By on October 5, 2012

BMW is recalling nearly 700 2013 M5 and M6s due to the potential for catastrophic engine failure.

The recall is related to a faulty oil pump, with NHTSA’s recall announcement stating

“Separation of the pump’s driveshaft from the rotor could lead to a sudden loss of oil pressure causing the possibility of complete engine failure, resulting in an engine stall-like condition, increasing the risk of a vehicle crash.”

A stop-sale order was issued on September 21st, but the recall won’t go into effect until later this month. Luckily, our own Alex Dykes already got his turn behind the wheel.

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54 Comments on “BMW M5, M6 Recalled For Exploding Engines...”


  • avatar
    hakata

    “engine stall-like condition”? Shouldn’t that read “engine oil-starved seizure”?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Munich, we have a problem…

  • avatar
    dave504

    Whatever happened to the ‘no recall stories’ policy at TTAC?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Agree. Well, unless it’s an interesting recall, but this isn’t even “exploding engines”.

      More fireball before this makes the page, if it bleeds, it leads, etc, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Think of exploding motors that propel-shrapnel-and-other-high-velocity-shards-of-metal-and-various-other-hardened-and-sharpened-materials-into-one’s-cranium-while-also-bursting-into-flames as a Public Service Announcement exception to the rule.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Farago doesn’t live here anymore and hasn’t in a long time. Exploding M5s and M6s are fun and interesting, so they’re worth noting, as were the incendiary Ferraris and EVs.

      • 0 avatar
        dave504

        The problem is that most of the recall stories are Ford and GM (Volt/Fire Escape anyone?) But when you call TTAC out on their obvious anti-domestic bias, their only defense is the usual whining and threatening the banhammer.

        Note the enthusiasm among the TTAC commentariat for recall stories:
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/06/gm-enacts-massive-fire-related-recall-and-its-not-volt-related/

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’d like to argue that TTAC isn’t necessarily anti-domestic, a number of the crew enjoy those Panther framed cars.

      But then again, thats about it.

      As for “exploding engines”, thats a cheap grab for views and whoever typed that knows it, I see that tactic on Yahoo everyday.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I won’t comment on Derek’s title, but will admit I clearly added some colorful and graphic text to my description of what any “exploding engine” story should be about, in the interest of ….. interest.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “I’d like to argue that TTAC isn’t necessarily anti-domestic, a number of the crew enjoy those Panther framed cars.”

        That’s about the same thing, as far as I can tell.

  • avatar
    ufomike

    Ever since Porsche fixed their IMS failures, I was wondering which high-performance car will have issues next.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      The big difference here is that BMW is recalling them shortly after they left the showroom, Porsche still does not admit there is an issue with the IMS bearing 14 years after the first engines left the line…

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    In other recall news Toyota announces…

    At least mentioned if the staff noticed today’s announcement of recall for rough idle of Toyota/Subaru twins. It something readers have already commented on months.

    • 0 avatar

      I think a mechanical fault leading to a complete loss of engine lubrication and catastrophic failure is a bit more dramatic than a software glitch that causes a rough idle. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Despite the fact that I’ve personally written a number of posts that put the Chevy Volt fire non-issue in accurate perspective specifically because I think uninformed critics have been unfair and inaccurate about the Volt, and despite the that I’ve also pointed out fire related recalls at MINI, BMW and Rolls Royce, there are still some readers that think we’re looking to bash the domestic automakers.

      Believe it or not, but when I start working on a post it’s primarily because the topic is interesting to me and that I think the readers here will also find it of interest. When I saw the announcement of “the possibility of complete engine failure” and calling a seized engine “an engine stall-like condition”, I figured that one of the TTAC writers would take a swing at it.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Thanks — it is all much appreciated.

        While I frequently disagree with you in the comment section, the stories that you author are usually interesting, well written, and well worth the read. Thank you!

    • 0 avatar
      TRDSmokedU

      @Norm,

      It wasn’t a recall! How about the feds probing 1.6 million Fords for faulty engines.

      http://www.leftlanenews.com/nhtsa-probing-16m-ford-escapes-over-engine-fault.html

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Who knows? An oil pump failure could make the engine overheat, as it stops, and possibly make the cooling system fail. An epic 2fer fail.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    no oel, huile means she’ll come to a grinding halt.
    well atleast they own up to it, whilst porsche never acknowledged their intermediate shaft.

    pardon for my ignorance, what does intermediate shaft do?

    is it one of the cog to drive the cam shaft?

    so as some of the 450se merc engine the timing chain cage could break and cause time chain to slip, its just precipitous.

