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Hi group! I want to mention off the top that I have been reading the posts here since last November and have learned much from you all, this is a great source for
information. I've been collecting info and perusing web-sites (Bavauto is great!) and patiently waiting for my chance to get my hands on a particular '95 740i, well it's about that time! A couple questions though... the car has been maintained by the book, the owner kept all the receipts, kept it in the garage etc., and only 91k km's, I want to know if you think it wise to flush the engine, tranny, and switch to synth motor and trans oils and if so which have you felt happy using (I'm in Ontario, Canada). I haven't seen yet many postings about clubs or "meets" in this neck of the woods or northern New York - any suggestions. Do you have any other tips about giving the car a fresh start - any fluid lines or particular quirks I should look at? Lastly the car is really nice condition, do you feel that $17,500.00 is a fair asking price?
Thanks, Maurice E38 soon
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maurice wrote:

I don't believe in flushing trannies, unless the owner's man. specifically calls for it, or if there is an obvious need for some reason. Flush the engine? If the car has been maintained "by the book" as the owner claims, there is no need for any such nonsense. If the car has been using high quality conventional motor oil, it may well be best to stick with that, esp. if you drive the car on a regular basis without long periods of non-use (synthetics better for cold starts).

I just did a little checking for ya. As of yesterday, $17500 CAD equals $14406 US. Going to Edmunds.com I entered info for a '95 740i in Outstanding condition with 91k km (56,600 mi) and for color, I entered white (most common car color I think). I also used my own zip code (makes little dif- ference I'd guess). Here's what I got (converted all amounts to Can. dollars:)
Trade-in: $9,873 CAD
Private Party: $11,313 CAD (your case)
Dealer Retail: $13,795 CAD
Sounds like he's probably asking about $6,000 too much.
-- Cliff
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Was the '95 involved in the nikasil (sp?) engine issue? Believe it was, but not sure.
Would not want to have to rebuild the engine, especially after having spent at least $5k more than the car was worth in the first place.
DS
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I'm sure the poster was quoting $CDN. In any case, this car likely has the Nikasil block. I would suggest running away from this car as fast as possible.
Sadly....
BMW released the M60B30 and M60B40 V8's with the 93 model year 5,7 and 8 series. These engines ran until the 95 model year. From the 96 model year, they were replaced by the M62B44. The 3.0L was dropped in the US, but the rest of the world got the M62B35, a 3.5 litre V8.
There are many rumours about the fate of the M60 engine, but only one is true. The engines have been known to suffer damage to the cylinder bores from the excessive amounts of sulphur in the US fuels.
The blocks are made of Nikasil, which is Aluminum impregnated with Nickel and Silicone. Apparently , sulphur reacts adversely with the Nickel , causing very slight blemishes in the top few millimetres of the cylinder bore. The cylinder bores are crosshatched, which is the name given to a pattern scratched into the surface of the cylinder wall. These scratches help seat and seal the piston rings, allowing good compression.
When the cylinder walls become damaged, the piston rings can no longer seal properly. As a result, the engine suffers from "leak down". This is the term given for the amount of air that can escape past the piston as it attempts to compress the air into the combustion chamber. A near new engine , in good condition, should have a leak down rating of approximately 5-8%. BMW's maximum allowable leak down , on any engine, is 15%. Anything beyond that requires repair to the engine.
Leak down can also be caused by poorly seated valves.
The problem in the V8's manifests itself as an EXCESSIVELY rough idle. These engines, due to their performance oriented cam shafts, have a noticeable "rock" at idle, this is completely normal. However, excessively rough idle will cause the entire car to shake, usually unevenly. The problem can also cause the engine to lose so much compression that it will no longer start.
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Forgot to credit Koala Motorsport for the info. Here is the full article:
What's wrong with the V8 ?
09/19/04. The original "What's wrong with the V8" article was written in 1997. It's time for an update. The original, unedited, article is below.
First, let me make it clear that any and all warranties on this engine are long over. The 6yr 100K mile warranty ran out some time around 2001. Don't expect BMW to come to your aid if you have a problem, it's not their fault that previous owners of your car didn't act on the chance to have the problem corrected.
An important point in the Nikasil issue that has become quite clear over the last couple of years is that it's really not an issue any more. BMW, for the second time in history, succeeded in forcing a change in US fuel production. Some time around 1997/1998, the US fuel companies cleaned up their fuel, removing the large amounts of sulphur that had been commonplace before then.
If you are considering the purchase of an M60 equipped vehicle, you should have it checked to see if it has a Nikasil or Alusil engine. If it has a Nikasil engine, you should have a leak down test performed. If that leakdown test shows results below 15% on all cylinders, you should not consider the engine to be a problem. If the engine has not failed, it probably will not fail due to the new fuels.
We personally have seen Nikasil engines with 30+K miles on them with 4% or less leak down, because the engines were installed at or about the time that the fuel changes took place.
Read the original article below, determine the engine, have the leak down test performed if necessary, and make your own decision.
