Jul 142011

Last week I was part of a discussion thread in the BMW group on LinkedIn.  An owner of a 2005 BMW 325 was in shock after going to his dealer with a fuel pump problem, and was desperate for help.

He was desperate because the dealer had quoted him a price of $6,500 for the part alone, labor not included! This was because he owned a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV), that achieved its super low emissions partly through a stainless steel gas tank, with the fuel filter totally enclosed within the tank. To replace the filter, the entire tank must be replaced. These cars were sold in four states between 2002 and 2005 — more info here from Wikipedia and here from Bimmerforums.

Diagram of stainless steel tank courtesy of realoem.com

The price quoted was correct, but a very critical piece of information was left out. The emission components of a BMW SULEV vehicle carry a 15 year or 150K mile warranty. But no one at the dealership told him that — he needed to find that out in the LI group.

Not that his dealership gave in without a fight. According to him:

Greg, Christopher. Speaking about honoring…The local BMW dealer either was clueless or they know exactly how to act in regards to SULEV and my problem ! Not only the local dealer, but the BMWNA as well. Both were singing the same song of $6,500 , not covered by warranty :) Sad reality.

Eventually the repair was made under warranty. So through some online research and the help of other BMW owners, this guy probably saved around $8K in parts and labor.

So this story had a happy ending, thanks to the power of communities of interest connecting online. You just can’t own these cars out of warranty without doing a lot of research. You need to reach out to fellow owners and take advantage of information others have already found.

Maybe this dealer honestly didn’t know about the extended SULEV warranty. But it was their job to know. Don’t depend on a dealer for warranty and repair information – unleash the power of the Internet and tap into the wisdom of the online crowd.

  41 Responses to “Wisdom of the Crowd Saves BMW SULEV owner”

  1. I love it when you use the phrase ” unleash the power of the internet “.

    Your Bro

  2. I am having the same problem with my vehicle and have been researching for two weeks. I have no idea which direction to turn to and I have already spent $1500. The part replacement is $6400. Any direction would be great.

  3. Which BMW dealership was Samuel’s BMW fixed at? I am having problems with my fuel tank (2004 BMW 325 Ci SULEV PZEV) as well and both BMW dealerships and BMWNA keep ignoring my requests to honor their 15 year/150,000 mile emissions related warranty. Please help!

    • I am on my second gas tank on my 2004 BMW. The first tank was right after buying the car. The second one at 35,000 miles. My dealership wanted to charge me $10,000. Went home and got on the internet and read about the law suit. Now just wondering how long this one willl last. By the way BMW payed for the $10,000 gas tank.

  4. Chris,

    Many thanks for the input. I have put the warranty question to my sales guy at VOB BMW. If they come up with the wrong answer, I will contact BMW NA.



  5. I guess I am out of luck. My car just reached 164,000 miles and of course my problem is that the fuel pump goes out and no longer has warranty.

  6. Hi, I am having the same problem. My mechanic quoted $6700 (parts alone). He mentioned that he had taled to the dealer and they said there is no warrantly. I’m in Glendale, CA. Please let me know if there is a dealer who knows abou this. Thanks.

    • Hi Arun, sorry to hear about your trouble. Is your car under the 15 year/150K miles mark? If so, I have a number for BMW HQ customer service you can try.

      • My 2004 BMW 325i SULEV is in the dealership right now. They have said NOTHING about this 15 yr/150K mile warranty, I am well within both.
        They say 8300.00 to fix plus labor, I have a warranty plan, and they do not even know about this, they are hesitant on covering this.
        Please send me the BMW NA HQ phone number

        Thanks so much,

  7. I am SO glad I found this website. Like everyone else here my fuel pump failed and I got the news that my 2004 BMW 325i would cost $8,130 to fix! The Blue Book value on the car was only about $11k so the car was essentially “totalled”. I live in North Carolina and bought the car used from a former New York resident. I had no idea I even owned one of the special Super Ultra Low Emmissions Vehicles. The car only has 48,000 miles on it. Trust me, the BMW dealership here never heard of the special warranty (15 years/150,000 miles). I called BMW North America customer service and got a similar run around. “It is not covered”. When I found this blog, I called BMW NA and they did acknowledge the special warranty but said it only applied to vehicles registered and operated primarily in California, Maine, Massachusetts or Vermont. I demanded a copy of the warranty and discovered on page 37 “BMW NA warrants to the original owner and each subsequent owner”… There was NO geographical restrictions. So after 3 weeks of wrangling and fighting I got the local dealer to cover the fix. They had to order the gas tank from Germany as there were none available in the continental US. Alls well that ends well, so keep fighting and don’t take NO for an answer!

