The E46 M3, the Z3 M Coupe/Roadster and the E85/86 MZ4 Coupe/Roadster all came equipped with the s54b32 engine (commonly referred to as the S54) which was a much more complex engine than the earlier US Spec M3 had. The vanos unit on the S54 also evolved into a more complex unit and has it's own set of inherent problems that many S54 owners will run into eventually. The S54 Vanos controls both the intake and exhaust camshafts to improve performance, torque, idle characteristics and emissions. A high pressure (1200psi) control system is used to ensure responsive and accurate camshaft adjustments required by the high performance M engine. The added complexity and high oil pressure used on the S54 vanos means there are more opportunities for failures and related problems.

Click on the slides below for more specific information....

The S54 exhaust hub is a very common failure point and should be checked every 60k miles. The 2 tabs on the hub are prone to breaking off, causing vanos faults and misfires (best case) to engine failure if the one of the tabs falls into the timing chain. In some cases only one tab will fail, which can go unnoticed for a long period of time until the 2nd tab fails, so it's important to visually check the tabs every couple of years. We offer a brand new factory replacement hub that has been cryogenically treated to improve strength by 30% over stock. Cryo-treating is a very involved process which strengthens the metal by cycling the temperature below freezing, then heat treating the part.
The vanos also uses 4 solenoids which are attached to the bottom of the unit in a non-rebuildable aluminum case. These solenoids are very sensitive to oil pressure and can easily become clogged or damaged over time due to contaminates in the oil. Generally this will cause a fault code relating to the vanos and either intake or exhaust timing problems. We highly recommend changing the oil every 5000 miles and only using the BMW 10w60 High Performance oil to prolong the life of the vanos. For the most reliable results we always recommend using NEW factory solenoids over refurbished solenoids. New solenoids will easily last 80-100K miles when the oil is changed regularly.
Typically the S54 vanos does not exhibit the common diesel rattle noise under normal operation. If you notice that your engine has suddenly become noisy we recommend that the car not be driven any more than necessary until the source of the noise can be determined by removing the valve cover, vanos unit and both cam hubs to check all 12 mounting bolts holding each cam gear to the camshaft. These bolts are known to loosen up over time and if left unchecked can fail without warning. In some cases this can cause valve-to-piston interference severely damaging the engine.
The S54 vanos uses a high pressure oil pump located on the back of the vanos unit. This pump, along with the drive hub on the exhaust cam is a potential failure point that may cause extensive damage in a worst-case scenario. Mounted to the front of the exhaust camshaft is a drive hub that spins the oil pump on the back of the vanos unit. The tabs on this hub are known to fail without warning, causing the oil pump on the vanos to stop spinning. Without the high oil pressure needed to drive the cam timing, the engine will misfire at idle and have poor performance. It's common to see several mis-fire codes stored in the DME when this happens. Additionally, the tab failure on the exhaust hub will typically cause excessive wear to the oil pump holes as they bang back and forth, creating excessive play. Our rebuilt S54 vanos units have a modified oil pump to address this potential failure point, and when combined with our cryogenically treated exhaust hub will substantially reduces the chances of pump failures.
To help reduce valve train noise caused by the loose bearings in the splined gears, we offer a set of rebuilt gears with a slight preload on the internal bearings. The gears are offered individually or as a pair, and are sold on a core exchange basis.
Many of our parts are sold on a core exchange basis and require a refundable security deposit for your old parts. This deposit ensures that we receive a good working vanos (or other related part) which can be easily rebuilt and sold to another customer. Once the core is received we will refund the deposit to you within 1-2 business days providing the parts are not broken or damaged in a way other than normal wear and tear. A good rule of thumb is if the parts you are sending back are in more pieces than what we originally sent to you, then they are probably not rebuildable.

Our S54 vanos comes fully rebuilt with brand new factory solenoids and solenoid valves, as well as our CNC modified oil pump disc (shown below). We also replace ALL piston seals with ultra-high quality lifetime seals for maximum performance (keep in mind that the brand new solenoids alone are $925 from BMW!). For best results, use our cryogenically treated exhaust hub below (sold separately) to help prevent potential exhaust hub failures!
E46 M3

Complete Vanos with NEW solenoids - $1795

Add to Cart
The S54 Vanos price includes a fully refundable $400 core deposit for your old vanos. You can return your old vanos to us using the supplied UPS return label in the box and we will refund your $400 core deposit to you within 1-2 business days for a net price of $1395.

*Please read the S54 FAQ section at the bottom of this page for detailed core return information.

Parts and Accessories...

For those wanting a stronger, brand new OEM hub we offer a cryogenically treated option to improve durability and prevent tab failures. Our 'Cryo' hubs have been road and track tested without any reported failures. An excellent upgrade over the stock hub.
S54 Cryo Exhaust Hub

$995.00 - In Stock

Add to Cart
Price includes $50 refundable core deposit
The Cryo Hub price includes a fully refundable $50 core deposit for your old hub (broken or not). You can return your old hub to us using the supplied UPS return label in the box and we will refund your $50 core deposit to you within 1-2 business days for a net price of $945.
Cryogenic treatment is the process of treating workpieces to cryogenic temperatures below −190 °C using liquid nitrogen in order to remove residual stresses and improve wear resistance on steels. Some of the benefits of cryogenic treatment include longer part life and less failure due to cracking.

