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      01-03-2016, 07:10 PM   #1
tiltmode43
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tiltmode43's 83k mi Rod Bearing Replacement @ Lang Racing Developement

-2006 Z4M Roadster
-4th Owner
-83,000 miles at time of rod bearing replacement
-N/A it's entire life
-No oil analysis performed
-Full on-time maintenance history

The previous owner of my car had told me he never tracked it, nor had the prior owner. However, google searches of the prior owner's SN let me to a photo of my car at the track. At this point, knowing I'd be flogging it for best lap times myself soon enough, I decided to get the rod bearing replacement done without performing an oil analysis (didn't want to wait another 3k mi!). My thinking was that regardless of how good/bad they were, this would then be something I wouldn't need to worry about for quite some time. My wallet wasn't happy with the decision but I'm anal about preventative maintenance and didn't want to wait any longer, so I moved forward with this.

I ordered WPC treated bearings + OEM bolts/pieces and contacted Lang Racing Development (http://www.langracing.com/) to perform the work. For those of you who don't know, the folks at Lang Racing are regarded as the S54 masters - not only by BMW enthusiasts, but by other top BMW tuners/shops in Southern California. I spoke to various shops who told me not only was Lang's price fair, but that they were the S54 pros. Honest peer reviews like this say a lot, I knew where I was taking my car. Having run various racecars and working on countless S54 cars (among other BMW motors), you'd be hard pressed to find anyone more knowledgable with our precious S54 than Lang. Located in Irvine, CA, I didn't have to think twice where I'd be getting my rod bearings replaced. Quick to reply to emails, lighting fast on labor, flexible drop-off and pick-up times, and great recommendations and feedback - I would recommend Lang to anyone looking for any sort of BMW motor work and/or track/race prep. And to top it off, Andrew Lang sets a new standard when it comes to response time on emails, seriously lightning fast and at all hours of the day!

I brought my car in for rod bearing replacement & alignment. Despite the low clearance due to my aero kit, Lang handled my car with care, no problem at all. On top of that, they caught that my motor mounts were showing some serious wear and replaced them at very low cost.

At the end of the day, he said my original bearings were better than most, considering my miles, and didn't really need replacement at that time. While I may have jumped the gun on rod bearing replacement, at least now I have one less thing to worry about on this motor for the time being. The peace of mind was well worth it, and I'm proud to have had Lang's team work on my car!

Left - Top half-moons
Right - Bottom half-moons

Order:
1
2
3
4
5
6



#3 & #4 top was the worst of the bunch, but not bad at all (top & middle in this pic):



Closing thoughts/my recommendations to anyone with an S54 motor with unknown history and OE rod bearings:

Perform an oil analysis ASAP! Rod bearings are known to go on the S54 and mileage is not an honest tell of condition. When speaking to Lang, I asked if he had ever torn down an S54 with around 30-35k mi on it, and how the rod bearings looked. He had done just that in the past and said ALL bearings were 100% copper and ready to go. Rod bearing condition relies on how the motor is maintained and cared for - proper oil change intervals, letting the motor warm up properly before hitting high RPM, and how often redline is reached. Oil analyses will help tell the condition of your rod bearings better than anything else and prevent premature replacement like I have done.
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      01-03-2016, 07:38 PM   #2
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Nice. I've been keeping track of my oil for the past year and half and so far so good. Your bearings look ridiculously good for the mileage, zero worries there. Good news for the rest of us as the cars age and put on high miles!

Thanks for sharing!
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      01-04-2016, 03:31 AM   #3
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very nice report, thanks Matt.

Yep, good on you for getting it done anyhow , at least now you have a zero baseline.

Thx for the pics mate. Nicky, its not about the miles mate, its about usage and treatment.
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      01-04-2016, 03:49 AM   #4
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Good thread, something on my mind at the moment.

Just looked up the price online for those WPC bearings, seems cheaper than BMW OEM parts, any downsides to these or are the genuinely an "upgrade"?
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      01-04-2016, 12:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCZ4 View Post
Good thread, something on my mind at the moment.

Just looked up the price online for those WPC bearings, seems cheaper than BMW OEM parts, any downsides to these or are the genuinely an "upgrade"?
It's hard to say if it really makes any sort of actual difference. In theory bearings are a no-touch item anyways. Pricing for WPC treated bearings should be higher than OEM - WPC is a treatment done to the OEM parts. I'm guessing the difference you saw is based on two different sellers.

These videos from MotoIQ show some more detail on WPC. It's one of those things that was only marginally more expensive but *could* have a positive benefit, so I went for it.

Part 1:


Part 2:
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      01-06-2016, 12:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
... and I'm proud to have had Lang's team work on my car!
I have to agree that my experience with Andrew was also quite good.
The only thing that has me mildly annoyed is they reused the "one time use" reinforcement plate bolts.
Safe to say that neither of ours are now properly torqued.
I always keep a sack handy. One of these days I'll replace them and properly torque them.

I also had him replace my guibo and center support bearing (I never got the old one back, so I assume it was replaced), so they would have had to remove the rear reinforcement and drop the exhaust.

