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Old 02-15-2013, 04:31 PM   #21
HighBoostin330
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But why do you have to put the Vaio oil pump on? I know the answer...that answer is why I've said what I've said.
It is because you said you've continually had parts fail on you. VAC's oil solution doesn't have a success rate as high as VAIO's pump.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:36 PM   #22
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But why does the oil pump need to addressed, generally speaking?
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:37 PM   #23
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But why does the oil pump need to addressed, generally speaking?
You know the answer. But then why does the S54 rod bearings need to be addressed, generally speaking?
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:02 PM   #24
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So I guess this offends you? What does an S54 have to do with this? I asked a question. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
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Old 02-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #25
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I'll answer both...kind of the same actually.

I don't think so. It ran at 10.5psi for awhile. I don't think the amount of boost is the issue. The car for many reasons is just not made for track use with FI. 5psi or 11 psi.

I've seen 2 other E46 Non-Ms blow engines (one rod, not sure about the other one). All supercharging does is get you there faster. It doesn't give you the advantage that you think you'll get. The problem is heat. These cars have enough trouble stock...now add more fuel, more power which equals more heat.

You can make it reliable. Forged pistons and rods, billet crank, dry sump oiling, stand alone ECU. Now you've dropped $16k+ into a car that is on par with an E9X M3. Is it worth it? Not to me.



I think the common misconception is that power doesn't always equate to fun. Speed through the corners is where it is at...suspension and brakes.
Could you clarify a little bit on my question (surrounding not FI)? I just had trouble deciphering which part of this is directed at too much boost, and what's directed at what you think the reliability of the M54 is, boost-less, and whether its worth preparing for track use versus just buying an E46 M3.

Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:08 PM   #26
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So I guess this offends you? What does an S54 have to do with this? I asked a question. I'd like to hear your thoughts.
It doesn't offend me. I was just trying to understand your rational stating the non-M even in NA form is inadequate for track due to engine shortfalls. So I was trying to apply your rational to the E46 M3 you picked up. From my experience, the S54 still had rod bearing issues, sheering cam bolts, and exhaust VANOS hub cracking. And these are seen on cars that haven't even been to the track. Although the sheering cam bolts and cracking VANOS exhaust hubs are more dominant on the 2004+ vehicles. Basically what I am saying is both engines has its shortfalls as witness in the community. So, to say one engine is hands down better than the other because you didn't personally witness a failure of the S54 is incorrect. Just like everything else made in the world, it all has it's shortcomings.

And to answer your question, it is supposedly engine harmonics that cause the oil pump nut to back out on the M54. However, I never personally witnessed it on my M54 as it was blueprinted and balanced during its reassembly and the oil pump nut was welded on. I did replace the oil pump with the VAIO pump and placed in a VAC oil pan baffle just for peace of mind.
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:43 PM   #27
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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.

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ISo I was trying to apply your rational to the E46 M3 you picked up. From my experience, the S54 still had rod bearing issues, sheering cam bolts, and exhaust VANOS hub cracking. And these are seen on cars that haven't even been to the track. Although the sheering cam bolts and cracking VANOS exhaust hubs are more dominant on the 2004+ vehicles.
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!

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 02-15-2013, 06:44 PM   #28
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Could you clarify a little bit on my question (surrounding not FI)? I just had trouble deciphering which part of this is directed at too much boost, and what's directed at what you think the reliability of the M54 is, boost-less, and whether its worth preparing for track use versus just buying an E46 M3.

Thanks!
Yes, the E46 M3 is a far superior car and cheaper to make a reliable track car. Most of all, the M3 has a much beefier suspension and a limited slip standard. Don't think for a second that a 333hp non-M is the same as a 333hp M3, not even close. The S54 has proven itself to be a reliable engine in the track environment but not bulletproof. It has an advanced oiling system and more advanced DME. The body work allows you to fit 275s on all 4 corners without too much work. You can get 295s but might not be pretty.

A non-M has non of that. I think for a novice, a 330 will work. Let's admit it, most of us are competitive. Nothing worse than seeing a Miata pass you. That will happen at the higher run groups. Then...the Miata's wil enjoy much lower running costs and just be faster.

