Where to buy rod bearings in 2023 for the best price. Why do they fail?

The BMW M3 is an iconic sports car known for its performance, precision, and exhilarating driving experience. However, even the most exceptional machines have their vulnerabilities, and one of the notorious issues that have plagued the M3, particularly in older models, is rod bearing failure. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind rod bearing failures in the BMW M3 and explore why it remains a topic of concern among enthusiasts and owners.

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Understanding Rod Bearings

Before we dive into the specifics of rod bearing failures in the BMW M3, it’s crucial to comprehend what rod bearings are and what role they play in an engine. Rod bearings are vital components in an internal combustion engine that support the connection between the crankshaft and the connecting rods. They ensure smooth and friction-free movement, allowing the engine to run efficiently. When these bearings fail, it can result in catastrophic engine damage and a hefty repair bill.

The BMW M3’s S65 Engine

The BMW M3 that suffered the most from rod bearing issues was the E90/E92 generation, specifically those equipped with the S65 V8 engine. This engine, while known for its incredible power output and high-revving capabilities, was prone to rod bearing failures. There were several reasons behind this vulnerability:

  1. High-Revving Nature: The S65 engine was designed to rev to an astonishing 8,400 RPM. While this characteristic delivered thrilling performance, it also put immense stress on the rod bearings, increasing the likelihood of failure over time.
  2. Oil Pump and Lubrication: The oil pump and lubrication system in the S65 engine were not optimally designed to cope with the demands of high-revving operation. Inadequate oil flow and pressure could lead to insufficient lubrication of the rod bearings, accelerating wear and tear.
  3. Maintenance Neglect: Some owners of high-performance vehicles like the M3 may overlook or delay regular maintenance. Neglecting oil changes and failing to use the recommended high-quality synthetic oil can exacerbate the wear and tear on rod bearings.
  4. Heat Generation: High-performance engines like the S65 generate a significant amount of heat. Heat can cause oil to break down, reducing its effectiveness as a lubricant. This can lead to increased friction and wear on the rod bearings.
  5. Aging Components: As the M3s equipped with the S65 engine aged, the rod bearings were subjected to more stress and wear, making them more susceptible to failure.

Preventative Measures and Solutions

Owners and enthusiasts of the BMW M3 have taken several steps to prevent rod bearing failures and address the issue when it occurs:

  1. Upgraded Bearings: Aftermarket companies have developed improved rod bearing options with better materials and design to increase durability and longevity.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Ensuring that the vehicle receives regular oil changes using the correct type and grade of oil is critical. Additionally, adhering to recommended service intervals can help detect potential issues early.
  3. Oil Cooler Installations: Some owners have installed aftermarket oil coolers to help maintain lower oil temperatures, which can reduce wear on the rod bearings.
  4. Engine Monitoring: The use of engine monitoring systems and frequent oil analysis can provide early warning signs of impending rod bearing failure, allowing owners to take action before catastrophic damage occurs.


Rod bearing failures in the BMW M3, particularly in the S65 engine, have been a concern for enthusiasts and owners. Understanding the factors contributing to these failures, such as the engine’s high-revving nature, suboptimal lubrication, and heat generation, can help owners take preventative measures and address the issue proactively.

While rod bearing failures remain a topic of discussion among M3 enthusiasts, with proper maintenance and upgrades, the BMW M3 can continue to deliver its iconic driving experience for years to come.

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