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      05-10-2019, 01:39 PM   #1
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Exclamation 2015 335i - Turbo Leaking. Dealer says it is normal!?

I have noticed that there is a leak coming from the bottom of my turbo and dripping onto the subframe below. It is coming from this clamp that is on the turbo which looks to be on the intake charge air side.

Car is still under original factory warranty. This picture shows the location on my turbo (my car is EWG):

Picture attached.
https://imgur. com/gallery/sJNsaEy

Dealership Visits

1st visit: Claims it was residual oil from when they replaced a leaking turbo oil feed line. However, the area and the subframe below was cleaned from that previous visit. They again clean the area and subframe and told me to drive on it.

2nd visit: 5 days after my 1st visit I return because oil can be seen and felt again dripping from that area on the turbo. Long visit debating with shop foreman with the car on the lift and him showing me it was a "small" leak which is considered normal seepage. Wanted me to agree to disassembly where if they did not find anything wrong with turbo, I would pay the labor. Back and forth some more, how is oil leaking from a turbo considered normal? Finally agree that he will clean it up again and take documentation. I am to drive on it and bring it back if it leaks again. Took it to the local mountains (San Gabriel canyon road is right next door...) to beat on it and have not noticed any oil leak yet.

My concern:
I'm worried he just cleaned up the area and tightened that clamp down. Looking below the car, he even marked the under tray bolts with yellow wax to detect if anyone removes the under panels. This does not solve the underlying problem that there is an oil leak internal to the turbo that seems to be leaking out the intake side clamp (turbo seals?). This oil is likely traveling through the entire intake track: intercooler, throttle body, and coating intake valves. Maybe that contributed to the occasional rough/shakey cold starts I've been having before they replaced the 2 engine mounts.

Car is still under original factory warranty so why make it so difficult. They seem reluctant to go to BMW to cover this warranty work, claiming it is normal seepage and BMW expects to see a larger leak before any work is approved under warranty coverage. I think this is unreasonable when I can reach down from above the engine bay and touch the oil that pools under this turbo clamp. Is that not sufficient proof?
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Last edited by ctbear; 05-10-2019 at 01:48 PM..
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      05-10-2019, 01:46 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbear View Post
I have noticed that there is a leak coming from the bottom of my turbo and dripping onto the subframe below. It is coming from this clamp that is on the turbo which looks to be on the intake charge air side.

Car is still under original factory warranty. This picture shows the location on my turbo (my car is EWG):

Dealership Visits

1st visit: Claims it was residual oil from when they replaced a leaking turbo oil feed line. However, the area and the subframe below was cleaned from that previous visit. They again clean the area and subframe and told me to drive on it.

2nd visit: 5 days after my 1st visit I return because oil can be seen and felt again dripping from that area on the turbo. Long visit debating with shop foreman with the car on the lift and him showing me it was a "small" leak which is considered normal seepage. Wanted me to agree to disassembly where if they did not find anything wrong with turbo, I would pay the labor. Back and forth some more, how is oil leaking from a turbo considered normal? Finally agree that he will clean it up again and take documentation. I am to drive on it and bring it back if it leaks again. Took it to the local mountains (San Gabriel canyon road is right next door...) to beat on it and have not noticed any oil leak yet.

My concern:
I'm worried he just cleaned up the area and tightened that clamp down. Looking below the car, he even marked the under tray bolts with yellow wax to detect if anyone removes the under panels. This does not solve the underlying problem that there is an oil leak internal to the turbo that seems to be leaking out the intake side clamp (turbo seals?). This oil is likely traveling through the entire intake track: intercooler, throttle body, and coating intake valves. Maybe that contributed to the occasional rough/shakey cold starts I've been having before they replaced the 2 engine mounts.

