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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, May-29-2019, 01:26:39 AM   #1
Arith2
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Default The game we play with these engines

It's a little embarrassing to have 71k mile S54 blow up on a dyno but it happened. However, I'm not surprised nor am I really upset because BMW fudged up a critical component that is easily destroyed. I haven't had much time because I'm moving to Orlando this week so the true reason it blew isn't fully determined. My speculation is the head gasket blew out and I'm pretty sure I spun a bearing.

Going back and looking at the video we took of the run, you could hear knocking after the third run. We totally caught it on video which I would love to post when I get the video. My exhaust was so loud that there was no way anyone would've heard knocking in person. Headers + Gruppe M muffler is LOUD inside a building, even at idle. It had that amazing racecar sound at WOT. It was a glorious way to go out.

Once I move I'll take it apart and hope my HOA doesn't fine me for doing so. This is a great excuse to throw in forged internals, a better head gasket, WPC bearings(I should've did this immediately), do a 6MT swap, and get some Supersprints.

I'm open to suggestions on what internals and gasket to use as this will be my first engine rebuild. I know everyone here seems to hate VAC but I can literally drive there to pick up parts. Price matters but I'm not going to put garbage in my car. I figured $5000 is a good budget for an upgraded engine build. To me, making it robust enough to handle FI isn't a waste even though it will stay NA. I'm also tracking BMW says the S54 is a no machine block. What can I get away with if it is slightly warped realistically?

This is the Driver's side. That rod doesn't move. At least it's still connected.




The top half of the rod which I found underneath the rear side of the plenum on my starter.




My piston is just gone. It just didn't survive.



Here's my head:




The pin out of the piston:




The passenger side where the top of the rod cam out:




What I've removed so far:

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Last edited by Arith2; Fri, Dec-13-2019 at 08:46:39 PM.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:07:26 AM   #2
Nambo
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

Dang sorry for your engine troubles. I know the feeling but you seem incredibly optimistic about it. Good for you! No recommendations here. Still learning and kicking wounds as we’ll.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:14:12 AM   #3
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

71k mile s54. Assuming it's a 2003+ model. Which should of been recalled or covered by bmw.

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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:19:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

This s54 build had me drooling when it got listed on BAT: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/bm...raine-package/

Personally I'd go to an s54 engine builder and get the whole long block built to spec instead of doing it myself. That's a level of skill I just don't have. Lang Racing comes to mind but I have no direct experience with them.

Probably blasphemy on this forum but have you considered LS swap? There was a for sale listing for all the parts you'd need.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:28:56 AM   #5
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

Highly unlikely it was a head gasket. Highly likely it was just your rod bearings.

Personally I would find another long block, take care of the VANOS, rod bearings, chain guides, etc. and go from there. Adding higher compression pistons, machine work, and possibly another crank adds too many variables for catastrophe in a sub 400 whp build.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:41:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

Sorry to hear that man! I just went through a full rebuild (for different reasons) and I’m in the Orlando area so if you need any help when you get down here let me know.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:50:49 AM   #7
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

Buy good used block and do all maintenance then reinstall.
Sell old good parts


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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 02:58:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

Quote:
Originally Posted by jickel180 View Post
Highly unlikely it was a head gasket. Highly likely it was just your rod bearings.

Personally I would find another long block, take care of the VANOS, rod bearings, chain guides, etc. and go from there. Adding higher compression pistons, machine work, and possibly another crank adds too many variables for catastrophe in a sub 400 whp build.
I've been looking for blocks but I would rather reuse my block rather than waste money if mine is fine. I've haven't verified I can't reuse mine yet so it's on the table. The previous owner mentioned doing the head gasket so that's why I'm thinking the bearing and head gasket combo. 20 bucks says he reused the head bolts. It has had the Beisan treatment twice and I even threw some Rem polished sprockets in there which are quieter. Exhaust hub is a Turbo hub which seemed very solid. I'm not trying to add compression and will avoid every bit of machine work I can as this is a no machine work block. If the crank isn't completely marred I'll get it polished as a preventative measure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by . View Post
Sorry to hear that man! I just went through a full rebuild (for different reasons) and I’m in the Orlando area so if you need any help when you get down here let me know.
Absolutely! I'm moving Saturday and the car is sitting at the new house in the garage. This is my first rebuild so I won't be attempting this alone. I'm so ready to jump into this but I can't let my pride and eagerness cloud my judgement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 11b4 View Post
71k mile s54. Assuming it's a 2003+ model. Which should of been recalled or covered by bmw.

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It's a 2006 so no recall. My 2002 had the recall done and had about the same mileage on the bearings when it got totaled.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 03:05:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

I'm looking to do a rebuild for the experience more than anything. I am buying another daily driver and this will retire to my weekend car once it works. If I wasn't, screw this engine, I'd sell everything but the rod bearings. It does have 71k miles which means something... I guess.
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Old Wed, May-29-2019, 03:09:52 AM   #10
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Default Re: The game we play with these engines

I am in the process of rebuilding my engine for my car. Cylinder 2 detonated on me. I think the head gasket bolts stretched and it went. When engine was blown apart, rod bearings (WPC were good), but cylinder 2 looked scored and the piston head was pitted. I bought a solid used engine and had my mechanic change out the rod bearings, put in a MLS head gasket, and swap out the bolts for ARP. I swapped out the stock pistons and rods for forged Carillo pistons and rods. Bored out the cylinder to 87.5mm. I am using VAC rod bearings and center bearings. However, I am using Lang Racing fto get a stage 2 cylinder head work.
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Discussing The game we play with these engines 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)