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Charles
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:07 pm    Post subject: Live long and prosper Reply with quote

As I surge towards a significant milestone in a month or so's time (for my car and not me), a couple of things have recently got me thinking.

The other week I joined fellow members at Thorney Motorsport and was brave enough to put the old girl on the dyno-thingy. Now remember that she has had three head gasket changes, a full engine and gearbox rebuild and has reached the moon and is on the way back. Of course it would have been wonderful to see 305bhp on the printout but I wasn't too disappointed to find that in 13 years and after lunar mileage, the old girl was still chucking out 273bhp - which works out at just about 90% of what she was born with. Perhaps the block and head skimming has affected the compression ratio enough to reduce power output but then again, perhaps the old girl is simply showing her age.

Anyway, I had to top up the oil today and this got me thinking. I've been fortunate to have owned my car from new, always run her on 0W-30 (apart from just after the rebuild when I did 7000 miles on 10W-60) and I have averaged about 3,500 miles between 1 litre top-ups. This isn't something I gloat about because I really feel for fellow owners who are lucky to see 1000 miles between top-ups. However, I can't help wondering whether the first 10,000 miles of our cars' lives have an impact on oil consumption - notwithstanding the known issue with the 3.3 engine circa 2000.

Given that the engine has been in bits several times for new pistons and other innards, I am now well beyond praising the lovely chap who first put it together in early 2003. The oil consumption, in my mind, has to be related to the way the components were first run-up and how the whole engine was bedded down. At 180k miles, you could still see the original bore markings in all six cylinders - indicating that there had been minimal wear over the period. So - assuming that oil consumption is linked to bore wear - how come my 3.4s engine hasn't worn and others have?

I accept that many here have found solace in cleaning out the crank breather assembly to improve oil consumption and I am sure it has some effect, but why is it necessary in the first place. I wouldn't even know where it is on my car and I am certain it hasn't been touched apart from when the engine was rebuilt.

My point is this - we are told that modern cars don't need to be run-in because of the improved tolerances and engineering that goes into their manufacture. Personally, I don't believe that argument at all. OK, this is based on a statistically insignificant sample of one vehicle but given the age and mileage of my car, most people would expect it to have died by now or at least be leaving a trail of hot fluids all over the place as it rattles from A to B. Instead, she delivers a constant 25mpg average, uses a litre of oil every 3500 miles and brings a smile to my face every time I feel the need to get on with it.

We live in a throwaway society and by definition, this means that we don't think too far ahead when we buy something as we expect it to fail sooner rather than later, requiring us to chuck it away and get a new one. Given that my next car is the one I am currently driving, regular TLC is my prescription for a long and prosperous life for my car and I hope this encourages others to reach for the stars in their current steed.

After all, 90% of a lot is better than nothing at all Very Happy
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B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
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rcshott
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good point mate! No 2 engines are the same, really regardless of who constructed them. There's a measurement called "tolerance". When I had to 'pop the top' on mine for a gasket replacement at about 137000miles the hash marks were clearly visible, made me quite chuffed. Mind you I've generally changed oil & filters every 3000+miles and that's what I put 'no wear' down to. Plus regularly cleaned the K&N air filter, only ever had 2 of. Despite what is written by some about K&N I've no complaints. And I must say that I've NEVER had the 'oil use' problem, albeit it's 20 years old now and I feel manufacturing methods have changed drastically - 'for the better' we're told. Maybe not so? I dunno!

Why yours still has bore marks (and at higher milage too) is down to diligence of regular maintenance... as you say "TLC". I would suggest others may wear more partly through cold running, oil choice, dusty conditions, constant short runs at lower speed, forgetting the air filter maintenance/replacement etc. Or maybe, just maybe, your block and mine had something to do with original assembly? Impossible to say. Mind you, I will not run regularly around the city…bad for any engine. They need regular long haul runs at speed.

