Neil.D

i Drive problems / frying of electronics by water ingress

108 posts in this topic

Hi all,

This is most relevant to E61's with a panoramic sunroof owing to the larger surface of area and water ingress but can affect all E60/1's.

The matter hs been discussed before and a few memebers here have had issues owing to the winter months.

The Problem

i Drive / PDC issues or total failure

Smell of burning

Obvious water in boot / wheel well.

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The Cause

As water runs from the roof of the car it runs through water channels on the top edges of the roof.

Also, sun roofs are not water tight. They allow some water in when closed which finds its way to the channels and run to outlets behind each of the 4 wheels.

It is this that causes the issue.

The drainage tubes at the front are simply unifrom hoses, a bit like a garden hose. Therefore, if any dirt/grit is washed into the tubes it tends to wash straight out and onto the floor. Blockage of these 2 front tubes are rare.

The hoses at the rear have a design fault. The ends, where the water should pour from, are pinched.

On the end of the hose they have an attachment that easily clogs, causes a back log of water that, in heavy rain finds its way into your boot, wetting the carpet and slowly filling the spare wheel well, right at the bottom like a sinking ship. I have no idea why they designed them this way.

In this void, right at the bottom are important i Drive and PDC modules. When wet these electrically fry themselves and require significant work to replace, along with their wiring loom, recoding etc and can cost over 1k to repair.

Parked, facing uphill during a heavy rainfall would be your worst scenario.

The Solution

This is to simply remove the attachment on the end of the 2 back hoses so, like the front tubes you have a a uniform tube, just like the front ones that hopefully will not clog.

Some people remove the back bumper to gain access but that is too labourious and isn't necessary.

I prefer the following.

Open the boot and open the cubby hole on the left.

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Pull back the cloth and find this tube.

When you have, now this is very technical.... Yank it skyward. It will resist but it will come.

Once it comes up you may hear the attachment on the end fall off and into your bumber void. Good riddance.

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With the tube now out, blow up it hard and you will hear it crackle and clear. If you're lucky you may get a mouthful of claggy water.

Then, simply poke it back down where it came from.

On the off side, the proceedure is the same except you need to remove 3x (8mm IIRC) nuts that hold the fuses in place.

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...and this is the little tinker that costs people all this money, the threaded end is what is in the end of your tubes and for no plausable reason whatsoever it is crimped at the end.

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I do urge all to inspect their wheel wells asap, especially being mid winter. The clogging effect is accumalative and potentially ruining.

Since doing this to my car 2 months ago everything has remained bone dry. I was getting trickles of water in there after a few weeks of not checking.

Regards all,

Neil.D

Lloyd Martin and touring-bmw like this

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Excellent write-up Neil, just checked mine just in case. No water thank god, but what i did find was a load of coffee beans in the spare wheel well that must have been spilt by the previous owner, gotta get the vac out now :-(

thanks again Neil ;-)

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Great review, well worth a sticky.

This could perhaps be a reason for the excessive amount of moisture I seem to have in my rear window. This in turn cooks the diversity antenna.

Will be checking this when I get home later.

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Excellent write-up Neil, just checked mine just in case. No water thank god, but what i did find was a load of coffee beans in the spare wheel well that must have been spilt by the previous owner, gotta get the vac out now :-(

thanks again Neil ;-)

LoL - yes I found loads of crud and bits of twigs etc - I guess from the previous owners 'tip run'.

Great review, well worth a sticky.

This could perhaps be a reason for the excessive amount of moisture I seem to have in my rear window. This in turn cooks the diversity antenna.

Will be checking this when I get home later.

Yes could be. I remember when I first found some water in mine before I knew the problem existed the underside of the boot floor, battery void and the whole area were damp. The battery was sitting in an inch of water - took me an hour to soak it all up - and I had to leave the boot open for ages for it to totally dry out.

Glad it is of some use.

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Neil big thanks for this info...

My i-drive over the weekend was playing up- it would not come on, just had the BMW logo for ages, then it shut down, a blank screen. A while later the i-drive came back on but then again yesterday it went off.

Will check the boot area tonight when i get in. I have a sunroof on mine and so this could be the problem. Hope ,if it is, i solve it before it starts costing money....

thanks again.

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Gents, could you tell me if this is a fault that only affects cars with sunroofs? Got an e60 without a sunroof, didn't notice any water when putting space saver in as I am now on non RFT winters, but will be checking again now!!

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Hi, sorry only just noticed your post.

I would say - it probably only affects cars with sunroofs although you will be able to confirm this.

The reason I say that is because the sunroof allows some water in and isnt water tight as per the originonal post above.

See if your car has these tubes as described and let us know!

