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      02-27-2024, 09:40 AM   #1
wigwig
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Iím reinstalling my camshafts and lifters, and the exhaust went on just fine, however the intake cam is giving me some trouble. I do not have the bmw special tool, so Iím following this DIY article https://germanautosolutions.com/supp...placement-diy/ and Iím not able to get the E6 bearing cap nuts on. For the E4 cap I am able to put light pressure on the cap to get the nuts started, but the E6 doesnít budge when I try that. I wanted to ask if anyone has any tricks/tips for this, I donít really want to break the cam and have to buy a new one lol

Edit: forgot to mention, itís the 3.0 m54
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      02-27-2024, 09:54 AM   #2
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Update - I was re-reading the instructions and I realized that I turned the crankshaft counter-clockwise instead of clockwiseÖ oops

Update pt. 2 - That was not the issue, I still canít get the E6 bearing cap nuts on. Now I have no idea what the issue could be
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      02-27-2024, 10:37 AM   #3
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It should be doable.
I did this a long time ago (well over 10 years ago) with my schrick cams, so the exact ins and outs are a bit vague .
I used a guide on e46fanatics (that guide is not online anymore) and some info from bmw TIS and got the schrick cams installed pretty easily. In my memory it was pretty similar to the guide you're using, I'm certain that it was with rotating the cams a bit to ease off the tension on some of the lifters.
I may have a backup of that guide somewhere if I seach deeply in my backups....

The schrick cams obviously have longer and wider lobes, so if it works with the schrick cams, it'll be a breeze with the stock cams
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      02-28-2024, 08:57 PM   #4
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I did some more playing around, and noticed that when I look at it from the side, one side is always higher than the other. I tried rotating it to a few different spots, but it just moved the high spot from left to right. Is there some way that I couldíve bent it without it breaking? Here is the picture of the high spot:
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      02-28-2024, 11:00 PM   #5
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Camshafts are hardened, therefore brittle and will snap before they bend.
The cam has to push the valves open, overcoming the springs, for those lobes that are pointing downward.
You'll need to get creative with a prybar on one of studs on the side of the head putting a nut on it and levering down on the cam between lobes.
A helper would make it easier while one person levers the cam down while the other puts the nuts on the caps.
You could also start tightening the nuts on some of the caps which should draw the cam downward enough to get nuts started on the other caps.
As mentioned, the cam is brittle, so go slow and easy.
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      02-29-2024, 06:42 AM   #6
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In my memory I didn't have to tighten any nuts to force the cam down.
At 1 stud I remember I just had to push a little bit with my thumb on the bearing cap to get the nut started on the stud.. And that was with schrick cams.

And yes, cams are brittle:

(happened in shipping due to insufficient packeaging, I got a new one for free from the place I bought it from)

Quote:
Originally Posted by wigwig View Post
I did some more playing around,
You removed the complete front frame/impact structure?
Why if I may ask?
The car looks to be in very good shape btw. Garage queen all her life I guess
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Last edited by GuidoK; 02-29-2024 at 06:48 AM..
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      02-29-2024, 06:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post
You removed the complete front frame/impact structure?
Why if I may ask?
Iím in the process of putting it back together after replacing the head gasket and timing components
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      02-29-2024, 06:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wigwig View Post
I’m in the process of putting it back together after replacing the head gasket and timing components
Ok, but that can be done with the front impact structure in place. But you have less room then obviously.
most difficult part is getting the vanos off and out past the structure. But I always remove the engine mounts and have the engine rest with the sump on the lower subframe (on a thin rubber mat), so the engine sits ~1" lower and the vanos can clear the substructure.

Why replace the head gasket?
You had a failure?
That's pretty rare on these engines, normally they can run like 500k miles or so...they are bombproof except for some small niggles that can be solved nowadays for cheap (loose aftermarket vanos rings, aftermarket disa flap repair kit etc).
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      02-29-2024, 07:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post
Ok, but that can be done with the front impact structure in place. But you have less room then obviously.
most difficult part is getting the vanos off and out past the structure. But I always remove the engine mounts and have the engine rest with the sump on the lower subframe (on a thin rubber mat), so the engine sits ~1" lower and the vanos can clear the substructure.
Iím replacing the radiator, and it made it easier to get the timing cover off


Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post
Why replace the head gasket?
You had a failure?
That's pretty rare on these engines, normally they can run like 500k miles or so...they are bombproof except for some small niggles that can be solved nowadays for cheap (loose aftermarket vanos rings, aftermarket disa flap repair kit etc).
Yeah everyone has told me that, but I got a boroscope in there at the shop and it was leaking on cyl 5
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      02-29-2024, 07:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wigwig View Post
Yeah everyone has told me that, but I got a boroscope in there at the shop and it was leaking on cyl 5
How many miles has your car run and do you run FI (turbo/supercharger) or NOS?

