Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

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WanganZee3
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Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Wed 29 May, 2013 14:24

I'm really hoping someone here can shed some light on this mysterious Z3 disaster.
I have already been accused of making this up but trust me, this is absolutely true.

First, the car history. I bought it 5 months ago. It had 38000 genuine km on the clock and overall is in very good condition.
The previous owner is a mechanic who took great care of it for the 10000 km he clocked up. Before that it has full BMW service records in Japan.
I drove it with no issues until two weeks ago. It ran beautifully, had a lot of power and never missed or had any problem starting.

When I went to start the car a couple of weeks ago it immediately had a massive intake backfire. It was so loud that people came out of surrounding buildings to see what had happened!

After that the car would not start. It coughed a few times but would not run at all. When I had a look under the bonnet to see if I could spot anything obvious before getting it
towed to a workshop, I found that the entire intake manifold was cracked along it's length and even part of the injector cover was blown off.

Fast forward to today. I went to the workshop to talk to the mechanic about what he'd found since getting the car a couple of days ago. There was the plastic intake manifold laying on
the floor split in two almost perfect halves. The DISA is trashed too. The central spindle is nowhere to be found. I had already supplied him with a used intake manifold as I could see for
myself that was beyond repair. He gave me a list of other parts to replace. Injector O rings, DISA, Hydraulic steering intake manifold pipe ( which seems to have been leaking for a while)
and various other gaskets and seals.

This conversation was being conducted in a mix of English, Japanese and mechanese so a little confusing at times.
Soon after getting the low down on labour costs and agreeing to hunt down and supply all other parts for the job I get a call while I'm still on the train heading home.

"Er, sorry. We just did a compression test and cylinders 3,4 and 5 are all very low!"

Can someone please tell me what the @#$% is going on with this car???

My research has turned up almost nothing on the possible cause of the backfire and certainly not any examples of the M54B30 engine having the symptoms of an engine that has done
5 times the mileage this one has.

Now he says I should consider either a complete engine rebuild or a used replacement.

Remember, this car was running perfectly before this. I have been maintaining and working on cars since the late 70s so I think I'm pretty aware of when there are any issues with an
engine. It didn't even trigger any warnings after the explosion.

Sorry for the long rave but I think it is important to state as much fact and background as possible to hopefully learn something from this.

Del
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Del » Wed 29 May, 2013 15:26

Sorry to hear your problem – I’ve never heard of anything quite like what you describe. I know that if plugs are sparking poorly (because of age or being soiled) and/or an ignition coil is causing a poor-sparking misfire, if the situation is allowed to continue long term a lot of un-burnt fuel is thrown into the Cat which can cause it (the cat) terminal damage and possible blockage. However, you state it was running fine before it happened and it was previously loved by a car mechanic. :shrug

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Wed 29 May, 2013 15:56

WanganZee3 wrote:The DISA is trashed too. The central spindle is nowhere to be found.
At a guess, that's the cause rather than a symptom - DISA fails, spindle sucked into engine, engine knackered. See this: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showth ... p?t=317362

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Wed 29 May, 2013 16:02

BladeRunner919 wrote:
WanganZee3 wrote:The DISA is trashed too. The central spindle is nowhere to be found.
At a guess, that's the cause rather than a symptom - DISA fails, spindle sucked into engine, engine knackered. See this: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showth ... p?t=317362

Yes, I suggested the same thing to the mechanic and he agreed that was a possibility. But would that lead to 3 cylinders losing most of their compression? It seems a bit of an extreme outcome.
Could the intake backfire have blown three cylinders?

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Wed 29 May, 2013 16:08

Having read that link Bladerunner, I can totally see how this could have happened. I still can't see though, why three cylinders would be knackered in the process. Any thoughts?

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Mike Fishwick » Wed 29 May, 2013 16:19

Bits of DISA may have entered the rear cylinders, bending the inlet valves. This would allow the inlet manifold to become filled with the fuel-air mixture, and be ignited by the spark - hence the manifold explosion.

