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      09-20-2021, 11:54 AM   #1
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Thinking about Buying a 335i

Hey everyone, I recently purchased my 2009 328i e90 in March. While I have loved the car part of me wants to buy a e92 335i just for that extra bit of power as well as to have coupe instead of a sedan. I found this beautiful example (I'll include pictures below) with about 150,000 km on it (95k miles). Just wondering if anyone has any advice or things that I should watch out for around this mileage other than the turbos. Thanks!
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      09-20-2021, 12:23 PM   #2
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I bought a '07 335i in '14, with ~80K miles on it. It now has 141K miles on it. In that time we have:

1) replaced valve cover (oil leaks)
2) Replaced oil filter housing gasket (oil leaks)
3) Replaced pretty much the entire cooling system, including the radiator
4) Replaced several sensors
5) Replaced all the coil packs & plugs
6) Replaced the serpentine belt, idler and tensioner
7) Replaced the alternator
8) Replaced the mechatronic seals in the ZT auto trans
9) Tomorrow will replace the oil pan gasket
10) Of course, brakes, tires, alignment

Though, mechanically, it appears to have been well cared for before we got it (it already had the water pump, thermostat and HPFP replaced), overall, this has been, by a MILE, the LEAST reliable car I've ever owned. There is ALWAYS something wrong with it, and, often as not, the root cause is cheap plastic parts, or squirrelly sensors. Compared to my '01 E46 325i, the quality is several giant steps worse. Fortunately, the trans is otherwise fine (though it has NEVER shifted as nicely as the 5HP19 in the E46), and the turbos are fine. But whenever anything major goes kaput (turbos, trans, water pump or engine internals), this car will be dumped for whatever we can get for it (which is not much at this point), and will be replaced with something other than another BMW.

The performance of the N54 id fabulous, but it is just too damned much work to keep it running happily. If we're lucky, we might get a few months without having to fix something, though even that often means ignoring the check-engine light, which has a mind of it's own.
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      09-20-2021, 12:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
I bought a '07 335i in '14, with ~80K miles on it. It now has 141K miles on it. In that time we have:

1) replaced valve cover (oil leaks)
2) Replaced oil filter housing gasket (oil leaks)
3) Replaced pretty much the entire cooling system, including the radiator
4) Replaced several sensors
5) Replaced all the coil packs & plugs
6) Replaced the serpentine belt, idler and tensioner
7) Replaced the alternator
8) Replaced the mechatronic seals in the ZT auto trans
9) Tomorrow will replace the oil pan gasket
10) Of course, brakes, tires, alignment

Though, mechanically, it appears to have been well cared for before we got it (it already had the water pump, thermostat and HPFP replaced), overall, this has been, by a MILE, the LEAST reliable car I've ever owned. There is ALWAYS something wrong with it, and, often as not, the root cause is cheap plastic parts, or squirrelly sensors. Compared to my '01 E46 325i, the quality is several giant steps worse. Fortunately, the trans is otherwise fine (though it has NEVER shifted as nicely as the 5HP19 in the E46), and the turbos are fine. But whenever anything major goes kaput (turbos, trans, water pump or engine internals), this car will be dumped for whatever we can get for it (which is not much at this point), and will be replaced with something other than another BMW.

The performance of the N54 id fabulous, but it is just too damned much work to keep it running happily. If we're lucky, we might get a few months without having to fix something, though even that often means ignoring the check-engine light, which has a mind of it's own.
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Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
I bought a '07 335i in '14, with ~80K miles on it. It now has 141K miles on it. In that time we have:

1) replaced valve cover (oil leaks)
2) Replaced oil filter housing gasket (oil leaks)
3) Replaced pretty much the entire cooling system, including the radiator
4) Replaced several sensors
5) Replaced all the coil packs & plugs
6) Replaced the serpentine belt, idler and tensioner
7) Replaced the alternator
8) Replaced the mechatronic seals in the ZT auto trans
9) Tomorrow will replace the oil pan gasket
10) Of course, brakes, tires, alignment

