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      02-09-2017, 05:16 PM   #1
ewicky
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My Rod Bearing Destroyed; WTB: N54 engine

After 112kmiles and on-time oil changes every time at BMW dealerships, rod bearing on cylinder 1 has nothing left. No mods.
Several years out of warranty, BMW Customer Relations and dealership SA offered no assistance. Clearly the bearing was defective from day 1, since the service history doesn't show the engine was ever opened, and the other bearings survived 112kmiles without issue.

And this, my friends, is why used BMWs have such rapid value depreciation. It's because weird defects like this cost as much as the car is worth to repair. Sometimes you're lucky, others not so much.

With bits of metal spread throughout the engine, it is unlikely this engine will ever run again. Anyone have an N54 they want to sell?

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Does anyone know a secret to getting BMW to discount/goodwill a ridiculous repair like this?
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      02-09-2017, 05:28 PM   #2
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It's not necessarily a defect on the bearing. It's a spun bearing due to lack of lubrication.
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      02-09-2017, 05:32 PM   #3
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There's a guy who posted a car for part out here and he may still have the motor. If I can't find the thread I can send you his number. Best of luck man
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      02-09-2017, 05:43 PM   #4
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Are you the original owner of the vehicle? If so might just keep trying with BMW of NA. Good luck man.
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      02-09-2017, 05:57 PM   #5
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The bits of metal from that bearing should get caught by the filter before they enter the pump and get sent around the engine.

The real question is would it be worth it just to replace the rod bearings as compared to what else would need to be fixed. When that bearing wore out, most likely the oil pressure in the system dropped significantly. Other areas could have some wear as well, or just be well worn in over 100K miles.
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      02-09-2017, 06:11 PM   #6
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I remember your other posts. You've put around 1000 miles on that car since purchasing it, right? Did you buy it from a private party or dealer? BMW NA won't help you out, but you might want to inform the seller that you're taking them to small claims court. You probably wouldn't win since you can't prove the seller knew there were issues they didn't disclose, but it may be enough for them to contribute towards the repair to avoid the hassle and risk that you'd get a sympathetic judge.
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      02-09-2017, 06:14 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses, guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AM330i View Post
It's not necessarily a defect on the bearing. It's a spun bearing due to lack of lubrication.
True. Not sure why it'd loose lubrication; I drained about 7 quarts of glittery oil out of the crank. Failed oil pump, maybe. Yet again points to defective non-wear component, from the factory.
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Originally Posted by Jonah335 View Post
There's a guy who posted a car for part out here and he may still have the motor. If I can't find the thread I can send you his number. Best of luck man
Thanks! Ya I'm scouring all the part-out threads.
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Originally Posted by AZDesertBMW View Post
Are you the original owner of the vehicle? If so might just keep trying with BMW of NA. Good luck man.
I'm not; I think that is part of the reason BMW NA doesn't care LOL.
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Originally Posted by robthewrench View Post
The bits of metal from that bearing should get caught by the filter before they enter the pump and get sent around the engine.

The real question is would it be worth it just to replace the rod bearings as compared to what else would need to be fixed. When that bearing wore out, most likely the oil pressure in the system dropped significantly. Other areas could have some wear as well, or just be well worn in over 100K miles.
Indeed. Taking the valve cover off, I don't see any metal up there. But looking at the rod bearing on 2 and 5, it is clear that metal got spread through the engine. The filter has in it more glitter than a gay nightclub on Saturday.

I'd probably have to do all rod and crank bearing, then. Crankshaft would have to be resurfaced or replaced, as well as rod #1. Then, pray that cams, valves, etc., don't have damage. Doing the crankshaft requires removing the engine, and all those parts seem to add up to the street value of a long block. I'm leaning towards new engine.
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      02-09-2017, 06:25 PM   #8
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The only way to ensure you won't have any issues, if you were to fix this engine, would be to completely disassemble the engine, clean and inspect everything and replace any worn or damaged parts. You probably are better off finding a good used engine.
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      02-09-2017, 10:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AM330i View Post
The only way to ensure you won't have any issues, if you were to fix this engine, would be to completely disassemble the engine, clean and inspect everything and replace any worn or damaged parts. You probably are better off finding a good used engine.
What he said.
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      02-10-2017, 01:48 PM   #10
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You have to separate the bed plate to get the crank out. It would be much cheaper to source a used engine.

Those bearings are heavily pitted. Dirty oil is definitely the cause. This is why I only buy cars with full service records since new. Good luck.
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      02-10-2017, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AM330i View Post
It's not necessarily a defect on the bearing. It's a spun bearing due to lack of lubrication.
this is what happens when you use shitty BMW oil, follow BMW's ridiculous OCI interval and drive the piss out of the car all at the same time.

nothing unexpected here. its better to use a good quality 5w40 (that means NO castrol or Mobil 1 ) and pay for the oil yourself to have it changed at the optimal intervals.
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      02-10-2017, 04:09 PM   #12
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Argh! Lubrication issue? Clogged nozzle? Only 1 bearing is strange...
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      02-10-2017, 05:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6IX-F10-N52 View Post
this is what happens when you use shitty BMW oil, follow BMW's ridiculous OCI interval and drive the piss out of the car all at the same time.