Check the inlet valves on the rear cylinders (allowing for their hydraulic tappets) or with an endoscope to see if they seat fully. Otherwise, with their exhaust valves shut, see if they will hold a little paraffin.

I have heard of a few E36-type DISAs breaking up , but never with any real problems - but the m54 is a different type, as used on the E46.
Last edited by Mike Fishwick on Wed 29 May, 2013 16:23, edited 1 time in total.
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BladeRunner919
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Wed 29 May, 2013 16:20

Maybe the 'explosion' started in No4 and blew the headgasket into the adjoining cylinders?

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Wed 29 May, 2013 16:26

Thanks guys, all good thoughts. I will pass this on to the mechanic as he was just as lost as me. I like the endoscope idea too. Although I'm pretty sure I'm looking at a head rebuild at the least.

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Engine rebuild or replacement???

Post by WanganZee3 » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 05:27

The latest on this sad story and a warning to everyone with an ageing DISA.
Yes, the disintegrating DISA was the cause. Cylinder 4 has about 50% compression but the inlet valves both look ok.

Probably piston and or ring damage from the massive intake explosion.

Don't say you haven't been warned! If you have the original DISA in your Z3 it's a time bomb waiting to go off.

I would like some opinions on what to do from this point on. Given that I am not rolling in dough but would like
to have a reliable car with a good resale value, what's the best way to go. Try and find a low mileage used engine
or rebuild the original? Seems like used would be the cheapest, swap for a rebuild next and rebuild mine the most
expensive.

Really appreciate any input on this.
And please, once again. Put a new DISA high on your list of priorities if it hasn't ever been replaced. For the sake of
a couple of hundred quid you will sleep much more soundly.

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Brian H
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Brian H » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 08:38

Sorry to read of your troubles, I would personally look out for a good second hand engine to swap. If you can see/hear the engine running before hand then all the better. A rebuild of you engine is possible but you will not know how much it will cost/how much damage has been caused until it is totally stripped? This is of course just my view :wink:

I have never really taken any notice of the DISA valve but I see that there is a rebuild kit for the valves which is maybe an option for others to consider?

DISA Valve rebuild kit

Brian

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Southernboy
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Southernboy » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 11:20

Do all z3's have this DISA Valve? Might be something we all need to consider??
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Del
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Del » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 11:43

Southernboy wrote:Do all z3's have this DISA Valve? Might be something we all need to consider??
The 4 cylinder M43/M44 engines do, although they are a different type to the one in the ebay link. I changed mine at about 70K miles as it was very noisy. The unusual thing in this case was that the car was very low mileage and so you wouldn't have guessed that to have been the problem. :(

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 13:31

Southernboy wrote:Do all z3's have this DISA Valve? Might be something we all need to consider??
Yes, they do. Another thing to add to your list Barry - I expect you'll get yours trimmed in leather too :D

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 14:10

Just my opinion but all plastic parts become hard and brittle with age. Anything on the intake side has the potential to fragment and bits can stick a valve open then cause the potentially ruinous backfire.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Southernboy » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 14:37

Hi Blades...thanks for that....I did have a look in the Bentleys manual...but no mention of DISA valve...does it have any other name, and where would I look for it? (And, can it be leather upholstered.... :rtm: ) ...... :D
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Rafolian » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 15:13

My 1998 2.8 has an m50 inlet manifold fitted, does anyone know if its a disa valve kit for a 2.5 that I would need?
Cheers all!

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Mike Fishwick » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 15:16

The DISA system was fitted fron September 1998, when the M52TU engine was introduced - hence it is not included in the Bentley book.
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Devon Z » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 16:10

Mike Fishwick wrote:The DISA system was fitted fron September 1998, when the M52TU engine was introduced
So is it the same unit on the M52TU as the M54? Will have to check part numbers.
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Southernboy » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 16:24

Cheers mike...that lets me off the DISA hook.... :D
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Rafolian » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 17:21

Wondered why I couldn't find the unit on mine, first registered on 1st of August 1998! (Phew!)

