BMW M44 Engine Technical Information (1996)

By · January 13, 2014 · 17 comments

The M44 engine was introduced at the beginning of 1996. Based on the M42 engine, the M44's larger displacement is the result of boring and stroking the cylinder dimensions of the M42. Although peak power remains unchanged from the M42, the M44 boasts an improvement of 5 Newton-metres of peak torque at an engine speed 200 rpm lower than its predecessor.

Changes from M42 to M44 are as follows:

1. The crankshaft is now a spheroidal-cast type with four counterweights instead of a forged steel type with eight counterweights
2. Connecting rods and pistons were redesigned for improved NVH
3. Conical valve springs were used in place of cylindrical valve springs
4. The upper valve plate has been reduced in size
5. Balance weights in the camshafts were now cast with the camshafts themselves
6. The timing chain tensioner was redesigned to reduce wear
7. The DME engine management system changed from M1.7 to M5.2
8. Induction roar has been reduced by adoption of a sound-insulating cross-flow hose in the intake system as well as an intake silencer

The new engine is said to be quieter and more fuel efficient as well as offering significantly enhanced torque. Friction in the valve train has been reduced by 70% over the M42 engine.

BMW M44 engien cutaway drawing
Read more...
E36

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Comments (17)

# Posted by brandon · April 11, 2014

I have had two BMW 318iS's with this engine and it is very reliable and free reving four, it really is a "short six". Although the M42 that came before it had some teething problems(the M44 is really a much different engine) BMW engineers truly addressed them. I have heard of the rear water hose/tube failing needing engine removal. I've got upwards of 300,000 miles with no leaking or failures here, perhaps lucky. But I also replace all the cars fluids often such as the coolant. I HAVE had coking(carbon) buildup in the various intake controls. Making sure your secondary air pump and valve is good is important for keeping oil vapours coming back up the intake.

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brandon
# Posted by John · April 11, 2014

I have had the dreaded failure of the rear plastic water pipe. It happened at 245,000km and fortunately was noticed when the transmission was out so was easy to access.

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John
# Posted by Geoffery Dean Jackson · June 23, 2014

You don't have to remove the engine or the transmission to get access to the rear pipe. I recently replaced mine (in conduction with every other pipe/hose in the cooling / HVAC system) and I found that removing the valve cover (with ignition wires) will allow your hands to reach around the head and gain access to the plastic rear water pipe. A standard 10mm combination wrench is all you need.

Word of warning: Some aftermarket manufacturers of this water pipe may include a o-ring, which on mine was incorrect in size. If your water pipe does not want to go back in, no matter the effort or creative metaphors uttered, your o-ring is probably too large. An easy fix, but size accordingly. The o-ring should fit in the o-ring groove with a tiny bit of gap (0.25mm or so). This allows the o-ring to move slightly and the fluid pressure pushes the o-ring against the block and the o-ring land. This is the proper way for a o-ring seal to work, not buy squeezing the ever-loving-crap out of it.

Best of luck, and with some gently persuasion, this is not as hard as it sounds. Just takes some careful measuring of the o-ring and some deep breaths.

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Geoffery Dean Jackson
# Posted by John · June 23, 2014

Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know that this is possible.

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John
# Posted by Geoffery Dean Jackson · June 24, 2014

Anytime! Always nice to meet another E36 owner and enthusiast!

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Geoffery Dean Jackson
# Posted by CHRIS WRIGHT · August 26, 2014

I replaced timing chain, tensioner and guides on my m42 engine. it was 14 days ago. when finished car switches on but engine do not turn. it is a automatig and gear position is in park.

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CHRIS WRIGHT
# Posted by John Avis · August 26, 2014

Hopefully it's something simple for you, Chris. Maybe post a message on www.m42club.com or one of the other BMW forums for some advice if you haven't already.

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John Avis
# Posted by zack hamz · September 18, 2014

my 318i e36 1996 is overheating. after changing the head gasket it still overheat and the exhaust is pumping boob boob sound not the normal purr sound.it only happens after engine is warm but at cold start its ok. the expansion tank starts leaking after the engine is heated up after driving for 30 minutes. have changed the waterpump, radiator fan switcht, hermostat, tensioner and all the beltings. what u think is the problem

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zack hamz
# Posted by John Avis · September 18, 2014

You should ask your question on a forum like eurocca.net (Australia) or bimmerforums.com (USA) or bimmerforums.co.uk (UK) where you will get a lot more answers than you will asking here. Maybe there is a blockage in your cooling system? Can you feel pressure on both radiator hoses when it gets warm?