    • 0 avatar
      Spanish Inquisition

      I see what you did there.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Well, the Porsches didn’t have an oil starvation problem, they had a seized bearing problem. The oil problem came if the car wasn’t shut down quickly and put parts thru the case. THEN the oil drained out…. See, much better. Also, you could get a oil starvation problem from track days or DE events. Who would ever do such a silly thing in a Porsche, anyway?

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    I feel compelled to bring up the VW ‘BHW’ TDI motors from just a few years back that had a very similar issue (balance shaft drive failure which affects oil pump) with equally serious consequences:

    http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=233651

    Of course, VW tried to keep this very quiet. I actually know somebody who sold their Passat TDI before their engine had any problems due to this.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Of course, VW tried to keep this very quiet.”

      And this is why I won’t buy a VW again, even though they make diesel manual wagons. I owned one (Jetta TDI sedan, but close enough), loved it, and got screwed by the maintenance bill.

      So, instead of trying to keep this stuff quiet, Volkswagen would need to a) publish a list of the problems experienced by their owners, with real frequency data and b) publish the order in which they intend to fix those problems, updated continuously, on their website.

      This strikes me as a particularly German way to do the continuous improvement that Toyota has used to make the car Prius we kept when I dumped the Jetta. On the other hand, I just test-drove a nice little hybrid wagon from Ford (The C-Max) that might make all of this a non-issue.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    If the oil pump fails there will be firstly a warning light followed by a fairly rapid increase in engine temp. Advice for when this happens, shut the motor down as soon as possible and when it is safe to do so.
    Most likely the motor will survive well enough but be prepared for a head gasket job soon, if the motor did over heat.

    • 0 avatar
      bam210135

      Beerboy- I think your thinking of a water (coolant) pump, which will act as you said (generally). If the oil pump fails, you MIGHT get a low oil pressure light, but if you ignore it, the engine will eventually lock-up/loose parts out of the block.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      If the oil pump fails the overheating will be in the lower end of the engine, especially the main and rod bearings.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      For the few modern cars that actually have an oil pressure gauge, most are just an idiot light with a needle. The oil pressure switch closes at 5psi or so and the computer that controls the cluster simply moves the needle into the safe zone. By the time the needle drops into the red zone, it’s already too late.

      You can thank all the whiners that brought their cars into dealers complaining about the oil pressure gauge moving around at different engine speeds or during weather extremes. These dopes don’t understand how oil pressure works and how it is affected by various factors and that some gauge movement is normal. Car companies got wise to the complainers and got rid of the real gauges to lower warranty costs. The same thing goes for coolant temp gauges as well – idiot light with a needle.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    BMw service manager:
    Sir,we have narrowed your problem down to an electrical fault”
    Distraught BMW owner:
    ” what is it?”
    BMW Service manager:
    ” a connecting rod has connected with the ignition module and smashed it after the oil pump failed ”
    Distraught BMW owner:
    “…how much???”
    BMW service manager: ” the ignition module will cost you a lot but the good news is that connecting rod is covered under the terms of your warranty”

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      And let me write the same scenario for the 5 year old used model (after the 4 year warranty/service plan has ended, upon learning that any “fix” by BMW and their dealership service network is a ‘transient one,’ at best):

      BMW Service Manager: Sir, I have both good and bad news.

      2nd Hand Owner: What’s the good news?

      BMW Service Manager: We have found the source of the problem, and can fix the vehicle.

      2nd Hand Owner: What’s the bad news?

      BMW Service Manager: You need to bring us certified funds in the amount of $17,432.32 to effectuate said repair. There has been quite a bit of core damage, as well as consequential peripheral damage to zeeee motor.

      2nd Hand Owner: I thought it was a CPO vehicle, warranted by BMW?

      BMW Service Manager: It may or may not be, but it has been “tracked” or otherwise entered into a competitive event, thus voiding and and all such coverage.

      2nd Hand Owner: I drive that car 9 miles to work, and back home again, and have never “raced” or “tracked” it.

