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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > N55 Rod Bearing Failure.. New motor and turbo?



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      06-03-2017, 03:05 PM   #1
akalawur77
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N55 Rod Bearing Failure.. New motor and turbo?

Last week I was doing some spirited driving and heard what sounded like a popping noise. I thought it was a charge pipe or something but everything checked out and the car hit full boost. Ever since I've been having white thick smoke come from the exhaust in bursts every few minutes; diagnosed as oil getting in the combustion chamber. A ticking/knocking sound coming from the motor that's more apparent at 2-3k RPM. And stumbling/stalling during cold start. I took it to an Indy BMW shop and they found copper flakes in my oil and filter and said it appears to be a rod bearing failure. They said it's more cost effective to replace the whole motor and I should replace the turbo in case the metal flakes got inside it. They said they can find me a motor with less than 50k miles with a 12 month warranty (labor too). A pure stage 1 turbo is $850 + core charge. Grand total for everything having my car running again, including the turbo was ~$9k and they would provide me with a loaner car for free. I've dealt with this shop before and they are very nice and informative. The SA himself used to have a modded N54. I have a background of modding and tuning cars but never had a motor go bad on me. Does all of this seem right to you guys.. The price, the plan, the diagnosis, et cetera?

PS Car is Stage 2 with intake, intercooler, charge pipe, catless downpipe, OCC
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      06-03-2017, 03:26 PM   #2
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Used engine is about 5k, new turbo is about 1k, cost about 2.5k for a engine swap so 9k sounds fair to me.
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      06-03-2017, 11:04 PM   #3
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How many miles are you at? I can't believe this happened to me and you in pretty much the same time frame.
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      06-03-2017, 11:05 PM   #4
Mad E92
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Did it sound like this N54? This pretty much sounds like my car, https://www.instagram.com/p/s-YmFrMAjI/
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      06-04-2017, 09:01 AM   #5
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When our old E36 threw a rod bearing you could hear it up the street it was so loud. The sound is very loud and distinctive. We ended up rebuilding the motor. New bearings, one new piston and rod, one new camshaft (the metal got into it and ground it), new oil pump etc,...

if it is a rod bearing you will have metal all through your engine. The oil filter will not stop it. At that point, you have to decide replace or repair the motor. Repair means a complete tear down- everything! I would first find out exactly what it is before I spend $9K.
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      06-04-2017, 12:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boland01 View Post
When our old E36 threw a rod bearing you could hear it up the street it was so loud. The sound is very loud and distinctive. We ended up rebuilding the motor. New bearings, one new piston and rod, one new camshaft (the metal got into it and ground it), new oil pump etc,...

if it is a rod bearing you will have metal all through your engine. The oil filter will not stop it. At that point, you have to decide replace or repair the motor. Repair means a complete tear down- everything! I would first find out exactly what it is before I spend $9K.
The thing is, the labor involved in pulling the engine and then breaking it down to find exactly what's wrong adds up fast. Then, if you discover you can't actually rebuild the block, it's a complete waste of $$. If OP wants his car running soon, it's easier to just swap out the whole block and put a new turbo on there. Should be plug + play.
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      06-04-2017, 01:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad E92 View Post
How many miles are you at? I can't believe this happened to me and you in pretty much the same time frame.
I have 60k miles now and I just bought the car half a year ago with 55k miles. The car ran fine, oil level was good, and never overheated on me. Is this becoming a common N55 issue like it is on the Subaru EJ's..
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      06-04-2017, 01:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mad E92 View Post
Did it sound like this N54? This pretty much sounds like my car, https://www.instagram.com/p/s-YmFrMAjI/
Yeah that sounds pretty much exactly like mine.. was that a rod bearings failure in the video?
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      06-04-2017, 03:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akalawur77 View Post
Yeah that sounds pretty much exactly like mine.. was that a rod bearings failure in the video?
I'm not too sure OP didn't really specify. But their dealer told them that they needed a new engine :\ Anyways, I feel like this happened to me because my belt got sucked up into my engine a few months ago. I dropped the pan but I guess that wasn't enough I used to be able to open my oil cap and pinch out pieces of belt. This might of been the cause of my engine failure.
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      06-06-2017, 12:08 AM   #10
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So I got a second opinion who thinks I might've blown a piston ring instead of a spun bearing. This is possible from a bad knock while potentially going lean during full boost; my target boost is 18.5psi. He said the knocking sounds like piston slap, the oil getting into the chamber is most likely coming past the cracked/blown rings, and the stumble/stalling on cold starts would be from not getting enough compression because of the bad rings and once it starts to heat up everything expands and creates a better seal and better compression. I still think it would be better to replace the motor because of the metal flakes running through and any more potential damage that could've happened.
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      06-06-2017, 12:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad E92 View Post
I'm not too sure OP didn't really specify. But their dealer told them that they needed a new engine :\ Anyways, I feel like this happened to me because my belt got sucked up into my engine a few months ago. I dropped the pan but I guess that wasn't enough I used to be able to open my oil cap and pinch out pieces of belt. This might of been the cause of my engine failure.
How the hell did that end up happening!? And I re listened to the video and it does sound a little different than mine. On mine you don't really hear anything <2kRPM and mine sounds more consistent if that makes sense
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      06-06-2017, 12:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akalawur77 View Post
How the hell did that end up happening!? And I re listened to the video and it does sound a little different than mine. On mine you don't really hear anything <2kRPM and mine sounds more consistent if that makes sense
So mine begins at around 1.2k RPM. After letting go of the throttle when around 2.5K or up it makes a grinding noise. Doesn't sound too healthy :\

So when your OFHG starts leaking it gets onto your belt which makes it slip. It then wrapped itself around the crank seal and damaged it. Pieces of belt went inside and the chain sucked it all the way up into the valve cover.
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