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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:40 PM
X3 2008 JcvGuy X3 2008 JcvGuy is offline
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Location: Hayward CA
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Mein Auto: M3 2005, X3 2008
Need Engine Repair - 2008 X3 3.0si N52 motor

Dear E83 Community,
I need help. I have an E83 X3 3.0si with N52 motor. I live in the Bay Area and a BMW shop said I need a replacement engine because the car was run until it over heated and shut itself off. There is now oil in the coolant reservoir and the mechanic thinks the block cracked and oil is leaking into the coolant system or that the car needs a cylinder head repair??? But he canít definitively say which the problem is without taking the engine out of the car. The current estimate cost is $10K plus taxes which is not reasonable relative to the value of the car ~ $18K.
To me this seems completely unrealistic? Does anyone know a shop or someone that can do a head gasket repair at a reasonable cost?
Thank you, Jim
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:06 PM
Dave @nz Dave @nz is offline
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Location: New Zealand
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 63
Mein Auto: E36 323 Msport, & E30 M3
First up do you trust the shop to carry out the repair, when it is in bits it is to late to change your mind?

The shop should do some sort of diagnostic check i.e.:
Start the engine with the radiator cap of and see if there is bubbling in the cooling system and if there are hydrocarbons in the coolant systems checked with the exhaust pipe sniffer at the radiator with the cap off cap and inside overflow bottle or with a TK head gasket test kit to indicate head gasket problem.

Pressure test the cooling system, does it hold pressure or is it leaking out somewhere inside the engine or out side like radiator (this could be useful if you claim insurance for damage while driving.
Next while the pressure is still on the cooling system
Compression check also noting if there is water in any of the cylinders while winding over the engine.

This is all very basic stuff any professional garage should do as part of the diagnose, no use stripping out the engine when they have no clue where the water went and is it only the head gasket or some electrical sensor problem indicating over heat.

If the engine is knackered 2nd hand may be the quickest and best option.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:42 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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Location: New Orleans
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 443
Mein Auto: X3 and 330
some history

this let down lot's of much older units but your problem may be just in one area ....head, short block,long block......so .....don't sink loads of $$$$$ till you know for sure


The N52 engine block is cast with magnesium and aluminum for the crankcase. Magnesium is used to save weight, however magnesium is subject to a greater risk of corrosion from water. Moreover, magnesium may tend to creep under load at high temperatures. Thus, magnesium in its pure form or as a conventional alloy is not suited for permanently conveying high loads and forces of the kind typically encountered in central components of the engine. Therefore, BMW combined the N52 block to use magnesium alloy for the crankcase shell, with an aluminum "inner block" to complement the magnesium disadvantages.[4][5]

For the cylinder liners the N52 Engine uses Alusil to coat the aluminum cylinder sleeves. Alusil is an aluminium alloy commonly used to make linerless aluminium alloy engine blocks. Alusil, when etched, will expose a very hard silicon precipitate. BMW switched from Nikasil-coated cylinder walls to Alusil in 1996 to eliminate the corrosion problems caused through the use of petrol or gasoline containing sulphur.[6]

Last edited by swampX3; 07-11-2014 at 12:43 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:43 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: New Orleans
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 443
Mein Auto: X3 and 330
lot's of used out there

just search on N52 used engines .....loads of them available now .....they were used in many lines of BMW vehicles
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e83, engine repair, head gasket, n52 motor, x3 3.0 si

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