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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, Sep-16-2013, 11:11:07 PM   #1
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Cool Rod Bearings

Ok here goes!

First there was the Vanos DIY
Then came the Oil Pan DIY
And now the Rod Bearing DIY!!

Disclaimer: These instructions are what I did. In no way does this guarantee you similar results. Opening your engine and fooling around with it can damage the car, the engine and yourself.
If you plan on following these steps, read the DIY several times to become familiar with it before starting. I can't stress this enough!

Update October 2016: Bimmerfan08 has done a great alternative DIY. It isn't a bad idea to read both before getting started as they explain things differently
LINK

I figure Rod Bearings issues are something that will come up more and more often as these cars age. They are not expensive to replace, this is just time consuming.
Difficulty? I think it's right up there with full timing jobs. The consequences are catastrophic, just like in timing jobs, but this is easy to understand. Timing is not.


Note 1: I will reuse a lot of pics of the previous DIYs as there's no point in reinventing the wheel.
As practice makes perfect, some steps from the oil pan's DIY will be labeled NOT NECESSARY. You may follow these steps if you so wish, but they are not needed to drop the oil pan and access/replace the rod bearings.

Note 2: The instructions differ whether the car was built before or after 12/13/2002. When appropriate I will include both sets of instructions.

Note 3: Fun fact! This car has fractured connecting rods. Basically the rod was one forged part, then it was split in two in a single blow.
This means the mating surfaces are rugged and only mate with each other.
This also means you must maintain rod/cap association and also reinstall in the same direction you removed them.
If you forget, just remember the part of the cap with the serial numbers faces the passenger's side.

Note 4: You will want assembly lube or TWS oil. I used assembly lube.

Note 5: You need a torque angle tool. I got the BMW one. It's available for rent along with the rest of my speciality tools.

Note 6: You will need 6.5L of engine oil afterwards. You're removing much more than the std oil change amount.

Note 7: Part numbers
Update from Bimmerfan08:
BMW discontinued the original rod bearing kit but FCP Euro has pieced together and sells their own copy of the kit for those interested.

Part number: 11410395192

The kit is available here
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-11410395192kt

And here from a forum sponsor!
http://www.getbmwparts.com/partlocat...45&startrow=26

Here from another forum sponsor!
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-M3-...aign=postreply

Angle tool: 90886009120
Rod bolts (only needed on post 12/13/2002 build): 11247834310
Connecting rod bearings kit: 11410395192
This kit has a couple extra goodies in it. Highly recommended vs purchasing spare bearings separately. It appears the kit is VIN-specific, so it will come with the right bearings for your engine - so double-check that before you run out and buy a kit just like mine In theory adding your VIN to the kit order you should be all set, but look into that.
Oil pan gasket: 11131437237

Note 8: I'd buy a couple extra rod bolts in case you screw up the tightening procedure if you have a post 12/13/2002 M3.

Note 9: I used OEM bearings. They've lasted 130k. There can be infinite discussions around aftermarket bearings. I was certain I did not want VAC coated ones as those reduce the already laughable clearance the S54 has.
The BW ones are an option, but it's hard to justify $600 on that when the OEMs are under $200.

Note 10: This procedure will require breaking the engine in again. 1200 miles of soft driving followed by an oil change.

Note 11: I had initially purchased plastigauge to measure clearances, but as this BMW connecting rod kit doesn't allow you to choose clearances I decided against it.

Note 12: This can be done in a single weekend if you're motivated. It took us two, but we spent a lot of time snapping pics and doing things not related to this M

Note 13: Drrwise added this to the DIY:
/In researching bearing swaps I've found at least two examples that discovered M10 bolts on pre Dec 12 2002 build date vehicles./
In other words, be careful if your car is close to the cutoff date as you may have either type of bolt.