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Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
It doesn't offend me. I was just trying to understand your rational stating the non-M even in NA form is inadequate for track due to engine shortfalls. So I was trying to apply your rational to the E46 M3 you picked up. From my experience, the S54 still had rod bearing issues, sheering cam bolts, and exhaust VANOS hub cracking. And these are seen on cars that haven't even been to the track. Although the sheering cam bolts and cracking VANOS exhaust hubs are more dominant on the 2004+ vehicles. Basically what I am saying is both engines has its shortfalls as witness in the community. So, to say one engine is hands down better than the other because you didn't personally witness a failure of the S54 is incorrect. Just like everything else made in the world, it all has it's shortcomings.

And to answer your question, it is supposedly engine harmonics that cause the oil pump nut to back out on the M54. However, I never personally witnessed it on my M54 as it was blueprinted and balanced during its reassembly and the oil pump nut was welded on. I did replace the oil pump with the VAIO pump and placed in a VAC oil pan baffle just for peace of mind.
I see at least 5+ S54 engine'd cars at the track every month. Never a problem with the internals. The S54 is reliable but maintenance throughout the life of the egine is imperative and issues must be promptly fixed. It is critical to keep the oil level just right. The S54's oil system does not like too much, the rod bearings do not like too little. The one interesting thing about the S54 rod bearings is the Z4M never had a recall, don't hear many issues and the redline is 7500 or 7800...I know its not 8000. I think you'll find that many post-recall rod bearing issues are due to running the car a quart low on oil frequently and not using BMW spec'd Castrol TWS 10w-60 or comparable oil. And that's a fact according to the Shop Foreman from a very large BMW dealership.

If you take a percentage of failures from car that are tracked and not tracked...I will guarantee that unless it is a design or material shortcoming, a street car will ALWAYS see higher failure rates. Why? Because track cars see far more frequent and thorough maintenance vs your average poseur that is driving around until the dash tells him/her to change the oil. So your logic of if it happens on the street, it must happen more on the track is incorrect.

A VANOS only blows up if you keep driving it with a rattle and never fix it. M54s will pull out cam bolts as well. With an M3...you don't have to worry about your cooling system suddenly exploding.

Yes, it is the harmonics. In my discussion with a very experience engine builder who built baja racers and marine engines and has 25 years of experience...there is an inherent harmonic issue with the M54. Bolting stuff on helps mask the issue but its still there.

I think you did it the right way and I would have done the engine just as you did. Balancing goes a long way to reducing the harmonics. But I'm looking at the complete picture, not just the engine. And the M3 gets to me to a higher level for less money. I'm not saying my 330 wasn't fun and fast, it was. But I'm not willing to keep spending to keep it on the track sacrificing seat time. People who go to the track are generally very intelligent, not very easy to outsmart them. I'm willing to be a good chunk are accomplished engineers. So I really asked myself, "Why am I the only one who consistently shows up and drives a non-M BMW?"

Let talk lap times. I ran a 1:47:68 in my 330 at MSR Houston. It was at 3260, no driver, full tank. I did a 1:45:69 in an E90 M3 with OE dampers and 3700 lbs. The 330 actually has more power (torque and low peak but more area under the curve). I feel like I could maybe drop a second in my 330 on that lap time. I'm confident if I throw some coilovers on and drop 200 lbs (easy to do) in my E90, I'd drop another 2-3 seconds, being conservative.

Another lesson learned? You really do have to spend a LOT of money to make a non-M better than an M. Might as well buy the M from the beginning...and that's my one real regret.

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Old 02-15-2013, 07:13 PM   #29
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There is a point there. I don't think my tune was ever spot on. Part of the problem is that BMW tuners are so far from me. Eurocharged is close but I'm not sure how much experience they have with the MS45. There is the problem. I'm always in search of a tuner.

