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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 Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:02:45 PM   #1
p0lar
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Default Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

I know, the title seems misleading, I mean after all, they're < $4 each, right? Why bother? As self-titled keeper of the motorsport enthusiast M3 trust, I feel compelled to make as many changes to status quo as possible when it comes to protecting the financial interests of m3forum members.

So sometimes it only makes sense to buy shims individually if you have a dealer in close proximity, and only if that dealer sells them to you at a reasonable price, or only if you get them in on another order. In most other cases.... you'll want to read on.

I and another friend and forum member, after doing his valve adjustment, got frustrated with the status quo for what was $440 for a full set of shims so that we could just keep them on-hand while doing our own, and others', valve adjustments. His car was going to be down for a few weeks anyway, so we figured it wasn't a big deal to simply order the shims we needed and move on with life. It would have been nice to have an assortment of shims to choose from, but the money for a full shim kit was better spent on track time. (it always is)

As we all know, the stereotypical fleecing that's imparted upon us by BMW (amongst others) drives us to seek alternate solutions without compromise to performance or quality. As such, I'm here to post a review on the WiseCo VSK4 valve shim kit. This kit contains quantity 3 each of 8.85mm shims from 1.72mm to 2.60mm in 0.04mm increments. The OEM BMW kit contains the same shims from 1.72mm to 2.60mm in 0.04mm increments, but has 6 of each of those 23 different shims.

The difference? The VSK4 is about $38 + shipping, so a full replacement set to match the BMW kit would be just over $75 + shipping. That's a whopping difference of $364.



Skeptical as we were, we ordered a set anyway. After all, this is WiseCo, not some cheap knock-off (see RacerPro, ugh). Here is the set as it arrived:





Before the WiseCo shims arrived, we mic'd a NEW OEM 2.12mm shim. After three measurements at three different points around its circumference, it came out to 8.853mm in diameter. The same WiseCo 2.12mm shim mic'd at 8.849+mm in diameter for a difference of ~0.003mm (0.00012" difference). The magnetism was also tested and confirmed to be very similar to that of the OEM shims using an OEM tool, no difference was noted.

Most OEM shims have some variance in their thickness, such that 2.12mm shims may measure more or less than 2.12, so that measurement may not be accurate across a multitude of shims since there's only one data point. Regardless, our new OEM 2.12mm shim measured 2.126mm and our WiseCo 2.12mm shim measured 2.128mm.

The top side with thickness marking:


And the reverse side: (you wouldn't know which is which unless you saw the front)


So, what's the difference, then? Are the OEM shims hardened differently than the WiseCos? They're certainly not shaped differently. The hardness remains to be determined has been verified/validated - see the results at the end of this post, the WiseCos are through-hardened and precision ground. Atop that, WiseCo is a recognized name in high quality aftermarket engine parts, and actually produce pistons and piston rings for a number of aftermarket BMW engines, even the S54, amongst other bits and pieces.

I know there will be naysayers who say there's no replacement for the OEM valve shims because "BMW Quality", etc, but it's not as if BMW has exactly lived up to their quality standard with respect to the bulk of the valve train anyway, as a simple 'VANOS failure' search will indicate. Though the shims are thought to have no part in that particular catastrophe, it still begs the question that they've made unilaterally good decisions. I digress, back to the topic.

WiseCo produces good parts, and I can find no reason why these shims would fail their reputation or fail to operate as intended in the S54 valvetrain. We're going to test both the WiseCo and OEM shims for hardness to find out what the differences are, but I think we already know where this is headed. Both non-OEM shims have been tested and confirmed, results below!

For those of you who are thinking, "Why even bother buying a shim kit when you can buy just what you need at a dealership?"

Because 1) I don't care who you are, you won't know exactly which sizes you need before you get started (unless it's Kaiv, Dafoe or a few others... ) and 2) Not everyone lives near a dealership.

There will also be others who insist that the wear will destroy the WiseCos, the cam followers, or some other part, fracture the shims, or worse. The shims are not subject to rotational wear, but compressive wear. Since there's only one way to find out if they're going to take the abuse, I'm going to do my full valve adjustment and replace as many as reasonable with the WiseCo shims - eat my own proverbial dog food, just the same as tuning my own car. (it hasn't j4'd yet)

So, I suppose I'm posting this so others can order a set, or sets, and taste the fruits of our experimentation or review for themselves. A valve adjustment and inspection shouldn't be an expensive endeavour, especially considering how important it is to the health and operation of the S54.

I've spoken to an eBay dealer (OEM CycleSupport, +1.888.736.2519, no affiliation) who sells the shims for $37.87/kit, plus shipping. Though it says VSK4 7.48mm, he confirmed it is actually a 8.85mm kit with the proper shims. They can also be ordered through a few vendors on Amazon for roughly the same price, which is where we got ours, but they're currently backordered.

