The 5 Most Common BMW N63 Engine Problems

The "Hot-Vee" BMW N63 V8 Twin-Turbo Engine

The V8 engine has always been known for power and performance.  When BMW introduced this engine in 2008, it was the first of its kind.  This engine has the turbos placed in the valley of the engine ("hot-vee") to keep them close to the exhaust manifold and reduce turbo lag.  The result was an engine that cranks out 408 horses and 440ft/lbs of torque, which are great numbers to be paired with their large sedans, coupes and SUVs.  While being ahead of its time and the first of its kind, there were numerous issues with the engine. If you have been curious about ownership of a N63, here is our list of 5 common N63 engine problems.

N63 Common Maintenance Items

  • Ignition Coils: ignition coils are recommended to be replaced every 45,000 miles approximately. It usually makes sense to replace these at the same time as the spark plugs. The symptoms of bad spark plugs are the same ad bad ignition coils, which is why we recommend replacing both parts at the same time.
  • Spark Plugs: recommended to be replaced every 30,000 miles, or every 15-20,000 miles for cars running tunes. The symptoms of bad spark plugs are slow cold starts, misfires, and rough idling.

The 5 Most Common BMW N63 Engine Problems

  1. Excess Oil Consumption
  2. Fuel Injector Failure
  3. Timing Chain Failure
  4. Leaking Valve Stem Seals
  5. Fast Battery Drainage

Excess Oil Consumption

Even when new, the N63 has been known to be quite thirsty for oil.  This issue stems mostly from the design of the engine with the turbos being the middle of the "V" or the valley of the engine.  This area is extremely hot, and causes the engine to burn through more oil, and even drying out gaskets which can lead to leaks.  How much oil does it burn?  Well BMW spec says that 1qt per 1000 miles is within the norm, and some owners showing a quart every 600 miles.

In spite of the oil burn off, owners still love the engine and mention that changing the oil every 4-6k miles and stocking a few quarts when the indicator goes off.  There is no dip stick in these cars, so there is no fiddling under the hood.  The BMW I-Drive will let you know when it's time to add another quart of oil.  Keep a few quarts on deck, you will need them.  It is easy enough to add oil to the car, and a quart of oil costs around $10.

Be careful: excess oil consumption is also a symptom of leaking valve stem seals which we cover further in this article!

Recommended BMW N63 Engine Oil: LiquiMoly 5w-30

N63 Fuel Injector Failure

This issues were systemic in this engine.  Even cars with relatively low mileage were not spared.  The fuel injectors seemed to go on the fritz pretty early on, with one citing 20k miles on this forum.  If you are looking at a model with this engine in it, you should note that these injectors are not cheap.  Cost for one injector is around $200 then you have to factor in the labor.  So what kind of symptoms can you expect when it is the injector?

N63 Fuel Injector Failure Symptoms:

  1. Rough Idles
  2. Poor acceleration
  3. Black exhaust tips and black residue on the bumper from un-burnt fuel
  4. Check engine light
  5. Misfires

If you notice any of these symptoms, its more than likely the injectors. However, these symptoms are almost identical to those of bad ignition coils and spark plugs (which we covered at the beginning), so we recommend replacing those parts first. Replacing all the fuel injectors at the same time will be costly given they are approx. $300 each, but may save you in labor in the long run.

The DIY is an expert level, but it has been done.  Follow the thread here.

BMW N63 Fuel Injectors

N63 Timing Chain Failure

On 2008-2014 N63's the timing chains are known to stretch out over time which causes additional wear and tear to the valve-train and negatively impact performance. The belts can stretch to the point that they jump a tooth and bend cylinder valves, which results in a costly repair bill.

Rough idle and a check engine light could be early tells for this issue, yet still can be a silent engine killer.  If it is not addressed, you could wind up with bent valves, or worse yet, engine failure.  Thankfully BMW took it upon themselves to rectify the issue with a major service bulletin which we will cover in a bit.

