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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 02:56:51 AM   #1
BobInIndy
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Default Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Has anyone had worn cam trays cause their lifters to tick, and ultimately to collapse? Maybe I'm reaching here, but I'm at wits end.

My 156,000 mile S52 began ticking after a hard run at HPDE events, then mostly go away. Shortly after, I replaced my oil pan gasket, and found a piece of a valve spring in the oil pickup. So, I pulled the head, had it rebuilt, new guides, and half the valves, rebuilt the vanos. One thing led to another, and I ended up rebuilding the engine, including boring the cylinders, slightly higher compression pistons, race riot regrind cams, BMW valve springs and retainers, shrick intake, Achilles oil pump shaft upgrade with new rotors and relief valve spring, and big bore throttle, CAI, etc.. I installed a new set of INA lifters. The trays had some scoring of the bearing caps, and wear in the lifter bores, but I thought within reason, from what I read on the forums.

After the the rebuild and break-in, I was pretty happy with the engine. Maybe 500 miles later, I developed a bad tapping after another HPDE. No amount of bleeding procedures by running up the revs and holding it made it go away. So, I pulled the cams and found a collapsed lifter. I replaced it, and all was well. For a while. Then, it happened again. Different lifter. This time, I also installed a S54 oil pan, pickups, and a VAC high output S54 oil pump. Quiet again for half another HPDE ( this one with the Mid Ohio Porsche club event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway --- SUPER cool.) Now its right back, might be a couple lifters this time.

So,,,am I super unlucky? Is it possible the VAC upgraded oil pump is sucking air around the suction tube joint ( its the first design 2001 version without a screwed down flange.), or has it been sucking air in around the worn lifter trays this whole time?


Thanks for sharing any applicable experiences
Bob
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 07:44:02 AM   #2
Braymond141
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Keep in mind that reground cams (with hyrdraulic lifters) work by removing backside material off the lobes. This makes the lifters pump up further to make up for the slack which in turn gives you the added lift or duration the regrind changes. (you can google how reground cams work for a better explanation)

Maybe the reground cams are too much for the lifters to compensate for? Try stock cams.

Riot Racing makes f*cking awful oversized throttle bodies. They will not give out cam information either which many say is a red flag. I woudln't rule out a bad product here.

As far as the VAC pump; There are long time members here that would have nothing positive to say about them too.
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 12:34:02 PM   #3
BobInIndy
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Thanks for the idea. That thought did enter my mind. I would think, however, that others with those cams would've experienced the same problem. Has anyone who could post here?

Bob
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 04:58:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

From what you describe, the cams seem like the weak link. Sounds like you invested quite a bit into your engine but, maybe for cost reasons, did not go with a new high quality set of cams. I have to imagine a re-ground cam will be a compromise and quality will vary cam to cam. I don't have hard evidence here, just a gut feeling.
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 07:50:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

I would try stock cams on the current trays, or new trays on the current cams. I'd probably go former, first, but wouldn't blame you if you wanted to rule out the trays in order to maintain current power figures from the RR cams.
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Old Mon, Aug-14-2017, 10:01:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Add more oil. Trying running a half or even a quart over full. Easy idea to try before tearing into the motor again.
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Old Tue, Aug-15-2017, 02:41:59 AM   #7
BobInIndy
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Thanks , guys for the ideas. I hope the oil pump is ok, too
Bob
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Old Tue, Aug-15-2017, 06:45:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braymond141 View Post
Keep in mind that reground cams (with hyrdraulic lifters) work by removing backside material off the lobes. This makes the lifters pump up further to make up for the slack which in turn gives you the added lift or duration the regrind changes. (you can google how reground cams work for a better explanation)

Maybe the reground cams are too much for the lifters to compensate for? Try stock cams.

Riot Racing makes f*cking awful oversized throttle bodies. They will not give out cam information either which many say is a red flag. I woudln't rule out a bad product here.

As far as the VAC pump; There are long time members here that would have nothing positive to say about them too.
+1

I spoke with my engine builder and we both came to the same likely cause. Likely means likely. Not certainty.

The cam is probably overground on the base. What happens when you take off too much material you lose some (if not all) the needed lifter pre-load. So while it may initially be ok (or marginal), once the engine heats up you then have thermal expansion. If the lifter is at (or near) its pre-load limit, then it can't compensate for thermal expansion and the end result is the tappet is getting hammered which then causes failures. Remember, hydraulic cams are not designed to take that into account like solid lifter cams. The chances of you having multiple defective lifters is not high.

Not sure why you're using aftermarket lifters unless I'm missing something. What's the pre-load spec? These are the second suspects of course.

I also don't know why you just didn't use the proven dual pump from the S50B32/S54. That is a pretty solid unit except perhaps for all out race cars with slicks in which case you should have a dry sump.
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Old Tue, Aug-15-2017, 08:22:07 AM   #9
Braymond141
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim E. View Post
+1

I spoke with my engine builder and we both came to the same likely cause. Likely means likely. Not certainty.

The cam is probably overground on the base. What happens when you take off too much material you lose some (if not all) the needed lifter pre-load. So while it may initially be ok (or marginal), once the engine heats up you then have thermal expansion. If the lifter is at (or near) its pre-load limit, then it can't compensate for thermal expansion and the end result is the tappet is getting hammered which then causes failures. Remember, hydraulic cams are not designed to take that into account like solid lifter cams. The chances of you having multiple defective lifters is not high.

Not sure why you're using aftermarket lifters unless I'm missing something. What's the pre-load spec? These are the second suspects of course.

I also don't know why you just didn't use the proven dual pump from the S50B32/S54. That is a pretty solid unit except perhaps for all out race cars with slicks in which case you should have a dry sump.
INA is the OE lifter for the US motor (BMW lifters are stamped with INA). Unless I'm missing something.
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Old Tue, Aug-15-2017, 11:26:18 AM   #10
BobInIndy
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Default Re: Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim E. View Post
+1

I spoke with my engine builder and we both came to the same likely cause. Likely means likely. Not certainty.

The cam is probably overground on the base. What happens when you take off too much material you lose some (if not all) the needed lifter pre-load. So while it may initially be ok (or marginal), once the engine heats up you then have thermal expansion. If the lifter is at (or near) its pre-load limit, then it can't compensate for thermal expansion and the end result is the tappet is getting hammered which then causes failures. Remember, hydraulic cams are not designed to take that into account like solid lifter cams. The chances of you having multiple defective lifters is not high.

Not sure why you're using aftermarket lifters unless I'm missing something. What's the pre-load spec? These are the second suspects of course.

I also don't know why you just didn't use the proven dual pump from the S50B32/S54. That is a pretty solid unit except perhaps for all out race cars with slicks in which case you should have a dry sump.
I'm leaning towards the re ground cams, but Todd H with the company says others don't have this problem. I used the Racing Riot cams because they work with stock springs, good reports about reasonable power without torque loss, and less cost. They sure produce what feels like good results. The aftermarket lifters are 1/3 the cost of factory lifters and produced by the same company (INA)---seems like what most people use. The reason I had VAC upgrade the S54 oil pump is that there are reports that the factory S54 pump produces less volume and pressure than the factory S52 pump. S54 engines have solid lifters, so don't need the same output.

I don't want to pull the head to change valve springs or futz with measuring valve/piston clearance. And, I'd like a little more power than the stock S52 cams. So, if it's the reground cams, I'm thinking swap them for Shrick 264/256?
Bob
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Discussing Collapsed lifters- bad cam trays? Or VAC S54 oil pan upgrade? in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)