Send us your oil pump disc and we will CNC drill new holes which are slightly smaller than the stock holes (9.75mm), eliminating as much play as possible. This will help reduce the chances of hub tab failures when used with a stock hub, or combine it with our Cryo hub above for unmatched durability.
S54 Disc

Send us your oil pump disc: $150

Send us your oil pump disc and we can redrill new holes at 9.75mm (smallest possible size) and send it back out the same day in most cases, or by the following business day. You will need to completely disassemble the pump, keep ALL the small parts, and just send the bare disc itself. We recommend either UPS or USPS Priority/Express for shipping so you can track the shipment, and be sure to include your contact information inside the box. Once the disc arrives we will contact you for payment (Paypal or Credit Cards accepted) and desired return shipping options. The shipping address can be found on the Contact Us page. Sorry, we do not sell the oil pump disc on a core exchange basis as they are far too valuable

The D300 hub is a stock BMW hub that has been modified with heavy-duty oil pump tabs for maximum durability. The oversized tabs are designed to work with the stock oil pump disc, so drilling smaller holes in the disc is NOT required.
S54 D300 Exhaust Hub

$850.00 - In Stock Now

Add to Cart
Price includes $50 refundable core deposit

Complete set of bolts for the cams gears. The stock cam bolts can loosen and should be checked 'while you're in there'.
Note tightening torque of 12Nm(9 ft-lb) Loctite included.
S54 Cam Bolts

Price: $30.00

Add to Cart

Flexible high performance oil line replaces the stock hard line to prevent failures from stress cracks. Includes mounting tabs for a clean installation, a heat shield to protect the line from the exhaust headers and new crush washers.
S54 Oil Line

Price: $60.00

Add to Cart

The S54 Noise Reduction Kit is designed to reduce excessive valve train noise that's commonly found on the S54 engine. The kit includes:

  • 1 new exhaust modified splined gear (with anti-rattle modification)
  • 2 new REM polished cam sprockets
  • 2 new spring plate sets

S54 Noise Reduction Kit

Price: $225

Add to Cart

The S54 modified intake gear includes the anti-rattle kit and is sold with a $100 core deposit. Intake side only.
S54 Intake Gear

Price: $100 + $100 core deposit

Add to Cart

Highly recommended when replacing the vanos, and a necessity when replacing the cam gear bolts or exhaust hub to ensure the timing is perfect.The tool can be purchased for $175 or return it when you're done for a $140 refund.
Tool Kit


Add to Cart

New S54 cam gear replacement sprockets specially treated with REM coating for lower friction and less noise.
S54 Sprocket

$50 Pair

Add to Cart

Rebuilt S54 solenoid packs are great for a short term fix, passing inspection or troubleshooting vanos problems. Used solenoids come with 60 day free replacement warranty, or a 1 year unlimited replacement warranty for $50 more.

  • Factory new solenoids are also available
  • No core deposit required
  • Sorry NO refunds on used solenoids
S54 Disc

Solenoid Options:

We fully disassemble the vanos and the actuator housing is ultrasonically cleaned inside and out, new pistons seals and O-rings are installed, the oil pump disc is redrilled with smaller (9.75mm), then brand new factory solenoids and solenoid valves are installed with a new gasket plate. Finally, the vanos is fully tested with the special BMW tools to ensure everything performs properly.
The S54 Vanos comes fully built and ready to install, and includes a new vanos mounting gasket. The exhaust hub is not included with the S54 kit.
A core charge is a deposit for your old vanos unit or parts. By returning your old parts to us in good condition, we refund the deposit and are in effect buying the item from you in good faith. The core charge also allows us to send you a rebuilt vanos at a much lower price than a new unit would cost from the dealer. By sending out a complete, ready to install vanos the customer has the ability to replace their vanos as quickly as possible, and then return their old vanos to us for the core refund. This helps to keep your downtime to a minimum so you can get back on the road without waiting for parts.

Please note that while most every S54 core is rebuildable, occasionally they can fail in a manner that prevents them from being rebuilt. Typically the oil pump and bearing will fail when the exhaust hub fails, causing serious damage to the vanos and sometimes the engine itself. If this happens to you then your core may not be accepted for a refund. While this is a small risk for our customers, by purchasing our rebulit vanos you are accepting the responsibility of this risk. Keep in mind that even if your core is damaged beyond repair, the cost will still be several hundred dollars less than the retail price of a new S54 vanos at your local BMW dealer.

We ask that you return your old vanos unit to us as quickly as possible. Once we receive your complete core we will immediately refund the full core charge amount back to your Paypal or Credit Card account.
All Vanos core returns must be in rebuildable condition to receive a full refund. Damaged or broken Vanos units will NOT be accepted.
Yes. The basic S54 vanos install can be performed without using the special BMW tools, but we do recommend having one of our preferred shops install your vanos for you. See our 'Recommended Installers' page link above. In addition, the use of diagnostic software is recommended for post-installation testing and adaptation procedures. When replacing the exhaust hub or cam bolts, the cam timing will need to reset requiring the cam alignment tool. We do offer the cam alignment tool for our customers to rent or buy. Of course you can always contact us by phone or email if you have any installation questions or concerns.
When installing a replacement S54 vanos we highly recommend checking the cam bolts and exhaust hub. If you are hearing a pronounced rattling noise it's likely that the cam bolts are loose. It can also be a good time for a valve adjustment while you're in there, and the valve cover gaskets may need to be replaced if more than 5 years old.
Yes, we encourage customers to send in their vanos to avoid the core charge involved with providing a pre-built unit up front. Once you send your vanos in we can have it rebuilt and shipped back out within 1-2 business days in most cases.