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    • Epic E46 M3 S54 cylinder head rebuild with 288/280 Schrick cams and Evolve tune results in 353 naturally aspirated horsepower

      This is an absolutely awesome naturally aspirated S54 build that caught the attention of BimmerBoost. Why? Namely because it is so well documented and also because the impressive results. Many so called experts used to state the S54 motor in the E46 M3 was maxed out from the factory. Time has shown that to be incorrect but as time has gone on owners have continued to coax more and more power out of the motor. With 288/280 Schrick cams, some cylinder head work, headers, and a great tune from Evolve this E46 M3 hit an incredible 353 naturally aspirated horsepower at the wheels.

      The pictures and words below are all from a forum poster that goes by the name of nickpiper12. BimmerBoost felt this build deserved praise and attention. Enjoy:

      I would like to start this thread off by thanking the people who have helped me throughout this month long project. Samo (samo6556), Alex (flipm3), Chris (abad46), Alex L (Alex Lipowich), Bogus (CM-2), and my buddy Quinn from Patrick BMW with the parts hookup as always! Whether it was wrenching late, lending tools/parts, or…, you guys really helped me out throughout all this. Couldn't have done it without ya. I'm glad it's finally done though.

      I've been posting bits and pieces of my build in my journal. With all things I do with this car, I seem to go "all out" at one time. It's just what makes sense to me even though it's more down time and of course more cost all at once.

      The initial plan was to install:

      Schrick 288/280 Standard Lift Cams
      Beisan Oil Pump Disk
      Beisan VANOS Seals Repair Kit
      Beisan VANOS Sealing Plate Repair Kit
      Beisan VANOS Rattle Repair Kit
      Rebuilt OE Fuel Injectors (RC Engineering)
      SPAL Electric Fan
      OE Gaskets/Chain Guide/Etc.






















      This is where this long journey begins...


      Taking the bumper off for removal of fan








      Upon opening, all was good. No broken exhaust tabs or anything out of the ordinary. Just started tearing it down.














      Of course we had to take a little break!


      Back to work!

      Beisan Oil Pump Disk Install




      Chain Guide New Vs. Old




      Beisan Seals on!


      Now here is where I decided to go full retard

      Airbox out for a cam install?


      Everything layed out, trying to be organized


      abad46 and flipm3 doing some work of their own while I remove the headers




      Here they are!


      Getting closer!


      There we go! Head is out!






      Spare head I bought for $100. Perfect for what I'm looking to do on it


      SSV1's with 2.5" V-Bands and FMU Custom 3" Midpipe Sold!






      Then I bought the same exact headers 24 hours later




      ID of primaries


      Tornado hit my garage


      3.5" Single Pipe that I will using as part of my new setup along with the SSV1 S-Pipe


      Some A6's Zimamotorsport dropped off


      My plan with the head was to have a valve job done with new seals, resurface/deck, and then machine the exhaust ports using specs abad46 found from World Challenge.

      According to World Challenge, the exhaust runners in head may be machined into 41.5mm circle centered on OEM exhaust port. Exhaust runner divider may be machined a max of 25.4mm from head face, and shall be a min of 2.5mm thick. More info can be found here

      http://www.sccaproracing.com/files/V...M3%20-%200.pdf

      As much as we were interested in doing this, it turned into more than we thought. We tested it on the spare head I bought which was perfect.

      Back from the machine shop.






      As you can see, with these specs, it would require a full P&P, something I didn't really have the funds to do so. Sure I could have left it as is, but who knows what effect the non-rounded edges would have. It's a good thing we tested on the spare head. Sort of bummed, but can't do everything sometimes

      So I told the machine shop to assemble my head without doing any of that work.

      Real head back in my possession! Looks awesome








      At least they are clean now!


      New head gasket, head bolts, header gaskets, pre-cat O2's, and VANOS bolts


      Cleaning up the block a bit.


      Headgasket on with copper gasket spray to fill any imperfections!


      Head back on! Also new injectors and fuel rails in!


      Cleaned up the TB's!


      Prepping the headers for install!


      Headers in!


      Intake manifold, and Schrick 288/280's in!






      Another shot of these beauties


      New chain guide, sprockets, chain, hubs, and VANOS unit on!






      Valve adjusment time! Per Schrick, .25mm clearances should be used for both intake and exhaust cams.


      Valve cover back on! New plugs, left the coils for now. Will be replacing though!




      Due to not having an exhaust that fits, and not wanting to start the car with open headers so we could hear the motor, this was our only option….







      A little AutoLogic action to make sure everything is well


      Swapped out the bad coil and no SES's!


      Since the plan was to track the following day, we needed to mock up an exhaust that would be acceptable.

      OE Muffler and SS Res X-Pipe installed. Samo and Alex both coming in clutch with supplying necessary hardware from their dealerships




      And then we cut the flanges off an OE Section 1 at 1 A.M. outside my house with a sawzaw. Neighbors loved that! And made this… contraption using Autozone 2.5" band clamps


      A little visit to Mexico Muffler the next morning...