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BladeRunner919
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Sat 01 Jun, 2013 18:20

Southernboy wrote:Cheers mike...that lets me off the DISA hook.... :D
Sorry, my mistake - I really thought they all had them!! :oops:

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by billz » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 07:23

Well just ordered mine. Thanks for the link. Will get it changed next weekend.
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Brian H
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Brian H » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 07:33

billz wrote:Well just ordered mine. Thanks for the link. Will get it changed next weekend.
Let us know how you get on Bill :)

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by billz » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 07:38

Will post some pics of doing it for the knowledge base
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 09:08

I have been doing a bit of searching for an engine to replace mine. It seems the UK has some of the lowest prices in the world. Just not sure what remanufactured means. Any experience with a remanufactured engine? Even with shipping costs I can't do better here in Japan.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by wonderloaf » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 14:22

Being a believer that prevention is better than cure (the cure being a new engine :shock: ) gone and ordered one of these:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161027574052? ... 1423.l2649

Whilst removing the existing DISA unit to check the part number noticed that a couple of the hoses are split, so will replace these at the same time as replacing the refurbed DISA. Pics below:
Image
Image

I quickly tried to remove them whilst removing the DISA unit but looks as though it may be a bit tricky, does anyone have any tips and tricks on remove these hoses? Looks to me as though the whole intake/airbox/etc assembly has to come out to replace these hoses, is this the case?

BTW Wanganzee hope you get your car fixed and thanks for the posting, hopefully it might prevent a few other zed owners suffering the same fate as you!
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Brian H
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Brian H » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 15:14

wonderloaf wrote:Being a believer that prevention is better than cure (the cure being a new engine :shock: ) gone and ordered one of these:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161027574052? ... 1423.l2649......
The seller of these items is going to be busy in the morning :o , I ordered one also but for the 3.0. Had an offer of £48.00 inc p&p accepted :)

Mine is for prevention also, my thinking is that for the price of a tank of fuel, give or take you get piece of mind.

Wanganzee3, do you have any links to the engines you have been looking at?

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 16:16

Here's a link to one I saw today. I may have found one locally with similar mileage to mine. Have to check it out tomorrow.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-330Ci-3-S ... 3377990502

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 16:22

WanganZee3 wrote:Here's a link to one I saw today.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-330Ci-3-S ... 3377990502

These guys claim to source most of their engines in Japan - aren't you in Japan? If they're importing them from there, plus refurbishing them, plus making a profit you must be able to source one locally for about half that.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 16:44

Yeah, you would think so but the luxury car parts market is not very competitive here. Most people don't keep their cars long enough to wear them out.
Or they just go to their dealer and pay through the nose for everything. This is not a very car savvy culture surprisingly. I was quoted about 950 pounds for a low km (40000 km) used one with just a one month warranty.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 16:51

This is a photo of the resulting damage to the intake manifold.
Image

Mod Edit: Image link fixed. R.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by pedro20001 » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 17:55

just had offer of £45 accepted!

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Jonco » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 22:03

Mike Fishwick wrote:The DISA system was fitted fron September 1998, when the M52TU engine was introduced - hence it is not included in the Bentley book.
Some confusion here Mike. This thread has also generated discussion on .org and it appears from comments there that they were fitted to M44's as far back as 96. Real.oem shows this for the 1.9
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do ... g=11&fg=40. Is it the same unit ?