In this first pic we see the center jacking point again







REMOVING FAN SHROUD + FAN + OIL COOLER
You'll notice the fan shroud gets in your way constantly. After removing it here I will not reinstall it, it takes way too long to mount/dismount this thing every time I open the Vanos up.
It's held on by 4 torx screws, two in the top, two in the bottom.

The shroud and the fan need to be removed at the same time. You'll notice they interfere in each others ways and are quite annoying. The oil cooler also manages to get in the way, but unlike the other two it's quite simple to remove.

To make our lives more interesting, BMW engineers decided to put a part of the shroud (a small part on the right) in between a cooling tube. This means it can't be removed and just stays there annoying you as you try to remove the fan shroud. I suggest you cut a portion out to be able to install/uninstall at will.

One


Two


Three


Four


The oil cooler is also held on by four bolts, two per side








Hold the oil cooler onto the car with a cord so it doesn't bend too much





Now the shroud will be loose but it still won't come out as the fan is blocking it.


There's a special tool to remove this but I prefer the following method. Get a 1 1/4 open ended wrench.


Place it on the fan nut


Hammering time! We want to move the wrench clockwise. The pulleys make it hard to move in that direction, so by hammering it we'll get it loose. It usually takes several whacks and I suggest you first look at the path where you'll be hammering to avoid breaking stuff.


Success! However the fan is still stuck because of the shroud.




We disconnect the wiring harness from the fan shroud


And now we jiggle the shroud and fan around until we can take it out. The fan comes out through the top


And the shroud through the bottom




Now there's just that little piece of shroud that's held on by the cooling pipes


I used a hacksaw. If you do it like I did it you'll still be able to reinstall and use it. There's a push-pin on there to fasten it to the shroud, you don't want to saw it off.



REMOVING ALUMINUM PLATE
Unfortunately I don't have any pics of this.
When you get under the car you can see the plastic plate under the engine and another plate that's shiny (aluminum) that comes right after it.

This plate is held on by 10-12 bolts which are supposed to be one-time use. Many reuse them, but to each their own.

Remove all the bolts and the plate comes right off. This might be a good time to clean it as it can get dirty.

Remember that once this plate has been removed you can't drive the car until it's reinstalled. Obviously I wouldn't jack it up/down either once removed.


CAR LIFT/JACKSTANDS
If you have a lift this is very easy. Here's a pic of my brother and I.





REMOVE FRONT WHEELS
This will give you more space to work and lessen the load on the front subframe once we start remove the subframe brace



DISMOUNT PASSENGER SIDE XENON LEVEL SENSOR
This is on the passenger side and it attaches the chassis to the passenger FCA. Remove it as when we drop the FCA we'll break it



EMPTY ENGINE OIL
We don't want to dismount an oil pan that's brimming with oil. You do this by loosening a single bolt. Use care when rethreading as it's not a strong one.


This picture shows the center area of the oil pan removed. Ignore it.



ENGINE SUPPORT
This is the most important part. Go to Harbor Freight (or your preferred shop for one-use products) and buy this engine support. It's $60 and the only way to do this properly.


You support it on the sides of the engine bay as seen here




A chain is included in the box. You wrap it around the thermostat or you can insert the hook directly into the thermostat housing
As I don't trust these cheap things very much I attached the second hook for additional safety




Now, turn the nuts attached to the hooks on the engine so it 'lifts' the engine ever so slightly. Later on we will have to lift it more, I recall around 10mm.


UNBOLT TRANNY BOLTS
There are 3 bolts that go from the tranny to the oil pan. We will remove all of them.







UNBOLT OIL PAN BOLTS HIDDEN BY TRANNY
Here you can see two holes where there are bolts. Remove them. [Ignore the open part of the oil pan, that isn't necessary]






DISMOUNT STEERING GUIBO/COUPLER
This can be a good time to replace it if it's necessary. This bolt probably has red loctite on it. If it doesn't, when you reinstall make sure to put some on. You do not want to lose steering by accident!
It uses a torx female or you can just use a 8MM socket which also works.




