BMW N13 vs B38

BMW N13 vs B38

Author
Discussion

Levi1501

Original Poster:

73 posts

91 months

Monday 4th November 2019
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Hi,
I am considering getting an F20 BMW 118i when I eventually get round to upgrading.

I was wondering, which is more reliable; the N13 (which is also based on the Peugeot Prince engine) or BMW/MINI's B38 engine? What are common issues specific to the N13 and B38 and are their any shared issues? How many miles can you expect out of a well serviced one (is over 120,000 possible without many repairs)?

Also if you own either engine, what is the fuel economy like? If you've driven N13 and B38, what are the pros and cons of each? Does the lack of a cylinder make the B38 more unrefined?

Cheers,
Levi

BFleming

3,655 posts

146 months

Monday 4th November 2019
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I posted this elsewhere (on PH & a 1 series forum) which you may find useful.
The 116i, 118i and even the lowly 114i all use the same engine. The 114i & 116i are identical bar the ECU mapping, the 118i has a larger diameter exhaust. This engine is the N13B16 unit, which was a joint venture between BMW and PSA, designated Prince.
The chain on the N13 is notorious for wear. It starts with excessive oil consumption, and continues with a noisy chain. It's not a quiet engine anyhow, although from the cabin it's fine. Unfortunately you won't find out about any oil consumption until you live with the car. My car had 53000 miles when I collected it, and the oil light came on on the way home, and about every 1000 miles afterwards. I lived with that until 66,000 miles, earlier this year, when I had the chain replaced. It hasn't used a drop since. The garage who did the work said they do loads of these.
Apart from that, the turbo/exhaust heat shield is a massive affair, and stupidly expensive to have properly replaced. So grab hold of it & make sure it's solid. It may not stay that way, but if it starts that way, it's better!
The wastgate linkage can rattle. Does no harm whatsoever, but can sound rough. There's a fix using some VW parts, so a dirt cheap fix to the issue.
The coolant system is another well documented weak point. I've had no issues, but plenty have. Leaks on the rear of the engine.
I've had no oil leaks, no coolant issues, and my car is running a 118i map (it says 114i on the badge). It's a pretty decent drive.
I had a cracked iDrive screen. Again, not an uncommon fault. I replaced it with the newer type (glass to edge) and I've had no issues since.
Also, I added cruise control to mine - you see steering buttons & think 'cruise', but alas all you get as standard is a speed limiter button. Easy job.
The washed jets clogged up recently, due to sludging in the bottom of the tank - but that was a ridiculously easy fix, the hose to the washer jets unclips and you blow into the tank! This dislodges whatever was causing the blockage, so I then emptied the tank by actuating the washers, hose still disconnected, into a jug. I did the same with just water, then refilled the tank with blue additive, not the nasty green halfords stuff - job done.
It's been great though, a decent drive, very reliable, not bad on fuel, and spacious enough too.
Lastly, I'm not sure I would buy a petrol one again; if I was choosing again I'd pick a 118d probably. Ironically I've never had any issues with that supposedly troublesome N47 engine (combined mileage on my 2 of 290,000 miles, both on their original timing chains). But having said that, my 1 series is now sorted & fit for another few miles!

Levi1501

Original Poster:

73 posts

91 months

Tuesday 5th November 2019
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Interesting, thank you for sharing your experience with the N13. Just wondering how it compares to the B38 and if the B38 is worth the extra money?

Touring442

3,096 posts

212 months

Tuesday 5th November 2019
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Oil consumption and chain wear are two separate issues on the N13. Oil usage is down to worn rings and/or glazed bores, very common and especially on Minis for some reason. Chain wear is equally common and by 50k they can be good and rattly. The chain guides aren't quite as bad for breaking up as the N43 but the crank sprocket can wear spectacularly. It was a once good engine made by PSA, 'improved' by BMW and incorporating all the standard BMW N 4 cylinder trouble. Avoid.

There's no real reason to not buy a B47 118d or 120d - they're the best F20's for a economy and performance compromise. They'll eat a petrol for breakfast and do 10-15 mpg more.

BFleming

3,655 posts

146 months

Wednesday 6th November 2019
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Touring442 said:
Oil consumption and chain wear are two separate issues on the N13.
Piston-related wear can & does cause oil consumption, but a worn timing chain is a known cause of excessive oil consumption on the N13 engine. 3000 miles after the timing chain replacement mine hasn't used any oil, whereas it was having frequent top-ups beforehand.

Touring442

3,096 posts

212 months

Wednesday 6th November 2019
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How does a worn timing chain cause oil consumption? Where does the oil go?

BFleming

3,655 posts

146 months

Wednesday 6th November 2019
quotequote all
Touring442 said:
How does a worn timing chain cause oil consumption? Where does the oil go?
It gets burned. Some interesting reading here: https://highwayandheavyparts.com/n-12786-excessive...
The relevant bit says "Timing is incredibly important in the function of engines. When motions are not perfectly harmonized between the valves and pistons, a vacuum can be created that draws large quantities of oil into the combustion chamber, causing very high consumption. One cause that can lead to the timing being off between valves and pistons is worn timing gears, which throw off the valve and crankshaft timing and create a large amount of backlash."

Touring442

3,096 posts

212 months

Wednesday 6th November 2019
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Righto....


What's the vacuum they refer to?

BFleming

3,655 posts

146 months

Thursday 7th November 2019
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Touring442 said:
Righto....


What's the vacuum they refer to?
No idea, you read what I did. I just know that I had a worn chain & oil thirst problem with the N13, I got the chain changed & the oil consumption cleared up. I'm not alone.

botarzsombor

2 posts

51 months

Monday 13th April 2020
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“The wastgate linkage can rattle. Does no harm whatsoever, but can sound rough. There's a fix using some VW parts, so a dirt cheap fix to the issue.”

Hello,
What kind of VW parts are you talking about. Do you have part number or picture maybe? Thanks a lot!

BFleming

3,655 posts

146 months

Monday 13th April 2020
quotequote all
botarzsombor said:
“The wastgate linkage can rattle. Does no harm whatsoever, but can sound rough. There's a fix using some VW parts, so a dirt cheap fix to the issue.”

Hello,
What kind of VW parts are you talking about. Do you have part number or picture maybe? Thanks a lot!
https://www.babybmw.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=114449

bmwmike

7,110 posts

111 months

Monday 13th April 2020
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Mental note to never buy one of these.




botarzsombor

2 posts

51 months

Monday 13th April 2020
quotequote all