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I went to the New York Auto Show last night and met a British (or Aussie) gentleman who was with a few of his friends. Apparently he blew his engine in his brand new E39 M5 when the car had only about 2,000 miles (he was still breaking it in). Said he was going through the Maryland Tunnel in 5th gear, didn't really mention speed (don't see why that would matter anyway since the speed/rev limiter is in effect), heard a bang, some smoke and pulled over. The diagnosis---his right side cams blew up and he lost 1 or 2 pistons as a result. I am finding it very difficult to understand how that could have happened as the car has a rev/speed limiter, so even if he was going too fast, it would have prevented the damage. He said his oil level was fine and just about everything else was in proper working order. He didn't chip the car, or at least he claimed he didn't, nor did he do any other modifications. What could he have done? The worst part of it is that he told me that Oyster Bay BMW (in New York) is trying to put the blame on him, that it was somehow his fault and they are trying very hard NOT to honor the warranty. What gives? What could possibly have happened and HOW? Faulty VANOS? Manufacturing flaw? I told him to log into this website to share his story or at least give everyone a heads up in case this may be something to look out for your cars.

By the way, the interior of the E55 was pretty sad like many have mentioned in the past. I think it might have been the avant garde leather look vinyl. Some German guys were trying out the E55 and one of them said "Ya, vee vud like to haff da M5 enterior vit dis kar".
 

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Roman,

The only way I could see BMW not honoring the warranty is if they probe the DME and find that he overreved the engine while down-shifting. The DME does NOT protect you while down-shifting. I saw an M3 throw a piston right through the block while attending a drivers school at FireBird International Raceway in Arizona. Apparantely the driver (who was a friend of the car owner...ouch!) went to shift from 3rd to 4th gear while accelerating hard down the straightway. He slammed it into 2nd by mistake, and I'd say at about 10,000 RPM the engine flew apart. A very expensive lesson.


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Perhaps it´s not a comfort but he is one of many European M5 owners. I would estimate that we have around 200 blown engines just here in Germany. Most problems are caused by heat, burned piston bottoms are the result. After some releases they have now problems with the piston rings which causes poor wear behaviour of the cylinder bore and major engine faults after 50000 km´s. Let´s see what the future will show us, esp. when you regard the new M3 engine in detail, the next top applicant for such things.

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///Chris
 

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Chris,
do you think they'll be doing a recall or replacement of some sort in the future for these engines?
Terence
 
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Hi to all
It was me you met at the New York Auto Show, and thanks for putting me in touch with this website - I would welcome anyone's advice!
Here are some of the facts to clarify the situation:

Firstly, I should emphasise that I picked up my new M5 from Oyster Bay BMW, NY in January this year, and have had no reason to speak to them again - they have had no involvement with this situation.

The car has about 2,800 miles on and is about 4 months old, and the car just lost power (no bang or excessive smoke) travelling at 50mph in 5th in the Baltimore tunnel (on 17 April 2000). It was not overheating, and had not been modified in any way from stock.
To make matters worse my parents were driving it, and BMW roadside assistance transported it to the nearest BMW dealer (Russel BMW in Baltimore somewhere) that day, where the engine diagnostic computer identified 22 separate engine faults. We were eventually told that it was not a sensor as originally thought, but a broken Cam shaft on one bank, and up to 7 bent pistons or blown valves - i.e. both banks(now, 3 weeks later, they have still not identified and told me exactly how many).
They are still "working on it" and have told me the engine problem was almost certainly caused by an "over-rev situation" immediately before the loss of power. (apparently, as is pointed out in one of the notes below, an over-rev can occur when you try to put the car into 2nd gear travelling at 90mph for example). If this was the case, they informed me that it would not be covered by the Warranty, although it is clearly not applicable to this situation.
However it is now 3 weeks later and I haven't been told whether they are taking this position, what exactly is wrong, and even what progress they have made. They have not yet determined the cause of the problem, but tell me it is hard to see what else could have caused it. The timing was apparenty fine on both sides.
I hope no-one else has a similar experience, but can anyone advise me what I should do?
Thanks
 

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Call BMW NA. See if they can be of any help. 3 weeks without definitive word AT LEAST weekly from them and I'd be pissed off. Perhaps you should go down there?

--Dan
 

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Sorry to hear about your dilemma. There is a "M" specialist at the Spartanburg facility.He is the North American liaison for the Motorsports division of BMWNA. Unfortunately I do not know his name, but you can probably find it by contacting the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg at 864-968-3000. I agree with a previous post that they can easily find out from the diagnostics if the engine over-revved. If, as you say, it did not, I would think BMWNA would replace the engine in its entirety for testing and evaluation. I know they would be very interested in your engine if under normal operation the it blew. Also, short of that, BMW has regional reps that look at special situations like yours. He would be contacted by the local dealership. Although the technicians in the Maryland dealership have been to training, this is probably the first M5 they have had to do any serious work on. They are may be going to school on your vehicle. Also, that dealership has little incentive to satisfy the customer as you didn't buy the car there and probably won't be back in the future. One more note...the Spartanburg performance center has a complete repair shop and have a dozen or so M5s they are servicing. They train the techs there. If it does need to be repaired. I would push BMW to have the work done there. The "M" specialist ought to be able to accomplish that. Remember, you have one of BMW's flagship vehicles... they don't need anyone losing confidence in a $75,000 vehicle whose engine is the foundation for the $130,000 Z8 roadster. Good luck with your situation.
 
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Thanks for your comments.
I spoke to Tom (Stahrs?) early last week and again today - he is the Director of the Performance Centre at Spartanburg - and he has tried to put me in touch with some specialists (no reply yet). I went down to the Performance Centre in April, and know they do have great facilities and expertise there, and Tom offered his name then should we have any need for help. He is extremely customer service focused and seems to be trying to help as much as possible.
The local factory rep has been involved with the Maryland garage, so I know it has been progressed in that respect.
I agree that they may not feel they have an incentive to give my car top priority given I'm not local (not that I have any evidence that they haven't, but still, after 3 weeks...) but I would have thought it would be difficult to have the car transferred anywhere else. My preference would obviously be to have the work done either at Spartanburg or at my local garage here in New Jersey, with whom I have a relationship, and who I use for the other servicing requirements (such as the 1200 mile).
I have spoken to them, and they are more than happy to do the work (and agreed it sounded like it couldn't be an over-rev situation and needs a new engine!), but I would need to arrange for the car to be transported to them, which will cause the problem of getting it from the Maryland dealer (it is currently in lots of pieces if their progress is to be believed, and wouldn't they want to be compensated for the work to date?)
The Maryland dealer meanwhile just called to give me an update, and I asked why it was taking so long. He explained that its the first 5L V8 they've worked on and so they're taking it extra slow to make sure it's done right - not the sort of reassurance I'm looking for right now!
Any suggestions as to how I could go about getting it transferred by BMW, either to Spartanburg or New Jersey?
 

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Given that your problem is a defect of the engine, BMW should compensate the dealership for any "work" done. Also, BMW should provide you with the trucking to Spartanburg. If not, I'm sure the cost is minimal (<$500). If I were you I'd try to get that car out of the Maryland dealership's hands ASAP.

--Dan
 

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Cars are always being transfered from one dealership to another. I,m sure BMWNA or the dealership would have no problem getting a flatbed to transport your car to Spartenburg or your own garage.
 
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