      BMW Service Manager: Please, sir. Do not assault my intelligence. This can go relatively smoothly or very, very harshly. The vehicle you purchased was “made for racing,” and BMW so heavily markets it as such. But you failed to heed the warning on page 1,522 of your manual, in very fine print, at the bottom of the page, next to the asterisk, plainly stating that it would void your warranty to do so.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    The Ultimate Driving Machine.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Hey, at least they got those fuel pumps working though right? Right…? It’s a good thing this is the best driving, most fun M5 ever. Oh wait.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    So funny. “An engine stall-like condition.”
    Like… no engine! Gone!
    An exploding wallet condition!
    A “you bought your engine at a dollar-store” condition!
    Is GM writing this for BMW? (It is a Friday news release, after all.)

    Going further… is it still within spec?!

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I wonder if the engine sound track kept playing?

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      Now that’s a hilarious image. M5 comes coasting to a stop leaving a trail crankshaft pieces and rods and pistons rolling around in various directions in pool of mixed engine fluids. Speakers continue with engine noises while a crowd gathers and laughs.

      Irate owner shoots stereo and speakers.

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    Another round of M engines grenading? I guess they did not learn their lesson with the Engine of Damocles in the E46 M3,

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    This may seem silly, but I have always been a bit wary (suspicious?) of BMW’s turbocharged engines, especially after the N54 (3-liter) twin-turbo disappointment.

    Severe turbocharging does put the engine, and its now newly required, heftier components, under a lot of stress. So, I wonder how much of that “turbo-stress” was related to this problem. I don’t recall (no pun) this ever happening with their old V-10′s. Maybe that’s why Ferrari has stayed away from forced induction…….anybody?

    (Besides, what do those turbo’s look like after the first 100K miles….? And what cost to replace?)

    ————-

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      As long as the engines have oil pressure and coolant like SAAB’s they 300,000+ miles. Many on the same turbo. Rebuild kits are less than $100 each.

      Each turbo supplies about 2.2 liters of displacement which cutting engine output in halves is 280 horsepower. Where most 2.0l 4-cylinders make a similar 270-280 HP. Very close even if the engines are completely different.

      Lol @ the engine sound track!

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        NormSV650..

        Yeah. The Saab turbos were great, and not meant to be “severe”, compared to the stress inside the M5/M6 V-8′s. Saab intentionally developed a lot of experience with turbos over many decades. I am sure you are right about the rebuild price: but I am afraid to call up BMW service here locally to ask how much the replacement cost would be for the twin-scoll unit in a 2013 N55 3-ilter engine! (As with much service on modern BMW’s, the owner is strongly discouraged from doing the repairs, rebuilds, maintenance, etc., on his own.)

        I shudder to think about what would happen to me financially in an M5 if I had to replace those turbos just outside of warranty. In fact, Mike Miller, writing for Roundel Magazine, has been suggesting that maybe owners should consider an extended warranty with any modern high-performance BMW, … and get rid of the car just before that expires!

        ———–

  • avatar
    OnlineAlias

    Damn, daja vu. E46 M3′s had a similar catastrophic engine failure campaign. Bad lower end bearings that BMW kept blaming users for because they were overreving their engines. Even in the SMG auto manuals, in which case overreving was impossible. That didn’t seem to matter to BMW though…

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Motor Trend votes the BMW M5 and M6 best recall evah!

  • avatar
    stuki

    That’s what them fancypants Krauts get for having the gall to believe they can out engineer the smallblock :)

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      stuki….

      What are you going to say when Corvette finds itself having to put a heavily engineered, German style, 4-liter, DOHC, turbocharged, V-6 into a Z06 to meet CAFE requirements? (^_^)…

      If you think that’s nuts, wait for the C8.

      ————-

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I would hope between now and then they could figure out some clever loophole to get around it. How will the Germans still get a V8 in the SL500? I can’t see top of the line SL buyers being conned into super-high-performance-turbo-max-horsepower-at-8000rpm six cylinders for $100K+ US dollars.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Don’t worry about it maybe some will clone your BMW car keys and nick the car off your drive. You can then take the insurance money and buy something more reliable likeable Jaguar XF R.

  • avatar
    tuscreen-auto

    These BMW M-series cars are supposed to generate excitement and thrills.

    Exploding powerplants do just that.

  • avatar

    Never had a single problem with my 6.1 Liter supercharged HEMI. I guess even though this costs like twice as much, it’s just not as good.

