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Old 07-12-2012, 04:51 PM   #1
Mike@VAC
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Post Tech: Are cylinder sleeves bad for your BMW engine?

See more on our blog: http://www.vacmotorsports.com/blog/a...ur-bmw-engine/

There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding cylinder sleeves and BMW engines. Oil consumption, excessive noise, sleeves dropping, Alusil blocks not liking sleeves – you name it. I took some time to talk to our machine shop foreman, (the man with 50 years experience) Tony (VAC owner) and our manufacturing partners (Darton and LA Sleeve) about the drawbacks of using sleeves in the S54, S62 and S65 engines.

Short answer: There are no drawbacks.

Long answer: I can say with absolute confidence that properly specified sleeves installed properly will work flawlessly and offer more durability than a non sleeved block. Track builds, street builds, stroker builds, big HP forced induction builds – not a problem. We have sleeved dozens of BMW engines in our machine shop and sold 100s of BMW sleeves to machine shops all across the world. We always have a few shelves full of BMW sleeves ready for shipment.

Some quotes from our partners:
“The only drawbacks we are aware of are poor installation practices. It’s the primary reason for almost every issue possible. Let me address that first: by adding a foreign object to the block, which had nothing in it to start with, logic would say the block has been compromised. That can be true if done incorrectly.

Oil consumption is a myth. In many cases, oil consumption will increase as a result of sleeves because of an incorrect hone pattern. But, noise isn’t a myth. If the sleeves are installed with too much piston to wall clearance, it usually sounds louder during warmup. It sounds louder as a result of iron lining the cylinders. Only way to prevent that is to watch the piston to wall clearance during the honing of the sleeves.

Only other issue is the sleeves dropping – It’s rare but possible. Easily preventable, as long as they’re installed properly. Only thing that can drop the sleeves, even after perfect installation, is bad aluminum and/or when a block is overheated all while the head has been over-torqued. What we’ve seen happen when a block is way over torqued, and a customer is paranoid about head gasket seal, they’ve over-torqued their head thinking it will seal water. So, when the heat expands the block, the block will pull away from the head. As that happens, the expansion along with the over-torqued head, it will actually push the sleeves down because the sleeves seem to rise at the same time. Very rare, but again possible.”

For all builds, we take it one step further by using flanged sleeves, built to our exact specs. These flanges assure that the sleeve will not ‘drop’ under any circumstances. See pics below.

“When some mechanics or engine builders look at the deck of the S65, they think there’s no room to put sleeves. Although the S65 does not have thick walls in between cylinder bores, it does have one good quality – hard aluminum. If the sleeves are installed properly, the block looses no structural integrity. Meaning, the performance sleeves are quite thin, but radically stronger than the S65 aluminum. Therefore, by installing the thin wall sleeves properly, the great S65 block is now much more receptive to higher volumes of boost than the S65 alloy can handle. By simply lining the block with the thin wall, centrifugally spun-cast ductile iron sleeves, the cylinder bores can handle 50% to 70% more boost than that of the Alusil aluminum bore block.

The boost can care less what pistons it runs with in most cases. It’s the cylinder block walls that are compromised first, not pistons. If the S65 block aluminum is poor, it will fracture the block well before the pistons fail. That’s why we like to re-sleeve these alloy blocks ductile iron material. Not to save the pistons, but so the block can hold compression so the pistons do their job properly.

There are several reasons for using cylinder sleeves. Most commonly they are found in manufactured aluminum blocks because as you know aluminum does not have the wear or sealing properties needed unless it is coated.

In higher performance applications a ductile iron sleeve is preferred since they are at least twice the strength of a standard cast iron sleeve. If the sleeve is designed properly to fit the block the strength can actually be increased in the bore and ring seal is greater. You will also be able to run any style piston and ring that best suits the application. In some cases sleeved blocks will allow you to achieve a larger bore size or clean-up any damage that may occur. They can also be replaced in most cases.”


Yes, we sleeve Alusil engines with confidence.

There ya have it – direct quotes from BMW engine and sleeve experts.

Flanged sleeves, made to exact VAC specs are measured before machine work starts.


