2011 BMW M3 - Seized engine

2011 BMW M3. Engine seized due to rod bearing issue. BMW responded with a $36,000 engine replacement. I have never heard about this problem with the car, but people are saying that it is a known issue with their V8 and V10 engines. Is there any way around this?

Try getting a quote from an independent shop.

If you replace the bearings before they fail, the cost is far less. The repair can be done with the engine in the car. A friend with a V8 M3 has his oil analyzed once a year by Blackstone to identify bearing wear material in the oil. When he sees it, the bearing service will be scheduled.

Post this on an M3 forum, they might have some ideas.

maybe you should try a second hand engine. 36k is way tooo much

How much is a complete tear down and rebuild at Hans foreign auto emporium? No way in heck it’s $36k. Dang, I should be a bmw mechanic.

$36,000 seems quite high

That’s the cost of a brand new car! A good one like a Toyota or Honda.


The car is 10 years old so why do you apparently think that BMW should help you?

Almost all rod bearing failures can be attributed to wear due to high miles, running the motor oil level down low, not changing the oil regularly enough, and so on. Faulty bearings? Zero in my opinion.

That brings up the 800 pound gorilla in the room. How often do you change the oil and how often do you check the motor oil level?

Thirty six grand is godawful expensive but a BMW is an expensive car. I bought a new BMW motorcycle once and a couple of years later crashed it. The right side plug wire was ripped apart and that one wire was 50 bucks. The busted up front fender was 150 and all of this was 35 years ago. I can’t even imagine the cost nowadays.

Take those “people are saying” comments with a grain or two of salt. No one ever wants to or will admit that the problem may be self inflicted.

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The M3 Sedan starts at about $70,000. Much of that premium over the 3-series sedan ($41,000 MSRP) is the engine. The closest thing Toyota sells is the Lexus RC-F starting at about $66,000. Honda doesn’t build anything like that. Well, they do sell the Acura NSX, but that is a $160,000 super car. Is the extra cost worth it? Some folks think so, some don’t. Your choice.

A mint 2011 BMW M3 with very low mileage retails for well under $30k. Kinda makes me think that your local BMW dealer doesn’t want the work if they quoted you $36k. Or maybe they were just fishing to see if you’d bite.

Apparently a BMW M3 crate engine is about 19000.00 plus shipping . Add labor for removal and installation I can see a dealer asking 36000.00 . And I certainly would not trust a used one .

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I just looked at one of the BMW M3 boards, and they have a sticky topic thread dedicated to this S65 engine issue. And it’s been quite active for the past few years.

See Official S65 Rod Bearing Condition Example Thread

When I looked further, I see that www.m3post.com/forums/ site has multiple threads about S65 engine bearing failures.

To that list, we could add the proper spec oil.
Has the OP consistently used the grade of oil specified by BMW?
If he goes to a quickie oil change place for service, it is very possible that they don’t stock that oil.

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If this engine is really so delicate that special oil is required to avoid bearing failures at less than 100,000 miles, I’d call that a defective design. Most people change their oil once a year if that, use whatever oil is on sale, and still get 150,000 miles or more out of their engine. I realize that a lot of newer engines are less forgiving than say a Ford Escort or Toyota Corolla from the 1990s, but this sounds like an unacceptable defect to me.

So then the question becomes what to do about it. I assume what he really wants to know is which cheaper engines can be installed in this car. I assume for much less than $36k, you could put just about any engine into the car. The question is what engine which will physically fit offers the best bang for the buck?

I don’t know all of the reasons behind BMW’s (and Mercedes’, and other European makes’) requirement for their Euro-spec oil, but I certainly wouldn’t take a chance on using anything other than an oil that meets their specs. I believe that their ridiculously-extended oil change intervals are the main reason for a special-spec oil, but there may be other factors as well.

Ultimately, I think the question is which engines will mate with its transmission, its motor mounts, and its electronics. My guess (subject to correction, of course) is that only a BMW engine would be possible.

Reading through the numerous web discussions with bearing problems in BMW’s S65 and S85 engines, a common thread emerges. The rod bearing tolerance is really tight and when the engine oil is cold, there’s insufficient lubrication to those bearings.

I’m of the belief there’s a design weakness at play here.

You are very likely correct, but the possibility that the manufacturer is going to foot the repair bill on a 10 year old car is–IMHO–very slim.

I agree, and the spec calling for 10W-60 oil seems like a band-aid.

To me it seems like a high performance oil for a high performance engine that the Quickie Lube places would not have in stock so just any old stuff they have around goes in. Who’s gonna know, right? So what if that fancy Beemer pops a motor in 100k miles. That is not gonna come back on the shop.