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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 Tue, Jan-17-2017, 02:58:31 AM   #1
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Default Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

A few of you may remember my last thread where after doing a lang stage 2.5 head and schrick 288/280 cams I searched endlessly to solve my vanos not passing the DIS test and low power. After replacing everything in the vanos it finally passed with a new pressure accumulator. I thought the car was fixed for sure. I can't explain exactly how I was wrong about it, I'm not sure if it was placebo from the tires being worn and spinning easily, denial, or a little bit of both but I swore it was making proper power and I was so wrong. It is still passing the vanos test with flying colors but just not making the power. Took the car to the drag strip a little while later and running the exact same trap speed as before 13.2 at 105.4mph (1mph less than before head and cams). Absolutely sad for a build head and cammed s54.

I didn't make an immediate follow up post because 1. it felt like doing the walk of shame back to the forum for help after thinking it was fixed 2. time and money have been extremely tight 3. I wanted to try every other option I could think of.

My next thought was possibly the tune so what I did was throw the old pre cam tune on that was running like a champ and and strangely there was no noticeable difference in anything which confused me even more. I thought it would at least run faster or slower telling me if it was the tune. I figured even an untuned cammed car would still make more power than stock cams right? So that doesn't quite explain it. My next thought was well maybe I did something wrong installing the head and it's losing compression or my bottom end is taking a poop so I performed a leak down test today and got less than 2% leak down across all cylinders.

So... vanos "seems" to be good, tune "seems" to be good, and health of the engine "seems" to be good. I still have the occasional idle dip/stall issue that I'm not sure is related but coincidentally started at the same time. I don't have any CEL's besides "P0133 - 02 sensor slow response" twice in about the 10k miles that its been like this and has not occured recently. I've tried pretty much everything I can think of with the vanos, tune, and leak down test and no leads so now I pass it on to the forum. Is there anything else I'm missing to try or am I at the point where I just need to drop it off at a professional shop and get some help?
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 03:01:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

do a compression test and leakdown
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 03:39:58 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

If you're convinced there's no mechanical issues, it might very well be the tune. Did you clear all the adaptations, including VANOS?


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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 03:55:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

TTFS tune will prob solve your problems. At the very least it will help diagnose.
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 04:26:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

I wonder if your afe intake or MAF has anything to do with it.

A friend of mine was having idle dip and occasional stalls in his car, as well as a loss of power, and worse gas mileage. When I asked him if he had changed anything in his car prior to the issues arising, he mentioned upgrading his stock intake with a K&N filter (I assume the oiled one). I recommended he swap back to the OE filter and sure enough all of his problems went away and never returned.

Likewise, I ran an Eventuri Intake (If i recall, their filters are NOT oiled) for a few months. I loved the sound it made, but I notice that my car seemed to be running a lot rougher. My idle would occasionally wonder and bounce, along with occasional misfiring, especially at start up. A few times my SMG stalled at red lights. This wasn't supposed to happen, the filters are not oiled. I tried cleaning the MAF and still the problems continued. I tried switching the MAF to a new one. Nope, zero change. Well, I eventually decided to pull the intake and replace it with the stock box, and since then my car has never ran better. All the problems I had instantly vanished and never returned. My idle is smoother than ever, my gas mileage improved, and not a single misfire or stall since replacing it with the stock air box and OE filter. I do miss the induction noise, but not at the expense of what issues the aftermarket intake was causing.

