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Old 31st July 2010, 20:56   #1
abk
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Exclamation Beeping sound when reverse gear is engaged in BMW 540i

Technical gurus, I am faced with a go no-go situation of buying a used BMW 540i 2001 V8 4.4L model in Indiana, US with 134k miles clocked on the car's odometer. One of the primary decision elements is the current "malfunction" of the reverse gear beeping.

The car has automatic gearbox.
  1. Whenever the reverse gear is engagaged there is a beep beep sound inside the car, regardless of the car's rear being blocked by an obstacle or clear for several yards.
  2. When the gear is shifted to forward driving the short sharp beeps continue. It changes to a long beep and buzzes for 2 minutes or so and then stops. The behaviour is the same even if the gear is set to neutral or parking from the reverse.
  3. Apparently, there is no display on the dashboard to indicate a malfunction whilst the beep sounds. I have still got to figure out all the jazzy display and electronics

The owner of the car was in a hurry and spent only about 30 mins showing me the car which is much less than what i'd have liked. I have scheduled another appointment with him on Monday 02 Aug to elaborately "inspect" the car, & hopefully pay him up and close the deal. I must mention that the car is a beauty - grossly powerful and absolutely indulging inside. I am already smitten & sold!

In the meanwhile, I would want your thoughts and advices on the cause of the problem, severity & resolution. It scares me to think i might have to spend a fortune getting this seemingly "trivial" problem fixed.

Additionally, on a side note:
  • The car's steering felt rather heavy and tight. I don't know if that's characteristic of a car as heavy as BMW 540i (1700 kgs).
  • The brakes felt rather smooth than sharp. The owner informed me that all the discs have been changed and has been less than 1000miles on the new discs. However, as much I gleaned from the 540i's user manual it takes under 300 miles for the discs to break-in

I'll soon be out to test drive a BMW 328 in a local dealer here for clarification on the above 2 points. Unfortunately, where I live (Warsaw) in Indiana there aren't BMW or Mercs in miles and miles. So choices are extremely tight.

Looking forward to hearing from the community. Thanks in advance!
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Old 31st July 2010, 21:30   #2
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Is it an autobox?

The main solution is to hook it to a Scanner and get error codes. But i think labor and service are expensive in USA.
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Old 31st July 2010, 21:52   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
Is it an autobox?

The main solution is to hook it to a Scanner and get error codes. But i think labor and service are expensive in USA.
Yes SirAlec, it is an autobox.

Am looking for a 20-point checking service around the vicinity where I live but none of the vendors available around do BMW :(
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Old 31st July 2010, 23:15   #4
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Autobox is very difficult to repair. Even if you ask an experience engineer he will say the same.

Ans you are looking at a BMW, service of which is expensive in India, so US will be much more. Parts is no problem there unlike here in India though.

can you post some images of the vehicle.
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Old 31st July 2010, 23:32   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
Autobox is very difficult to repair. Even if you ask an experience engineer he will say the same.

Ans you are looking at a BMW, service of which is expensive in India, so US will be much more. Parts is no problem there unlike here in India though.

can you post some images of the vehicle.
Certainly! Here you go. These are pics posted by the current owner. I hope to have the beast under my name come Monday and then post better and more detailed pics.
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Old 1st August 2010, 14:26   #6
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i must say its a very well kept car for 1.30 lac mile.
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Old 1st August 2010, 23:55   #7
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@abk
134000 mile is 2,15,606 KM and dont you think this car has run too much ?
I am not sure about BMW engine life, but cars in India at this rate most of them have engine job to be done.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 00:22   #8
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Did the car have a paint job? Check that out. Any place that does a 20 point check can tell you whether the car's had a paint job. If they'd painted the sensor, then it's going to beep.
Might be a silly thing, but I do notice that the car is gleaming. Some detailing work has happened, may be some paint job as well. it's gleaming too much for a 100K + miles car.
It's the rear sensor that's faulty or obstructed I guess.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 00:27   #9
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Originally Posted by johnruben View Post
@abk
134000 mile is 2,15,606 KM and dont you think this car has run too much ?
I am not sure about BMW engine life, but cars in India at this rate most of them have engine job to be done.
Innova of my friend is more than 3.6 lacs KM on ODO. Not relevant here but just FYI
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Old 2nd August 2010, 01:08   #10
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MX6 is right! Generally ppl there get the car detailed before selling! that explains the shine, interior cleanliness and the blackened tyre sidewall!