  8. I had an issue with the gas gasket valve and was told this was covered under this warranty 2 years After I have fixed it from a local mechanic. I don’t feel this is ethical and will call BMW to see what they can do. I originally called the 2 years ago about this issue and they basically said “too bad, you are out off warranty”

    • Linda — I’m very sorry to hear that. I appreciate your comment — it helps to get the word out. You might want to check out my post last month on this topic, Bimmer and Roundel magazines have said they will be covering this topic in upcoming issues.

  9. I just took it into BMW South County in San Diego and they knew everything about the warranty, they covered the tank and filter replace and my camshaft position sensors also, they’re the best in So CA

  10. Funny thing is that i have the same problem with my car but after reading this article i called the dealer and asked them for the warranty information they tried to dispute it, i told them that the SULVE has a 15 year warranty but anyway after going and forth they approved to do it for free. thank you Chris for the information and you just saved me $8000.

  11. Hello, I own a bmw 328i 2007 coupe and I have to say that I love my car and I love BMW of Riverside CA they have the best customer service ever and this is my second car with them but my 3 bmw…..Since I was out of my warranty and found out that I had an engine oil leak to my spark plugs that was going to cost from 1200.00 to 1400.00 to fix but I called my friends at BMW of Riverside and was told by my advisor that this may be covered under the SULVE warranty (really! what’s that) and I took it in ASAP and yes it was covered!!!!!! I love that they are always upfront with me and love the cookies:) Even if your not under warranty always check with the experts at BMW.

    • I have a 2004 BMW with 35,000 miles on it. I just ran into the same problem with my car. I need a new gas tank for $8000.00 but BMW says it is not responsible. I bought my car in California new and just last year I moved to Minnesota, but as I read it that should not have any thing to do with the warranty. The dealer here tells me to contact BMW of America and they say my dealer has to take care of it. Please HELP!!

  12. This is good to know, I recently purchased a bmw and its a SULEV vehicle and yes..the dealer didnt explain what Im reading here in the forum. I will check it out. Thanks

  13. I was told the same thing about my wife’s 2005 BMW 325ia. Where can I find the warranty information for the car related to SULEV standards?

  14. Please give me some info. On where I can find the warranty stating 150,000/15 years my dealer does not have any knowledge of such a sulev warranty neither did BMW na. I’m I’m need of s new fuel pump/fuel tank. Low milage on my 325i

  15. OMG. I have a 2003 325i SULEV with the integrated fuel pump.167k miles. The car ran perfect until last Thursday Sept. 19, 2013. Since then it only cranks and does not start. I do not hear the fuel pump run. the fuse is good. i am dreading the possibility of the fuel pump being bad. i may have to scrap the car. it is so sad as it was such a beautiful car to drive. The body is perfect and the interior is nice and it drove perfectly. What a farce of a design. I am not clear why this design is even in place. Other 325i for the year and on YouTube show a removable fuel pump that can be replaced in 20 minutes.

  16. I was at Rusnak BMW, Thousand Oaks CA a month ago (10/28) for a brake job, and they found some oil leak by the head cover gasket that would cost me $1,100.00 to fix it. I did not do it since I just spent $800.00 for the brake job and was not ready for this “surprise”. A couple weeks later, I shopped around and Steve Thomas BMW in Camarillo, CA quoted me $700.00 for the same job. I took it in and they found out that the leak was actually from the eccentric shaft sensor and not the valve cover gasket! Whom do I believe? That part would cost me $500.00 and the valve cover must be removed for the job anyway. So I went ahead and did it for $1300.00 total. Last Friday 11/22, Rusnak called me and said that my car is a 2007 SULEV and the valve cover gasket leak would be covered under the 15Y/150,000 miles emission warranty! So you know how high I wanted to jump :-) Why on earth did they not tell me a month ago at the time of the service? Anyway, I relayed the info to Steve Thomas BMW who is working on giving me some credit which I surely hope! I’ll let you know how it goes once I got it.

