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Thread: DIY This! One Person M54 Cam Removal.

  1. #1
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    DIY This! One Person M54 Cam Removal.

    One Person Cam Shaft Removal

    I picked up a spare head off ebay for a project. One of the ideas being to eliminate down time at the machinist. The head was $200, and had signs of some sort of oil starvation. Kinda confirmed by the seller, who said the engine threw a rod.



    *****Proceed at your own risk and be careful!*****



    Do one cam at a time.

    This procedure is pretty much the same for the all modern DOHC BMW heads. Adapt as needed with caution.

    Keep the parts organized. Take pics if necessary (recommend).

    If nervous, get a second person to help.



    Let's GO!



    Get the bottom of the head off the table top. Wood blocks work great. This is done so the valves can move freely when rotating the cams. Also to prevent further damage to the mating surface.


    Rotate the cam, either one, so the cam lobes are ONLY depressed on the cylinder 1 lifters. Use either the very rear of the cam (see pic) or there is a spot in the center of the cam where a crescent wrench will fit. This will leave no tension on the lifters in cylinders 2-5. These 5 cylinder lifters should spin freely in their holes. If not, something is wrong.


    Fully depressed.



    Crack (yes I say crack, cus it sounds like a crack), Crack ALL the nuts loose on the cam carrier by 1/8th of a turn. Then loosen 2-6 cylinder bolt by about 1 turn. They can now be taken off by hand.


    Remove the carrier caps.



    Part 1 of 2
    With your left hand you are going to keep the cam from ROTATING with a wrench. No need to keep it pressed into the carrier as cylinder 1 bolts are removed. If you did keep the cam dpressed ther could be a chance of bending the cam, IMHO. For peace of mind , don't dpress the cam into the carrier. Let it naturally come up on it's own.
    (Yep, same pic)


    Part 2 of 2
    With your RIGHT hand you are going to loosen the remaining 4 bolts EVENLY by a 1/4 turn each. The entire thread of the bolt is used. As the bolts are loosened they cam may want to rotate back a forth. Don't let it with your left hand. When you start you are committed to finish. Be careful! There is a lot of pressure pushing the cam out of the tray, towards you!


    Note: If you are sketchy on the last 4 bolts. Have one person hold the cam. While you loosen the bolts

    Done!

    Now take off the remaining carrier tops. Them take out the cam



    Time to test the lifters. Remember the head had signs of oil starvation. Here's what can happen to the lifters with only 46,000 miles. This debut video should clarify a good from bad lifter.
    [ame]http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e235/Jackcat559/?action=view&current=121-2175_MVI.flv[/ame]

    Mark the bad lifters. They will need replacement. Each one is $17-24 approx.


    Free up the lower cam tray. It will be pretty well stuck in place. Then put the head on it's side. When pulling the lower cam carrier off make sure the top (cam side) is pointed toward the floor. Essentially keeping the lifters in their comfy spots in the carrier. The lifters are dedicated to their spots in the carrier. Don't mix them up.



    Done!


    Now take the head to a good machine shop who works on BMW heads frequently. If you don't know of one, please contact your local BMWCCA chapter.
    Last edited by Jackcat559; 12-13-2009 at 04:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks fellas!

  5. #5
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    I know who I am calling for head removel and disassembly.Nice job step by step.

  6. #6
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    WOW!
    Amazing!
    The Pro at work!

  7. #7
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    You said that in a very sensual way.

    SQUISHY BAAAD LIFTER.

  8. #8
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    You have balls removing that cam without the holder. I've seen so many crack.
    '02 E39 530i/5sp Topaz Blue/Black Interior - MegaSquirt3x - Garrett GTX3582R turbo - E85 fuel - Apex FL-5 - 265/295 tires - Custom Porsche Brembo BBK - 600whp @ 22 PSI
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  9. #9
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    What a great write up---hope I never have to go there--but with what you have
    passed on to us --could do it if needed

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackEatsEmoKids View Post
    You have balls removing that cam without the holder. I've seen so many crack.
    I've done 10+ sets.. Not that hard if you take your time.

    Putting a head and head gasket on my e39 this coming weekend.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackEatsEmoKids View Post
    You have balls removing that cam without the holder. I've seen so many crack.
    Why thank you!

    No seriously if you are talking about that specialized tool that releases tension on the cams, I couldn't find one. Little less at a reasonable price. I am curious how people crack or bend the cams during removal. Wonder if it's from pushing down on the cam durng the last sequence when the last 2 carrier tops are taken off.

    Quote Originally Posted by newton22 View Post
    You said that in a very sensual way.

    SQUISHY BAAAD LIFTER.
    You like that kinda talk, eh? naughty, naughty
    Last edited by Jackcat559; 12-14-2009 at 06:50 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  12. #12
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    Can a MOD dump this thread in the e39 DIY section, please?

  13. #13
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    Puuurty please, with German synthetic oil on top. Can this be put in the DIY section?

  14. #14
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    Of course Jack!!

    Another FP5241 Creation
    Parting out M54 Engine. Intake and all. Cats avail as well. PM ME!

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    Thanks Gumbi!