      They were scared to put the car on the lift, so I basically did everything


      And here we are. Stepped up the OE Section 1 as much as they could. $30 not bad! Still leaks but ehh, only temporary. It gets the job done.


      Garage finally cleaned up swapping to PFC's and adjusting dampening!

      [center][/cener]




      Before Dyno. Mods in Video.




      After Dyno (to be continued...) Mods in Video


      Okay so after around 12 hours of tuning and over 60 pulls on the dyno, here is our progress so far.

      First off I would like to thank Sal from Evolve and how thankful we all are to be working with someone like him. With his driving compassion, patience, and perseverance, myself and others just can not thank him enough. Staying up until 3 A.M UK time twice to dyno tune, with all of our crazy schedules to get this nailed down! Okay on to what we have done so far.

      All graphs in SAE, and 8200 RPM redline. Tune was calibrated with the valve closed to get the best AFR reading possible, also to not blow our eardrums... Also I am retaining the MAF, not running AlphaN, no CSL CF airbox, no bored TB's, and no headwork. Even though all of those will come in time

      Closed Valved Comparison:
      007 - Pre Cams
      003 - Post Cams
      021 - Post Cams + Tune


      Closed Valved Comparsion 2:
      007 - Pre Cams
      021 - Post Cams + Tune


      Open Valve Comparison:
      005 - Pre Cams
      005 - Post Cams
      023 - Post Cams + Tune


      Open Valve Comparison 2:
      005 - Pre Cams
      023 - Post Cams + Tune


      Closed vs Opened Comparison:
      021 - Closed
      023 - Open


      As you can see here, I am making some very good power. Both area under the curve, and peak numbers. Low end well, is hard to compare. With big cams, people assume you will lose low end power. Its hard to discern considering I switched my exhaust setup drastically, but the low clearly exists! The mid range, well you can see there is slight loss, but only 5-7whp/wtq, which is barely noticeable on the street. WOT going through the gears, every upshift drops down to 6500 RPM, so the dip is outside of the upshift range WOT. Top end, well NUTS!

      Drivability, just awesome on the street. Idle is perfect, part throttle mapping is spot on, partial to full throttle transition is smooth, and the delivery is just NUTS! We haven't even really worked much on these maps yet and it can only get better from here!

      During the last dyno session, I hit the flash counter, so we had to postpone the rest of the tuning, which worked out actually. I am experiencing an odd fueling issue, which is heavily affecting the AFR making it rich, losing power, especially in the midrange, why there is a loss currently.

      Ruling out the fuel pump, injectors, vacuum leaks, etc, I am left with the fuel pressure regulator. We have reason to believe that it is stuck open and just dumping too much fuel. So I will be replacing that, reseting the flash counter, and strapping down on the dyno hopefully this week if all works well. Due to this issue, Sal felt safe to be relatively conservative while tuning, especially with the ignition and VANOS maps. So there IS more left on the table, we just don't know exactly how much with my limiting intake components. Only time will tell!
      This article was originally published in forum thread: E46 M4 S54 build with 288/280 Schrick cams and cylinder head rebuild started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 31 Comments
      1. z3speed4me's Avatar
        z3speed4me -
        350/250!! Ok cams are on my radar now. Just wish I could do em myself..
      1. bobS's Avatar
        bobS -
        Nice write up op! Nice gains!

