Technical Is my car worth fixing?

jsandor91

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Jan 3, 2018
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N54 LCI E90
So i'm at a bit of a cross road and looking for opinions on what other people would do in my situation.

To make a long story short i somehow melted the Piston in cylinder #4 in my car. The car has boltons and runs on E85 blend / meth in the summers but logs always looked good and no codes. Best bet is something happened to cylinder 4 when i got injector related misfires and its been a ticking time bomb since.

Car runs but burns oil and misfires a bit. The car is not currently being driven. I'm trying to figure out 1 of 3 options

1. Sell the car as is, take a hit and move on.
2. buy a used shortblock and mate it to my existing head (assuming its in good condition)
3. take a gamble on a used engine and swap turbos / injectors over

quotes for doing a straight motor swap have been between 1500-3000. I don't have access to a garage and my comfort level ends around doing a valve cover swap or installing downpipes.

The car is pretty clean and a fairly hard to find combo. It's a 2010 E90 LCI N54 with rear wheel drive and manual trans. Sport package, cold weather package and heated steering wheel. also has a msport front. The car only has 85k on it and has 3k on new turbos and injectors from the extended warranty.

My original plan was to just enjoy the car with stock turbos for another year or two then pick up a F80 or F82 but now i'm not sure what to do.
 

dyezak

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May 4, 2017
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08_335i

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Nov 3, 2016
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Truly sounds like it's a decision you need to make. I have too much blood sweat and tears into my car that if the motor ever goes boom I'll have no choice but to put it away until I can get a motor for it.
 

veer90

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Nov 16, 2016
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2010 E90 LCI N54 with rear wheel drive and manual trans. Sport package, cold weather package and heated steering wheel.

I have the same car. It's a rare combo compared to all the e92 6MTs, e90 6ATs, and e90 xdrive models out there.

If you enjoy the car, replace the engine and keep it. Used long blocks are usually a safe bet if you ask for and document the compression test numbers. I wouldn't bother with a short block as you're opening up the engine and the labor will probably be more anyways.
 

fmorelli

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Aug 11, 2017
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Let's back up a little. Can you take a bit of time and tell us some back story on how you got to a melted #4 piston. How do you know that's the issue? Second question, can you tell us where you live? And finally ... I'm guessing you had a shop look at it - who was that, if I may ask?

Filippo
 

jsandor91

New Member
Jan 3, 2018
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N54 LCI E90
Let's back up a little. Can you take a bit of time and tell us some back story on how you got to a melted #4 piston. How do you know that's the issue? Second question, can you tell us where you live? And finally ... I'm guessing you had a shop look at it - who was that, if I may ask?

Filippo

All good questions!

First off thank you for all the questions, I'm located in central New Jersey near Philadelphia

So back up to around thanksgiving of last year i got my turbos and injectors replaced under warranty. Car was driving great and boosting consistent up until a couple weeks ago.

Cold start one day i get bit of a rough idle and a little bit of smoke out the back not thinking too much of it. Get some random misfires on the way to work so after work i inspect and i have a crack in my valve cover with some oil in pooling above the spark plug on cylinder 2,3,4

Experiencing a good amount of smoke out the tail pipes (oil burning) and misfire issues only on cylinder 4 over the next couple days until my new valve cover came in. (car was maybe driven 30 miles in limp mode with a close eye on oil levels) Replace valve cover, Plugs and coils and problem still persists.

Friend of mine is a tech at my local BMW dealership so i park the car for a few days until he can take a look at it. Took it in last week to get a leakdown test. Cylinder 4 was 12 psi/88 psi where cylinder 3 was close to 80psi.

Put a boroscope down into cylinder 4 and was able to see edges of the piston had visible melting / burning marks on it. The cylinder wall also had marks on it.

Limped the car home and its been parked ever since.

car always had maintenance done, Never driven hard on a cold engine or oil starved, No custom aggressive tune, just Jb4 map3 with all safeties on
 

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fmorelli

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Ok ... that's a pretty definitive determination. I just wasn't sure how you got there.

To your point on the hard hit, your 1500-3000 ($1,500 to $3,000) quote on the sway, I assume is labor. And you still need a motor, right?

Here's a weird thing to consider, from my experience. You're going to take a hit even if you fix it, right? I've had several experiences where people buy what they feel is a "deal" on something that is broken ... and your "hit" is not so bad. Someone will buy your car because they can fix it for example. If it is a clean, nice looking car, you may find people running to your door. Say running you could sell the car for $12k (no idea what it is worth BTW, as I'm not an E90 guy). You might get someone to buy it for $9k, saying it is otherwise mint (good photos), new turbos, injectors.

So if you were looking to sell it, just don't assume your car isn't worth much because I'd bet otherwise. I've sold two cars that were messed up and gotten more than I ever thought, faster than I ever thought - one with a head issue, and another that had slammed sideways into a tree (and I swore it could not be rebuilt). Both were sold with full disclosures and details.

People buy stuff that they think is a "deal" for them. You never know who they are - could be clueless (like my last buyer), could be a guy that owns a body shop (like my first car I sold that was t-boned), could be someone that is looking to build up a motor, could be a mechanic, could be ...

Filippo
 

jsandor91

New Member
Jan 3, 2018
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N54 LCI E90
Ok ... that's a pretty definitive determination. I just wasn't sure how you got there.

To your point on the hard hit, your 1500-3000 ($1,500 to $3,000) quote on the sway, I assume is labor. And you still need a motor, right?

Here's a weird thing to consider, from my experience. You're going to take a hit even if you fix it, right? I've had several experiences where people buy what they feel is a "deal" on something that is broken ... and your "hit" is not so bad. Someone will buy your car because they can fix it for example. If it is a clean, nice looking car, you may find people running to your door. Say running you could sell the car for $12k (no idea what it is worth BTW, as I'm not an E90 guy). You might get someone to buy it for $9k, saying it is otherwise mint (good photos), new turbos, injectors.

So if you were looking to sell it, just don't assume your car isn't worth much because I'd bet otherwise. I've sold two cars that were messed up and gotten more than I ever thought, faster than I ever thought - one with a head issue, and another that had slammed sideways into a tree (and I swore it could not be rebuilt). Both were sold with full disclosures and details.

People buy stuff that they think is a "deal" for them. You never know who they are - could be clueless (like my last buyer), could be a guy that owns a body shop (like my first car I sold that was t-boned), could be someone that is looking to build up a motor, could be a mechanic, could be ...

Filippo

I really appreciate the advice. I put my car up for sale and almost pulled the trigger on a CPO 2017 M240i 6MT with the B58 motor but the deal ended up falling through.

I had a change of heart when i contacted a shop near by about my situation. They found me a n54 with 60k on it turbos and all for around $2500. The Motor comes with a 1 year unlimited mile warranty and no core charge. The shop is getting the motor this weekend gonna do a full inspection, once it gets a clean bill of health i'm doing the motor swap but putting in my new turbos and index 12 injectors along with inlets, spec stage 2+ clutch / M factory flywheel, catch can and new vacuum lines.

Bringing the old motor back with me and hopefully selling it as a whole to someone who's looking to do a engine build. How much would someone pay for a late model N54 with one melted piston ?