Return
Last updated October 20, 2002
- recent updates in RED.

How three people recently got a new block outside the 6 year/100,000 mile warranty. One (Sandra) got it for free, while the other (Steve) was asked to cover a portion of the labor costs).

Simon's Story:

Hi,

Just to let you know - I have found you website very useful....you might find what happened to me interesting...

I bought a 530i (auto) a few months back - before I visited your website.

When I first saw you're website and read about the block issues I my heart sank ! - the car I bought had a full BMW dealer history and only 2 owners - had done 93,000 miles and was in mint condition BUT - the idle was very lumpy.....oh dear....

So...as soon as I saw your website (and the info on the nikasil issue) I took the car straight to BMW to see if my idle problem was a worn block. The BMW mechanic said, after looking at the car etc 'no, these V8's aren't affected' ....interesting I thought !!. As the car was 9 years old my hopes weren't high for any help anyway.

A few months later my car was back with BMW having a service. When I came to collect the car, on the service documentation BMW had stated 'lumpy idling - suggest bore leak test'. I queried this with the service manager who said it was probably a burnt valve - I again queried the nikasil problem but again he said my engine wasn't affected.

I booked the car in for the test ( at that point I was due to pay 100 for the test).

The day the car was in I had a phone call from BMW - it was the service manager. He said that the car had 'failed the test' - I was just about to launch into my 'pre-prepared' nikasil argument when he said 'I've spoken to BMW head office and they've agreed to replace the engine'. I asked what the cost would be to me - apparently I would have to pay for consumables i.e. oil, filter etc but the rest; parts and labour would be picked up by BMW !! I couldn't believe it !!

As I write this - the car has been in and had the new ENGINE, not BLOCK but whole engine fitted !! short of the alternator and some hoses etc the whole thing has been replaced.....and remember this is on a 93 'L' reg car that has now covered 98, 000 miles !! Although to be fair it's only ever been serviced at that dealers since new etc.

I have asked my BMW dealer a number of times but have still not had a proper answer as to why they replaced the engine, I don't want to keep bothering them as they have been so helpful anyway.

So I guess the moral of this story is...if you live in the UK and have a friendly local dealer it's worth having a stab at having your block changed however old the car is.....

Have you heard any other stories like this ? or have I been extremely lucky ?!

...keep up the good work by the way !!

Simon

Sandra's Story:

First email:

Dear 530i list:

For anyone who is interested in the continuing story of my fight to weasel in on the warranty block swap for my 1994 530i (in-service date '93 and currently 102000 miles)...I forewarn you, it's a long, drawn out story.

I wrote to the dealer whose technician said my car was a goner and laid out the simple facts...the car had been tested at 99K+ and passed but was close to the limit (back in 1999) and how could the engine possibly self-destruct in a mere 3000 miles? I let them know I had previously owned 8 2002s, 1 325e, 1 very old 530i, and now the 94 530i. I said I had clocked 'way over a hundred k on several of my 2002s with absolutely no engine problems, not even burning oil. I also mentioned that I had owned BMWs my entire adult life and had thoroughly bought into the promise that BMW was the Ultimate Driving Machine, which had been true for me until this issue with the Nikasil block.

I said that BMW should honor the warranty, even though I am slightly over the limit, because it was a design flaw in the first place and my decision to buy other BMWs in the future (which has been my pattern) would certainly be influenced by how my 530i was dealt with now.

Of course, no reply. So I called, left voice mail for the general manager at the dealer, and got no reply. Repeated this several times with the same results.

I continued to write polite reminder that I would appreciate the dealer setting up an appointment with the regional service rep so my car could be evaluated. In the last email I mentioned that my BMW clubs-the 530i.org and BMWCCA-were familiar with my lack of satisfaction with the dealer, and the list was growing.

Subtle?

Still no reply.

Finally, I "cut & pasted" the email I had sent to the dealer, into the BMW home page.