I've now got 180,000miles and it still runs sweet as a nut, no recent dyno figures though. I would reasonably expect your dyno figures to be down, not only through age but replacement parts probably don't quite match as the originals did. Also original engines (Alpina) are all bench tested before release aren't they? Maybe some mech's don't see the point or waste the time and simply give the owner instructions to do it instead. DIY not being quite the same thing.

I'm keeping up the TLC here in UKR on the E39 4.2 as a matter of course. Dust in the air here is heavy most of the year. TLC is a must!
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markbannister
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to running in, my M3 was, from the manual:

Up to 1200 miles (the running in service), do not exceed 5500 rpm and 110 mph.

From 1200 miles to 3100 miles, engine speed and road speed can be increased gradually up to 140 mph. A maximum speed of 160 mph is permissible for brief periods, e.g. Overtaking.

Do not use launch control Exclamation
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Jervint
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting read, Charles! Hopefully you'll have the highest mileage 3.4S of all time.

Knowing that Alpina are engine specialists, I was still shocked to learn what high mileages they can achieve from such strong engines. The 3.4S makes nearly 100 bhp per litre normally aspirated! I have seen three H1 engines at 175- 200k, rare for an engine of that power. I think the 3.4S engine is called the E5?

How many miles do you think the engine is capable of before uneconomic repair?
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Charles
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jervint wrote:
How many miles do you think the engine is capable of before uneconomic repair?

It's a fairly straightforward lump and is pretty sound apart from the head gasket needing replacement every 80k miles. Assuming an average mileage of 15k miles pa, then this needs to be done every 5-6 years - so annual cost of engine work is £300-400.

Beyond that, normal wear and tear replacement and regular servicing are the same as a 330i apart from shocks and springs. £1200 for shocks all round which are likely to be needed every 8-10 years (compared to say £600 for BMW items), so add another £50 a year on top of 330i running costs.

For a car that is still worth reasonable money, the additional £400-500 per annum is nothing compared to depreciation on a newer model, so by my calculation, it's cheaper to keep the B3S running for many years to come Very Happy
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PhillV8S
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely agree with the economics Charles. My car is only used at weekends so mpg not an issue for me luckily.
The biggest cost of car ownership for the majority of owners is depreciation but is usually forgotten about as its spread over the ownership period and is only noticed at the time of vehicle change.
I figured out quite a while ago, why bother having a mundane newer car when for the same total ownership costs I can have something abit special!
For the last 7 years or so I have bought a nice older car with bigger running costs but has bottomed out or nearly bottomed out in depreciation and put the money I would lose making up what depreciated on a mundane motor into the cars running and improving,sometimes by accident sometimes ending up with a more valuable car due to either the market for that model moving in my favour or by the money I had spent on it whilst in my ownership.
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rcshott
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BY Jervint:
"Knowing that Alpina are engine specialists, I was still shocked to learn what high mileages they can achieve from such strong engines. The 3.4S makes nearly 100 bhp per litre normally aspirated! I have seen three H1 engines at 175- 200k, rare for an engine of that power. I think the 3.4S engine is called the E5?"

ERM...NOT EXACTLY the same engine in Charles' steed, though! I'm looking at a replacement from Europe (LHD) and many are at 250,000 - 350,000+ Kilometres and still running fine, FSH etc. Some refurbed, some original.


By Charles:
"It's a fairly straightforward lump and is pretty sound apart from the head gasket needing replacement every 80k miles. Assuming an average mileage of 15k miles pa, then this needs to be done every 5-6 years - so annual cost of engine work is £300-400.

Beyond that, normal wear and tear replacement and regular servicing are the same as a 330i apart from shocks and springs. £1200 for shocks all round which are likely to be needed every 8-10 years (compared to say £600 for BMW items), so add another £50 a year on top of 330i running costs."

Charles, I'm a bit miffed there…why so often a replacement of those parts? Geez... mine only had the head gasket replaced because I almost cooked the engine at 130,000 (miles). Total now 180k miles and It does NOT have any cobwebs…GUARENTEED! I've had the exact same dampers as fitted new in 1993 and have been tested professionally 3 times…NEVER in need of replacement, even after driving on Aussie roads.

