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Nissan E-NV200 Tekna Panel Van, 24kWh Battery, Kia Soul EV 27 kWh, BMW i3 94ah REX
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 77k miles 94Ahr REX had started to make a twanging noise from the front O/S suspension. On investigation it proved to be that the rubber covers at the top of the suspension mount had deteriorated and allowed all the wheel arch water/muck to get into the bearing and accelerate the corrosion to the point that the bearings had worn out and the twanging noise was a result of turning the wheel and hence the suspension spring....this would bind the spring momentarily before it snapped back into place to follow the steering inputs.....'T w a a a ang'

All very well and good, except the car had just been [a week] for a major service at a BMW dealer in Cockermouth, Cumbria and there was no mention of any problems being reported even though the car had recieved a full health check..allegedly. Not only that but the steering [and rear] geometry was all over the place ..it was starting to drive like a crab. The subsequent tyre wear was reported by the dealer as 'expected tyre wear' but an independent mechanic [who has just started up in business] diagnosed the geometry/tracking issues as soon as he saw the tyre wear.

This same mechanic charged me £175 all in [2 hours work] for replacing both O/S & N/S suspension mount bearings and suggested KwikFit deal with the steering geometry...which they did. The laser printout KF completed showed a dangerous steering setup etc

All sorted now but there is no chance of me putting my i3 into a BMW garage ever again....it was a waste of £300, although the washer bottle did get topped up.
 

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My 77k miles 94Ahr REX had started to make a twanging noise from the front O/S suspension. On investigation it proved to be that the rubber covers at the top of the suspension mount had deteriorated and allowed all the wheel arch water/muck to get into the bearing and accelerate the corrosion to the point that the bearings had worn out and the twanging noise was a result of turning the wheel and hence the suspension spring....this would bind the spring momentarily before it snapped back into place to follow the steering inputs.....'T w a a a ang'

All very well and good, except the car had just been [a week] for a major service at a BMW dealer in Cockermouth, Cumbria and there was no mention of any problems being reported even though the car had recieved a full health check..allegedly. Not only that but the steering [and rear] geometry was all over the place ..it was starting to drive like a crab. The subsequent tyre wear was reported by the dealer as 'expected tyre wear' but an independent mechanic [who has just started up in business] diagnosed the geometry/tracking issues as soon as he saw the tyre wear.

This same mechanic charged me £175 all in [2 hours work] for replacing both O/S & N/S suspension mount bearings and suggested KwikFit deal with the steering geometry...which they did. The laser printout KF completed showed a dangerous steering setup etc

All sorted now but there is no chance of me putting my i3 into a BMW garage ever again....it was a waste of £300, although the washer bottle did get topped up.
My 4 year old 55,000 mile i3 had exactly the same issue with the front 2 suspension mounts wearing out. A common i3 fault. I only had a slight steering “groaning “ noise when turning the wheel.
I had paid for the extended warranty so paid the £250 excess for BMW repair.
I do not trust my local dealer at all as some other issues have taken years to sort (Rex refuel sensor issue/fuel cap not releasing). The car sat at the dealership all day untouched (visible on my app) on more than 1 occasion. Also had my rear boot struts replaced under warranty as was getting too heavy to lift. New ones felt exactly the same. Not even sure they replaced them.
If the car was not under warranty I am sure they would have had a field day charging me for stuff.
Car is otherwise brilliant and fun to drive. My first BMW. On dealership experience alone would not buy another. Can’t wait for independents to get in to EV diagnosing and servicing.
 

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Nissan E-NV200 Tekna Panel Van, 24kWh Battery, Kia Soul EV 27 kWh, BMW i3 94ah REX
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My 4 year old 55,000 mile i3 had exactly the same issue with the front 2 suspension mounts wearing out. A common i3 fault. I only had a slight steering “groaning “ noise when turning the wheel.
I had paid for the extended warranty so paid the £250 excess for BMW repair.
I do not trust my local dealer at all as some other issues have taken years to sort (Rex refuel sensor issue/fuel cap not releasing). The car sat at the dealership all day untouched (visible on my app) on more than 1 occasion. Also had my rear boot struts replaced under warranty as was getting too heavy to lift. New ones felt exactly the same. Not even sure they replaced them.
If the car was not under warranty I am sure they would have had a field day charging me for stuff.
Car is otherwise brilliant and fun to drive. My first BMW. On dealership experience alone would not buy another. Can’t wait for independents to get in to EV diagnosing and servicing.
That movement by independents is happening as we type.... it's worth watching this video through if you have 15 minutes. The attention to detail is what we should expect from any mechanic completing a full service, let alone an EV specialist.

On your point of "..Not even sure they replaced them.." I specifically asked for the following from my dealership BEFORE I booked the car in:
1. Retention of the Pollen Filter
2. Battery State of Health Printout
3. Any other old parts that needed replacing

What did I get?
...submit your answers....{Hint:...ZERO]

 

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That movement by independents is happening as we type....
True, but given the relative scarcity of EVs four years ago most EVs are still in the hands of main stealer service as they are newer, and hence EV specialists in the second user market are rare let alone if you have something unusual such as an i3 REx. On the other hand a lot of the technology such as McPherson struts is common with ICE.
 