And do you have a picture of your headgasket? and is the leak visible?
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      02-29-2024, 07:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post
How many miles has your car run and do you run FI (turbo/supercharger) or NOS?
No FI, itís stock(for now) with 75k miles. I bought it in November, and it ran for less than a month before it started to have problems
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post
And do you have a picture of your headgasket? and is the leak visible?
I donít have one on hand, Iím at work atm.
I couldnít see the leak when I was looking
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      02-29-2024, 07:32 AM   #12
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Are you sure the exhaust cam and intake cam are in the right spot? I once got them reversed on a car from being too tired.
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      02-29-2024, 07:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Our03z4 View Post
Are you sure the exhaust cam and intake cam are in the right spot? I once got them reversed on a car from being too tired.
Yeah, unless they are marked differently than the bearing caps, plus the exhaust went in flawlessly
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      02-29-2024, 07:29 PM   #14
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Is #1 at TDC, because if it is, it looks like the lobes for #1 are point downward therefore trying to push the valves for #1 into the top of the piston
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      02-29-2024, 10:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wigwig View Post
Yeah, unless they are marked differently than the bearing caps, plus the exhaust went in flawlessly
Mine did too. Might want to double check just in case. There may be writing on the cam that says intake and exhaust. Mine looked just like yours, wouldn't go into place on one side, the other cam went right in.
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      03-01-2024, 02:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuidoK View Post

Why replace the head gasket?
You had a failure?
That's pretty rare on these engines, normally they can run like 500k miles or so...they are bombproof except for some small niggles that can be solved nowadays for cheap (loose aftermarket vanos rings, aftermarket disa flap repair kit etc).
The M54 will blow a head gasket very quickly if overheated. Unfortunately most of the M54 cars cooling system is filled with plastic - thermostat housing, every hose has a plastic end, plastic hard pipe, plastic coolant reservoir, plus standard plastic radiator tanks.


Just keep the cam straight as you install. You might be able to tighten the rear cam bearings a bit, working fwd, repeat, until you can start the nuts on the fwd bearing. You could rotate the cam some so cyl 1 isnít pushing the valves open, but be wary when lining things back up to not hit the valves with the pistons.
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      03-01-2024, 04:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADent View Post
The M54 will blow a head gasket very quickly if overheated. Unfortunately most of the M54 cars cooling system is filled with plastic - thermostat housing, every hose has a plastic end, plastic hard pipe, plastic coolant reservoir, plus standard plastic radiator tanks.
Every modern engine will blow it's headgasket when overheating and pretty much every car made in this millennium has lots of plastic components in their cooling system.
And if one of those plastic parts will spring a leak (on the m54, the expansion tank is the most likely culprit), there's a coolant level sensor that will give a bright yellow light on the dash.
If you blow a head gasket because of that, the culprit isn't a broken plastic part, it's stupidity, continueing driving on despite the warning light.

The reason why the headgasket is so durable on the m54, is because it's a semi closed deck (most modern engines are open deck), and both the block and head are the same material, so they have the same thermal expansion coefficient. And obviously an aluminium block has better controllable cooling, together with the ecu controlled thermostat.
It should be good for 500k miles or potentially even more...

That this one blew is probably a very rare fluke. (even 75k miles is pretty low for blowing the expansion tank, a known issue, and then the driver also had to ignore the warning light)
Also how clean his cylinder head is, to me is a sign of never been overly hot and has nicely been taken care of.
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Last edited by GuidoK; 03-01-2024 at 04:55 AM..
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      03-01-2024, 05:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Our03z4 View Post
Mine did too. Might want to double check just in case. There may be writing on the cam that says intake and exhaust. Mine looked just like yours, wouldn't go into place on one side, the other cam went right in.
His intake and exhaust cams are in the right place.
The cam with the triangle shape at the front is intake, the one with the round front shape (and it's slightly shorter due to the dual chain wheels) is the exhaust side
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      03-01-2024, 06:57 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pungo View Post
You could also start tightening the nuts on some of the caps which should draw the cam downward enough to get nuts started on the other caps.
As mentioned, the cam is brittle, so go slow and easy.
What Pungo says, cams are brittle to be sure but not that brittle they will break with a little pressure.
It is called walking the the cam down, starting closest to the nut that won't go on, tighten the nuts on either side just a half a turn.
Work your way out to any nut that has tension, half a turn only, work your way back to the problem nut and there should be enough threads showing now to spin the nut on.
Once all the nuts are on you want to level the cam slowly then walk it down 1/2 turn per nut until she is sitting in the cradles .

Not everyone can afford a special cam tool for every different twin cam head so this technique is used in shops everyday and it works perfectly.
Did I mention 1/2 a turn at a time?
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      03-01-2024, 07:34 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grannyknot View Post
Not everyone can afford a special cam tool for every different twin cam head
I'm not even sure if the cam press for the M52/M54 is even for sale.
I don't think so...
So then it's not even a matter of able to afford.
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      03-03-2024, 12:48 PM   #21
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Quick update, I did finally get it figured out. What I did was get the nuts on e1 and e4 started then used a wrench to turn it so the pressure was off of the e6 cap to get those nuts started
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