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John Avis
# Posted by Darryl Edwards · November 24, 2014

The same thing happened to me.It ended up being the electric fan. it died and I had to have the head shaved and replace new gasket. Try turning on your AC and see if the fan will turn on. My fan did not turn on. Hope this helps.

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Darryl Edwards
# Posted by Elaine · September 28, 2014

I am considering buying an 1995 320i which has had an M44 engine upgrade. Can you see any particular issues with this sort of engine upgrade? Any problems I should be looking out for?

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Elaine
# Posted by John · September 28, 2014

That is an unusual engine transplant... from a 2.0 litre 6 cylinder engine to a 1.9 litre 4 cylinder! There are a few issues with transplanting later engines with OBD2 and the EWS security system into the earlier cars. If buying a car with a engine transplant you never really know what you are getting. There could be troubles. Can you find out who did the transplant and make sure they are a reputable shop who know BMWs well. Otherwise it might be a bit of a risk.

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John
# Posted by Elaine · September 30, 2014

Hi John,

Thanks for your response. I thought as much!! Unfortunately it is a very tough job to find a BMW in Malaysia at the lower price range and manual which hasn't had an engine transplant, believe it or not. It seems to generally be the case here that they've tried to upgrade the 3 series with Vanos engines eg M50 and have failed miserably. Lots of DIY jobs, bad advice and bodge it jobs it would appear. I have actually gone back to the drawing board and reverted to looking at 3 series with original engines which doesn't leave me with much choice. I am now looking at a 94 318i Hamann edition. Any thoughts on this? Do you know which model of engine this car would have M42 or M43 I can't work it out. I highly doubt it's a US edition, either built in Malaysia or imported from the UK. I don't suppose you know if there's anyway i can tell if the engine's been overhaulded do you? They may provide me with a receipt for this work (which I am yet to see) but being Malaysia you can't trust anything!!! The joys of buying a car in a foreign country ;0)

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Elaine
# Posted by John · September 30, 2014

I haven't heard of a Hamman Edition, but here in Australia the '94 model 318i had the M40 engine, which doesn't have a great reputation for reliability. US models would have had a M42 which is a great engine. No way of knowing really if an overhaul has been done other than looking for tell tale signs of sealant used where gaskets have been replaced, but would be hard to tell when. If you can get the VIN number you can look up the engine type on realoem.com.

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John
# Posted by Michael · May 6, 2015

I loved the M44 engine.
My loved e36 18is coupe with The very reliable M44 engine was a joy to own.
This e36 coupe with the m44 engine never failed to start in 11,years even with the battery on its last breath the M44 still started. The car had normal servicing and run on 10w,40 magnetic all the 11,years and 200,000 miles before I sold her. all she had was, brakes,tires, wipers,coil,pack exhaust manifold and good general servicing.
This ownership was pure joy.... :-)

The car before the above was the e30 m40 16cc engine (dreadful)
The BMW M40 ENGINE was a nightmare, slow, harsh and was known for timing bet failure, the M40 ENGINE was the only BMW engine with a valve timing belt and it was prone to snapping. I had to rebuild my M40 engine myself.

My now! BMW e90 20d, has been great so far, however, swirl flap removal is a must on theses diesel engines as they fail and destroy the engine.
I highly recommend you remove the swirl-flaps from the inlet manifold.
And clean the EGR valve for time to time,
Thank you.

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Michael
# Posted by Ikenna Pascal · June 1, 2015

I bought a e36 bmw with m50 engine.It consumes a lot of fuel ⛽ but moves fast.I want to change it to the same engine capacity and sitting and less fuel ⛽ consumption one. Please which one should I choose among m44, s52,m52 or m54?

Reply

Ikenna Pascal
# Posted by Ikenna Pascal · June 1, 2015

I bought a e36 bmw with m50 engine.It consumes a lot of fuel ⛽ but moves fast.I want to change it to the same engine capacity and sitting and less fuel ⛽ consumption one. Please which one should I choose among m44, s52,m52 or m54?

Reply

Ikenna Pascal
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About me
John Avis I am a bit of a 3 series fanatic, having owned a couple of E30s and a few E36s, plus a few parts cars. I like the combination of the compact size, good performance and handling, and that they are more sports sedan than an impractical and extrovert sports car. This blog is a place to share my experience and knowledge.
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