Scott Lear
Scott Lear
12/19/18 10:24 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article originally ran in the August 2015 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

 

Terry Fair
Vorshlag Motorsports

The E92-chassis BMW M3 is great because it’s the only 3 Series with a V8. I’ve always been of the opinion that to make a reliable engine, you make it as big as possible and spin it less. There is a high rev …

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AlcantaraFTW
AlcantaraFTW New Reader
12/19/18 12:44 p.m.

This article did not go the way I expected. Perusing literally any car forum that has a post regarding the E9x M3s and its S65 (not to mention the S85 in the M5/6) suggests that the rod bearings are not just an Achilles heel, but virtually a maintenance item, even with the revised design. Reading these comments from names like Turner and Vorshlag is no small thing, but I have a hard time swallowing the pill that a 50k+ mile 2011 M3 isn't likely to show high copper in a UOA.

That being said, a NA V8 M car is on my bucket list of cars to own (read: E39 or E9x). And the carbon fiber roof on the E92s was such a stunning option when these launched. The heart wants what the heart wants, so maybe I made this post just to protect my wallet...

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Reader
12/19/18 12:47 p.m.

^^

That is what I thought reading it. I thought the $3-5K bearing repair was essentially a maintenance item as well, as showin in 2 owners on this forum, who recently bought 4 door M3.  It will be GSF or ISF for me, as I can't swallow the need for $$$$$ BMW Maintenance, when time comes for my V8 sports sedan.

barthayes
barthayes New Reader
12/19/18 1:07 p.m.

I'm on my second one since this article in 2012. Like most, I am a manual snob. That said, I can not imagine having one of these without DCT! It is remarkable. A close friend had a new M4. After <5000 miles, he sold it and bought an e92 M3. His opinion? The e92 M3 is fun to drive all of the time, the M4 was not. I have to agree. Michelin PS4, KW race springs, Cat back, Kassel tune w GTS flash and its a REALLY fun car.

Costs are pretty much irrelevant when compared to the total package and level of performance. 

te72
te72 Reader
12/19/18 9:09 p.m.

I've always liked these cars, but the BMW maintenance kills the dream for me. I drive Miatas and old Toyota / Lexus cars, that's my standard of reliability. Granted, I beat the piss out of them when I'm having fun with them, but... they last.

 

Suppose it's true of any 8k+ rpm engine that you're gonna go through bearings like that, unless you're Honda, or old Toyota. Neither of those types of engines make quite the noise a E92 does though, I race with a guy who autocrosses his. I used to do well against him with my Supra... then he supercharged his M3. Woof. Hard to keep up with him now. =)

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/19/18 11:34 p.m.

Would *love* to hear the experts' responses to the the GRMers questions re: bearings... 

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
1/4/19 1:47 p.m.

I own one and I have tracked the snot out of it for six seasons.  I could be wrong, but back in the 2014-2015 time frame when this article was coming together, the rod bearing issue was generally known.  But in the years since, the conventional wisdom moved from "hmmm, this may be an issue that needs attention" to "you'll sleep better if you just bite the bullet and change them."

I always say, I think the uniqueness of this car is it's quality as an "arrive and drive" track car.  Cruise in comfort with all my paddock stuff and 4 race wheels in the back.  Six hours to the Glen, no problem.  Then unload it, swap the sticky tires on, and have a blast.

It's a sports sedan, though, not a full-on sports car like a C5, Cayman, or a 911.  Head to head, I always find I'm a second or two a lap slower than those, if they have comparable tires and software (driver).  And even with camber plates, this car eats tires and brake pads, due to the weight.

I'm sure different people have different experiences with the car -- these are just the way it has worked out for me.

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/5/19 12:11 p.m.

In reply to JBasham :

When you say "bite the bullet and change them" is there an upgraded part that solves the issue, or do you mean that about like the earlier "maintenance items" posts, you change them regularly?

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/5/19 12:18 p.m.
Ransom said:

In reply to JBasham :

When you say "bite the bullet and change them" is there an upgraded part that solves the issue, or do you mean that about like the earlier "maintenance items" posts, you change them regularly?

AIUI, similar to the S54 in the E46 you basically just put the rod bearings on a regular replacement schedule.

The obvious competitor that wasn't mentioned in the article is the B7 Audi RS4, which has a remarkably similar engine in specs and no rod bearing issues.

JBasham
JBasham HalfDork
1/7/19 1:56 p.m.
Ransom said:

In reply to JBasham :

When you say "bite the bullet and change them" is there an upgraded part that solves the issue, or do you mean that about like the earlier "maintenance items" posts, you change them regularly?

There are a few different brands of replacements on the market, and I think also a couple of different approaches to the bearing gap, one being tighter than the other.  At this point I don't know of people who have done them twice, because they tend to get done around 50,000 miles.

rotard
rotard Dork
1/7/19 2:10 p.m.

These should be replaced around 50k for peace of mind.  

The RS4 is interesting, but it feels boring when compared to an E9x M3.

Ransom
Ransom GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/7/19 2:26 p.m.

In reply to JBasham :

Okay, at least it's not annually, or every other track day. Though for an item that should normally be close to life of the car, that's a pretty major deal.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
1/7/19 4:02 p.m.
rotard said:

These should be replaced around 50k for peace of mind.  

The RS4 is interesting, but it feels boring when compared to an E9x M3.

I'm not saying it's better, I'm just saying it's a lot more obvious as a comparison point than a Mustang!

 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Reader
1/7/19 5:14 p.m.

50k bearing replacement would mean every 24 months for me ! 

 

Guess i I will live vicariously through you guys 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/8/19 6:30 a.m.
Ransom said:

In reply to JBasham :

Okay, at least it's not annually, or every other track day. Though for an item that should normally be close to life of the car, that's a pretty major deal.

If you're an above average home mechanic, you can do it yourself in a day with the engine in the car. 

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