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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Can I drive the car normally?

I intend on doing the rod bearings just for peace of mind, but wondering if it's safe to still run the car when it doesn't have any symptoms of wear.

Will the rod bearing break if I just use the car for commuting? Or is this an issue more for when it is tracked?

The car has never been tracked, drove by an old man and perfectly taken care of with oil changes
 

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At 180k with no maintenance history i would 10000% recommend parking it and doing the service. You may not see symptoms of a failed bearing until it's too late and caused other damage, either damages the crank and you're looking at new crank and rods, or a whole new block if it shoots out.

Mine were bad at 100k, replaced previously around 30k. Others had clean bearings at 100k. While some had failures before 50k. Either way it's a known issue and without removing them you wont know the condition.

People like to recommend oil analysis which is usually great. Although with these cars peoples test passed, and the bearings were shot or vice versa. For piece of mine just get them done

Sent from my SM-G996U1 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
At 180k with no maintenance history i would 10000% recommend parking it and doing the service. You may not see symptoms of a failed bearing until it's too late and caused other damage, either damages the crank and you're looking at new crank and rods, or a whole new block if it shoots out.

Mine were bad at 100k, replaced previously around 30k. Others had clean bearings at 100k. While some had failures before 50k. Either way it's a known issue and without removing them you wont know the condition.

People like to recommend oil analysis which is usually great. Although with these cars peoples test passed, and the bearings were shot or vice versa. For piece of mine just get them done

Sent from my SM-G996U1 using Tapatalk

Oh Wow! Thank you, Luke, I do have a maintenance history of oil changes done properly.

Still, I'll follow your advice and will leave it parked for now. Will just drive it to the shop for inspection and for the job.

The plan:
  • I am removing the oil filter and look for signs of copper or other metals.
  • I am not driving the car aside from home to the shop until the rod bearings are don.
 

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Fear mongering
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Fear mongering
Hey TboneM3, both of my mechanics said that I can drive the car with no issues, as long as I leave the oil warm-up and don't track it. They both suggested doing the rod bearing by end of Summer.

What are your thoughts? Is this true fear-mongering, not sure what to believe now.
 

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I wouldnt say its fear mongering, its simply how much of a gamble are you willing to take with a catastrophic engine failure. Maybe your car can go another 20k? Maybe it can only go 1k? You just dont know. IM at 88K on my vert and i plan on doing them within the year as its been 80K since they were done under recall. Its just piece of mind.
 

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I wouldnt say its fear mongering, its simply how much of a gamble are you willing to take with a catastrophic engine failure. Maybe your car can go another 20k? Maybe it can only go 1k? You just dont know. IM at 88K on my vert and i plan on doing them within the year as its been 80K since they were done under recall. Its just piece of mind.
IFF this gives you piece of mind (pun intended) knock yourself and your wallet out. E46 M3 is a nice car, but it ain't no McLaren or even a 65 Shelby Mustang. If the motor goes, it goes. Normal maintenance does not include rod bearings...copper in your OAP is grounds, but it could be from other bearings as well. As I understand SC's maintenance recce from/on BMW CCA Roundel; rod bearing replacement is NOT a mileage or time issue. Even BMW itself only replaced them under warranty or whatever based on supplier problems and bearings therefore not meeting specs.
 

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IFF this gives you piece of mind (pun intended) knock yourself and your wallet out. E46 M3 is a nice car, but it ain't no McLaren or even a 65 Shelby Mustang. If the motor goes, it goes. Normal maintenance does not include rod bearings...copper in your OAP is grounds, but it could be from other bearings as well. As I understand SC's maintenance recce from/on BMW CCA Roundel; rod bearing replacement is NOT a mileage or time issue. Even BMW itself only replaced them under warranty or whatever based on supplier problems and bearings therefore not meeting specs.
Dont get me wrong, I'd love to not do them. I just feel like its a gamble. Some say oil analysis works, others say it doesnt show shit. What would you recommend for the best way to get a good read? I know once you go in and check them out, youre already well into the process and might as well do the replacement.

