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  1. #1
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    E53 - M62B46 Engine

    Hello,
    I want to see if someone had any experience sleeving BMW 4.6is V8 specifically the Vanos based M62B46. Usually fits on a 02-03 BMW X5 4,6is. Apparently there is a design flaw in that engine in which it starves for oil. Since 2019 Ian e bought 2 and both turned out to have scratched piston walls one the same exact spots in the chamber cylinder #1$2 fan side, from the side of the oil pan. Crazy since one had 140k and one had 78k. At this point after reading so many threads, Iím finding out that a weak oil pump, head gasket, valley pan design flaw and upper coolant inlet tube exist with upgrades to all of those. The problem now is that I am sitting on 2 engines with 2 blocks I cannot use. I found a machine that can iron sleeve the block (already risky since BMW already bored it to the max) and found a company Ross Pistons to fabricate iron pistons to match (block and piston are Alusil aluminum so canít mix and match them). Anybody had experience with sleeving this engine and the setup afterwards? Thanks !





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  2. #2
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    Wow, that is nuts.

    I went down the "full rebuild or not" rabbit hole last year for my X5 overland project. Bottom line for me was that since I wanted more power than my stock 4.4 could offer, it was more cost effective to buy a brand new 4.6 from BMW than going with sleeves or even a re-hone and new rings. I think any sleeving project is going to be well north of $15k, and even a re-hone will be $10k-plus after the rebuild effort and you end up with the same motor. Finding places to re-hone the alusil block is a challenge too. Finally, I've read several sleeving project success stories on various forums, but also some failures too.

    Therefore, the complexity to get more power from my old 4.4 lead me to buy a new M62TUB46 from BMW for my project. Since I was replacing a 4.4 with 280ish HP, the step up in HP was pretty significant and now I've got a brand new motor in my X5. They also come with a 2 year warranty, but I think you might need a BMW shop to install the motor to take advantage of this. I dropped it in myself. I got the motor through getbmwparts.com, which is actually BMW of Silver Springs MD, and they took a huge haircut on it. Who knows if there are any left, but my sense is that BMW keeps making these old motors, one at a time, until they run out of parts. Mine was assembled a few years ago. PM me if you want any additional details on it. I'm assuming BMW fixed the problems you found in the ensuing years the motor was in production.

    You could part out the heads/cams on that motor and defray your costs a bit, since they are in very short supply. As are the 4.6 specific transmissions and torque converters. Same basic tranny as the 4.4, but with an extra clutch and the TQ has a different stall speed. Very difficult to source at a reasonable price, so I just bolted the 4.6 up to my 4.4 tranny and called it a day. No problems so far. Beyond that the only differences are that the final drives ratios are lower in the 4.4. I'm running the 4.4 diffs which maybe gives me a bit better gas mileage from the 4.6. It gets horrible MPG tho any way you slice it!
    Last edited by Henn28; 03-05-2022 at 10:35 AM.

  3. #3
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    Smile

    can tell you it was non stop research these last couple of weeks.

    Found a video on Youtube with an engine for sale after couple of upgrades the person had made (seals, chains, guides, oil pump, valley pan), and I was able to connect with the person who made the video (link is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miWJ...l=Garageaholic). the engine was sold already but he was able to locate some engines for sale for me. best option has 75k miles and for $2900, add taxes and shipping (NY to TX) thats about 4k, then have to open it, replace the chains, guides, upgrade the oil pump, the valley pan and that top coolant line. so yes, after all is done, you're looking at 6k-7k and you're still taking a chance on the motor you are buying since it can be scratched as well. the one I bought that had 76k miles was immaculate and the service had been done to the t, even chain replacements and was still scratched.

    I've decided go ahead with the Resleeving, however I will use Ross Racing Pistons to fabricate pistons with the same specs as the original but with better heat dissipation and a matching material to the Ductile Iron sleeve. the resleeving is going to be around 1300 and the custom pistons (they make the rings and pin as well) is 1600, so same as the junk yard engine but at least I'll know it's been bullet proofed. I'll still do the other updates, but if im paying that money anyway and taking a chance, might as well try this route

    It is a waiting game now as I found out machine shops work in a different timezone, but I am anticipating 4-6 weeks before I see anything come back.

  4. #4
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    02 E53 X5 4.6 swap
    Sounds like a good plan. What displacement will you end up with? Are you going for 4.6 or can you squeeze some more out of it? Any change to compression, heads, etc?

