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      04-29-2016, 09:22 PM   #1
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N55 engine DEAD!!!

So yesterday while driving home, I noticed a metal sound coming from my engine. I was about 20 miles from my house, so I carefully drove home. No engine light, not engine code, to loss of power, nothing. Just a metal sound while above 2k RPM.

I had the car towed to my mechanic today and he said that the sound is coming from the block which indicates a rod. He stated that he just replaced another engine from a 135 with the same issues.

Details: Car is completely stock, I drive like an old man (I'm 52), and the car has 71,000 miles!!! WTF. He stated that I need a new engine which will end up costing $7500 or so by the time he is done.

This is my 9th BMW and last. Every generation seems to be getting more plastic like and less reliable. Questions for you guys, should I buy a complete new engine or should I try to fix the bottom end with CP pistons and pouter rods? My mechanic (who I completely trust) suggested a complete new engine, turbos and all. My concern is having the same crappy engine and having another failure at any given day.

Any advise or comments are appreciated,

Juan
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      04-30-2016, 05:14 AM   #2
The Wind Breezes
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Ditch the car, get a Porsche.
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      04-30-2016, 05:23 AM   #3
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Vanos recall ?
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      04-30-2016, 06:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Vanos recall ?
That was done by the dealer 4k miles ago. I didn't sleep last night at all. I have to open the engine and see what's there before I pull the trigger on a new engine.
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      04-30-2016, 06:50 AM   #5
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I agree open it up and see what happened. Doesn't seem like a common problem surely, we'd be hearing about it if were prevalent. Can I ask if you have followed the BMW recommended OCI's ie: 19,000-20,000 miles between oil changes

Also if you've spun a bearing there's going to be swarf through the oil cooler and lines so make sure you get a new setup or you'll likely spin another bearing on the new engine.
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      04-30-2016, 06:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by einserM View Post
I agree open it up and see what happened. Doesn't seem like a common problem surely, we'd be hearing about it if were prevalent. Can I ask if you have followed the BMW recommended OCI's ie: 19,000-20,000 miles between oil changes

Also if you've spun a bearing there's going to be swarf through the oil cooler and lines so make sure you get a new setup or you'll likely spin another bearing on the new engine.
I am the second owner of the car. The previous owner was my doctor. He is a fanatic when it comes to maintenance. He replaced the oil every 7k miles. I don't trust the long interval BMW recommends on oil changes.

Thank you for the info regarding the oil cooler, that is good to know!
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      04-30-2016, 07:14 AM   #7
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That really sucks. Please let us know when you get positive confirmation of the actual part that failed.
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      04-30-2016, 08:04 AM   #8
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Sorry to hear this happened. I think I'd open it up to see what failed. 7500 is a lot to spend but seems like the only/best option. These types of catastrophic failures seem rare but it's the reason I decided to get an extended warranty on my 1 series.

Let us know what you find out & decide.
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      04-30-2016, 09:43 AM   #9
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Ouch, thats some cash, thanks for sharing.

Most owners would hide and not bring up the problem as to not get flamed.

Does it really sound like a rod?

Did the sound match up with the revs?

I would go back to the records of the last shop who worked on the car, if maybe there is foul play, or mechanic did something wrong.
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      04-30-2016, 12:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crankestein View Post
Ouch, thats some cash, thanks for sharing.

Most owners would hide and not bring up the problem as to not get flamed.

Does it really sound like a rod?

Did the sound match up with the revs?

I would go back to the records of the last shop who worked on the car, if maybe there is foul play, or mechanic did something wrong.

My main reason for sharing is to gain information as well as sharing it. I want everyone to be cautious with these cars. The sound matches the revs, the higher the RPM the faster the noise. At idle is completely quiet, you would never know there is an issue.

My mechanic is "pushing" towards a salvaged engine, but I can't go that route. He stated that trying to repair the block could be costly due to labor and parts. I will search on Monday for another local mechanic that may be willing to take on the challenge. He stated that the piston sleeves are junk in these new engines and not worth fixing.... I don't know.

The last time the car was at the dealer was for the vanos recall 4k miles ago and to replace a leaking oil pan gasket.

It is worth noting that my mechanic has 2 other N55 engines in his shop with the same issues, that's why he is confident about his diagnostics. He also stated that when he called the dealer to get a quote on a new engine, the parts person stated this was the 4th call this week requesting such quote. BTW, new engine is about $13,000 without turbos or anything else.
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      04-30-2016, 01:30 PM   #11
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Glad I went ahead and put a Pure Stage2 turbo on my car!!

ah..aha...ahahh...ahhhhhh shit my engine's going to blow isn't it

Please keep us posted on what happens here.
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      04-30-2016, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flagler ///M135 View Post
It is worth noting that my mechanic has 2 other N55 engines in his shop with the same issues, that's why he is confident about his diagnostics. He also stated that when he called the dealer to get a quote on a new engine, the parts person stated this was the 4th call this week requesting such quote. BTW, new engine is about $13,000 without turbos or anything else.
I don't know what to make of this. If the implication is true, why the hell haven't we been hearing about this on forums? 2 N55s in ONE shop, 4 quotes on new motors at ONE dealer, surely N55s are being blown all over the place or this is the world's biggest misunderstanding / statistical anomaly.
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      04-30-2016, 03:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Wind Breezes View Post
I don't know what to make of this. If the implication is true, why the hell haven't we been hearing about this on forums? 2 N55s in ONE shop, 4 quotes on new motors at ONE dealer, surely N55s are being blown all over the place or this is the world's biggest misunderstanding / statistical anomaly.
Leads me to believe that this mechanic is doing something to blow engines. Heard about far more blown N54s than N55s, and bent rods on N54 engines is still pretty rare, happening only (from what I've seen) on tuned cars north of 550whp or in cases of oil starvation on a track. Grain of salt here, all we have is anecdotal refs.

