BMW N52 Commonly Repaired Items
The BMW N52 engine is a successful engine installed in the E90, E92, and E60 chassis between the 2004 and 2015 model years. Even though BMW enthusiasts favor this engine, it has had a few reliability problems over the years. Here are those we have experienced in our shop. You may have heard of HPFP (high-pressure fuel pump) and direct injection problems in these years. The N52 doesn’t use this technology.
Valve Cover Gasket Leak
The BMW N52 engine is known for repetitive valve cover leaks. We have found two reasons for this syndrome: backyard mechanics use inexpensive Chinese-made gaskets in a false economy. They will not last. The factory valve cover is constructed of plastic. The good news is that it is light. The bad news is that heat from the engine causes warping and cracks in the material. We will find which or both are causing annoying oil puddles in your driveway and get you back on the road.
A quick look under your hood can help you to diagnose this condition yourself. If the coils are covered in oil, you see oil buildup below the valve cover, or you smell burning oil when you drive, you probably have this condition. There is a low oil warning light, but waiting for this to appear on your dash may be too late to avoid engine damage.
Oil Filter Housing Leak
Along with the valve cover gasket, oil filter housing gasket complaints make up most of the repairs regarding oil puddles under the car. This gasket goes between the oil filter housing and the engine block.
All oil leaks are irritating; the oil filter housing leak is the most significant. Oil will find its way to the serpentine belt, followed by the belt slipping off the gears it is supposed to run. Then the belt gets shredded. Small pieces of the serpentine belt find their way into the engine, resulting in an expensive repair. The symptoms of this condition are the same as a valve cover gasket leak.
It has been known for years that valve timing needs vary according to the engine rpm and other factors. Honda pioneered variable valve timing in 1989, and other manufacturers followed suit. This technology gives you more power at high rpms and better fuel mileage at low rpms.
VANOS is BMWs version. Unfortunately, this technology has a poor record of reliability. Normal wear will result in low power, rough idle, lower fuel mileage, and hard starting. When it fails, it will go into limp mode.
We recommend replacing the solenoids and spark plugs at 60,000 miles to prevent problems.
Lifter Ticking Noises
If you have “ticking” noises under the hood, the hydraulic valve lifters are most likely the culprit. To confirm this, drive for about ½ hour at high RPMs. If this temporarily fixes the problem, you need post-2008 valve lifters and a cylinder head.
Water Pump Failure
BMW water pumps are known to have a short service life. They are electric, made out of plastic, and very susceptible to housing cracking and rust of the impeller and bearings. We recommend replacing this troublesome component at 60,000 miles along with the spark plugs.
Symptoms of water pump failure are overheating, coolant leaks, and steam from the radiator.
We have highly experienced BMW technicians who will quickly diagnose your problem and get you back on the road cost-effectively. Call or visit our website for a quote or an appointment.