E46Fanatics - View Single Post - Why I am moving on from my FI'd 330Ci?
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Old 02-16-2013, 03:46 AM   #30
Registered User
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 5,268
My Ride: 2002 Stock 330Ci
Originally Posted by MisterM View Post
The DME still seems like the curse of the platform. This swayed my decision to start with an M in 2008. I am glad I did.

I think Bigjae made an excellent choice. Plenty of excellent tuners to choose from with complete control, easy to work on, and plenty reliable when setup properly.

Don't believe the hype!

This from a small block domestic v-8 noobie as I have been called around these parts. ALL of these S54 "issues" you mentioned can be dealt with in a weekend of work and you can "fuggedaboutit." Stand on that S54 at redline all day long worthy.

-upgraded bearings-bolts
-upgraded hub (cryo'ed Dr. Vanos or TurboToy - you choose)
-upgraded vanos-bolts

That's a $1000 of parts and a weekend, if you're wife will free you. $2500-$3000 if you cannot DIY. The work is easy.

Remember, there are almost 50,000 S54 powered M3's around the US. The catastrophic "OMG" occurrence rate is not high. I have faith you can do the math yourself.

My car is at 100k today. She began life as a lease lease turn in with 15k mile OIC () and 38k miles in 2008 before I got it. Bearing recall fun and all.

The decade-old fragile S54 dyno'ed 312/246 SAE to the wheels last week at 5,800 ft elevation. On winter-blend 91 octane crap (that is all we get in Denver area).

What's my point... don't believe the S54 hype. Especially if you can turn a wrench!

I agree that the MS45 is by far the most challenging DME to tune due to its tighter tolerances. This is clearly seen with the 4500RPM dip from just the DISA opening up being detected as knock.

If you can obtain all those parts for me for $1000, then I'd gladly send you PayPal money ASAP. When I went about completing just my VANOS refresh it costs more than that. $1350 for DrVANOS S54 VANOS, $900 for DrVANOS exhaust hub, $200 for DrVANOS intake spline gear, $200 for DrVANOS exhaust spline gear, $25 for cam bolts, $95 for valve cover gasket kit.

I like the Bimmerworld treated bearings more the coated bearings. Those are $600.

5 hours @ $115/hour = $575 for the VANOS refresh.
12 hours @ $115/hour = $1380 for the rod bearing remove and replace.

I'm sure you can do the math, but that would not equate to $3000.

As far as failure rates go, there are a total of 50,000 USA E46 M3 cars from all the years it was produced. BMW was averaging about 500,000 E46s around the world per year - let's say 500,000 E46 M3s were produced. With about 2.5 million non-M's produced, if they were even two-nines reliable, then it would almost cover half of the E46 M3's produced for the USA. So over the course of a 6 year production run, the failure rates over the production numbers is not that high either from cooling system explosions, engine malfunctions, and cam bolts shearing. My point is that every engine has its short comings and for track use, the engine's parts must be reinforced for that abuse - whether it is S54 or M54.

In the end, it really boils down to how well you maintain your car. I can turn wrenches and even did an engine swap, but some things I leave it to the shops to do because they carry the insurance should something screw up. Case and point, DrVanos shipped me a S54 VANOS unit with a kinked o-ring on the exhaust VANOS cam cap. It ended up springing a leak when I was around the corner from my house. I just brought it back to the shop and let them deal with DrVANOS about it. If I were to install it, then the question of me not being certified or qualified to do the installation will be raised even though it wasn't my fault. Sometimes it just isn't worth the hassle and definitely not a whole weekend getting dirty and frustrated with the lack of tools.

Also, have you seen the cost of the Snap-On angle torque wrenches? It is already $500 alone. I know you maybe rich, but I am not.

Some things are left to the real professionals to do the wrenching. I'm sure Jae can attest to that after his engine build headache on his M54.
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