There is a problem with the MS45. The IAT is built into the MAF where as the IAT is in the intake manifold in an MS43. Not an issue NA. Bolt on a supercharger and then the DME in an MS45 car sees the IATs at the MAF. In the twinscrew, the air goes through a hot twinscrew compressor. So that IAT reading is no longer accurate. So tuners pull timing and add fuel at the top...then you run into the issue in my original post. There was a theory you could rewire the heater lead in the MAF and locate an IAT in the manifold. Apparently the MS45 DME overlays fuel adaptations to the entire fuel map. So any adaptation at part throttle gets applied to full throttle and vice versa. All of this was discovery learning.

Yeah I could deal with that hot mess and dial the boost down a bit. Or I can get an E46 M3, spend less, drive more, fewer issues, throw in some 4.10 gears which cost about $2500 plus install and own twinscrew'd non-M's on the track all day long. Especially at the end of the day when they are all heatsoaked and slow...ripe for a blow up.

I can say that I've seen 3 other NA non-Ms lose engines at the track plus mine over the past 2 years. You have to consider that a non-M E46 is pretty rare to see at the track...that's a VERY high percentage. The M54 is a great motor on the street. Borderline crap for hard use.
The fact that ESS came out with a stage 3 for the ms43 and not the ms45 gives some credit to the idea that the ms45 ecu is harder to tune for. One thing that makes a tuner truly great, and the main reason why I chose ESS for my supercharger kit, is knowing when to say enough is enough. Reservation is something that your AA twinscrew kit did not have.

I also don't think your car was ever tuned correctly. I remember when I bought my car, I was jonesing for a supercharger. I looked around and AA was the first place I looked. At the time, ALL their kits were only for ms43 ecu. So disappointed, i started looking elsewhere. At the time, NOBODY had a kit that would work with the ms45 ecu. Then ESS released the twinscrew kits which included cars with ms45 ecu's. I was ecstatic that there was this awesome blower that actually worked on my ms45 ecu. Very soon thereafter, AA came out with their TS kit. I figured that they finally managed to "unlock" the ecu and figured it out. From my experience since then, what I infer from the timing of all that is that they wanted to gather as much of that market share as possible and hurriedly put out a "better" kit that was "more powerful" and "better than the competition" but really had poor tuning and just more boost without much durability testing to make sure the ecu and engine could handle it.

Also, IIRC, your issues started with an oil pump nut, not the kit. So we come to the chicken or the egg scenario. And you also stated that after your engine blew, you dealt with people who were apparently ignorant of the ms45. Not really the car's fault. All engines have flaws. I even believe the s54 had oil pump nut issues but I may be mistaken.

You make a blanket state that 330's in general are terrible for track but also state that ms43 ecu tuning is more or less acceptable and works principally. Once thing I didn't hear you mention when you brought up other 330's with blown engines at the track is whether there were ms43 or ms45.

You also say that for cheaper, you could buy an M3, throw some gears in it and be faster and more reliable. Once thing that you don't take into account is that M3's command quite a significant price premium over their non-M counterparts. When I was shopping for my BMW, M3's were $10,000 more expensive than a non-M. I don't know if that premium still exist this late in its life cycle, but it did exist for more than 5 years.

And I've never had an e46 M3 pass me with my current setup. Straight or on a curve. There was an awesome e90 M3 with an ESS kit that blew the doors off of me! It was a VT-2 kit. Dont recall the power level though but it was awesome.
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Old 02-16-2013, 02:46 AM   #30
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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!

Cheers,
Mike
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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Old 02-16-2013, 03:17 AM   #31
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Yes, the E46 M3 is a far superior car and cheaper to make a reliable track car. Most of all, the M3 has a much beefier suspension and a limited slip standard. Don't think for a second that a 333hp non-M is the same as a 333hp M3, not even close. The S54 has proven itself to be a reliable engine in the track environment but not bulletproof. It has an advanced oiling system and more advanced DME. The body work allows you to fit 275s on all 4 corners without too much work. You can get 295s but might not be pretty.

A non-M has non of that. I think for a novice, a 330 will work. Let's admit it, most of us are competitive. Nothing worse than seeing a Miata pass you. That will happen at the higher run groups. Then...the Miata's wil enjoy much lower running costs and just be faster.