  5. #5
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    So I was checking to see if I could source some 4.8 pistons (or fabricate pistons with the bigger N62-4.8is circumference) and rebore the block to the corresponding size. another option was to do a lower compression piston with some kind of boost since I am already there, but following the original design seems like the sweet spot between reliability, power and money. Going the 4.8 route will maybe about 50-70HP and some torque but the machine shop did not want to risk the block by over boring it since it will have to be resleeved no matter which way you go. the piston chamber walls on the 4.6 are already ever thin (bore limit is between 93.000-93.014mm / 3.6614-3.6620 inches max), as I understand BMW bored out the 4.4 block and added some oil and cooling channels (besides all the other different component crankshaft, pistons...), so he said 50/50 block will be unstable/unusable after he is done. Doing a lower compression piston will work, but I already rebuilt my heads and have all new injectors and surrounding kits that now will have to upgraded as well, along with maybe a crank and a someone to do a tune, in addition to the boost apparatus. It's possible but I am looking at 12 to 15k if all goes right and you do end up with about 500HP and loads of torque when all said and one, but put that on the back burner due to cost.

    After speaking to both the machine shop and the piston fabricator, the best upgrade that can be done really is having it run significantly cooler, as it will dissipate heat better with the new material and piston setup used, upgraded oil and water pump and radiator, and end up with a stronger block (in terms of toughness, not power). I will end up with the same compression and about 15hp more ~360. Now after that, maybe adding a Dinan kit should increase it by at least 60-80hp and I already have the corresponding exhaust system, now I just need to find the bigger intake, Throttle body, intake man and air flow meter. But we will see. At this point, I'd just like for it to turn on lol . I'm going to try and document this as much as possible with pictures and other information deemed helpful, as the work on the pistons and block is being completed.

    But even when you watch the youtube link above, the guy who did the work on his M62-46 engine, also replaced the X5 4-Wheel drive oil pan (have an opening for the system where the shaft goes in) to one from a 540, making it essentially a RWD setup that can be installed into other BMW platforms and mated with a Manual Trans and if you have the ignition, steering column and ECU from the donor car, there is no need for a reprogramming even. But if this build works out for me, I might follow his lead and complete the other engine I have (block and pistons and everything), and maybe placing it on the market as a RWD drive setup with the option to go to AWD by offering the oil pan with it. I will keep the odometer, steering column, ignition and ECU from the Black E53 that is currently being parted out, so will be plug and play. Or maybe just find me an E39 and place it in it for track day, a friend of mine has a 2000 540 in which the motor blew, so would be a good platform to test out motor upgrades then. But I don't know, that is for a later time, I'll do this one first and see what happens .

  6. #6
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    Definitely will be reading your posts. I’ve got the 4.4 I pulled out of my X5 with 150k miles on it sitting in the shop waiting for me to tackle it someday and drop it into something fun. I’m leaning towards finding someone competent to hone the cylinders and use the block to build an “m60B44”. The idea is the 4.4 block with double roller/chain setup versus plastic guides, high flow m60 heads with good cams and a decent exhaust set maybe making upwards of 350 hp. I suspect the 4.6 crank could be swapped in as I think would give a longer stroke? It’s a different part number anyway. Then however I’d need to change rods, etc I think. This will be my first engine build so I’ve got a lot to learn before I dig into it.

    let me know if you want to part with the crank out of one of those 4.6 motors. I’ll do some research and see what that will add to the motor I’m thinking of building.

    I spoke with that YouTube guy as well about that motor last year, when it was for sale. Nice guy it seemed with some cool projects, but I opted against buying it as he hadn’t done a compression test on it. Probably would have been fine, but I was a bit nervous. A few grand more got me the new 4.6. I also would have had to reconvert it to a AWD pan and oil pump. Shouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that the brilliant BMW engineers put the oil pump chain behind the cam chain on the crank hub. Nor could I find a removable link chain that would work so I was looking at having to pull the whole thing apart just to redo the oil pump and pan.
    Last edited by Henn28; 03-14-2022 at 04:52 PM.

  7. #7
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    Not sure if you’ve seen this video if a guy rebuilding a sleeved N62 Alpina motor. Pure heaven to watch, and relevant to your project.

    https://youtu.be/lb8DY75oEQI

  8. #8
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    Any updates Kopa28?

