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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 Thu, Apr-13-2017, 08:29:53 PM   #1
BergA
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Default Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

Hi all,

This past weekend I picked up a project E46 M3 with a blown engine. My hobby is to buy blown-engine cars and rebuild the motors and resell them for small profits. I've wanted an E46 M3 for a long time, so that tempted me to jump in on this rather un-lucrative project possibility.

The Car
  • Price: $4,000
  • 213k miles (ouch)
  • 6MT
  • Coupe
  • Paint 7/10
  • Interior 7/10 (center console is worn, otherwise interior is quite nice)
  • Engine issue: VANOS bolts sheared, sending engine out of time

The issue with this project car is the mileage. Even in perfect running condition it's probably only worth $5-6k; there just isn't very much upside. So, I need to be very strategic about how to complete the repair.

Option 1 - bare minimum
I could probably get this thing running again for about $700; VANOS repair, replace bent valves, replace head gasket.

Option 2 - full engine rebuild
I'm very tempted to go all-out and give this engine a second life. For probably another $1000 over Option 1, I could do new main bearings, rod bearings, rings, valve seals, etc. It would also be nice to do some common sense work while I'm in there -- shifter linkage, water pump, thermostat, respray/replace interior plastics, etc.

For now I'm working on pulling the engine. It and the transmission are coated in a film of nasty grime due to a leaking oil pan, and I really want to pressure wash everything. I figure once I go through the entire engine I'll have a better idea of what is worthwhile to refresh.
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Last edited by BergA; Thu, Apr-13-2017 at 09:00:56 PM.
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Old Thu, Apr-13-2017, 08:35:54 PM   #2
nbriggs1988
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

I was in similar shoes as you last year, and I was fortunately guided in the right direction and bought a used longblock and swapped it in instead of going down the rabbit hole of rebuilding my motor that had a spun bearing. Saved me a lot of time of getting my car running and probably saved me a little $$ too. Good luck with your project 👍

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Old Thu, Apr-13-2017, 10:24:49 PM   #3
Braymond141
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

The S54 parted out can be worth quite a bit of money... depending on the condition of parts obviously.

I will second the used long block route. I'm rebuilding one long block S54 and a short block S54. It is NOT cheap and you have to spend proper money to get the machine work done right.
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Old Thu, Apr-13-2017, 11:38:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

Spend the 2500 bucks or whatever to get a used long block.

Part out the S54 you have now to recoup costs.

Sell for 9500.
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Old Thu, Apr-13-2017, 11:43:49 PM   #5
TboneM3
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

You'd make pretty good money parting everything out... Nice condition full black interior is almost $1000 right there. I see decent 19" wheels maybe. 6 speed transmission/bell/linkage etc. Then the shell, good engine parts, strut bar, for example. Just think about it...
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Old Fri, Apr-14-2017, 12:01:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

I'm in the process of rebuilding an S54 for my project and costs are adding up quickly. The engine I bought ended up having a cracked piston and blown head gasket, so costs are probably much higher for me. I'm about $3k into parts and machine work. Here's some rough numbers just to give you an idea of what option B would cost you.

Mahle Pistons $965
Beisan Vanos fixes $450
Machine work - resurfacing head, block, and flywheel, bore/hone, and swapping connecting rods over to new pistons $600
Rod bearings $324 (+$42.90 if you need to replace the bolts)
Full Crank gasket set $150
Full Head gasket set $288 (I ended up needing a thicker head gasket after the machine work, so that was another $170)
Misc bolts, spark plugs, chain guide, vanos filter, etc ~$230

Some other components to tentatively plan for would be an oil pump and vanos exhaust hub. If the hub is cracked it's about $300-$400. The oil pump screen on my engine was coming apart so I bought a used pump with the updated screen design. It set me back about $215.

I've documented most of this in my build thread if you'd like to check it out. Link is in my signature.
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Old Fri, Apr-14-2017, 12:06:13 AM   #7
K0nArtist
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

If you have the space and time you can definitely make more money by parting out the whole car but you did mention it's a hobby if yours to get the blown motors going again. I probably would go the cheaper route just because your looking to resell after.
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Old Fri, Apr-14-2017, 12:13:33 AM   #8
2006E46M3fan
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

Nice find. Would be a fun LS swap project for me if I found something similar but I'm too addicted to spending money on my current m3. Lol

Looking forward to seeing updates, it's always interesting to see a car brought back to life. Good luck with it.
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Old Fri, Apr-14-2017, 12:21:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

Saving a link to this thread for the next time someone talks about "inspecting" VANOS instead of locking it down to remind them the sale price of a blown motor car.

The long block option tends to be popular around here and seems to be the path of least resistance. Can't wait to see how it turns out OP!
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Old Fri, Apr-14-2017, 12:36:23 AM   #10
BergA
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Default Re: Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3

Holy smokes, this forum has a lot of traffic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monte0704 View Post
Sell for 9500.
Do you guys really think this thing is worth $9500 when it's in running condition? If so, I'd have no hesitation doing a proper rebuild.

Youinreverse, thanks for the pricing information. I concur with most points -- I'm expecting to not replace any pistons or rods, and also would not likely do any machining beyond polishing the crank. Don't we all have dual-mass flywheels which can't be machined?
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Discussing Picked up a blown-engine project E46 M3 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)