Sorry did not include part number which is quoted as 11611438404

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Del » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 22:09

Jonco wrote:Some confusion here Mike.
I agree, the thread has (perhaps understandably) evolved down the 6 cylinder route. My M44 was built May 1998 and has a DISA unit - I know it has as I've changed it :D

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Jonco » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 22:22

Del wrote:
Jonco wrote:Some confusion here Mike.
I agree, the thread has (perhaps understandably) evolved down the 6 cylinder route. My M44 was built May 1998 and has a DISA unit - I know it has as I've changed it :D
So Del I missed yor earlier comment. Too much multi-tasking switching between .net, .org , watching TV and drinking red wine. I will sign off now :wave and concentrate on the wine only :lol:

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Del » Sun 02 Jun, 2013 22:29

All the Youtube vids about DISA valves seem to come from the US where I guess the 6-cylinder engines prevail. The repair kit above also looks like the 6-cylinder unit which is different to the m44/m43 unit. Any 4-cylinder owner who is interested, the BMW RRP is about £140 but Pierrick who often posts on this forum recently mentioned that they are currently half price at http://www.bmminiparts.com/ at about £70.
Buy now whilst stocks last :D

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Woody1000 » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 06:46

Just ordered mine £45 on make an offer and accepted. I asked the seller if they did one for the 2.0 M52 engine and they came back with "it's the same as the M54 unit".
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Southernboy » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 11:29

Having seen the pics you posted, it seems that the DISA valve may have saved your throttle...From what I see, and what you describe about the low compression on 2 of the cylinders...it seems as though the backfire was possibly caused by an inlet valve which has stuck open on the compression stroke...and forcing the air / fuel mixture back into the inlet manifold and causing the backfire...and because your DISA valve had shut the pressure split the inlet manifold. Under "normal" conditions, the explosive pressure should not be able to escape the cylinder until the exhaust valve opens at the end of the stroke. So, it is possible that the initiating problem was deeper in the motor / cylinder head than as consequence of the DISA valve. The explosion may well have resulted in some piston rings on those 2 cylinders being damaged, and hence the low compression now.
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Mr Silver » Mon 03 Jun, 2013 11:50

I suggest it is unlikely that piston rings would be damaged as a result of an 'explosion' since this is their normal operating environment. Maybe if the problem was the result of a sticking valve then low compression may well be due to the valve still not fully closing. Sorry to hear the end of a good engine.

Regards.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Brian H » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 07:41

For all those that have bought a DISA rebuild kit, there is a guide here

Rebuild Instruction

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by WanganZee3 » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 07:56

I would like rebuild instructions for an M54 engine ;-)

Actually I'm seriously thinking about doing just that after I have the old one replaced.
I'm still convinced that there can't be a whole lot wrong with my original engine.

The big problem with keeping my old engine for a recon project is that I live in a two room apartment
with already overflowing closet space. No shed, no yard.
Hmmm, anyone know someone here in Tokyo that would like to help out a frustrated backyard mechanic?

If I were back in Australia no problem. I have a big garage and fully equipped workshop.
Here in Tokyo I have a couple of screwdrivers and a bicycle pump.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by wonderloaf » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 12:18

Brian H wrote:For all those that have bought a DISA rebuild kit, there is a guide here

Rebuild Instruction
Hi Brian, thanks for posting, am picking my kit up this evening so now know what I'm letting myself in for, can see what I'll be doing this weekend!
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by andy18n » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 15:28

Thanks for posting - have just ordered a kit myself for peace of mind - mine's only done 47k and no noises but seems mileage is irrelevant if yours went at 38k km.
Cheers
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Woody1000 » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 17:01

I took my DISA valve out last night only took 15 minutes in preparation for the arrival of the upgrade parts I ordered off the bay, my valve doesn't seem to show any signs of worn parts and it works fine but going to upgrade it anyhow.