        Btw @z3speed4me I love your estorial m coupe
      1. 0-60Motorsports's Avatar
        0-60Motorsports -
        Big fan of this build thread and you three crazy guys working on your cars. Cant wait to join you guys in the States soon and work on my car.
      1. S62R's Avatar
        S62R -
        Nice head build....
        Did you also use Schrick's cam followers?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by S62R Click here to enlarge
        Nice head build....
        Did you also use Schrick's cam followers?
        Not my build...
      1. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        Not gonna lie I'm kinda jealous... I wonder if a similar set up would be ok for daily driving?
      1. 600whp S4's Avatar
        600whp S4 -
        would love to see some FMU velocity stacks ported TBs or a csl box and ported throttle bodies
      1. inlineS54B32's Avatar
        inlineS54B32 -
        That is an incredible build/writeup, and makes me want to buy an E46 M again... This motor is just ridiculous when done right like this - that's basically E9x M3 power levels. I love it... Congrats.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 600whp S4 Click here to enlarge
        would love to see some FMU velocity stacks ported TBs or a csl box and ported throttle bodies
        The CSL box and throttle bodies could squeeze a little more out.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by G0TB00ST? Click here to enlarge
        Not gonna lie I'm kinda jealous... I wonder if a similar set up would be ok for daily driving?
        Why not?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by inlineS54B32 Click here to enlarge
        That is an incredible build/writeup, and makes me want to buy an E46 M again... This motor is just ridiculous when done right like this - that's basically E9x M3 power levels. I love it... Congrats.
        Now if someone would just build an S65 for max NA hp already.
      1. AlexQuattro's Avatar
        AlexQuattro -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Now if someone would just build an S65 for max NA hp already.
        What do you think is the most power you could get out of it without NOS or boost?
      1. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Why not?
        Reliability and smoothness with the more aggressive cam set up
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Alex325i Click here to enlarge
        What do you think is the most power you could get out of it without NOS or boost?
        520 whp and still streetable. Maybe more if you really push the envelope but ~520 would be my figure.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by G0TB00ST? Click here to enlarge
        Reliability and smoothness with the more aggressive cam set up
        These are not Schrick race cams they still keep it relatively streetable. If you went more aggressive you would probably have to delete VANOS.
      1. G0TB00ST?'s Avatar
        G0TB00ST? -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        These are not Schrick race cams they still keep it relatively streetable. If you went more aggressive you would probably have to delete VANOS.
        My mistake I thought they were he race setup
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by G0TB00ST? Click here to enlarge
        My mistake I thought they were he race setup
        I read through again and don't see him mention race but maybe I'm wrong? From what I understand these are Schrick street cams.
      1. flipm3's Avatar
        flipm3 -
        Thanks for posting @Sticky
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 0-60Motorsports Click here to enlarge
        Big fan of this build thread and you three crazy guys working on your cars. Cant wait to join you guys in the States soon and work on my car.
        We are crazy...LOL...and we cannot wait until you join us with our shenanigans.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by S62R Click here to enlarge
        Nice head build....Did you also use Schrick's cam followers?
        It's an honor to have you posting in this thread! I told Sal that I really want to get in touch with you in regards to some other projects.In this build, we did not use the Shrick DLC Followers since majority of the race teams here in the States have told me they are not necessary. We are keeping the redline to 8200RPM as well. If my friend decides to redo the whole valve train, along with proper port and polishing, Shrick DLC Followers will possibly be on the list.[QUOTE=G0TB00ST?;529106]Not gonna lie I'm kinda jealous... I wonder if a similar set up would be ok for daily driving?[/QUOTE @evolve has tuned quite a few Schrick'd S54s here in the States. Every single one has had perfect daily drivability.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 600whp S4 Click here to enlarge
        would love to see some FMU velocity stacks ported TBs or a csl box and ported throttle bodies
        No FMU stocks for this car...but the build will be taking a fun turn in the right direction. As you suggested....CF Airbox and Ported TBs should be installed by the end of January or February.
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by inlineS54B32 Click here to enlarge
        That is an incredible build/writeup, and makes me want to buy an E46 M again... This motor is just ridiculous when done right like this - that's basically E9x M3 power levels. I love it... Congrats.
        He's making more power than my stock E90 M3 on the same dyno using the same grade Shell VPower 93 Octane!
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        The CSL box and throttle bodies could squeeze a little more out.
        We'll be finding out hopefully soon!These are Schrick 288/280 Standard Lift cams. They are the "middle grade" cams that can still retain the VANOS. There are several more aggressive specifications than this. These cams were chosen due to their ability to still retain low-end power/torque all the while being a top end screamer.
      1. S62R's Avatar
        S62R -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by flipm3 Click here to enlarge
        It's an honor to have you posting in this thread! I told Sal that I really want to get in touch with you in regards to some other projects.In this build, we did not use the Shrick DLC Followers since majority of the race teams here in the States have told me they are not necessary. We are keeping the redline to 8200RPM as well. If my friend decides to redo the whole valve train, along with proper port and polishing, Shrick DLC Followers will possibly be on the list.
        The reason I asked is because usually the followers wear out even stock.
        I always use the Schrick followers(which are cheaper than the original BMW ones,BTW).

        Have to make a thread about the S54 I built over here when I got some time.
        Sal came over for a weekend for the name giving of my son(he is his god father) and the next day we mapped the car on the road.
        Is not that easy to calibrate a setup like this for perfect throttle response,idle and driveablity.

        Did you also notice how much torque the car has mid range?

        The acceleration in 3rd gear is just entertaining!

        I will shoot you a pm with my details that you can get in touch with me.

        BTW,it is possible to keep the Vanos even with a more aggressive cam setup...
      1. flipm3's Avatar
        flipm3 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by S62R Click here to enlarge
        The reason I asked is because usually the followers wear out even stock.
        I always use the Schrick followers(which are cheaper than the original BMW ones,BTW).

        Have to make a thread about the S54 I built over here when I got some time.
        Sal came over for a weekend for the name giving of my son(he is his god father) and the next day we mapped the car on the road.
        Is not that easy to calibrate a setup like this for perfect throttle response,idle and driveablity.

        Did you also notice how much torque the car has mid range?

        The acceleration in 3rd gear is just entertaining!

        I will shoot you a pm with my details that you can get in touch with me.

        BTW,it is possible to keep the Vanos even with a more aggressive cam setup...
        The cam follower wear was one of our worries as well, but from a lot of the race shops and engine builders I spoke to, they said it should be fine. Hopefully we don't run into issues!!!

        YES!!! Please share more about that S54. I was jealous when Sal told me he'd be visiting you for the weekend. I bet that motor is a beast. Click here to enlarge

        With the Schrick profile cams, you can retain VANOS with 280/272 Std Lift, 288/280 Std Lift, 304/296 Std Lift, 288/280 High lift. VANOS should be deleted with 304/296 High Lift Click here to enlarge

        We'll get in touch very soon!