BMW says “the timing chains on the the N63 have been found to been found to stretch and wear out prematurely, resulting in premature valvetrain wear and reduced engine performance.”

Fortunately, BMW is fully aware of this issue. For cars with CCP (customer care package), the timing chain will be checked on every visit, and in the result of untimely failure, BMW will cover the majority of the repair costs, which can be in excess of $15,000.

BMW N63 Timing Chain Replacement Kit

Leaking Valve Stem Seals

Did you just finish doing a burnout, or is that smoke from your engine?  With the N63, it was more than likely from your engine.  Due to the high heat given off by the exhaust and the turbos in the valley of the engine, these seals would go out causing leaks and huge bellows of white smoke to come out of your exhaust.  Link to the pictures post and story here.

N63 Valve Stem Seals Failure Symptoms:

  • White smoke from the tailpipes
  • Excess oil consumption (more than 1qt per 5-7 days)

If you have white smoke coming out of the exhaust, it's probably your valve stem seals.  The good news, the parts cost less than $60 here.  The bad news, you need to drop the engine to replace them.  Yes, drop the engine out of the car.  You can see the fix at this site. Some people have claimed to have replaced them without dropping the engine - but unless you are an experienced mechanic by trade, I wouldn't mess with trying to DIY this. However, if you opt for the DIY the parts are fairly cheap.

BMW N63 OEM Valve Stem Seal Kit

Fast Battery Drainage

While not technically part of the engine, it is an important component for the N63.  In the efforts of BMW's Efficient Dynamics. BMW push components in order to boost fuel economy wherever possible.  In the case of the N63, this system relied on the car coasting in order to recharge the batteries instead of charging from the turns of the belts.

While this did help take effort off the engine to boost fuel economy, people who own a 50i don't do a whole lot of coasting.  On top of this, the electronic systems would stay on after the car was off the keep the cooling system going to cool the turbos that were placed in the middle of the V in the engine.  It is well known that the N63 eats up batteries and still continues to.  BMW spec calls for a battery change every other oil change.

BMW did offer to swap out the old batteries for newer, larger models, but this seemed to be covering up a larger problem with a band aid.

N63 Customer Care Package

Great news if this list of 5 common issues hasn't made you run for the hills.  BMW noticed there was a large issue with these engines and released the Customer Care Package in late 2014 and 2015.  When looking for a model with this engine, keep an eye out for maintenance records, as it will be recorded.  The Customer Care package was launched to address most of these issues with the N63 such as; timing chain, seals, head gasket, and fuel injectors to name a few.  This is great considering a majority of these issues were on our list of common issues.

This was a great attempt to fix a large problem, and most owners appreciated what BMW did to rectify it.  Most owners and enthusiast recognize that there are inherit issues with this engine you will have to deal with, but at the end of the day, the joy outweighs the issues.

Also, it is always a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection done to ensure there are no other outstanding issues hiding under the hood.  Still, take into consideration this is a high performance engine, needing attention and care.  Not for the feint of heart, but for those willing to care for an engine known to bring massive amounts of power and joy down the road.

Link for more info on the care package.

Reliability Score: 1 is the Highest, 4 Lowest

3.5

I can't give it a full four on this one.  There are great examples out there with over 100k miles, and with the care package BMW put out, there is hope they will last.  Still, there is a great deal of risk and hefty shop bills if something were to (and probably) go wrong.

The prices of these models are getting very cheap due to the excessive maintenance costs.  I found a 2012 550ix in the Bay Area in CA for $14,995 with 79k miles.  When considering ownership of the N63, due diligence is key before the purchase to ensure you are minimizing headaches in the future.

If you are looking for BMW V8, look for the updated one, 2016 or newer.

If you liked these 5 common problems on the N63, check out the common problems on the N52.

Do you have any other experiences with this engine?  Would you own one?