    Was looking for M60B40 heads on eBay today for the M60B44 build I’m thinking of and figured I’d check in on your adventures.
    Current BMW
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  9. #9
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    Finally production is on it's way

    Quote Originally Posted by Henn28 View Post
    Any updates Kopa28?

    Was looking for M60B40 heads on eBay today for the M60B44 build Iím thinking of and figured Iíd check in on your adventures.

    Thank you for the video, that was awesome to watch ! It has been a waiting game for sure, The reinforced Pistons are being fabricated and are half-way done, spoke to Ross Pistons yesterday. I should be receiving them in the next 2 weeks. I haven't touched the block yet, the machine shop wanted to wait for the pistons in hand before they do anything. In the meantime, I will be ordering the oil pump upgrade kit with the smaller sprocket gear and already purchased the extended splines front drive shaft, just to take care of another weak point while I'm at it. Once everything is received, I will start posting pictures and videos of the block work and reassembly process, I'm hoping to at least have an assembled short block within the next 30 days. When it's all said and done, it will be about a year in the making and that's not delay on my end, the market being so backed up, there is 3 months worth of orders before they get to yours, this is more true for anything you need modification and fabrication with. But almost there !

  10. #10
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    Finally received the pistons, rings and pins from Ross Racing Pistons. Check out this video on me going through the kit , video looks a little better on the phone, also posting separately the detailed instructions and measurements of the received kit, in case anyone wants to replicate this. Will follow up up with block pictures before and after and throughout the resleeving and mating process at the machine shop here. once all that is done, Fresh heads are waiting to be installed.
    new doc 2022-07-03 15.30.50n_1.jpg
    new doc 2022-07-03 15.22.26n_1.jpgnew doc 2022-07-03 15.20.57n_1.jpgnew doc 2022-07-03 15.21.40n_1.jpg.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by kopa28; 07-05-2022 at 03:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    Starting work on the block, picture is of the top 2 piston chambers with the worst of the scratches. Machine shop will be sleeving all 8 chambers next and mating the fabricated pistons, new rings, pins and rod bearings. will post pictures of the block after sleeving is complete and when short block is reassembled.



    new doc 2022-07-04 21.57.25n_1.jpgnew doc 2022-07-04 21.57.25n_2.jpgnew doc 2022-07-04 21.57.25n_3.jpg
    Last edited by kopa28; 07-05-2022 at 04:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    Those marks are really strange. Could it have overheated?
    Current BMW
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    Former BMWs
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henn28 View Post
    Not sure if you’ve seen this video if a guy rebuilding a sleeved N62 Alpina motor. Pure heaven to watch, and relevant to your project.

    https://youtu.be/lb8DY75oEQI
    I ran into a discussion elsewhere on this site about how the alpine motor the guy was rebuilding didn’t turn out well. I think it had to do with using the OE pistons with the block he sleeved perhaps?
    Current BMW
    2002 E53 X5 4.6i (4.4 to 4.6 swap)
    Former BMWs
    1996 BMW Z3
    1998 BMW E36 M3 Sedan
    2004 BMW E46 M3

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henn28 View Post
    I ran into a discussion elsewhere on this site about how the alpine motor the guy was rebuilding didn’t turn out well. I think it had to do with using the OE pistons with the block he sleeved perhaps?
    Just watched the video series and that is exactly what happened and why you are using new pistons I'm sure! Love that dudes videos.
    Current BMW
    2002 E53 X5 4.6i (4.4 to 4.6 swap)
    Former BMWs
    1996 BMW Z3
    1998 BMW E36 M3 Sedan
    2004 BMW E46 M3

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kopa28 View Post
    In the meantime, I will be ordering the oil pump upgrade kit with the smaller sprocket gear and already purchased the extended splines front drive shaft, just to take care of another weak point while I'm at it.
    What is this il pump upgrade kit please?

    Many thanks.

  16. #16
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    Hello,

    Thought I'd post some updates to the project now that the block is sleeved and finally getting my fully assembled short next Monday 11/14.