Car is still under original factory warranty so why make it so difficult. They seem reluctant to go to BMW to cover this warranty work, claiming it is normal seepage and BMW expects to see a larger leak before any work is approved under warranty coverage. I think this is unreasonable when I can reach down from above the engine bay and touch the oil that pools under this turbo clamp. Is that not sufficient proof?
Not all dealership service departments are created equal unfortunately. I'd try another one. This is my first BMW but I've had issues in the past (with both my Infiniti and Fiat) where one dealer would refuse to work on it, or one dealer would completely misdiagnose the problem, only to take it to another to have them go "oh duh, that's the problem" and fix it quickly. Might be worth shopping around!
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      05-10-2019, 01:47 PM   #3
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Imgur link not working. Attached picture.
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      05-10-2019, 02:52 PM   #4
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So if you weren't within warranty, think they'd suggest parts be replaced? Some of these dealerships make me sick.
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      05-10-2019, 05:38 PM   #5
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So, i'm in the business (Fixed/Service Director for multiple franchises 23 YEARS) and the following is true:
1) Manufacturers do stipulate that there are two types of leaks, normal seapage and what would be referred to as an active leak. They do not allow repair on normal seapage. WITH THAT SAID, IF IT'S DRIPPING, THAT'S ACTIVE.
2) There are many dealers out there that do business correctly, find one that does and give them your business.
3) Keep in mind, dealers get paid great money by the manufacturer to administer warranty repairs and keep you happy, it's in their best interest to do both...
GOOD LUCK
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      05-10-2019, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jnat View Post
So, i'm in the business (Fixed/Service Director for multiple franchises 23 YEARS) and the following is true:
1) Manufacturers do stipulate that there are two types of leaks, normal seapage and what would be referred to as an active leak. They do not allow repair on normal seapage. WITH THAT SAID, IF IT'S DRIPPING, THAT'S ACTIVE.
2) There are many dealers out there that do business correctly, find one that does and give them your business.
3) Keep in mind, dealers get paid great money by the manufacturer to administer warranty repairs and keep you happy, it's in their best interest to do both...
GOOD LUCK
Boy that brought back some memories. Many years ago a BMW motorcycle mechanic explained to me that there were three types of leaks on a BMW airhead. Weepage, seepage, and leakage. Guess BMW has at least managed to eliminate weepage. Ain't progress grand.
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      05-10-2019, 06:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jnat View Post
So, i'm in the business (Fixed/Service Director for multiple franchises 23 YEARS) and the following is true:
1) Manufacturers do stipulate that there are two types of leaks, normal seapage and what would be referred to as an active leak. They do not allow repair on normal seapage. WITH THAT SAID, IF IT'S DRIPPING, THAT'S ACTIVE.
2) There are many dealers out there that do business correctly, find one that does and give them your business.
3) Keep in mind, dealers get paid great money by the manufacturer to administer warranty repairs and keep you happy, it's in their best interest to do both...
GOOD LUCK
Thanks for the insight. Kinda ridiculous that I have to wrestle around with this. It seems at this point he cleaned the area and tightened down that clamp to keep the leak internal and not visible from the outside in an attempt to hide it so I can't push him to do the warranty work. I even see oil mist collecting outside at the charge air hose clamp leading from the turbo to the intercooler. This turbo leak is definitely traveling through my intake track.
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      05-10-2019, 07:06 PM   #8
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That's complete crap. Turbos should not leak. If oil is leaking out a turbo, you have a turbo seal that's going.
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      05-12-2019, 01:41 PM   #9
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I'm thinking about removing the charge air pipe connection on the turbo to intercooler side, which should allow me to inspect the intake compressor side of the turbo for any oil leakage. It seems to be feasible to do from the top of the engine as looking down I see some room to work with. Does any one have recommendations?
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      05-12-2019, 01:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbear View Post
I'm thinking about removing the charge air pipe connection on the turbo to intercooler side, which should allow me to inspect the intake compressor side of the turbo for any oil leakage. It seems to be feasible to do from the top of the engine as looking down I see some room to work with. Does any one have recommendations?
You will find some oil residue in both the CP and intercooler. It's normal "blow by" and has nothing to do with your issue.
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      05-12-2019, 02:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdegene View Post
You will find some oil residue in both the CP and intercooler. It's normal "blow by" and has nothing to do with your issue.
So that effort will not yield any definitive proof for the dealers to warranty this issue?

EDIT:

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-normal-f...RPMs-regularly

My understanding is that the turbo seals are supposed to contain this oil within the turbo bearings and from blowing into the intake or exhaust side (?)
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      05-12-2019, 02:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbear View Post
So that effort will not yield any definitive proof for the dealers to warranty this issue?

EDIT:

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-normal-f...RPMs-regularly

My understanding is that the turbo seals are supposed to contain this oil within the turbo bearings and from blowing into the intake or exhaust side (?)
The turbo seals won't prevent blowby from entering your intake, as pdegene mentioned. Blow by is caused when, during combustion, all of that intense pressure on top of the piston pushes minute amounts of oil past the rings and into the crankcase, and the PCV, being imperfect, routes some of it that back into the intake.

