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BMW History and Engine Technology



  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Here are some links you will enjoy if you haven't seen them previously - or even if you have! ;)

    BMW History

    BMW 3-Series - Generations

    BMW 5-Series - Generations

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It seems the conversation is geared to all engines. Even though BMW is in the spotlight, comparisons are being made and they are interesting. I would change the title of the thread to something like Engine Design and Technology. Historical aspects are intrinsic but the main focus is the current era so I would leave history out of the title. If this is BMW-only, you could be handing out a lot of tickets for digression.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree, and maybe move this thread into news and views.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I am suggesting that we add history into the mix and focus primarily on BMW. I'm not worried about other engines creeping in.

    KD, the discussion is linked to other BMW boards and it's fine right here. :)
  • bruceomegabruceomega Posts: 250

    Thanks for the information. I forgot about things like additonal plumbing and cooling, and you are correct, the 535 cars have bigger brakes than the 528s. In fact, the brake diameter on the 535s is the same as on the 550.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Sorry gang, Mrs. Shipo is working in Hong Kong this week and so in addition to picking up her half of the duties with the kids, I've had some pretty significant deliverables due this week. As such, I haven't had any time for recreational clicking. ;-)


    "The 3.2 M3 engine is the only high output engine (i.e. not a long stroke engine designed for torque) with more than 3 liter that ever got put into the 3 series, which happens to be BMW's core business. It has to resort to iron block for packaging reasons, as an aluminum block would have been too long to fit into the car, and still leave enough passenger/trunk volume plus crumple zones. That's the point that I have been making."

    I think that's a matter of conjecture. With the expanding girth of late model BMWs; it seems to me that there should easily be enough room for a non-iron block 3.5 liter, maybe even a 4.0 liter I6. That said, anything above 3.0 liters is encroaching on the V8 realm, and as V8s are nearly as well balanced as I6s, there may well not ever be a need for BMW to build a new I6 above the 3.0 liter threshold.

    As for the piezoelectric vibration band-aids and all of the other isolation steps that other makers have brought to bear on the problem, no thanks. I like feeling what's going on. I'm firmly in BlueGuyDotCom's camp here; the E90 is a step backwards in terms of isolation and damping. As such, your comment that said, "Regardless the virtues of V6 vs. I6 in the vibration department, Lexus achieved completely vibration-free cabin and steering long before BMW did; BMW is only catching up in that regard with the latest E90." is actually quite backwards in my opinion. From my perspective, the E90 has actually lost ground to Lexus in this regard, not caught up.

    "Forged steel sleeves are probably stronger than the cylinder surface inside composite blocks, aluminum blocks or even cast iron blocks. Turbo engines tend to run hotter and more prone to detonation, so forged steel sleeve is a common tuner house trick. At the back their heads, the decision makers at BMW probably also wanted to avoid any chance of repeating the Alusil fiasco of the mid-90's."

    Hmmm, I would have said, "Forged steel sleeves are probably more durable than the cylinder surface inside the composite blocks. I'm splitting that hair because as I understand it, the cylinder wall surfaces are harder than steel, just not as thick.

    As for the "Galnikal fiasco" or "Nikasil fiasco", that really isn't relevant here. Why? BMW extensively tested those engines in Europe and had extremely good success with them. They had also used Nikasil liners on their motorcycles sold here in the States for some time before the M60 V8 was introduced over here. So why did Nikasil fail over here and only in cars? Apparently the higher heat of the motorcycle engine (that didn't require specific smog numbers) counteracted the effects of the higher sulfur North American fuels, and it was that extra sulfur that ate away at the Nikasil cylinder walls.


    "So how would a 911's "Boxer" 6 cylinder or BMW's V10 fit on your list?"

    Regarding your Boxer six, boxer engines are generally referred to as "H" engines (Horizontally opposed), and as such, it was listed in my post as an H6. Boxer engines starting from H4s are perfectly balanced; however, unless the H4 is a two stroke, the whole torque reversal thing rears its ugly head again.

    Regarding the V10, nope, not on my list. V10s are shakers. Period, full stop, the end. As such, no thanks. :-P

    "And, given that my former Honda S2000 and current TL had "out of balance" engines, what should I have noticed in my test drives? Vibration at certain rpms? "

    Don't know. I've never been in an S2000 and my limited seat time in a TL is, well, just too limited. That said, Honda has been pretty good at band-aiding engine vibrations so you may not have felt anything.


    Yeah, I'm a fan of Boxer engines. The plane that I'm looking for has a H6, and even though many folks have replaced that engine with larger and more powerful H4s, no thanks. The H6 is just soooo much smoother to fly behind.


    Yeah, BMW pulled the same thing with the E39. When they went from the 540i & 528i lineup to the 540i, 530i & 525i lineup in 2001, the 525i got the brakes from the 528i while the 530i got the brakes from the 540i.

