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Should I do rod bearings or not?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Guys,
This is my first post and I’m a new proud owner of e46 m3. This is my first m3.
Looking forward to chat with you all and learn. I'm a noob. Please excuse me for the long message.

Car info-
e46 M3 - Blue on Imola Coupe
Current Mileage - 55500
2003-March production.
Smg to Manual swap done by previous owner.
Rear Sub frames done.
Vanos not done and the shop that did PPI said we can wait till 80-100 k.
Currently there are no issues.

Background -
I’m the 4th owner. As per the previous owner car has not been to track or pushed really hard. 3rd owner who owned the car for 14 years was an old person and had maintained the car really well I’m told.
Car had 54400 miles when I bought. The previous owner bought the car at 52700. So he only drove under 2000 miles and sold it to me.The previous owner did black stone when he bought the car. He mentioned that his Blackstone report had very less copper and lead when I asked about rod bearings health. He said not to worry about rod bearings. Also, he couldn’t find the report so I had to take his word. When I bought the car I changed the oil and sent the old oil to black stone.

Meanwhile, I came to know that bmw dealer would be able to tell if the car had recall done. I called the dealer where the car was initially sold and serviced. To my favor, dealer said rod bearings re call was done on this car.

Now,
I got my black stone report. Copper is 10 and lead is 11. I have attached the report.

Black stone Summary :
These engines have leaded bearings, so this is the element that reads high when bearings start to wear. Lead is more than twice the universal averages level in your sample, so bearings are wearing more than expected; for reference, the averages are based on S54B32s after 4,400 miles on the oil. Some extra lead could be normal for you if you run the engine hard, and we don't think 11 ppm doesn't warrant tearing into the engine or anything. If the engine runs well and gets good oil pressure, resample after a similar run to monitor. Trace fuel is harmless.

My Driving info : I put 600-1000 miles a month as this is my daily. I don’t do track and drive 8k revs. But I do push to 5 to 6k revs to have fun occasionally.

Question 1-
Should I do the rod bearings asap or I can wait for a year by being gentle with the engine. Currently there are no issues in the car. I just spent a chunk by purchasing the car. I’m not a DIY person so I have to spend $2000 - 2500$. That is the quote I received from 3 different places.

Question 2 -
Why does rod bearings wear even after the recall has been done, I was told the rod bearings after the recall will last for 100 k miles. But I’m worried after looking at the black stone report.

Any advice/thoughts would be appreciated.

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1980 733i, 2006 m3
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I am no expert on this, but drive it. And drive it hard. That what these are made for. You should be good for years and years.
Keep getting the reports when you have your oil changed. Those numbers do not seem high.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome. Thanks I’m loving the car already. No words to explain the feel of driving in twists n turns. Quick question, other than oil analysis is there a way to find the signs of rod bearings going bad? I mean what happens if it breaks before the next oil report. Is that possible?
 

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Whatever wear you have will just increase in time. If you are waiting to do rod bearings or to bulletproof the VANOS - know specifically what you are waiting for. No-one wants to say it out loud...

How do you know the subframe mounts were done? How can you know how the car was driven by 3 prior owners? Car sales come with all kinds of hot air and claims. Look for proof - or it never happened.

Driving it "gentle on the engine" seems odd - but its your car. Why would you do that for a year?

This car doesn't humor deferred maintenance.
 

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1980 733i, 2006 m3
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Again, i am not the expert, but it certainly will not go bad between oil changes.
Lots of threads if you search...
I have also read that the blackburns are not the be all / end all. Some people have had not great reports and the bearings are fine. Others have had good reports and the bearings were caught in time.
If they fail, it is new crank time. $$$ Still, seems like the consensus is treat the bearings as a maintenance item around every 100k. Add the mileage from when the first bearings were replaced.
 

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I’m the 4th owner. As per the previous owner car has not been to track or pushed really hard. 3rd owner who owned the car for 14 years was an old person and had maintained the car really well I’m told.
He only drove 2K miles in 14 years; about 140 miles per year. I don't know what to make of this. Can you remove the valve cover and post some pics of the cams and vanos driving tabs?

Re rod bearings, I don't think they will go bad with less than 50K (had been done by recall). Sure they will last longer if engine doesn't see red line.
 

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IMO, With only 55K on the engine, you are overthinking it, I agree with the above. Just drive the car on a regular basis and do oil changes every 7500 miles and enjoy.
 

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IMO, With only 55K on the engine, you are overthinking it, I agree with the above. Just drive the car on a regular basis and do oil changes every 7500 miles and enjoy.
Tech talk in Roundel I believe is oil/filter change every 5000 miles or annually. 140 miles per year is bad news for fuel degradation..what did PO expect you to believe that ½ tank of fuel a month is a good thing?
 

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IMO, With only 55K on the engine, you are overthinking it, I agree with the above. Just drive the car on a regular basis and do oil changes every 7500 miles and enjoy.
PS…my M5 is like 5k or one year and like 10L of synthetic. Twin turbo hotV v8….and oil is still clear when drained/sucked. My Ana-labs Pb 0/860 mi in 8mo…winter 2021-22. Sn 0 same period. Over the 04-22 ownership I’ve had two conrod bearing recalls, none of them showed appreciable wear…~115k mi on car now. I’m not doing bearings or vanos (no vanos finger or hole wear visible during 30K valve adjustment)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
He only drove 2K miles in 14 years; about 140 miles per year. I don't know what to make of this. Can you remove the valve cover and post some pics of the cams and vanos driving tabs?

