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Thread: S54 Valve Adjustment - 3.0mm shim?!

  1. #1
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    S54 Valve Adjustment - 3.0mm shim?!

    Bottom line: I have a 3.0mm shim on one of my S54's exhaust valves - is this an indicator of a problem? I need it to be ~2.93mm to get the right clearance - any idea how to achieve this?

    More details: I purchased a 2001 M Roadster in pretty rough shape recently (I realize it's not an e46 M3, but figured this place would have a good body of knowledge on the S54), and it has a pretty bad engine knocking sound. Based on some research, I think it's either some damaged valvetrain components, VANOS, or a rod bearing. I started off with a valve adjustment. 6 valves were out of spec, but none too bad. Most were correctable, but one of them (Exhaust valve #10) had a very custom-made-looking shim that was 3.0mm thick! The normal kit of shims only goes up to 2.6mm. So ... is this alone an indicator that I need to dig further into the valvetrain? Or should I pursue getting a custom shim made, or grinding 0.07mm off of the current shim, and see how it goes? The car has 220,000 miles, but this seems like a very out-of-whack thing.

    I've attached some pictures below - I can't see anything wrong with the cam, rocker arm, or valve, but I don't have a very well trained eye for this level of stuff.

    Thanks in advance!

    IMG_20171201_080214928.jpgIMG_20171201_080206051.jpgIMG_20171201_080520489.jpgIMG_20171201_080157970.jpgIMG_20171201_080145114.jpg

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by m090030 View Post
    Bottom line: I have a 3.0mm shim on one of my S54's exhaust valves - is this an indicator of a problem? I need it to be ~2.93mm to get the right clearance - any idea how to achieve this?

    More details: I purchased a 2001 M Roadster in pretty rough shape recently (I realize it's not an e46 M3, but figured this place would have a good body of knowledge on the S54), and it has a pretty bad engine knocking sound. Based on some research, I think it's either some damaged valvetrain components, VANOS, or a rod bearing. I started off with a valve adjustment. 6 valves were out of spec, but none too bad. Most were correctable, but one of them (Exhaust valve #10) had a very custom-made-looking shim that was 3.0mm thick! The normal kit of shims only goes up to 2.6mm. So ... is this alone an indicator that I need to dig further into the valvetrain? Or should I pursue getting a custom shim made, or grinding 0.07mm off of the current shim, and see how it goes? The car has 220,000 miles, but this seems like a very out-of-whack thing.

    I've attached some pictures below - I can't see anything wrong with the cam, rocker arm, or valve, but I don't have a very well trained eye for this level of stuff.

    Thanks in advance!

    IMG_20171201_080214928.jpgIMG_20171201_080206051.jpgIMG_20171201_080520489.jpgIMG_20171201_080157970.jpgIMG_20171201_080145114.jpg
    Means u need to replace the follower as it is worn


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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply - that sounds reasonable. I think I may just yank the head and send it to Lang Racing to get a once-over. At this mileage, it's probably not a bad idea to at least look at the valves and seats themselves. The previous owner treated this thing like a Honda Civic (crap 5w30 oil, never a recorded valve adjustment, etc), so I wouldn't be too surprised at some wear here.

  4. #4
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    dworthy is offline Wagon meister :) BMW Tech Expert
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    Ouch, that is painful. Of course there are plenty of people out there only want the car for it's badges, and do not care about the maintenance until it breaks down.

    Yeah, if 5W-30 was ran in that motor, you may end up with more problems down the road, as it needs the heavy weight to run the VANOS properly too. I would send you VANOS off to these guys for a rebuild: www.drvanos.com
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by m090030 View Post
    Thanks for the reply - that sounds reasonable. I think I may just yank the head and send it to Lang Racing to get a once-over. At this mileage, it's probably not a bad idea to at least look at the valves and seats themselves. The previous owner treated this thing like a Honda Civic (crap 5w30 oil, never a recorded valve adjustment, etc), so I wouldn't be too surprised at some wear here.
    Yeah that seems like a prudent course of action given the mileage and suspect maintenance history, especially if you want to drive it in anger or track it. Might as well just overhaul the top and bottom end properly and never have to worry about the motor again.
    1999 M3/2/5 - Titanium Silver
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  6. #6
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    I have a rebuilt DrVANOS in the mail! As far as the bottom end goes, I'm on the fence about that. Definitely rod bearings, but I think I might run it for a while before going any further than that, unless I see other issues. Although the whole "since the head's off..." thing is hard to resist...

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    Good luck... you're gonna need it.

  8. #8
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    Update: the follower for Exhaust valve #10 (rear valve on cylinder #5) was flat-spotted, which was very evident as soon as I removed the cams and could see it well. The head's en route to Lang Racing for their Stage 1 job as well as all new DLC followers and a good set of stock cams. Still planning on rod bearings, but I don't see any need to pull the pistons (Lang agreed).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by m090030 View Post
    Update: the follower for Exhaust valve #10 (rear valve on cylinder #5) was flat-spotted, which was very evident as soon as I removed the cams and could see it well. The head's en route to Lang Racing for their Stage 1 job as well as all new DLC followers and a good set of stock cams. Still planning on rod bearings, but I don't see any need to pull the pistons (Lang agreed).
    Since your head is off AND you are doing bearings, it's 1/2 step to hone the cylinder and get new rings. I would say do it now.

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