I see at least 5+ S54 engine'd cars at the track every month. Never a problem with the internals. The S54 is reliable but maintenance throughout the life of the egine is imperative and issues must be promptly fixed. It is critical to keep the oil level just right. The S54's oil system does not like too much, the rod bearings do not like too little. The one interesting thing about the S54 rod bearings is the Z4M never had a recall, don't hear many issues and the redline is 7500 or 7800...I know its not 8000. I think you'll find that many post-recall rod bearing issues are due to running the car a quart low on oil frequently and not using BMW spec'd Castrol TWS 10w-60 or comparable oil. And that's a fact according to the Shop Foreman from a very large BMW dealership.

If you take a percentage of failures from car that are tracked and not tracked...I will guarantee that unless it is a design or material shortcoming, a street car will ALWAYS see higher failure rates. Why? Because track cars see far more frequent and thorough maintenance vs your average poseur that is driving around until the dash tells him/her to change the oil. So your logic of if it happens on the street, it must happen more on the track is incorrect.

A VANOS only blows up if you keep driving it with a rattle and never fix it. M54s will pull out cam bolts as well. With an M3...you don't have to worry about your cooling system suddenly exploding.

Yes, it is the harmonics. In my discussion with a very experience engine builder who built baja racers and marine engines and has 25 years of experience...there is an inherent harmonic issue with the M54. Bolting stuff on helps mask the issue but its still there.

I think you did it the right way and I would have done the engine just as you did. Balancing goes a long way to reducing the harmonics. But I'm looking at the complete picture, not just the engine. And the M3 gets to me to a higher level for less money. I'm not saying my 330 wasn't fun and fast, it was. But I'm not willing to keep spending to keep it on the track sacrificing seat time. People who go to the track are generally very intelligent, not very easy to outsmart them. I'm willing to be a good chunk are accomplished engineers. So I really asked myself, "Why am I the only one who consistently shows up and drives a non-M BMW?"

Let talk lap times. I ran a 1:47:68 in my 330 at MSR Houston. It was at 3260, no driver, full tank. I did a 1:45:69 in an E90 M3 with OE dampers and 3700 lbs. The 330 actually has more power (torque and low peak but more area under the curve). I feel like I could maybe drop a second in my 330 on that lap time. I'm confident if I throw some coilovers on and drop 200 lbs (easy to do) in my E90, I'd drop another 2-3 seconds, being conservative.

Another lesson learned? You really do have to spend a LOT of money to make a non-M better than an M. Might as well buy the M from the beginning...and that's my one real regret.
You may never see a problem with the internals, but you stop by those independent shops and you see a E46 M3 in there for a VANOS check, or rod bearing change, or the engine spun a bearing so it is time for a new engine. People are starting to notice that those bearings are starting to give out at about 100k miles.

I have a friend who is meticulous with his car maintenance. Always follows BMW inspection guidelines and changes oil every 7,000 miles. He ended up with a failed VANOS, sheared cam bolts, and bad rod bearings. It was a 2004 car with a few track days. He treats that thing like his baby.

Z4M also have those rod bearings issues as well, but probably didn't see the recall because it was produced much later than the E46 M3 and at a small production number. This Z4M guy tracks his car, monitors his oil level, and even upgraded his oil cooler to keep oil temperatures down. Look what it got him in 64k miles. http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=787684

Another car with 50 track days: http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607732

50 track days would only last you a year at most if you tracked once every week. If you do a track weekend, you're looking at 25 weeks. This is well short of your expected 2-3 year track life before an engine refresh.

Well most of the people that do modify their cars, they care about their cars. I know my group of friends change their oil on the S54 between 5,000-7,000 mile intervals. We are all enthusiasts, so why would we run anything but the 10W-60 anyways? Last time I checked, the 10W-60 oil requirement was due to noise from some M motors so 5W-30 was no longer used. Thicker CUSTOM engineered oil to reduce sounds and wear characteristics, sounds like design shortcoming to me.