DISMOUNT STEERING RACK - NOT NECESSARY
This is held on by two long bolts that you see attached to the subframe brace that go through it and are held on the top by two bolts. You'll need open ended wrenches for the top.
It fits 'inside' the subframe place. Once you remove the bolts you can slide it out.










Once loosened it's still attached to the PS pump and reservoir so it won't just move out of the way happily.
Placing undue pressure on the hoses that connect it to the car will make your steering rack very unhappy. I don't recommend it as those pipes are expensive.
Instead, unbolt the various banjo connectors which you see are causing the problem. PS liquid will leak out.



DISMOUNT FRONT SWAY BAR
You don't have to remove the endlinks, just undo the 2 bolts per side that hold it to the chassis.
It will just hang lower as it's still attached by endlinks



DISMOUNT FCAs - NOT NECESSARY
It isn't necessary to dismount them fully, just these bolts on each side like if we were replacing bushings. Not a bad time to do this BTW



REMOVE SERPENTINE BELT
Next we remove the serpentine belt that attaches to the PS pump.
To do this, use a torx head to de-tense the tensioner and remove the belt.


There we go



DISMOUNT PS PUMP + ASSOCIATED HARDWARE
This is necessary as there's an oil pan bolt which can only be accessed once this is removed.
The pump is held on by two bolts which are on its top side. Notice those bolts are 8.8. What does this mean? Don't tighten them like if they were a component of a bridge when reinstalling.




When you remove both bolts it will fall down and place undue stress on the pipes. Disconnect the banjo bolts to avoid destroying your PS system.
I also held it up using an octopus which I attached to the top of the radiator


You can also dismount the this part, which holds one of the PS lines in place and also conveniently blocks access to a couple bolts on the engine pan.



DISMOUNT SUBFRAME BRACE
This is why you need the engine support. Once this part is out the engine would be relatively free to drop to the floor. I say relatively because it's still partially attached to the tranny.
It's held on by two really fat bolts per side.


Aditionally, there's another smaller nut on each side which connects to your engine mounts. Remove them. This way the engine mounts will stay connected to the chassis.


Once the small nut is removed, completely remove the two big bolts on each side


The subframe will come right down



DISMOUNT OIL BREATHER (AKA pipe that goes from the mainfold to the oil pan)
You just pop this off both sides. Mine looked like it wasn't happy, so I bought a new one.



DISMOUNT DIPSTICK TUBE
Only on the bottom of the engine. You can dismount the entire thing as it will be easier to reinstall the oil pan like that.
The dipstick's entrance to the oil pan is supported by a single nut. Remove it and you should be able to remove the dipstick tube.
By the way, this is a possible source of water entering the engine. It's not 100% sealed so be careful with those puddles!



REMOVE OIL LEVEL SENSOR CONNECTOR
Here you also see how you'd replace it if it's faulty: just undo those 3 bolts and it comes right out. Again, ignore that center part that's dismounted as it isn't necessary.



DISMOUNT ENGINE OIL RETURN LINE
This is that hateful banjo bolt you have to dismount when you take out the valve cover. It's on the passenger side of the engine.
All you have to do is loosen the crimp-style connector you see in the pic. Later on you can reuse it.



REMOVE ALL OIL PAN BOLTS
There are 20 if I remember correctly. Remove them and note which long ones go where. There are two which are much longer, but just in the little ones there are two different lengths.


Once you've dismounted them all the oil pan should come off. If it doesn't, you've forgotten a bolt. Don't go apesh!t trying to pull it off, those 8.8 POS bolts will rip out
Now you should be able to easily fish out whatever you dropped in here in the first place.
A note of caution: the oil pan design changed sometime during the M3 run. This means that if you break it you need to update other parts too, with a cost approaching $1000.
This is what the evil oil pan looks like once dismounted




Here is a pic of the oil pan bolts and how they go around the oil pan


PICS OF THE ENGINE'S BOTTOM END
Once here you can see the bottom end of the engine.




