The S54 Vanos fits...

  • All US E46 M3
  • All Euro E46 M3
  • E85 Z4 M3.2 Roadster
  • E86 Z4 M3.2 Coupe
  • Z3 M Coupe/Roadster

S54 Vanos Information

Core Return
All US domestic vanos orders come with a pre-paid UPS return shipping label. Get your core refund quicker and with less hassle!
 
We Buy S54 Units!
We are always in need of good S54 cores. Please contact us for more information.
 
Availability
We typically stock the S54 vanos and related parts, but if you need expedited service please contact us for availability first.
 
S54 Vanos

Overview

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 tabs at the top for more specific information.

Hub Failure

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.

Solenoid Failure

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.

Vanos Rattle

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.

Oil Pump Disc

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.

Modified Splined Gears

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.

Core Refunds

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.
 
E46 M3Our S54 vanos comes fully rebuilt with brand new factory solenoids and solenoid valves, as well as our CNC modified oil pump. We also replace all piston seals with upgraded lifetime seals for maximum performance. For best results, use our cryogenically treated exhaust hub below (sold separately) to help prevent potential exhaust hub failures!

Price: $1350 plus a refundable $400 core deposit

Add to Cart

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

 

Parts and Accessories...


 
S54 Cryo Exhaust Hub

S54 Exhaust HubFor those wanting a stronger, brand new OEM hub we offer a cryogenically treated option to improve durability. Our 'Cryo' hubs have been road and track tested without any reported failures. An excellent upgrade over the stock hub.
For maximum durability and minimum noise use with the S54 Drilled Oil Pump Disc sold separately below.

Price: $850.00 - In Stock

Add to Cart Price include $50 refundable core deposit
 
C300 Exhaust Hub

S54 Exhaust Hub The C300 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. A stock oil pump disc must be used with this hub.

Price: $850.00 - In Stock

Add to Cart Price includes $50 refundable core deposit
 
S54 Drilled Oil Pump Disc

S54 Disc Send us your oil pump disc and we will CNC drill new holes which are slightly smaller than the stock holes, 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.

Send us your oil pump disc: $150 + $10 shipping

(email for details)
 
S54 Cam Bolt Repair Kit

S54 Cam Bolts

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.

Price: $30.00
Add to Cart

 
S54 Noise Reduction Kit

S54 Stage I kit

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 Exhaust side only - modified splined gear (with anti-rattle modification)
2 new REM polished cam sprockets
2 new spring plate sets

Price: $225.00
Add to Cart

 
Cam Alignment Tool

Tool Kit 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.

Price: $175.00

Add to Cart
 
S54 REM Coated Cam Sprocket

S54 Sprocket

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

Price: $50.00 Pair
Add to Cart

 
S54 Valve Adjustment Tool Kit

S54 Valve Adjustment KitFor those wanting to do their own valve adjustment we offer a rental kit with all the special tools needed to measure and replace the valve shims, including the complete shim kit, shim magnet tool, digital micrometer and feeler gauges.

Price: $600.00 - In Stock

Add to Cart Price include $500 refundable core deposit
 
S54 Used Solenoid Pack

S54 Disc Used S54 solenoid packs are cleaned and tested to ensure they are working properly. These are great for a short term fix (passing inspection) or for troubleshooting solenoid problems. Solenoids come with 60 day free replacement warranty, or upgrade to a 1 year unlimited replacement warranty for $50 more.
Warranty Options:

 
Peake Code Reader

Peake Research Engine Scan/Reset tool. Able to read fault codes, reset Check-Engine light, Service-Engine-Soon light, SRS, Oilservice and Inspection Lights.

  • Displays BMW engine fault codes; Helps diagnose exactly what's wrong.
  • Resets the "Check Engine/Service Engine Soon" Light.
  • Resets the Oil Service and Inspection lights.
  • Includes complete instructions, code booklet and storage case.
  • Adaptor not needed in most cases. See application diagram below.

Price: $139.00 - $189.00

Click on the image below for application diagram.

Peakes
Select Model::

 
Magnetic Oil Drain Plug

Oil Drain Plug Magnetic Oil Drain Plug - Catches magnetic particles in the oil pan as the engine wears over time.

Price: $9.00

Add to Cart
 

FAQ's for the S54 Vanos


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 drilled, 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 cores or parts must be in rebuildable condition to receive a full refund. Damaged or broken parts 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.

 


Copyright DrVanos.com 2012