I think I’m like most gearheads in that I really enjoy lengthy, detailed car rebuild videos. The longer the video, the better, and if they’re in a series, it’s like finding streaming gold. What fascinates me most is learning about the engineering behind every build. Because wrenching is so packed with fine mechanical details, it’s fun and therapeutic to watch fellow automotive nerds demonstrate a task that requires all the precision in the world, like Sreten of M539 Productions building a BMW N63 4.4-liter V8 for his Alpina B7 restoration project.
For those who aren’t in the know, this channel is the epitome of attention to detail mixed with entertaining and sometimes hilarious instruction. I blogged about this a year ago, butut Sreten newest work with an immensely complicated N63 is next-level stuff.
The above video is part four in a series of detailed installments that focus on his trials and tribulations since purchasing this cheap executive express monster from Chicago. He’s in Hamburg, Germany, but even when factoring in the added cost of shipping the thing to Europe, $4,000 is still a steal. Though, a steal with one hell of an asterisk, as rebuilding an N63 to nearly the same spec as Alpina is no thrifty proposition. It’s not any N63, by the way, as Alpina fits a massive blower to it from the factory to make 500 horsepower and 517 pound-feet of torque.
The series begins with him taking delivery, and after getting it running and taking it for a light spin around the shop, something isn’t right. The car seems to generally run well, but there’s an odd noise, and something seems off. Sure enough, after tinkering and investigating, there’s scoring in several of the cylinders, and the entire engine needs rebuilding.
He could’ve sent it to Alpina to be rebuilt, but that would’ve cost a metric fuckton of money. He could’ve also had a shop rebuild it, but where’s the fun in that? As it turns out, he got a line on a shop in his home country of Serbia that does high-quality work for far less that it would cost in Germany, so he saved an immense amount of cash.
The previous videos in the series are important for context, but this fourth one is true car nerd therapy. It’s long, but it shows every step that Sreten takes to ensure his engine is as precision-assembled as possible. Checking clearances, using plastigauge, following exact torque specs, cleaning, assembling, and cleaning… it’s all fascinating. He also takes time to describe exactly what he’s doing, taking a big chunk of mystery out of it for prospective engine rebuilders.
This video is a great watch, super informative, and chicken soup for the DIY wrencher’s soul. It also puts things in perspective. If one were inclined to acquire the proper tools, thoroughly study the process, and take plenty of time to do it, they could do this themselves in their own garage. Though, it also puts wrenching in perspective: I’ll never be scared of doing something as simple as flushing a power fluid steering system ever again, as I recently did on my 2011 BMW 128i.
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