Smoking 2002 BMW 530 i


Hi, my husband dropped off my 2002 BMW 530i at the dealership this morning because smoke began billowing out of the car this weekend and a warning message said to add oil, which we did. My husband also told them it is leaking water. The car has about 54,000 miles. We have used another BMW dealership in town in the past and have been pretty happy with the experience. The new dealership gave us a quite a list of repairs totaling $5400 (see below). The leaking cyclone separator is supposed to be causing the smoke. Can someone tell me which of these are reasonable?

As a side note, we recently drove to San Diego from Phoenix and the car’s display said the coolant level was low. When we checked the level looked normal. I also had it checked at the dealership where they checked for leaks but didn’t find any. They said driving in the hot weather may have caused the sensor to overreact.

Replace splash shields $162.50

Replace both upper control arms $987.58

Cyclone separator is leaking internally $839.47

Install nitrogen in tires $59.95

Perform engine decarbonation $150

Replace water pump $711.57

Replace all cooling system hoses $1015.96

Perform power steering fluid exchange $165

Mount/balance two new tires $780

Perform brake fluid exchange $150

Perform 4 wheel alignment $195

Perform fuel injection service $150

Thanks, I don’t want to be cheap but this is a lot of money for someone who knows so little about cars to part with willingly!

Based on that laundry list that they gave you, I would suggest getting an opinion/diagnosis from another BMW shop.

None of us know the condition of your upper control arms or your water pump, so it is very possible that these items need to be replaced. However, several of the items (and their accompanying prices) are the bogus types of things that only someone looking to loot your wallet would recommend. I refer specifically to:

Install nitrogen in tires $59.95
Perform engine decarbonation $150
Perform fuel injection service $150

Additionally, some of the other prices are truly outrageous (Replace all cooling system hoses $1015.96; Mount/balance two new tires $780), even if you do need to have hoses and/or tires replaced.

If I were you, I would drive away from that place very rapidly.

Here in Tucson the “cyclone seperator” (also know as a crankcase vent valve,BMW’s version on a PCV valve) would cost around $500.00 parts and labor. Customer pay labor time is 3 hrs,so they are really sticking it to you on both parts and labor. The job is a little tough but if its your profession you deal with it.

When these valves rupture they can cause the car to “moo” like a cow.

I could do that water pump (and have) in 1hr.

They aren’t giving you any break on combining jobs.

One thing I can’t picture is upper control arms,lower yes.