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Fuel Pump Woes - BMW Recalls 130,000 Vehicles

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author photo by Autotrader November 2010

BMW is wrestling with two fuel pump problems, causing the company to issue recalls on any vehicles powered by its current twin-turbo 3.5-liter straight six engine and also its 3.0-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder.

The first defect pertains to a high-pressure fuel pump in the 335i built between 2007 and 2010; the 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i made from 2008 to 2010; and the 2009 and 2010 model year Z4 sDrive35i. This amounts to around 130,000 vehicles.

The pump carries a risk of failure at high speeds. This will cause a loss of power and set the engine into a “limp” mode where the driver can get home or at least pull over to the side of the road and call for assistance. BMW spokesman Thomas Plucinsky says the company doesn’t see this as a safety issue “at all.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agrees. The administration says it had “found no safety defect... only 19 complaints involving an actual engine stall had been identified.”

Frequently, consumers use the word ‘stalling’ in their complaints even though the engine doesn’t stall but rather exhibits reduced motive power. The agency will continue to monitor complaints and other information to look for potential safety problems.”

Tell-tale signs include “long engine starting times and sometimes the illumination of the ‘Service Engine Soon’ light in the instrument cluster, possibly accompanied by reduced engine performance,” according to BMW’s official statement.

The other issue is with the possible failure of a low-pressure fuel pump deployed in the 2008 X5 3.0si SUV. Increased wear of an internal component may cause the engine to stall. BMW says this affects 20,800 X5 models only.

No accidents have been reported because of either defect. Notifications will begin in November by first-class mail.

Owners may contact BMW customer relations on 800 563-4269 or email customerrelations@bmwusa.com.

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Fuel Pump Woes - BMW Recalls 130,000 Vehicles - Autotrader