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      10-05-2017, 10:31 PM   #1
mackeroni
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Some thoughts about water pump failure

I have surpassed 55,000 miles on my 2011 135i. So I am now officially in dangerous territory when it comes to my electric water pump. At least, that is the way I have been thinking for the last four years. Look at Dackel's survey, for crying out loud! I have been reading about failure after failure with little or no warning since 2013.

Last week, I called my local dealer to schedule my airbag replacement (finally!) and told the service writer, who I have known and trusted for several years, that I would also like a quote for water pump and thermostat replacement. He sounded surprised and asked what was wrong with my water pump. I reported that members of this forum have been posting a large number of failures in a bell-shaped curve with about 60,000 miles at the apex. He spent the next ten minutes talking me out of a pre-emptive replacement, explaining that we might have a couple hundred failures reported on our forum, but that they have not replaced even five percent of the water pumps in all the hundreds of cars with N54 or N55 engines that they have sold in the last seven or eight years.

He convinced me to wait until it fails. His logic seems sound. If 95% are NOT failing, why should I spend $900 needlessly. If the number of failures was truly high, there would already be a recall. So, I am going to wait...and try not to panic when I get more than an hour from home. That will be the hard part.

So, what do you think? Are we all doomed to an early water pump failure, or has our judgement been clouded by focusing only on the number of failures and not the number of pumps that just keep going?

Peace... Mack
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      10-06-2017, 02:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackeroni View Post
I have surpassed 55,000 miles on my 2011 135i. So I am now officially in dangerous territory when it comes to my electric water pump. At least, that is the way I have been thinking for the last four years. Look at Dackel's survey, for crying out loud! I have been reading about failure after failure with little or no warning since 2013.

Last week, I called my local dealer to schedule my airbag replacement (finally!) and told the service writer, who I have known and trusted for several years, that I would also like a quote for water pump and thermostat replacement. He sounded surprised and asked what was wrong with my water pump. I reported that members of this forum have been posting a large number of failures in a bell-shaped curve with about 60,000 miles at the apex. He spent the next ten minutes talking me out of a pre-emptive replacement, explaining that we might have a couple hundred failures reported on our forum, but that they have not replaced even five percent of the water pumps in all the hundreds of cars with N54 or N55 engines that they have sold in the last seven or eight years.

He convinced me to wait until it fails. His logic seems sound. If 95% are NOT failing, why should I spend $900 needlessly. If the number of failures was truly high, there would already be a recall. So, I am going to wait...and try not to panic when I get more than an hour from home. That will be the hard part.

So, what do you think? Are we all doomed to an early water pump failure, or has our judgement been clouded by focusing only on the number of failures and not the number of pumps that just keep going?

Peace... Mack
Nah. You have to understand that forums are going to always highlight the negatives of any vehicle.

My 335i has the original fuel pump and water pump and I'm at 88k. Could they fail any moment? Sure. Anything else under the hood could too. I'm not losing sleep over the fact that something in my car could fail and I'm left on the side of the road.

Until it fails, I'll jump in the car and enjoy the drive, with a smile.
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      10-06-2017, 07:47 AM   #3
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Any part that reaches the point where I'm wondering if it will fail imminently gets replaced. Unnecessary? Maybe, but peace of mind matters to me. Having experienced a major failure some 800 miles from home, having to deal with it in the middle of a road trip is not something I wish to repeat (for the record, this was not in a BMW).
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      10-06-2017, 08:16 AM   #4
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In in the same boat here. I have an extended warranty so I had decided to wait and see but as I get further up in miles I do get more nervous if planning a long trip.

I really wish there was more "warning" signs of failure. For example I used to own a BMW f650 GS motorcycle. They were famous for water pump failures but the pump had a weep hole. You could keep an eye on it and once you saw water weeping a bit & leaving residue there you knew it was time.

The pole we need to take is how many LCI or w/ replaced pumps have gone over 65-80 k?
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      10-06-2017, 09:32 AM   #5
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Also look at it this way, when's the last time a dealership has talked you OUT of giving them money?

Forums are always going to give you a skewed perspective of reliability. It's super easy to make a thread saying your car broke, but not nearly as many 'yeah my car is running 100% fine.'

