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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > N52 updated cylinder head question



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      02-10-2016, 08:53 PM   #1
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N52 updated cylinder head question

I have a 2006 330i with 50K miles on it. I bought the car out of warranty with 32K. Id say at about 44K the car began to tick like crazy. It was diagnosed as the well known lifter tick so common with these engines. I already had my local dealer replace the lifters and for 6 months I heard nothing. But the last few weeks its been back to ticking like crazy. I get the whole its not going to hurt the car but it is quite embarrassing when I pull into a parking lot and everyone looks at me like wtf. My question is about the new revised cylinder head. What would be the part number for this and can I purchase one used that will fix the problem. I heard out of warranty the dealer wants 7 grand to fix it. I was wondering if I could find a used one and have my local independent bmw garage put it in. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I do not want to get rid of my car. I have put a lot of $ into customizing it and would just like to maybe get this fixed. thanks guys
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      02-10-2016, 10:16 PM   #2
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What sort of driving does the car see most of the time, short frequent trips or longer runs on the open road (or mixed for that matter)? Reason for asking, the biggest culprit seems to be the frequent short trips where the engine and oil does not get warmed up properly and not enough flow through the engine. Plus if the oil changes are the normal extended period as per BMW dealer servicing - oils are good, but not that good.
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      02-10-2016, 10:38 PM   #3
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Mainly short drives like 5-10 min during the week. My job is a 5-10 min drive from my house. On the weekends I do longer drives. Today I went out to warm up my car to leave work and it was ticking bad. I drove home, pulled in my driveway and left the car running in park. I wanted to see how long it would have to run at idle to stop ticking. After 1 hour 10 min it was still ticking so I shut it off. I love the car and DO NOT wanna part ways with her but the ticking is embarrassing when the guy next to me at the gas pump is driving a chevy citation and its quiet as can be.
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      02-10-2016, 11:28 PM   #4
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These engines don't like short runs. I avoid them at all costs, even if it means taking the longer route to get to where I am going. And don't be shy of higher revs and the occasional WOT (when fully up to temp of course). It's a lot of engine that the oil needs to move around, so driving sedately over short distances won't do it any good. As a temporary solution there is a bleed procedure for the HVA that involves warming the engine, then holding the revs to around 3000 rpm for about a minute or so, then allow to idle a bit, and repeat this a few times. But it only helps, does not solve the problem and the ticking will still come back.
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      02-10-2016, 11:59 PM   #5
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I will give the bleed a try and try and take longer routes. Thanks for the advice. Is the revised cylinder head a pretty much sure fix? And does anyone know where I can get one?
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      02-11-2016, 09:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BMWE90fan View Post
I will give the bleed a try and try and take longer routes. Thanks for the advice. Is the revised cylinder head a pretty much sure fix? And does anyone know where I can get one?
It's better, but I have read of people having problems even with those newer heads. Mine is still 100% original and touch wood, no lifter noises at all.
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      02-11-2016, 10:52 AM   #7
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you can get a new head from the dealer of course. but it's going to be expensive.
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      02-11-2016, 06:39 PM   #8
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I wish I had one of those lucky few without the lifter tap, lol. Its been doing it since about 40K miles, and I feel such a let down to have put out the money out of pocket for the lifter replacements; not to solve the tick. bummer. Does anyone know what the revised head cost new from the dealer and how much the job costs? I heard 7 grand. Would this be a job an independent bmw garage could do? Sorry for all the questions,just brainstorming ideas and options. Appreciate the help guys.
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      02-11-2016, 07:44 PM   #9
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This is totally anecdotal but I'll share anyways. My commute used to be the same 10 minutes as yours and every winter I'd get the tick after 2-3 days of my standard commute. It always went away with warmer weather and longer drive time so my indy wouldn't do the work even though they supported my 3rd party warranty.

Now my commute is twice as long... Yeah a big 20 mins and I raaarely get it. My advice is the same as others.

A couple nights a week take the long way home and let the engine get warm and give it a good old Italian tune up, aka floor that effin thing and let your n52 scream. Haven't had the tick more than 2 times this winter and I'm in Chicago... It's kinda chilly here

Another consideration is what kind of motor oil you use. That can change things a bit.
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      02-11-2016, 08:05 PM   #10
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what are your oil change intervals? Also, is your oil level currently full?