The oil pump!







ENGINE MOUNTS
I hadn't planned to do this, but I had previously observed that my engine mounts were 'not quite 100%'.


I considered the RE ones, but they told me they'd drive me nuts if used on a DD so I went back to OEM.

You may (and probably will) have to raise the engine a bit so these fit. You can do it through trial and error, just raise a bit, see if the subframe will fit on, if it doesn't raise a bit more. Remember, we're replacing old, smashed up engine mounts and they new ones are thicker.

Once you remove the front subframe brace as explained above you can see the engine mounts hanging around




The mounts are held on by a single bolt each. You can access it with your hands and with a socket wrench.


A quick comparison to the new ones shows they really were on their way out. This is a 2002 M3 with 103k.












We borrow the shield from the oil passenger side one and put it onto the new one we'll put in the passenger side. This is designed to protect it from the headers which are nearby.


Both engine mounts are identical. The ones you take off may not be though, as the passenger side one was more 'smooshed' than the drivers side.

You put the new ones in in the same way as the old ones. They use poke-yoke so it's hard to do it wrong.








Finally, a sneak preview of what it will look like once you mount it back up:





REMOVING OIL PUMP


We want to remove the single nut holding the oil pump sprocket.
It's an M17 socket, reverse threaded

So that the stress you put on the chain doesn't break the plastic -yes, plastic- chain tensioner, use a finger to move it out of the way while you remove the nut


There we go


Remove the sprocket

We move on to removing the oil pump body. It's held on by three allen bolts.
My car has had the bearing recall done to it. The morons at the dealership half stripped the heads... so annoying to see
We will not remove the three bolts yet as first we will dismount oil return lines


We also need to remove the rest of the bolts holding the oil return and suction lines to the car




Out! As you can imagine, all of these components will be full of oil - make sure you plan accordingly so you're not surprised with an unpleasant mouthful, or start looking for a bucket once you have oil pouring everywhere!


Place it inside the oil pan you've previously removed.

Now the thinner pipe. It's held on by two bolts




Pump removal. Now remove the three bolts that hold the pump onto the car


and it's out!


I put this on the oil pan along with the other associated parts

Take a moment to admire the pump. It's impressive.
This could be a good moment to get an upgraded pump... you're already in there, you might as well


Now you see the engine free from anything on the bottom end


You can see the bottom of the pistons, cylinder walls and even the oil squirters if you look hard enough



Last edited by SYT_Shadow; Mon, Oct-31-2016 at 05:28:55 PM.
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Old Mon, Sep-16-2013, 11:11:31 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

ROD BEARING REPLACEMENT
First we need a way to rotate the engine.
You can use a 32mm socket to rotate it from the front, accessing through the top as the fan is removed


You can reinstall the fan and use a 32mm open wrench to rotate it too. I chose the first method.

Bearings are accessed in order. First cylinders 1 and 6, then 3 and 4, then 2 and 5. So, we rotate the engine until cylinders 1 and 6 are all the way in the bottom
You know they're in the bottom because they're protruding the most of their entire travel. They want new bearings, that's why.

a) Grab a 12 point M12 socket if your car is produced up to 12/13/2002
b) Grab a E12 socket if your car is produced from 12/13/2002


Remove the two bolts


The cap isn't just going to come down. It'll have to be persuaded. No sharp tools, etc. I used a dead blow hammer to help it come down, tapping gently on both sides


When it comes down you see this


And now you have a cap in your hand


This car has fractured connecting rods. Basically the rod was one forged part, then it was split in two in a single blow.
This means the mating surfaces are rugged and only mate with each other.
This also means you must maintain rod/cap association and also reinstall in the same direction you removed them.
If you forget, just remember the part of the cap with the serial numbers faces the passenger's side

Keep track of what bolt was on which side of the cap.

Now lift the rod. You do this with your fingers, softly.