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47 thoughts shared

  1. Comment author image

    Clinton R Kearney Jr.

    says:

    I bought my BMW 728il N52 in 2000, I drove the car over 1.5 million km without engine failure. Only serviced the engine on a normal basis. I finally rebuilt the engine not due to failure but my BMW engineer didn’t have anything to do, so he wanted to surprise my when I got home. Still driving the same car today. I didn’t have any issues like the cars in the US. I just bought a 2010 BMW Active Hybrid 7 N63 with 200,000 KM. I don’t have any of the issues you listed for this car as well. With that being said, I will change the injectors, oil pump, oil seals, sparkplugs and coils, driveshaft bushing and other small things before the major failures appears. I guess the European versions of these cars are built to a different specifications, standards and maintain differently in Europe.

  2. Comment author image

    James williams

    says:

    I have a 2013 550i , I bought ot one year ago with just over 65k miles. It burned oil about 1qt every 500 -600 miles, but it didnt smoke or anything like that. Itook pretty good care of the engine. Then one day I was drving home and all of a sudden no power the coolant light came on and smoke from under the hood. I drifted to an off ramp and the car came to a halt. Looked under the hood some smoke was coming from under the engine cover. So I crawled under the car and wow oil and coolant was pouring out from the engine. My rodbearings had failed and seized my engine. All this talk about oil consumption is just to divert you attention away from major flaws in the engine. I got a quote from BMW for 18k for a new engine . Why isnt the rodbearings part of the CCP When it can cause catastrophic failure to your engine and cost youAn arm and a leg

    1. Hi James,

      Sorry to hear about the rod bearing failure – that’s no fun at all. It’s not a terribly common issue on most of the newer BMW engines since the S54/S65/S85 era. However, rod bearing failures can and do happen.

      Do you know how the previous owner maintained the car? Bearings usually give out to poor oil pressure, low oil, poor oil quality, etc. With the amount of oil your N63 is burning it seems maybe the previous owner ran it low on oil a few times. Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon to see some of these BMW engines that only get oil changes every 15,000-20,000 miles.

      Ghassan Automotive offers reman. N63/N63TU engines for about $8,500. You might also be able to track down other reman or used options around the same price point or lower. Best of luck.

      Regards,
      BMW Tuning

    2. Comment author image

      Nicole Mainini

      says:

      My car just died silently. No warnings, nothing. Go look for engines on eBay. The issue is they are going to have the same issues. I’ve been looking for a LS SWAP, they do it for older models. I do not want to spend 15k and end up with another blown engine…

  3. Hi.I was ready to order 2021 x6m50i.
    The day before the order I make a search in the internet about the engine and I was disappointed.
    In the article about the N63 and updated TU3 you said that the engine is improved but stil there are some normal BMW reliability concerns .Can you please tell me which are these concerns??
    I don’t want to have engine problems (chain, oil leaks ,cooling )and visit the dealer offen.
    Usually I run 5000- 10000 km /year and I never push the car to the limit.Max speed 140-150km and my cars looks new even after 15 years.
    My other option was 2021 Mercedes gle coupe Amg 53.(I don’t know if you can say your opinion between the two cars about engine reliability.)
    Thanks in advance

    1. Hello,

      We’re not as familiar with Mercedes, so can’t say too much regarding that comparison. As for the N63, the newest version is almost a completely new engine from top to bottom. There are very few parts shared between the TU3 and original N63 engines.

      BMW has made some solid updates to the cooling system and overall engine design that should help limit cooling system issues and oil leaks. The N63TU3 is still too new to say much about long-term reliability. However, we suspect as these engines reach the 6-8+ years old and 80,000+ mile mark there will be occasional cooling problems and oil leaks. Think valve cover, oil pan gasket, coolant hoses, etc.

      In our opinion, BMW is trending in the right direction reliability wise. The N63tu3 is a great engine and with proper maintenance it should be relatively hassle free. Again, as they age some problems are bound to pop up, but that can be said about any engine and car.