nothing unexpected here. its better to use a good quality 5w40 (that means NO castrol or Mobil 1 ) and pay for the oil yourself to have it changed at the optimal intervals.
lmao who is this guy? and how do you have 1000 posts in 3 months? you don't even own an N54 lol
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      02-10-2017, 07:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJtoad View Post
I remember your other posts. You've put around 1000 miles on that car since purchasing it, right? Did you buy it from a private party or dealer? BMW NA won't help you out, but you might want to inform the seller that you're taking them to small claims court. You probably wouldn't win since you can't prove the seller knew there were issues they didn't disclose, but it may be enough for them to contribute towards the repair to avoid the hassle and risk that you'd get a sympathetic judge.
yup, just bought it. Dealer. Once I buy the engine I'll send a copy of the invoice to the dealer. They might pity me enough to throw a little cash my way. Based on the work the dealer had done on it, I'm fairly confident they had no idea it was going to fail. It is possible the previous owner saw metal in the oil and sold ASAP.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AM330i View Post
The only way to ensure you won't have any issues, if you were to fix this engine, would be to completely disassemble the engine, clean and inspect everything and replace any worn or damaged parts. You probably are better off finding a good used engine.
Agreed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mxchris727 View Post
You have to separate the bed plate to get the crank out. It would be much cheaper to source a used engine.

Those bearings are heavily pitted. Dirty oil is definitely the cause. This is why I only buy cars with full service records since new. Good luck.
Mhmm. Dirty oil probably came from bearing #1 failing. And yes, this car has full service records since new. I think I just got double-unlucky.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhaceN52B30 View Post
Argh! Lubrication issue? Clogged nozzle? Only 1 bearing is strange...
I'm not really looking to forward to finding out exactly what happened; I'm just getting a new engine. If I do find out it was a clogged nozzle or something though, I'll definitely update you.
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Originally Posted by Bimmer 808 View Post
lmao who is this guy? and how do you have 1000 posts in 3 months? you don't even own an N54 lol
lmao, indeed.

The engine I'm looking at buying will be a year newer and half a hundred thousand miles less worn, so fingers-crossed I can get a good run out of engine #2. Being '08, it has an oil cooler, so cooler oil = thicker oil = higher oil pressure in the bearings. And I'm going to walnut blast it and install a catch can from the beginning. I'm considering, as many have mentioned, running thicker oil and short oil change intervals on engine #2.

I have a feeling I'm going to be suffering in my A4 for quite a bit longer. I want my 3er back!
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      02-10-2017, 07:32 PM   #15
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A standard catch can will only help marginally since it only works during high load conditions. I empty mine once a year or so and it only has a few tablespoons in it. A dual catch can will help the most but you'll have to empty the low load can a lot since your car normally operates under a low load condition.

There's nothing wrong with Castrol Euro formula or Mobil 1 as long as you change the oil every 7500 miles or so. I've used those two exclusively and get an oil analysis done through Blackstone at every oil change (well worth the $25 for piece of mind). Other than when I had a slightly leaking injector, the report has always been excellent. Here's my last one at 114K miles:

Here's the perfect report we've been hoping to issue since January 2015. Wear metals are very
steady compared to last time, and that's what we like to see from a healthy engine. The most common
sticking point so far has been the flashpoint, which is how we calculate how much fuel is present. It's well
above the "should be" value here, so no measurable fuel is present, and the viscosity is fine for a 0W/40
grade oil. Of course, small amounts of fuel like before are harmless anyway, so we weren't really too
concerned. Titanium is just an additive in this oil. Excellent!
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      02-10-2017, 07:53 PM   #16
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Speaking from previous experience the metal shavings will be all through your engine. On our old E36 we had to replace the crank, camshafts, all bearings, oil pump etc,.. Basically, tear down the motor and replace just about everything.

99% chance the engine is toast.. Hopefully, you can source a used one for a reasonable price.
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      02-10-2017, 08:07 PM   #17
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Yeah I know it's gonna help you sleep better to blame the bearing and claim it was defective from the factory but.. No. That was a lack of oil. I would guess something got clogged up. I'm not entirely sure the schematics of the oil system in the N54 but that's my assumption. If you find out let us know that's really interesting.
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      02-10-2017, 11:03 PM   #18
ewicky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJtoad View Post
... since your car normally operates under a low load condition.
Are you sure about that
Do you have any suggestions on specific dual catch cans?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddien123 View Post
Yeah I know it's gonna help you sleep better to blame the bearing and claim it was defective from the factory but.. No...
It sure does. Seriously though, you make a fine point. It was already mentioned in the thread, and I'm not totally hung up on exactly what the cause is. It is unreal to have a defective bearing, but IMO just as unreal to have a simple rod bearing which is fed constant oil from within the crank go dry. Maybe it went dry because it spun due to poor tolerances? Who knows.
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      02-11-2017, 02:09 AM   #19
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On the bright side, now's your chance to rebuild it better than it was before.
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      02-11-2017, 10:38 AM   #20
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Defective, crappy part? Probably.

You're 62,000 miles out of warranty (!), BMW NA will do nothing but ignore you at this point. Expect nothing from them, you're wasting your time.

Sometimes a defective part slips through quality control and into the finished product. You just happened to buy that car. Sorry for your troubles...
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      02-11-2017, 11:07 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer 808 View Post
lmao who is this guy? and how do you have 1000 posts in 3 months? you don't even own an N54 lol
funny on all forums there's always someone who likes to somehow make light of someone else's misfortune. On this forum there are dozens...
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      02-11-2017, 11:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6IX-F10-N52 View Post
this is what happens when you use shitty BMW oil, follow BMW's ridiculous OCI interval and drive the piss out of the car all at the same time.

nothing unexpected here. its better to use a good quality 5w40 (that means NO castrol or Mobil 1 ) and pay for the oil yourself to have it changed at the optimal intervals.
So you can't use BMW, Mobil 1, or Castrol, why not if they meet LL-01? My fill cap says Castrol right on it, because that's who BMW recommended back in '07.
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