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M3 ZCP what to do?

Discussion in 'E46 M3 (2001-2006)' started by M3Kaminari, May 4, 2010.

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    M3Kaminari

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    First time to post here and have enjoyed reading Roundel and being a member.

    My dilemma is a 2005 M3 ZCP with 50,650 miles, driven mostly as a commuter. But it needs an engine replacement. 2 bolts mounting the sproket to the camshaft sheared and crippled the engine. The car is clean inside and out, but is it worth it to fix, 15K+ for a new engine and install, with BMW covering about 50% and me needing to cover the rest?
    It is the best deal I could negotiate from BMW NA, even though I don't agree with their claim of frequent over rev indicators logged by the computer..

    Due to the cost is it better to cut losses and sell the chassis in hopes there is a buyer for it or fix it and drive it some more before selling it?
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    bcweir

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    I suppose this depends on how good your DIY skills are.

    An engine swap on an E46 M3 is doable, but it's not something I would recommend for your first DIY, due to the enormous amount of labor involved. At minimum, this is a large job and I certainly recommend getting help.

    While legally, the EPA would require you to replace the engine with one no older than the car it's going into, but with a nod and a wink, as along as its compatible with your transmission and electronics, nod, nod, wink, wink, who's going to know?

    You're going to be looking for an S54 inline-six. The S54 inline six first appeared on the E46 M3 for the 2001 model year. This engine also went into the Z3 M-Roadster and Z3 M-Coupe as of the 2/2001 models.

    A quick check on Ebay brought one up for around $6,500. You can probably do better with more checking, and it's only marginally better than what you were able to negotiate with BMW NA. Considering that BMW NA would set you up with a new engine, vs. this example with 24,000 miles of wear and tear on it, BMW NA's "deal" is probably going to be your best offer (sorry).

    http://motors.desc.shop.ebay.com/i.html?_nkw=bmw+s54&_sacat=6030&=Search&Model%2520Year=2006%7C2005%7C2004%7C2003%7C2002%7C2001&Engine%2520%2526%2520Components%2520Part%2520Type=Complete%2520Engines&Part%2520Type=Engines%2520%2526%2520Components&Condition=Used&_dmpt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&Make=BMW&_odkw=bmw+s54&_osacat=6030&bkBtn=&LH_TitleDesc=1&_trksid=m270

    Anything else, and you're looking to pay a whole lot more for an engine that likely won't be new, and likely won't have BMW's factory warranty at the price they're offering.

    Are you sure the engine isn't repairable? Did anyone do an examination to see if it can be saved?

    I don't have your information on the "over-rev" indicators they mentioned, and I would probably want to see proof of that, especially with more than $7,000 at stake. On one hand, if the engine had indeed be over-revved, and if they can prove that, BMW NA is being pretty "generous" by offering to go half and half with you on the engine, considering they could have just invalidated your warranty completely and left you stuck with a $15,000 paperweight.

    On the other hand, if someone's trying to take you on a $7,500 ride by claiming over-revving without backing it up, I'd see about getting a second opinion from another dealer or insisting on seeing some a little more concrete than just taking their word for it.

    Something else you may want to take a look at, though. Has anyone checked to see if there are any TSB's (Technical Service Bulletins) regarding the cause of your engine damage? If so, then BMW is required to correct the problem free of charge, especially if there was a recall on this issue. I seem to recall there is still an ongoing oil-related failure with these engines with BMW. Have they checked your engine to see if you are under any kind of recall or TSB? That MIGHT be a possible solution to your issue right there.

    As far as selling it is concerned, that's going to put you in a bit of a dilemma: you're not going to be able to get anywhere close to the car's used resale value with a damaged engine, and you could be inviting a lawsuit by selling the car for what it's worth without disclosing the engine damage. You're not in a good place either way by selling the car. Sorry.
    • Member

    M3Kaminari

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    Thanks for the quick and detailed reply. I had the car at a well known independent repair, being out of warranty and it was scheduled for an inspection II maintenance. They did not see any TSB on the problem and did a pretty dianosis, even using a boroscope to check the engine out.

    BMW of course wanted to inspect it, so it was brought to them and after tearing the engine apart further it was determined it would be better to install a new engine rather than rebuild. The difference was about 2K.

    I haven't been able to get a printout of the DME to prove or disprove the over rev question and it sounds like it will be difficult to get.

    Thanks again for the feedback.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    What? Are you kidding me? Difference was 2K, but you have to come up with $7,500?

    Is it just me, or does that math not add up?

    If BMW says (if I understand you correctly) rebuilding the engine would cost 2K, why is BMW making you carry $7,500 worth of water (figure of speech) for the privilege of getting a replacement engine?

    Or maybe they are saying that it would cost $9,500 to rebuild the engine vs. replacing it by having you come up with $7,500? Is it just damage to the head (valvetrain damage), or is it more than that (scored pistons, etc.)? If the shortblock and the reciprocating assembly (crankshaft, connecting rods, pistons, etc), sans the cylinder head is still OK, I don't understand why they don't just replace the head.

