When BMW began in 1916, it was a builder of aircraft engines. It was only in 1928 that it began producing cars. Since then, BMW has made some of the most iconic vehicles, including the classic 507 that Elvis Presley used to drive.
In 2004, the company introduced the BMW E90 series. It is the fifth generation of the BMW 3-series, consisting of a sedan, a wagon, a coupe, and a convertible.
Even though every vehicle in the 3-series was built with the high standards of all other BMWs, they can still have some problems. Because the cars in this series are no longer in production, those who still own a BMW E90 are not always aware of the issues they may run into or how to resolve them.
Read on to learn more about the common problems a BMW E90 may have and what you can do to resolve them.
BMW E90: Oil Leaks
There are three major areas from which a BMW E90 can leak oil. The oil pans, valve cover gaskets, and oil filter housing will all leak if the car is not properly maintained. All six-cylinder motors built in this era tend to have the same problem.
A leaking oil filter housing can wreak havoc on the vehicle. On these inline-six motors, the oil filter housing is on top of the engine and above the serpentine belt. When the oil leaks, it coats the belt and anything around it, causing premature wear.
With time, the serpentine belt will slip off and might get sucked into the crankcase through the front crank seal, causing damage to the engine. If you notice oil leaking on the front or side of the engine, you may have a housing leak.
If the leak comes from the gasket cover, you may see leaking oil on the side of the head, smell burning oil, or even see smoke coming from the engine bay. You have to replace the valve cover gasket to resolve the leak.
You will want to perform regular oil changes every 5,000 miles and inspect the leak-prone components regularly.
VANOS Solenoid Issues
The VANOS solenoid system in BMWs allows the vehicle to adjust valve timing, providing better power and range. The E90 series has two VANOS solenoids.
If you notice a loss of horsepower and torque, a slow reaction to pressing the gas pedal, rattling noises, rough idling, and poor fuel economy, you may have a VANOS solenoid problem. One of the most common issues is to have oil sludge clogging them.
The solenoids are easy to remove and clean. If they are damaged, they are also affordable BMW parts to replace.
High-Pressure Fuel System Malfunctions
If you own an early E90 with an N54 engine, you may have already run into this issue.
The BMW E90 uses a high-pressure fuel pump to inject fuel into the engine. If the pump is faulty, the car does not get the right air-fuel mixture it needs.
If you notice the check engine light on, a long crank time, that the car is in "limp mode," or it has decreased power, you could have a fuel pump malfunction. To replace the pump, you will need to remove the intake manifold, which is a job best left to the experts.
Fuel Injector Problems
The BMW E90 N54 has a fuel injector with seals that can easily deteriorate and cause fuel leakage.
Fuel injector failure can cause engine misfiring, a check engine warning, and rough idling. If you need to replace the fuel injector, expect to pay around $1,000.
Water Pump Failure
The water pumps on a BMW E90 are electronic and do not give much warning when they need replacement. If you notice the engine overheating, the check engine light, or if you see the fan coming on even when the engine is cool, your water pump is faulty.
Replacing the water pump on the E90 is a bit more difficult to do than on other models, but it can be done. A replacement pump will cost a few hundred dollars.
The carbon buildup issues in the BMW 3-series stem from the direct fuel injection system, which injects fuel into the combustion chamber.
The injectors do not shoot the valves or intake ports with gasoline, so the gasoline does not clean them. You can expect carbon buildup in the ports and valves.
To resolve this issue, direct fuel injection engines have to be walnut blasted periodically. The technician will shoot a mixture of pressurized air and walnut shells into the intake ports to clear buildup.
To reduce carbon buildup, you can use a BMW fuel system cleaner every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. The cleaner will not wash the valves, but it does help prevent your injectors from getting dirty. You also want to change the oil about every 7,000 miles, using high-quality oil.
Keep Your BMW Running Smoothly
By knowing what the most common issues of a BMW E90 are, you can prevent problems down the road. Perform maintenance checks regularly and be sure to have a provider of BMW performance parts you can depend on.
At UroTuning, we can provide parts for your BMW, Audi, or Volkswagen. We offer the highest quality service while ensuring our rates are competitive. We are well-versed in the European car scene and we are passionate about offering the parts you need to keep your car running.
Contact us today to get the performance parts you need!