Have you tried taking the car to another dealership?
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      05-12-2019, 02:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofphase View Post
The turbo seals won't prevent blowby from entering your intake, as pdegene mentioned. Blow by is caused when, during combustion, all of that intense pressure on top of the piston pushes minute amounts of oil past the rings and into the crankcase, and the PCV, being imperfect, routes some of it that back into the intake.

Have you tried taking the car to another dealership?
I took it to another dealership and they said to bring it back when the leak reappears again. It seems like the original dealership cleaned up the area and tightened that clamp down (this was 2 days ago).

Oh gotcha, he is referring to combustion blowby and the PCV system. Where in the intake track is the PCV blowby injected back in? Before the intercooler or after the intercooler?

Is PCV blowby injected into the intake downstream of the turbo? In which case there shouldn't be oil on the compressor side of the turbo. I tried searching for a diagram of how the PCV system is routed in the N55 motor.

EDIT: Nvm, looks like PCV system injects back in after the air filter and before the turbo charger, so blowby oil will be present on the compressor side of the turbo. =\

Last edited by ctbear; 05-12-2019 at 02:52 PM..
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      05-12-2019, 09:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbear View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by outofphase View Post
The turbo seals won't prevent blowby from entering your intake, as pdegene mentioned. Blow by is caused when, during combustion, all of that intense pressure on top of the piston pushes minute amounts of oil past the rings and into the crankcase, and the PCV, being imperfect, routes some of it that back into the intake.

Have you tried taking the car to another dealership?
I took it to another dealership and they said to bring it back when the leak reappears again. It seems like the original dealership cleaned up the area and tightened that clamp down (this was 2 days ago).

Oh gotcha, he is referring to combustion blowby and the PCV system. Where in the intake track is the PCV blowby injected back in? Before the intercooler or after the intercooler?

Is PCV blowby injected into the intake downstream of the turbo? In which case there shouldn't be oil on the compressor side of the turbo. I tried searching for a diagram of how the PCV system is routed in the N55 motor.

EDIT: Nvm, looks like PCV system injects back in after the air filter and before the turbo charger, so blowby oil will be present on the compressor side of the turbo. =\
Take it to another dealer, and if that doesn't work take it to a third dealer. A dealer tech told me stories about issues that he has fixed after being at one or two other local dealers. He heavily criticized the other techs who had touched the car saying that they had done the wrong things and in other cases, had obviously not done things that they had claimed in writing that they had done. He mentioned a case where a customer called BMW corporate and it caused the dealer to jump and fix the issue.

In my own case I wanted a tech with certain experience to do warranty work on my car. A high level person who used to work at the dealership told me not to bother making that request. He said that the jobs are always just assigned at random to whichever tech is next in line. He said that it was more important that I used a certain Service Adviser who was dedicated and would make sure that it was done correctly.

It's just insane that both the BMW dealer hourly rates and the # of hours listed in their book for each job are so ridiculously high. The quality of work should be equally high.

Hope that you find a solution.
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      05-12-2019, 11:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
Take it to another dealer, and if that doesn't work take it to a third dealer. A dealer tech told me stories about issues that he has fixed after being at one or two other local dealers. He heavily criticized the other techs who had touched the car saying that they had done the wrong things and in other cases, had obviously not done things that they had claimed in writing that they had done. He mentioned a case where a customer called BMW corporate and it caused the dealer to jump and fix the issue.

In my own case I wanted a tech with certain experience to do warranty work on my car. A high level person who used to work at the dealership told me not to bother making that request. He said that the jobs are always just assigned at random to whichever tech is next in line. He said that it was more important that I used a certain Service Adviser who was dedicated and would make sure that it was done correctly.

It's just insane that both the BMW dealer hourly rates and the # of hours listed in their book for each job are so ridiculously high. The quality of work should be equally high.

Hope that you find a solution.
Thanks for that insight. I always thought Service Advisers were powerless and just there for the customer service aspect, while the shop foreman has the final say. In my case, the shop foreman couldn't care less.
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      05-13-2019, 06:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctbear View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
Take it to another dealer, and if that doesn't work take it to a third dealer. A dealer tech told me stories about issues that he has fixed after being at one or two other local dealers. He heavily criticized the other techs who had touched the car saying that they had done the wrong things and in other cases, had obviously not done things that they had claimed in writing that they had done. He mentioned a case where a customer called BMW corporate and it caused the dealer to jump and fix the issue.