    • 0 avatar
      WRohrl

      Sure, Chrysler is famous for never having had any problems with any of their cars…Do you really believe that price has anything to do with quality or reliability? I’m no BMW fanboy but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a recall that actually admits to an issue and takes the necessary steps to repair it.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        While there is nothing wrong with a recall that admits to a failure and works to resolve the issue.

        I think the issue here is that a basic system that is enormously expensive to fix if it fails is part of the problem. It’s one thing for peripheral systems to fail in a BMW or something else, but one that is part of the core of a vehicle is a different issue entirely.

        this was either bad design or poor parts sourcing, either way this is a major failure on BMW’s part.

        See if hyundai or Toyota had this issue, we’d shrug (get the appliance fixed) and move on, but the quality of parts in a BMW engine should be a few magnitudes higher. There are recalls people find acceptable and others they don’t. This one falls into the category of unacceptable because of the reputation of the company.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “this was either bad design or poor parts sourcing, either way this is a major failure on BMW’s part.”

        Indeed. You hope that, when you pay that much extra a car, that you get better in every respect than a middle-class consumer car like Toyota…

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      A 6L V8 turbo just ain’t same tool. It’s a great tool for moving freight. But for moving a 3000lb roadster, even one that’s supposed to be fast, it would be way overkill.

      If you insist on hauling around an extra 2500lbs worth frame rails and cargo-box (something that a typical BMW owner would *NEVER* use), then the engine would be well matched to the application. But you’ll pay for that every time you visit the gas station, and that extra mass gets the typical prestige-seeking white-collar commuter exactly nothing.

      A much more sensible comparison would be between the BMW engine and whatever engine they put in Chrysler 200. That is at least the same tool for the same job. Since neither BMW nor Chrysler is 1st-tier for reliability, I expect that they’d be pretty comparable in terms of reliably, but that fixing the Chrysler engine would be far more affordable. I personally have a greater need for repairability than I do for “prestige” or autobughn-worthy performance, so I personally would be far more inclined to own the Chrysler. But, judging by the fact that I see BMW vehicles on the road fairly regularly, other people seem to have different needs and priorities — and, just so long as everyone adheres to lane-changing etiquette and vehicle-separation standards, that’s an incredibly cool thing about living in a free country.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        dave and Luke….

        “this was either bad design or poor parts sourcing, either way this is a major failure on BMW’s part.” I agree.

        My experience: It’s more than just rep or cachet –BMW has often elegant designs with great handling, and good materials plus outstanding fit-&-finish craftsmanship. So far, so good. But they, as well as some other German manufacturers, often push the envelope with at, or beyond, state-of-the-art materials, systems, and technology. And that’s what comes back to bite them. Full life-cycle testing just can’t be done on all ultra-new components in a practical, realistic way. So, they take a chance.

        Guys like me who get late-model BMW’s are willing to sacrifice (or must be, by default) the ultimate in reliability and low repair costs for the other virtues of the car. The old expression is: If you want something cheap, boring, and reliable, with medium driving capability,—get a Honda.

        But having said that, I nonetheless would think that BMW should have spent the extra few bucks to put in TWO of these newly-designed oil pumps that operate in parallel with each other, considering the HUGE consequences caused by oil-pump failure. The engine should be able to function normally on either one alone, with just the “Check Engine” light telling you to go see the dealer….NOW…..like schnell.

        After all, my old trainer, a Piper Tri-Pacer, had two magnetos for exactly the same reason!

        ———–

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @NMGOM: I understand that there are tradeoffs to owning a BMW. My point is that, while I’ve recently reached a pay-level where a BMW might be mandatory in some circles, the tradeoffs that “you have to make” just don’t work for me.

        Also, the BMW’s prestige is a turnoff for me personally. Except for a fascination with new technologies that hasn’t yet changed the world (such as electric cars), I’m a pretty practical guy and don’t want to be lumped in with prestige seekers.

        I know that there are lots of people who find the BMW package of luxury, prestige, and power/handling to be very compelling — I’m just not one of them. The value proposition of a reliable mass-market car (cheaper, more reliable, easier to repair over the long term, less memorable) is very compelling to me personally. I just have different values than BMW owners, I guess.

        P.S. Any of you young guys out there who want to buy a luxury car to impress a girl or the people at work, make sure you check with them first to see if they find such things impressive. Prestige is in the eye of the beholder.

  • avatar
    probert

    It’ll be at least 3 cell phone conversations and a latte before the owners even notice – better send a text.


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