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BMW Oz to recall twin-turbo petrol models

Pumped up: Many BMWs powered by the N54 twin-turbo petrol six are being recalled over a potential problem with their high-pressure fuel pumps.

Australia soon will be affected by a recall involving more than 150,000 US BMWs

BMW logo28 Oct 2010

BMW Australia soon will recall an unspecified number of models powered by the German car-maker’s lauded N54 twin-turbo six-cylinder petrol engine due to the potential for fuel pump failure.

BMW AG is in the process of determining exactly which – and therefore how many – models are affected worldwide, including in Australia, where a “technical campaign” will be done after this week’s recall of about 151,000 vehicles in the US.

BMW Group Australia PR and corporate communications manager Piers Scott told GoAuto: “It has been deemed a ‘technical campaign’ here in Australia but, yes, we do expect there will be models here running the N54 engine which are potentially affected.

14 center imageFrom top: BMW Z4 Roadster sDrive35i, BMW 135i, BMW 535i, BMW X6 xDrive35i.

“Germany is in the process of preparing a full list of chassis numbers with which we will then go out to customers,” said Mr Scott, who added that BMW Australia did not yet know when – or how many – local BMW owners will be affected.

BMW North America announced on October 26 it intends to voluntarily recall about 130,000 N54-powered model year 2007-2010 vehicles, including MY 2007–2010 335i models, MY 2008–2010 135i, 535i and X6 xDrive35i vehicles and MY 2009–2010 Z4 sDrive35i roadsters.

All but the 535i were also sold in Australia.

It said about 40,000 of affected US vehicles are expected to require a new high-pressure fuel pump, while others – depending on the individual service history of the vehicle – will require only a software update for the High Precision Injection direct fuel-injection system.

BMW said symptoms of a defective fuel pump in affected models include long-crank engine starting times, illumination of the ‘Service Engine Soon’ warning light and/or reduced (safe-mode) engine performance accompanied by a tone and the illumination of the ‘Engine Malfunction’ warning light.

The 225kW/400Nm twin-turbo N54 inline six debuted in Australia in the 335i sedan – released here in October 2006 – but has since been replaced by a twin-scroll single-turbo engine that produces the same performance but lower sub-9.0L/100km fuel consumption in both the all-new 535i sedan (launched here in June) and the upgraded 3 Series Coupe and Convertible range (launched here in August).

In a second action announced the same day in the US – this time officially termed a safety recall – BMW said it would also call back about 20,000 MY 2008 X5 luxury SUVs equipped with naturally-aspirated six-cylinder engines, this time to replace the low-pressure fuel pump.

BMW said that should the fuel pump fail in an affected X5, the engine would stall and the driver would lose power assistance for the steering and brakes, “although both the steering and the brakes remain operational”.

No injuries have been reported with either of these issues, says BMW, which will begin sending letters to affected US owners by first-class mail in the next few weeks.

BMW North America has advised the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the “emissions recall” affecting twin-turbo N54-powered models, while the X5 safety recall has been referred to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

NHTSA this year started separate investigations into BMW’s Z4 and Mini Cooper models for unrelated defects that may cause their electric power steering systems to fail, with potentially fatal results.

BMW of North America is headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and is represented by 338 BMW passenger car dealers, 336 BMW SUV outlets, 143 BMW motorcycle retailers, 100 Mini dealers and 31 Rolls-Royce shops. Apart from DesignworksUSA styling studio, BMW’s US operations also include the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina, where the X3, X5 and X6 are built exclusively.

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