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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, Aug-22-2018, 08:46:14 PM   #11
stash1
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrebxp View Post

Questions:
-Are a stock head gasket and head bolts the way to go? I'm trying to avoid the same failure the original motor experienced.

Factory head gasket/bolts are fine...even for mild boost applications. Head gasket failures are relatively uncommon on this motor and mostly occur on higher mileage engines that have overheated.

-The refreshed head I got has some valve springs with the yellow paint mark facing up and some with it facing down. Does orientation matter with S54 valve springs?

I don't think that the factory springs have a top or bottom orientation, so you should be fine...although the OCD in me would have them all the same.

-Anything wrong with using stock pistons and rods?

Nope, although using lighter aftermarket pistons will lower the reciprocating/rotating mass and consequently will impart less stress on things like bearings. Anything that you can do to reduce weight of the rotating mass (i.e. lighter pistons, rods) will hammer the bearings less.

-Anything wrong with my choice in bearings?

Nope, factory bearings are ok, but IMO...there's nothing wrong w/using BE Bearings either...especially if you're a subscriber to the theory that BMW changed the bearings in '03 to provide more clearance after numerous early engine failures (over 100 IIRC). The BE's are also a lead/copper design (softer than the factory bearings) which typically handle any small foreign metal particles better.

IMO, the best thing that you can do to extend bearing life (regardless of bearing choice) is to use a high quality full synthetic oil (obviously) and change it often (no more than 5k mi/sooner if you track). Keep the engine as cool as possible with upgraded cooling components, and try to increase airflow through the engine compartment. Don't 'lug' the engine in cold weather and allow it to warm up fully before beating on it. Also, keep the engine timing on the 'safe' side to help control/prevent spark knock/detonation. These are simple/common sense things, but it's still surprising how many people treat this engine like a small-block Chevy boat motor.


-Does anyone have a guide for timing a fresh motor? I know I need the S54 timing tools with both cam pins and a crank pin.

There's plenty of guides/info on this forum for timing cams and VANOS.

-How long should the break-in period be for something like this once it's running? 1200 miles?

There was a previous poster who posted as good a break-in procedure/advice as I've seen for this motor. Although I've seen people recommend regular dyno oil for break-in, plenty of OEM's fill their high-performance engine crank cases w/full synthetic right from the factory w/no apparent harmful side-effects. Also, the way that most modern machine shops machine cylinder walls, the piston rings are broken in within 50 miles or less. Most ring manufacturers/shops err on the side of caution just for caution's sake.

-Anything I should know before diving into this project?

I would say some of the best advice would be to find a machine shop experienced w/building an S54...as it does have it's share of idiosyncrasies.

Thanks!
GL w/the build!
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Old Thu, Aug-23-2018, 02:35:50 AM   #12
Andrebxp
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Thanks for the info everyone.

I'll probably stick on the safe side and just go with the BMW Rod bearings or the WPC coated ones. I'm still unsure about the valve spring orientation but I might just have the machine shop correct them anyway for peace of mind.

Monday the bits are going to the machine shop, and hopefully next weekend I'll have my short block assembled. Me and a buddy of mine will be tacking the rebuild in my garage. I've got a nice snap-on digital torque wrench that will make torquing the bolts correctly easy.

I've seen some guides for timing the motor but is it any different for a motor that's freshly rebuilt? I don't have the VANOS electrical tool nor the adapter for an air compressor, but I suspect I'll have to buy/make them in order to time it correctly. Timing tips are much appreciated.

Thanks again, if anyone else has any other good info feel free to share.
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Old Thu, Aug-23-2018, 04:13:40 AM   #13
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Beisan Systems has the best cam timing DIY I have found.
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Old Thu, Aug-23-2018, 06:09:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

+1 on Beisan timing write up. You don't need an air compressor or the vanos adapter.

Download this for torque specs (file not mine): http://sawashie.free.fr/M3/TorqueSpe...SPECS%20LR.pdf

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Old Thu, Aug-23-2018, 03:49:35 PM   #15
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

also... totally forgot but you need a good set of S54 VANOS's tools.. i found mine on ebay that came with everything..



i did not need this tool, some people have used it but i did not have the need



i used this valve spring compressor when i did my valve stem seals, worked great, easy to set up and use
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Old Fri, Sep-28-2018, 02:32:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Bumping this thread as I've finally gathered my components and have a few more questions...