Though I feel polishing isn't upto the mark!

A pro detailer in your area can tell if the panel is repainted or not! you can consult them!
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Old 2nd August 2010, 01:50   #11
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Default 3.6Lacs is simply superb :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThE Godfather View Post
Innova of my friend is more than 3.6 lacs KM on ODO. Not relevant here but just FYI
3.6Lacs is simply superb
but what i feel is Cars with higher mileage compared to lower one's might need more attention and expenditure, I bet you have to agree with me on this
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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:00   #12
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I agree on that completely! But you know his Innova really not expensive to maintain. Nevermind, back to topic
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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:01   #13
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@johnruben: It can go the other way as well. A car that has hardly been driven might require more expenditure as well, as some of the parts may just rot due to lack of use.
Also, cars that are used frequently on the highway generally show less signs of wear and tear and can be in better shape than one that has been used sparingly.
More important than mileage is to see how well the car has been treated and maintained.

However, this car has been driven roughly 15K miles/year, which is about the average a car in the states is usually driven, and a lot of that is usually on the highways, so if the maintainance records are clear, and the car looks and feels good to drive, it usually is.

@abk: Do run a carfax on this car, and take it to a good mechanic to get it checked as well. Firestone and Tire Pro's do check out cars for a small fee, and tell you how the car is performing. Also, do check to see that all the electricals work. When I got my used 02 Galant a year back, I failed to see if the electricals worked, and ended up with a non-functional air con vent, and cigarette lighter/accessory sockets.
Here's a tip: Most garages put a sticker on the top left hand corner of the windshield stating when the car was serviced last/or needs to be serviced. Generally, they should be serviced every 3000 miles.
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Old 2nd August 2010, 02:13   #14
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Thank you folks for your responses. Some clarifications:
  • I do not intend to stay in US for too long. May be another 5-6 months or so
  • I think these pics were taken quite a while back
  • Yesterday I test drove a BMW 325xi manual year 2001 with 144k miles on odo & found the steering wheel a li'l on the heavier side. Probably, this was a common characteristic of BMWs, at least year 2001 models?

@lamborghini: Thanks a lot for your tips! Yes, I have the carfax report from the owner besides running my own autocheck report. Both the reports are good, except a period of about 1 year during 2007-08 when the car was driven only for 28 miles!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnruben View Post
3.6Lacs is simply superb
but what i feel is Cars with higher mileage compared to lower one's might need more attention and expenditure, I bet you have to agree with me on this
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnruben View Post
@abk
134000 mile is 2,15,606 KM and dont you think this car has run too much ?
I am not sure about BMW engine life, but cars in India at this rate most of them have engine job to be done.
Completely agree johnruben. However, I may not drive more than 6k miles before returning to India, hopefully! Besides, if I were to drive a BMW 540i within my budget I'll have to make allowances in certain areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by sohail99 View Post
MX6 is right! Generally ppl there get the car detailed before selling! that explains the shine, interior cleanliness and the blackened tyre sidewall!

Though I feel polishing isn't upto the mark!

A pro detailer in your area can tell if the panel is repainted or not! you can consult them!
Yes sohail99, fortunately I found a car inspection service around that works on BMW. Will get it done tomorrow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Did the car have a paint job? Check that out. Any place that does a 20 point check can tell you whether the car's had a paint job. If they'd painted the sensor, then it's going to beep.
Might be a silly thing, but I do notice that the car is gleaming. Some detailing work has happened, may be some paint job as well. it's gleaming too much for a 100K + miles car.
It's the rear sensor that's faulty or obstructed I guess.
Very interesting observation indeed, MX6. I did check the sensors quickly and they did not appear painted / obstructed. Even if they were, the beep should go silent as soon as the gear is shifted from reverse to neutral or forward, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
i must say its a very well kept car for 1.30 lac mile.
The car did appear well kept SirAlec. However, i think this is a general treatment to most of the premium cars in at least the part of US where I live.

Last edited by abk : 2nd August 2010 at 02:18. Reason: included latest reply
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Old 3rd August 2010, 05:55   #15
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Talking My German mistress comes home

Folks, deal's done. Drove my German mistress home. While overtaking a truck she purred effortlessly to 100mph in no time. Whew!!! I don't want to waste all my hard earned money paying off speeding tickets
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