As far as failures happen more on the street versus on the track, you can ask any engine builder and he will tell you that high RPM and high load is what kills engines - that is when you are flying past your fellow HPDE driver's MP4-12C on the front straight away on the track. Not putt putting around in traffic. As far as maintenance goes, most sensible people adhere by the maintenance schedule anyways. Valve adjustment every 30k miles, so I would check my exhaust hub tab every 30k miles. Would you check your cam bolts and exhaust hub tab every oil change? How about the rod bearings? How would you do regular maintenance on that? Rod bearing wear would be indicated from high levels of lead in the oil during a Blackstone analysis. That could be done every oil change, but at $35-50 an analysis, it adds up. M3Forum cars are starting to see more rod bearing wear on 100k mile motors. So what kind of maintenance would a track car like yours see more than the typical street car that isn't track abused? More frequent oil changes obviously, but other than that?

BTW, I pulled off my M54 cam bolts tonight and they still look awesome!

A VANOS doesn't even need to blow up. The solenoid can fail and you are SOL and in limp mode country with no core exchange possible with DrVANOS. Happened to a friend and it wasn't pretty - just lucky he was still under CPO warranty.

You don't have to worry about your cooling system exploding if you replace it at the scheduled intervals. That's why it is called scheduled maintenance. However, I will agree the S54 cooling is superior in that it is so much faster to bleed. However, the expansion tank is still plastic.

As far as your big picture, I agree with you that the S54 has higher power potential. However, to say it is better because it sees no engine failures is misleading and incorrect. Parts are even more expensive for M cars, which is the reason people say the M actually stands for Markup instead of Motorsport. On the other hand, the higher power potential rational is the reason I have a S54 in my 330 now.

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Old 02-16-2013, 10:14 AM   #32
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A lot of good info here. And great civilized argument about M54 vs S54.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
The only misleading part from bigjae could be the way he describes the failures. It was the lubrication system that killed both engines not the FI. But I understand the issues with FI MS54.
So don't get me wrong I actually agree with bigjae that S54 is better racing platform. Heck, BMW didn't design it that way. Also from my own experience I see the M54 better street car (the powerband of supercharged 330 is way more street friendly)
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Old 02-16-2013, 10:22 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnoe07 View Post
The fact that ESS came out with a stage 3 for the ms43 and not the ms45 gives some credit to the idea that the ms45 ecu is harder to tune for. Reservation is something that your AA twinscrew kit did not have.

I also don't think your car was ever tuned correctly.

From my experience since then, what I infer from the timing of all that is that they wanted to gather as much of that market share as possible and hurriedly put out a "better" kit that was "more powerful" and "better than the competition" but really had poor tuning and just more boost without much durability testing to make sure the ecu and engine could handle it.
I cut down your essay a bit...

Tuned correctly? I know my car was tuned to the extent that it would survive on the street for a long time.

I agree with everything you said about the market. I'm not going to get into specifics with certain companies, not the point here. Companies don't sell superchargers for charity, not everyone believes that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnoe07 View Post
You make a blanket state that 330's in general are terrible for track but also state that ms43 ecu tuning is more or less acceptable and works principally. Once thing I didn't hear you mention when you brought up other 330's with blown engines at the track is whether there were ms43 or ms45.
  1. One was a ZHP, lost a rod and had over 100k miles on it...IIRC it wasn't too much more than that.
  2. One was a facelifted sedan 330 that had a pool of oil underneath it. Didn't get the details.
  3. Then there was a gray 330 prefacelift coupe. I see the driver, don't ever see the car.
  4. The last non-M E46 that I see running is an instructor in a bare bones early 325 and he drives it about 1 session a weekend.
  5. Then there was mine which is retired.
I do see 6 E46 M3s (02, 03, 2x 04s, 2x 05s) all running in the advanced group with me for the last year plus three instructors (04, 05, not sure what the other is), plus one intermediate (05 salvage).
  1. One had an electrical issue, missed one day.
  2. One had an EML light come on, checked it out, cleared it, never came back.
  3. One had an SES light come on, exhaust cam sensor, checked, cleared, never an issue.
  4. Last weekend, another one (05 ZCP w/ salvage title) lunched a p/s pump.