Somewhere along the line, I spoke to two BMWCCA ombudsmen (who thought I had a very slim chance of getting by under warranty, that the best I could hope for was a compromise, I'd pay some, BMW would pay some).

MEANWHILE, (here's where it starts to get good) I got a call from a man at BMWNA HQ, who said he'd read my posting on the web site. We discussed my situation, and he said he'd call the dealer. He called me again later the same day to say he spoke with the dealer, and the dealer would be contacting me.

Of course, the dealer didn't call that day, so I called them and asked to speak to the service manager. When I got connected, it wasn't with the service manager, but instead the crabby general manager, who said he was working out the details and had spoken to the district rep already. He was basically focusing on who would pay, just in case BMW saw things my way.

Last Friday I got a call from the dealer, saying GOOD NEWS-if your car fails the leak down, you'll get a new block. He said nothing about money, or splitting the cost, or anything hinting about cost. He told me to drop off my car, which I did on Sunday (12/17).

Of course, the dealer hasn't called me to inform me either way. I'm going to call them today to see if they've even bothered to work my car into their busy schedule. And I'll let you guys know the scoop.

Second email:

Dear 530i list:

I called the dealer today to ask about my car. It failed the test. The new engine will be arriving tomorrow. The car should be ready to go on Friday. And the cost? $0.00

Steve's story:

Just wanted to pass on my experience for getting a new short block for my '95 530i.

Bought this car from a used car dealer specialising in higher-end cars back in Dec. Had about 70K miles on it, but had all service records. Came off BMW's certified pre-owned program, and had a in-service date of 10/94, so warranty for the engine had expired for about 3 months.

Discussed with the dealer my concern about the engine block, and he agreed to pay for the test. I also got under the car and confirmed the original block was still there. The car did not demonstrate ANY vibration or rough idle. One field test I was told by another BMW dealer was to have the car running, open the driver's door fully, and observe the top edge of the door for any vibration. I saw nothing, car looked and ran great.

Still concerned about the engine, I arranged to take it to Tischer BMW in Maryland for the test. (Found them recommended in the archives for short block replacements.) The test cost $150, but my dealer paid for it. Was told by Tischer that it failed. I had difficulty getting any specific details or copies of the tests, but the invoice stated it failed.

At this point, I had been a registered user at BMW USA's Owner's Circle website, and I sent them an email, basically stating that my car had failed the test, so what do I do now. Was contacted via email the same day by a Mr William Stuart at BMW NA who asked me to call him. He apparently contacted the Service Manager at Tischer to get more details. He mentioned to me that the car was out-of-warranty (not for mileage, but for time), but he would see what he could work out. He stated he couldn't promise anything, but would see. He asked me to contact the Service Manager at Tischer to find out the details.

Contacted Tischer and was informed that BMW would pay for the new block and half the labor. I would be responsible for half the labor and any gaskets that needed to be replaced. I thought this was very generous from BMW, and the used car dealer I bought the car from agreed to pay for my costs in all this. They gave an estimate of $1000 that I would be responsible for.

Dropped the car off last Tues and asked the to also check to replace the other items that can be easily done with the block out (PCV valve, guibo disk, oil pump bolts, etc). I was scheduled to pick the car up on Friday. Decided to stop by unannounced on Thursday to see how things were going, expecting to see my car in the bay area being worked on, but found out it was finished already! They still have to drive test it and was still scheduled to pick it up on Friday.

I was amazed it could be done so quickly. Picked up the car and everything worked great. My bill came to $965, but this included a new key and a bottle of touch-up paint. Last night I verified that the short block had in-fact been replaced. They even changed the oil with synthetic 5W-30 and also the antifreeze. I only have good things to say about BMW NA and Tischer. Everything went very smooth and was done when they stated.

Just wanted to pass this on to anyone wondering about getting a new block after their warranty expires. 530i.org website is a definite read for anyone in this situation.

Steve '95 530i w/new Alusil engine
'91 325iX
'91 318iS

Return