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I have an 2008 E60 M5 that is coming up on 70,000 miles. It has never had the rod bearings changed, and I thought it would be a good idea to do that. I haven't experienced any problems, and have not done any Blackstone lab analyses, but it seemed like a worthwhile preemptive repair given the cost of a blown engine.

I checked with my local dealer about the estimated cost of this repair. The local dealer is generally very reliable and, as dealers go, they price repairs very reasonably -- so much so that I have them do most repairs and all my oil changes. I have been extremely clear with the dealer that I am looking to have the ROD bearings replaced, but for some reason they seem to be pricing a very different repair (maybe replacing the main bearings?). Anyway, the dealer's estimate is $17,000 plus tax, which cannot be right. The estimate includes $6000 for parts, and the rod bearings and bolts should not be more than $1000, so I don't know what they are talking about. They are very clear that this is an estimate to replace the ROD bearings. The dealer also said that I would be wasting my money on this repair, and that instead, the shop foreman recommends that I consider replacing the valve springs, because if the valve springs fail, it would destroy the entire engine.

Since this advice is not coming from a sales person, but the dealer's shop foreman, it does not inspire confidence.

If there are M5 owners who have had rod bearings replaced in the Washington DC area, or within a couple hundred miles of here, I would appreciate hearing from you. It would also be helpful to know approximately how much the tab was for this repair. Thanks a lot.
 

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When I went to the dealer and asked they would only perform an engine out repair; despite common knowledge about alternatives. The costs for removing the engine (only) was 10k. Maybe you should wait for the spring / summer and do a costal tour; brining your car to Fast Attack Motorsports / Jim Colley?
 

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When I went to the dealer and asked they would only perform an engine out repair; despite common knowledge about alternatives. The costs for removing the engine (only) was 10k. Maybe you should wait for the spring / summer and do a costal tour; brining your car to Fast Attack Motorsports / Jim Colley?
Hey there, this has been discussed here several times. But again, if you are close towards fairfax/vienna/ashburn area, definitely take it to RRT Racing as they are legit and prices are actually reasonable. Ask for James, nice guy - they install BE bearings and the rest are BMW oem. ARP bolts are optional. If you want a BMW dealer who "knows" how to replace the bearings with the engine IN, hit up Sterling BMW - ask for Ryan the parts manager. They will match prices but only use oem everything. If you are close to Maryland in the Rockville area, hit up Aktiv Automotive - ask for the owner Kevin. He has done several of these engines including mine. Great reasonable guy. He will install whatever parts you want and warranty them. RRT only warranty's their parts, same as Sterling BMW. But Im dropping mine off at RRT for suspension work after I get my custom BC wheels. There isnt any place better for BMW's around here for stuff like that. Goodluck..
 

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Stay away from the dealer. Even for parts. The way they recommend is a legitimate way it just takes several hours longer. I was going to drop my engine (remove it from the bottom as it's supposed to be done) and do the bearings but I opted to just go the "normal" drop just the subframe route. I have the equipment to do either way. I dropped the engine on one of my M5s but that was to remove the engine and rebuild the whole thing (it's still work in progress) If someone (dealer) does it this way, after then drop the engine and subframe, they then have to mount the engine to an engine stand to flip the engine upside down to get the oil pan off. Replacing the bearing like that is ideal, easy, and with BMW con rod bolts, the best way since you have to do the torque angle thing 3x each bolt. The dealer is probably pricing out the labor properly since it is based on the factory time standard, but this is why it is coming out to what you got quoted for (it's not necessarily dishonesty).

This is why many of us are on this forum, because this car would otherwise bankrupt us all.

The one I just did was also an 08 with 86k miles. I bought that one with 85k miles almost 2 years ago, and unknown history zero paperwork. The wear was unacceptable but not necessarily at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions, but at the edges, it was down to the copper on many of the edges. No crank scoring or damage, but my bearings should have been done long ago. The first thing I did was put in 0W40 since I'm in NJ and cold starts is where most of the bearing wear will occur. It really was a ticking time bomb. I'll post pictures in the rod bearing thread.

Maybe this is for a new thread but anyone know the story with valve springs and whether this is a known issues for post LCI cars? I'd hope it was fixed, but it is BMW and "everything was designed perfectly"
 

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Valve spring failures have been reported here and there. Not common like rod bearings tho.

