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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 Mon, Jan-11-2016, 05:12:18 AM   #1
PencilGeek
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Default Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

In the next few months, there should be some rod bearing relief for the S54 buys. For those not familiar, over on the S65, we've got a rod bearing problems, namely too little clearance. Motors were blowing more often that we thought they should whether they were bone stock or modified.

There were many attempts to mitigate the problem. Some added Calico coating to factory bearings. Though they are a very nice non-friction coating, they add approximately 0.0005 inch thickness to the set, thereby reducing clearance by this amount (not good).

Next we tried WPC treating. This is also non-friction, but unlike Calico coating, WPC is a treatment much like shot-peening and it decreases clearance approximately 0.00015 inch. It's not much, but it's something. The problem with WPC treatment are the factory bearings themselves.

The factory bearings for S65 are Glyco BiMetal Aluminum. The original S65 bearings were made by Clevite and were a very nice TriMetal lead-copper design. The lead-copper is soft, embeddable, easy on the cranks, and easy to track in Blackstone (or similar) oil analysis. The Glyco bimetal bearings are approximately 4x harder on the surface than the Clevite bearings they replaced. They are not soft, they are not embeddable, and cannot be traced in Blackstone oil analysis. When you spin one of these bearings, the usually damage the crankshaft pretty quickly and very badly.

So over on the S65, a couple of us got together and contracted Clevite to custom make some rod bearings for us. It's a very nice design of TriMetal (lead-copper), and includes the Clevite branded TriArmor non-friction coating built onto the bearing directly from the manufacturer. We added a little extra clearance to fix the clearance problems of the S65.

We called these bearings "BE Bearings" and you can read about them at the BE Bearings web site: http://www.bebearings.com.

Since we introduced this bearing, we've received many calls asking if we would do the same thing for the S54. Then last week, Clevite themselves told me they have been receiving calls for low quantity S54 bearings production runs (lower quantity than they will make). Clevite asked if we would be interested in working with them to design the S54 replacement bearing. Since we had already been considering it and I had even begin collecting the specifications, with Clevite themselves pushing us to do it, that's all I needed to hear.

I talked to the BE Bearing partners, and they agreed we should move forward with the design of the S54 rod bearing. So tonight, I finished writing up the specifications and sent them over to Clevite. Hopefully, within six months we will see our first batch of custom Clevite S54 rod bearings.

Here's a few of the specifications I can share with you.

Manufacturer: Mahle-Clevite
Material: TriMetal (steel, lead-copper, babbit)
Coating: Clevite TriArmor (R)
Target Clearance: 0.0020 inch (including coating)

I believe our initial production run will be 125 sets (1500 shells). I will probably take six months before the first bearings arrive.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 05:23:00 AM   #2
///3Mojo
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

Great news. I'm very interested, my engine is now at125k, so soon I will have to redo the bottom.
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 05:31:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

I want to share the "Anatomy" of the BE Bearings. The construction is called Tri-Metal. That means there's a steel metal backing, topped with lead-copper alloy, topped with a babbit alloy (three metals). BE added the Clevite "TriArmor®" non-friction coating to reduce friction and wear during start ups and low oil pressure situations. BE Bearings were designed with this coating in mind, so you don't have to worry about the thickness of the coating reducing your bearing clearances. BE gives you the extra clearance and low-friction coating in all of their bearings.



Here's what that looks like in an actual BE Bearing. BE sanded this bearing down to show what each layer looks like.

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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 05:36:06 AM   #4
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

Suscribed!

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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 05:52:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

Awesome! Definitely picking up a set. Will they be available for pre order?
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 06:56:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

So since the S54 bearings never changed materials, the main advantage to these would be the coating and clearance change, correct? And how are you determining that 0.0020 inch is appropriate?
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 10:35:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

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Originally Posted by terraphantm View Post
So since the S54 bearings never changed materials, the main advantage to these would be the coating and clearance change, correct? And how are you determining that 0.0020 inch is appropriate?
common rule of thumb is 0.00075-0.001" per 1" of shaft diameter
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 01:23:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

Sub'd! I am in the market for some bearings, planning on doing the bottom end as well soon.
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 03:13:39 PM   #9
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

This is great news PencilGeek

I found the Official S65 Bearing Specification/Clearance Wiki to be invaluable information. Don't know if you were involved in that or not.
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Old Mon, Jan-11-2016, 03:23:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54

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Originally Posted by SliM3 View Post
This is great news PencilGeek

I found the Official S65 Bearing Specification/Clearance Wiki to be invaluable information. Don't know if you were involved in that or not.
He's the creater!

Good job Robert, I hope to get these into my S65 soon!
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Discussing Custom Clevite Rod Bearings for S54 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)