Last edited by desertman123; 10-06-2017 at 11:03 AM.
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      10-06-2017, 10:49 AM   #6
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Agree with dealership & others here. WAIT & perhaps join AAA for some peace of mind.
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      10-06-2017, 11:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackeroni View Post
I have surpassed 55,000 miles on my 2011 135i. So I am now officially in dangerous territory when it comes to my electric water pump. At least, that is the way I have been thinking for the last four years. Look at Dackel's survey, for crying out loud! I have been reading about failure after failure with little or no warning since 2013.

Last week, I called my local dealer to schedule my airbag replacement (finally!) and told the service writer, who I have known and trusted for several years, that I would also like a quote for water pump and thermostat replacement. He sounded surprised and asked what was wrong with my water pump. I reported that members of this forum have been posting a large number of failures in a bell-shaped curve with about 60,000 miles at the apex. He spent the next ten minutes talking me out of a pre-emptive replacement, explaining that we might have a couple hundred failures reported on our forum, but that they have not replaced even five percent of the water pumps in all the hundreds of cars with N54 or N55 engines that they have sold in the last seven or eight years.

He convinced me to wait until it fails. His logic seems sound. If 95% are NOT failing, why should I spend $900 needlessly. If the number of failures was truly high, there would already be a recall. So, I am going to wait...and try not to panic when I get more than an hour from home. That will be the hard part.

So, what do you think? Are we all doomed to an early water pump failure, or has our judgement been clouded by focusing only on the number of failures and not the number of pumps that just keep going?

Peace... Mack
I agree with him. There's no point in replacing it preemptively. Is it more likely to fail at 60ishK miles? Sure. Does that mean it definitely will? No. Don't spend money fixing things that aren't broken.
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      10-06-2017, 11:52 AM   #8
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My car is my only car and I live alone... and so a break-down of any kind quickly turns into a major inconvenience. I drove an E36 Coupe for 15 years and to 170K miles and thanks to many PMs (all by me) it stranded me only one time... when the one power steering line I had not replaced failed at a crimp. My E82 stranded me after less than a year when the water pump failed, and then again earlier this year when the starter cable went bad.

Thing with me, however, is I'm tired of working on cars. My water pump was replaced CPO. The starter cable was done by my dealer at a cost to me of $550 (to replace a $75 part I could have done myself). My dealer is a pleasant experience... the place is squeaky clean, the people are very nice, and they give me a loaner to drive $0. And so at this point in my life I guess I have more money than I do time and interest in working on cars.

I've thought about having my HPFP replaced... but I don't want to do it and so there it sits. I had the car at my dealer last week for an airbag and I asked about tire pressure sensors (I started another thread on this) and my SA talked me out of it. That's not something that will strand me and so I guess I'll wait.

And so perhaps PMs are a good (perhaps great) idea if you do your own work and find that fun and worth your time. That's not where I am at this point in my life and so I guess I'll wait for the next thing to break. I have a BMW credit card and will use that as "insurance" for the cost of the next repair (I can apply points to repair costs at a dealer and I have over $1K available).

I absolutely hate new BMWs and so when my E82 gets too old to be worth keeping, I will leave the brand and get something reliable and boring. I drove a '17 330i last week while my airbag was being done and was that thing garbage, I would *never* own that car, I hated everything about it.
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      10-06-2017, 11:55 AM   #9
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Approaching 90k on my original pump. Gonna wait til it fails. Kinda curious at this point to be honest.

That said... I think it may have something to do with coolant contamination.
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      10-06-2017, 12:11 PM   #10
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IDK... I was in the wait and see attitude(too...) until my pump(or rather e-thermostat) sprouted a leak. IF you wait until it fails... it just might fail and leave you with a $1,500 repair bill out in the middle of know where's land. I would rather replace the pump/e-stat and u-shaped hose WHEN its convenient for me.

As we all know all too well... when the pump fails... it will be without much notice.

I think you are on borrowed time. Sooner or later we shall know.

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      10-06-2017, 02:12 PM   #11
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If the possibilities of what could happen if it fails are bothering you that much, then just replace it. Otherwise just forget about it if you can and drive on. Also, get AAA (as mentioned above) if you don't already have it for these kind of emergencies.

With that said, personally I'd probably replace it if it was bothering me because I can't stand worrying about things like that. It would always be in the back of my mind and it has to be replaced sooner or later anyway and you could possibly save yourself some unwanted and unnecessary trouble. Granted, it will probably have to be replaced again at some point but I would expect that to be pretty far down the road.
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      10-06-2017, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeddo45 View Post
Nah. You have to understand that forums are going to always highlight the negatives of any vehicle.

