Call this by any other name - this is [Metal Fatigue]. As an owner from new of a [2001 E46 M3] with just 65k, we owners have had our share of design flaw failures and now this!
First reported internally by ‘BMW TIS Fractures in the rear sub frame’ 10/2003 and subsequently investigated by VOSPA in 2005. This affects the chassis where the rear sub frame (that carries the rear axle) attachment points (4) fractures the surrounding metal of the chassis, caused by the drive train flexing and stressing the chassis resulting in cracks/fractures in the chassis's metal floor. Metal fatigue failures have no rules as to severity or when things get bad! If this was an aircraft it would be grounded! Just how many affected cars are on the road at this time? Seems many cars are affected in the BMW E46 range, the age ranges considerable; BMW claim few but investigating the likes of Youtube, Forums, trade enquiries etc would provide evidence otherwise.
Talking to VOSPA recently this was investigated two years after BMW issued their internal document. However, a recall wasn’t instigated for two reasons A. it is claimed that ‘noise’ of a failed sub frame attachment would alert the driver and B. NO DEATHS have been attributed to this failure! Hmmmmmm…..
My point is: why manufacturers aren’t enforced to inform owners of these potentially serious issues, before they become tragic? Rather than allowing the manufacturer to practice a non disclosure strategy. At no time, in my car’s service record, has BMW neither alerted me to this matter nor provides an inspection for these cracks! This would be the general case – BMW in this matter will wait instead for the owner (by ‘word of mouth’) to find out or???
BMW will offer a goodwill repair for affected cars brought to their attention, providing that the car is less than 10 years old - good for them!
This design flaw has the potential of catastrophic failure, like metal fatigues failures thaey have no rules as to when it will break; why wait until a death occurs before publically making owners aware? Shouldn’t BMW have a ‘Duty of Care’ and the moral fortitude to at least provide safety checks for this problem and alert owners?
BMW build great cars – I have enjoyed my M3 and plan to keep her - but my experience of their aftercare is ‘sub-poor’ for many documented reasons that I’ve accumulate, this just adds to the list.