Original article.
BMW released the M60B30 and M60B40 V8's with the 93 model year 5,7 and 8 series. These engines ran until the 95 model year. From the 96 model year, they were replaced by the M62B44. The 3.0L was dropped in the US, but the rest of the world got the M62B35, a 3.5 litre V8.
There are many rumours about the fate of the M60 engine, but only one is true. The engines have been known to suffer damage to the cylinder bores from the excessive amounts of sulphur in the US fuels. The blocks are made of Nikasil, which is Aluminum impregnated with Nickel and Silicone. Apparently , sulphur reacts adversely with the Nickel , causing very slight blemishes in the top few millimetres of the cylinder bore. The cylinder bores are crosshatched, which is the name given to a pattern scratched into the surface of the cylinder wall. These scratches help seat and seal the piston rings, allowing good compression.
When the cylinder walls become damaged, the piston rings can no longer seal properly. As a result, the engine suffers from "leak down". This is the term given for the amount of air that can escape past the piston as it attempts to compress the air into the combustion chamber. A near new engine , in good condition, should have a leak down rating of approximately 5-8%. BMW's maximum allowable leak down , on any engine, is 15%. Anything beyond that requires repair to the engine.
Leak down can also be caused by poorly seated valves.
The problem in the V8's manifests itself as an EXCESSIVELY rough idle. These engines, due to their performance oriented cam shafts, have a noticeable "rock" at idle, this is completely normal. However, excessively rough idle will cause the entire car to shake, usually unevenly. The problem can also cause the engine to lose so much compression that it will no longer start.
While BMW was investigating the cause of the problem, several different methods of repair were tried.
First, they decided to raise the operating temperature of the engine, in an attempt to get a better burn of the gas, and therefore lessen the damage. The benefits of this campaign , which included replacement of the engine EPROM and thermostat, were negligible, if existent. However, they were an attempt to fix a problem that was not yet fully understood.
Once it was decided the engines needed to be opened and repairs made, the first try was installation of new pistons and rings, this was only tried on a few engines and was immediately dismissed as not viable.
Next step was to replace the short block assembly. This is what is still being done now, however, until the problem was 100 percent diagnosed by BMW, the replacement short blocks were of the same material as the original engines. This was not so much an oversight, but the only possible way of keeping cars on the road until a permanent solution could be found.
As a measure of good faith, BMW initiated an engine warranty, covering all internally lubricated parts, which includes the short block, for 100,000 miles, or 6 years. Until this, the engines were only covered under the standard 4 year 50,000 mile warranty.
Now, as the short blocks were being replaced with the same exact part, future problems could be expected without a doubt. The result of this situation is that some cars have had 2 and even 3 short block replacements.
As of early 1997, all replacement short blocks were of the new material, called Alusil. This material has been used in the V12 engines since their inception. No reason was given for the change to Nikasil, but I'd like to bet that guy no longer has a job. Anyway, Alusil does not suffer the same problem as Nikasil and if the Alusil short block has been installed, you no longer need to worry about the situation. How do you tell which material is in your short block ?
That part is fairly easy. But it requires getting under the right front of the car. All M60 and M62 blocks have casting numbers on the right side, directly alongside the 3rd cylinder, slightly above the coolant drain bolt.
These are the casting numbers to look for :
Nikasil M60B30 1 725 970 or 1 741 212 Nikasil M60B40 1 725 963 or 1 742 998 Alusil M60B30 1 745 871 Alusil M60B40 1 745 872 Alusil M62B44 1 745 873 NOTE, all US market M62 engines are Alusil.
This is the only way to determine which M60 you have, short of removing a cylinder head.
In performing engine repairs or rebuild procedures in the future, it is imperative that you correctly identify the cylinder block, as the pistons and rings used in each style are different and not interchangeable. What do I do if my engine idles rough ?
If you feel your M60 is idling roughly, make an appointment with your dealer for an idle quality check. This check is free, under the conditions of the 100,000 mile engine warranty. During this test, the technician hooks the car up to the BMW diagnostic computer system, which monitors the condition of the engine. If, during this test, the computer finds that there is a potential problem, it will order the technician to perform a manual leak down test. If the tech finds any ONE cylinder to have more than 15% leak down, you will be advised of the need for a new short block. You will then be requested to either leave the vehicle, or make an appointment to bring the vehicle back. The dealer will require the car for approximately 5 days, during which , they are to make a rental or loaner car available to you. If you have the test performed, but the results do not show the need for a new engine, do not go running to the next dealer for a new test. The dealer gets paid by BMW for his time, however, repetitive testing will not be covered, so the second dealer will not get paid for his time. This is unfair to the dealer. If your car passes, but you feel it should fail, take it in for another test in a few months, not straight away.
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Nikasil isn't unique to BMW, and many engines using it have a normal life. Something about the Nikasil BMW V-8 made it more susceptible to high levels of sulphur in the petrol than other designs. Perhaps localised higher temperatures?
--
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

