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Bought an old BMW M3, filled with regret...

Discussion in 'Motors' started by mrk, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Conscript

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2004

    Posts: 8,962

    Location: Kent

    Wow. What a thorough walk around. I guess they do that as much to cover their own backs as for your peace of mind, but it's nice to know they are taking their time with it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  2. Housey

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Feb 21, 2006

    Posts: 26,555

    You can always get something done cheaper, but with experience comes the realisation that when you go cheap you more often than not get cheap. Of course people will always big up that their cheap is just the same as your expensive, but usually it isn't even if the differences are subtle. Now of course there are rip off merchants but they don't tend to come with a solid book of recommendations. You pay your money and make your choice.
     
  3. T0pPredator

    Gangster

    Joined: Jun 30, 2011

    Posts: 380

    Location: Yorkshire, England

    I'm a bit late to the party, but good lord I can't believe this has happened to yours mrk..

    I only thought this was a real issue with abused or run on a shoe string examples (which many are now)..

    From everything I've seen on here its got to be one of the most cherished and pampered M3's in existence. Judging by how immaculate you keep it, I'm in no doubt you'll have been very sympathetic to that engine, ensuring its fully up to temp every time you enjoy it.

    I can't recall what mileage you bought the car on but I think the odo said currently 114k in the vid, so I imagine you have put half or more of the miles on this engine yourself?

    You say you've stuck to BMWs service interval, so is that 10 or 15k oil changes with castrol 10w60?
    If this is the case, it just goes to show you how wrong BMW got it with this.. and people aren't just scaremongering after all..

    You've been through a lot with this car to get it to and keep it at the level it is, I am not surprised you want to hang on to it. But that is an eye-watering unexpected cost..

    You do get what you pay for in the end though, so if its still a keeper, good on you. Redish will probably get it turned around in no time with full peace of mind.

    Mine is on around 112k now and had the full Mr Vanos treatment a while back (new rod bearings, rebuilt top end, new headgasket, vanos refresh, service). It came to £2345 and the bearings which came out looked to have some signs of wear, but not bad at all when compared to many i've seen photographed, the guy said he was 50/50 on whether they'd been replaced before. Mine's an 02/03 car, no paperwork or evidence of the recall or any previous replacement, and the inside of the engine was a bit gummed up too (according to Mr Vanos, an issue with castrol and why he only uses shell).

    So many mixed opinions on these bearings, my standpoint is that they are a 100k service part and oil needs replacing every 5k or annually.

    I look forward to seeing the updates on your new engine. I've got my fingers crossed for you that it all goes to plan.
     
  4. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    Maybe it's in combination with the recent weather, but the last week or two have been a smidge depressing lol. The initial thought that I might end up breaking the car for parts etc were filled with a feeling of dread.

    But now that the threshold has been crossed and it's being fixed, it's been a refreshing few days. And knowing it's going to be back on the road and from that point onwards for the next 100k+ miles it's going to be absent of this kind of issue happening again is a big peace of mind.

    On the upshot, this has resulted in greatly reduced labour rates on other jobs being done at the same time like the clutch and flywheel, bearing shell upgrades, free oil service and stuff.

    With the roof up or down, soon as that induction burble starts at 2500-3000rpm even just driving around town normally, everything is right with the world, and everyone inside the car has a smile :)



    Whilst I've been mechanically sympathetic, I can't vouch for its previous owners. I am owner number 5 :eek: but the overall condition of the car when I bought it at 62k miles (now on 114k) was really quite good so I had no reason to suspect anything else at the time. I also didn't learn of the rod bearing issues all of these are prone to until more recently so there is that. What people and tuners say is correct, an engine so highly strung needs stronger components. The engine isn't the only place BMW fell short on with the E46 M3 though, the brakes as we all know are rubbish after a few heavy stops on a spirited drive. Uprated pads and fluid with some stainless steel braided hoses make a world of difference. But even still, single piston calipers up front to stop a 1730KG car is just too small.

    Regarding oil, each time the cluster said an oil service or inspection 1/2 was due, I booked it in. Each reset as you know starts at 15k miles ETA but drops based on the driving conditions, so some of those intervals have been 10k, some have been 12k between changes. I just went with what the OBC asked for. I've always used Castrol Edge 10w60. When I first heard about bearing issues I thought maybe it was scaremongering to a small extent. But the issue is definitely real as Gibbo pointed out before. Evolve's video highlighted the issue perfectly. The tolerance gap is very small. BMW's original shells were a weak point for such an engine, they revised them in later models, and later better engineered aftermarket ones like the ones from King Racing came out that didn't cost much more than BMW's ones. As others have mentioned, the only way to know if bearings are on their way is to regularly send oil samples away to a lab to test for metal/copper content and track how much increase there is in each result.

    The King Racing shells came to £140 for all 12. I looked them up and they come highly rated. Whilst the OEM ones might last 100k miles, the King ones are more robust and engineered using modern materials and technologies for a similar price difference, so it's a no-brainer really.

    I will also be changing the oil every 5k miles (or once a year) myself from here on, and let the indy do the inspection services.

