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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
E28S M5’s are like a good glass of whine. For the right occasion that is. I had one for last Sunday when I had to travel to Wittlich in Rheinland-Pfalz, a state in the West of Germany. Also the Nurburgring is part of this state that has long since been governed by leftist politicians. Left does not necessarily mean green, especially not with the smell of money.

My main goal were the returning participants of the Europarit who have to follow a strict route during which they have to carry out tasks that determine the overall classifications. This event is not about speed, but more about regularity, precise navigation and a sharp eye for objects that have to be recognized. Since 1994 I have been an official for this event, up until 2001 for the full five days and after 2002 for the first or the last day only. I have used my E34S M5 for my Europarit related trips since 1999, but this year, I preferred the E28S provided the weather is stable and dry. One doesn’t want to mix a good whine with water after all.

With the weather forecast all showing green lights I drove off at around half past seven. The first forty kilometers over the speed limited Dutch highway were used for a gentle warming up before entering Germany where I filled the empty fuel tank in Gronau, just across the border near Enschede. With a working water-temperature gauge, I drove off towards the Oberhausen straight (A31) towards Bottrop. Traffic on this Sunday morning was low, and I could cruise easily between 190km/h and 200km/h. A Dutch registered Volvo V70 tried to follow me during the last few kilometers on the A31, but lost on acceleration.

The A3 towards Cologne went rather uneventful; a few small surprised faces in a Swiss registered Audi A6 3.2FSI when they discovered that they could not shake off that old BMW behind them, but that was about it. For the rest, I cruised between 4500RPM and 5000RPM until closing in on Leverkussen were I turned southwest towards Koblenz. I took it easy up until passing Cologne after which the speed limits were lifted and I entered a lovely highway section were I could cruise at roughly 200km/h for a prolonged period of time. Just before Euslichen, I approached an E46 320d from behind and we both had to brake for another car that changed lane with 140km/h. The driver in the 320d apparently thought that he could shake of that old E28, but he probably missed the M5 badge in the grille as he kept driving in front of me. When the 320d finally reached 180km/h, it moved to the right, after which I passed him with an intimidating soundtrack from the screaming M88/3. I just had enough time to see a glimpse of three very surprised occupants in the E46.

I had a rendez vouz with member Stevie on the B258 between 10:00 and 10:30 so I turned west on the A1 towards Blankenheim and Trier near Bliesheim. Up until now, I just took it easy with two or three full throttle bursts into the 200km/h range. Unlike the E34S, the E28S has a longer diff with a 3,73:1 ratio, and thus does not have the need to rev as high as many S38 engines with the 3,91:1 differential. When I drove through the long right autobahn curve towards the A1, I suddenly noticed a small surge in power at roughly 3200RM. It quickly disappeared once accelerating towards cruising speed of 180km/h till 200km/h when I approached another Audi A6 from behind. Its driver didn’t fancy an old E28 tailing him, but he had no choice other then moving to the right in the end.

Up until so far, everything went well and I almost forgot about the small power surge at Bliesheim. When I left the A1 and entered the B258, the engine still ran fine with the water-temperature gauge just a little left from the middle. But when I approached the rendez-vouz point on the B258, I noticed a slight hesitation between 2000RPM and 3000RPM.

To be continued.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
It was just 9:50 when I arrived at the rendezvous point alongside the B258. I let the engine idle and opened the hood to investigate the hesitation that I just noticed a few moments before. The symptoms can be described as coughing, as if one cylinder didn’t work anymore. I checked the exhaust, but could not find anything wrong. The color of the factory new exhaust had a light brown tint in it, but fortunately no black sediments so it looked OK. I manually operated the throttle lever to increase the engine speed after which the hesitation could not be noticed. I could hear a slight tick tough and thought of an ignition problem.

I decided to turn the engine off to cool it down and wait for Stevie who just had called to inform me that he just had entered the A1 at Bliesheim. I took a cup of coffee and used a sandwich and waited. After a while, I checked the oil in the engine; level and color were OK. I also did not see oil residue in the coolant. I started the engine once again and confirmed the problem.

Shortly before 10:30 I heard the typical scream of BMW’s most efficient products. A few moments later Stevie and Pieter arrived in a client’s CSL that had just been fitted with new performance brakes that needed to be braked-in first before entering a driving course. Upon arrival, I briefed Stevie about my problem that he investigated. This gave me the opportunity to check the exhaust whilst he raised the engine speed. Exhaust emissions were close to absent, but Stevie’s analysis was a leaking exhaust-gasket and or a broken shim in the valve-train.