So this is what I'm basing my data on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnoe07 View Post
YYou also say that for cheaper, you could buy an M3, throw some gears in it and be faster and more reliable. Once thing that you don't take into account is that M3's command quite a significant price premium over their non-M counterparts. When I was shopping for my BMW, M3's were $10,000 more expensive than a non-M. I don't know if that premium still exist this late in its life cycle, but it did exist for more than 5 years.

And I've never had an e46 M3 pass me with my current setup. Straight or on a curve. There was an awesome e90 M3 with an ESS kit that blew the doors off of me! It was a VT-2 kit. Dont recall the power level though but it was awesome.
Please read my original post carefully. I will admit and take responsibility for not being well informed throughout the process...which is the whole point to this thread.

One thing I have learned on the track is the horsepower is FAR overrated. Driver skill and grip are the 2 factors which determine who's faster for a lap, who has more fun, and who leaves the track at the end of the day without whiplash. So when you look at a 330 as a track platform, it falls FAR short and is more expensive to build into a capable and somewhat competitive car to run at advanced DEs and Time Trials. One example is the diff. Need a diff...used LSD? Good luck. Tires? Miight be able to squeeze 265s square...but wait...no one makes a 265 R-Comp and not too many summer tires in that size. If you look closely, M3 suspension options cost the same as a non-M (same stuff except for the front strut mount). Repair parts are not that much more. I haven't even discussed the engine bay yet.

That was the point of the NA M3 vs the FI'd 330 discussion. Not sure if I was clear about that.

BTW, I bought my 2004 M3, 99.2k miles on the odometer, cold weather pkg, 19's. Had a non-M mirror, front seal on diff is leaking (just damp on the outside), a/b pillar is leaking, front bumper could be replaced, missing R/F fender liner, hood cowl looks bad, rear window seal needs to be replaced, paint is OK, 4 very minor dings, shifter knob and steering wheel is meh, and needs brakes.

FOR a track car, it works because I only care about the steering wheel, shifter, fender line, and bumper. All of which is easy and can be done cheaply.

I paid $13,500 to include taxes, tags, and licensing. Did I mention that its Imola Red with an Imola Red interior...WITH a 6 speed MANUAL transmission?

Or I can spend $10k-12k on a ZHP.

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Old 02-16-2013, 11:30 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
You may never see a problem with the internals, but you stop by those independent shops and you see a E46 M3 in there for a VANOS check, or rod bearing change, or the engine spun a bearing so it is time for a new engine. People are starting to notice that those bearings are starting to give out at about 100k miles.
I'd go for those rather than trying to rebuild the entire engine. The stuff bolted to the block and head are relatively cheap, easy and less life changing that having to do a heart transplant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
I have a friend who is meticulous with his car maintenance. Always follows BMW inspection guidelines and changes oil every 7,000 miles. He ended up with a failed VANOS, sheared cam bolts, and bad rod bearings. It was a 2004 car with a few track days. He treats that thing like his baby.

Z4M also have those rod bearings issues as well, but probably didn't see the recall because it was produced much later than the E46 M3 and at a small production number. This Z4M guy tracks his car, monitors his oil level, and even upgraded his oil cooler to keep oil temperatures down. Look what it got him in 64k miles. http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=787684

Another car with 50 track days: http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607732
I guess my earlier argument applies, small population yields fewer failures! I haven't really followed the Z4Ms closely...just haven't seen or heard of one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
50 track days would only last you a year at most if you tracked once every week. If you do a track weekend, you're looking at 25 weeks. This is well short of your expected 2-3 year track life before an engine refresh.

Well most of the people that do modify their cars, they care about their cars. I know my group of friends change their oil on the S54 between 5,000-7,000 mile intervals. We are all enthusiasts, so why would we run anything but the 10W-60 anyways? Last time I checked, the 10W-60 oil requirement was due to noise from some M motors so 5W-30 was no longer used. Thicker CUSTOM engineered oil to reduce sounds and wear characteristics, sounds like design shortcoming to me.
Modifying...that touches on another discussion and lesson learned. Save that for later. Right now I'm dealing with you two responding to my short stories with "Gone With The Wind" size novels!

