My Sub-frame Collapsed into my Chassis….Thanks BMW

That’s right….my sub-frame collapsed into my chassis! Well not MY chassis, the chassis of my 2001 BMW 328i, aka the E46, cracked and failed which surprisingly is not uncommon.

CJ in BMW the UDM
CJ in BMW the UDM

Why am I surprised?  B/c according to the BMW commercials I am driving THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE!

Don’t get me wrong, I love driving my “machine” (so funny sidebar my aunt just reminded me yesterday that my Granny used to call the car “the machine” LOL).  My machine is a sharp little cutie that’s easy on the eye and fun to drive–especially fast and I love to drive fast.  But driving fast isn’t the numero uno priority and in fact, falls way to the bottom of the list b/c I could live a very happy life without another speeding ticket EVER.

What is numero uno priority is SAFETY and for being semi-retired (and looking for work again) cost of repair work – which up to now had not been a factor and that is why I ignored the fact that a BMW is more expensive to maintain and repair than comparable cars.  And while I think it sounds funny to say that my sub-frame collapsed into my chassis it’s actually kind of scary and I’m happy that I had the good sense and car-smarts to know that I wasn’t driving THE ULTIMATE DRIVING MACHINE  (UDM) up to PA again without taking it to my mechanic for a once-over.  And that is how I discovered the sub-frame failure.  Further research revealed that is is not an uncommon problem with the E46 model and its predecessor, the E36.  Very disappointing performance from the manufacturer of the UDM, no?  And unbeknownst to me, back in 2009 BMW made a one-time offer to reinforce the sub-frame and for those of us who didn’t know about the offer or who ignored it at the time, they rolled up the welcome mat and closed the help window on that a long time ago.  Further, the “fix” they offered at that time was reinforcement of the front part of the sub-frame only, which put more strain on the rear and in time pretty much guaranteed that the sub-frame would collapse into the chassis exactly where mine did – rear driver’s side.

Right now I’m thinking of going for another Toyota – having loved my Sienna minivan. I rented a RAV4 and drove it up to PA and back and really like it.  I’ve also been scoping out other makes with similar models but find that all of them have the rear hatch back vs. the RAV4’s back door that opens from left to right.  I’m really digging that feature.

So if anyone has experience with the Toyota RAV4 or similar – positive or negative – I’d really appreciate hearing what you have to say – please leave a comment!!


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