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BMW M52B28 Engine Review

M52B28 Engine

The straight-six 2.8-liter engine is the biggest engine in M52-series. The M52B28 appeared in 1995 as an engine for E36 328i, E39 528i and also E38 728i models. M52 engines came to replace the M50-series.

This engine, as the same as M50 engines, got aluminum cylinder block with Nikasil layer on bore liners. That is important what North American models used cast iron blocks instead aluminum, and only Z3 model have engines with the aluminum cylinder block. That decision was made due to high levels of sulfur in the US gasoline, which has a corrosive effect on Nikasil led to bore-liner wear. Connecting rods are 135 mm long. Aluminum pistons compression height is 31.82 mm. Those numbers allowed getting in result a square engine with 84.0 x 84.0 mm bore and stroke. The head is aluminum 32-valve DOHC with variable timing system on the intake camshaft (single VANOS). The M50TUB25 cylinder head will bolt right on to the M52B28 engine also (heads are interchangeable).

The M52TU was released in 1998. It has some updates compare to the M52B. The big difference is dual VANOS (variable valve timing system for both camshafts), variable geometry intake manifold (DISA) and cast iron sleeves inside the block. Also, the engine got new pistons, connecting rods, electronic throttle body. M52TUB28 camshaft specs: duration 244/228 deg, valve lift 9.0/9.0 mm.

The M52B28/M52TUB28 engine produced until 2000 and was replaced by the new engine from the M54-series - the M54B30 engine.

Engine Specs

Munich Plant
Production years
Cylinder block material
Cylinder head material
Fuel type
Fuel system
Fuel injection
Number of cylinders
Valves per cylinder
Valvetrain layout
Bore, mm
Stroke, mm
Displacement, cc
Type of internal combustion engine
Four-stroke, naturally aspirated
Compression Ratio
Power, hp
193/5500 (TU)
Torque, lb ft
210 (280 Nm)//3500
210 (280 Nm)//3950 (TU)
Engine weight
Firing order
Engine oil weight
0W-30, 0W-40, 5W-30, 5W-40
Engine oil capacity, liter
Oil change interval, mile
6,000 (10,000 km) or 12 month
BMW 328i E36, BMW 328i E46, BMW 528i E39, BMW 728i E38, BMW Z3, Land Rover Defender

M52B28 Engine Problems and Reliability

1. The M52B28 engine easily can be overheated. Any overheating will destroy a cylinder head.
2. The engine has unreliable oil rings and consumes oil when they are ware in large volume.
3. Clogged hydraulic tappets/lifters cause the ignition problems. The ECU turn off the ignition for cylinders with the issue of valves opening and closing.
The M52B28 has a more complicated design. Its engine life is shorter than M50 engines.
Some problems are common to all M52 engines. You can find detailed information about them in other M52-series engine reviews.

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