Due to the pricing of new BMW’s, BMW engine replacement is more common than many drivers are aware of. Rather than spend $50,000 plus on a new BMW, drivers see installing a $2000 – $4000 used BMW engine as an intelligent, mature decision. Since the typical BMW engine is going to last a long time. Let’s look at a case study of the price difference between replacing the BMW engine in 325xi and buying a replacement BMW 325xi.
First of all, let us establish a few things. Unless BMW is covering it under warranty, you would be foolish to buy a new or remanufactured BMW engine. A new BMW engine for your 325xi wholesales at just under $17,000. A remanufactured BMW engine for this vehicle wholesales for just under $9300. A good used BMW engine for this car should run less than $4500 – with a lengthy warranty. Thus, a used BMW engine is really the only viable option for our equation to work.
The second thing that must be considered is the labor required to replace a BMW engine. These cars are not more difficult to work on than American vehicles, they just require a tool set that is less standard, and there are few mechanics familiar with these vehicles. Just like a mechanic familiar with a particular GMC engine would have trouble tearing down a BMW engine, a mechanic familiar with the N52B30A engine in your 325xi would have trouble tearing down a GMC 350 engine.
While familiarity is great, there is a system in place to protect both mechanics and customers from billing problems: The Mitchell Labor Book. While mechanics familiar with a job will be able to replace a BMW engine in less time than the book says, good mechanics will bill for the number of hours in the book. On the swing side, customers are protected from mechanics who are unfamiliar with a job, and thus take more time to complete it. An ’05 325xi with an Automatic transmission should be billed for 19.6 hours for “Removal and Replacement” while the manual transmission equipped vehicle should be billed for 18.1 hours.
To give you something to benchmark this against, replacing a radiator in the same vehicle is a 2.0 hour process. Changing out a BMW engine is quite the job!
We’re too the point now where we can calculate what our total costs should be. Assume you’ve found a good independent shop to install your BMW engine, and that their labor rate is $95 an hour. This will be high in some areas of the country – but it will be low in other areas. Always check with your shop for a complete estimate and list of hourly rates before you get deep into a project like this!
At 19.6 Hours, your labor cost should run around $1862. Figure an additional $1000 for miscellaneous parts (again, check with your mechanic for an estimate). $1862 + $1000 $ $4500 = $7362. Figure a 10% margin of error, and you come in right around $8,000.
A standard equipped 325xi with 55,000 miles lists for $24000 if you search kbb.com for retail value of the vehicle.