Workhorse Engine of the Day: BMW M30

Illustration for article titled Workhorse Engine of the Day: BMW M30

First of all, thanks for all the great Workhorse Engine of the Day suggestions, everyone- we'll be working down the list, so keep the ideas coming and don't get upset if your favorite engine hasn't appeared yet. Today we're going over to Europe (thanks to the suggestion of PatrickAustin) to take a look at the venerable BMW M30 engine. Built in various displacements for nearly 30 years, the Bavarian über-six-banger powered a bunch of our favorite BMWs, ranging from our last DOTS BMW to the '94 730i. And while we're at it, we'd like to thank Wikipedia for boasting so many must-read engine pages that, once lured in, you might as well forget about working for the rest of the day. [Wikipedia]

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The BMW is a great engine, but is it a workhorse? As pointed out above, you need synthetic oil, lots of fussy adjustments and TLC to keep going. The Ford flathead, almost any of the I6's from GM, Ford, Chrysler and AMC, Chevy SB (and the B&S one lunger) were not only great engines, but were workhorses because they ran no matter what and needed little attention. The Chevy I6 was designed to run on 1 quart of oil since they figured it was going to be owned by folks that didn't know cars and didn't have a pile of money to maintain them. I have gotten a flathead V8 running that had been sitting for a decade with new plugs, filing the points a bit of fresh gas down the carb. Try running a BMW on one quart, or resurrecting one after sitting for a long time.