    Difficult to get? I'm surprised that BMW wouldn't produce this DME printout immediately, since their argument (indeed their whole case) for charging you seven and a half grand is resting on this printout. I'd have said, produce the printout, or replace the engine at no charge to you.

    I think if I had been accused of something, especially something that could cost me $7,500, I'd be real interested in seeing the basis proof of such an accusation. It's one thing if they want to accuse you of abusing the engine and not letting you see the proof. It's quite another if these bolts failed through no fault of yours, and now BMW wants a hefty stack of cash to make you and your car whole again.

    In short, BMW NA is asking a lot of you (money, specifically) and offering a bizarre lack of information as their basis for doing so. That's not much value for the $7,500 they're asking you to go halvsies on.
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    az3579

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    If it was a certainty that the engine replacement was absolutely necessary and a rebuild would cost more, and all you had to pay was $7500, I'd TAKE IT!

    An S54 from eBay costs almost that much. Then factor in the labor to put it in and code it to the car; that labor alone is multiple thousands of dollars, so if you think about it, the dealer's offer is not bad at all. I would take it, but only if you planned on keeping the car for a long time.
    • Member

    M3Kaminari

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    Sorry, I wasn't clear on it

    Rebuild cost is about 12K. Replace+install new engine about 14K. In either case, the best BMW offer is to cover 50%, due to age of the car, out of warranty, and DME indicating over revs. Their original offer was 0%.

    I was thinking with the complexity of the engine and a diffference of around 2K it would be better to go with a new engine vs rebuild, but have a concern about life left or problems with the transmission and chassis. I haven't driven the car hard, but most of the 50,650 miles has been city rush hour stop & go.

    Brakes still show 8mm left, but clutch, transmission, and bushings haven't been imspected.

    Before all this I had planned on keeping the car, but the major mechanical work is making me question keeping it and if put up for sale, not having the original engine may make it difficult to sell, espcially since it is a later production model.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    You do have one more option left.

    Have you tried contacting the BMWCCA ombudsmen? The contact numbers are under the BMWCCA menu at the top, then click on Ombudsmen.

    These are generally the go-to people when all other attempts to come to a satisfactory resolution fail. They don't have the authority to enforce anything, but act as voluntary mediators between vehicle owners and service providers.

    It's the one thing you haven't tried. Barring that, you're going to be eventually left with two options: fork over the cash for your new engine, or be prepared to take an unwanted financial "bath" getting what's going to be basically "salvage" or "scrap" value on your M3, since nobody's going to pay you full resale value on an M3 on a BMW with a damaged engine, especially when the S54 engine costs so much to replace. It's probably the only way to restore the car's value and full functionality.

    As for an engine replacement, it's not necessarily a death sentence for your car's resale value. BMW replaces engines in these cars all the time, and it's not necessarily always due to the fault of the car owner. Some examples that come to mind are the Nikasil V8 issue from 1993 to 1995 on the E32's and E38's, and more recently with some of the 335's and 535's with an oil temperature overheating problem. If you do get the engine replaced, keep all documentation regarding it, and you should be fine. As far as the prospective buyer is concerned, it's no more and no less than a maintenance issue that got taken care of. Especially since it was replaced by BMW and not some shadetree mechanic trying to hide racing, abuse, or accident damage.

    In that regard, a fresh engine can be a plus on a car that's five years old. Good luck.
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    MGarrison

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    Seems to me this decision comes down to whether you plan on keeping the car long term or not. If you don't plan to put another 100k on the clock, then maybe it's better to part it out for whatever few bucks you'd get for it and say you enjoyed it while you had it.

    If you like the car and would have no plans to sell it anytime soon, then 50% is waaaay better than nothing and seems pretty generous to me, allowing you to start from scratch again with a brand new engine (which I would think of as a pretty big deal, in-as-much-as, unabused & well maintained, you might well expect a new engine to go to 100-150k without major disassembly). And, if you were wanting to get out of it, the only way to sell it and hope to get something near what you might think it's worth would be with the car in running condition, new or rebuilt. One advantage of the new engine is the 'no surprises' factor; they could tear the old one apart for the rebuild and find "Oops!, we didn't see this damage, you're going to need a new block" - plus.. won't the new engine be warrantied? No such luck there with a rebuild I would think.

    Unless something transmission/chassis-wise has given you the suspicion of becoming problematic, if it's a manual, I'd expect the transmission to work just fine (with proper maintenance) up to 200k or more, particularly if not abused or seeing track duty. I can't speak for SMG tranny's, but automatics I think may be shorter-lived; I would not find it a surprise for someone to say their 150k automatic transmission was shot and needed replacement. If you're worried about the clutch, the labor costs to do that during the course of an engine install _might_ not even be any extra time from the estimates you have if they were sticking your current clutch on the new engine anyway. Then it's just the cost of the few parts, which is nominal compared to the labor to do a clutch job normally, which requires dropping the transmission. Brakes are a wear item, those have to be replaced in the normal course of driving anyway; if you're concerned about the cost of that, then you may wish to learn how to do some of that type of work yourself, which is relatively easy with a nominal investment in tools, to ameliorate typical BMW labor rates.