  16. #16
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    Camshaft removal in car is done all the time without special tools. You just need to watch for the cam lobe oristation to loosen the cam bearing nuts slowly, evenly, and strategically.

    If you have some engineering training it would help but not essential.
    '01 540it, built 6/01
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  17. #17
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    i am in the same situation as this right now, my main concern with this method is how do they go back in, i am wondering if the cam will easiliy stay in the right place as i tighten down the first bearing cap over number one.
    more concerning, what happens if i haven't put the cam in quite the right spot when i start tightening it down, and it contacts another set of lifters on the way down?
    interested to hear if anyone has put them back in like this????

    v

    there is a tool, i don't know if the cost is justifiable or not, the BMW tool is somewhere around $1000-$1400 US, there is another one at pelicanparts.com the image link is here and i think they are selling them for about $300 US

    v

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackcat559 View Post
    Why thank you!

    No seriously if you are talking about that specialized tool that releases tension on the cams, I couldn't find one. Little less at a reasonable price. I am curious how people crack or bend the cams during removal. Wonder if it's from pushing down on the cam durng the last sequence when the last 2 carrier tops are taken off.



    You like that kinda talk, eh? naughty, naughty
    Last edited by eddievincent; 03-19-2010 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  18. #18
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    Putting the cams back in requires second person. No way around it.

    One person uses a 24mm wrench placed in the center of the cam to keep it from turning only. He does no push down on the cam.

    The other person lines up the cam lobes to depress the lifters on #1 cylinder, and pushes the cam in slightly the get the bolts started on the threads. Torque the first 4 bolts to spec evenly. Then the others with out moving the cam. After ALL the bolts are tightened down. Move the cam from depressing cylinder #1 lifters.

    Repeat for the other side.

    Don't forget the assembly lube!

    Quote Originally Posted by eddievincent View Post
    there is a tool, i don't know if the cost is justifiable or not, the BMW tool is somewhere around $1000-$1400 US, there is another one at pelicanparts.com the image link is here and i think they are selling them for about $300 US

    v
    I think the tool is urban DIY legend. No one has ever seen one. Only a crude drawing in the Bentley manual. To tell you the truth you would feel silly spending that wad of cash after you used this method.


    Saw that tool a few days ago listed for the S52 engine. Still wouldn't spend the money on it. Knew a dominatrix girl once who might.
    Last edited by Jackcat559; 03-19-2010 at 07:56 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  19. #19
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    re:tool

    lol, i couldn't justify th spend really, i might if i knew a dom girl tho

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackcat559 View Post
    Putting the cams back in requires second person. No way around it.

    One person uses a 24mm wrench placed in the center of the cam to keep it from turning only. He does no push down on the cam.

    The other person lines up the cam lobes to depress the lifters on #1 cylinder, and pushes the cam in slightly the get the bolts started on the threads. Torque the first 4 bolts to spec evenly. Then the others with out moving the cam. After ALL the bolts are tightened down. Move the cam from depressing cylinder #1 lifters.

    Repeat for the other side.

    Don't forget the assembly lube!


    I think the tool is urban DIY legend. No one has ever seen one. Only a crude drawing in the Bentley manual. To tell you the truth you would feel silly spending that wad of cash after you used this method.


    Saw that tool a few days ago listed for the S52 engine. Still wouldn't spend the money on it. Knew a dominatrix girl once who might.

  20. #20
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    is this technique pretty much the same on an m42? Just curious if the cam lobes will be ligned up properly to do this... if so... I iz gunna get me sum cams dun!

  21. #21
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    It could be. I am not familiar with the engine. The basic principal could be the same.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast84gti View Post
    is this technique pretty much the same on an m42? Just curious if the cam lobes will be ligned up properly to do this... if so... I iz gunna get me sum cams dun!
    yup, same thing.
    M50 3.1L Stroker - TC Kline D/A

  23. #23
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    I successfully removed and installed M52 cams by myself this evening since I did not have a helper. I was going on info I saw in this thread a long time ago, a tutorial on pelican parts I read even longer ago and my gut.

    the trick I found to installing without a helper is to use the cam lock tool that you use to keep the cams in time during vanos assembly. Put the cams in position as you would to fit the tool. This leaves only the exhaust valves of cylinder 2 open and the intake valves of cylinder 3 open. crank is at 30 degrees counter clockwise from TDC at this point to prevent any mishaps.

    Basically I left the cams as you would for assembly and systematically tightened the cap nuts a 1/2 turn at a time making certain the caps over the open valves were always under tension, letting the cam lock tool hold the cam for me. Worked very well.
    Last edited by Mark@EAC; 04-14-2010 at 01:04 AM.

  24. #24
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    just the other day i was driving down the highway at a fast speed when i was supposed to shift into 4th and and put it into 2nd instead and over revved my 530i now the number 2 piston has no compression, what would the problem be, im thinking it could be rings, stuck valve, or beariings

  25. #25
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    Could be a few things. Best to have a quality BMW shop investigate further. Try your local chapter of the BMWCCA for a recommendation in your area.

    Also high reeving can cause the oil pump shaft to shear off on the M54. Defiantly look into this

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