In my own case I wanted a tech with certain experience to do warranty work on my car. A high level person who used to work at the dealership told me not to bother making that request. He said that the jobs are always just assigned at random to whichever tech is next in line. He said that it was more important that I used a certain Service Adviser who was dedicated and would make sure that it was done correctly.

It's just insane that both the BMW dealer hourly rates and the # of hours listed in their book for each job are so ridiculously high. The quality of work should be equally high.

Hope that you find a solution.
Thanks for that insight. I always thought Service Advisers were powerless and just there for the customer service aspect, while the shop foreman has the final say. In my case, the shop foreman couldn't care less.
Someone else posted recently that it is a good idea to remember that each dealership is independently owned and operated. You don't really know the situation at play within yours. Your shop foreman could be a jerk. He may not think BMW compensates enough for that job. He may have been dinged recently by BMW for doing a similar job when the returned parts showed it wasn't necessary. There could be a million reasons why he is acting the way he is and you will probably never know why. Take your car to another dealership.

Oh, if you have a choice, pick a dealership not owned by the same person or group, just in case it is some particular ownership policy that is causing the action that you are receiving.
Good luck!
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      05-13-2019, 09:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnung View Post
Someone else posted recently that it is a good idea to remember that each dealership is independently owned and operated. You don't really know the situation at play within yours. Your shop foreman could be a jerk. He may not think BMW compensates enough for that job. He may have been dinged recently by BMW for doing a similar job when the returned parts showed it wasn't necessary. There could be a million reasons why he is acting the way he is and you will probably never know why. Take your car to another dealership.

Oh, if you have a choice, pick a dealership not owned by the same person or group, just in case it is some particular ownership policy that is causing the action that you are receiving.
Good luck!
Agreed and my point exactly.

A brief story:

I had a 2009 Infiniti G37 and while it was still under factory warranty, it started behaving very strangely -- constantly trying to "start itself" (it couldn't as it was a manual) and, when running, constantly shutting itself off.

Took it to the dealership closest to me, they informed me it was the alternator. They had the car for 2 weeks. To replace the alternator! Absolutely insane. Communication was horrible. Luckily I was in a nice loaner so it wasn't that big of a deal.

I go and pick up the car and on the way home it starts doing it again.

I take it to another dealer (35 minutes away from me, but with slightly better reviews).

The SA at first didn't want to touch my car as the first dealership "does bad work and we don't touch their fuckups" (his words). I pleaded, and told him the problem. He checked it out himself and immediately went "Oh. It's a PCM module. We'll take care of you"

Later that day the car was done and the problem was ACTUALLY fixed. Here's my point: it took one dealership 2 weeks only to misdiagnose and incorrectly repair the vehicle. It took another one 5 minutes to diagnose and 4 hours to repair the SAME problem on the same car...

...This is just one story of many unfortunately. There's only one Fiat dealership within 100 miles of Chicago that I'd let work on my Abarth, and frustratingly it took me going to 4 dealerships before I found it.
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      05-13-2019, 10:47 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outofphase View Post
Agreed and my point exactly.

A brief story:

I had a 2009 Infiniti G37 and while it was still under factory warranty, it started behaving very strangely -- constantly trying to "start itself" (it couldn't as it was a manual) and, when running, constantly shutting itself off.

Took it to the dealership closest to me, they informed me it was the alternator. They had the car for 2 weeks. To replace the alternator! Absolutely insane. Communication was horrible. Luckily I was in a nice loaner so it wasn't that big of a deal.

I go and pick up the car and on the way home it starts doing it again.

I take it to another dealer (35 minutes away from me, but with slightly better reviews).

The SA at first didn't want to touch my car as the first dealership "does bad work and we don't touch their fuckups" (his words). I pleaded, and told him the problem. He checked it out himself and immediately went "Oh. It's a PCM module. We'll take care of you"

Later that day the car was done and the problem was ACTUALLY fixed. Here's my point: it took one dealership 2 weeks only to misdiagnose and incorrectly repair the vehicle. It took another one 5 minutes to diagnose and 4 hours to repair the SAME problem on the same car...

...This is just one story of many unfortunately. There's only one Fiat dealership within 100 miles of Chicago that I'd let work on my Abarth, and frustratingly it took me going to 4 dealerships before I found it.
Very good points. There should be a repository of better dealerships based on location... Guess I'll post in the SoCal subforum and ask around for Los Angeles based dealerships.
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      05-13-2019, 02:16 PM   #19
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In search of info on good dealership Service Depts and Indies, you can try checking with your nearest local /regional BMW CCA


https://www.bmwcca.org/chapterfinder
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