The other school of thought, and much less popular, is that should i sell this car down the road, its one less thing a buyer will attempt to drill you down on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for all the comments, I have placed an order for the VAC bearings and have scheduled the job to be done in 2 weeks. We'll get this out of the way for peace of mind as I do intend to own this car for a couple of years.

@Kevin2772 what are your thoughts about Vanos? Is this another job that can destroy my engine as the road bearings, or is this something I can do once the issue manifests itself?
 

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Thank you for all the comments, I have placed an order for the VAC bearings and have scheduled the job to be done in 2 weeks. We'll get this out of the way for peace of mind as I do intend to own this car for a couple of years.

@Kevin2772 what are your thoughts about Vanos? Is this another job that can destroy my engine as the road bearings, or is this something I can do once the issue manifests itself?
Please share with the forum the results/pics of your replaced bearing shells. Most of the pics I've seen have turned out to be marginal (one upper shell shows some copper-color showing) if not normal for a car with F1 piston speeds at redline! I'm not sure there is a valid statistical argument for scheduled conrod bearing replacement. If there were, I would think we'd see a chi-squared analysis of data. The problem with such analyses is it takes a mountain of data and failure data to obtain a 95% confidence that replacing conrod bearings at say 125K miles gives you even a 50% probability that the engine NEEDED bearing replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quick update here, sent the oil to Blackstone and waiting for results.

I pulled the oil filter and found these fragments in the filter. What are you thoughts? Coins placed are reference for size.

935218


935219

As for the new bearings, placed the order for VAC bearings and arrive December, so would end up doing this job in January. Will keep you updated.
 

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Looks like plastic bits. Perhaps a timing chain tensioner/plate or guide? When you do the bearings, check the timing chain guides. The plastic used in the guides cannot survive for 20 years and umpty-umph miles without deteriorating. Metal guides are evidently even worse although they generally don't get embrittled...they just wear. I wonder if a metal guide and DLC on the timing chain as well as the guide would wear better. It would certainly cost more and to be sure these are not NASCAR motors.
 

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Quick update here, sent the oil to Blackstone and waiting for results.

I pulled the oil filter and found these fragments in the filter. What are you thoughts? Coins placed are reference for size.

View attachment 935218

View attachment 935219
As for the new bearings, placed the order for VAC bearings and arrive December, so would end up doing this job in January. Will keep you updated.
Here's a link on chain guide replacement/refresh
watch
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Looks like plastic bits. Perhaps a timing chain tensioner/plate or guide? When you do the bearings, check the timing chain guides. The plastic used in the guides cannot survive for 20 years and umpty-umph miles without deteriorating. Metal guides are evidently even worse although they generally don't get embrittled...they just wear. I wonder if a metal guide and DLC on the timing chain as well as the guide would wear better. It would certainly cost more and to be sure these are not NASCAR motors.
Thank you, but definetly no plastic. The big cylindrical piece seems to be cooper.

Are the rod bearing the only source of cooper in the S54?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I’m curious to see how your bearings look. I just picked up an M3 and bearings were gone under the recall at 21k and I’m at 155k. 😳
I will for sure, however, I am doing this job in February as I am traveling for winter to South America. So will do this job once back.

Kindly lost your bearings pictures once you have done yours. Curious to see how the look too.
 

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108k miles when I did mine. Basically did them right after I got the car and during the first oil change in my possession. I did find some metal in the filter. Engine ran fine. I put ARP Bolts and ACP extra clearance bearings from FCP Euro.
935429
935430
935431
 

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Quick update here, sent the oil to Blackstone and waiting for results.

I pulled the oil filter and found these fragments in the filter. What are you thoughts? Coins placed are reference for size.

View attachment 935218
wow i don't know what that is. it really doesn't look like bearing shavings as it looks more like a wire connector. but that is something to take heed of. normally i would say it's fear monering but seeing that there may be something up in your particular (unknown driving history) case.

curious what the Blackstone lab says.
for the record i had over 190,000 on mine and they were still in very very good condition. i always warm the car up, change oil with BMW ///M oil ~15,000 miles.
 
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