So, Charles, what I'm asking is, why should yours require such regular replacement…or am I just an 'ole miser? hhehehe
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Charles
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rcshott wrote:
Charles, I'm a bit miffed there…why so often a replacement of those parts? Geez... mine only had the head gasket replaced because I almost cooked the engine at 130,000 (miles). Total now 180k miles and It does NOT have any cobwebs…GUARENTEED! I've had the exact same dampers as fitted new in 1993 and have been tested professionally 3 times…NEVER in need of replacement, even after driving on Aussie roads.

So, Charles, what I'm asking is, why should yours require such regular replacement…or am I just an 'ole miser? hhehehe

It's just the way things are with the 3.4S engine - the headgasket fails on average every 80k miles or so. Given that I have done 248k miles, then that is why I have had a few replacements.

As for the dampers - mine were eventually replaced at 180k miles, so I don't think that is too bad.
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ALPB1033
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My baby has done 3/4(300k kilometer) of the mileage of Charles B3s Very Happy in my 10 yrs ownership(12 yrs old car and 13 in Feb 15) and still hasn't changed the head gasket yet (touch wood & finger cross). I think my baby will be the 2nd highest mileage Alpina.

The only downsides is it does drinks a litre of oil about every 1k miles. It is still on the same gear box(did changed gearbox and differential oil twice in last 2 services) and alternator. Recently on a trip to do the Alpine passes did the clutch for around £500 in Italy. So no complaint after so many years of fun and joy. So next service will do all the hoses and check the alternator. Those aren't the advice from the mechanic who does my car but from my personal routine maintenance of the car.

Even in the recent dyno run, my baby got a bit more than what the factory states in handbook in power and torque. So I know the mechanic has done a good job on it

I don't see I am going to get rid of it even though I am going to have another Alpina in near future. Just love to see how long it will go Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Charles, look forwards to seeing yours doing the 1/2 million kilometer mark. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Just looks at the no of post in the forum, the mileage is about 10 times of the posts I did. What a coinincidence! Smile
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ALPB1033
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry should be 100 times not 10 times Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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briggy



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PhillV8S wrote:
I absolutely agree with the economics Charles. My car is only used at weekends so mpg not an issue for me luckily.
The biggest cost of car ownership for the majority of owners is depreciation but is usually forgotten about as its spread over the ownership period and is only noticed at the time of vehicle change.
I figured out quite a while ago, why bother having a mundane newer car when for the same total ownership costs I can have something abit special!
For the last 7 years or so I have bought a nice older car with bigger running costs but has bottomed out or nearly bottomed out in depreciation and put the money I would lose making up what depreciated on a mundane motor into the cars running and improving,sometimes by accident sometimes ending up with a more valuable car due to either the market for that model moving in my favour or by the money I had spent on it whilst in my ownership.


You Sir, are a genius. My 5 year old B3BT cost less than a new Golf and my Porsche 944 cost the same as a 5 year old Fiesta. You won't find an owner of those cars who is happier with their choices than I am with mine.
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PhillV8S
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

briggy wrote:
PhillV8S wrote:
I absolutely agree with the economics Charles. My car is only used at weekends so mpg not an issue for me luckily.
The biggest cost of car ownership for the majority of owners is depreciation but is usually forgotten about as its spread over the ownership period and is only noticed at the time of vehicle change.
I figured out quite a while ago, why bother having a mundane newer car when for the same total ownership costs I can have something abit special!
For the last 7 years or so I have bought a nice older car with bigger running costs but has bottomed out or nearly bottomed out in depreciation and put the money I would lose making up what depreciated on a mundane motor into the cars running and improving,sometimes by accident sometimes ending up with a more valuable car due to either the market for that model moving in my favour or by the money I had spent on it whilst in my ownership.


You Sir, are a genius. My 5 year old B3BT cost less than a new Golf and my Porsche 944 cost the same as a 5 year old Fiesta. You won't find an owner of those cars who is happier with their choices than I am with mine.

I keep telling my wife that but she's having none of it
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