I've had a ferocious vibration at cold idle ever since I got the car back.
Feels like the exhaust, but I've checked, and it doesn't look like it's hitting anything.
Vibration goes away once it's warmed up a little.
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      01-07-2016, 12:54 AM   #7
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OP your car is running nicely from those bearings, you did the right thing getting them checked out / replaced!
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      01-07-2016, 03:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StickMon
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
... and I'm proud to have had Lang's team work on my car!
I have to agree that my experience with Andrew was also quite good.
The only thing that has me mildly annoyed is they reused the "one time use" reinforcement plate bolts.
Safe to say that neither of ours are now properly torqued.
I always keep a sack handy. One of these days I'll replace them and properly torque them.

I also had him replace my guibo and center support bearing (I never got the old one back, so I assume it was replaced), so they would have had to remove the rear reinforcement and drop the exhaust.

I've had a ferocious vibration at cold idle ever since I got the car back.
Feels like the exhaust, but I've checked, and it doesn't look like it's hitting anything.
Vibration goes away once it's warmed up a little.
Aftermarket X pipe or cans?

If so it's probably hitting the reinforcement plate. Heat (expansion) moves things ever so slightly and stops the sound. The reinforcing plate mounts and X pipe alignment are tricky. I've had mine off several times--the last created the issue you have. Small tolerances IMO.
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      01-07-2016, 11:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnegan View Post
Aftermarket X pipe or cans?

If so it's probably hitting the reinforcement plate. Heat (expansion) moves things ever so slightly and stops the sound. The reinforcing plate mounts and X pipe alignment are tricky. I've had mine off several times--the last created the issue you have. Small tolerances IMO.
Exactly what I'm thinking.
RE section 1 and cans, stock X-pipe.
Either it's bumping something that I haven't located yet, and stops bumping it when it heats up and grows, or it's a resonance that goes away when it grows and the stresses change.
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      01-07-2016, 09:20 PM   #10
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Matt, what did the Lang boys tell you about running in on the new bearings? and how many miles?

Mine is about done now and need to go and get my oil changed/inspected. Ive kept her pretty much below 4k when warmed up.. and now i am properly warming her up before any movement above 3k. and i let her cool down a bit too before shutting it down.. Good habits to get into. The cool down for me is pretty much the last 15kms on the way home, taking it very, very easy..
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      01-08-2016, 01:36 PM   #11
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When I picked mine up, Andrew said "Some say you should go easy on it for while, but I wouldn't worry about it. I've already had yours over 7k.".
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      01-08-2016, 05:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StickMon View Post
When I picked mine up, Andrew said "Some say you should go easy on it for while, but I wouldn't worry about it. I've already had yours over 7k.".
How did you feel about that? (I'm not a psychiatrist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last year).

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      01-09-2016, 12:06 AM   #13
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I really wasn't surprised. I think break-in is more important for valves and rings and such.
That said, I did keep it under 4k for about 500 miles, which for me was less than 2 weeks to work and back.

I rarely take it over 6k. Scares the heck out of me on the roads around here.
There's too many moguls.
I've gotten air a couple of times at about 6500.
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      01-10-2016, 10:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StickMon View Post
There's too many moguls.


Yep that would scare the crap outa me too..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyNC View Post
How did you feel about that? (I'm not a psychiatrist, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last year).

Salty
Haha, I've stayed at a few of those Salty, know exactly what you mean man. <-- not in a good way.
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      01-11-2016, 11:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanne View Post
Matt, what did the Lang boys tell you about running in on the new bearings? and how many miles?

Mine is about done now and need to go and get my oil changed/inspected. Ive kept her pretty much below 4k when warmed up.. and now i am properly warming her up before any movement above 3k. and i let her cool down a bit too before shutting it down.. Good habits to get into. The cool down for me is pretty much the last 15kms on the way home, taking it very, very easy..
Definitely good habits to get into! Warming up my cars before driving above a certain RPM is something I'm probably too cautious of. I'm *very* anal about making sure all fluids (including transmission/diff) are to proper temp before getting on it.

Since rod bearings are technically a "no-contact" part, most say no break in is actually required. When BMW had the rod bearing recall on the earlier E46 M3s they advised a "break-in" of 1200 miles, but many think it was just to really ensure everything was put back together properly and torqued to spec. If someone reading this is really curious on the subject you can google rod bearing break-in M3 or E46 and you should come up with a number of S54 rod bearing break-in related threads.

That all said, paranoid me kept it below 3500 RPM for about 200mi then let all hell break loose
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      01-11-2016, 12:23 PM   #16
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Hey Matt, I see you went with OE bolts.
I wondered if you had any input from Lang on OE vs ARP rod bolts?
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      01-11-2016, 04:34 PM   #17
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Andrew told me that when he stretched the ARPs to spec, the bore was out of round.
He had to stretch them some more to get the bore round, and was uncomfortable with that amount of stretch.
This was prior to working on my car, presumably with some S54 rods he happened to have lying around.

Mine were done a few weeks before Matt's.
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