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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > BMW E90/E92/E93 3-series General Forums > General E90 Sedan / E91 Wagon / E92 Coupe / E93 Cabrio > N52 Spontaneously Blowing up



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      05-18-2022, 11:00 PM   #1
Leucosticte
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N52 Spontaneously Blowing up

Hey guys, my buddy's N52 blew up for no apparent reason today, his car starting making a ticking noise a few months back but we theorized that it was something loose on the exhaust after taking off the belt and asking one of our mechanic friends.

Apparently what we were hearing was rod knock since his engine blew up on the side of the highway today and pissed oil everywhere, we pulled the intake manifold off and found one hole in the block near the vacuum pump near cylinder 1 and another hole in the oil pan near cylinder 2.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? This seems pretty much unheard of from an N52. The car was dealer serviced and old lady driven until 170k miles, blew about 2k miles later. Oil level was perfectly fine. It makes me worry about mine as well.

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      05-19-2022, 12:59 AM   #2
tlow98
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Very unlucky. Thatís it. Bummer. These engines are tanks for the most part.
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      05-19-2022, 01:28 AM   #3
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That's unfortunate but I wouldn't worry about yours. Flukes unfortunately can happen with any engine although 172k miles is plenty of time for poor maintenance to take its toll if applicable.

N52's are stout engines for the most part and from what I've seen 172k is significantly less than average for a lifespan of a well maintained one.
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      05-19-2022, 06:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leucosticte View Post
Hey guys, my buddy's N52 blew up for no apparent reason today, his car starting making a ticking noise a few months back but we theorized that it was something loose on the exhaust after taking off the belt and asking one of our mechanic friends.

Apparently what we were hearing was rod knock since his engine blew up on the side of the highway today and pissed oil everywhere, we pulled the intake manifold off and found one hole in the block near the vacuum pump near cylinder 1 and another hole in the oil pan near cylinder 2.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? This seems pretty much unheard of from an N52. The car was dealer serviced and old lady driven until 170k miles, blew about 2k miles later. Oil level was perfectly fine. It makes me worry about mine as well.


that doesnt mean much to me. My SUV is lady driven by my wife and trust me if it wasnt for me that car would have been done long time ago , my wife is clueless on maintenance or dash lights, she just puts it on D and drives, even if the oil light came on , she wouldnt know. She doesnt even know that an oil change is required after X amount of miles.

back in the days friend of mine used to borrow grandmas car since noone else let him borrow a car and he beat the crap out of it

I ll rather buy a car from enthusiast than an old lady.
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      05-19-2022, 09:46 AM   #5
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The N52 is arguably the most reliable engine that BMW made, therefore this post doesnít worry me at all. Itís pretty clear that there is missing information. But even without the missing information, itís explainable. Imagine driving along and ignoring rod knock because your ďmechanic friendĒ says donít worry about it. Not only would that type of silliness contribute to this, but it also suggests a whole lot of other silliness surrounding the engines maintenance that likely happened during your buddies ownership. While itís a reliable engine, it still requires regular maintenance to run properly, that means keeping up with OCIís, not starving the engine for oil (in one that is likely leaking some at that level of kmís), and generally keeping on top of things.

Like previously mentioned, the fact that it was driven by an old lady means absolutely nothing. The women in my life abuse their cars not through driving them hard but through a tremendous lack of maintenance during ownership. I feel as though this could have been prevented if he secured a PPI when the car was purchased, and if he kept up with one of the maintenance guides posted on the forum. Above all else this is a terrible thing for someone to have to deal with so Iím sorry for his loss, but I believe this is a good learning moment for the future regarding vehicle maintenance. Hoping that his insurance covers him and that he can get a high appraisal value with this crazy market we have going right now.
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      05-19-2022, 09:49 AM   #6
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With fiasco, old lady driven usually means old lady maintained. Id much prefer "Owned by a weirdo with a huge garage with a lift and a massive, meticulously maintained tool kit." Or at least owned by a guy whose independent mechanic gives him a bottle of wine for Christmas.

Ive literally been told by a girl, "Can you check my oil, the low oil light has been on for a week" only to find the OIL PRESSURE light has been on for a week. Or that she doesn't know why the check engine light is on but she left her gas cap at a gas station 3 months ago and never got a replacement.
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      05-19-2022, 10:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan stewart View Post
With fiasco, old lady driven usually means old lady maintained. Id much prefer "Owned by a weirdo with a huge garage with a lift and a massive, meticulously maintained tool kit." Or at least owned by a guy whose independent mechanic gives him a bottle of wine for Christmas.

