Buying Advice BMW Z8 (E52) 2000 – 2003 Common Issues Engines Inspection


Hi all, thanks for watching another buyers review, in the previous two video’s we have been focussing on the Z3 and the Z4 and these video’s where quite popular so it was easy for me to pick the next buyers review. Today we will focus on the Z8. This BMW was not a huge success for BMW in the form of sales, on 5703 cars were built in a 3 year production run.

These cars were expensive and they were quite special when they came to the market in early 2000. A sports-car for the new millennium.

This car was only available with 1 engine, but it was probably the best BMW had produced up until that point. In 2000 the E39 M5 had the 4,9L V8 that produced a healthy 400HP which was unheard off for the time. We are talking about the s62 engine that was produced between 1998 and 2003.

This makes this inspection easy because we only need to see what issues this s62 engine had, and since this is quite a masterpiece, it means it is well documented. Are you ready? Here we go.

There are 4 problems that are most common on these engines.

  • VANOS system
  • Rod bearings
  • Timing chain failures (less common than on M62)
  • Oil leaks (primarily valve cover gaskets)

Starting off with the VANOS issues, a term you might heard before if you watch my videos. VANOS problems are the most common issues with this engine, the S62 has two VANOS units responsible for controlling the timing of the intake en exhaust valves. When there are issues with the VANOS there are a few symptoms you can easily spot.

S62 VANOS Failure Symptoms

  • Rough idle
  • Growling noises
  • Power loss
  • Stuttering/hesitation at lower RPM’s

The ECU of the car will save issues and with the use of a simple OBD scanner you can find out what the issues are that you car is facing, also get more information on service intervals etc.

S62 VANOS Replacement

A lot of repair shops will simply replace the entire VANOS unit rather than taking apart the unit and tracking down the actual problem within. It makes sense, of course. It’s a lot easier and faster for a shop to simply swap units. However, you may be able to save a few $$ working with a shop familiar with VANOS rebuilds or DIY’ing the job.

Luckily there are whole companies specializing in VANOS repair and replacement, like for instance Mr.VANOS that offers a kit featuring new o-rings, solenoid seals, pistons and cover bolts.

Moving on the the rod bearings.

2. BMW S62 Rod Bearing Failures

Rod bearings are certainly far from the most common issue on the S62 powered E39 M5. However, they’re worth a mention due to the labor required which can lead to a very expensive repair bill. Those familiar with M engines have likely heard about rod bearing issues. It’s not something that’s as common as some may lead you to believe. However, rod bearings can and do wear and fail prematurely sometimes.

The rod bearings are responsible for connecting the rods to the crank. If they wear prematurely and go unnoticed for too long they could lead to engine failure. Not to scare anyone, but it can happen. Even if it doesn’t lead to complete engine failure worn bearings may scuff or wear down the crankshaft. That can cause additional problems down the road even after the bearings are replaced.

S62 Rod Bearing Failure Symptoms

  • Ticking sound at idle and low rpm’s
  • Metal shavings in oil (copper)

To make matters worst, there aren’t many noticeable, so by the time you do notice there might already be significant engine damage. You can however send a sample of engine oil to a lab (Blackstone Labs) for analysis, this can give you a good idea of the state your engine is in.

S62 Rod Bearing Replacement

Each cylinder has two bearing, a upper and low bearing, this means the S62 V8 has 16 bearings in total, each costing about 30 dollars if you use proper BMW replacements. Also when 1 bearing is worn down it is best to still replace all bearings since they have the same kind of life span. Also while you are at it, change the oil pan gasket, so you are looking at 500 plus in repairs if done properly.

Luckely this problem is not very common but there are definately reports out there that these parts might were down faster then expected.

3. BMW S62 Timing Chain Problems

Most S62 M5 timing chains will likely hold up beyond 150,000 miles. That probably makes it less of a common problem and more of a long-term wear and tear item. Since these are performance engines which are getting old now, please replace the chain on time before problems get out of hand.

S62 Timing Chain Symptoms

  • Check engine light
  • Timing is off
  • Whining sound from cylinder head

4. BMW S62 Oil Leaks

OK – we’re keeping this one pretty short, too. Oil leaks are not uncommon on any BMW engine. simple wear and tear items. Gaskets are prone to cracking with age and resulting in S62 oil leaks.

Among the most common S62 oil leaks are the valve cover gaskets.

S62 Oil Leak Symptoms

  • Low engine oil
  • Oil on ground after parked
  • Burning oil smell
  • Smoke from engine bay

So overall not too many issues but issues that can be quite expensive. Parts are getting rare since the engine is getting older. Again it is not necessarily an unreliable engine but due to its high performance and age you will run into problems eventually. Hope this video was useful and if so subscribe to my channel for future videos.

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