      Best Regards,
      Zach

  4. i have a 2011 x6 at 115k i have the low battery. my seals are bad abd went to bmw and the stated i need and engine. need guidance, is there a 2021 lawsuit out?

  5. I am buying a 2021 M550i. It has 6 weeks until delivery. Have the engine updates resolved the N63 issues, or should I be concerned ?

    Does driving in eco mode most of the time help prevent issues long term?

  6. So I have 2011 bmw 550i AWD AND HAVING SOME ISSUES WHITE SMOKES, DRIVESHIFT MALFACTION. Will bmw dealership look into it and if so how much am I looking to spend to fix it?

  7. Comment author image

    Lanny B Bromfield

    says:

    I bought a used 2010 BMW X6 E71 with an N63 engine last February 2020. Am I qualified to participate in this lawsuit?
    SAV got 134K miles and burning oil and misfiring.

  8. Comment author image

    Jewels Reumund

    says:

    MY X6 N63 2012 50i had engine replaced when I bought it, 84k. Bmw had a factory recall on failing aux cooler that caused it to die.. I have had to get a new coil pack and spark plug put in that was 800+ at the dealer. Engine at 17k now takes 1 quart of oil about every 2-3k since I run it hard. I am going to get a AEM water meth kit to get it to run cool and make more power.

  9. Hi.
    I bought the X5 5.0i v8 the I have experienced 3 out of 5 problems. I haven’t experienced the timing chain and stem leak problems. Luckily I can replace the plugs and coils myself.
    Do they still have the customer package for 2010 BMW X5 N63 engine?

  10. I’m thinking of buying a 550i 2011 x drive but got scared after reading about it are all or most of these problems going to happen no matter what the one I want has 126,000 km ?

    1. Comment author image

      Nicole Mainini

      says:

      Don’t…stay away. Want fast? Go get something a company stands behind. My bf had a challenger. It’s fast, it was cheaper, and way cheaper to fix. It was also sexy.

    1. Hi Scott,

      We appreciate the feedback. There are other things that go into high oil consumption but extreme heat is certainly one of them. Molecules in oil can and do evaporate from subjection to extreme heat.

      Best Regards,
      BMW Tuning

    2. Comment author image

      Nicole Mainini

      says:

      It was definitely bad valves and they are not standing by thief other poor quality engines either. Imagine telling someone we will only cover to 120k. To me, that just means that’s the life expectancy of their engine. I regret trading in my Lexus fur my 550xu every day. I had 220k on it, and they would never say “only till 120k.” A recall is a recall. These fancy cars should go further than American junk for 80k dollars.

  11. Comment author image

    RONALD HANSTAD

    says:

    I own a 2011 …750LI, it ran fine for two years and the one night my engine light came on. The next morning I took it to a shop and they put it on the diagnostic computer, they told me it needed a new motor. I didn’t believe them and got and 2nd and third opinion. I finally towed it to a BMW dealership…They told me it would cost 1800.00 to determine if it qualified for the customer care package…a fancy name for recall…two days later they said they had to break down the motor to take pics for the ccp- recall another 2600..00 and the fourth day sent me an email telling it would cost a total of 18,000 to fix my car. My car only has 90.000 miles and falls under the N63 customer care package guidelines, with oil consumption and timing chain failure and I believe one more of the 5 items listed in the ccp recall. They are trying to get out of the cost of replacing my motor. My car clearly falls into the ccp recall guidelines. Is this the standard procedure of BMW to deny???

    1. Well the CCP is not considered a recall by BMW. Your comment is a but confusing What kind of dealership told you that it cost $1800 to determine if it falls under CCP? And what do you mean by “another 2600?”

      You should run your vin and see if your car is covered under the ccp. I used to own a 2012 X6 with the N63 engine. I have raise hell and threaten lawsuit to get things going.