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2015 BMW i3 REx 60ah, Solar Orange
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If you are used to working on cars, this isn't a difficult job. The rubber gaiters will fail again, I'd say 2 years. The water as mentioned gets into the upper suspension mount. Found the same thing with my wife's i3. The suspension mount itself is aluminium and the lower steel bearing race was sheered due to corrosion. Worth adding a dab of marine grease on the bearing race, I don't think its well enough lubricated. More details here for fix.


This is for the rubber gaiter, but if you've got this far, replacing the top mount is easily done. Personally I use Draper spring compressors. You can also benefit from 18mm ring spanner, but with deeper socket for the top bolt, torx bits, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you are used to working on cars, this isn't a difficult job. The rubber gaiters will fail again, I'd say 2 years. The water as mentioned gets into the upper suspension mount. Found the same thing with my wife's i3. The suspension mount itself is aluminium and the lower steel bearing race was sheered due to corrosion. Worth adding a dab of marine grease on the bearing race, I don't think its well enough lubricated. More details here for fix.


This is for the rubber gaiter, but if you've got this far, replacing the top mount is easily done. Personally I use Draper spring compressors. You can also benefit from 18mm ring spanner, but with deeper socket for the top bolt, torx bits, etc.
This was the footage I sent to my mechanic! Thanks to whoever took the time to distribute it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's a photo of the corroded suspension mounts. The bearing race, modelled in an attractive iron oxide colour, is where the pitted and heavily degraded ball bearings sat.
143006
 

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These gaiters must be affected by mileage more than age as our 2016 94ah REX with 23K miles is still on the original gaiters in perfect condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
These gaiters must be affected by mileage more than age as our 2016 94ah REX with 23K miles is still on the original gaiters in perfect condition.
Probably, but whatever the cause they're under-designed for the job.
 

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These gaiters must be affected by mileage more than age as our 2016 94ah REX with 23K miles is still on the original gaiters in perfect condition.
Not just mileage, but quality of road surface. Designed to be fit for purpose on smooth German Autobahns, but not up to the job of the Great British pothole...
 

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Not just mileage, but quality of road surface. Designed to be fit for purpose on smooth German Autobahns, but not up to the job of the Great British pothole...
Bit of a fallacy I am afraid, I worked 35 years in vehicle R&D and every vehicle had to pass world market durability cycle tests, the only exceptions being wading depths for a few special market conditions and obviously crash test legislation.

In fact our test facility in Belgium had a stretch of track called “Dunton Road” which was a notorious bit of Essex road renowned for its nasty potholes, there were also “Chuck holes” from Mexico and “Grade crossings” (level crossings) from the States, all these were exact replicas of actual road surfaces.

These gaiters do seem to be a weak point after a while, either mileage or time.
 

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Bit of a fallacy I am afraid, I worked 35 years in vehicle R&D and every vehicle had to pass world market durability cycle tests, the only exceptions being wading depths for a few special market conditions and obviously crash test legislation.

In fact our test facility in Belgium had a stretch of track called “Dunton Road” which was a notorious bit of Essex road renowned for its nasty potholes, there were also “Chuck holes” from Mexico and “Grade crossings” (level crossings) from the States, all these were exact replicas of actual road surfaces.

These gaiters do seem to be a weak point after a while, either mileage or time.
So are you saying that the gaiters are just a weak point or "not fit for world market durability cycle"?
There appears to be a lot of anecdotal evidence for the latter.
 

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So are you saying that the gaiters are just a weak point or "not fit for world market durability cycle"?
There appears to be a lot of anecdotal evidence for the latter.
Errr yes........what my point was that BMW would not just test for Germany (or the Autobahns as you say), the gaiters are not quite as durable as they should be, simple as.
 

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The genuine top mount from BMW is part number 31306852212 which I think will be around £90-120 I'd have thought. I purchased the same part from Hubauer Shop, produced in by Febi Bilstein direct from Germany for around £60. Chances are they probably make the same pat for BMW. The key thing is to open the bearing and lightly lubricate it, even from new with marine grease.

It's worth having a look at the rubber gaiters if you haven't looked and is a warranty item. You'll see the tell-tale cracks, but this quickly develops into tears. The new part is 31336852223.
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Errr yes........what my point was that BMW would not just test for Germany (or the Autobahns as you say), the gaiters are not quite as durable as they should be, simple as.
I'm sure a lot of owners who have had problems would prefer it if you came off the fence and said they are either fit or not fit for purpose...
 

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Its got me thinking this thread, I think most cars I have done this job on have plastic gaitors which last a lifetime, so why did BMW go rubber? and flimsy rubber at that
 

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Its got me thinking this thread, I think most cars I have done this job on have plastic gaitors which last a lifetime, so why did BMW go rubber? and flimsy rubber at that
Exactly. My last cars I kept for 100,000 miles and were harder riding and much cheaper than the i3. Not a single issue like this has arisen before. Or indeed any major issue. But then they were Japanese cars and very well engineered. German cars are mostly superficially good. Looks, soft touch plastics etc but they cheap out on the stuff you can’t see easily. Just my opinion.
The rubber gaiters are not of sufficient quality if it is such a common issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I did think it odd that they had failed on such a young car. I've never had any problems with my e-NV200 which is a similar mileage and gets far more abuse with towing, being fully loaded, drag racing [..I may have made that last bit up..]. I'll forward this thread to BMW engineering and see if they have any comments. Spartacus' suggestion to pre-empt the problem with marine grease is a good one and fairly simple to execute.
 
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