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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, Apr-17-2017, 10:48:19 PM   #1
MoPower
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Default is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Over the weekend I was driving and noticed a noise coming from the front of the engine. It was almost a rattle sound and it was only at a specific rpm range. It occurred regardless of engine load between 2500-3000 rpm. When I got home I had my wife rev the engine in neutral and I listened under the hood. The sound seemed to be coming from the timing chain area.

My initial guess/hope was the timing chain tensioner. I have a new tensioner on order but I went ahead and started removing the valve cover to inspect everything and perform a valve adjustment. Link to my original thread here.

My plan was to replace the chain tensioner and start it back up to see if it fixed the problem. But after more time to research today, I started to worry it was loose cam gear bolts. I used to think it was described as a "rocks in a can" sound so I didn't jump to that conclusion initially. But after reading post #12 in this thread:

https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...am-Shaft-Bolts

"My best friend is a indy BMW tech and had mentioned a fellow auto-x'er of ours brought his 100k '05 M3 to my friends place. I was there when he was diagnosing the racket the engine made at 2500-3000 rpm.

It was an ungodly ugly racket.... after a few days in the shop and a load of research, the source was determined to be the allen headed cam bolts mentioned in the thread I linked to earlier in this thread.

Apparently all are/were finger-loose."

I'm now thinking it is loose cam gear bolts. I inspected the backside of the intake cam gear and saw this (picture attached). It looks like one of the cam gear bolts on the intake side is not flush with the back of the gear. Is this what is causing my rattle at 2500-3000 rpm? Should I go ahead and replace all cam gear bolts for peace of mind?

126k miles, MY2006

PS- Several years ago when this issue started surfacing on the forums, I loctited the cam gear bolts from behind as a precautionary measure. At the time, people were not sure how to remove and reassemble the vanos and keep the system timed correctly.
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Old Mon, Apr-17-2017, 11:45:01 PM   #2
Slowmobile
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Might not be THE fix (replace cam bolts), but if you are taking the engine apart anyways it's probably worth doing it. Just make sure you have a timing tool handy.

Also that cam bolt is definitely not in the right place and is probably loose or snapped.
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 01:12:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

I'm working on trying to reach out to a member to rent the tool. Hopefully between replacing the cam gear bolts and chain tensioner I'll fix the noise. Anyone with loose cam gear bolts ever hear a noise similar to mine?
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 03:35:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

If it was the problem of even the timing chain guide, you would need to retime the engine.
Atr this point I would consider getting the new updated bolts that are known to break. I always new bolts for the other bolts that hold together the cam gears. Remember to always look to see if the tab is broken. That would be the worst case. If it isnt, you could consider at least buying the beisan oil pump gear with the machined tighter tolerance, $150 plus core. Once one of those parts break, your over 1200 in parts and more labor
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 03:48:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Loctiting them from behind was never going to work.

At a minimum: Replace the bolts, and replace the pump disk with the Beisan version while you're in there (assuming your tabs haven't sheered yet).

At 126K, you should really replace the vanos seals as well, as their day is done.
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 04:05:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///MonkeyTech View Post
If it was the problem of even the timing chain guide, you would need to retime the engine.
Atr this point I would consider getting the new updated bolts that are known to break. I always new bolts for the other bolts that hold together the cam gears. Remember to always look to see if the tab is broken. That would be the worst case. If it isnt, you could consider at least buying the beisan oil pump gear with the machined tighter tolerance, $150 plus core. Once one of those parts break, your over 1200 in parts and more labor
If you're only removing the exhaust hub, do you really need to time your engine.
I thought only the splines intake hub removal required retiming.
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 05:43:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Thanks everyone. Following everyone's advice, I now have all new cam gear bolts, upper chain tensioner guide, chain tensioner, cam alignment tool, Beisan pump disk and Beisan seal kit on order.

My exhaust hub tabs are good, I check them every time I do a valve adjustment so I will replace all the vanos seals and pump disk while I'm in there.
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 06:35:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoPower View Post
Thanks everyone. Following everyone's advice, I now have all new cam gear bolts, upper chain tensioner guide, chain tensioner, cam alignment tool, Beisan pump disk and Beisan seal kit on order.
Dont forget the crank locking tool!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aznniche View Post
If you're only removing the exhaust hub, do you really need to time your engine.
I thought only the splines intake hub removal required retiming.
Yes. The intake and exhaust timing works on the same principle (straight spline in CAM and helical spline in hubs). Any time you loosen any hub (exhaust or intake), you will be unlocking the timing. If you rotate, remove, etc the hub or spline or cam after unlocking, it will be out of time.
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Last edited by Slowmobile; Tue, Apr-18-2017 at 06:38:51 PM.
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Old Tue, Apr-18-2017, 08:36:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoPower View Post
I'm now thinking it is loose cam gear bolts. I inspected the backside of the intake cam gear and saw this (picture attached). It looks like one of the cam gear bolts on the intake side is not flush with the back of the gear.
For what it's worth. If you still have the cover off. get a wrench on the cam and,, rock it back and forth. If the bolts are loose, you will be able to see the cam move vs the cam gear. it will be EVER so slight. bot it's see-able from behind.

On my wife's '01 M3, she had the noise. So I parked it, ordered new everything and rebuilt it all. NO BOLTS WERE LOOSE. But, it's all new (one note, the noise did go way, but it should have with everything new).

On my '05 M3, it had a rattle when we bought it, No where Near as bad as the '01 was. So I rebuilt it all thinking it was the Vanos. The bolts were loose!!!

You are doing the right thing, A few hundred $ is cheap peace of mind.


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Old Wed, Apr-19-2017, 03:28:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: is my noise from loose cam gear bolts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill-H View Post
For what it's worth. If you still have the cover off. get a wrench on the cam and,, rock it back and forth. If the bolts are loose, you will be able to see the cam move vs the cam gear. it will be EVER so slight. bot it's see-able from behind.



On my wife's '01 M3, she had the noise. So I parked it, ordered new everything and rebuilt it all. NO BOLTS WERE LOOSE. But, it's all new (one note, the noise did go way, but it should have with everything new).



On my '05 M3, it had a rattle when we bought it, No where Near as bad as the '01 was. So I rebuilt it all thinking it was the Vanos. The bolts were loose!!!



You are doing the right thing, A few hundred $ is cheap peace of mind.





Bill-H


Thanks for the reassurance. It's something I've been meaning to do and I feel lucky I caught it before something catastrophic happened.

Beisan contacted me and said they don't have any vanos pump disks in stock right now. He said more are due in tomorrow but his machine shop rarely meets their lead time so he's not sure when I'll get mine. Hopefully soon!


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Discussing is my noise from loose cam gear bolts? 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)