      1. Comment author image

        Nicole Mainini

        says:

        I tried the lawsuit thing, you’re a peon compared to
        BMW. No one cared I’d have a lawyer call. They should have bee. Able to tell you if it qualified for the ccp by the engine type. It’s the N63 engine only or so I’ve been told. I called bmw and explained my situation, they escalated it to a couple people so I could be told my turbo engine is not covered. This happened last month.

    2. Comment author image

      Marquis Jones

      says:

      Not at all There getting over on you take to another dealer it’s FREE!! You shouldn’t have to pay for anything is didn’t.

      1. Comment author image

        Heather Bartlett

        says:

        I am currently having a brand new engine installed in my 2011 bmw x5 50i with 95k miles and its a $10k motor that I pay $6000 and bmw has to pay $4000.
        How did you get them to do it for free? They said the car package has a 60/40 split on cost based off how many miles are on it?

        1. Remanufactured n63 engines are 3000 dollars from bmw. Also bmw replaces them for free up to a certain mileage under the Bang. Vs BMW class action law suit. Then its prorated.

    3. I have 2 550i m sports one they put in a new motor and turbos for free and gave me a two year warranty unlimited mileage car only han 48000 miles on it
      My other 550i m sport has 89000 miles on it and they just rebuilt the valve train put in new turbos intercooler rear main seal fuel pump and axillary water pump free of charge. If you have less that 120000 BMW coverage took care of both my cars

      1. How did you go about getting it taken care of? I have a 2012 550i with 87k miles on it., no warning lights or anything just had the car serviced less than 4k miles ago. I had the car at BMW Myrtle Beach where they were absolutely no help to me, apparently the CCP was performed in 2015 but it wasn’t a complete overhaul, all that was replaced was the fuel injector, and valve pump? I was told that they only fix issues that may be faulty at the time of the CCP service, I find that confusing because the car was 3 years old with about 38k miles so there isn’t going to be much that is faulty or needs to be replaced at that time. I’ve had the car serviced regularly and only at a BMW dealership since I’ve had it and kept all the records. Not once has this recall been brought up to me when I go in for servicing. I even had a time that I asked the dealer if I should replace my battery because my car wasn’t locking or unlocking or they would start rapidly locking and unlocking for about 30 seconds then stop, I was told that is was just a short fuse which was replaced. I read that every time I get the car serviced BMW is supposed to do a full check of all of the issues pertaining to the issues of the CCP which was never done because I knew nothing of this until my engine was supposedly “locked” a few days ago.

  12. I recently purchased a 2012 650i convertible, with 62,000 miles. I got to drive it approximately 3000 miles before the engine stopped on the highway and would not restart. I bought the vehicle in December 2019 and drove approximately 3000 miles, kaboom. All I keep hearing about is BMW replaced a bunch of these engines. Time to step up to the plate BMW.

    1. Well. Call me lucky. I have a X6
      2014 V8 N63 with 140,000 miles
      Add sea foam in the fuel every other gas fill up ( keeps injectors clean ) & & I use CRC valve and turbo cleaner every 3 to 5000 miles ( add through the AIR intake 1/2 can each side )……..
      this stuff works. This 4.4 liter just
      Requires a little attention and add oil free from my dealer anytime it’s low.
      Yes it burns oil a lot ( always did )
      1 quart every gas fill up …I wait for two fillip and the dealer adds 2 quarts when low ( free of charge )
      Preventive maintenance !!! Try it …
      Also take the plastic engine cover off in summer time & always let the car idle a minutes or 2 to cool down before shutting off the engine.
      Last. Alway drive in sport mode.
      Higher RPM’s. Lower carbon.
      Gas is cheap & always buy premium
      -Stavro 🥂

  13. I own a 2010 GT550i that stumbled and burned oil, until the class action law suit. BMW replaced all the oil seals and a few of the injectors. At their expense. BMW had to drop the entire engine for this service.

    The car has run fine since then, but runs HOT. I’d like to know how any tips/tricks I can use to lower the temperature of this vehicle in order to extend the engine life. Ideas?

    1. Hey C,

      How hot is your N63 running? Is it oil temps or coolant temps concerning you, or both?