Just curious to see if there is any correlation. I've never had the ticking, but then again, my commute is 22 miles each way
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      02-11-2016, 08:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWE90fan View Post
Mainly short drives like 5-10 min during the week. My job is a 5-10 min drive from my house. On the weekends I do longer drives. Today I went out to warm up my car to leave work and it was ticking bad. I drove home, pulled in my driveway and left the car running in park. I wanted to see how long it would have to run at idle to stop ticking. After 1 hour 10 min it was still ticking so I shut it off. I love the car and DO NOT wanna part ways with her but the ticking is embarrassing when the guy next to me at the gas pump is driving a chevy citation and its quiet as can be.
Ouch. Don't leave your engine at idle for so long - it's not good for it. I suppose if it's sufficiently warmed up it's not as bad (the oil is already circulating) but I still wouldn't do it.

And, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this engine ticks. My 128i with a build date of 2/2010 (supposedly the "new" head design, IIRC) ticks. Everyone I've ever heard of who had some sort of mechanical "fix" eventually got the ticking back. It's even worse with headers - my car sounds like a damn sewing machine sometimes!

I think, like other posters have said, the main contributing factor is frequent short trips. At least, it correlates with my typical day-to-day usage. I endorse the Italian tune up; I do it whenever I have a chance. I'm certainly not afraid to rev this engine (it loves it, IMO), but my daily commute is only 2-3 miles on a military base (low speed limits coupled with strict enforcement) so much of my driving is rather ho hum, I'm afraid.

Just accept it and move on, IMO. It's harmless, and believe me, no one is comparing your car negatively the the Chevy Citation. A little bit of ticking at idle is no big deal, it's just valve train noise. The engine still sounds heavenly at WOT.
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      02-11-2016, 10:21 PM   #12
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Thanks for the advice guys. My oil change intervals are whatever my local BMW dealer recommends. I just take it in whenever it hits the miles they list as my next change. As for the oil grade, I have no clue what they use. Its whatever factory recommendations are. It wouldn't bother me as much if the tick wasn't so loud. And I just bought a set of AA headers a few weeks back but have yet to install them. It just puzzles me as to why after I had the dealer change the HVA's I had no tick what so ever for almost 6 months and now its back again to a few times a week. Yea well, maybe I will just live with it because I love my car that much.

Last edited by BMWE90fan; 02-11-2016 at 10:24 PM. Reason: typo
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      02-12-2016, 05:05 AM   #13
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Here's the bleed procedure:

BMW engine ticking noise cure.pdf
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      02-12-2016, 05:22 AM   #14
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I'd consider doing oil changes at 5-8k miles.

BMW intervals are far too long as cars age. They like you to wait so it costs them less in the no charge maintenance plan.
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      02-12-2016, 10:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali-323i View Post
I'd consider doing oil changes at 5-8k miles.
My OCI has always been 7500 miles with the new cylinder head, and it still ticks sometimes. Maybe it's worse with the older design, I don't know. It really seems to come and go and, like I said, seems to be mitigated by longer drives at speed.

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Originally Posted by Ali-323i View Post
BMW intervals are far too long as cars age. They like you to wait so it costs them less in the no charge maintenance plan.
This is a conspiracy theory that won't die.

Consider that OCIs are determined by BMW AG in Munich, and apply to the car no matter what market it is sold in. And then consider that the "free maintenance" program was something dreamed up by BMW NA, in order to sell more cars - in most of the world, BMW's customers still pay for oil changes (and other maintenance).

To believe that BMW AG changed the OCIs in response to BMW NA offering free maintenance, you'd have to believe that BMW is okay with losing money in the vast majority of markets where customers must pay for oil changes. Surely the loss in the ROW markets is greater than any financial gain in the US market?

The longer OCIs are an industry-wide phenomenon, and have been occurring in all marques regardless of whether maintenance is covered or not. It's probably partially due to updated engine and oil technology, but mainly I think it is a response to environmental regulations (perhaps EU regulations specifically). A vehicle's environmental impact is lower by half if you double the OCI (not to mention move to "lifetime fill" in many other fluids).

