Stalling Problem with 2004 BMW 325i Wagon, Frustrated in Arcadia :(


We have a 2004 BMW 325i wagon. It began stalling on us when placing the car in reverse. Then it would start up again but after about 20 miles it began to stall on us showing the dynamic brake light, emergency brake light, and finally with a series of engine revs then stalling and unable to start. Our mechanic tried changing throttle body to no avail. Diagnostic tool was pointing to the computer losing memory, so he had that fixed. Car was running great for the past five days just going back and forth to work. It started to happen again today after a longer trip. Seems affected by heat? uggggh! We are very frustrated. Our mechanic is trying so hard and has extensive experience with BMWs, Mercedes and lot’s of other types, he even credited us the work on the throttle body and loaned us one of his own cars to use. The car recently has had bushings, control arms, and brake pads replaced and prior to that the fuel pump, water pump, and a few leaks fixed over the last year. Also, we are told that a gasket will need replacing (head gasket) Our car makes a noise at times like it is a sad little banshee as well… Thoughts? Help? Car has about 128,000 miles on it.

Time to bail out.

From now on your BMW will cost you more than you are willing to spend, or more than most of us are willing to spend. There is no end in sight.

Sorry, but It’s time to replace this car.

I would rig a voltmeter to a plug in the lighter socket and see if the system charging voltage varies when this thing acts up. The computers in these things are quite sensitive to voltage variations.

I suspect that the gasket that needs replacing is the valve cover gasket, which would be routine for a BMW of this age and miles. Actually, they usually don’t last this long. That is no big deal. In fact, you could replace it yourself with minimal tools

The fuel pump is a known weak spot with this car, as are the window regulators and the plastic guides in the sunroof. I’d guess that the leaks you have recently fixed were probably power steering hoses and the water temperature sensor O-ring. Other than those superficial things, these cars are quite reliable. I own two 1997 328s, a 2004 330, and a 2004 325iT wagon. I love these cars. The most expensive repair that has ever been done on any of them was the fuel pump on the 330, and that was done on the extended warranty. One of the '97s has 275k miles on it and it still looks and runs great. However, if you don’t like doing your own maintenance, BMWs, even the 3 series, can get spendy after 100k miles.