Thinner oil has shown to help with... absolutely nothing. At least two engines with new bmw bearings have used thinner oil just to show same wear as the bearings that were removed using tws. Jim Colley was one of them, forget who the other was. Careful warmups blablabla. But people will continue to blame the oil no matter what. I ran tws through 2 Chicago winters without issues. Read the manual, it states what temp range it's good for (-4F going by memory but it's been a while so double check). I did switch to 5w50 in pursue of better fuel economy and found... zero improvement so far.
 

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Kevin at Aktiv automotive in Gaithersburg did my bearings and the car is still running well. He also offers a small discount for BMWCCA members.

Be advised RRT doesn't let you bring your own parts for important jobs like a bearing swap and with BE generally back ordered you'll need to get in line with them so they can order whenever they come back in stock. Probably the most experienced shop in the DC area though you will pay for it.

S2 Dynamics in rockville handled everything for my M5/M3 aside from my bearing swap. Pat the owner is genuinely the most honest stand up mechanic I've met, also helps out Police/Military.

Please don't muck around with a dealer.

edit:spelling is hard
 

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Valve spring failures have been reported here and there. Not common like rod bearings tho.

Thinner oil has shown to help with... absolutely nothing. At least two engines with new bmw bearings have used thinner oil just to show same wear as the bearings that were removed using tws. Jim Colley was one of them, forget who the other was. Careful warmups blablabla. But people will continue to blame the oil no matter what. I ran tws through 2 Chicago winters without issues. Read the manual, it states what temp range it's good for (-4F going by memory but it's been a while so double check). I did switch to 5w50 in pursue of better fuel economy and found... zero improvement so far.
I run 0W-40 because I hardly put any miles on any of my engines, and I do run my engines every week or so. Lower viscosity oil flows faster when it is cold. I chose the oil I run because of the viscosity curve that I wanted. You are right 10w-60 does flow at -4F (or whatever), it is a W spec oil. However the fact that it is in the recommended range says nothing about the flow RATE of the oil. The majority of the wear in any engine occurs on cold start. This is why people should not do what that guy on youtube does with his blue M5 that he drove off the road and then rebuilt. He shows in his videos of him reving the engine right to the 5k redline, which most of us know is there as a safeguard because the engine is NOT up to the designed operating temp for revs higher than 5k.

The key design factors for hydrodynamic bearings are bearing clearance, oil viscosity, oil film thickness, load, and RPM. It is all an engineered system, and BMW effed it up. You many not care for all that but that is the physics. NO ONE has shown ANYTHING in regards to wear on any forum because due solely to running different oil viscosity because NO ONE has run durability tests with these engines in climate controlled engine dynos, including BMW. The only way to know is to do validation testing.

I know for a fact that GM does this on all of their engine programs because I spent one of my internships many years ago in their dyno cells. They rack up thousands of hours which equates to millions of miles before the engines even get greenlit for production. They do have issues too, but nothing like this regarding fundamental engine internals. The M division does not do this and it kinda makes sense from their perspective, it costs alot of money and takes alot of time to do this. This is why so many of the M cars have bearing wear issues, along with all the other things that pop up for the S65 and S85 (leaky injectors, throttle actuators, idle actuators, self destructing wire harness insulation and conduit, internal high pressure vanos line failure, main oil pump failure, VANOS oil pump failure, VANOS solenoid failure, you name it gasket leak galore etc.) The other 99.9% of internal combustion engines out there do not have these issues because those manufactures run durability cycles. Most of these design issues are solvable so that I why I have a few now.

I understood that there was a new spring design some time during the LCI time frame, but sounds like it's still a potential issue. It seems like we will hear more about failed valve springs as more cars gain more miles. Springs and all metal objects fail due to fatigue, which is correlated to the number of compressions, which generally is related to mileage (reving the engine definitely counts). I'll likely put in Supertechs in my rebuild.
 

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This is great; thanks a lot for the suggestions, specialized!
No problem. You should also sign up with BMWCCA and meet other M owners. They do a lot of nice meets, driving tours, autocross, and trackdays. They also do DIY's at other reputable BMW shops.
 

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NO ONE has shown ANYTHING in regards to wear on any forum
You've got it backwards. It's been shown that thinner oil does not reduce rod bearing wear. I agree that if thinner oil showed no wear on a handful of engines THEN you need to validate through life test or whatever other means.

Unless you have proof of bmw not doing life testing and your many other claims (some just wrong like main and vanos oil pump failures, did you learn this on YouTube too?) it's hard to take you seriously. About hydrodynamic bearings I suggest you go back and look at the max load formula and look at how clearance impacts load. I think that's what bmw was after, but this is just my opinion of course.
 