    The last 4 years have been costly to maintain this car. Sprouts of bad luck have attributed to a lot of that cost, but it's also been a huge learning experience and knowing what is what with E46 M3 ownership now. Had I known the trials I would go through, then I'd have been put off and bought something Japanese. Putting lots of miles on one of these demands digging into the pockets for sure!

    But having actually gone through all this now, I can't imagine going through it with anything else as I'd have been annoyed to the point of just breaking it for parts lol. To me the S54<>E46 combo is special enough to make it just about OK in the long run.
     
  5. Gibbo

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 30,358

    Location: OcUK HQ


    I did warn you 2-3 years ago about rod bearings and that I feel personally its a service item, ideally to be changed every 80k or so miles for precaution, some may fail as soon as 60k miles, others as high as 150k miles, a lot is down to driving style and care of the car of course, but its an item that wears over time.

    Your the 3rd person I personally know know who had rod bearing failure on E46 and I know one on E92, again personal friends who had to have rebuilds and they all cherished their cars. I also know a few people with E46 and E92's who changed them as precaution, some came out looking OK and some came out looking like they got a lucky escape.

    An E46 M3 don't weigh 1730kg, surely even convertible is not that heavy is it? Or is that weight with fuel and yourself in it as I think I remember coupe weighing in at 1565kg, I've got mine down to 1325kg now.

    I change my oil every 6000 miles or after two full track days, I limit myself to 30 minute sessions and never let oil temperature exceed 125c, which it never does anyway as removing all AC, viscous fan removed the cars cooling ability at speed.
     
  6. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    On the V5 it says 1730KG which appears to be loaded so perhaps yeah that is with fuel and driver!
     
  7. Gaygle

    Capodecina

    Joined: Nov 7, 2004

    Posts: 14,847

    Location: East of England

    Weights are presented as 90% full fuel tank, a 68kg driver and 7kg of luggage.
     
  8. Lashout_UK

    Capodecina

    Joined: Mar 2, 2004

    Posts: 11,648

    Location: SE England

    Agreed. RE the E9x V8, a specialist I deal with says that even BMW has conceded that they should be replaced at 80,000 miles (and that they have a maximum design life of 100,000 miles). It'll affect them all, eventually, regardless of how they're cared for.
     
  9. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    Update.

    Redish are currently replacing the bearing bits on the new engine. They've sent a video of what they've found and have opted for the BMW bearing shells and bolts with an explanation as to why instead of using the King bearings.

    Check it out.



    I'm fine with their decision, it's a shame the clearance on the King bearings is so large though, but always best to be safe.

    @Gibbo what clearance values did yours come to using those bearings?
     
  10. Gibbo

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 30,358

    Location: OcUK HQ


    I rebuilt it myself mate, so I visually inspected crank, got a mate who develops and build engines to take a look, he was like crank is fine, lucky you get on with it.
    I took no measurements, just wung it and I've been fine since, if it blows well like you I shall just drop a new engine in, but its been some years and thousands of miles since, car runs and pulls like a dream. Remember I am a home mechanic, not a professional, I spoke to a couple of friends who build engines for a living who gave me tips on the job, but no measurements were taken, just a visual inspection of crank by myself and a friend.

    Just go with what they say, they know best!


    P.S. I went with Calico coated bearings and ARP bolts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  11. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    :eek:
     
  12. Gibbo

    Commissario

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    Haha, mine has done some track days since, it gets properly used and used hard once warm, car has been nothing but fantastic. :)
     
  13. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    Old bearings at 66k on donor engine now out and clearance reports all sent through. At 66k miles it's amazing how worn they were. Coincides with BMW's later statement that they should be changed at 80k miles when they finally acknowledged they should be considered a service item.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. badgeruk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 27, 2009

    Posts: 1,934

    Location: On the edge of a Cliffe

    Stop posting these pics. Its making me nervous :( :p
     
  15. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    Prepare yourself a few £k :D
     
  16. Gibbo

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 30,358

    Location: OcUK HQ



    Something I've been saying for years, some laughed at me at the time, more fool them.
     
  17. badgeruk

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 27, 2009

    Posts: 1,934

    Location: On the edge of a Cliffe

    :( I did email ETA a couple weeks ago asking a general "SAVE MY CAR" email. Have not heard anything back yet. Will ring them once the roof is fixed (14th of jan is the earliest BMW can fit me in..., having a oil change at the same time as its just over a year and 5k since my last one).
     
  18. mrk

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 83,817

    Location: South Coast

    It's more ammo when buying one of these really. If there's no record of rod bearings being done with clearance reports then that's an instant £1500 minimum to be slashed off the asking price, no ifs for buts.
     
  19. Simon

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 22,408

    Location: Berks / Moscow

    Ah rod bearing chat here too. What about the mains?
     
  20. Gibbo

    Commissario

    Joined: Oct 17, 2002

    Posts: 30,358

    Location: OcUK HQ

    This was something I asked about, all the feedback I got was generally not an item to worry about, I've never heard of a failure either.

    I'm just of the inclination now if I get a failure again, I will just do as MRK and drop in a replacement engine, it can easily be done for around 5k or less, probably a bit more on the E92 I imagine though.