Basically, I had two options. The safest would be to call one of the participants of the 2007 Alps tour who lives nearby. However, this meant that I could not make my appointment in time. That was not really an option unless the facts proved otherwise so I did weigh my options and decided to take a calculated risk. As long as I kept the engine speed above 3500RPM, the engine ran fine. I avoided full throttle conditions and kept engine speed below 4200RPM to avoid lean running conditions.

We arrived at our destination in Esch at around 11:30 in the morning. I asked Stevie and Pieter if they had seen any smoke coming from the exhaust, which they both said was not the case. I setup the checkpoint for the Europarit after which we waited for the participants. Our checkpoint was opened between 12:04 and 13:41, after which we could close it and those who have missed it will lose significant points for their ranking in the official classification. It’s a nice game between officials and participants, some of which know exactly when and where they are and how far they are of their ideal passing time. It’s not a speed contest, but more a regularity drive in combination with specific route tasks.

At roughly 13:30, most of the participants had found our checkpoint and it was time to investigate a little deeper. Stevie checked the spark plugs one by one, but gave all of them the all clear. There was not much what we could do, but after some deliberation, we decided that driving home was too much of a risk so I called the E34S heritage center in Meuspach to ask if I could leave my car in their workshop pending it to be transported back to Holland. Marion was very kind and offered that Mark would look at it. With Stevie leading the way, we drove off towards Adenau. We wanted to avoid that at first since this was the weekend of ‘Rock am Ring’, a rock festival that attracts 180000 partying visitors due to which the entire Nordschleife region looks like a war zone. Stevie knew a small country road from the A48 towards Meuspach, but even then, we had to drive through dozens of camps with drunk and intoxicated people. We arrived at Meuspach shortly after half past four. Mark quickly took a look and diagnosed ignition problems. Marion and Mark even attempted to find the fault on the spot, but eventually we said that it could wait until Monday.

As one of the other officials of the Europarit accompanied us, I could hop in and return to Holland, leaving the E28S in the good hands of Marion and her team (Mark and Guido).

To be continued.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Every classic M5 enthusiast knows what a factory replacement engine for these cars costs but it was a bit of a deja vu when I had to leave the E28S behind to avoid ruining it’s M88/3 engine. But I already had risked enough for wanting to fulfill to my obligations to my auto club.

In retrospect, this only was the second time that any of my BMW’s got me stranded and both times with ignition related problems. The E34S once broke a distributor cap in autumn of 2000 and now the E28S with similar problems, if only the distributor cap-and rotor is less than 2000km old. I did replace the ignition wiring on the E34S in the summer of 2004 as part of another ignition related problem that eventually turned out to be the distributor cap-and rotor. I did plan this for the E28S as well, but for a scientist approach not before I had found the source of the slight surging between 2000RPM and 3000RPM that the car always had suffered from, but that I managed to reduce to less than five percent of the original magnitude by replacing many parts, amongst others the ignition coil in 2005 and the airflow meter (AFM) in 2007.

The remainder of the power-surge proved difficult to find. I last checked the spark plugs last April and they were fine. I recently found the patches in the engine-wiring loom towards the temperature sender and temperature sensors and wanted to address that first before ordering new expensive parts for exclusion purposes only. With other words, I didn’t really mind someone else to take a look at this so after some thoughts I accepted the offer from Marion (Werner Bluhm Sport auto Gmbh) to investigate this.

When I walked into my office yesterday morning, I saw a note from Monday that I had to call back Marion. That note was left on a place where I would hardly find it hence the delay of me returning Marion’s phone call. She informed me that all was fine, but that it was a good decision to leave the car behind. She then forwarded me to Guido, her mechanic who briefed me the technical details.

It turned out to be an ignition problem after all. The individual leads between the distributor and the six spark plugs where all fine. They all measured identical with a series resistance of 5700Ohms plus or minus an insignificant tolerance. Also their insulation was OK. This confirmed the test results that Mark and I had achieved last Sunday. The problem was caused by the seventh lead between the ignition coil and the distributor cap.

Normally, the electrons flow from the negative potential (engine ground) to the high potential voltage source (ignition coil). When the engine is at TDC, the distance between the spark plug and the piston is at its smallest due to which the already highly compressed fuel/air mixture can ignite fully. The impedance of the HV leads functions as source impedance and thus limits the maximum peak current to roughly 5,5Amps with a 30kV ignition coil.

The seventh lead was broken at some point close to the connector shell of the ignition coil. It had developed an open contact that was small enough to break down under high voltages. This not only causes phase delays, but also adds a second order point in the system. In the time domain, an ignition pulse is small and may be considered as a Dirac-pulse. Converted to the frequency domain (Fourier analysis), this pulse has a wide spectrum with a small negative slope into the high frequency range. With other words, the frequency spectrum is likely to contain a point that matches the resonance frequency of the second order system due to which the ignition spikes rises to a value above the source voltage of the ignition coil. Granted, the 5700Ohms series resistance damps the Q-factor a bit, but even when only two, this equates to amplitude of 40-60kV, far too high for the insulation of the aging HV wiring, hence why Stevie could feel a discharge when touching the leads in Esch.