Though, mechanically, it appears to have been well cared for before we got it (it already had the water pump, thermostat and HPFP replaced), overall, this has been, by a MILE, the LEAST reliable car I've ever owned. There is ALWAYS something wrong with it, and, often as not, the root cause is cheap plastic parts, or squirrelly sensors. Compared to my '01 E46 325i, the quality is several giant steps worse. Fortunately, the trans is otherwise fine (though it has NEVER shifted as nicely as the 5HP19 in the E46), and the turbos are fine. But whenever anything major goes kaput (turbos, trans, water pump or engine internals), this car will be dumped for whatever we can get for it (which is not much at this point), and will be replaced with something other than another BMW.

The performance of the N54 id fabulous, but it is just too damned much work to keep it running happily. If we're lucky, we might get a few months without having to fix something, though even that often means ignoring the check-engine light, which has a mind of it's own.

Thank you, I've heard mixed stories about reliability which is what I'm on the fence about. There really isn't any way to tell how the car has been maintained by the previous owner/s unless they have receipts and that's what concerns me. I will continue to do some research before making a decision
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      09-20-2021, 12:47 PM   #4
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If only there was a thread that has all the information needed to by an E9x...

https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1517476
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      09-20-2021, 12:51 PM   #5
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The N54 is very well-regarded for performance, and for how strong the basic engine is. It can easily be goosed up to near 500HP, with few worries about the internals hanging together. It is about the strongest engine BMW was ever built. But, as my BMW-dealer-mechanic family member told me just a few days ago, "the basic engine will run forever, but everything else will break". That has certainly been my experience over the last 7 years.
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      09-20-2021, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post
If only there was a thread that has all the information needed to by an E9x...

https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1517476
[QUOTE=tcphoto;28054702]If only there was a thread that has all the information needed to by an E9x...

Thank you, I didn't know this thread existed. Could have said it without the sarcasm tho 😉
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      09-20-2021, 01:16 PM   #7
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Sorry Snowflake...
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      09-20-2021, 02:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post
Sorry Snowflake...
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      09-20-2021, 02:40 PM   #9
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So you already own a 328i, that car and the 335i will have a lot of the same/similar failures that were on Ray's list. There are other high failure rate parts on the N54 engines that you should be ready to replace at any time. Just about everything on Ray's list is a common failure item on all E90s with inline 6's its not specific to N54/N55. However you should be aware that N54 do have additional trouble spots as compared to N52/N51 engines.

For example:
1. Turbos for wastegate rattle
2. High Pressure fuel pumps
3. Injectors
4. Plastic Chargepipes
5. Carbon on valves

Many times the issues are just compounded by everyone pushing the car with tunes like MHD etc. Logically speaking the parts that are commonly pushed harder with higher boost tend to fail here, but then again our making nearly twice the horsepower when tuned as compared to a 328i.

Not sure how hands on you are but this is the perfect time to start with some crazy expensive labor rates on these cars for what I consider to be simple repairs. Plus ensure you always buy OE/OEM parts from a reputable seller like FCP Euro or similar.
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      09-20-2021, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
I bought a '07 335i in '14, with ~80K miles on it. It now has 141K miles on it. In that time we have:

1) replaced valve cover (oil leaks)
2) Replaced oil filter housing gasket (oil leaks)
3) Replaced pretty much the entire cooling system, including the radiator
4) Replaced several sensors
5) Replaced all the coil packs & plugs
6) Replaced the serpentine belt, idler and tensioner
7) Replaced the alternator
8) Replaced the mechatronic seals in the ZT auto trans
9) Tomorrow will replace the oil pan gasket
10) Of course, brakes, tires, alignment

Though, mechanically, it appears to have been well cared for before we got it (it already had the water pump, thermostat and HPFP replaced), overall, this has been, by a MILE, the LEAST reliable car I've ever owned. There is ALWAYS something wrong with it, and, often as not, the root cause is cheap plastic parts, or squirrelly sensors. Compared to my '01 E46 325i, the quality is several giant steps worse. Fortunately, the trans is otherwise fine (though it has NEVER shifted as nicely as the 5HP19 in the E46), and the turbos are fine. But whenever anything major goes kaput (turbos, trans, water pump or engine internals), this car will be dumped for whatever we can get for it (which is not much at this point), and will be replaced with something other than another BMW.
All that stuff will fail on any E90, but the good news is that once replaced it's likely good for another 100K miles. Most of that stuff would need to be replaced on any car with age and mileage, regardless of brand or national origin, though sometimes the gaskets and cooling system lasts just a bit longer on Honda/Toyota.

