BMW recalls 150,800 vehicles for fuel pump problems

Featured Posts, News | October 27th, 2010 by 30
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Press Release: BMW of North America has notified the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to conduct a voluntary recall of some model …

Press Release: BMW of North America has notified the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its intent to conduct a voluntary recall of some model year 2007-2010 BMWs equipped with twin-turbo inline six-cylinder engines, all of which feature BMW’s High Precision Injection direct fuel injection system. It has also asked for approval from the California Air Resources Board to conduct this action. Affected vehicles may experience a failure of the high-pressure fuel pump.

Symptoms include long-crank engine starting times along with the illumination of the “Service Engine Soon” light. In certain cases, the driver may experience reduced engine performance in a Safe Mode accompanied by a tone and the illumination of the “Engine Malfunction” light.

Based on the individual service history of the vehicle, the action will entail replacement of the high-pressure fuel pump and/or a software update.

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Approximately 130,000 vehicles are potentially affected with about 40,000 expected to require a new high pressure fuel pump. Affected BMW models include:

  • MY 2007–2010 335i models.
  • MY 2008–2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i Sports Activity Coupes
  • MY 2009 – 2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i

In a separate action, BMW has notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will voluntarily recall approximately 20,800 MY 2008 X5 Sports Activity Vehicles equipped with normally-aspirated inline six-cylinder engines to replace the low-pressure fuel pump. In this case, should the fuel pump experience a failure, the engine will stop running and the driver will lose power assist for the steering and brakes although both the steering and the brakes remain operational.

Letters will be sent by First Class mail to owners of affected vehicles in the coming weeks, requesting the scheduling of a service appointment with an Authorized BMW Center to have the update performed.

No injuries have been reported with either of these issues.

In the case of either issue, if the customer experiences a problem, they should contact their authorized BMW Center. Customers with additional questions should contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-563-4269 or email

[Source: BMW ]

30 responses to “BMW recalls 150,800 vehicles for fuel pump problems”

  1. BIMMER1 says:

    It’s been 3 years and the pump has been redesigned multiple times and many new software applications have been released to correct the issue. Yet no one has told us what the actual cause of the pump failure is. Some of the latest pumps have still failed even with the latest software installed. I’m still betting on poor fuel quality and ethanol playing a large part in this ordeal. These fuel system components are state of the art and they require a very high standard of fuel quality to operate efficiently and keep working properly over time. The piezo crystalline injectors contain thousands of crystals that are electronically charged and can pulse up to 10,000 times a second based on driver demands. As you can imagine, there’s not much margin for error when you’re dealing with something that happens 10,000 times per second. That’s just one example of how advanced the fuel system components are these days. Poor quality fuel leaves behind carbon deposits, dirt, debris, oils, and films that contaminate components and can lead to poor operation or total failure. Personally I just don’t think we can meet those standards, at least not in the US. I was shocked when I found out the percentages of ethanol in most fuels when we first started having these issues. Until recently ethanol levels were only supposed to be up to 10% of the total fuel mixture, no more. I can tell you first hand from the tests we’ve had to do here on fuel samples that it’s usually more like 15-22% ethanol. Just recently, the government has approved and is pushing for the use of E15, which is supposedly up to 15% ethanol. This is nothing more than a money making scheme and does nothing to improve emissions or reduce our dependence on oil. In fact it takes more oil to produce ethanol that it would just to use gas that doesn’t have it like we used to. Although E15 availability is still a little ways off in the future, we should assume it will probably end up being much higher around 20-25% ethanol or more based on our current levels. BMW immediately released a statement with the E15 announcement that said after initial testing they do not approve and strongly urge client’s not to use E15 fuels. Although there was no specific mention of why, I’m sure there’s a good reason for releasing the statement. Now what if all of this is because of a fuel quality issues, who is responsible for that? You’ve got the government pushing the green agenda which makes them money. Farmers support it because growing corn for ethanol makes them a guaranteed profit from government subsidies. Fuel companies charge more to refine it, then they sell it at a higher cost so they make even more money from it. So who’s responsible when the fuel isn’t what it’s supposed to be? Who takes the blame and burden of paying the costs associated with it when problems come up as a result? Those are the questions that no one seems to be willing to answer. Is it the governments fault for not regulating the fuel quality to a high enough standard? Are the farmers growing crops that can meet those standards? Are the oil companies just blatantly ignoring the requirements? Are filling stations not paying attention or maintaining their tanks properly? It’s any ones guess at this point. Fuel standards in Europe are much stricter, and from what I’ve been told pump failure overseas happens much less frequently. That’s just one more thing that keeps me coming back to our fuel quality potentially causing or at least contributing to the problem. Hopefully we will have the answers to these questions soon, but who really knows when. Of course, this is just my personal opinion based on what I’ve seen over the past several years and I’m certainly no expert in the field. My only suggestion to my client’s is to make sure they are using top tier fuels ( and the highest octane available which is usually 93 octane. What else can we do? I think we all need to take a step back and figure out what our real priorities are in this country before it’s too late. Maybe it already is…