I did ask about the exhaust manifold gaskets, but according to Udo these were fine. Mark already thought so as his analysis was that they are not that old. I know the cylinder head has been replaced at some point in the cars life before I acquired it in April 2001 so this didn’t really surprise me. Ultimately it came down to that single wire that caused the break down. Fortunately this part was stocked by BMW AG so it only has to arrive, installed and tested.

However, I just had drafted the above summary when I heard some dreadful news. Later more.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Oh well, Things got an opposite turn right now. The new HV lead didn't solve the problem so they started to fear for the worst and used an endoscope to check the combustion chambers.

To make a long story short:
1: cylinder head torn near cylinder #6
2: burnt exhaust valve at cylinder #4

An analysis doesn't make sense at the moment as this is just a summary that has been passed to me through my father, but this is bad news. Anyhow, I would like to thank Marion, Mark and Udo from Werner Bluhm sport auto Gmbh for their help and assistance.
 

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Oh my God Raymond .....I am so sorry for you ......

After all this work she has gone and kicked you in the balls ......

If there is anything I can possibly do to help , let me know !

D
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks David,

Actually, I already feared for the worst when hearing the engine on the parking alongside the B258 last Sunday morning. Stevie assumed more was wrong and maybe that he thought about the worst also. In any case, I don’t think that I have killed the engine whilst driving 255km/h towards Blankenheim. I do believe however that this was too much for a weak spot in the engine that I didn’t know of, but would sooner or later become a problem.

Maybe I should have removed the cylinder head after I found the breaker’s inscription mark on the cylinder head, maybe I should have double-checked the valve clearances after these have been given the all clear by my dealer just 3000km ago in the spring of 2002, maybe I should have taken the slight power surging more serious. A disaster always happens due to a combination of events, and not a single event. Maybe I should have increased the CO to 3% to 4% instead of the 1,5% legal limit.

The way I look at this now is that an engine rebuild doesn’t make sense from an economic point of view as I need a new cylinder head and associated small parts such as valves, gaskets etc. The cylinder head alone goes for 3k Euro ex VAT, which is about half of the last know ETK price for a RMFD M88/3 engine (5895 Euro ex VAT). The only downside is that I will loose the matching numbers.

If my dealer confirms the ETK price, I don’t have to think much longer. Then it is only a matter of logistics, some work and most important sell this decision at home.
 

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Raymond, just take a bit of time, some good engine/ engine head of M5/M635csi do appear on Ebay, maybe this could save Your matching numbers, a good and very important thing.
Take your time and have a check.
Or keep Your original engine block, instead of returning it to BMW, so You can even change idea in the future...



Alessandro
 

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Sorry to hear about your bad news Raymond, especially after all the hard work you have put in to the car.

I agree with batmobile, what about a second hand head from a car that is being broken and get it reconditioned. It would keep the engine and chassis numbers matching and keep her more original.

Once again, sorry for your troubles.

Regards,

Bayerische
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Thanks Allesandro and Bayerische,

I just had the price confirmed by my dealer. It's a bit higher at 6275 Euro ex VAT, but still around the 6k ball mark figure.

How much as I would like to keep matching numbers, logic speaks against this. I know that the engine had been rebuild once before in the 1990's, but most likely to very poor standards. I did have that feeling for quite some time already.

The engine probably didn't die at full throttle as AFM and temperature sensor inputs are ignored in this condition and the DME just enrichens the fuel/air mixture to keep temperatures low. Therefore, I do follow Stevie's theory that the engine died in part-load conditions when AFM and temperature sensor inputs are used to determine the fuel/air mixture.
 

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Thanks Allesandro and Bayerische,

I just had the price confirmed by my dealer. It's a bit higher at 6275 Euro ex VAT, but still around the 6k ball mark figure.

How much as I would like to keep matching numbers, logic speaks against this. I know that the engine had been rebuild once before in the 1990's, but most likely to very poor standards. I did have that feeling for quite some time already.

The engine probably didn't die at full throttle as AFM and temperature sensor inputs are ignored in this condition and teh DME just enrichenes the fuel/air mixture to keep temperatures low. Therefore, I do follow Stevie's theory that the engine died in part-load conditions when AFM and temperature sensor inputs are used to determine the fuel/air mixture.
Sorry to hear aboout your misfortune.

