Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

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BW123
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Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Thu May 13, 2021 1:46 pm

Afternoon everyone,

Apologies for posting this here, I'm generally not a fan of joining a forum and immediately creating a thread asking for help, but I'm flummoxed. I've been looking to get hold of an Alpina (E38, E39 or E60-something) for some time now but I'm a fussy buyer and I've been struggling to find a car in the condition I'm after.

I went to view an E60 generation Alpina this week with the N62 V8 and notorious supercharger - I won't specify which model exactly because the car remains for sale and I don't want to be undermining the owner on a public forum. It was broadly a nice car although in need of some love, and I was just about reaching the point where I was determined to go home with it when I noticed - to my horror - there was oil dripping off the bottom of the supercharger. I can't see exactly where it's coming from as the engine bay is properly tight on these and I don't think the owner would have been very happy if I started removing parts.

Of course it's impossible to diagnose without a proper inspection by a mechanic, but never-the-less I'd be very interested what those of you with experience of these rare engines/cars think the possible causes may be. The seller has tried to dismiss the problem as a regular feature of superchargers (excess pressure occasionally forces oil out of a bleed valve or something along these lines) but I am deeply unconvinced to say the least - there's clearly a decent leak coming from somewhere around the sc and running down it. Oil, outside of the engine, is never meant to be there in my experience!

Normally I would just walk away in these circumstances, but these cars are so rare it's not exactly easy to find another.

Sorry about the lengthy post and thanks for your help - hoping to become a contributing member of this community soon.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by CaesarBob » Thu May 13, 2021 1:54 pm

Welcome to the forum! Sorry, I don't have any technical experience of the H1 engines but there are plenty here who do, so i'm sure you'll get some help in the near future.

Out of interest which particular B5 are you looking at? There aren't many for sale, got a link to the advert?
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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Thu May 13, 2021 2:05 pm

Thank you! I've been looking forward to joining for some time, although I was hoping it would be with a post about my shiny new car, rather than a request for technical help.

I appreciate many on here will be curious to know which particular car is under discussion, but the owner is a decent guy and has been helpful, and I wouldn't want to slate his car when he isn't here to defend it.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by PhillV8S » Thu May 13, 2021 2:43 pm

If the oil is coming from the casing then it looks like numerous O rings will have failed, this would need to be addressed. If it is coming from where the charger meets the block then I wouldn’t be so worried as this is just the oil feed to the charger and these O rings would be easy to replace.
It is most likely to be the former though so not good. You would want to remove the bottom hose of the intercooler or remove the intake pipe upstream and see if you can see oil inside the charger to see if there is any oil passing the vanes.
The good news is there is a chap who will happily refurbish your charger or even upgrade it for a lot less than a replacement will cost so not as painful as it used to be financially speaking.
This is his site. https://thecrazydiyengineer.com/
Search the forum as there are plenty of threads about these cars here.
If you can use it a negotiating tool to reduce your purchase cost and you were otherwise happy with the cars condition then maybe the car will be still worth pursuing.
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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Thu May 13, 2021 3:03 pm

Thanks Phil, very extensive and knowledgeable reply. I've been following the crazydiyengineer's work for a while now and it's one of the factors that's convinced me to risk H1 ownership.

Out of interest have you ever heard of the seals/o-rings on the casing failing? This is exactly what threw me - I know the internal seal is well known for failing, but I was surprised to see oil on the outside of the supercharger. I'm hoping to go back soon and take a closer look to try and find the source of the leak.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by PhillV8S » Thu May 13, 2021 4:26 pm

Yes I have seen oil leak from around the casing before, although usually it leaks internally letting oil pass into the intake tract. I would budget for a refurb and price your offer accordingly.
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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Thu May 13, 2021 4:59 pm

Noted, thank you.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by Norrie » Sat May 15, 2021 11:23 am

If its a private sale and the seller is not a trader or dealer then its a real case of buyer beware. If its the opposite then there are consumer protection rights. However, I think if I went to see any vehicle that I felt was in any way defective I would give it a miss or make sure the potential expensive of rectification was reflected in the purchase price.

There is always a lot of discussion about the reliability of these chargers, mine lasted 70K miles, so if your vehicle is not an everyday driver then it could be fine for 10 years as mine was. One specific person had a B5S and superchargers were replaced more often than a set of wiper blades.
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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Sat May 15, 2021 7:25 pm

Thanks Norrie. It certainly rang alarm bells for me - never-the-less, I like the car and - perhaps contrary to good sense - am still trying to work something out with the seller.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by Norrie » Sat May 15, 2021 10:30 pm

There is no right or wrong, its a choice for the individual purchaser to make their risk assessment. Maybe speak to one of the recommended Indy service companies mentioned on here and see if they will inspect at their premises or at the vendors. They may change foe this, my supercharger was GBP 4700 plus vat plus labour as supplied and fitted by a main dealer. I did not pay it has I have extended fully comprehensive BMW warranty on a 15 year old car.
E65 B7 4.4 V8 supercharged No 106 (1 of 7 in UK) - purely for pleasure
E 39 523i for winter and track day - leave it anywhere
E92 325i - written off by X5 I was not driving!
E92 335D Twin Turbo - sold to Sytner Alpina
E 60 - 525D new - sold to Cooper BMW
E 60 - 530D new - sold at auction
E 39 - 520i new - sold at auction
E 30 - 316i new Touring - sold at auction

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Sun May 16, 2021 7:34 pm

Thanks to the good advice received here - and having spoken to a couple of excellent specialists - I'm proceeding on the basis that the supercharger is most likely at the end of its life - and it will be a pleasant surprise if it isn't. Just waiting to see if the seller will accept my offer or not.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by PhillV8S » Sun May 16, 2021 8:57 pm

Good luck and hope you manage to get the car. Remember to come back if/when you are in the Alpina club. They are great cars and the H1 engine is just a powerhouse.
Last edited by PhillV8S on Sun May 16, 2021 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Sun May 16, 2021 9:58 pm

Much appreciated guys. If I do manage to get it, I'll absolutely be starting a thread charting my progress.

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by B5s_Touring » Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:29 am

BW123 wrote:
Sun May 16, 2021 9:58 pm
Much appreciated guys. If I do manage to get it, I'll absolutely be starting a thread charting my progress.
Did you ever make the purchase chap? Be great to know

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Re: Alpina B5/B6 - Oil on outside of supercharger

Post by BW123 » Thu Jun 03, 2021 11:19 am

B5s_Touring wrote:
Wed Jun 02, 2021 12:29 am
Did you ever make the purchase chap? Be great to know
Sadly not, couldn't get a price which reflected the condition. The search continues.

Appreciate the help from everyone on here.

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