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Complete Engine Rebuild

I have a 2005 BMW 325 with 30,000 miles. After the recent Chicago blizzard the car experienced a catastrophic failure. Snow and Ice had blown into the coolant compartment and caused the coolant system/pump to fail. As a result the car overheated while I was driving on a local expressway. The dealer says then engine block cannot be repaired so I need a new engine and new coolant system. This is an 11K repair. Does it make sense to do this repair or should I chuck the whole thing and get a new car? Is a repair of this magnitude trustworthy? I figure if I can get 2-3 more relatively reliable years from the car then it’s worth it.

I think that if you made a few phone calls you could do a heck of a lot better than $11K.

As an '05 I’d be thinking about an independent mechanic and a used engine. You’re at a dealer and look to be paying full retail for a brand new engine.

Lots of cars overheat without engine destruction. Are you sure that the engine is completely gone?

Thanks - yes, you’re right that the 11K quote is from a dealer (in an upscale suburb of Chicago). I’m also in touch with some independent mechanics. I, personally, don’t know that engine is shot - this is what they told me - the opened the cover in the engine and showed me a bolt that’s in the bottom of the valves that just spins around - they say the torque is gone and the motor won’t have any drive because of this… Is a used engine trustworthy? Where do the used engines come from?

Snow and Ice had blown into the coolant compartment

What do you mean by coolant compartment??? Never heard of this before.

DAMN…I’d buy that from you and either fix the engine or throw in a used one…YOU should do the same. The repair of 11K is in the upper Atmosphere somewhere…what the Stratosphere? Yea the Stratosphere… GEt another opinion to find out how badly you warped the head and or block…hard to warp a block tho…

The coolant compartment is the aisle where all the engine coolant is stored…Oh wait that the coolant Department…

I think he may have meant it clogged up his radiator area? That shouldnt have done it at all tho

Yes,that’s a good question - basically the grill of the car was frozen with ice/snow so no air flow was getting into the coolant pump - as a result we believe the coolant pump failed. Then when things started getting hot the hoses leading out of the coolant reservoir melted and all the coolant disappeared…

If I had any idea which way was what in the engine compartment I’d do it - I don’t even have the skills to fix my 49cc scooter much less this thing…

Where do the used engines come from?

Mostly from people who owned '05 BMW 325’s and wrapped them around telephone poles. The insurance co. totals it, they get paid for the wrecked vehicle by a junkyard, and the parts sit until somebody (very much like you) needs an engine or whatever.

Is a used engine trustworthy?

Who knows? Odds are, nobody who currently owns the engine (i.e. the junkyard) has tried to run it. Of course, it was working just prior to the wreck, or there wouldn’t have been a wreck.

You’re getting a used engine, at a fraction of the price of a new one. You possibly can work it so that there’s a guarantee the thing works upon installation.

Used engines if purchased from a reputable BMW salvager are trustworthy as they usually but not always have an opportunity to run the engine before it is removed from a wrecked vehicle…so if they are able to provide you with mileage and an engine report chances are they will be very solid engines…they cost a pretty penny too, but…at least you know a little about the engine…sometimes you can hear the engine run yourself if they still have the wreck complete… They come from many different areas of vehicle salvage but BMW and Audi and Mercedes parts are usually purchased by upscale vehicle salvers and they can be trusted without too much hesitation…there are MANY MANY BMW specific salvage operations…that have been in businees a long time with a good track record…just look it up…

Do you not have Comprehensive insurance on your car?
If you do, you should call up your insurance company, and find out if they will cover the cost of the engine replacement.


Sure a 2005 with 30K deserves to be fixed and that price is what new costs (new means new as if from the factory new.) Explore options other than new.

I am the tech manager at Prestone coolants, also a mechanic that specializes in heavy engine repair work. While overheating the engine could certainly cause its complete failure, you really should have a BMW dealer repair the car. That is simply the highest cost option. I buy good used engines on ebay and from other sounrces all the time, they are reliable as they are usually removed from a crashed car that ran fine before the crash. I did a quick check on ebay and found many priced from 400-1800 dollars, you can expect to pay around 1500 for installation and repiar of your cooling system. thats a looong way from 11k. Good luck.

Is your line “you really should have a BMW Dealer repair the car” a typo? I ask because the BMW Dealer is not offering to be involved with an ebay engine swap,they want to do the job with a complete new engine. If the OP want’s to go the ebay route he will probably have to find an independant to do it for him, that could work out though.

It looked like a typo, no “not”. Nothing else makes sense in that paragraph unless he left out not.

Find an independent euro garage and get a quote for used motor.

I would not worry much about the used engine. Some come with warranties.

I think 1/3-1/2 of your dealer quote is quite possible. Good luck.

As Click and Clack once said, “The motor that was in your car, before it blew up was used… so if you put in another used motor, what’s wrong with that?”

You don’t have to know a lot about cars in this case. You are dealing with a business proposition. How much was the car worth before the incident? How much would it be worth with a new factory engine? I think you will find the difference here is very little.

Next, what is it worth now and what is the lowest cost to get the car back to it’s pre incident value? It might NOT be cheaper to keep her.

When exploring your options, you need to bring in another mechanic or two. It would probably be cheaper to drive the mechanic to the dealer, if that is where the vehicle is currently located, than to have it towed all over the place. The engine might be repairable as is. Sometimes the damage isn’t as extensive as a “service writer” would have you believe. Usually those guys are not mechanics so they automatically go to the major component replacement (engine, transmission, etc) when a $5 part might be all thats needed.

The dealer should have sealed up the engine and pressure tested the cooling system. If the engine seals hold, the engine can be repaired to the level it was at before the incident. The service writer would definitely be wrong in this case.

Anyway, you will have to pay an independent mechanic to evaluate your car, but that looks like your best investment at this time.