How to Identify a BMW Engine

by Jasey Kelly

Identifying the engine on your BMW assists you if you need to replace the engine or various parts of your power plant or have them repaired. It will also aid the mechanic or other person looking for your parts if you have given them the complete engine code and VIN number. While the identification codes are a series of numbers and letters and may seem confusing, breaking down the codes into their meanings also pays off.

Find the identification code for the engine and power plant of your BMW. Each engine has a special place for this code as determined by the factory. The first line is the engine identification code, the second is the engine number and the third is the part number.

Write down the code. The code consists of a series of letters and numbers which tell various aspects of your engine. In the example code: 39 8 D 1, the first two numbers, "39", indicate displacement; "8" indicates the number of cylinders; "D" indicates concept and "1" indicates differentiation concept. For the concept code, the following lists each code and interpretation: "D" stands for diesel; "E" stands for fuel injection; "K" stands for catalytic converter; "S" stands for 4-valve technology; "T" stands for turbo and "V" stands for carburetor.

Look at the power plant identification code. This code contains the engine production code followed by variant and new or remanufactured codes. For example, the power plant identification code for the above example may be 39 8 D 1 01 A. The "01" indicates the variant and the "A" indicates a remanufactured part. Had an "N" replaced the "A," the part would be new.

Search for the VIN of your BMW. BMWs list the VIN on the left side of the dash looking in through the windshield or in the right inner fender. The fourth through eighth number in the VIN indicate features including the engine type.

Tip

  • check When ordering new parts, always compare your current engine code to that of the new one.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera BMW Fronto image by crossgolfing from Fotolia.com