The 10W-60 provides more heat stability needed for high RPM usage. Unless you are doing an oil analysis (I admit, haven't done one yet), you really don't know if you are using an optimal change interval. It could be 3k-4k or it could last 15k. No way of knowing without the analysis. Quite frankly, I "guessed" at 2 track weekends (~2 months or 3000 miles).

I believe there are variances among the same engine and different production dates (month to month) which contribute to different issues or the lack thereof. There is some luck to it. Maybe the machinist was out partying the night before or something before he built my motor? Don't know. My 330 was built in July 2003...right before the month of vacation the Germans get???

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
As far as failures happen more on the street versus on the track, you can ask any engine builder and he will tell you that high RPM and high load is what kills engines - that is when you are flying past your fellow HPDE driver's MP4-12C on the front straight away on the track. Not putt putting around in traffic. As far as maintenance goes, most sensible people adhere by the maintenance schedule anyways. Valve adjustment every 30k miles, so I would check my exhaust hub tab every 30k miles. Would you check your cam bolts and exhaust hub tab every oil change? How about the rod bearings? How would you do regular maintenance on that? Rod bearing wear would be indicated from high levels of lead in the oil during a Blackstone analysis. That could be done every oil change, but at $35-50 an analysis, it adds up. M3Forum cars are starting to see more rod bearing wear on 100k mile motors. So what kind of maintenance would a track car like yours see more than the typical street car that isn't track abused? More frequent oil changes obviously, but other than that?

BTW, I pulled off my M54 cam bolts tonight and they still look awesome!

A VANOS doesn't even need to blow up. The solenoid can fail and you are SOL and in limp mode country with no core exchange possible with DrVANOS. Happened to a friend and it wasn't pretty - just lucky he was still under CPO warranty.
I should have been more specific, I was talking about maintenance related failures. I do see enthusiasts that are meticulous about maintenance. But there are MANY who are not. Either they are too lazy, too cheap or cannot afford it.

VANOS failure? That's fine. So long as I don't have to pull the head and mess with internals, I can deal with it. Expensive? Yeah but sh1t happens. If I wanted cheap...I'd drive a different ///M....///Miata!

On the M3, I will do an oil analysis for every oil change (or at least two events). ABout $140/yr is much cheaper and easier than hunting down a $4k used S54 and installing it. I will scan the ECU for any pending codes. Full tune up based on some amount of hours on track (plugs, coils, fuel filter, air filter, O2 sensors, MAF (its cheap). Haven't determined that yet. Probably once a year. Its a lot of money but its cheaper than another engine.

On my 330, I would do the following every 3 months. I pulled the intake track. Check all of the hoses. Put a wrench on (sometimes a socket) all of the compressor and manifold bolts...I had one get loose on me. I should have done some more diagnostics like checking fuel trims and timing and logging AFRs on a test drive. If I could go back in time, I would do that. Not sure what I would do about the oil pump nut...fix it before it goes I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
You don't have to worry about your cooling system exploding if you replace it at the scheduled intervals. That's why it is called scheduled maintenance. However, I will agree the S54 cooling is superior in that it is so much faster to bleed. However, the expansion tank is still plastic.
But at least the M3 tank isn't against the hot radiator.

WARNING WARNING WARNING

***PART OUT PLUG***

Side note. I did have an awesome Zionsville Radiator. Still have it. If anyone wants to swap, let me know. I need YOUR radiator, mounts, expansion tank, fan, and upper/lower heater hoses from a Manual Transmission car.

I give you Zionsville radiator/tank, SPAL fan, and tee-d in heater hose.

/end

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post
As far as your big picture, I agree with you that the S54 has higher power potential. However, to say it is better because it sees no engine failures is misleading and incorrect. Parts are even more expensive for M cars, which is the reason people say the M actually stands for Markup instead of Motorsport. On the other hand, the higher power potential rational is the reason I have a S54 in my 330 now.
Lol...I think that was true a couple of years ago. As more info gets out there, I'm finding parts are coming more inline with non-Ms for many things. Remember when an M3 suspension was $1k more than a non-M? People have discovered the ONLY difference is the front strut mount. Other than spring rates/sizes...it all bolts on.