    • FreudeKing says:

      Quite frankly, BMW should have taken the existing fuel quality into account when developing their cars. If indeed they dound the fuel grades to be of an unacceptable level, then they should not launch the vehicles in the US. Also, these problems are not just in the US. It is ALL OVER THE WORLD! You can blame others like oil companies, government, fuel tankers being dirty, etc. the bottom line is that BMW made something that is UNRELIABLE. You couild have also argued that other parts may be faulty becasue of excessive friction, and that we should blame the government bacause of the rough road surfaces. No excuses.

      The other consideration is: what about the rest of the world. Currently the recall is in the US because of pressures from consumer grouops in the US. BMW have admitted that they have supplied cars with manufacturing defects and these same cars are also supplied to other parts of the world, where many customers have also been complaining about. So when will they isuue a worldwide recall?

      I am also concerned about the software updates for the other non40000 replacement recalls. Clearly there is a problem, yet are they trying to fool customers again with a software update to decrease the powerout of their cars so that they don’t notice the underlying problem??? We all know what customers have experienced with these updates.

      Finally, note the years of the affected vehicles. This is after the new CEO has implemented a drastic cost cutting strategy. This makes BMW’s total number of massive recalls to 10 this year alone to date – highest ever in the company’s history. This will cost BMW future sales, current service and replacement expenditure. What a shame!

      • wazon8 says:

        “BMW should have taken the existing fuel quality into account when developing their cars.” This statement is really poor, since there is avaible high quality fuel at the market. The main problem is with customers who refuse to choose high quality and more expensive pethrol.

        The important thing is that the recall is not all over the world as you wish. In Europe the HPFP problems is rather rare and the reason for it is – as bimmer1 put it – the absece of ethanol in European fuel. That’s why there is no HPFP European recall! I bet that every customer of new car in Europe is aware that problems caused by low qualuty fuel are not under warranty. That’s why almost all of them choose high quality pethrol 98 acetene or 100 acetene, but not 95 acenete which is dedicated rather for old cars. The same story goes for diesels, altohugh there is bigger number of drivers who want to save money on fuel and end with pump issues. In Europe we treat recommendations concerning fuel really seriously. Contrary, it seems that U.S. customers pay little attention to statement of not using E15. When there are requirements for fuel and customers don’t wish to meet them, they’re responsible for the issues. That’s all the story.

        Moreover, if your opinion was taken seriously, we wouldn’t have any improvement in high pressure injection and we would lose good ratio between output, capacity and efficiency. The reluctance of customers for choosing right fuel is not a good reason for stopping developement. It’s as if car makers stoped working on common rail technology, because there are some customers of old diesels who used to drive on cheap oil from cutters and filled their new diesels with these shitty fuel. This is really similar case.

        • FreudeKing says:

          You should be more ware of what is happening in other countries as well. There are also many problems in Europe regarding these HPFP (Germany included). This problem is also almost as huge all over the world, including Asia, Australia and South Africa. So this may point to the fact that it is not only poor choice of fuel by the customers.

          You should also try and stop denying the manufacturing defect when BMW themselves have admitted that there was a manufacturing defect! Fuel quality could be a contributing factor so a sooner failure but the underlying issue is a defect, both design and manufacturing. No use arguing as BMW have admitted to that already. That also supports the evidence that even when the fuel quality is substantially better in the EU that failure rate is also almost as high.

