$4k for SME and safety box??

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WalterH

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2017
Messages
18
Also posted in general discussion because I wasn’t sure which category is best….

BMW dealer says I need a new SME and safety box, which will cost $3900 out the door. I’m assuming there are no other options. Already spent $1k in Oct when the SME went out briefly but it started working again after they replaced the 12v battery and reprogrammed it. Stopped for good last week. The car only has 33k miles, has new tires and no major mechanical or cosmetic issues, but the battery capacity is low; the guess-o-meter rarely shows more than 55 miles fully charged, and fewer in cold weather. Right before the 8-year mark the dealer tested it at 71%, so I barely missed out on a warranty replacement HV battery. Yesterday the dealer offered me $1k as-is, but if I can get it running I think it might be worth up to $7k, so maybe I could net $3k if I sell it. Any other options I’m not considering?

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To replace the SME and safety box, I believe the battery pack compartment must be dropped and opened, the SME and safety box replaced, the battery pack compartment closed and reinstalled, and the new parts registered using BMW's maintenance software. If an independent BMW mechanic who works on i3's is available, the repair cost would probably be less. I don't know whether a used SME and safety box could be installed by an independent mechanic, but if so, that could reduce your cost. However, paying a BMW dealer to fix it and then selling it yourself would almost certainly net you more money than accepting $1k from the dealer as you've suggested.

Too bad that your battery pack wasn't replaced under warranty. Our 2014 Giga BEV was in a similar situation although I never paid for the usable battery pack capacity test. I decided to sell it in June, 2022, with 5 months remaining on its battery pack warranty. I found a buyer who didn't need more range than our i3 had (it had lost ~25% of its new range) and was able to sell it for over $19k (only 13k miles in excellent condition other than its degraded battery pack). However, that was near the peak of used car values. I bought a used 2019 Giga BEV in April, 2022, for ~$29k, much more than it would cost now. Nevertheless, your $7k value estimate seems a bit low, but that depends on where you are and the general condition of your i3.

You didn't state the model year of your i3, but because one of the wheels in the photo is on the wrong side of the car, it is likely a 2014 Tera World when type 428 wheels like yours had different right and left side versions. To be as delivered from the factory, your rear wheels and tires would need to be swapped side-to-side. However, swapping the front wheels and tires side-to-side would be OK as well.
 
Thank you so much Art for this very helpful reply. I’m in Atlanta GA, and it is a 2014 BEV. I have not found a local repair shop that works on EVs so I think I may have to bite the bullet and have the dealer replace that SME and Safety Box. After that I’ll either just drive it till it drops or see if I can net a bit more than $1k out of selling it.
 
Oh, and good eye on noticing the wheels on backward! Somehow I missed that.
Back when we bought our 2014 i3 Giga BEV new (it had left- and right-side type 429 wheels), every i3 sold except those with pizza-slice wheels (type 427) had left- and right-side wheels. So it was pretty common to see i3's with front or rear wheels on the wrong sides. My eyes must have become sensitive to this.
 
To replace the SME and safety box, I believe the battery pack compartment must be dropped and opened, the SME and safety box replaced, the battery pack compartment closed and reinstalled, and the new parts registered using BMW's maintenance software. If an independent BMW mechanic who works on i3's is available, the repair cost would probably be less. I don't know whether a used SME and safety box could be installed by an independent mechanic, but if so, that could reduce your cost. However, paying a BMW dealer to fix it and then selling it yourself would almost certainly net you more money than accepting $1k from the dealer as you've suggested.

Too bad that your battery pack wasn't replaced under warranty. Our 2014 Giga BEV was in a similar situation although I never paid for the usable battery pack capacity test. I decided to sell it in June, 2022, with 5 months remaining on its battery pack warranty. I found a buyer who didn't need more range than our i3 had (it had lost ~25% of its new range) and was able to sell it for over $19k (only 13k miles in excellent condition other than its degraded battery pack). However, that was near the peak of used car values. I bought a used 2019 Giga BEV in April, 2022, for ~$29k, much more than it would cost now. Nevertheless, your $7k value estimate seems a bit low, but that depends on where you are and the general condition of your i3.

You didn't state the model year of your i3, but because one of the wheels in the photo is on the wrong side of the car, it is likely a 2014 Tera World when type 428 wheels like yours had different right and left side versions. To be as delivered from the factory, your rear wheels and tires would need to be swapped side-to-side. However, swapping the front wheels and tires side-to-side would be OK as well.
So I bit the bullet and paid the $4k for the dealer to fix it. One early surprise is that the range appears to have gotten a significant bump, though I don’t expect it to last. When I checked the Kapa Max a year ago, it was 14.2; today it is 17.7. Go figure.
 
So I bit the bullet and paid the $4k for the dealer to fix it. One early surprise is that the range appears to have gotten a significant bump, though I don’t expect it to last. When I checked the Kapa Max a year ago, it was 14.2; today it is 17.7. Go figure.
Our 2014 i3 had a similar range boost after our BMW dealer updated the system software as part of a Service Information Bulletin procedure. I'm guessing that the BMS was reset. Unfortunately, Batt. Kapa. max gradually decreased over a year back to its previous value.
 

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