It's your comment in the second paragraph that is what turns me away from the N54, specifcally the squirrely sensors and misbehaving SES light.

I already own a N52 E90 and I'm not looking to buy another any time soon, however if I was shopping for another E90 the N52 would still be my preference but I would gladly take a well cared for N54, knowing all the problem areas are well documented.
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      09-20-2021, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
"...the basic engine will run forever, but everything else will break"...

This is about a distilled down version of E9X ownership as I have ever read. Yet we still drive them. It's not love, but it is a fickle thing.
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      09-20-2021, 05:49 PM   #12
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That is a gorgeous E92! That e92 335 is so sexy… but like a beautiful high maintenance woman can easily bleed you dry.

As you can see from the posters above me, some of them are still trying to figure out if it’s worth it

Some of them are convinced it isn’t

And the others are still under her seduction

The real question isn’t if a 335 e92 is reliable… the question is how high is your pain tolerance
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      09-20-2021, 06:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Uz View Post
Hey everyone, I recently purchased my 2009 328i e90 in March. While I have loved the car part of me wants to buy a e92 335i just for that extra bit of power as well as to have coupe instead of a sedan. I found this beautiful example (I'll include pictures below) with about 150,000 km on it (95k miles). Just wondering if anyone has any advice or things that I should watch out for around this mileage other than the turbos. Thanks!
Roll your sleeves up and have your credit card ready! The only way I can afford owning 2 N54's is being willing and able to perform my own maintenance and repairs.
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      09-20-2021, 06:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
The N54 is very well-regarded for performance, and for how strong the basic engine is. It can easily be goosed up to near 500HP, with few worries about the internals hanging together. It is about the strongest engine BMW was ever built. But, as my BMW-dealer-mechanic family member told me just a few days ago, "the basic engine will run forever, but everything else will break". That has certainly been my experience over the last 7 years.
He doesn't own an N54. Serpentine belt failure without crank protection plate will destroy either of them instantaneously. Spun bearings are not foreign to these applications either.
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      09-20-2021, 06:26 PM   #15
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Iíve also had my N54 from 80K to, now, 136K. Iíve attached my maintenance log.
I have, mercifully, not had to deal with injectors, yet. Iím due for spark plugs soon and I might change my coil packs at the same time. Much of the cost has been on maintaining the chassis (eg. suspension components). Iíve also had to replace an alternator and the OFHG (2x, because the first shop didnít use OE BMW gaskets).

Original water pump. HPFP was replaced under warranty in 2011 @ 36K, as were three injectors.
The only item on my list which is N54 specific is the walnut blasting for $300.

Much more reliable than my previous E46 330Ci...
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      09-20-2021, 07:13 PM   #16
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Much more reliable than my previous E46 330Ci...
Wow! Bought my '01 325i new in '01. It was dead reliable up to almost 200K miles. ONLY failures were water pump at 125K (hardly unexpected) and fuel pump at 170K (ditto). Other than those two things, just routine scheduled maintenance. It is now pushing 250K miles and 20+ years. I wish I could buy another brand new one. Except for the extra power in the 335i, I still prefer pretty much EVERYTHING about the E46 - styling, ergonomics, reliability, ease of repair, and especially build quality.
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      09-20-2021, 07:18 PM   #17
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It's an enthusiast car at this point. No one in their right mind would buy one if they didn't know how to work on them - and actually ENJOY working on them.

I replaced all the shit you mentioned 100k ago and it's been rock solid since. But it's always something or other - if not a window regulator/door lock actuator, then something leaking oil. Now I'm at 220k miles with my N54 E90, and tiring of wrenching on it constantly for this and that. And lately I've been too busy, so taking it to indies (or towing it) to get this done and that done, and it's WEEKS these days to get a shop to even LOOK at it.