I'm looking at the entire platform, not just the engine. The engine is significantly better built than an M54 for the purpose of track use. The trade off is it does take care maintenance and prompt attention to issues.

But as I mentioned previously there is a significant advantage in tire sizing, LSD choices, gearing, suspension, and interior. No one of these justifies the M tax...when considered as a whole...the M starts looking like a deal FOR a track car. Street use is a different story.

One thing that the non-Ms have that is way better is the 6 speed gearbox. The M3 gearbox is not nearly as good about smoothly and effortlessly going into gear with the OE shifter. I've noticed this on 3 6SP cars.

You're such an f'ing traitor! S54 in your 330? Haha!
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:38 AM   #35
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Please god, don't let highboostin330 and Minnoe07 respond...I'm tired of typing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lab rat View Post
A lot of good info here. And great civilized argument about M54 vs S54.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.
The only misleading part from bigjae could be the way he describes the failures. It was the lubrication system that killed both engines not the FI. But I understand the issues with FI MS54.
So don't get me wrong I actually agree with bigjae that S54 is better racing platform. Heck, BMW didn't design it that way. Also from my own experience I see the M54 better street car (the powerband of supercharged 330 is way more street friendly)
Yes, the failure was the oil pump nut and FI and my failure have a link. The oil pump nut comes off because of the harmonics associated with the M54. Then those harmonics are increased exponentially with forced induction. So more bad harmonics, oil pump nut comes off faster.

Highboostin did what I was going to do and should have done last year. You can make the M54 a good FI platform as far as hardware goes...no doubt about that. The ECU is a limitation, my opinion and that is debatable. Given my location in TX, that's a fact. Might be different if you live near AA or ESS. If you look at the original post, I would be $10,500 into this car. Then add in the oil cooler and some other stuff, $12,500.

Can I make the 330 a reliable, long lasting track platform under boost? No doubt. From a cost perspective, I do not want to do that. Key word...want.

Purely a cost decision which is why it was so difficult and took me so long to get to.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:43 AM   #36
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I should get x10 on my post count for these last 3 posts...

Here is my M3 build thread...

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Old 02-17-2013, 07:39 AM   #37
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You are a smart man.

I just sold my car and picked up an e30 m3 bmwcca touring class car. Want to talk about reliable and light on consumables? This thing is epic.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:15 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ky///m3 View Post
You are a smart man.

I just sold my car and picked up an e30 m3 bmwcca touring class car. Want to talk about reliable and light on consumables? This thing is epic.
Awesome!...but I'm not sure how anyone these days can ruin a classic E30 M3 for the track! I know you didn't do the ruining...

I'd love to get an E30 when I get the driveway space.
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #39
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awesome new M, have fun and congrats
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:45 AM   #40
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Wow- Lots of bad S54 information here from M54 owners

Whatever you do HighBoostin330... please don't comment anymore on the S54. It is clear you are either misinformed, mislead or you've got M54 myopia.

You may actually scare away 46M owners that believe the wallet lightening exercises you described above (and quoted below). $1350 for a VANOS refresh? LoL. This isn't the S50/S52/M50. $600 for treated bearings? Really?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HighBoostin330 View Post

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.
You sir, need to do more research on the S54. You have fallen for the hype. Your VISA will get suckered into spending way too much money.

Dr. Vanos rebuild kit.... of the $1350 ...did you know that $700 of that is a new Solenoid Pack? You can have yours rebuilt for $150 by Raj at beisian.

The VANOS "REBUILD" is $400. It is dissassembled and cleaned and oil-pump re-drilled. Or you can take it apart and clean it by yourself in an afternoon. Again, it is your choice. If you like to lighten your wallet, by all means give Chris at Dr. VANOS a call. Good product, but mostly a wallet lightening excercise.

The hub is $800. Fresh bearings are $200 shipped. (Why would you buy $600 treated bearings for a street car?) VANOS bolts are $12 not $25.

Again. $1000 in parts.

Where the hell are you getting your information?

Please stop speaking about the S54 HighBoostin330. Stick to the M54 and its archaic DME. You seem to know that one well. The S54... well not so much.
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