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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 03:42:28 AM   #1
E46M3ZCPILB
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Default Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

I am working on valves + vanos on my S54 and I cannot turn my crankshaft past a certain point anymore as it becomes jammed at about 1/2 turn clockwise and counterclockwise. I am suspecting the timing got messed up and valves are hitting and getting stuck. I did the seals portion of the Beisan procedure and adjusted the exhaust side valves (all of them needed adjustment but 1 cylinder's) I am using 0.011in - 0.013in as my range. Not touched intake valves.

What I am uncertain is as I didn't untighten any of the hub bolts yet or touched the timing chain, how would my timing get messed up like that ?

My vanos is removed. I noticed the splined shaft on the intake side was out -came out by itself, so I removed it completely. Would it be that ? Can I disturb the timing with the timing chain on and the cam hub fully bolted ?

What should I do? I was thinking I would proceed with the hub bolt portion of the Beisan procedure and adjust/reset timing with the BMW tool and after that I should be able to turn the crankshaft a full cycle again. I also have a small camera endoscope I can put a down the spark plug holes but I kept towels in there to make sure nothing would fall so I'm not expecting there's anything...

Thanks !

Last edited by E46M3ZCPILB; Tue, Jul-10-2018 at 04:26:22 AM.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 04:19:53 AM   #2
bigjae1976
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

I believe you need to reinstall the VANOS. Or at least the splines shafts. Otherwise the cams won’t turn with the chain sprockets...I think.


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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 04:50:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

I encountered the same thing. I removed vanos and re-installed it from the start and I think I may have gotten the timing wrong on the first time and the piston are hitting the valves. you may be doing the same thing. just remove the vanos and start over and just do it slowly don't rush it.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 11:13:28 AM   #4
E46M3ZCPILB
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

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Originally Posted by erickrayos View Post
I encountered the same thing. I removed vanos and re-installed it from the start and I think I may have gotten the timing wrong on the first time and the piston are hitting the valves. you may be doing the same thing. just remove the vanos and start over and just do it slowly don't rush it.
Had you removed or untightened the cam hubs ? I only removed a splined shaft. What would likely explain my timing getting so much off when the chain is still on and tightened and the cam hubs are screwed on ?

I'm trying to understand how and why timing got off, but I will definitely reset it later and hope it will solve my problem...

Another of my suspicions : I have turned the crankshaft many times counterclockwise. The chain may have skipped a tooth or two, but I never noticed anything suggesting this while turning the crankshaft (sudden loss of resistance at the crank or "clicking" noise).

Last edited by E46M3ZCPILB; Tue, Jul-10-2018 at 11:44:33 AM.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 12:14:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I believe you need to reinstall the VANOS. Or at least the splines shafts. Otherwise the cams won’t turn with the chain sprockets...I think.
Yep. The splined shafts connect the chain gears/hubs to the cams. If removed and you turn the crank, the timing is now off and the valves will hit the pistons.

Get the crank back to TDC, then go another 30 degress or so counter clockwise. This lowers all of the pistons for valve clearance. You can now turn the cams with the wrench and lock them in place with the bridge. Move the crank back to TDC and follow the Beisan instructions to reinstall vanos and time engine.

Make sure you are inserting the right splines, good video
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 12:38:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

That "finding the sweet tooth" procedure is worthless. There's no need to do it, the range of the VANOS system is not dependent on that.

Before you removed VANOS did you have the lobes of cyl 1 pointed at each other? If they're not, even though the crank timing mark lines up, you'll be 180deg from TDC, and then you'll start running into problems like this.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 02:35:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

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That "finding the sweet tooth" procedure is worthless. There's no need to do it, the range of the VANOS system is not dependent on that.

Before you removed VANOS did you have the lobes of cyl 1 pointed at each other? If they're not, even though the crank timing mark lines up, you'll be 180deg from TDC, and then you'll start running into problems like this.
Thanks, I appreciate the useful information.

I had the lobes pointing at each other as I followed the beisan procedure for vanos removal, but while my vanos was off I did the valve adjustment so I turned the crank clockwise and counterclockwise quite a bit and the lobes were no longer pointing at each other. At some point the intake side splined shaft also sliped out by itself. I also manually rotated the camshaft (very slightly), trying to get it back to turn so I could continue my valve adjustment while rebuilding the vanos. This was probably a mistake.

How would you suggest resetting the timing now ? Should I follow the timing adjusment procedure in the anti rattle procedure from Beisan ? I have the timing special tools and I'm about to change the cam hub bolts and chain guide so I would have to adjust the timing anyways.

Last edited by E46M3ZCPILB; Tue, Jul-10-2018 at 02:42:23 PM.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 02:38:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

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Originally Posted by Jonnie86 View Post
That "finding the sweet tooth" procedure is worthless. There's no need to do it, the range of the VANOS system is not dependent on that.
That's not my experience. I've seen the impact on a dyno, with my car. You can also physically test it just by pushing the spline in and out with the hub loose.... There are splines that limit the movement, there are splines that have full movement.

I think you are saying that the limited range doesn't matter because the actual range the vanos needs is less? That could be true for a stock tune (I've never tested), but definitely not true for a tuned car. The wrong spline will 100% limit the range of the vanos, limiting the potential HP at high RPM.
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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 02:54:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

You can NOT do valve adjustment in the middle of vanos work. You need to do one first then the other, not both.

By removing the intake spline you disassociated the timing. Starting from the chain, the chain connects the sprocket on the crank (which rotates the conrods and pistons) to gear sprockets on the cams, those cam sprockets are connected to the hubs, the hubs interact with the splines inside of them via helical gears, the splines interact with the cams via the straight gears, the cams interact with the valves. Now that the link between the hub and spline is removed, the cam is free to rotate independent of the crank and pistons, even if you didn't remove the chain.

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Old Tue, Jul-10-2018, 03:04:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually

Here is a thread of someone doing a valve adjustment while also doing vanos... I walked him through the procedure of setting it back. The thread also has a lot of explanations of inner workings of the engine, like just because your crank tdc hole/pin lines up, 1st cyl might not be at proper tdc because crank rotates 2x for every cam rotation, and so 1st cyl cam lobes will not be pointing at each other at 45 degrees when crank pin lines up (they will be 180 degrees out), etc.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=593360

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Last edited by mrgizmo04; Tue, Jul-10-2018 at 03:08:08 PM.
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Discussing Valve adjustment + vanos work : Engine locks when turned manually in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)