It may be a stretch, but if you are sure that all other areas have been covered, I would try replacing the afe intake with your stock box. From what I have read, those afe intakes can cause similar problems. Should be an easy and free thing to check off your differential diagnosis in order to get down to the root cause.
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 05:48:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

Well, first you idle dip might be your spark plugs. If you're using bosch ones, it's definitely those. Or maybe your plugs are badly worn or gapped. But Bosch plugs will always fcuk up your idle. That is if your dip is like a slight misfire..if not then it's something else (ICV MAF etc..) Also if your MAF is off, the targets set by the tune will be off too.
Secondly, there is a lot to tuning a cammed S54,especially with the 288 280.. Dafoe struggled for a year, till he got it right, and eventually his car made a ton of power and torque on TTFS dyno tune. TTFS are very reliably tuning these cams to make good power so I would just go with them.
Also your car needs to be on the dyno to be able to find what your engine likes. When I installed my cams, though generally 280 272 are easier to tune, or so it seems, a generic tune didn't do much at all. It was even making a lot less power, we had to change a lot of parameters and some 23 runs later, the car was making 30 to 40 whp more in some areas.. My engine liked a richer than usual AFR and a lot of tweaking to timing an vanos maps/duty cycles etc.. I would at least get a remote dyno tune an see what happens. Also do you even know what your baseline was and how your graph became after cams, or have you never dynoed your car and just basing it off ETs.. maybe you car does make more peak power but needs some mid range tuning..
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 07:15:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

As said, make sure all adaptations have been reset correctly. I can also tell you that from tuning these cams myself, the tune is critical to getting the power out of them. Given your flowed head setup, you'd ideally want to get it on the Dyno for proper calibration.
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 12:44:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

After working on BMW cars and their very sensitive engines, I can tell you that they are extremely sensitive to how much air, spark and fuel is getting to them. After going into the engine and making such a drastic change to the dynamics of how this engine operates, you absolutely need to be sure your tune is dead on accurate. The cams in your engine are pretty much the heart of how your engine operates. At this point, timing is everything.

Get her professionally tuned and see where it goes. It seems you have already covered all potential mechanical issues.

GL with your quest for higher power.
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 01:16:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

Quote:
Originally Posted by digger View Post
do a compression test and leakdown
Leak down was done. From my understanding there's nothing a compression test would show that the leak down wouldn't assuming I could even get accurate results in the compression check with these cams and the huge overlap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SliM3 View Post
If you're convinced there's no mechanical issues, it might very well be the tune. Did you clear all the adaptations, including VANOS?
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I'd like to think it's something as simple as the tune but am I wrong in assuming even an untuned cam car would still make more power than before? The fact that it doesn't is what makes me skeptical. I have cleared dme adaptations through INPA and vanos adaptations through DIS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simon_c View Post
TTFS tune will prob solve your problems. At the very least it will help diagnose.
I have a ttfs tune. Multiple actually lol both my pre cam and post cam tune are from ttfs. I've sent an email to frank a while back and haven't heard anything. I know with how busy he is it's hard to get a hold of him plus their new policy regarding diagnosis so not sure I'm gonna have much luck there unless I'm ready to purchase a dyno tune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr M3an M3 View Post
I wonder if your afe intake or MAF has anything to do with it.

A friend of mine was having idle dip and occasional stalls in his car, as well as a loss of power, and worse gas mileage. When I asked him if he had changed anything in his car prior to the issues arising, he mentioned upgrading his stock intake with a K&N filter (I assume the oiled one). I recommended he swap back to the OE filter and sure enough all of his problems went away and never returned.

Likewise, I ran an Eventuri Intake (If i recall, their filters are NOT oiled) for a few months. I loved the sound it made, but I notice that my car seemed to be running a lot rougher. My idle would occasionally wonder and bounce, along with occasional misfiring, especially at start up. A few times my SMG stalled at red lights. This wasn't supposed to happen, the filters are not oiled. I tried cleaning the MAF and still the problems continued. I tried switching the MAF to a new one. Nope, zero change. Well, I eventually decided to pull the intake and replace it with the stock box, and since then my car has never ran better. All the problems I had instantly vanished and never returned. My idle is smoother than ever, my gas mileage improved, and not a single misfire or stall since replacing it with the stock air box and OE filter. I do miss the induction noise, but not at the expense of what issues the aftermarket intake was causing.