        • Ben says:

          What’s the point of good ratios if the engine fails every few thousand miles! Huge HPFP failures in Europe as well.

      • Anonymous says:

         BMW is recalling 150,800 vehicles to replace faulty fuel pumps after customer complaints. Models covered: 2007-2010 335i models, 2008 – 2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i; 2009-2010 Z4 Roadster sDrive35i and 2008 X5s. The extended warranty is for only certain VINS for certain years 2007/2008 1/3/5 series. Mostly are 335’s. But the warranty is not for every N54 engine. Only a small percentage have failed and it was mostly on the 335 built in a certain location.

  2. Laszlo says:

    good riddance BMW. its time to step up and fix this issue.
    The next step is the flaps in the diesels…

  3. N54 Driver says:

    Bimmer1: Good comments and well said, but dude, it is just an engine recall, not the end of the American Republic as we have known it!

  4. Artmic says:

    To me this is nothing more than a PR move, they had time to fix this issue, and they still haven’t, so how will they magically fix it NOW?

    • FreudeKing says:

      If they update the software by decreasing the output of customers’ vehicles when the underlying problem is actually the faulty fuel pumps (which they intend to do with about 110000 customers), they are just considering their customers to be fools.

  5. Bryan says:

    I received the software update a few weeks ago, as part of this recall, and now the performance of the vehicle is very very different. I suspect BMW altered the horsepower to minimize long-term risk. I have a 2008 335i with 30K miles. Anyone else notice the newly sluggish performance?

    • FreudeKing says:

      Other customers have noted that they did this software change to make their cars slower with less output so that they do not notice the underlying faulty pump issue. Do BMW customers look like fools to them (BMW)?


      • wazon8 says:

        You don’t understand the core of this problem. HPFP can cooperate on its full capacity only with high quality fuel and some customers are reluctant to use it. The interesting question is: Why do they find problem in using something better than E15, while not finding problem in using high quality engine oil instead of – say – 10W40? The only way of dealing with such kind of customers is to make pressure lower in order to face low quality of fuel they fill their cars with. That’s the roots of problem and interesting thing is that it deosn’t appear in Europe, where people take fuel requirements really siriously. Or to give a justice, if they don’t take them siriously, nobody won’t pay for their faults in this respect. It’s not manufacturing defect, it’s something worng (presence of ethanol) with fuel. If it was manufacturing defect, it would appear at Europe also and somehow it didn’t.

        • FreudeKing says:

          For your information, BMW have admitted to their defect both in the design and manufacturing. Furthermore, the problem in Europe, Asia, and Africa is as big as that in the US. So while fuel quality may play a role, the underlying problem is still the defect.

          Luckily you do not work for BMW, or else no customers would buy BMW again if you push the blame onto customer’s fuel choice.

    • Dayna says:

      Yes, it’s happening on the 335I , 2011 models. We had 2 updates already. The car is a disgrace and a magnitude of problems !!!!

      • FreudeKing says:

        It is worrying as these cars use the new engines (N55). I wonder if they also have the same problem with the new engine then, even though they said that these new engines have new components (and certain designs).

        Anyway, my next purchase will definitely not be a turbo charged BMW 3 litre and I am sure most potential buyers in this category will flock to other brands rather than BMW as clealy they do not have experience in making turbo charged engines with proper HPFP and turbos. This is the start of BMW’s turbo products back in 2007 and they have made a flop of it.

  6. Leonard says:

    As a professor of mechanical engineering and a veteran of the aerospace industry, I have always had an interest in high-performance cars. After a completely unacceptable ownership experience with a Porsche, I stayed away from German cars for many years and drove American V-8’s. I was finally considering giving BMW a try with one of their turbo-charged models. After reading the high-pressure fuel pump problems described here and elsewhere, a Cadillac CTS-V may be in my future.