6275€ is CHEAP though.....for a complete engine that is. Bearing in mind that S38 engine is about double that and I paid around 6k€ euro just for head work+timing chain replacement+crank and conrod bearings + oilpump. this includes the labour cost (ca 35 hrs....).

This supports your assesment of the situation. It seems that the new engine is the only rational move here as removint the head and replacing/machining head/new valves is time consuming and time IS money....:eek:

If it is possible, keep the original engine for later rebuild/use.

All the best
Sakari

This supports your
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks Sakari,

My guess is that the current price is related to the limited storage life of complete engines and that BMW is moving forward to push owners in my current situation towards a RMFD engine. As said, the price for an M88/3 was more then 18k Euro only a year ago.

Maybe BMW doesn't really want the old engine back and or the core charge is not that high. I want to carry out a forensic analysis to see what happened and what can be learned from this ordylle.
 

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That is unbelievably bad news.

You know to phone me if you need assistance.

Wout
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
In the mean time, I called a German BMW dealer just across the border. I suspect they have shorter leads to BMW AG in Munich as my own dealer who has to use the Dutch dealer network. What I have been told is that all M88/3 engines have been sold, but demand is such that a new batch is currently in the make and just awaiting a few parts to complete. Estimated delivery time is five to eight weeks. Price will go up to 8580 Euro ex VAT. Core charge remains the same at 1600 Euro's for the old engine. The parts representative could not mention a discount rate, but was prepared to give some when placing the order.

I just called my dealer. I did not tell about my own enquiry. Let’s wait and see if these match. For 8580 Euro's, I will reinvestigate if a rebuild does make sense after all.

Update:

My dealer just confirmed the above information with exception of the delivery time:

Teilenummer: 11 00 2 149 425
Benenning: Austausch triebwerk
LO: 02/
Zusatz benennung: 356ED
Price: 8580 Euro ex VAT
Core charge: 1600 Euro
Estimated delivery time: two to three weeks
 

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http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e28-m5-discussion/140324-engine-rebuild-lhd-231-a.html

Hi Raymond,

We haven't been in touch that much lately but I just read the story about the course of events of the last week or so and I feel very sorry for you. Did you already discuss a possible rebuild with Stevie? He might know the right place to have that done and I'd say it's worth the effort to ask them for an estimate. Combined with a full blueprint chances are the engine will be smoother, stronger and last longer than a factory new example.

As for the cause... it might have been a running lean condition in the top end rev range after all, it's a common problem for S14's as well. Here in Holland we have some crazy emissions standard AT IDLE which doesn't say anything about what the car actually does on the road, but our emission standards cause many S14 engines to run lean to a risky extent, even though I agree with you that this particular case must be a combination of things.

Whatever your choices will be, I wish you good luck and I hope she'll be back on the road soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thanks Jeroen,

Knowing now that I have to allow five to eight weeks for a new engine to arrive, I have decided to step back for a while and remove the engine before the summer holidays. This has to be done regardless of my choice; rebuild or RMFD engine.

I am not blindfolded towards a RMFD engine as this choice also has its con's, but at the moment, a RMFD engine offers best value in #231's current situation. I am not prepared to spend labor hours in a rebuild when I verify Udo's findings. According to him, the crack in cylinder #6 has been there for a very long time. That statement may be seen as proof for my fears that the engine has been cost effectively rebuild by the PO.

One might argue that I should have removed the cylinder head after I have found the breakers inscriptions on the cylinder-head. Very true, but on the other hand what would that have changed? The crack at cylinder #6 is isolated from the loss of compression on cylinder #4 (Udo confirmed that) so already long before Sunday the eighth of June, the head was scrap metal.

I have avoided high revs throughout most of the trip. A M88/3 powered E28S M5 does not really need it with its low weight and 3,73:1 final drive allowing for up shifts at 6000RPM maximum. Even 250km/h true speed (what I did not achieve), means 6500RPM in fifth gear. I saw 6200RPM in fifth gear for a short moment at roughly 250km/h on the speedo. This is roughly 238km/h calculated true speed (5%).

Stevie suggested lean running conditions as well. During the last emissions check the value for hydrocarbons was on the high side and with that in mind, I now suspect that one or more valves were not OK. Maybe that the cleaning additives in the V-Power (100RON) have removed some of the contamination in the head exposing the bare metal on some already weak spots. With that in mind, I doubt that the last valve adjustment (3000km ago) has been performed properly. I will measure the valve clearance before removing the head to prove or reject that.

Maybe I will go for a rebuild, but it depends on the cost and benefits. I will compare cost of both variants and will not put blind faith in a BMW RMFD engine, but the basic principle remains that the cost of a rebuild should be less than the cost of a RMFD engine, regardless of who carries out the rebuild.
 
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