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Thread: BMW stranded in France!

  1. #1

    BMW stranded in France!

    Hi Folks,

    Ran into some issues in the form of what looks to be a thrown timing chain on the family wagon 2014 F11 520d on the way home from our summer hols in France last week.

    Long story short, the car lost all power on the autoroute at 80mph and failed to start again after pulling into hard shoulder. Initially thought it was a blown turbo but there was no plume of smoke or any other symptoms that you’d expect.

    Got the car recovered to the nearest garage (which happened to be a BMW dealership) and we (wife, 3yr old and 2 dogs!) made our way via hire car to Cherbourg for the ferry. Neither my platinum AA membership nor my insurance where interested in doing anything for us due to not being in Ireland or in UK so all costs so far have been out of my own pocket. My own fault for assuming I’d be covered automatically in France I suppose.

    Anyway, fast forward almost a week and I am getting nowhere fast with the BMW dealership despite numerous calls daily (by my french colleague here in Dublin). They have basically said it’s 99% the timing chain (said they can tell from the noise of the engine when they try to turn it over on the ignition - lack of compression I guess?) but that they need to delve deeper into the engine to find out the extent of the damage. I have been promised a call from them everyday for 4 consecutive days with a full diagnostic report and estimate for repair but still nothing! I then sent a very snotty email to the dealership owners (copying head of service, sales, and finance) demanding answers by 4pm Monday or that I would take the matter direct to BMW France. We’ll see what that brings...

    Anyway, given the very poor service I am now very reluctant to leave them to carry out the repairs and my inclination now is to try to get the car shipped home as is and repaired back in Dublin - either a dealer or a good specialist.

    The questions I have for you knowledgeable folks are as follows -

    1. The car is out of warranty and has not been serviced by BMW the last 2 years (has been regularly and properly serviced though) - but given the known issues with the N47 timing chains do you think I may have a chance of getting some sort of goodwill gesture towards the repair costs?

    2. Should I persist with the BMW dealer in France and try to get it fixed there or should I get it back here and then fixed.

    3. Does anyone know of any good, reasonably priced firms who would transport the car from France to Dublin or Belfast if I decide to bring back here to get fixed (seems likely at this stage)?

    Any other advice or help you can offer to get the car back and repaired with least amount of headaches and dent to bank account?



  2. #2
    My TR6 lost all braking power at Reims, France on the last day of a continental trip. I simply got the car shipped to a specialist in London and when it was ready got a flight over and drove it back.

    I would be thinking along the same lines in your case. Not sure its a good idea to have the work undertaken by a BMW dealer in France or anywhere else if your interested in keeping the costs down.

    There must be good independent specialists in the UK who could fix it. Assuming it can be fixed of course - don't these chain issues usually require an engine rebuild? In that case it might be cheaper to install a replacement engine.

    I don't think being rushed is the continental way of doing things and then there is the language barrier. Trying to cope with that would be making things unnecessarily complicated before you even begin.

    I am assuming the car is in northern France of course - if its not the above may not be the way to go.
    Last edited by Alfaguy; 31-08-2019 at 09:17 PM.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the advice Alfaguy. Car is in Cholet, close to Angers so about 500kms from Cherbourg.

    My understanding is the engine can be fixed but I’m by no means an expert. Plenty of UK and Irish specialists who can do the work but I’m more trying to work out the best way to balance the cost/hassle involved. My thoughts were that at least if BMW did the work it would be fully guaranteed and I may be able to get some sort of goodwill from them - optimistic thinking possibly!

  4. #4
    I would fight your corner with BMW, my boss got a new engine covered by BMW for his 2010 730d when the chain went. It did however take about six weeks of constant chasing.

  5. #5
    Getting it to England would certainly simplify things. There might well be people who specialise in fixing these problems just like there are folks who specialise in rebuilding Porsche engines, and do it for a competitive price.
    I'm with the resistance

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Co. Limerick
    I got some quotes off a website called shiply for transporting a car from the UK home. Not sure if it has to be mobile though.

    Manchester to Limerick was quoted at £460 so France could be saucy enough.

  7. #7
    Also from my experience running a car in Spain for a while they like to add cost for the customer. Whatever we may think of rip off Ireland and the UK you won't in my opinion get things done more cheaply on the continent and most likely will cost you more than here or the UK.

    Oh - and they are all just back from their month off August holidays so there is probably a huge backlog of work to catch up with and you Johnny foreigner can get to the back of the que.

  8. #8
    As it sounds like BMW France are not going tohelp, get it transported to Cherbourg for a valid ferry crossing. Ferry company will load it on the ferry. Once in the UK, your AA membership will take it from there to wherever you decide and you have the option of UK or IRL repair.
    Hoon–Five–0 2017.
    Ireland - France – Switzerland – Italy – Germany – Belgium

  9. #9
    I'd say it's worth ringing bmw ireland and bmw uk and ask if they know what the story is with bmw france attitude to these repairs. non dealer services used to be an issue but that may have changed. My sister has just bought an f10. Found frank keane bmw to be very helpful.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Marlow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Right in the middle of it all.
    I have had a similar issue with a VW Van many years ago.

    In my opinion you're best off getting the car to the UK or Ireland and then go from there.


    On a trail somewhere .... not far from being stuck.

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