    So far, below is the list of upgrades, new parts that are going in or already in place:

    1 - Forged Aluminum Pistons, pins, and oil rings
    2 - New BMW OEM Rocker Arms
    3 - New BMW OEM Upper and Lower Rocker Arm Bearings
    4 - Resurfaced Crankshaft and new BMW OEM Main Bearings and Crank guide Washers - (BMW-11211725908 / BMW-11211725917 / BMW-11211702144)
    5 - Iron Ductile Sleeved and you can't even feel the ridge, machine shop really did a great job on the scratched block. (Cosani Engines in Houston Texas) - check out new pictures below. when short block is assembled by the machine shop, will post a video of the rotary test and show how everything is moving.
    6 - Dual Layered Piping and Vacuum welded, fully aluminum Radiator
    7 - 90C Lower temp Thermostat (ECS Tuning - ES#: 4147761 )
    8 - Reinforced Front Drive Shaft with Extended Transfer Case Slot Insert Splines
    9 - Heads are still new from the original job, before I discovered the lower block damage

    10 - @Lincolno - After more research, it turns the oil pump upgrade kit is just a strength update and not an increase flow pump setting upgrade, which I was hoping for, Will still use it as they recommend a new oil pump with a job like this, the link is here and it is from VAC motors, spoke to a lady there very helpful. https://store.vacmotorsports.com/vac-motorsports-oil-pump-upgrade-kit-bmw-m60m62-p1089direct.aspx

    IMG_4974.jpgIMG_4975.jpgIMG_4976.jpg

    After receiving this short block, will take it to a guy I know who worked at BMW for 30 years, in the performance service area, to reassemble and time it perfectly right below it goes back in, for a hopefully never again to be done job and with now a bullet proof engine. will also end up with an extra block and Crank since I took apart 2 engines. might go through the same process, only add the 540 RWD Oil pan (without the front axle insert) and make it a 2 wheel drive to be inserted in a project car.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henn28 View Post
    Just watched the video series and that is exactly what happened and why you are using new pistons I'm sure! Love that dudes videos.
    Hello Henn, sorry for the delay but here is what I leaned so far.

    After going down to the type of metal level, The Forgery machinist who made the pistons (Ross Racing in CA), explained that the OE block is made of Alusil Aluminum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alusil), and is mated with OE Alusil Aluminum pistons as well. this is basically a silica coated aluminum, which BMW abandoned for the "corrosion free" Nikasil coating. though the issue was identified in the late 90s, the M62 and the N62 still ended up with that coating, along with most of their engines.

    It is really hard to sleeve a block with Aluminum sleeves though and recreate that same Alusil coating on top of that, which would be the only case where a sleeved block could be mated to the OE pistons as they are. so most shops will go with Ductile Iron sleeves, its good and durable. with the example you gave, since you cannot mate the Iron and Alusil aluminum like that, pistons would have been bang up specially at cold temps as they're hitting that harder surrounding sleeve, until the car probably started smoking or worse.

    This is part of the reason I had to go with molding the OE pistons into a higher grade forged Aluminum material than the OE, so it can withstand that. It was a great learning experience for sure, though hated that it happened and it's taking so long, almost feels somewhat like an ironic reward, in knowing what happened.

    The one thing that the machinist mentioned though is that since it has a higher higher heat tolerance, the piston also expands more, so this has to be accounted for by ever so slightly using the higher end of the acceptable sleeve range size for that block, so ensure the machine shop working on the block take their time and do testing as they go along is really imp here. this will sometimes possibly cause some "Piston Slap" at startup, especially at very cold temps until the pistons get closer to operating temps. Nothing major, something I already do is turn on the car and let it warm up a little before I head out (live 2miles from highway at 70mph speeds) so the same thing would be done in this case.

    Thanks !
    Last edited by kopa28; 11-10-2022 at 02:10 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henn28 View Post
    Those marks are really strange. Could it have overheated?
    I think for sure overheated and probably more than one time, by design flaw though, not necessarily the temperature going up to the max. It's already oil starved and runs internally hot as the head gasket weakens and exhaust gases leak start seeping into the cooling system, at some point there is gas passing through the bore holes of the block where coolant fluid is supposed to flow and even though for some reason you are seeing the temp stable in the middle on the Dashboard, I think the damage is being done a little at a time in a positive feedback loop. as the pressure gets more and more with time, you start popping a hose and there, then the water pump goes bad. when then I review the history of both and see they went through multiple water pump changes, it made sense. since it does not overheat visually at first, you do not suspect anything with head gasket, until you turn it on one day and see smoke coming out of the back or the engine suffers catastrophic failure after suddenly overheating (happened to me with the first one, driving normally on the highway, all of a sudden coolant hose blows, but literally by the time I had pulled aside the temperature was already in the red, about 15sec, I was shocked that it went up so fast since it was the first time the temperature passed the middle mark on the Dash). I think the root cause of everything here is the heat generated at the piston level from lack of cooling and with no way of releasing heat, the head gasket is the easiest point of heat escape, which explains why they go out so early on these engines, as it's the easiest heat exit and then the cascading effects after that. This is just my opinion though & I'm not a mechanical engineer
    Last edited by kopa28; 11-18-2022 at 07:36 PM.