I don't know exactly when the OCIs changed, or when BMW NA offered free maintenance. But if there is any correlation at all between the two events, it is likely that BMW NA determined that "free maintenance" was economically feasible only after BMW AG extended the OCI, not the other way around.
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      02-12-2016, 10:57 AM   #16
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Yes, BMW service intervals are way to far apart - I would recommend doing half interval services (just oil and filter and DIY is easy).
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      02-12-2016, 11:35 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iahawkeye View Post
This is totally anecdotal but I'll share anyways. My commute used to be the same 10 minutes as yours and every winter I'd get the tick after 2-3 days of my standard commute. It always went away with warmer weather and longer drive time so my indy wouldn't do the work even though they supported my 3rd party warranty.

Now my commute is twice as long... Yeah a big 20 mins and I raaarely get it. My advice is the same as others.

A couple nights a week take the long way home and let the engine get warm and give it a good old Italian tune up, aka floor that effin thing and let your n52 scream. Haven't had the tick more than 2 times this winter and I'm in Chicago... It's kinda chilly here

Another consideration is what kind of motor oil you use. That can change things a bit.

I wish I was fortunate like you on this. My commute is 30 min and I still get it. I didn't give it an Italian tune up yet, once roads are a bit more free from ice I shall give it a go and hope for the best, I bought it end of Christmas and changed the oil about 2 weeks ago with BMW oil and filter. Soooo we shall see...
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      02-12-2016, 11:47 AM   #18
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I've had my N52 for almost a year. I have a 5-10m commute and I will occasionally get a little tick. I noticed a sharp reduction after I changed the oil. Not sure what was in it before, but I put in Mobil 1 0w40 European spec. I don't want to jinx myself, but I can't say I've even heard it since.

As for WOT? Everyday. Multiple times per day.
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      02-12-2016, 12:16 PM   #19
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These engines are pretty critical when it comes to oil quality and how often it is changed. WOT means wide open throttle - Italian tune up basically.
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      02-12-2016, 12:53 PM   #20
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BimmerBob, not to discount anything that you're saying, but I just feel like once a year oil changes just isn't enough, especially as the engines age.

BMW also claims other fluids are "lifetime", an equally laughable concept in my opinion.

No way I'm going 10+ years, 200k miles without changing those fluids ever!!
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      02-12-2016, 01:47 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stewey View Post
I've had my N52 for almost a year. I have a 5-10m commute and I will occasionally get a little tick. I noticed a sharp reduction after I changed the oil. Not sure what was in it before, but I put in Mobil 1 0w40 European spec. I don't want to jinx myself, but I can't say I've even heard it since.

As for WOT? Everyday. Multiple times per day.

I had my lifters replaced and it helped. I stopped using castrol... and haven't heard a tick since(25000+ miles).

I use shell rotella t6 now, fwiw.
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      02-12-2016, 02:23 PM   #22
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There is no such thing as "lifetime" oil, I am sorry, doesn't exist. Unless "lifetime" is quantified - so does this mean 7 years or 100k km? This is for example the maximum mileage/duration for typical BMW Motorplan. So after this mileage and duration has past, inevitably these fluids WILL need (or will have already needed) to be changed. Case in point, a family member's recently purchased 2009 X3 2.5i xDrive M Sport A with 125k km on the clock and in overall good condition - the transfer case was shot and the rear diff also. Admittedly it had non BMW approved tyres on and these cars are especially reliant on the tyres being the same sizes all round. But regardless of that, the transfer case was shot simply because it had never seen an oil change. ZF recommends that the oil be changed at no later than 60k km intervals, BMW doesn't bother because they probably reckon by the time it fails the car will be out of Motorplan and not their problem anymore. And Castrol oil is always blamed for sludge and other engine problems when it's the lengthy service intervals that are to blame in my opinion. BMW's move to Shell has nothing to do with quality or being better or worse, it's simply business and who got a better deal. But anyway, let's see in years to come when Shell will be blamed for all these future sludged up engines...
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