Turnology built an S54 BMW M3 engine featuring JE pistons and Pro Seal head gaskets, check out the story here!
Few enthusiasts will refute the majestic appeal of BMW’s E46 M3 S54 powerplant. It featured individual throttle bodies, variable valve timing, 333 horsepower, and an 8,000 rpm redline. But like most race bread engines designed for street use, they had their own problems…especially as the mileage accrued. The two most common were the VANOS (variable valve timing) and connecting rod bearing failures. With our Project M-Track3r, we unfortunately succumbed to the latter.
Our 2004 M3 was beyond the year range (2000-2003) of which most rod bearing failures occurred. The rod bearings aren’t wide enough and were too tight. Additionally, they weren’t retained properly to keep them from spinning when being run at stratospheric engine speeds. We took our M3 out to Streets of Willow at Willow Springs and on the last session of tire testing, fell fate to that notorious knock.