Does anyone happen to know the tolerance for the piston ring gap? From what I understand factory rings are supposed to be gaped between 0.25mm - 0.40mm(0.010" - 0.016") for the top 2 rings and 0.25mm - 0.50mm(0.010" - 0.020") for the oil rings. Do these figures still apply for Grant rings?

If someone has the oil clearance spec for the main bearings and rod bearings handy, that would be super helpful.

Also, I can't see any markings on the pistons to determine their orientation in the bore, is it safe to assume that the side with the larger valve recesses belongs on the intake side?

Last question, are the rods are supposed to have their serial numbers facing the exhaust side?

Thanks guys!
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Old Fri, Sep-28-2018, 03:28:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

I'm late to this thread, but having done many an S54 rebuild, our conclusions are as follows:

1. Replace the stock rods. They ARE weakpoints, especially after they have been run hard.

2. Use stock rod and main bearings. WPC treatment is nice lagniappe, but inessential.

3. Replace your pistons with at least first oversize. We go second oversize on every build (87.5mm). S54 blocks regularly require boring out to 87.5mm to clean adequately.

4. If you go with 2618 alloy pistons (most high perf applications do), then do not set your piston to wall clearance tightly. We regularly go with .003" PTW with 2618 pistons, even in NA applications.

Good luck with the build!

--Peter
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Old Tue, Oct-02-2018, 03:08:25 AM   #18
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrebxp View Post
Bumping this thread as I've finally gathered my components and have a few more questions...

Does anyone happen to know the tolerance for the piston ring gap? From what I understand factory rings are supposed to be gaped between 0.25mm - 0.40mm(0.010" - 0.016") for the top 2 rings and 0.25mm - 0.50mm(0.010" - 0.020") for the oil rings. Do these figures still apply for Grant rings?

If someone has the oil clearance spec for the main bearings and rod bearings handy, that would be super helpful.

Also, I can't see any markings on the pistons to determine their orientation in the bore, is it safe to assume that the side with the larger valve recesses belongs on the intake side?

Last question, are the rods are supposed to have their serial numbers facing the exhaust side?

Thanks guys!
Grant specs .010" to .013" for the top 2 rings.


I wasn't aware of a spec for the oil ring.
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Old Tue, Oct-02-2018, 04:33:41 AM   #19
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggrslc View Post
I know there are lots of opinions on oil but what’s the argument for a lightweight petroleum based lubricant when the manufacturer recommends a much more substantial (10/60) synthetic lubricant?


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*** this is not S54 or even BMW specific ***

back in my SCCA days we always put in the cheapest shit oil (but good filter) we could get on initial startup, and ran it for a few minutes until things got warm and built pressure while we checked for leaks. of course, the engine was turned by hand for half a dozen or so revolutions to build pressure in the oil pump first.

the shit dino oil was used because we dumped it after that first 5min check, and it's only purpose was to catch any metal from machine work that wasn't cleaned, and any other debris that falls into the cylinders or whatever on final assembly. there's probably some other *old thinking* at play here that the dino oil helps swell all the seals as well. some put in dino oil for the first break in cycle, some went straight for their favorite synthetic including myself.

as far as break in there were two very divergent thoughts. some went about it conservatively....book a test day and do a 15min session shifting at 4k, then 5k, then 6k...or only shift below 5k for the first hour of track time....whatever.

then there was the rest of us that did our break in on the dyno or going all out on track. there are so many variables in all of this, but i would say in general these motors that were broken in HARD from day one produced the best compression and leakdown numbers, made the most power, but maybe didn't last quite as long.

there was some thought behind it, being that to REALLY seat the rings you need higher cylinder pressures than are achieved at low RPM.

anyway...probably ignore all of that because it generally applied to 4cyl Honda/Mazda engines and i didn't spend much time around anything else, and that was 10years ago now....so best practices could have evolved.
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Old Tue, Oct-02-2018, 03:00:32 PM   #20
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Default Re: Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice?

Failing better info, I would follow BMW's recommended S54 break in procedure. Certainly they had the most info on the engine, and I can think of no motivation/incentive for them to give a bad or sub optimal break in procedure.

So, <5500 rpm, <100 mph, < 75% throttle, varied RPM for 1200 miles, followed by a fluid swap.
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Discussing Any S54 Rebuild Tips/Advice? 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)