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You've got it backwards. It's been shown that thinner oil does not reduce rod bearing wear. I agree that if thinner oil showed no wear on a handful of engines THEN you need to validate through life test or whatever other means.

Unless you have proof of bmw not doing life testing and your many other claims (some just wrong like main and vanos oil pump failures, did you learn this on YouTube too?) it's hard to take you seriously. About hydrodynamic bearings I suggest you go back and look at the max load formula and look at how clearance impacts load. I think that's what bmw was after, but this is just my opinion of course.
How would you guys explain some rod bearings fail at 40k and some 100k+? It's surely not design flaw in my view...it's owners issue but of course, when you buy 2nd hand M5 it's better to replace no knowing it's past
 

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We've discussed this before and agreed to disagree no?
Imo it's all about the clearance. If your engine falls on the loose end of the distribution then it will last longer (fiftytwoeighty's second oe set had surprisingly little / no wear for example). A mean engine is too tight, forget about a tight one. Of course only way to show this would be to mic a significant number of engines out there.

The facts however are that there's been a handful of engines disassembled using BE bearings that have shown no wear. Engines that had oe rod bearings show typical wear. And don't forget there's been ZERO failures with BE bearings (other than documented installer error). One could draw other theories too, but can't argue with facts.
 

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Unknown to me, and an excellent question. Here's another fact: the engine that Jim installed a new set of oe bearings on and showed typical wear using thinner oil was run less than 10k miles. Of the two BE that I've seen pics one had 14k and the other from Jim about 10k. In fact Jim reinstalled the BE bearings on that one. Just going by memory here fyi.
 

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You've got it backwards. It's been shown that thinner oil does not reduce rod bearing wear. I agree that if thinner oil showed no wear on a handful of engines THEN you need to validate through life test or whatever other means.
[/QUOTE]

Unless you have proof of bmw not doing life testing and your many other claims (some just wrong like main and vanos oil pump failures, did you learn this on YouTube too?) it's hard to take you seriously.
My comments were written specifically about my choices and my own observations on my M5s. They were meant to help a member that asked questions about his car. It was on topic. You as the moderator have taken this off topic and then have proceeded to question my credibility, which is why I'm even bothering responding. I'm not going to start a flame war with a moderator.

I have a mechanical engineer degree from one of the top universities programs in the US. As part of that I did a study abroad program at the top engineering school in the Stuttgart area. I also interned at Opel when it was part of GM, my classmates interned at Porsche, Bosch, and Daimler-Benz. I worked for GM Powertrain for 5 years then moved to Ford for 5 years. I will agree that it is hard to take me seriously, because you clearly have a better assessment of my engineering competencies. What do I know about automotive testing and durability? I'm not here to talk about me. You very well could be more qualified.

About hydrodynamic bearings I suggest you go back and look at the max load formula and look at how clearance impacts load. I think that's what bmw was after, but this is just my opinion of course.
Bearings for a connecting rod application are inherently different than the most common type of hydrodynamic bearing application, which is where the bearings are embedded in a static support structure (like pillow blocks or the engine block) and the shaft rotates. The crankshaft "main bearings" and camshafts bearings are examples. With connecting rod bearings, there are massive compression and tension loads that are transmitted along the surface of the bearings, the biggest load is the compression load on the upper shell, that is why there is wear like we see on these. If designed properly, a sufficiently thick flim of oil should present to both lubricate, absorb and transfer that linear force into rotational movement. This is the load I am talking about. Load, film thickness, and RPM are critical design factors. Bearing clearance, bearing area, and oil viscosity affect the film thickness. I said it correctly the first time. All of these are interrelated and there are other factors like fluid shear and fluid temperature. The design loads are INPUTS to the optimal clearance calculation. There are also other factors like steady state friction of the spinning shaft that determine overall efficiency and do affect overall fuel economy (the more technically term is brake specific fuel consumption).

Revving the engine (especially needlessly) is something that controls RPMs and load. Manufacturing variations has a big impact on clearances. I'm well versed in both but there is a factor of whether the tolerance stackup was properly considered up for the clearances that were originally calculated. I understand that one of the BE Bearings designers is also a degreed engineer with extensive engine design experience. The fact that he/they have designed a set a bearings with alternative dimensions is somewhat telling.