Re rod bearings, I don't think they will go bad with less than 50K (had been done by recall). Sure they will last longer if engine doesn't see red line.
Sorry my bad. it was the 2nd owner that had the car for 14 years. He put 45 k miles roughly. 3rd owner had it for 14 months. I bought it from 3rd owner. I'm a noob on cars. Learning to DIY and buying tools to work on the car. Will post the pics once I learn how to do it. This is the reason I'm reaching out to the community.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Whatever wear you have will just increase in time. If you are waiting to do rod bearings or to bulletproof the VANOS - know specifically what you are waiting for. No-one wants to say it out loud...

How do you know the subframe mounts were done? How can you know how the car was driven by 3 prior owners? Car sales come with all kinds of hot air and claims. Look for proof - or it never happened.

Driving it "gentle on the engine" seems odd - but its your car. Why would you do that for a year?

This car doesn't humor deferred maintenance.
Waiting only for two reasons, one - car only has 55k miles. second reason- want to drive and enjoy for sometime before spending more money.
how i confirmed that subframe was done - So before buying the car, I did a thorough PPI at very reputable shop who are experts on M cars. They looked at it and confirmed.
how the car was driven - I was told by the previous owner that the car has been driven nicely and maintained well. I take his word. He seems like a nice gentleman.

Driving it gently because, I moved to a kinda remote place and there are no good indy shops close by. Will move back to a metro city in 18 months.. then I can give it to the best shop in the area.I thought till then I have to take it easy with the car and not try anything crazy.
Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
IMO, With only 55K on the engine, you are overthinking it, I agree with the above. Just drive the car on a regular basis and do oil changes every 7500 miles and enjoy.
Yeah. I overthink for sure. Two reasons cos Car is new for me and I'm not a DIY guy so I'm always thinking what If something goes wrong. and second reason is due to recent black stone report that bothers me. If they had said don't worry, lead and copper are low in my car then I wouldn't even think about this. But numbers are double the average so it got me little worried. sorry if I wasted your time. I will follow everyones advice here. Thanks
 

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Those numbers are fine.

Run Motul in that engine and drive the snot out of it.

I use Motul 8100 in my m54b30 vert and I do not drive gently. If that motor goes while I'm driving I'll be sending pistons into orbit.

I do know my engine though as it was a fresh rebuild. I broke it in with some racing break in oil and then been hammering on it since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Those numbers are fine.

Run Motul in that engine and drive the snot out of it.

I use Motul 8100 in my m54b30 vert and I do not drive gently. If that motor goes while I'm driving I'll be sending pistons into orbit.

I do know my engine though as it was a fresh rebuild. I broke it in with some racing break in oil and then been hammering on it since.
Nice. You can start a company like space X. lol.. yeah mine has motul too. Will start hammering soon. Thanks for the help buddy.
 

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How many miles and oil changes have happened since the rod bearings were changed? What condition were the rod bearings that were replaced? If the old bearings were worn, particles from the worn out bearings could have been distributed through the oiling system, and may be contributing to the oil analysis numbers that you’re seeing. Also, brand new bearings are going to add more particles to the oil as they break in.

At this point, I’d suggest doing a few oil changes/oil analyses at shortened intervals, so that you can get some trend information - single point oil analysis just doesn’t give you a lot of info about the health of a motor. You might want to try an oil system flush or cleaning additive, too. If the numbers stabilize or come down over time, you’re probably ok. If the numbers go up, then you most likely have problems…
 

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Again, i am not the expert, but it certainly will not go bad between oil changes.
Lots of threads if you search...
I have also read that the blackburns are not the be all / end all. Some people have had not great reports and the bearings are fine. Others have had good reports and the bearings were caught in time.
If they fail, it is new crank time. $$$ Still, seems like the consensus is treat the bearings as a maintenance item around every 100k. Add the mileage from when the first bearings were replaced.
Right time, right car. With my SMG, I’m worried/cautious about seeing my drive-line in the rearview. You’re fine, drive enjoy, hit HER hard from time to time and know SHE GOT YOU ASS COVERED!
 

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He only drove 2K miles in 14 years; about 140 miles per year. I don't know what to make of this. Can you remove the valve cover and post some pics of the cams and vanos driving tabs?

Re rod bearings, I don't think they will go bad with less than 50K (had been done by recall). Sure they will last longer if engine doesn't see red line.
NOT SURE WHY HE NEEDED OR OWNED CAR!
 

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You wasted no ones time, we are here to help and to voice opinions. Any more questions let us know.
Speaking of which, a Question: have you had any issues with Drive shaft support Bearing and or Giubo? I’m having the same “RUBBERBAND” CHATTER in my right rear again after only 13kmiles and 4 yrs and my shop is saying the warranty on that repair is up…so, SUCKIT UP! I may do both myself. Not looking forward to Undercover undressing! Thoughts?
 
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