You move the piston up until it clears the crank and can show through one of the sides.
Move it carefully. The surface is extremely hard (especially the edges) and can marr the crank. So it's better to lift the piston too much than too little, the only problem will be slightly harder access reinstalling the rod bearing.


This is how I maintain association:

It's clear what is the rod side and what is the cap side.
If you forget, each bearing is color coded on its side. Red is for the cap, blue for the rod




Remove the old bearings by pushing them to the side so they rotate right off their holders

Assembly lube!
You can use 10W60. I preferred proper assembly lube.


Coat the bearing using your finger in a clean glove. You do not want dirt particles anywhere near your crank


Place it into the cap holder. You need to apply some force to get it in.
The way I did it was first put the side with the groove into the slot where it goes, then put a finger to hold it and push down on the other side. It'll be helpful to do the cap side first, as the rod side is a lot more constrained and will take some wiggling around with your index fingers instead of your thumbs...
Thankfully bearings are poke yoke and do not go in the wrong way around. Here's a closeup of the groove side, which is also the first step to put in the bearing



Step 2: hold with one finger (right in pic) and push down with the other finger (left in pic)


And voilà! It's in Notice the rugged surface in this closeup, it's beautiful!


Remember, numbers to the passenger side



Now do the same to the rod side. Word to the wise: first put the bearing in, then deal with the assembly lube or 10W60.

After this, pull the upper rod back down into its place carefully and gently, the piston's travel back down will be jerky and the last thing you want is to ram the side of the rod into the crank (again, very hard and sharp edges!)

We are ready to reassemble! I also put assembly lube on the surface of the crank




Another delicate part here: similarly to the top, don't rush when placing the bottom half; easy does it and you won't ram into the crank with the sharp, hard edges








TIGHTENING ROD BEARINGS
This part is critical. No screwing around.
The procedure differs significantly if you have a pre 12/13/2002 car or post.
In all cases you will need to first use settling torque, which is a low value. It's a bit more than hand tightening, basically with the purpose of mating both surfaces correctly.
Then you will need a initial torque, which is the kind of torque setting we're all used to.
And finally, an angle torque. Angle torques are a certain amount of rotation (as opposed to torque) that you need to apply, and is achieved using a tool like the one you can see in the pictures. You do not want to use a torque wrench for this part.

a) Pre 12/13/2002. You're lucky. No nightmarish tightening procedure!
You can reuse your bolts.
Settling torque 5NM
Initial torque 30NM
Angle torque to 70 degrees in a single stroke

b) Post 12/13/2002. You have to do all of these in a row.
First:
Settling torque 5NM
Initial torque 30NM
Angle torque to 105 degrees in a single stroke
Release bolt one full turn, so aprox. 360 degrees (this will pretty much loosen the bolts so you'll feel like you're starting again)
Second:
Settling torque 5NM
Initial torque 30NM
Angle torque to 105 degrees in a single stroke
Release bolt one full turn
Third:
Settling torque 5NM
Initial torque 30NM
Angle torque to 105 degrees in a single stroke

*Note: no more releasing anything this third time around, you're done!

My car is a)
Settling torque - go alternating between tightening one bolt and the other until you get to the 5NM, here's where the surfaces begin to be in contact with each other so there's no rush


Initial torque


Angle torque: starting position


Ending position. Remember I'm type a), so it might need to read 105 degrees for you at this point!


Note the connection from the dial to a metallic part of the car is there to be able to set the dial where you want it, but make sure you have enough travel in your needed rotation. My recommendation is to do a practice run to make sure you're not going to crush your hand against something (and have to keep turning since you can't stop once you're doing the angle torque, it has to be in a single stroke!). Once the path is clear from all obstacles (snake-connector from the angle-torque tool included), you're good to go.

Another note worth mentioning is you may need to dismount the oil radiator to have an uninterrupted rotation, especially if you're type b) and need the extra clearance. I didn't have to, but just make sure you don't find out you need extra clearance once you're angle torquing.