I don't think it was that Dave. Or, at least BMW engineers didn't think so, as one of the interim "fixes" was to increase the engine operating temperature specs and reprogram the engine to run hotter. It was a service recall that was done to my '94 that I am looking to get undone since it has subsequently had the block switched to an alusil one.
I think it will just require a lower temp t-stat and replacing the ECU chip. I'm thinking a replacement chip would be nice anyway as performance improvement reports have been positive on the M60B40 after reprogramming. Of course then I'd probably just blow the weak-ass automatic transmission... ;-)
-Fred W
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wrote:

Pretty cold up here in Canada, my boss's block was replaced under the program, owned since new.
BMW had used Nikasil for a decade in bike engines, imagine their shock when all this trouble happend in the car motors that ran cooler.
-Russ.
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That's why I put the question mark. It's obviously some form of chemical reaction, so could be it happens more at lower temperatures?
--
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I remember reading about that some time ago but was not able to confirm... anyone know how to verify this? Is it possible that only affected European builds?
Maurice

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maurice wrote:

In regard to Nikasil engines, this was definitely NOT a european only problem. In fact it may have applied more to the US cars as the fueld was suspected to be higher in sulpher at that time.
I have a '94 540iA and it had the block replaced with an Alusil block under warranty by a PO. The only way to know for certain is to crawl under the beast and get a look at the part number that is embossed on the block.
The good news is that the prices of these V8 cars is depressed somewhat due to this issue, so if you can find one that *has* had the short block replaced you can get a good deal. However, and this is such a serious issue I would not take anyone's word for it, including the dealership. Just eyeball the block p/n and if it's one of the good ones you are in fat city.
As a point of reference, I bought mine 2 years ago (found it down in Virginia - no rust) with less than 100k miles on it for $8500.
-Fred W
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Might it be safe to hope that if the problem hasn't surfaced yet - it may not and would our high octane fuels be the same as U.S. (I'm reaching here!)
Maurice

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maurice wrote:

Some folks have voiced that opine; That if it hasn't gone bad yet maybe the engine is solid enough. I suppose the fuels these days are lower in sulpher content than they once were. Also, no octane rating has nothing to do with sulpher content.
But, it's a *very* expensive gamble to make IMO. The cost of an engine replacement (short block) is likely to run about $5k. Considering the car is only worth about 10k tops (if it is very low mileage example) I would not be willing to take that risk.
-Fred W
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The other aspect of the "hasn't gone bad yet" argument is that they changed the gasoline formulations in NA so that there isn't as much sulphur any more, so the problem is gone.
Not sure *I'd* want to be the one gambling on that mind you, I haven't seen much serious evidence to that effect.
I've also heard from weak sources that there are different sulphur levels from different manufacturers and different geographic areas.
-Russ.
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Yes. They're hardly rare, so it makes sense to get one which has been fixed. Unless at such a low price it makes the gamble worthwhile.

In the UK, the problem appeared to be confined to cars using imported petrol - ie that not refined in the UK. Sometimes referred to as 'supermarket petrol' since they tended to buy fuel from anywhere at the best price.
I'm surprised there hasn't been chapter and verse on *exactly* what caused the problem.
--
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wrote:

This is about the closest, mind the wrap
http://64.233.161.104/search?q che:fRbZTyYl1wcJ:www.lestac.co.uk/bmw/nikasil.htm+nikasil+issue&hl=en
-Russ.
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http://64.233.161.104/search?q che:fRbZTyYl1wcJ:www.lestac.co.uk/bmw/nikasil.htm+nikasil+issue&hl=en
Although the page comes up, all the links give 'not found'
--
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wrote:

It's just a cached copy, the original seems to be missing. Probably can be dug up someplace; I remember it being intact at one point.
-Russ.
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Where are you located?
If you are in the Toronto area I can recommend an excellent independent BMW specialist. He saved me a ton of money when I was shopping for my E39 540i. He also worked on my BMWs for over 15 years.
Wherever you are located, if you buy an older BMW and you are not an expert mechanic then you should rely on a good independent BMW specialist because any older car will require work. Some cars have the normal work and then there are other cars that turn out to be nightmares. You have to get an expert to check any used BMW out before you buy one. Just getting opinions on this NG is just for starters.
Final advice: if you have found a good car you should run the car for a month or two and see how well it runs. At that point IMO you should replace all the normal wear items that your mechanic has flagged as either marginal or replaceable at that mileage. No sense using the car with worn parts only to replace them a few years later and sell the car. The car will run much better with new parts.
You want to get the use out of the replacement parts as early as possible while you still own the car not after you decide to sell the car later or when the car gets really old.
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