My 335i has the original fuel pump and water pump and I'm at 88k. Could they fail any moment? Sure. Anything else under the hood could too. I'm not losing sleep over the fact that something in my car could fail and I'm left on the side of the road.

Until it fails, I'll jump in the car and enjoy the drive, with a smile.
Thanks Jeddo. I will try to emulate your cheerful driving disposition!
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-06-2017, 03:46 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 02Pilot View Post
Any part that reaches the point where I'm wondering if it will fail imminently gets replaced. Unnecessary? Maybe, but peace of mind matters to me. Having experienced a major failure some 800 miles from home, having to deal with it in the middle of a road trip is not something I wish to repeat (for the record, this was not in a BMW).
I was left at the side of the road at various distances from home by a 1992 Mazda MX3 GS several times for a sporadic and repetitive ignition ECU failure! But that does not make me want to replace any part that MIGHT fail in my BMW. Shoot, it might be cheaper to just keep a spare car handy.
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-06-2017, 03:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NorthernDancer View Post
Agree with dealership & others here. WAIT & perhaps join AAA for some peace of mind.
Good advice. I already have a roadside assistance rider on my insurance. So, yeah...I know a tow is only a phone call away. Wish that made me feel better. Haha!
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-06-2017, 03:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShocknAwe View Post
Approaching 90k on my original pump. Gonna wait til it fails. Kinda curious at this point to be honest.

That said... I think it may have something to do with coolant contamination.
Thanks. I had the same thought, so I scheduled the dealer's $99 Coolant Flush and Fill special. Hope it helps!
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-06-2017, 07:33 PM   #16
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Just wait and hope that it's a convenient time when it acts up. +1 on the AAA part but I've always been a member because they have great customer service.
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      10-09-2017, 09:19 AM   #17
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I have a 2013 BMW 135is. Does it have the same water pump and thermostat failure rates as the older models or did they do something to help mitigate the issues?


-Sam
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      10-09-2017, 01:19 PM   #18
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I hope your pump last 150k, my "12 335i went at 42k and luckily I was close to my house. My "08 135i with 125k had it changed at 75k. I am in the preventative camp myself, but that is probably easier for DIYers. If I had to pay a shop I might well wait until it blew up. :-)
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      10-09-2017, 03:56 PM   #19
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Mine didn't fail, but the housing was leaking at the plastic/metal seam (common). No way to fix the leak so the water pump/thermostat/coolant was all done at 90k or right about 9 years. I'd suggest waiting until it actually needs replaced.
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      10-09-2017, 08:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamelCamel View Post
I have a 2013 BMW 135is. Does it have the same water pump and thermostat failure rates as the older models or did they do something to help mitigate the issues?


-Sam
Hey Sam Cam,

First off, the thermostat is generally changed at the same time as the water pump for convenience only. The part is less expensive and the whole works are apart, so it makes sense to replace the thermostat even if it is working.

Secondly, I checked RealOEM.com and OEMBimmerparts.com and both show the same BMW part number for the water pump for the whole range of US 135 models produced from 2008 through 2013. So it looks like you have the same risk of failure as the rest of us.

Peace... Mack
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-09-2017, 09:04 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08135IFL View Post
Mine didn't fail, but the housing was leaking at the plastic/metal seam (common). No way to fix the leak so the water pump/thermostat/coolant was all done at 90k or right about 9 years. I'd suggest waiting until it actually needs replaced.
If I were you, I would consider myself extremely fortunate. I would happily take a leaky gasket at 90K discovered in the comfort of my dealer's service bay as opposed to a water pump failure invoking limp mode at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

Peace... Mack
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So, that's it. I am doomed. There is no patch, no methadone, no substitute. Curse you BMW. Curse you and your seamless power delivery. Curse the incredible sense of road feel. Curse the comfort, the luxury, the envious looks from the masses. I am... hopelessly addicted.
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      10-09-2017, 10:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackeroni View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by 08135IFL View Post
Mine didn't fail, but the housing was leaking at the plastic/metal seam (common). No way to fix the leak so the water pump/thermostat/coolant was all done at 90k or right about 9 years. I'd suggest waiting until it actually needs replaced.
If I were you, I would consider myself extremely fortunate. I would happily take a leaky gasket at 90K discovered in the comfort of my dealer's service bay as opposed to a water pump failure invoking limp mode at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

Peace... Mack
Most definitely. That would be my choice.
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