S62 block is honed and ready for the flanged cylinder sleeves.


Very precise machine work is standard at VAC.


Flanged sleeves are installed in the S62 block ready to be honed.


S65 sporting VAC specified Darton flanged cylinder sleeves.




Sleeved S65 on our RMC V40 machine.
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #2
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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this should get interesting... thanks for the great information guys!
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Old 07-12-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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Good info...how come we haven't seen more high HP S54 F/I builds from Vac?
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Great Read! Thanks for the info
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Old 07-12-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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I would like to add couple of things to your write-up.......Ductile iron sleeves do require some special care when finish honing. Most shops have no clue how to properly finish them, therefore the oil burning issue that you brought up happens because the cylinders get burnished during the honing process. Also, Darton is a great sleeve company, BUT, in the past (haven't used them in a few years) There was a hardness difference between sleeves. I first noticed it when I went to deck a Honda block that I had just installed some sleeves in. The machine sounded different when it got to one of the middle ones. The surface finish was different on that one so I checked hardness and found it to be slightly harder. I did not think anything about it at the time, but about 6 months later I had a customer come in with a CLK55 Mercedes. He wanted to twin turbo the engine and make it handle the extra power. The block is an open sleeve design like a Honda. I custom ordered a set of Darton sleeves and ran into the same problem, some harder than others.....A little bit of a bummer, but I worked around it
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:18 PM   #7
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:44 PM   #8
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amazing thread i love vac and want your stage 2 head

: no h o m o :
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:27 PM   #9
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Great info. Same thing applies to the M54 block? I'm worried about mine at 10psi of boost. Should we sleeve the M54 for the same reasons?
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:40 PM   #10
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Good info...how come we haven't seen more high HP S54 F/I builds from Vac?
I think they did Vic's motor if I'm not mistaken
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:39 PM   #11
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Very nice post. Any more information on sleeved s54's?
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:43 PM   #12
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What factual information do you bring?
It would benefit the community to hear solid facts, e.g. actual owners who have registered miles on: track; drag; and street cars.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:04 AM   #13
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I was watching HPF's video on YouTube on how S54s aren't torque plated at the factory when the cylinders are bored out. Because of this, they turn into an oval shape (distort) once the head is torqued down.

How do sleeves take into account for this (if at all) or do they even need to?

I think the same may hold true for M54B30 engines and burning oil. There's a thread on bf.c where they found two well-maintained X5 3.0 M54B30 engines (high oil consumers) to have ovaled out cylinders. I think this is the reason so many M5X and S5X engines burn oil. The trend seems to be no smoke at start up (not valve stem seals) but only smoke on acceleration (blow-by) due to excess cylinder tolerance between the piston and cylidner wall. I'm curious as to if BMW is torque-plating their engines at the factory.
Thoughts, VAC?
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Old 07-13-2012, 02:15 PM   #14
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We've been sleeving many of our customer's built motors for quite awhile and I also have them in our Track M3. They are super strong. We havent had a single failure in any "sleeved" motor we've done (with the HPF EMS and HPF Tune) and there are now between 1/4 million to 1/2 million miles on our turbo systems with sleeved motors (5 million + on all HPF turbo systems). Most people don't realize that many of our motor builds utilize the sleeves. This is because you can't bore the block over .020". So we believe sleeves are a great option to re-use your existing block and to add strength to your motor. The other huge benefit is the use of smaller, lighter pistons and greater head/block sealing surface area.

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Old 07-13-2012, 04:52 PM   #15
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We've been sleeving many of our customer's built motors for quite awhile and I also have them in our Track M3. They are super strong. We havent had a single failure in any "sleeved" motor we've done (with the HPF EMS and HPF Tune) and there are now between 1/4 million to 1/2 million miles on our turbo systems with sleeved motors (5 million + on all HPF turbo systems). Most people don't realize that many of our motor builds utilize the sleeves. This is because you can't bore the block over .020". So we believe sleeves are a great option to re-use your existing block and to add strength to your motor. The other huge benefit is the use of smaller, lighter pistons and greater head/block sealing surface area.

Chris.
You mean to tell me that the average HPF turbo'd M3 has put on 40k-50k miles since installing the kit?