So I'm getting ready to sell my E90 for $4k - it's a gorgeous, well-maintained car that's beginning to show her age a bit. If an enthusiast bought it, they'd love it. It's a fun car to work on and enjoy. If anyone else bought it, they'd be entering a world of pain.

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      09-20-2021, 07:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayLivingston View Post
Wow! Bought my '01 325i new in '01. It was dead reliable up to almost 200K miles. ONLY failures were water pump at 125K (hardly unexpected) and fuel pump at 170K (ditto). Other than those two things, just routine scheduled maintenance. It is now pushing 250K miles and 20+ years. I wish I could buy another brand new one. Except for the extra power in the 335i, I still prefer pretty much EVERYTHING about the E46 - styling, ergonomics, reliability, ease of repair, and especially build quality.
That was my fatherís experience as well - bought a 330CiC almost new in í08.
Mine was bought in í14 with 188K miles, and had not been maintained correctly.
By the time I was finished catching up on maintenance, an idiot in an Accord rear-ended me and totaled it.

I often think about getting another E46, but my 335i has spoiled me with all of the modern amenities. If it starts to break down though, well then, thatís something else entirely...

I think the real takeaway here is that maintenance is key. A well maintained 335i will be more reliable than an poorly maintained 330Ci...
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      09-22-2021, 08:33 AM   #19
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+1 to what NGEE said.

The 335i is an enthusiast car. They make great second cars if you wrench on them for a hobby. I'd like to add one to the stable at some point just to mod and have fun with, but not something I'd want to count on daily. Age is also a factor, and most E90s, never mind 335i's, will need a bunch of maintenance caught up before you can really depend on them daily. The sad part is most people neglect their vehicles, and buying a neglected 335i can be very expensive. I'm sure one that has been sorted can be reliable, but be prepared to do all that work if you buy one, because the previous owner likely hasn't.
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      09-22-2021, 08:50 AM   #20
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+1 to what NGEE said.

The 335i is an enthusiast car. They make great second cars if you wrench on them for a hobby. I'd like to add one to the stable at some point just to mod and have fun with, but not something I'd want to count on daily. Age is also a factor, and most E90s, never mind 335i's, will need a bunch of maintenance caught up before you can really depend on them daily. The sad part is most people neglect their vehicles, and buying a neglected 335i can be very expensive. I'm sure one that has been sorted can be reliable, but be prepared to do all that work if you buy one, because the previous owner likely hasn't.
100% agree. Even well maintained examples will require maintenance as they age. Most of the stuff I've had to do falls in that category. Seals dry out, bushings crack from age, and so forth.

Really, the only major N54 things are injectors and the HPFP. As long as it's stock the turbos should be fine, as least on the LCIs…
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      09-22-2021, 10:17 AM   #21
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Really, the only major N54 things are injectors and the HPFP. As long as it's stock the turbos should be fine, as least on the LCIs…
The LCI has the N55 unless it's an iS so, doesn't make much sense there. They only have one turbo.

The difference is the injectors and turbos. N55 sees HPFP failure just as much as the N54 (which is pretty rare these days, the newest revision is fairly reliable), unless it's an F series which uses a different style pump. The B58 pump is actually compatible with those models from what i've heard.
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      09-22-2021, 10:49 AM   #22
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The LCI has the N55 unless it's an iS so, doesn't make much sense there. They only have one turbo.

The difference is the injectors and turbos. N55 sees HPFP failure just as much as the N54 (which is pretty rare these days, the newest revision is fairly reliable), unless it's an F series which uses a different style pump. The B58 pump is actually compatible with those models from what i've heard.
I was thinking of the sedans’ LCI - where from ’09 - ’10 they were the N54, and then for ’11 they had the N55.

And to your point about the HPFP, that’s true! The N55, unlike the N54, never fell under the recall, so the early N55s are actually at a greater risk of failure at this point...
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