  19. #19
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    Finally, a beating Heart !

    Short block is complete and turning perfectly with no bearing tension. pistons seem to fit great with minimal play on cold. Next Step, long block assembly.

    Sleeving work was done amazingly, can't feel a ridge at all and haven't felt this smooth of a service, that is including the head gasket block mating portion (ended having the same shop redo the heads surfacing, since I could feel a difference of how smooth the surface was comparing the work done on the heads previously.

    ROD BEARINGS - READ THIS: if you are building the 4.6is motor. BMW ended up charging me $650 for a set of rod bearings that they had to order from Germany and was WRONG, they fit around the shaft but were too thick that the rod arm pieces would not fully join, even though I gave them the VIN of the car. 2 months later when I assembled everything and noticed the error, which was barely visible to the naked eye. When I recontacted them to tell them about the issue, they gave me the run around, said that I brought them that part number (which I brought the VIN only, I didn't know the part number) and refused to return it since it came from Germany. In the end, I called another time and just acted like I was buying another set and come to find out, there are 4 separate different options of rod bearing sets for that motor and they cannot tell from the VIN. I'm assuming the initial agent just rolled the dice and ordered a set out of the 4 that turned out wrong. I have no problem with that, but the way they shifted blame from me bringing in the wrong part number to too much time has passed, or it was a special order from Germany with no returns, left a sour note and would not be dealing with any dealership from now on. I ended getting another set from FCP Euro that worked perfectly and was cheaper as well.
    IMG_5172.jpgIMG_5178.jpgIMG_5176.jpghttps://youtube.com/shorts/Mmp7P9ljgTw?feature=share

  20. #20
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    Fantastic project, and progress Kopa. I’m excited to see the beast fire up. Given the issues with different expansion rates, why did you decide to go with aluminum pistons versus iron to match the sleeves? I have a 4.4 to rebuild and am trying to get smart on options.

    I think that the different (color coded) bearings are to account for journal wear. I’m not surprised at the dealer response though. I’ve had a lot of luck buying BMW only parts for my project from Getbmwparts.com, which is actually bmw of silver springs MD. Pretty responsive, no questions asked when I returned a brand new 4.6 harmonic balancer that had a cracked flange I didn’t notice until after I installed it and chucked the box. I bought the new 4.6 I put into my e53 from them and was very happy with the service and responsiveness.

    I wonder if one could put the 4.6 crank into a 4.4 block? What would need to change and would there be any benefit?
    Current BMW
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    1998 BMW E36 M3 Sedan
    2004 BMW E46 M3

  21. #21
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    Hello Hen,
    I thought I would play it safe and asked the machine shop first to give me the specs of the material they wanted to use for the sleeving the block, then went to Ross pistons with those specs and asked what would best and most durable piston for that sleeve and they suggested forged aluminum with the specs they included in the post above when showing the pistons.
    Good to know on the getbmwparts.com, will keep that in mind.
    I remember vaguely seeing the cranks next to each other on a picture but i can't seem to find it anymore, don't quote me but I think the 4.6 on is has less travel, it looked a little smaller, meaning a faster turn and higher compression. not sure though. in that case, would have to change the main bearings, rocker arms and bearings and the matching pistons. a questions mark on that for sure.
    I haven't been able to put mine all together, been a super busy couple of months, but shooting for the end of March or so to have it complete and on the road. Will keep posting when starting for the first time.

  22. #22
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    Thanks Kona, looking forward to reading about your progress.

    I’ve knocked my old termite ridden shed down and am building back bigger and climate controlled so I can have a place to rebuild my 4.4….and a transfer case, etc.
    Current BMW
    2002 E53 X5 4.6i (4.4 to 4.6 swap)
    Former BMWs
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    1998 BMW E36 M3 Sedan
    2004 BMW E46 M3

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