BMW, the pride of Bavaria, holds a special place with us. An important mentor early in my automotive career, Alex Seigel is a true blue Bavarian, a German Meister technician, and a faithful fan of his homeland’s iconic automobiles and motorcycles. With Alex and his German values, we became early adopters of important BMW services and technologies including: engine performance analysis with 5-gas exhaust analysis and dynamic compression tests, factory software updates, M-motor valve adjustments, important BMW fluids, battery registrations, correct brake service techniques, etc, etc.
Following my tenure with Alex, I founded Utah’s favorite independent BMW service center. As a result, I now bring to Galloping Gertie’s Garage a 15 year strong background and love of my old mentor’s favorite automobiles: BMW.
Galloping Gertie’s offers your BMW these special services – services that go beyond what you will find at authorized franchise BMW service centers:
THE BMW WE COULDN’T FIX
To keep it brief: The president of the Utah (Wasatch) chapter of the BMWCCA was a great source of referrals for our shop as he regularly bragged up our capabilities – this included referring the purchaser of his nice BMW M3 to us.
The M3 visited a couple of times for simpler services, but eventually came in with a check-engine light concern. The repair path started with a camshaft position sensor, but also unfortunately required a new DME (engine computer) as the old sensor damaged it. Costs escalated and worse, the vehicle just wouldn’t run correctly. It didn’t like to idle and would regularly stall when coming to a stop and trying to idle. We spent countless hours diagnosing anything and everything that could impact idle performance: vacuum leak checks, electrical and charging systems, engine basics – air induction, fuel pressure / ignition spark, even valve timing. No success.
To complicate matters, our new client was losing confidence as was our champion with the BMWCCA. (Our team wasn’t very happy either). Things came to head when the client suggested perhaps the local BMW dealership would be better capable of solving the problem.
This is a tough position. I was personally involved in all of the testing and confident in our results. I knew BMW’s process: they would use their factory diagnostic system which not only reports diagnostic data for a vehicle, but also dictates the repair path to take. I knew what would happen: they would duplicate all of our repairs (and the owner’s expenses) and still have a misbehaving M3.
Trying to best be my client’s advocate I expressed this concern to him and suggested that we submit the problem to the BIMRS.org network. The client agreed and the following day I received a phone call from an excited BIMRS shop owner (Don Fields – whose shop is aptly named “Mr. M Cars”). Don lead me through a series of tests and determined that our troublesome M3 had actually been modified with a tuning package that involved some performance parts and, most importantly, an aftermarket software tune in the engine computer. THIS is why the car wouldn’t idle: the software had inadvertently been reset to ‘stock’ when the DME (engine computer) was replaced. Don pointed us in the direction of the tuner and after getting their magic performed we had a fixed M3 and a happy client!
Had this vehicle instead been taken to the dealership they would have slowly restored the vehicle to its stock condition after repeating the repairs we had already completed. There were two big modifications: a lightened flywheel and larger fuel injectors. It would have taken huge efforts to figure out both that these were not stock and that they were impacting idle. In the dealership’s defense they would have likely (eventually) discovered these modifications, returned the vehicle to its stock condition, and thus fixed the idle problem. However the client would have given up a noticeable performance enhancement and undoubtedly ended up with a very large repair bill.
Obviously this was a special case, but it highlights two things I preach: