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      12-18-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
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Engine Ticking = Motor Rebuilt

Hello Forum Members,

First of all I am sincerely thankful for all the useful information and advice on this site. I have learned how to upgrade my subwoofers and do the "exhaust mod" to the OEM exhaust (the only mods I have done). For what it's worth I would like to give back to the forum by posting my experience and resolution to the somewhat infamous "ticking" sound that has been posted here in several threads. I have not had time to go back and research if folks have found resolution (other than an engine replacement in Houston). That said, I am thankful to have patience to stay on top of the dealer and this process. Sorry for the long post.

I have always had a passion to own an M3 and now have been able to afford to do so. I have been thoroughly pleased as it’s like a 4-year old sitting in Santa Clause’s lap every time I get in the driver’s seat! I also completely understand the maintenance that goes along with owning one. I have diligently kept up on the maintenance as well as change the oil between intervals.

The Ticking:

I started noticing the ticking sound around 22k miles at a Starbucks drive-thru March 2011. I chalked it up to a hot catalytic converter or valve ticking. Then I noticed it more frequently while parking in the garage (echoing off the walls) after commutes home from work. My initial observation includes 3 elements:

1. The engine is at operating temperature (the oil temp needle on 210 (+/- a hair)
2. The outside temperature greater than 75 degrees (f)
3. I could hear consistently during operating temp at idle (RPM needle @ 500). I rev the engine a bit and when the RPM drops to 500 range, it almost always ticked. I could never tell if it was doing it under load (e.g. above 1,500 RPM) probably because of the sweet sound of the engine/exhaust.

Ticking just like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=lkS2w70QNHM

Between 22k and 30k I noticed the sound more frequently so at my 30k service I added it as an item to check.

Sept 2011 – Dealership A – Complaint 30k miles

Had one of the techs ride with me to a car wash bay (where it was somewhat quiet and easily heard) and we both observed the ticking noise coming from the driver’s-side wheel well and engine bay. Tech said that it didn’t sound normal.

Dealership Diagnosis: “Verified complaint, the ticking noise is the catalytic converters popping from the excessive heat that is build up at operating temp. Another ticking noise is the free-floating rotors expanding from the heat, which causes ticking.”

I voiced my concern to the advisor that the tech and I heard ticking and that it wasn’t the rotors or cats. I suggested he open a case and he said there was nothing we could put in the case to warrant BMW researching normal sounds coming from outside of the engine area. He suggested I call BMW NA Customer Service. He also suggested that I put fuel additive into the gas tank every 7k miles because direct injection engines can get carbon build-up. I corrected him that he should do his homework on the S65 because it’s not direct injection. And thanks for the tip.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, so I had to keep my cool during every conversation and be patient. I have learned from previous experiences, that no matter what the issue, do not raise the tone of voice, blow up, etc… (nothing to do with dealerships/warranty work) It will not help.

I drove home and pulled into the garage... tried to make it tick...no ticking. The next morning did my usual Starbucks run. No ticking. It was September and the mornings were cooler 65-75 degrees. However, the next morning I did the commute to and from the office (hour each way). On the return home, pulled into the garage and the ticking WAS present.

I called BMW Customer Service, explained the problem and their response was if the dealership says there isn’t a problem, then we can’t do anything. You have to talk to the dealer. I told him the dealer will not move forward with my issue. He said take it to another dealer.

Started researching posts in the forum and found various opinions and dealership experiences, but no firm reason of the cause. At this point I let it go and told myself to just enjoy driving. If it’s something bad it will surface soon. So during that time the ticking would come and go and I lived with it.

April 2012 rolls around and it the ticking was becoming very consistent and sooner than before. Now my mileage is getting up there at 44k. The same fear set in that something was wrong. So I took it to the dealership where I purchased it (Dealership B). The only reason I went to Dealership A is because it was more convenient.

April 2012 – Dealership B – Complaint 44k miles

Explained the ticking noise again and made a point not tell Dealership B that I went to Dealership A. The advisor and shop foreman met me in the drop-off bay and observed the ticking noise. Dealership had the car for a day and said they could not hear anything. No diagnosis.

May 2012 – Dealership B – Complaint 45k miles

Explained the ticking noise again. Service Manager and I took the car to a quiet garage and observed the ticking noise. Service Manager said it doesn’t sound internal to the engine. Service Manager opened a case and inspected with BMW Service Rep. Dealership Diagnosis: I was told on the phone by the Service Manager that the Shop foreman used stethoscope and found the ticking coming from the heat shields that cover the exhaust headers. Documented in the invoice: “Ticking noise is metal deflection from exhaust system as it gets hot.”

Frustration set in. I politely argued with the service manager asking him if it’s heat/exhaust related, the why does the ticking stop when the engine is off? He said the exhaust flow and the heat create the ticking sound. I agreed to disagree and left. Called BMW Customer Service. Same answer as before.

Called the Service Manager a few days later and asked how do I get support to resolve something that is not normal ticking and heat expansion? He said to call BMW Customer Service. Nope, I already did that. He said you could take it to another dealer. Nope, I already did that. He said he would call me back. He did and said he spoke with the BMW Service Rep about this again and the Service Rep said that it was the heat shields covering the headers (different answer than before). However, the Service Manager agreed to look at it again.

June 2012 – Dealership B – Complaint 46k miles

Dealership Diagnosis: “Shop foreman pinpointed the popping/ticking was coming from loose rivets on the heat shield”, but BMW wouldn’t authorize replacement for this issue. I still argued that I didn’t believe that was it. I asked him to take the heat shields off and see if it still does it. He made an argument that the heat from the headers could damage the surrounding area and they wouldn’t do it. Picked up my car. Called BMW Customer Service. Same answer as before.

July 2012 – Dealership B – Phone Call from Service Manager 46k miles

Service Manager called me and said he made a case to BMW for replacing the heat shields. Case being that “I have been a good customer.” BMW would authorize a one-time goodwill replacement of the heat shields. I finally was somewhat convinced we were moving forward. However, the ticking noise was still present and per the invoice “BMW will not allow any additional work at this time.”

I was f’ing pissed! In my mind they were slow rolling me because I was close to the end of my warranty. The Service Manager knew I was disappointed as well as proved to BMW that the heat shields were not the problem. I kept in touch with the Service Manager on a regular basis for any new developments. As time went on and the mileage getting closer to 50k, I began to let this slide again (thinking I would just buy an extended warranty) until I changed my oil at 48k miles. Before the oil change the ticking was very consistent – after the oil change NO ticking!! So I decided to try something. I changed my oil again, except with the old oil I just drained. Ticking came back. Put new oil in and NO ticking. I was 99% certain the ticking was related to something lubricated in the engine. I also listened to the noise with a long wooden dowel rod (red neck stethoscope – I can say that because I am from Oklahoma). Applied it to the bolts closest to the block versus the heat shield – The ticking was definitely louder on the bolts and block. Which also proved my certainty.

September 2012 – Dealership B – 49k miles

Explained what I did with the oil change and troubleshooting. Service Manager agreed to research. Dealership Diagnosis: “Incorrect tolerances between the engine bedplate and block. Remove and install the oil scavenge pump 1141050. WT (1.0) to re-torque engine bed plate. Re-assemble engine per T/C case, replaced oil, 9 liters. After repair attempt, still same noise

Service Manager called and said ticking is still present and that they were opening another case with BMW. BMW authorized the engine to be pulled and taken apart. Dealership Diagnosis: “Tech states clicking noise in lower end of engine when hot. Disassemble engine and inspect. Noise coming from crankshaft/block area. Crankcase manufacturing fault at the main bearing journals. Disassemble and assemble engine replace engine block.” This included the block, crankshaft, pistons/rings, main bearings, rod bearings, new seals/gaskets everywhere and the latest software. Yes, no rods. The bearings in the rods were worn, but the bearings were properly seated and rods didn’t have any signs of stress per the machine shop tests. Hindsight I should have pushed to have them replace too.

45 days later I get my car back with 49,616 miles with a two-year parts/labor warranty. NO TICKING.

Picks of old block, bearings, journal, etc… The Service Manager said that the block’s manufacturing fault was that the journals were different heights (millimeters off) when the block was cast and torqued to spec. This basically caused the crankshaft to operate unevenly within the journals ultimately causing the ticking. And this is why some bearings are worn hard and others are barely touched. He concluded that the ticking/abnormal friction (in some form) was always there but when the high viscosity of the TWS broke down over time the ticking we could hear presented itself (e.g. after oil change no ticking for a while).

Entire engine in pieces


Top Half of Block


Bottom Half of Block


Some fallout from the engine re-build:

1. Didn’t bleed all the air from the DCT lines, which cause a horrible whining noise under load and weird shifting. Initially, the tech that rode with me thought is sounded like loose heat shields. I about lost it!! Anyway, they bled the lines and everything is normal.
2. Installed strut braces upside down – not a big deal but now it doesn’t sit well that other crap could be installed wrong.
3. A very subtle vibration at idle. Seems to have faded away now. But it definitely wasn’t there before. Service Manager gave me the harmonics, misfire, etc… test output and everything checks ok.

It has now been about 45 days and 1200+ miles since the engine rebuild and all is well. Just changed the oil for break-in. As expected from an engine re-build, found very tiny metallic bits and a few very small shavings in the oil filter. Other than that the engine sounds great and runs smooth.

Bottom Line: While I am satisfied that issue is resolved, I am still concerned about longevity of the engine and the dealership's skill in rebuilding the engine (why not give me a new engine - probably would have been a close wash versus all the time it took to rebuild). While I do have a two year warranty on the parts replaced, I am concerned I won't have a leg to stand on if something similar goes wrong within those 2 years. All I want is to enjoy (with piece of mind) driving my M3; but this enjoyment has been taken away by BMW because this long and grueling experience is still in the back of my mind. Selling it is always an option, but I don't believe that is a solution to the problem. I fault BMW for this entire (and continued) un-JOYous experience which has led to legal action against BMW.

Thanks for listening.

Best Regards,
Blaine
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Last edited by knuts; 06-10-2013 at 08:13 PM.
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      12-18-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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This is an interesting spin on the engine failure controversy. If the all the failures are from block casting variances, then it is true that the bearings are the same from 2008 to present.

Its also seems that most of the engine failures give fairly early symptoms, ticking. So hopefully all of the flawed engines have blown within there warranty period. So it seem that the case is either a blown engine in less than50k miles (covered under warranty), or you have a long lasting engine.

Im optimistic.
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      12-18-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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The old rule of thumb was it ain't broken till its broken. Of course outside of warranty. Good way of sticking through it.
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      12-18-2012, 06:11 PM   #4
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For what it's worth, I had my engine rebuilt at 16k miles for the same problem and I now have 40k and it's running strong.
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      12-18-2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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Holy ...holy...sh@t... this is realy bad luck !
But we all now...the S65 engine is verry strong.
So for the future..you can be optimistic
And i wish you good luck...for you... and the ///M3
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      12-18-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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The S54 in my previous E46 M3 threw a rod only 50k miles after the dealer did the rod bearings.

It didn't matter that the oil changes were done every 5k, that warm up procedures were always respected to a T, or that the car had never been over reved... it had been 3 years so they told me to pound sand.

There are some good techs out there don't get me wrong (disclaimer) but do you really trust the average guy there to pay attention and torque your internals properly and do everything right?

I don't.
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      12-18-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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Crap. Thought it was mainly the 2008 models.
Thanks OP.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      12-18-2012, 08:56 PM   #8
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This is an interesting spin on the engine failure controversy.
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      12-19-2012, 08:50 AM   #9
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Good thing you hung in there and got it resolved in the nick of time
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      12-19-2012, 09:04 AM   #10
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WOW, glad you got that resolved. I'm in the same boat as you (EXACT same symptoms, etc...), with the exception that after my second dealer visit (complaining to them, and them not fixing anything) I just stopped caring and said the hell with it if something blows I'll let them take care of it (I have a 2011 with 21k miles on it). Everytime I convince myself the sound goes away it ALWAYS comes back. Has to be the same issue as you (or something similar). No dealer around here will take the sound seriously unless there is an obnoxious knock or I have a hole through the side of my block. I'll just wait and keep driving the piss out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aus View Post
Crap. Thought it was mainly the 2008 models.
Thanks OP.
I thought so too, until I experienced the same thing as the OP with my 2011 =/


Edit: Just reread your post for the second time and I cannot believe how exact your story is to mine....literally to the T. I know I have a bottom end issue just cant get the dealer to take action.

Last edited by erm324; 12-19-2012 at 09:18 AM.
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      12-19-2012, 09:21 AM   #11
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I'd rather pay for it myself than have a BMW dealer do an engine rebuild under warranty, they are not qualified To do anything more than remove and replace and that's pushing it...

Good luck with the lawsuit
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      12-19-2012, 09:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richbot View Post
I'd rather pay for it myself than have a BMW dealer do an engine rebuild under warranty, they are not qualified To do anything more than remove and replace and that's pushing it...

Good luck with the lawsuit
Sadly, I agree with this more often than not. Our local dealer has a handful of techs that have a decade or more experience in building performance and racing engines, but I can count those individuals on the palm of my hand. While I would trust those individuals to build any engine I owned, I would be very nervous seeing a general technician perform the work, even with access to BMW's manuals and tools.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck, and hope your M3 is on the road for the next 150,000 miles!
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      12-19-2012, 09:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaiv View Post
The S54 in my previous E46 M3 threw a rod only 50k miles after the dealer did the rod bearings.

It didn't matter that the oil changes were done every 5k, that warm up procedures were always respected to a T, or that the car had never been over reved... it had been 3 years so they told me to pound sand.

There are some good techs out there don't get me wrong (disclaimer) but do you really trust the average guy there to pay attention and torque your internals properly and do everything right?

I don't.
kaiv, what would you recommend? Getting a new engine?

.
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Let me get this straight... You are swapping out parts designed by some of the top engineers in the world because some guys sponsored by a company told you it's "better??" But when you ask the same guy about tracking, "oh no, I have a kid now" or "I just detailed my car." or "i just got new tires."
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      12-19-2012, 10:49 AM   #14
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this is so typical bmw dealer service. I dont think i could stand that myself. I dont see myself buying a new bmw in a long time. Id rather get a bmw without paying the premium for the "warranty". youll end up with more headaches and time wasted fighting for something like this.

loose heat shields? They're just trying to not pay for anything out of warranty. It's always a huge fight for each penny.
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      12-19-2012, 11:06 AM   #15
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Wow, I admire your perseverance. Not sure I would trust a dealership to take an engine apart, I barely trust them to do an oil change properly.

More vibrations don't sound good though, since the car already has so many miles I would trade the car in and move on; I would have probably done that earlier on after getting the initial runaround by the dealerships and BMW. Life is too short to deal with crap like that.
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      12-19-2012, 11:15 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knuts View Post
3. A very subtle vibration at idle. Seems to have faded away now. But it definitely wasn’t there before. Service Manager gave me the harmonics, misfire, etc… test output and everything checks ok.
My car too also seems to have this. Lately I've also been noticing the car feeling more "rough" (more vibration) from 2-4krpm. I know the car needs high rpms, but I never remembered the car feeling like it does now at lower rpm. It almost feels as if the motor is knocking until I pass 4krpm ish [meaning for example, if I put it in 2nd gear at 20mph and go WOT from 2-4krpm the car feels somewhat rough, and then it is smooth as butter after that). Makes absolutely no sense
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      12-19-2012, 02:49 PM   #17
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Glad it all worked out for you man.
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      12-19-2012, 03:23 PM   #18
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Wow what an ordeal..glad you got it sorted out.
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      12-19-2012, 03:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erm324 View Post
My car too also seems to have this. Lately I've also been noticing the car feeling more "rough" (more vibration) from 2-4krpm. I know the car needs high rpms, but I never remembered the car feeling like it does now at lower rpm. It almost feels as if the motor is knocking until I pass 4krpm ish [meaning for example, if I put it in 2nd gear at 20mph and go WOT from 2-4krpm the car feels somewhat rough, and then it is smooth as butter after that). Makes absolutely no sense

this car does that when @ low rpm and slightly lugging the motor; it almost feels choked up at times. The vibration alone is normal as well. Get in you car and hold the revs steady @ around 2k and you'll see what I mean. If it ain't broke, don't worry. Paranoia usually is the case for 90% problems, but if it's a loud ticking or otherwise, then get it checked out. Prob is as others have stated, having BMW rebuild a motor is a problem in and of itslelf. Not uncommon for the car to have to go back after a few k miles to get it sorted again. Either way, good luck w/ new car OP
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      12-19-2012, 07:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
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kaiv, what would you recommend? Getting a new engine?

.
Yes I would much prefer a factory new/remanufactured engine than an engine that's been "tampered with" by dealer techs.
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      12-19-2012, 07:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erm324 View Post
WOW, glad you got that resolved. I'm in the same boat as you (EXACT same symptoms, etc...), with the exception that after my second dealer visit (complaining to them, and them not fixing anything) I just stopped caring and said the hell with it if something blows I'll let them take care of it (I have a 2011 with 21k miles on it). Everytime I convince myself the sound goes away it ALWAYS comes back. Has to be the same issue as you (or something similar). No dealer around here will take the sound seriously unless there is an obnoxious knock or I have a hole through the side of my block. I'll just wait and keep driving the piss out of it.



I thought so too, until I experienced the same thing as the OP with my 2011 =/


Edit: Just reread your post for the second time and I cannot believe how exact your story is to mine....literally to the T. I know I have a bottom end issue just cant get the dealer to take action.
Maybe show them the OP's story and any other similar stories you can find. That helped me convince them to replace my VANOS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by erm324 View Post
My car too also seems to have this. Lately I've also been noticing the car feeling more "rough" (more vibration) from 2-4krpm. I know the car needs high rpms, but I never remembered the car feeling like it does now at lower rpm. It almost feels as if the motor is knocking until I pass 4krpm ish [meaning for example, if I put it in 2nd gear at 20mph and go WOT from 2-4krpm the car feels somewhat rough, and then it is smooth as butter after that). Makes absolutely no sense
That is normal and it does make sense (at least to me). The engine hits a resonant frequency in that RPM range that is simply a function of cylinder layout ("V").
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      12-20-2012, 12:12 AM   #22
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OP, what oil had you run during the life of this engine?

I'm going to assume it was not something with a decent ZZDP additive pack.
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