Please offer you condolences to me, my N plate 1996 e34 525 diesel has today gone in for an MOT. As they were doing that damn stupid emissions test (do you ever drive your car until the rev limiter kicks in? NO? neither do I) and the engine blows up! Even though the engine is chain driven, I guess this is pretty bad heh? Andy advice on what to do next, i.e.
Value of car approx £5k
(a) New engine - approx £6K
(b) rebuilt engine approx £3k
(c) Recon engine???

I guess rebuilt/recon engines are never as good as the orig, so please any CONSTRUCTIVE advice much appreciated.

Thanks in advance
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Mapmaker
Bad luck.

With car value of 5k, there's no point whatsoever in paying for a new engine that costs more than the car is worth. Pretty much no point in a rebuilt engine that's worth as much as the car.

So either:

(a) second hand engine. £500. Out of a written off car.

(b) put the car on ebay, get £2k, watch somebody else put in a second hand engine & put it back on ebay for 5k.

If you really don't want to drive around with a second hand engine, then get it replaced & sell it.

It just goes to show the importance of regular maintenance. Chains are no more reliable than belts.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Peter D
How said the chain broke, the chain drive is specified to go way past 7K not break at the deisel rev limit. I blame the garage, I thought they had dropped that test ages ago. Hitting a rev limiter under no load is a no no in my book. Regards Peter
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Peter D
Sorry Who said, not How said
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - RichardW
Sadly the test is still in operation, Peter. They are a bit more sympathetic now though - they only 'gently' rev it to the limiter, and only do it once if it passes. Makes you wince when you watch your own car going through it.

Bad luck BMDUBYA - fit 2nd hand, preferably one you have seen running, and fit a new timing chain whilst it's out!


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Mikey Jay
I've got the violins out and the orchestra is playing a sympathetic ballad for you! I wouldn't go for a rebuilt engine after all the things I've heard about them. You see,people make mistakes when rebuilding, like getting a part fitted upside down for example or using the wrong parts. Find out if the MOT station has any liability first of all. Try and find out if you can find a used engine in good condition. Not worth buying a new engine on a depreciating asset. Recon engines could be dodgy too. Exchange and mart might be a good place to look for a used engine off a crashed car maybe. HTH regards Mikey
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Peter D
BMW Specialist breakers yards on the net. Peter
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - teabelly
I'd contact your local trading standards and see if the garage is any way liable, whether that is the testing garage or the one that services the car regularly. I would also write to BMW and see if they are willing to do a deal as it wouldn't be good publicity for them if a £5k car blows its engine. People buy bmw because their residuals and perceived reliability. This would be affected if people knew they could be looking at throwing a £5k car away after an MOT.

I would also write to vehicle inspectorate and complain about the test and ask whether they or the garage have liability to cover the damage to your engine for fullfilling your legal obligations.

I'd get another engine out of a written off car. It will be the cheapest to buy and will probably be no less reliable than an expensive recon one.

BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Mapmaker
Go to and you'll soon get a feel for the cost of a second-hand engine.

Sadly, I doubt that there will be any claim against the garage.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Big Cat
It's about time this ridiculous way of testing diesels was abolished. There must be a better way.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Sooty Tailpipes
Take the cam cover off the engine, and see what the state of play is, these engines have a camshaft sprocket which is not keyed in any way, and only held one by one central bolt, maybe it slipped, and the valves banged the pistons?
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Stuartli
>>People buy bmw because their residuals and perceived reliability>>

It's an eight-year-old BMW (perhaps even nine), not one going through its first or second MOT test.

There is no way that the MOT station management will be responsible for the damage to the engine; its employees' job is to test a vehicle's fitness or otherwise to be in use on our roads.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - jc
Most diesels will only run upto 4750-5000 rpm on this test which will do no harm to a good engine;I get my turbo Escort upto these revs on the road occasionally.Has the pump been tampered with or modified in anyway-like tweeking the governor?
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Sooty Tailpipes
I have seen signs in MOT stations from DEFRA or whoever it is these days, saying that the test involves going to max rpm on a hot engine and holding it there, and that you should make sure the engine is well enough to do this before submitting for testing, it also says to replace the timing belt if nearing the scheduled time, and it says the test is designed not to harm engines in good mechanical order, and no liability will be accepted.