Purchasing sources for the WiseCo kit: (no affiliation in any way whatsoever)



Purchasing sources for the HotCams HCSHIM00 kit: (also no affiliation)
Both Hot Cams and Wiseco sell refills, part numbers as follows, but $5.77/5 pack shipped via eBay is VERY good on the HotCams!

DiameterThicknessQuantityHotCams #WiseCo #
8.9 mm1.72 mm55PK890172VS8172
8.9 mm1.76 mm55PK890176VS8176
8.9 mm1.80 mm55PK890180VS8180
8.9 mm1.84 mm55PK890184VS8184
8.9 mm1.88 mm55PK890188VS8188
8.9 mm1.92 mm55PK890192VS8192
8.9 mm1.96 mm55PK890196VS8196
8.9 mm2.00 mm55PK890200VS8200
8.9 mm2.04 mm55PK890204VS8204
8.9 mm2.08 mm55PK890208VS8208
8.9 mm2.12 mm55PK890212VS8212
8.9 mm2.16 mm55PK890216VS8216
8.9 mm2.20 mm55PK890220VS8220
8.9 mm2.24 mm55PK890224VS8224
8.9 mm2.28 mm55PK890228VS8228
8.9 mm2.32 mm55PK890232VS8232
8.9 mm2.36 mm55PK890236VS8236
8.9 mm2.40 mm55PK890240VS8240
8.9 mm2.44 mm55PK890244VS8244
8.9 mm2.48 mm55PK890248VS8248
8.9 mm2.52 mm55PK890252VS8252
8.9 mm2.56 mm55PK890256VS8256
8.9 mm2.60 mm55PK890260VS8260
Enjoy!

P.S. I only claim 50% of this find, the other 50% goes to maruscmn for his equally diligent and reckless pursuit of motorsport perfection.

P.P.S. The following is a page from WiseCo's catalog:



Updated 04.04.2014: Shim hardness testing results are in - it's a match!

DescriptionTest 1Test 2Test 3Test 4Test 5MeanStDev
OEM (new)62.062.062.562.562.562.30.274
OEM (used)62.562.563.063.062.562.70.274
WiseCo (new)62.062.062.562.062.562.20.274
HotCams (new)61.062.062.061.062.061.60.548


Attached Images
File Type: png WiseCo Valve Shims - Kits & Refills.png (380.6 KB, 3567 views)
File Type: jpg wiseco_case.jpg (93.4 KB, 3545 views)
File Type: jpg photo.JPG (145.8 KB, 3524 views)
File Type: jpg wiseco_oem_comp_2.JPG (65.4 KB, 3459 views)
File Type: jpg wiseco_front.JPG (148.7 KB, 3473 views)

Last edited by p0lar; Wed, May-21-2014 at 12:30:17 PM.
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:05:47 PM   #2
nowanker
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

You, sir, are a STUD.
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:10:00 PM   #3
jersey3
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

you sir deserve praise
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:13:07 PM   #4
kaiv
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Thumbs up Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Great find Polar!
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:15:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Polar, this is an awesome find!

I was talking with a buddy over on the west coast the other day and this conversation had come up but we had not taken it anywhere other than spit balling.

Coming from the a different market there was something similar but the company name escapes me. Kind of along the line of several other jobber product lines for service garages.

You sir deserve a medal for this.
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:15:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

The fact that you're doing this on your own car first deserves some kudos! You're the man!
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:17:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Wow, great find! Looking forward to the results. In p0lar, we trust
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:19:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Quote:
Originally Posted by vtn86 View Post
The fact that you're doing this on your own car first deserves some kudos! You're the man!
I'll mark the WiseCo's and measure them in 6-8 months to see what they come out as. That's the only way to know if they're staying in spec or not. Until then, bear with me.

P.S. Results from the hardness testing may or may not come soon, maruscmn has it performed at a local engineering univiersity on a pro-bono basis, and we don't take those kinds of favours lightly.

Last edited by p0lar; Wed, May-21-2014 at 12:33:48 PM.
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:30:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Wow. Thanks for sharing the information. I am doing a valve adjustment soon and was dreading what shims to order or go get and what I would need to finsih the deal. I think I too will get the WiseCo and see how they do. I personally as well as many of my friends have used WiseCo products before and had great results, so this should be no different.
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Old Thu, Feb-06-2014, 09:33:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoostKing View Post
Wow. Thanks for sharing the information. I am doing a valve adjustment soon and was dreading what shims to order or go get and what I would need to finsih the deal. I think I too will get the WiseCo and see how they do. I personally as well as many of my friends have used WiseCo products before and had great results, so this should be no different.
Keep us updated with your findings! Again, these aren't in my car yet, we just got the kit, but I can assure you - they're going in soon.

P.S. I'm not one to hoarde information, BTW.
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Discussing Inexpensive Valve Shims Sourced - WiseCo VSK4 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)