  7. Bill Bnaks says:

    Groundhog day with my 2008 335xi coupe. Last winter I had the HHPP fail –started out with long crank time, followed up by engine malfunction. Dealer replaced fuel pump and updated software. In sept. of this year, crank issue reappeared. Dealer told me they could find nothing. Now that cold weather has set in, issue reappeared this past week. Dealer finally said YES–you have the problem again. So, I wanted more in terms of an answer. I told them to show me all print-outs relating to my car. ON Sept. 1, 2010 BMW issued an alert to dealer that my VIN was due for the so called recall. Dealer states they are not allowed to contact me until BMW allows them to. They called yesterday and stated that BMW would only allow a replacement of pump and no other work. I met with service manager, let him know this was absolute BS and they could keep the car. He pleaded and pleaded and I told him to find salesman so I could cancel my purchase of a new 335 convertible for my wife (was for X’mas) since I have lost faith in what I have always believed to be the best car maker in the world. So, now I wait. Took the car, but told them they should expect to hear form the local news media as I will be handing over the keys. What are the idiots in Germany thinking. Take the hgh road or the reputation will be like how we all treated Audi in the 80″s.

  8. FreudeKing says:

    So what’s wrong with replacing your pump. Do you mean they only allow one replacement in the lifetime of your vehicle even if the problem is occuring again?

  9. Bill Bnaks says:

    They will continue to replace the pump, but will not address the computer programming issue. In addition, why should I continue to drive with a flawed engine design and be at risk for an event that could become dengerous. This isn’t KIA or GM product we are talking about. It is supposed to be the best engineered car in the world and consumers should not have to deal with being treated like garbage and have the parent company do anythinng less than put out every effort to fix the issue and retain customer loyalty. Hiding from ths issue is the absolute worst PR and BMW is doing that.

    • FreudeKing says:

      Unfortunately you are now dealing with a company under new management. Their quest for improved share price, hence their own profits have made them embark on extensive cost cutting strategies. BMW had a record number of massive recalls this year (about 10), which shows the lack of quality controls in the design and production processes as they loudly and proudly announced the number of jobs they have cut. Another good example is the recent discovery of an employee stealing millions worth of stock before being discovered by BMW. You also have to accept that turbo technology is new to the BMW business. They just started using turbos and it is bound to have problems. Their attitude towards supporting their customers is unacceptable before and after the recall announcement.

      Can you image what this is going to do to their reputation as the next M5 and M6 will be using turbos as well!!!

  10. Sqz1121 says:

    My 2007 335i convertible was in the dealership for 5 days in September for HPFP issues. The fix at that time was a software update. I went to the dealership for an oil change on 12/24, and while I was there, I asked about the recall – if my car would still be recalled, as it had already had a software update. I was told that there is another software update that is needed. In addition, my car is now in line for a replacement pump and fuel jets. The irony – they wouldn’t do these fixes in September, but now they will. *sigh*

    I didn’t have time to replace the pump on Xmas eve, so I’ll have to schedule the work after the 1st of the year. My suggestion is that if you have an N54 car, call or stop by your local dealer’s service department to see what repairs/parts your car is scheduled for – don’t wait for the recall notice.

  11. Kmac191 says:

    And the problem continues on the 2011 535i. We’ve had a fuel pump failure every 6 weeks since the car was new. BMW is buying it back.

    @FreudeKing “So what’s wrong with replacing your pump?” Fuel pump failures are not without inconvenience. When it dies on the freeway, you have to deal with highway patrol, tow trucks, hours of time stolen from your day, trips back and forth to the dealership, and obviously, the danger related to unexpectedly stopping in the middle of high speed traffic.

    @wazon8: Until BMW explains the root cause of these failures, you’re simply guessing that it’s caused by low quality fuel. As recommended in the Owner’s Manual, we only use “Top Tier Detergent Gasoline Retailers.” Ironically, “BMW recommends BP fuels,” which are not on this list.

  12. Mike says:

    After spending countless hours and days taking in my 335i for check engine lights, spark plug/injector issues, I found the best fix. Sold my BMW and bought a mercedes; C63AMG. V8 – 481 HP, naturally aspirated, the way vehicles should be made. I tried to buy an M3 but the service was worse than the performance of the N54 fuel pump.

    I don’t have time to waste in dealerships and looking up service bulletins because the BMW mechanics either dont know what’s wrong or dont know how to fix it.

    It’s still cheaper for me to spend twice as much on gas than take time off from work to fix or attempt to fix my car.

    Good riddence.

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