      In regards to coolant temps, BMW states 212-221°F results in the lowest friction and wear. Unless you have some underlying cooling issues then your N63 should stay in this ballpark, if not a bit cooler.

      Regarding oil temps, you could try running an aftermarket oil cooler valve. Something like this: https://n63intake.com/product/n63-n63tu-s63-s63tu-sport-oil-cooler-valve/
      It will essentially redirect all oil flow through the oil cooler, at all times. It will definitely help oil temps stay a bit cooler, but it has some downsides dependent upon the climate you live in.

      Personally, I have avoided these types of mods on my N54 as I live in Colorado and mostly drive short 10-20 mile distances. Since these aftermarket valves are ALWAYS flowing oil to the oil cooler it takes a lot longer to heat up. Oil temperatures under 160° aren’t any better, if not worse, than running at 240-250°F. They may make sense for those living in warmer climates driving longer distances. However, they are not perfect solutions for those in my situation driving short distances often in temperatures below 40°F. It simply takes too long for the oil to warm up.

      Best Regards,

      Zach

    2. Taking the stupid plastic vanity cover off the engine is a start, keep it plugged into a battery tender when you park it to keep battery full and fans running. Opening the hood when you park it in your garage at night. Did that on mine, was free garage heating because that engine gets incredibly hot.

      1. Hello all. I made significant changers to my 550 gt. Remember heat rises. The turbos on top makes good sense. Remove the heat shields. I did from top of engine block as well as over the turbos.. you can place ur finger 3mm from ur turbo slight heat. Touch u burn. I removed mt crank case breather pipes d
        From the intake into a catch tank. How do u justify hot air running into u intake manifolds which are under vacuum. Residue is been sucked into ur engine. HELLO. Call me for further changers I have made. 0824447513. Name is Max Slabbert.

    3. You should have never bought that car with that piece of shit engine in it. Anyone who designs an engine with twin turbo chargers and catalytic converters in the middle of a “V” eight engine under the hood should be shot. Too much heat equals failure. Especially when you consider all that plastic. Also, they even then they put a cover over it. BMW engineers are ASSHOLES who design into their product failure beyond all else for themselves. Money before lives.

      1. Comment author image

        Jack. Neggerman

        says:

        I’ve been thinking of buying the turbo charged the V8 BMW. I’m sure glad I started investigating first. I am reluctantly changing my plans. I love the idea of the power from the turbos, but putting them inside the engine is something I can’t imagine would work out.
        I have been building race engines since 1962 as an amateur.

      2. Comment author image

        Regina Villalba

        says:

        On point! Beautifully stated! My boyfriend said the exact same thing. I laughed out loud as i read this! I can’t wait to share it with him.

      3. And yet, even after BMW did it, Mercedes did the same and so did Cadillac. The design works fine, as long as it’s done right. The TU and the later updates prove that. The original N63 was the test bed for the design. Things have to fail to be improved on.

        And before you ask, yes, I’ve owned several of these. An 11 750Li with the N63, a 12 X5 M with the S63 (same design), and currently a 21 M550 with the TU3. The 7 had leaky turbos, but otherwise, these motors have been pretty good to me.

        1. Hey Mike,

          Very good points. The design works well, and we wrote an article comparing all of the various N63 engines. Some forget the original N63 was at the forefront of BMW’s move to turbo direct injection engines. There were some kinks to work out as with the N54 and early N55 engines.

          The original N63’s had quite a few flaws. However, BMW made some major overhauls and improvements with the N63TU and continued improving the engine. The newer N63’s are some of the most under-rated BMW engines, in our opinion (especially the higher output versions as in you M550). Hope you’re enjoying the M550i – beautiful car and a truly excellent engine.

          Best Regards,
          BMW Tuning

  14. I have E71 2011 with the N63 engine. It was recently service at BMW. The techs notes state that the cylinders have severe damage . The Case was denied . Now what ?