View Full Version : 90 525i - Parting out vs replacing engine

10-19-2008, 09:45 AM
Wondering what your thoughts might be on my BMW 525i, 1990; Automatic. Timing Belt broke and trashed the engine! Good condition otherwise... KBB- $2,475
I don't want to keep it so I'm left with the options of parting out or getting a used motor. How much on average do people get from parting out? Can I get an engine for $500? Where can I look for used engines?
I got plenty of time on my hands so labors not a problem but am wondering what's the most cost effective?
Please share anything and everything!
Thanks in advance,
-College BMW Fan

10-19-2008, 11:49 AM
KBB value for your BMW with a busted engine goes well below $2,475.00
And from what I've been learning, you have an M20 engine so you can put regular in there which would have made it more appealing but since the engine is busted thats not an option.

The only place I can think of off hand would be a place up by my area http://www.usedbmwparts.com/ these guys are close to me. Some of them can be real rude people though. I don't know how much they'd charge for an M20 but shipping costs would suck.

So, if you do plan on parting out your engine, I'd be interested in looking at your headlights. :)

10-20-2008, 11:38 AM
Hey, Thanks for your thought. Since parting-out is a risk of timing and advertising and I'd like to get more then $500 out of it I've concluded that I'll put my money into the car and sell it refurbished.
Anybody got a BMW 525i Manual for sale?

Best Regards

10-20-2008, 05:57 PM
I just ordered the Bentley manual online from Amazon...about 60 bucks. I found the Haynes manual online in pdf format for free.

If you bent a lot of valves, you may do well getting an "exchange" head. It's quick and not too expensive. I had good luck, (with a nissan pickup head) but you should find some folks who recommend a company. I also "ate" another engine in a similar fashion and had the head done by a reputable automotive machine shop....I was without a car for 2 months.

In both cases, the work was good. For the local machine shop, I paid about 400. For the exchange head I paid 250.

Good luck!


10-21-2008, 04:37 PM
Whoa! I hadn't considered only replacing parts! My mechanics said the engine was shot, I'll have to ask him about it... Then again, my car does have 200,000 miles.

It sounds like I could fix the engine for $600. OR... I can get a 2-year-guaranteed engine for $1,200 what is the better choice and why?

Time is not an issue but what worries me is the unexpected! Are there expensive tools I'll need to complete the switch? Will I get KBB price in the end? Is there any damage I might incur with little experience? I'd like to use this as a learning experience and am not in need of a car...

Thanks for any thoughts!

10-22-2008, 05:23 AM
The repair is a good option if you have limited funds and you are doing the work your self. If you have the work done by a mechanic, the labor costs often exceed that of swapping a motor. If you have the funds for the rebuild motor with the 1 year warranty then that is the better option and will give you well over 200,000 additional miles in engine life. Just make sure that the rest of the car is worth the engine investment.

Keep in mind that Two hundred thousand miles is about two thirds engine life for the E34. Under two thirds if worn parts are replaced. So replacing the parts that are bad is still a viable depending on the labor costs.

Hope this helps.

PS, do not put too much thought into KBB. NADA is more accurate. If you like your car and want to keep it, do whatever you need to to keep her in good shape. Not only that, as long as your selling price is reasonable, BB value is not that much of a factor depending on the condition of the car. BB value was established by auto manufacturers to help them sell cars. If I can convince you that the car you have now is worthless I am in a better position to sell you a new one (That I will say is worthless as soon as you drive it off the lot... LOL...)