    Best Regards,
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    ...for an out-of-balance I4 and primitive suspension?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    That is some of the best driving I've ever seen!!

    4 sleeves, really? That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! The sound was awesome as well. Taking turns like that are only in MY dreams! Balance and intuition at it's best. Patrick was vacuuming up the Manx! How the heck can you ever pass a guy like that??

    Let me see...there is 10/10ths and then I would rate this as 100/10.


  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Girth is not the samething as length. Length is what's on short supply in a 3 series using I-6. They have already gone to run-flats to save length (reduce trunk length without reducing trunk volume). Boring out the cylinders would certainly have been much less costly than changing aluminum block to steel block or turbocharging . . . if they could have done that.

    Well, many diehards thought E46 was a step back from E36, which was a step back from E30. None of their opinion matters unless they are punking down the money to buy new cars in large numbers.

    BMW has to sell cars in a given market place, and make sure their products do not become massive warranty liabilities. US carmarket being the largest in the world, blaming fuel quality here is not going to prevent heads rolling for failing to account for that. If the US gas stations pumped peanut oil, BMW would be well advised to make their engines run well on peanut oil :-)
  • weaz08weaz08 Posts: 5
    has anyone had a problem with their bmw not wanting to go in reverse? my car does go in when you first start the car but after will not engage in reverse.

    i have been told it could be a control module...does anyone know what could it be?
  • gardisgardis Posts: 185
    Shipo, my Gosh, you are an encyclopedia of information! I have learned so much from reading these forums.

    I am looking at a 2007 530i (CPO) with 27K miles, and a 2008 535i with 28K miles. I am very skeptical of the twin turbo on the 535i, I am driving a 328i (1996) and the engine has been wonderful for me. All repairs have been for peripheral stuff like computer lights, water pump went at 96K miles, stuff like that. But the engine has as much pep and energy today as it did when I got it (also CPO program). Am I right to be skeptical of the 535i? I am not into high powerered vehicles, but I sure do love that 535i that I saw. I just feel having twin turbos is another technical issue I don't need, and I don't understand them anyway.

    What can you tell me about it. Thanks, warranty runs until 2013 on the 2008 and 2012 on the 530i.
    Gardis in Connecticut
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, wow, lots of stuff to cover here. ;-)

    Personally I'm quite a fan of turbocharged motors; however, depending upon the application, they do require a bit more care and feeding than their normally aspirated brethren. As an example, anecdotal reports on the twin turbo 3.0 liter mill that BMW is putting in a few of their cars suggests that oil changes should be done every 5,000 miles (instead of the 15,000 miles recommended by BMW).

    What should you do? Well, since you like the 535i, get it with the CPO warranty, and if it proves to be a reliable car through the warranty period, keep it even longer, however, if it seems to like more than its fair share of maintenance, then you have a decision to make by 2013. ;-)

    Best regards,
  • I've read all the posted messages regarding 2000 BMW reverse failure. It happened to me last week. Was in the market to purchase a Mini Cooper now the is worthless. Do you have any information on this problem being recalled or any suggestion on what I should do?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Your best bet is to have the transmission replaced and either keep the car or trade it in then. The good news here is that aftermarket rebuilt units are now becoming available at a relatively reasonable cost (the link below shows an automatic unit for a 2000 323i for $2,220). - - el=323i&year=2000

    Best regards,
  • Thank you for the response. Now my 328CI is going into reverse. It drives the same as if nothing happened. I have not taking it to the shop as of yet want to sell it or tade in. Going to a Honda no more BMWs for me.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Going to a Honda no more BMWs for me.

    Kind of an interesting comment, especially so given that Honda has had WAY-WAY more problems with their automatic transmissions over the last ten years compared to BMW. Before you make the jump, you might want to do a little research on their transmission problems (which are allegedly fixed, yet problems are still cropping up).

    Best regards,
  • that is a very interesting comment. i have been researching bmw's for a little bit, comparing them to many other cars. Honda's are very reliable, but when they do run in to a couple of problems here and there. then again, im not a complete "know it all". if i'm wrong, please let me know, still learning here.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Specific to the comments that I was responding to last year, BMW had a problem with the 1999 and 2000 vintage 323i (GM produced) automatic transmissions not going into reverse after roughly 50,000 miles. Honda on the other hand has had an ongoing problem with the automatic transmissions used with their V6 engines, especially those on the Odyssey and larger Acura models. There are (or were) four Honda vehicles in our neighborhood so affected, our immediate neighbors being the worst hit in that their V6 Accord needed one transmission (covered under warranty) and their Odyssey needed two (neither of which was covered and each of which cost about $5,000. Ouch!

    The above said, the easiest way to avoid automatic transmission problems is to buy a car with a stick shift. ;)

    Best regards,
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,237
    many of these issues is to only drive manual transmission-equipped cars.

    Both BMW and Honda make excellent cars with manual transmissions. They almost never fail and are much more fun to drive.
This discussion has been closed.