COVID Effects on Internal Combustion Engines

The other victims of Covid less often recognized, are the damaged Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) engines.

Driving Ultra short Distances Effects Your Car’s Engine

Since people are more sedentary, staying home and or driving ultra short distances their car’s engines take a massive beating by water dilution. Today’s ICE engines are a refinement of an extraordinary effort to make them more efficient, therefore the piston rings are a shadow of their former selves literally.

Suffice to say the same principle applies to the entire internal architecture of the engine, therefore you need less energy to keep things in motion, hence their higher efficiency in generally speaking.

Unfortunately there are some negative aspects to this fine engineering marvel. The thin piston rings combined with the help of turbocharging, adds additional pressure to the combustion chamber, therefore the blow by volume is way more intensive than on a normally aspirated engine.

German Manufacturers Run Their Crankcase Ventilation System Under Negative Pressure

To make matters worse, most European (read German) manufacturers run their crankcase ventilation system under negative pressure to reduce pumping losses, to increase the efficiency even further. Unfortunately when you only drive ultra short distances the condensation from the blow by will accumulate inside the crankcase and since the skinny low tension rings can’t do much about it will reach a terminal point where water will get sucked up upon cold start and or the cappuccino alike frothy oil and water mix will destroy the fragile internal components.

German drivers use their car only if it is driven at a longer distance.

From my humble experience, there are no German drivers who will start their monster autobahn burner engine, if they could afford one per say as the fuel is so expensive at $2.50+ a liter. They use their car only if it is driven at a longer distance. Therefore the engine goes through a proper heat cycle, allowing the pistons to expand, the oil to get hot and allow the condensed water to be boiled off in the process.

It’s actually a simple chemistry where O2 burned with HC will form H2O in the process which by itself is harmless to the combustion process. Unfortunately if the same engine is driven ultra short distances the water accumulation will have detrimental, often fatal consequences to the engines delicate internal components.

Here are a few examples of a couple of COVID related BMW engine failures by the help of condensed water ingestion.

Picture #1: BMW M3 S65 piston rings with miniature oil scraper ring holes. How long do you think it takes to get them clogged up by infrequent oil changes?

Picture #2:  Old 944 Turbo sizable piston rings.

Picture #3 #4: The piston ring tension difference between a N55 BMW and an S65 BMW engines. The later has way more tension due to performance oriented application versus low tension N55 piston rings which ones were designed for high efficiency by low tensions naturally making things worst due to turbocharging.

 Visit our Facebook for more and bigger imagesDamaged BMW pistons with piston rings

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Telephone: 905.795.0419

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BMW N20 Engine Repair

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BMW 535 GT Repair | BMW 535 GT Maintenance

BMW repair many occasions requires an inside knowledge and decades of experience. Knowing what are the weak spots  of the BMW, comes whit knowledge and experience, hence we can prevent an expensive breakdown in the near future.

BMW 535-GT Front Propeller Shaft Failure

Here is a perfect example of a 535-GT front propeller shaft failure which is a typical issue on most BMW with accumulated kilometers on it.

This particular vehicle is maintained by its owner, we only see this vehicle when it’s broken. In this case not performing a preventative maintenance, cost almost an engine replacement, as the seized propeller shaft finally let go and punched a gigantic hole into the oil pan.

When We Service BMW 535 We Remove This Shafts

When we service BMW 535s we remove this shafts on the regular basis to check the U joint condition. In fact we even have replacement universal joint in house to repair this shafts as some of them cost some silly money from the manufacturer.

On this BMW we had a hard time to source a proper exact replacement oil pan and ditto for the front propeller shaft.

The owner got lucky, he managed to shut the engine down in a hurry, which saved his N55 engine. He said when the shaft broke he killed the engine instantly.

Either way we would not know if there is or has been any internal engine damage to the crankshaft or the bottom end bearings.

We had to come up with some clever solutions to test the engine, to be able to confirm the engine did survive the ordeal. Therefore we cleaned the broken oil pan with a de-greaser.  Let it dry and remove any oily residue, applied windshield glue to the open area around the hole and glued a heavy plastic sheet over on it, and let it cure overnight .

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BMW N55  Engine Repair

Next day we removed the oil filter and filled up the channel with fresh motor oil quickly. When the engine had proper amount of oil in, we started her up instantly.

The engine run properly without any noise or sign of excessive wear. At this point we knew we can proceed with the proper repair and resurrect this vehicle to it’s former glory.

BMW N55 Engine Connecting Rod Bearings Replacement

Needless to say we will remove and replace the bottom end connecting rod bearings with new performance bearings,  just in case. Additionally the new performance bearings are superior design made with improved materials compared to the genuine bearings design.

It just makes perfect sense to replace them while we have the bottom end open. It’s a simple procedure at this occasion.

Any questions, how may we help? Call us with your question.
Telephone: 905.795.0419

Related:

Why does my engine burn oil?

BMW or Mercedes Maintenance During COVID.  

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BMW Timing Chain Replacement

Timing chain replacement for a 2013 BMW 550xi due to broken chain guides and jumped timing chain which resulted in an undriveable vehicle.

Engine work on 2013 BMW 550xi

We received this beauty from the local dealer where at the owner has been told, to properly diagnose the problem at hand, will cost him 3500.00 dollars. Which is somewhat understandable since to achieve anything on this N63 engine, it must be removed to gain access to the vital components. It’s worth to note, this vehicle had only 78 thousand kilometers in. The question is; Why this happened? The answer is actually two fold.  The number one issue is, it has been driven ultra short distances, from home to work and back, 8 km either way.

The second issue has been, this particular chain design is an early version of a toothed chain design, which was unproven at the time.

Ladies and gentlemen this engine was built for autobahn speed, where it gets a work out, this modern high tech engines designed and build for a certain purpose, that’s the way they should be driven.

Low tension, low friction piston rings will allow more blow by especially with a cold engine, condensed water will be collected in the motor oil and will have no chance to boil off. Consequently, will damage the internal components.

Naturally we have done a lot of additional repairs on this car, like cleaned the intake valves and replace all the components with new revised versions.

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BMW 550xi’s Timing Chain Replacement

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