    I guess another factor is what you consider an old car. To me, a BMW w/ 50k on it, in some senses, is just getting broken in. I wouldn't be expecting the suspension wear items to need replacement yet (for a street-driven car), not for another 30-50k miles, or more. Generally, I'd expect the engine & drivetrain to be pretty good for another 100k miles, excepting the rubber pieces that eventually give up the ghost. Of course, the longer you keep a car, the more that the wear-'n-tear maintenance items will continue to come up. If you're not up to wanting to deal with that stuff as it comes up over the next 100-150k miles, then you're better off getting out of the car now, with or without new engine. YMMV of course, as I'm no E46 M3 expert, and I'd suggest researching or asking others with the same car their experiences as far as specific maintenance/chassis/drivetrain/transmission issues go over the long haul. Having been around BMW's for the last 30 years, I generally have confidence about the longevity of the cars (excluding particular model-specific issues), but they are not inexpensive to maintain, and more maintenance-intensive, not exactly your drive-it-and-forget-it kinda vehicle, particularly more so after 100k. Good luck whatever you decide!
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    SBrasesco

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    I am lost here....if I understand correctly, you have an 05 w/50k on the chassis and all other components...the issue is a shot motor....and BMW is willing to put in a "NEW" 0 miles motor for $7500 your cost....is that correct???....because if it is why would you NOT do it???
    If you take a pass you have a rolling chassis to part out....if I understood correctly the car was not involved in an accident so insurance does not help here...you are left to take her apart and sell her piece meal...
    as far as the ability for BMW to see over revs...I would think that to be true.....they knew when guys in 335i were blowing turbos w/ re-maps...
    As far as the e46 M3 I remember in 01 the initial year they had a design issue within the motor that was causing the top half to seize, I dont recall exactly what the issue was but after prodding BMW owned up and replaced/repaired effected M3's
    Best of Luck
    • Member

    M3Kaminari

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    Update

    Update:
    After much hand wringing I took the plunge and had the engine replaced by BMW. It took some time for the engine to get built and shipped in from Germany, but finally got installed and I picked up the car last week and I am now repeating the "new engine" break-in period.

    No problems yet and I have to say BMW-NA was very generous in getting me a replacement engine given the circumstances. Also in the end, the cost out of pocket, for the motor replacement was less than expected as all the work was done under a different price structure.

    Thank you all for your recommendations and opinions they all helped to put things in perspective and to clear up any concerns I had.
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    CSBM5

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    EDIT: Just read your last post -- glad things worked out even better than you expected. I'll leave the below post here for others benefit in the future.

    Regarding "over-revs" on the E46 M3, way back in the early years Jim Conforti posted the DME source code related to this storage. Don't let them roll you over a barrel on the "over rev" issue. The redline is 8k rpm but the "overrev" quantity indicator records any excursion over 7800rpm, so simply running the car to factory specified redline adds to the quantity.

    I'm curious as to what they told you was the max rev reached?


    Here is his post from the Roadfly board back then:
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    M3Kaminari

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    Thanks for the information about the over revs. While I asked for details and a print out, I never got to see either, as when I requested it, the BMW NA tech had already left the area, so I am afraid I can't help you in getting more info. In hindsight and giving the issue a lot of thought and then reading your post and information, I should have pushed harder to get the print out, even if it meant having to deal with BMW NA directly.

    After reading Jim Conforti's post, I think all of us M3 drivers are going to have overrevs.

    I'm having a hard time taking things slow and easy with the new engine, especially having enjoyed 4 years with one broken in. Being a newer one, it does seem to run more smoothly though, Even my wife who has said "I don't feel the love" has commented that it runs differently.
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    CSBM5

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    Good to hear. Enjoy the break-in process, seriously. Fun will be available again soon.

    It seems few dealership techs, even very high up regional and national tech leads/teachers/etc have "pure" knowledge (or they withhold it?) of how the data recording works. Jim of course broke the source code down to see what is actually happening in the DME since dealers/BMWNA greatly misrepresented the stored information back in the early days of E46 M3 engines exploding due to rod bearing issues. Nobody wanted to believe it was an engine problem, so unfortunately BMW's and dealer's first response was to blame the customer. Heck, I even wrote the Roundel about how this whole thing stunk to high heaven as there is surely something serious going on, and the reply from our editor was to somewhat ridicule me as succumbing to "internet mania" or some such. All of this is irrelevant to the issue you had of course, other than the data recording information.

    The actual recording, as we see above, is very limited in scope. Only the MAX engine RPM value is useful for a situation like yours. If it is substantially over the 8k rpm limit (say 8700+ rpm), then signs of a mechanical over-rev (i.e. money shift) could be indicated. Usually valves hit the pistons on such a thing however as opposed to the issue you had.

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