Prevention is better than cure !!
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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by OldskoolRS » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 20:28

This thread is making me nervous now...I thought I had the usual known weak points covered/already replaced. :( My 3.0 has 64,000 miles on it, no error codes relating to this part. Typically I've now read about this and won't be happy until I've replaced mine. :shake: However, I've got a trip planned this weekend with a good friend of mine, so I'm going to have to take the risk...then get it sorted as soon as I can afterwards.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by BladeRunner919 » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 20:59

OldskoolRS wrote: no error codes relating to this part.
It won't give an error code - it's a sudden mechanical failure. But do bear in mind that the reason you haven't heard of this problem is that it is very uncommon, so I wouldn't panic unnecessarily.

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Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by wonderloaf » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 21:05

Went to pick my kit up from the Post Office tonight and they couldn't bl**dy find it! :head:

Then to cap it all one of the hoses I picked up from BMW was the wrong part, part code I gave them from RealOEM and BMWfans (13541705209) should be correct (checked with my VIN), but is different to the code from the actual part (13541435625). The part in my car apparently is for a E39 5 series! :head: :head: :head: Maybe it was a special build or something :?:

So now got to wait for the PO to investigate the lost DISA kit and I'll also have to speak to BMW about swapping the hose for the correct (or incorrect depending how you look at it) part. Deep joy. :shake:
2001 Titan Silver 2.2 Sport
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Woody1000
Joined: Sat 30 Mar, 2013 09:38
Posts: 223

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Chelmsford

Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Woody1000 » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 21:07

Oldskool if your really concerned then take the valve out and have a look at its condition, it really is a 10 minute job and will give you piece of mind
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Robert T
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Joined: Mon 12 Jun, 2006 11:35
Posts: 10008

  Z3 roadster 1.9
Location: Cheshire

Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by Robert T » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 21:46

wonderloaf wrote:I gave them from RealOEM and BMWfans (13541705209) should be correct (checked with my VIN), but is different to the code from the actual part (13541435625). The part in my car apparently is for a E39 5 series! :head:
13541705209 is a rubber boot and fits E46 3-series and E36 Z3 (2.0, 2.2, 2.2i, 2.5, 2.5i and 2.8)) - see bmwfans here
13541435625 is a rubber boot and fits E39 5-series, E38 7-series AND E36 Z3 (2.0, 2.5 and 2.8) - see bmwfans here

They are listed as alternative parts on bmwfans here, but if I put in a 2.2i, I only see the 209 part. No dates are given, so I can't easily tell which one is supposed to fit exactly which cars, or whether they are interchangable.

I never advise ordering parts from BMW by part number alone - it is better to get them to check the part number for you and then if they order the wrong part it is THEIR fault and not yours. My local dealer is very helpful in this respect - I take a printout of a bmwfans page in and he then goes and finds it on their system and orders it - and he puts my VIN in so that he gets the right details.

Cheers R.
Arctic Silver '99 Z3 1.9 & Black '59 Frogeye 1275cc
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OldskoolRS
Joined: Mon 06 Feb, 2012 14:23
Posts: 412

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Wokingham

Re: Z3 3.0i Intake Backfire Disaster Help Needed!

Post by OldskoolRS » Wed 05 Jun, 2013 22:00

BladeRunner919 wrote:
OldskoolRS wrote: no error codes relating to this part.
It won't give an error code - it's a sudden mechanical failure. But do bear in mind that the reason you haven't heard of this problem is that it is very uncommon, so I wouldn't panic unnecessarily.
Cheers, just been out to fill it up ready for the 250 mile trip on Saturday and it's running nicely. I'm taking a friend to pick up his new toy (not a Z3 though, a VX220 Turbo) so we're going the scenic route there and of course back.
Woody1000 wrote:Oldskool if your really concerned then take the valve out and have a look at its condition, it really is a 10 minute job and will give you piece of mind
I'll see what time I get home tomorrow night (and how I feel since I'm getting over a bad cold and still feel a bit c**p). Now I know exactly which bit it is thanks to the rebuilding link posted further back shouldn't be too hard. Of course if I then find it's on it's last legs, we'll have to go in my boring (work) 320d instead.

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