Do the same for Cylinder 1 (I started with 6), then rotate the engine to access 3 and 4, then finally 2 and 5.


BEARING PICS
This M has 130k on it and around 3000 track miles.
I think the bearings are in decent condition! I put a brand new one alongside the used ones to appreciate the difference












REASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS
I'll include some basic reassembly instructions. Mostly pics
Oil pump


Return and send oil lines








Oil pump sprocket reattached. Remember the reverse thread.
I used red Loctite as people are afraid of it coming apart.
Remember to use a finger to get the chain tensioner out of the way while tightening
Torque is 25NM


We got a new dipstick seal as we purchased the connecting rod kit!


Now we add RTV to the oil pan surface


On goes the gasket - make sure it's firmly attached


Now guck up the top side of the gasket


Actually installing the oil pan is always a massive PITA. Little clearance, seemingly endless screws and the thought of RTV drying on you! Horrible.

Remember to insert the dipstick tube where it went as you put up the oil pan - I'm unsure if it can be put in later, but definitely not easily - and you really don't want to have to undo ALL this work just to put the dipstick tube in there!

Don't forget the oil return line


I replaced the steering guibo as it's so accessible




The artichoke. The kit includes this gasket


Some RTV on the bottom


And on the top


Reattach PS pump


Subframe brace


New steering guibo seen.
The rod bearing kit includes the bolt as it's supposed to be a one use item


Now replace the oil filter and add 6.5L of TWS!

You're done!

Remember the engine has to be broken in during the first 1200 miles, so easy on it (revs and throttle). Afterwards change the oil and you're all set

Last edited by SYT_Shadow; Tue, Sep-17-2013 at 02:28:47 AM.
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Old Mon, Sep-16-2013, 11:11:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

FAQ:

For SMG Cars and General Advice. From 'Mack Truck

My PS pump did not come off with removal of the two main bolts that hold the bracket alone. Mine required removal of approx 4-5 bolts to unbolt from the bracket and the engine housing.

I have an SMG and of course the lines get in the way when trying to drop the pan. There is a bracket attached to the transmission housing that holds the lines on place. I had to un bolt this to allow just enough "flex" in the SMG lines to get the pan to clear. The bigger problem is that the lower bolt cannot be acces as the damn lines are actually in the way. Un bolt the top one and then the lower while pressing the bracket out with a finger. This will give enough space to get the bolt out.

Use a small acid brush to apply the assembly lube...+1 on snap the new bearing into the rod BEFORE applying the lube!

If yours has the e-torx (later versions) get an e-torx socket as I stripped my universal socket on the first torque sequence of the first bolt. HF sells a pack that has the E12. No problems after that

If SMG, make sure transmission is in neutral prior to rotating crank.

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Old Mon, Sep-16-2013, 11:12:12 PM   #4
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Old Mon, Sep-16-2013, 11:16:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

amazing!! sub'd
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Old Mon, Sep-16-2013, 11:44:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

Awesome! Thanks for the DIY!
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Old Tue, Sep-17-2013, 12:00:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

Scheiße that was fun to read! Hopefully I never have to do this, but it's nice that someone has done a nice writeup. Maybe we can all pitch in couple bucks and buy you a new camera flash for your next DIY (Just kidding, I know what a PITA it is to get light into cramped, dark spaces)
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Old Tue, Sep-17-2013, 12:05:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

You mention that it is not necessary to dismount the steering rack. Can you explain?

Great DIY by the way. "Repost" came to mind for the first half of the pictures!! LOL!
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Old Tue, Sep-17-2013, 12:18:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

Great job bro!!!!
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Old Tue, Sep-17-2013, 12:24:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rod Bearings

Judging from the look, you guys did this job for fun more than necessity. Very detailed DIY, wish I had this sort of gumshin.
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Discussing Rod Bearings 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)