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Yeah, my E60 520d has no sunroof. I'm not sure where the water came from, but i discovered it when my PCD stopped working. I was so lucky, as i just removed the PCD, gave it some tender love and care, and dried it out, and voila, it started working again. I made a few little mods to ensure it is helped to stay dry from now on, and i check it regularly. Not had a problem recently.

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Sorry for slow reply. Checked behind the trim panels on my e60 saloon with no sunroof and as you suspected there is no drainage pipework.

Cheers

Rob

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:mrgreen:

I think you will find the reason for pinching the end of the drain tube, is just to stop bugs climbing up it and getting into the sunroof area !

You know, funnel web spiders and the like. He-he. :shock:

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:mrgreen:

I think you will find the reason for pinching the end of the drain tube, is just to stop bugs climbing up it and getting into the sunroof area !

You know, funnel web spiders and the like. He-he. :shock:

Ah yes, im always seeing loads of those!

Strange why the front tubes dont have them then.

Do spiders prefer the ar$e end of the car...?

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As an owner of an E60 with no sunroof afflicted by this problem, if this post saves anyone the aggro I had it'll be well worth it. I'll post the pictures of my fried power monitoring module one day which are worse than the one pictured here...

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Great post bud... i have just mangled my fingers trying to take a look and glad i dont see any water... although i dont have a sun roof but worth a check...

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The only thing about the rear of the car are exhaust fumes, so maybe the valves are there to stop fumes going up the pipe and going into the cabin when you have the sunroof open.

Stop laughing you lot, Unlikely I know, a job for the "Mythbusters"

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Any chance of a pick of the drain holes on the roof of the car ?

My thinking is that I can blow down the tubes from the 'roof' side and clear any potential blockages, rather than remove the fuse panel and pull-off the crimped-ends.

I'm guessing that once the crimped-ends are removed and the pipe pushed back through the hole in the boot, there is nothing holding it in place anymore ? Which means it could vibrate out !! Suppose a bit of clear silicone sealant would glue it in place and be easy to remove if necessary.

Also, how long does it take for water build up....is this something that happens literally overnight ? Or is it days and weeks of slow water ingress ?

Incidentally, this problem is common on Passat's where the plenum chamber fills to the brim with water flooding the car / electrics and sometimes brake servo...eek !

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Thanks Neil - both useful and entertaining! I've spent a year (and about 2k on labour and fried control modules) trying to get this problem fixed - now on the third occurrance! Not to mention, one so-called BMW specialist wanted to change my alternator! Have removed the offending widgets and drilled a couple of holes in the spare-tyre well for good measure!

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Hi Brock

Sorry to hear that you've had issues too...what was your circumstance? A douse of heavy rain or a general build up of water do u think?

There are several drainage holes that need attention. These cars are getting on a bit now and none are exempt from leaves etc blocking drainage tubes.

This thread deals with the most common issue.

There are 2 more that are on the ends of the cabin filter housings. If u remove the charcoal filters, then remove the plastic housings that they sit in you will see them. Mine were well blocked with leaves. A good hoovering cleared most of them.

These 2 are below these cabin filter housings. One sits in below the brake fluid / master cylinder void on the UK drivers side. The other it's exact opposite which is below the ECU housing.

These are small rubber grommets again and a small screwdriver was needed to puncture through grime then washed through with clean water.

I think some pictures would help me explaining.

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Many thanks for this useful guide. After purchasing a second-hand e61, with pan roof, I followed it as a precautionary measure and 'popped-off' the crimped ends as recommended.

Unfortunately however, this morning I discovered a wheel bay full of water. The electrics seem OK, and I have dried everything out, but any ideas what might have caused it? Are there other drain holes I need to look at? My wife did put the car through an automatic wash so we won't do that again, but it still shouldn't have happened.

Grateful for any steers on what else I need to do. Thanks in advance.

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Many, many thanks to the originator and all the comments. My spare wheel well had a few litres of water sloshing around and the battery compartment too. Driving home had level control failure all sorts of towing indicator failures. Suspension dropped car started crashing over the potholes! Opening the boot what made me start to panic was a litre of water in the tray above the battery. How can it get there?? Water fried the light green relay which I believe was for the level pump and another salmon coloured relay, scrap!. Towing module was wet and the module for the level control. Removed them and sprayed them and the plugs with Halfords contact cleaner.Let them dry for about an hour each with the misses hair drier (light heat). Sevenoaks BMW had both relays in stock £10 each. BMW Sevenoaks were helpful and knew about the sunroof issue so I set about checking the drains. Could not find any problems but still pumped/cleaned the lines as discussed in this and other forums. Quite relieved that it only cost me £20 today. Will be checking the spare wheel well periodically from now on. Many thanks

ratbag013 likes this

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