The pistons on these car are less that 1mm from the valves which are flush with the head...the compression, glowplugs and injector nozzles are all in the pre-chamber, no room for error here!,
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Ben {P}
How many miles has the BMW got on it? Might not be worth as much as you expect.

Thats damn bad luck. The sort of thing you hear about but think will never happen to you. Unless the car has done massive miles, or has been neglected, i would have not thought twice about the engine going bang on the emmissions test either.

There are a few parts finding web-sites on the net, one called findapart i believe. Stick a note on there and see what you are offered. Finding a good engine at a breakers is very difficult. I dont even think they get paper work with cars anymore. So unless you know a bit about engines, it may be difficult spotting the good ones amongst the majority of junk engines. Good luck, use your wits and trust your instincts if you go down the used engine rounte. I would, even if i were not going to keep the car. If nothing else goes wrong, i think you should be able to repair and sell, and get mare cash back than if you sold it damaged.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Sooty Tailpipes
Don't forget the same engine is in the Vauxhall Omega and Range Rover too, but also there are 3 variants, the latest being the most different is easily identifiable by the plastic intake manifold rather than aluminium.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - P 2501
Was it definately the timing chain that let go or did it throw a con rod or something else? Just curious as apart from the plastic water pumps on these i thought they were quite sturdy engines.

sorry to hear about this,hope you get it sorted out.
Hi All Thanks for your constructive comments, I'm having the engine checked, I can't believe the chain snapped, but who knows, I will let the BR know what happens. In terms of claiming against the garage, I neevr even considered it, as someone said, it is my responsibility tom ake sure the car is in good condition, which it is or I thought it was, always serviced on time etc etc, however the chain is not a servicable component and the whole thing is sealed and supposed tolastthe lifetime of the engine, as for miles, well only 110K. Ah well such is life. As I say when I have had the egine looked at, I will post the results. Thanks again everyone.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Mapmaker
the whole thing is sealed and supposed tolastthe lifetime of the engine

Well it did. I don't see what you're complaining about. It lasted until the engine blew up. (I know it's not very helpful to point that out!)

I'm afraid that that is exactly what it means. The engine would last longer if these parts were service parts. Chains stretch & put the timing out, long before they snap, & should be changed as often as belts - just in case they do snap.

By telling fleet managers that such-and-such an item is 'service free' they offer fleet managers an opportunity to cut costs.

Look at the flimsy thing which is a chain, think about the stresses it must be subject to, and consider whether after 110k and something near 10 years it might not be time to change it!
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - Sooty Tailpipes
Yes, maybe it's worth drivers of higher-mileage ones of these to have the valve timing reset? Would be a fairly expensive job though.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - dieselhead
Just a thought did the garage check the oil level and temperature. They should check the oil temperature is at 80 deg. shown on printout and operation of speed governor before doing the test.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - BMDUBYA
Just to let everyone know what exactly happened, if your interested. As I and most people suspected, the timing chain hadn't snapped, instead a 'heat shield' on hte fly wheel on the gearbox had broken away from the spot welds and flung itself into the gearbox, thus grinding everything to a halt, fortunately the garage turned off the engine in time. Anyway, after a hefty repair bill the beemer is now back on the road. I have to say that I didnt expect anything like this to happen, and by the way, I was show al the bits that were replaced including the fly wheel and heat shield. Thanks for all your advice and comments.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - Dude - {P}
Great result BMDUBYA - delighted to hear that your six pot is back on the road where it belongs. Just out of interest how much did it finally cost to get your unfortunate problems sorted.???
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - defender
glad you are fixed up again.too late in this case but before mot on diesel its a good idea to limit the rpm by the throttle ajustment bolt well below its max .tester is not allowed to open it as long as emmisions are ok with pedal all the way down.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - Sooty Tailpipes
Fly by wire - no adjustment except in software.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - defender
if theres no ajustment on the linkage anywhere or a stop to limit pedal travel a block fastened under the accelerater pedal does the same job.
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - Rosanbo
I like your style Defender. And they can't touch a block under the pedal either? what rpm do you suggest limiting it to?
BMW Biggest MOT bill EVER - update - defender
well most diesels will run all day at 3000 rpm and indeed lots of cars ( and defenders)will do 70mph at under this engine speed so although they might do more revs overtaking etc there is a very sound argument for testing at 3000 rpm after all if you get caught doing more than 70 its not likely emmisions will be checked .the tester may not like it but cant argue with a motor limited to the legal speed limit.


Value my car