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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 Wed, Nov-28-2012, 02:16:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

Carrillo all the way!!
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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 02:54:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

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Originally Posted by Chris22 View Post
By the time your done buying the K1 rods and doing the machine work on them its not even really worth it. Carrillo and Pauter both make a off the shelf set of rods.
First of all, kudos OP for taking the initiative to do the research, & for exploring other possible options & bringing them to light! I'm not much into the import stuff, so I can't comment to as to the quality of the K1 rods...but like all aftermarket parts, Chinese or otherwise, you usually get what you pay for. I do have firsthand experience w/Chinese manufactured internals for other motors...w/mixed results. I've seen crankshafts that were out of taper, stroke out by as much as .015", etc., etc...but I've also seen some stuff that was pretty good out of the box requiring minimal machining. It's a crapshoot!

I would personally be more wary of the extra machining steps involved in preparing the rods than the rods themselves. Anytime that you machine something, you impart additional stress on the metal, and if edges/contours aren't relieved properly you can wind up with an expensive pile of scrap metal. Also, IMO, anytime that you introduce additional 'touches'...you run the risk of making machining errors. I'm kinda' in agreement w/the quote above.

That being said, any competent machine shop should be able to perform the work that you outlined (problem is finding those competent shops/machinists). However, good machine shops typically don't work for cheap, unless you have a 'hook up'. I didn't really look over your specs too hard, but just be mindful of your clearances, and getting too thin on your cross sections.

FWIW, I've seen some other stroker kits come to market recently in the $4k range (supposedly using high quality forgings), but I can't frickin' remember where...think I saw where Jaws Motorsports was offering one and I made a reference to another one over on E46fanatics. (If I get real motivated, I'll go look it up.)
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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 03:20:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

Thanks for the article, I've scanned it, should be an interesting read, the way Nascar and F1 go about making power couldn't be much different!
I'll not put any Chinese made parts in an engine for years yet based on where they appear to be in the cost/quality curve. And in particular I'd never use a Chinese bearing. I am a manufacturing engineer, know the history on how Japan and the US came to top notch quality; S Korea is well on their way. Honestly, China appears low and slow on this learning curve considering how much they manufacture.
But you mention many alternatives, so maybe a non-Chinese maker has good price performance.

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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 04:35:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

I always like it when members look outside the box for solutions to problems or overpriced parts, we all know that last one too well. I look forward to seeing where discussion goes.
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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 01:43:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

Thanks for all the replies fellas.

I want you guys to understand that the intent of the thread is not to advocate a certain brand or manufacture, but to help identify possible platforms that pose the best option for con rod interchangeability. I guess the silver lining is that it happens to be a platform with strong and abundant aftermarket support.

With that being said rods from manufacturers such as K1 (owned by Wiseco), Scat, Manley, etc. DO get their forged blanks from China. However keep in mind that final machining and testing take place here. For me it really boils down to, "do I entrust my engines reliability to the manufacturing criteria of the company I'm buying rods from"? Based on the conditions for which I'm building the motor, my cost to risk assessment of catastrophic engine failure due to alternative rods is pretty low. To each his own though .

As far as the work involved, consider the conditions under which you would be swapping out rods. At that point in the game you're most likely committed to a full engine rebuild/refresh. Just because you decide to go with Carillo or Pauter doesn't define the process of installing them as a "drop-in" affair. At least in a quality & meticulous engine build, and most of you guys seem to be quite meticulous with these cars.

So breaking it down, you're looking at having the rotating assembly balanced no matter which rods you choose. Assuming you have a crank whose journals don't require reconditioning, at the very least you'd still want some polish work done. Removing the amount of material required to retrofit these rods, I believe, is well within the boundaries of a resurface/polishing job, and not necessarily a full-on regrind as if you were trying to offset the journal for a stroker. From a machine shop perspective I'd imagine there is a considerable price margin difference between the two. If the rods were to need some work, at the very most you'd might be looking at just having the big ends honed, which is what I had to do to a set of Eagles I installed in my 2JZ some years ago. However, in this application you're already having journal work done so really no need to worry about honing.

Another scenario that may pose some apprehension to some would be the fact that your not using a "matched set" of rods (or at least 2 of them won't be). I look at it from the standpoint that most variances in weight have a direct correlation to tool wear and time of manufacture. A set of rods machined on a mill using a cutting tool with 20-50 hours is obviously going to be more closely matched than pairing them with rods machined by a tool with 100-200 hours. Again, to me, really not that big of a concern and can be ironed out during balancing.

Pistons are really a no-brainer and can be ordered with the correct pin and bore, granted you're not buying an off-the-shelf set. Really not much of a huge mark-up from this stand point.

I think the work and money involved is worth the effort of shaving over a kilo of weight from the rotating assembly. Personally I'm looking at going the supercharger route and any increase in engine responsiveness, as well as added strength is a big plus.
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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 10:14:49 PM   #16
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My extremely fundamental knowledge of engine design tells me that lighter rotating mass allows higher RPM. Is this true? What good is this, however, if there's an RPM-cutoff and/or other parts limit the redline?

What are the other benefits? More power? Responsiveness in what sense - how fast the engine revs? How noticeable would 1kg be?
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Old Wed, Nov-28-2012, 10:59:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

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Originally Posted by Kalahari View Post
My extremely fundamental knowledge of engine design tells me that lighter rotating mass allows higher RPM. Is this true? What good is this, however, if there's an RPM-cutoff and/or other parts limit the redline?
Redline is usually limited by either valvesprings or how long you want the rod bearings to last, I'm not sure on the S54. I think a few people have done 9k redlines. If you can rev there reliably, the horsepower band in each gear is higher. Probably not the best idea for a street motor but I can't say for sure.
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Old Thu, Nov-29-2012, 01:42:59 AM   #18
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

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Redline is usually limited by either valvesprings or how long you want the rod bearings to last, I'm not sure on the S54. I think a few people have done 9k redlines. If you can rev there reliably, the horsepower band in each gear is higher. Probably not the best idea for a street motor but I can't say for sure.
Agreed, right on Hal! Redline is determined first by valvetrain, and then needs a rotating assembly capable of withstanding those types of speeds/forces. The higher the rpms, the quicker things like bearings will wear out...I still find it amazing though that we beat on these cars as hard as most of us do, and we're getting 150+k mi. out of these bearings-incredible!
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Old Thu, Nov-29-2012, 02:32:26 AM   #19
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

i did an S54 with pauter rods, NASCAR bearings, reground crank (in-house!) and JE pistons..... twas pretty neat


if yall want something similar lemme know, ill get ya set up
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Old Thu, Nov-29-2012, 02:37:02 AM   #20
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Default Re: Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion

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i did an S54 with pauter rods, NASCAR bearings, reground crank (in-house!) and JE pistons..... twas pretty neat


if yall want something similar lemme know, ill get ya set up
Dude, you can't throw that out there, and not give us more details! How long ago, head work, cams, final displacement, dyno graphs, etc., etc...???
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Discussing Forged Con-Rod Alternative - Discussion 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)