Not meaning to point fingers, but if there are that many bent rods happening in his area, someone is causing it. BMW dealership, independent service shop, someone who services all these cars.

good thread on another forum: http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=38919
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Last edited by ShocknAwe; 04-30-2016 at 05:28 PM.. Reason: Good thread elsewhere
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      04-30-2016, 09:53 PM   #14
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curious what oil do you use? is it 5w-30 and ll-01 approved?
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      04-30-2016, 10:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titium View Post
curious what oil do you use? is it 5w-30 and ll-01 approved?
Using a different oil from specified is not going to blow his motor with this kind of mileage unless something really wrong happens. Even if he used non synthetic it wouldn't blow the motor, although it could cause the turbo issues.
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      05-01-2016, 06:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titium View Post
curious what oil do you use? is it 5w-30 and ll-01 approved?
Oil changes were always done at the dealer, so I assume it was what BMW recommends.
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      05-01-2016, 06:55 AM   #17
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you'd hope so. I've heard of leaking injectors causing this issue (oil dilution by fuel causing lack of lubrication) on the n54 but didn't think the n55 injectors leaked.

I wouldn't call this normal at those km. be interested to see if it was oil dilution with fuel. I'd get an oil analysis done - they are pretty cheap. see what that shows up might give you an insight into what's wrong by what metals show up as well as other stuff that shouldn't be in the oil (fuel, coolant, water ect).
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      05-01-2016, 08:07 AM   #18
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Sure seems strange. One car, sure things happen. N55s blowing up all over town & no posts on this or any other forums about it? Strange & suspect.

I agree w/ the above. Get an oil analysis or have someone diagnose what caused the failure. Is it low on oil as it sits? Bad oil sensor or what other problem?
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      05-01-2016, 12:36 PM   #19
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Not sure what your machine has done yet. I m a tech myself. There's few things I would do at this point. Keep the old oil. Inspect the oil condition and how much was in there. Send oil out for test if possible. Remove and cut open the oil filter and look for sign of metal/bearing.
Pull all spark plugs and inspect, see if there's one cyl that's really different than others. Get a scrop into cylinder and look for damage/scoring on cyl walls. Compression and leak down would be good too, but those test would not tell you about rod or main bearing. Remove downpipe or intake on turbo and check turbo condition.
Once verifed turbo is in good condition.
You will need to think if you want to repair the car or sell it as is. If you want to repair. Take the engine out. Remove oil pan and check on rod/main bearing. One you know what failed, you will have a better idle on which way to go with repair. Used engine/new engine or rebuild your engine.
Good luck.
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      05-02-2016, 07:39 PM   #20
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      05-03-2016, 02:46 AM   #21
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That metallic noise you are hearing is from your crank. I had the same issue on my N54 and had bearing failure around 85,000 miles and I do track my car heavily. Dackelone can attest to that. I was told that by my mechanic here in Germany when he checked it out. He also stated to me that N54 and N55 bearings will last around that mileage before they start wearing down and failing. My engine is getting rebuilt right now with a new crank and bearings. Everything else checked out fine.

I would stay away from a used engine because you don't know how the previous owner treated it. If you can afford it, I would just get it rebuilt. That way, you know that you have a sort of 0 mileage engine under the hood again. Food for thought.

My damage to my wallet here in Germany is close to 8K euros ($9100). Compared to a new engine here in Germany that run for almost 15K euros and that is just the head and block.
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      05-03-2016, 04:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsabor67 View Post
That metallic noise you are hearing is from your crank. I had the same issue on my N54 and had bearing failure around 85,000 miles and I do track my car heavily. Dackelone can attest to that. I was told that by my mechanic here in Germany when he checked it out. He also stated to me that N54 and N55 bearings will last around that mileage before they start wearing down and failing. My engine is getting rebuilt right now with a new crank and bearings. Everything else checked out fine.

I would stay away from a used engine because you don't know how the previous owner treated it. If you can afford it, I would just get it rebuilt. That way, you know that you have a sort of 0 mileage engine under the hood again. Food for thought.

My damage to my wallet here in Germany is close to 8K euros ($9100). Compared to a new engine here in Germany that run for almost 15K euros and that is just the head and block.

Thanks for posting Elsabor67 I remember when we toured Mannhart Racing a few years back... they said they always replace the engine bearings when they do a major service on their customer cars. They said that was around 60K kms. I thought they were nuts for doing so at that time. Maybe not so crazy now - looking back. They also said they only used 10w60 BMW oil - even in the N54/N55 engines. I also thought that was weird.

Dack
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