Worse you mean to tell me that the maybe 5-6 sleeved S54 motors you've built have a combined average of between 50k - 100k miles on them?

As Dan Avon once said, I may not have stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, but I did graduate high school and can do basic math.

Realistically I'd say that the NON sleeved turbo kits you've done have on average about 10k - 25k miles on them making your accumulated miles roughly about 1.2mil - 2mil.. not 5mil. But that still doesn't matter.. if you sold lets say.. 1,000 turbo kits and each one put on 2k miles.. saying you've got an accumulated 2mi miles on them doesn't mean much.. what matters is the average per car.. compounding mileage means nothing.

I'm not taking away from the fact that HPF has a very well built kit, without a doubt they do. But drop the sales pitch for once Chris and just be a real dude on the forums, you promote transparency in some aspects your business which should be applauded.. then completely negate it by making statements such as the above.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:59 PM   #16
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You mean to tell me that the average HPF turbo'd M3 has put on 40k-50k miles since installing the kit?

Worse you mean to tell me that the maybe 5-6 sleeved S54 motors you've built have a combined average of between 50k - 100k miles on them?

As Dan Avon once said, I may not have stayed at a Holiday Inn last night, but I did graduate high school and can do basic math.

Realistically I'd say that the NON sleeved turbo kits you've done have on average about 10k - 25k miles on them making your accumulated miles roughly about 1.2mil - 2mil.. not 5mil. But that still doesn't matter.. if you sold lets say.. 1,000 turbo kits and each one put on 2k miles.. saying you've got an accumulated 2mi miles on them doesn't mean much.. what matters is the average per car.. compounding mileage means nothing.

I'm not taking away from the fact that HPF has a very well built kit, without a doubt they do. But drop the sales pitch for once Chris and just be a real dude on the forums, you promote transparency in some aspects your business which should be applauded.. then completely negate it by making statements such as the above.
The mileage on all of our kits is hard to determine so my estimates could be a little off but we have done more than 10 "sleeved" motors starting from a little over 2 years ago. The point of this thread was to determine the reliaiblity of sleeved motors and they are better than the factory in many ways.

Chris.

Last edited by HPF Chris; 07-13-2012 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:00 PM   #17
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We've been sleeving many of our customer's built motors for quite awhile and I also have them in our Track M3. They are super strong. We havent had a single failure in any "sleeved" motor we've done (with the HPF EMS and HPF Tune) and there are now between 1/4 million to 1/2 million miles on our turbo systems with sleeved motors (5 million + on all HPF turbo systems). Most people don't realize that many of our motor builds utilize the sleeves. This is because you can't bore the block over .020". So we believe sleeves are a great option to re-use your existing block and to add strength to your motor. The other huge benefit is the use of smaller, lighter pistons and greater head/block sealing surface area.

Chris.
The bold statement was a little too much, no?
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:02 PM   #18
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This thread is about "sleeving" blocks and with our EMS and our tune (Which is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT) there have been ZERO failures for our customers. Period. Run another EMS and tune it yourself and you take on the risks. Some people like you just want to blame someone else when you screw things up. Grow up Marcus. And it's not 5 sleeved motors, it's well over 10 now and most of our customers daily drive their cars.

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That was mean
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:09 PM   #19
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That was mean
I changed my post to Marcus. I was beat on for so long about his engine that I have a short fuse on that subject.

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Old 07-13-2012, 06:08 PM   #20
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Chris, Exactly how many sleeved blocks are there? You said over 10. I just did a little simple math on your mileage numbers you have up there. I did the math on there being 15 sleeved blocks. So here it is...

250k divided by 15 = 16,666.66 total miles put on car after being sleeved.

500k divided by 15 = 33,333.33 total miles put on car after being sleeved.

These miles being put on in the last two and half years. Much less some of the people that just got there sleeved motors this last year.

If I remember correctly from the discussion on this in Marcus' thread my car has the most miles on a sleeved block. I don't even have 10k miles on mine. So how does your numbers up there work?

250k to 500k miles between 15(guess) sleeved motor cars in two and half years or less. I don't think so but please prove me wrong.
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