Ive literally been told by a girl, "Can you check my oil, the low oil light has been on for a week" only to find the OIL PRESSURE light has been on for a week. Or that she doesn't know why the check engine light is on but she left her gas cap at a gas station 3 months ago and never got a replacement.
Have I got an E90 for you!
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      05-19-2022, 10:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiasco View Post
Imagine driving along and ignoring rod knock because your ďmechanic friendĒ says donít worry about it. Not only would that type of silliness contribute to this, but it also suggests a whole lot of other silliness surrounding the engines maintenance that likely happened during your buddies ownership.
This really didn't sound like rod knock though, it sounded more like a loose heat shield or piece of plastic or something. I had a knocking Subaru which sounded much deeper. Of course, it might just sound different on an i6. I don't think he really did anything wrong, I inspected the car when he went to buy it, scanned it with ISTA, and I couldn't find anything leaking/wrong with it. The car seemed to be maintained well. We changed all the fluids, did plugs and coils, and some other basic maintenance.

About it being under maintained because it was owned by an old lady. The car came with a stack of BMW service records that probably equaled the total value of the car brand new, the engine looked impeccably clean inside, no sludge or anything. It had no leaks besides a slight leak from the oil pan gasket. It really seemed like a great car on the surface, every option except radar cruise and a 6mt, which makes this all the more disappointing.
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      05-19-2022, 11:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leucosticte View Post
... It really seemed like a great car on the surface, every option except radar cruise and a 6mt, which makes this all the more disappointing.
Check codes and Freeze Frame Data (which would show Engine RPM at time Code Set. Particularly with a "Money-Shifted" MT, eh "F30". I'm a bit surprised NOBODY has suggested over-revving, or do we all believe that there is a "RPM-limiter" that will save you if you "Miss" a shift? 170,000 miles is a LOT for an "Old Lady" even in 15 years. WHY did "Old Lady" sell the vehicle -- on what advice/concerns?

In 2003, I bought a Jag XJ-S with 35,000 miles on it when it was 15 years old. MINT cosmetically & mechanically (still have it at 34yo -- NOT so mint anymore ;-). Owned by "Horse-Lady" who obviously had vehicle professionally-maintained, as NOTHING on it was improperly installed, missing or broken.

Point is, there is a fine line between (1) Ignorant Abuse, (2) Contempt for "Presumed Familiar" (I know it all ;-), and (3) Reliance on competent professional by "someone who knows His/Her Limitations".

We/I can "Hypothesize" & "Bloviate" based upon our Preconceived Ideas/ Concepts, but we'll probably never know.
George
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      05-19-2022, 11:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leucosticte View Post
This really didn't sound like rod knock though, it sounded more like a loose heat shield or piece of plastic or something. I had a knocking Subaru which sounded much deeper. Of course, it might just sound different on an i6. I don't think he really did anything wrong, I inspected the car when he went to buy it, scanned it with ISTA, and I couldn't find anything leaking/wrong with it. The car seemed to be maintained well. We changed all the fluids, did plugs and coils, and some other basic maintenance.

About it being under maintained because it was owned by an old lady. The car came with a stack of BMW service records that probably equaled the total value of the car brand new, the engine looked impeccably clean inside, no sludge or anything. It had no leaks besides a slight leak from the oil pan gasket. It really seemed like a great car on the surface, every option except radar cruise and a 6mt, which makes this all the more disappointing.
Did you properly inspect the OFHG for leaks? The VCG? Did you put the car on a lift and properly inspect the OPG for leaks? Did you perform a compression test on the engine? During the first oil change did you record how much oil came out of the engine? I could go on. The point is, poking around an engine and scanning it for fault codes does not equate to a PPI performed by a BMW specialist. Everything I mentioned above and more could have been checked during a PPI thus likely preventing this situation.

The N52's reputation allows it to rise above virtually any question of its innate reliability, due to this you're going to have a hard time convincing anyone that the engine was well maintained. You mention service records, just how many are there? If this car was truly exclusively dealer-maintained then there should be at least two receipts for oil changes every single year since the vehicle was new. In addition to that, there should be receipts for a plethora of other maintenance items that usually come due before 170,000km including OFHG, VCG, VC, OPG, waterpump and thermostat, coolant hoses, plugs, coils, and those are just the items that are engine related. Did it come with all of those records? Unlikely. You mentioned that you have one too, moral of the story is take proper care of it and you have nothing to worry about.
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      05-19-2022, 11:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan stewart View Post
With fiasco, old lady driven usually means old lady maintained. Id much prefer "Owned by a weirdo with a huge garage with a lift and a massive, meticulously maintained tool kit." Or at least owned by a guy whose independent mechanic gives him a bottle of wine for Christmas.

Ive literally been told by a girl, "Can you check my oil, the low oil light has been on for a week" only to find the OIL PRESSURE light has been on for a week. Or that she doesn't know why the check engine light is on but she left her gas cap at a gas station 3 months ago and never got a replacement.
Bruh. I remember my sister's friend telling me she had been driving around with no oil for like a week.

Turns outóand I'm sure you know what I'm about to sayóit was just the oil life monitor saying it was time for an oil change.
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      05-20-2022, 02:03 AM   #12
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you know, a used N52 is like $800. You could have this fixed in a weekend if you really wanted to.
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