It may be a stretch, but if you are sure that all other areas have been covered, I would try replacing the afe intake with your stock box. From what I have read, those afe intakes can cause similar problems. Should be an easy and free thing to check off your differential diagnosis in order to get down to the root cause.
Valid idea. My afe is the non oiled version but I have considered running a stock box (car has never had one under my ownership). But the fact that the car ran great with the same intake before and I have a hard time believing the intake itself is causing a 50ish whp loss. But I'm just about open to anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HassanEido View Post
Well, first you idle dip might be your spark plugs. If you're using bosch ones, it's definitely those. Or maybe your plugs are badly worn or gapped. But Bosch plugs will always fcuk up your idle. That is if your dip is like a slight misfire..if not then it's something else (ICV MAF etc..) Also if your MAF is off, the targets set by the tune will be off too.
Secondly, there is a lot to tuning a cammed S54,especially with the 288 280.. Dafoe struggled for a year, till he got it right, and eventually his car made a ton of power and torque on TTFS dyno tune. TTFS are very reliably tuning these cams to make good power so I would just go with them.
Also your car needs to be on the dyno to be able to find what your engine likes. When I installed my cams, though generally 280 272 are easier to tune, or so it seems, a generic tune didn't do much at all. It was even making a lot less power, we had to change a lot of parameters and some 23 runs later, the car was making 30 to 40 whp more in some areas.. My engine liked a richer than usual AFR and a lot of tweaking to timing an vanos maps/duty cycles etc.. I would at least get a remote dyno tune an see what happens. Also do you even know what your baseline was and how your graph became after cams, or have you never dynoed your car and just basing it off ETs.. maybe you car does make more peak power but needs some mid range tuning..
Spark plugs were pulled yesterday for the leak down test. I replaced them not long ago with oem NGK. They were in great condition and show a healthy burn. However my idle dip is not a misfire like symptom in fact it will idle great by itself but when I'm on and off the clutch a lot like in traffic or if it idled for a long time and barely blip the throttle it will dip hard and sometimes stalll like it doesn't know where idle is suppose to be. Maf could be worth checking but I figured if it were that bad it would at least be throwing a code. Dafoe helped me a lot in my previous thread regarding the vanos since it seemed we were both experiencing the same issue or at least the same symptoms. After he replaced the hydraulic unit though he was good to go and all fixed and that didn't work for me. Good info regarding your cams and tuning and comparable power loss to what I'm seeing. My biggest fear is setting up the time and money for a dyno tune only to get it on the dyno and a tuner going "welp we can't get it to make power there must be something wrong with the car" that's why I just wanted to make sure there's nothing else befor I try that. I'm baselining off of trap speeds I included the ET just for the heck of it. I trapped 106.7 before and 105.4 now. Theoretically my car should trap around 112ish. The power band has definitely changed its a lot flatter below 2k and comes in a lot harder at 4K where it used to be very linear all across but it's definitely not making more power. Drag strip would pretty much be all peak power anyway since I'm launching anywhere from 4.5k-5k rpm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulclaude View Post
As said, make sure all adaptations have been reset correctly. I can also tell you that from tuning these cams myself, the tune is critical to getting the power out of them. Given your flowed head setup, you'd ideally want to get it on the Dyno for proper calibration.
All adaptations have been reset. Getting a proper dyno tune instead of a data logged tune does seem to be a good idea though.
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Old Tue, Jan-17-2017, 02:42:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power?

Use DIS in expert mode to clear adaptations. INPA covers very limited parameters, while DIS will clear everything. Some modules require a function test to clear and reset:


List of Adaptations:
  • Lambda
  • VANOS
  • Torque Control (through various associated modules)
  • Idle Control
  • Knock
  • Oil Level Sensor
  • Throttle Valve Angle
  • Filling Regulator (related to rf aka VE)
  • Tank Venting
  • Power Balance
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Discussing Why is my cammed s54 still making the same power? 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)