    Thanks so much for the info in this forum and I feel obligated to share my experience with you all. Bottom line, no more BMW for me after this one!!!

  17. Are they having the same issues with the 2010 sulev 328 xi’s? any new issues, and is the 15/150 warranty still available? Same engine?

    • Hi Mike — yes, there is the same warranty. However, the design changed from the E46 to the E90 models. Repair no longer requires replacement of the entire fuel tank. Good luck with your repair.

  18. hey Guys, I NEED HELP!
    my dealership was wildling to do the whole thinng over the phone, then when he got the car they backed out because the car has 165k miles on it. so it did pass the 150k miles range.
    Can you guide me of how to fix this outside dealership?
    any clue on this spare part number and if it’s found online???
    if that’s not an option, then i would have to either JUNK my beautiful car, or buy another old one with a working pump!!
    please let me know if anyone can HELPPPPPPP!
    Sam CA, SULEV victim :)

  19. Does anyone know if the warranty applies to E92s in Washington state for radiator replacement? My car is 2008, 102k miles and it’s SULEV.

  20. I have this warranty but my problem is with the intake manifold having a vacuum leak and they want 2500 to repair, they are telling me that intake manifold isn’t covered but according to my warranty booklet any system causing vehicle to fail emission test is covered. What next steps should I take

  21. hello,
    May purchase a 2010 328i sulev and it has 75,000 mile i am just wondering after reading all this should i continue to look at this car? is the 2010 to E90 Model and how does this model respond?

    • You need to call customer service BMW North America and confirm if the 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty for the SULEV models is still in effect. It was for my 2005, but they may have changed since then. I would not buy the car without the warranty. They have to remove your rear axle and back seat in order to replace the entire fuel tank. It was $6,500 two years ago, likely more now.

  22. Hello, I have a 2003 325i SULEV with just over 100k miles. I have a leaking radiator but it’s the one that is coated with a catalyst and has a sticker under the hood stating that it’s part of the emissions system. I also have a SEL light on and after scanning it I found that an O2 sensor has also failed. My thought would be that since these are listed as emissions components they should be repaired for free under the SULEV warranty. What do you guys think?

    • Maybe so. It is best to call customer service for BMW North America. If your local dealership was like mine, they didn’t have a clue. They didn’t even know this extended warranty existed.

      • My appointment with the dealer is next Friday so I sent an email to the service manager yesterday asking that they respond advising about it. It should give them plenty of time to research it, at least I hope…..

  23. Ok great news!!!!

    I won’t divulge the name of my local dealership till next week simply because I would not want them to get mad that I posted this and go back on what they told me but….

    I now have it in writing, direct from the service manager at my dealership that the radiator on my 2003 325i SULEV IS covered under warranty. It took me sending them a copy of a tech bulletin from BMW NA that someone leaked online. They had told me that only a temp sensor was covered but after sending them this file, they came back with a change and said the radiator is covered. The file in question is called M56sulev.pdf in case anyone wants to google it. I do not know how to attache a copy of it here otherwise I would.

  24. I have a 2004 sulev BMW 325i
    While on vacation in big bear California, our fuel pump went out.
    We found out about the 15year/150,000 mile sulev warranty. We have less than 150,000 miles on our car.
    The dealer told us to tow it over…it cost me $275 to tow it from big bear to Ontario BMW.
    Once my car was at the dealership- the receptionist called me and said that we are not covered because our car is not registered in the state of California.
    I’m from Nevada. Ugh.
    The dealership sent me a copy of a 2016 warranty- since the car was purchased in 2004 I’m gonna look for a copy of my original owners handbook for more information.
    Does anyone have experience with this?

    • I live in North Carolina. My 2004 BMW 325 SULEV fuel pump went out and when I discovered the 150,000 mile warranty I called BMW North America. The SULEV vehicles were manufactured to comply with emission standards in California, Vermont and New York. I bought my car from a New York resident, but the car was registered in North Carolina so they, too, told me it was not covered. B.S. I obtained a copy of the warranty and there is NO mention of a required state of registration. I kept pushing up the chain of command at BMW North America customer service and the replacement was covered in full! I did have to wait about 6 weeks for the part to come from Germany, but the cost was about $8,000 and I had to pay nothing. Good luck Reiko!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>