There are many sources to support my statements regarding the inadequate engineering specifications, which have resulted in the numerous failure modes of the S85 and S65. Engineers design things to meet specific requirements. There are pass/fail criteria. It could be that they set the bar very low. If that is the case then that is proof that it was meant to be replaced. Gee maybe that is why I removed the engine my 2010 M5 so I could redo the engine harness because it is self destructing. It also could be that they didn't properly create the right test criteria and/or create the right testing that represents what a customer would want in a car 10 years later. I believe it is the latter, but that is still poor engineering.

I understand that S85 has one of the worst warranty claims in all of BMW history (I've not seen the actual data BTW) I've met several BMW engineers, some for the M division and others that were not. They have alluded to there being alot of things that could have been done better and are happy that I still enjoy mine. They are also somewhat jealous that I have a manual. The engineers and program management are indeed held accountable for remediating design flaws in the field. Sometimes they just don't get it though. Example is E46 rear body structure. Funny enough, the E36 also had improperly designed rear body structure. They didn't learn from the prior generation, and they didn't catch that with any of their durability and reliability testing. I understand that the E90/E92 not longer have issues with the rear body structure.

You are the one that said "Thinner oil has shown to help with... absolutely nothing." I never have said and I never would say such a simplistic statement that thinner oil is better.

The choice of oil is a compromise of many things, viscosity is one, degradation, particle suspension, additive packs are just a few others. 0W-40 is a great choice for people who have alot of start/stops in colder weather. 0W-40 flows better at cold temps vs 10W-60. Viscosity rating is by definition the flow rate of a fluid. I stand by my statement and will say it again. NO ONE has shown ANYTHING in regards to wear on any forum because due solely to running different oil viscosity because NO ONE has run durability tests with these engines in climate controlled engine dynos, including BMW. I along with many others here would welcome seeing the engineering test results of bearing wear based on varying oil viscosity. The reason it must be done with climate controlled engine dynos is because only the dyno (they are computer controlled) can dictate the proper start/stops, environmental temperatures, and loading profile (in this case, loading profile means how the throttle is opened, which should simulate how people actually drive). These dyno cells are multi-million dollars, most of the OE's have one or access to one, I have direct experience with this. GM doesn't have the number and of engine system failures that we have seen with BMW's S85. I'll be the first to say on record that GM has other failures for sure.

If BMW did in fact subject the S85 to such tests, one would assume that it then passed all those tests. Fine let's all assume that it passed, so then how can one possibly explain how do all of the failures (I've listed just a few) on this engine platform exist, many at less than 50k miles? You realize that many S85 engines were replaced in their first few years under warranty right?? Why did they change things in mid 2007 during LCI?? Why do I have a main oil pump with a March 31, 2008 date code (and partially stripped hex bolt) in a BMW CPO car that has a September 1, 2007 production date?

The S85 is an amazing engine ad the E60 M5 is an amazing car when all the issues are addressed. I have several of these M5s because the powertrains (engine and trans) are plagued with problems. They can be fixed though, and that is why I am here o this forum. If I could by a 2009 CTS-V station wagon with a manual trans for under $10,000 (30k for that matter) then I will gladly get rid of one my 2008 M5s (yeah maybe even one of the ones that is a manual).
 

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Unknown to me, and an excellent question. Here's another fact: the engine that Jim installed a new set of oe bearings on and showed typical wear using thinner oil was run less than 10k miles. Of the two BE that I've seen pics one had 14k and the other from Jim about 10k. In fact Jim reinstalled the BE bearings on that one. Just going by memory here fyi.
This is good to know and Jim seems to be a great guy by all means. But what actually is "typical wear"? Is that what BMW intended the wear to be? How and what did he measure? Maybe he had the abilty to dissolve the different bearing layers and then measure the chemical concentration vs a new bearing? Maybe he put it in on a DMM and layed out the parts. I have a bunch of other things that I think he could also then help me and others with. Did he also compare it to one that was running 10W60 with less than 10k miles? Is that like when customer complain about VANOS rattle and the BMW "service advisor" says that is typical noise?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hey guys,

To close the loop, I just wanted to post that I ended up having James/RRT replace my rod bearings and VANOS line. James put me on the waiting list for the next shipment of BE bearings, and when they arrived he scheduled the appointment and did the work over two days. I am a very happy customer and can join the list of people who recommend RRT for work on M5s.

Andrew
 

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Awesome, I'm glad it worked out for you. James assisted me for my suspension alignment and corner balance. He really takes the time to explain everything, no matter if its a big or a small job. I will be dropping M5 off today after work. I do think its a little far from my house but I think it is worth the peace of mind. You should drop by at some of the meets we do around Tysons Corner area one of these days.
 
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