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Old 05-16-2020, 10:51 PM   #1
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BMW diesel power

Does anyone have any info, good or bad, on the BMW / Mercruiser 180 hp diesel engine. I'm considering an early 90's vintage Camano 31 with this engine in it. I thought all the early Camano's had Volvo power, so am a bit surprised at this one. Maybe it's been repowered, but the BMW doesn't seem very common. Thoughts ?
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Old 05-17-2020, 07:24 AM   #2
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I don't know much about them, but from what I do know, the basic engine design came from VM Motori, even though they say BMW on them.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:46 AM   #3
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Better check for parts availability. Not many of these around.
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:48 AM   #4
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Correct, it's a VM Motori block. It was known as a BMW tunnel bore because the crankshaft is inside the crankcase. Mercury sold them in the US for a few years before forming an alliance with Cummins. Hino also used the same block, and some parts are interchangeable. Parts are very hard to get. I had a 200hp version in an Albin 28. The air filter was interchangeable with a Yugo. I tried to get a new heat exchanger. The only factory bolt on heat exchanger I could find was used, and the seller wanted $6000 and that was about 7 years ago. At 1400 hours the engine ate a valve (ause unknown), and it took months to find parts (new head, valves, cylinder liner, pistons). I suspect if you need a major service you'll have to replace the engine, although at the time Mercury had one short block in their parts warehouse. I have a Camano now and love it, but if it had a BMW Tunnel Bore I would have stayed clear.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:37 AM   #5
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About five years ago I sea trialed a trawler with one of these engines. It was in rough shape. Turbo was seized from a leaky exhaust mixer, and some other problems. It ran ok (obviously only at lower power due to the turbo). Afterward I did a search to see what parts were available. I don't remember all the details but the conclusion was it was mostly an orphan. Lots of parts simply not available.

The guy ended up buying the boat with a discount and immediately repowered it with a Yanmar.

I would avoid buying a boat with this engine. It may run fine and be in good shape, but it is no fun knowing that you are one part failure away from some mad parts search or a forced repower.

Or get a discount and repower straight away. Or just keep a budget for a repower and run it as long as it keeps going.... Dilemma...
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:52 AM   #6
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There is company called V12 Engineering that buys/sells BMW marine diesel engines. I couldn't find the parts I needed, so I gave him my D50 to resell for parts.


Has a few different websites with bmwmarine; one .org, one .net. May be others. It was confusing.
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