, but the garage let him film the issues which might be useful if you need to do it.


vreihen
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sat May 18, 2019 6:56 am

alohart wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 7:12 pm
As you state, it's difficult to understand how an i3 driver could damage this solenoid. Maybe someone forced unplugging a locked plug and damaged the lock pin or maybe the solenoid. The dealer really needs to explain the damage and how they determined that the failure is due to driver negligence.
I parked it on Friday evening, plugged in the OUC, and locked the doors with the remote.

There was moderate to heavy rains Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. The car sat there plugged into the OUC until Tuesday morning. I drove one of my other vehicles to work on Monday, since the driveway was muddy by the driver's door and my floor mat order was still en-route.

On Tuesday morning, I unlocked the doors with the remote, opened the passenger door, placed my lunch bag onto the seat, closed the door, and went back to disconnect the OUC. The release button would not fully depress. I tried to lock/unlock the doors a few times while jiggling the connector before giving up and taking one of my other vehicles to work again.

(While I'm thinking of it, I am going to pull the security camera footage from my DVR in case corporate wants to play that game. Their main corporate offices are within round-trip battery range, so it isn't exactly a hardship to make a court appearance in their jurisdiction.)

My web search engine du-jour reveals plenty of examples showing that the charger port solenoid is engineered badly and prone to failure. There are also owner reports of having to spray silicone lubricant onto the solenoid to prevent it from getting stuck. After three days of moderate to heavy rain exposure, my conclusion is that the solenoid was not designed properly for operation in wet weather. No negligence involved.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 14K miles

vreihen
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sat May 18, 2019 8:46 am

MagicCarpet wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 8:47 pm
The guy would have probably got the car back earlier if they had that part, but the garage let him film the issues which might be useful if you need to do it.
I saw that video, and up until a few years ago I would have torn into the fender and fixed this myself without a second thought. I spent many years competing in amateur motorsports, and my toolbox is no stranger to modern vehicles and electronics. I had a serious medical situation a few years ago, and left the hospital with my name on the heart transplant list with only 18% heart function and a portable 24/7 IV infusion pump. Even something as simple as changing a tire takes me hours now, and I don't even have the hand strength to turn a screwdriver on many days. Hence why I'm not tearing into it myself, and have to laugh at the suggestion that my strength at pushing the plug release could be excessive force that broke the solenoid.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 14K miles

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MKH
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Location: Dallas

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sat May 18, 2019 1:45 pm

Just received a call from the dealership. They somehow determined that the solenoid was broken through my negligence, and therefore is not covered under warranty. Apparently inserting a charge connector into the socket constitutes negligence to them. :roll:
What I don't get, is the attitude of this Dealership :ugeek:

BMW PAYS THEM FOR THE WARRANTY WORK THEY DO. Why bend themselves into a pretzel trying to deny what is obviously a warranty claim, and turn away money from BMW for doing the work? When I had my MINI Cooper, I hit some road debris, and it sliced open one of the AC hoses. I KNOW because I hit the road trash, and a split-second later their was a 'pop' and the car was in a white cloud of Freon. Took it in to the BMW/MINI Dealership, they looked at it, and said, "yeah, could have been road debris hitting it, also possible it had been rubbing on the edge of the frame due to improper installation, which abraded a hole in the hose - the hose ties were improperly fastened, which is what we are putting it down as, and it will be covered by warranty repair. Here are the keys to your loaner while we do the work, have a nice day!" And I did.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

vreihen
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sat May 18, 2019 7:14 pm

MKH wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 1:45 pm
What I don't get, is the attitude of this Dealership :ugeek:

BMW PAYS THEM FOR THE WARRANTY WORK THEY DO. Why bend themselves into a pretzel trying to deny what is obviously a warranty claim, and turn away money from BMW for doing the work?
This is my first foray into the BMW ecosystem, but I suspect that I know the answer based on my dealings with other manufacturers and their dealer networks.

The district reps for some other manufacturers get regular reports, sorted by percentage of warranty payouts versus cash repairs and new/used vehicle sales. It is obvious which dealers are "abusing" the warranty system, and the district reps focus on them to ensure that they are not charging things that shouldn't be covered.

I was once dealing with VW over an engine that seized due to an oil pump failure with 1,500 miles left on the warranty. The dealership that I had it towed to was actually under probation with the district rep, and he had to approve every big ticket warranty repair. He and the dealership jerked me around for 87 days, until I left a voicemail with the district rep's office reminding him that there were only three days left before a mandatory lemon buyback under state law. Miracle of miracles, a crate engine arrived and was installed with hours to spare.

I don't remember if I mentioned this or not, but I walked in the door at the local BMW dealer on Thursday knowing that my car was due for the 2-year brake fluid change in June. I asked up front how much it was going to cost me, since the programmed maintenance plan doesn't transfer with a used car. The service advisor printed out a special deal, where I could buy the last year of programmed maintenance for $700 instead of paying $400 for the brake fluid service and inspection. When I asked why I should pay $700 when the only programmed maintenance between now and the end of the term was only $400, she told me that it also covered oil/filter changes. When I told her that my i3 doesn't need oil or filter changes, she laughed it off as forgetting that I had an i3. In retrospect, I'm wondering if she wasn't trying to take me for a sucker and I out-smarted her? Long story short, I didn't mind throwing them $400 to do an over-priced brake fluid service, since it throws them a cash service and ticks off the service box in both Carfax and the BMW maintenance system for my car. If they are going to play games trying to get more money out of me by denying the warranty claim, I will remove my authorization for the cash service and they get nothing from me.

If I have to pick up the car, I'm going to show up with a cordless drill and take a shot at drilling through the charging port weather shield to get an access hole to either depress or destroy the solenoid plunger. BMW apparently tightened up the tolerances on the weather shield on my late 2015 car, but you can see the white solenoid plunger on this earlier car screen grab from YouTube:

Image

The only reason why I didn't do it in my driveway in the first place was that it is still under warranty.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 14K miles

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MKH
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Location: Dallas

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sun May 19, 2019 4:04 am

Any good independent BMW service garages in your area? I'd be inclined to show them the UK video, and see what they would quote. Even though my i3 is still under warrantee, all my service gets done at an indy garage, as, like you, I'm not the first owner, so the BMW maintenance doesn't transfer. I just keep all my receipts for proof. That $400 inspection and brake flush at BMW? It's $100 at my indy shop. BMW wanted $700 to install and register a 12 v battery. My indy shop does it for $300.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

vreihen
Posts: 39
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: Charge socket solenoid not a warranty item?!?!?

Sun May 19, 2019 6:37 am

The only independent BMW specialist in the region that I would trust shut down about 10 years ago when the owner retired and moved south.

I have 20+ years of experience in amateur motorsports, both as a driver and also as chair of multiple competition programs. My Rolodex (am I showing my age?) is full of local mechanics who could fix this problem in their sleep. Heck, half of the guests at my wedding worked as mechanics...including my bride! You would be surprised at the anti-EV bias among people who make a living off of ICE repairs, and the number of email forwards that I receive whenever the press sensationalizes another Tesla fire. Do I want to put myself through the embarrassment and a lecture about owning a mighty EV that can be completely disabled to the point of not even rolling by a $5.00 solenoid failure -- news that would spread virally among the anti-EV crowd? I think that you know the answer.

Needless to say, I am now more determined to devise a procedure to delete this solenoid and prevent future occurrences of the problem. The most frustrating thing for me is that we are having a beautiful weekend to work outside on the car, but it's stuck at the dealership where I can't touch it..... :cry:
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 14K miles

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