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      05-08-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
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Long term reliability of a turbo 3 series, N20 engine

I have not looked into the "toughness" of modern turbo engines, so what will be the long-term reliability of the N20? Last time i looked into turbo engines was back in the early 1990s with the Supra and Nissan 300ZX. Is synthetic oil required? Are there problems with carbon build up the valves in engines that are pushed hard? What ever happened to turbo timers? (it automatically lets the engine idle for 1 minute after you turn off to the off position to let the oil cool).
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      05-08-2012, 09:44 PM   #2
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I have the same questions....
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      05-08-2012, 10:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taxidriver View Post
I have not looked into the "toughness" of modern turbo engines, so what will be the long-term reliability of the N20? Last time i looked into turbo engines was back in the early 1990s with the Supra and Nissan 300ZX. Is synthetic oil required? Are there problems with carbon build up the valves in engines that are pushed hard? What ever happened to turbo timers? (it automatically lets the engine idle for 1 minute after you turn off to the off position to let the oil cool).
It's really to early to tell. BMW has a history of overbuilding all of their engines so I don't see how the N20 would be any different.

Synthetic oil is never required, but preferred. Most of the time synthetic oils are more resistant to break down, have higher heat resistance, and provide better lubrication.

Since the N20 is Direct Injection, valve cleanings will be highly recommended. The carbon build up will occur regardless of driving style. It's just the nature of DI.

Turbo timers aren't really needed. The purpose is to cool off your oil if temps are high. Unless you are boosting into your driveway or your cars temps are elevated above normal, it is not something to worry about. With the N54, if temps are above a certain threshold, the water pump continues to run to cool the turbos off. I'm sure that cooling strategy will be passed to the N20. This is not a replacement to letting your car properly cool off.

With all that said, I'm excited for the N20. I think the aftermarket will be huge to the amount of x28i cars sold. I also think it will respond well to modification, and be pretty easy to work on. I hope to get one in the next year or two.
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      05-09-2012, 07:55 AM   #4
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I had a 300 zx turbo and I remember that there were big concerns then regarding longevity of turbos. But things have really advanced. I don't think it is much of a concern with the N20 engine. I think that the complexity of advanced engines now bring considerations for longevity that are interesting - consider direct injection and valvetronic.
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      05-09-2012, 08:04 AM   #5
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Don't forget that's not the first turbo engine developped by BMW . From the same family you have the 1.6 turbo used in the Mini R56 Cooper S delivering in the JCW version 211 ch without major reliability issues . Moreover BMW is one of best expert for diesel engine that are as you know turbocharged since a long time.


I have had turbo engine already in the late 80's and provided that you respected a certain number of common sense basic rules it was fine .
First , use good quality oil with high lubrication power already at low temperature . Wait to have oil at temperature before pushing hard and never switch off the engine after pressing accelerator !!!!
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      05-09-2012, 08:32 AM   #6
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Well, watch me! I'm gonna be doing 27000mls per year and all my cars at some point have had some kind of problem - none broken down or too severe - but a problem or 2 none the less. Jag X-Type 2.0D, E60 520d, current E90 LCI 330d all have developed 2 or more problems, so I expect my soon to be 328i to develop problems too, so I'll be documenting it's progress over the next 3 years and 81,000 miles!
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      05-09-2012, 08:56 AM   #7
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Reliability should not be an issue with the N20 engine. Basically, it is the N55 engine, that's been around for years and is known to be reliable, with two cylinders lopped off and a little higher boost.
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      05-09-2012, 09:25 AM   #8
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I would certainly feel comfortable saying that the folks in Munich are engineering their product better than those bretheren of yesteryear in Trollhattan. With that being said, there are Saabs with 2.0L turbo 4 cyl engines with well over 300,000 miles still running. Maintenance is the key. The longevity of this N20 should not be handicapped by the existence of a turbo.
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