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'95 540i Compression Issue

Discussion in 'E34 (1989-1995)' started by JMReubendale, Apr 24, 2012.

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    Out of nowhere last week my '95 540i (219k) developed a rough idle when cold - smooths out when warm, but may get rough again when idling.
    A local shop found that the left rear cylinder compression was 145 warm / 125 cold & found a tech note stating that the 5.8 cylinder 93-95 engines used nikasil material in the block - which cannot be machined.
    Besides taking to a BMW shop for confirmation, what are my options? Any idea of cost?
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Type the words "nikasil BMW problems" into Google search...

    Not too promising I'm afraid.
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    With one cylinder low on compression, kinda sounds like any fix you'd get into is going to be expensive. You probably could find a post-nickasil-problem engine for not a whole lotta bucks (ebay, pick-n-pulls, maybe even craigslist), but those V8's likely would need a thorough going over - osv, valley pan, water pump, etc etc etc, before saying you could throw it in the car and expect reliable performance.

    However, unless you can do a lot of the work yourself, the labor costs for the r&r of the engine are likely to be _at least_ two full days (let's say 16 hrs, and that's being optimistic, I think), which might start getting towards half the book value of the car. Then there's the work needed on any replacement or your engine, if yours is fixable.

    After BMW confirmed the nickasil issue, if owners experienced the problem, BMW offered to replace the engines. If you're not the original owner of the vehicle, you might want to try and confirm if you have an engine that was replaced - that would tell you if your engine is one that could be repaired.

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