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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 11-06-2011, 06:06 AM
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Z4M S54: Rod Bearings Replaced

Last month I had Randy Forbes replace the rod bearings on my Z4MC with his coated ones. My car had 59K miles and close to 50 track days at the time and once the bearings came out, the timing of this job seemed very appropriate. The car has seen very regular oil changes (2-4 track days per change) and all oil has been analyzed by Blackstone that showed occasional high lead numbers.

Below are the pulled bearings. Disregard the sharp scratches as those were from them sitting in a plastic box and hitting each other.

#2 top was the worst for wear, followed by #3 top. #5 had an unsual slant on the right edge indicating that the bearing was possibly mounted at a very slight angle?? Discuss away.






Some of the interesting pictures I took while watching and learning from the master are below.

Positioned for its surgery.


Draining the oil in preparation for removing the oil pan.


After putting an engine support on the front of the motor the Z4MC was raised into position for its surgery.


Steering column removed from the rack and marked just to be on the safe side. Though it looked like it can only go in one way.



Removed subframe bolts - the liquid is just penetrating lube.


Rack unbolted from subframe and subframe removed and out of the way.




Pulleys loosened and power steering pump bracket disconnected


FCABS and sway bar links disconnected and sway bar removed from car. This allows the entire assembly to swing under the car to create a more usable workspace.


Draining the pan.




Dipstick and breather need to be removed from pan. Dipstick also has a nut on the top (near intake plenum) that needs to be removed.


Unbolt the seemingly infinite bolts on the pan and carefully remove it from the block and let it drain on the side.



Cleaned pan ready to go back when its time.


Oil pump and lines removed - the crank is painted blue for some reason.



Now it time to remove one rod bearing at a time (in firing order helps), clean the journals with scotch brite, apply assembly lube to new ones and reinstall.




Fresh coated set


Coated bearing on the right


Plasti guaging the new bearings takes time as they need to be installed and removed and then measured for proper clearance. This works as the new rod bolts call for 5Nm, 30Nm and 105 turn 3 times. So the bolts need to be loosened anyways.




Ready for final assembly after the plasti-guage step. They are not removed anymore.
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Last edited by pal; 11-06-2011 at 06:35 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-06-2011, 07:04 AM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Nice post PAL, the pictures turned out very good, combined with xlnt narration. The only thing I see that needs clarification, is that we didn't necessarily follow the firing order (1, 5, 3, 6, 2 & 4) but the actual pairs of "throws" on the cranshaft. Thus, we did #'s 1 & 6 together, then 2 & 5, and finally 3 & 4. It would not matter if you did #'s 1 through 6 in order, but you'd have to rotate the crankshaft twice as many times (there would be no harm in doing this).

After changing out all the inserts, I usually rotate the crank several times by hand anyways, before I put it all back together.

Good job PAL!
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  #3  
Old 11-06-2011, 08:54 AM
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Pal,

Great post with great photos.

Do you recall how high your Blackstone lead levels were? I am getting between slightly and moderately high lead readings (recent one was 34) and I am showing some concern about bearings.

I do not track the car, but when driving with the ZBimmers Club several times per year, I do ring the engine out pretty hard.

If you have your past data available, I would love to know your numbers.

BTW, we have the same taste in body style and color on our Z4Ms.

Thanks,

EB
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:30 AM
dave94502 dave94502 is offline
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WOW-great photos PAL and nice work Randy

I could not quite read the PlastiGauge--was it .051mm (.002")?
What oil have you been using? the 10-60 TWS?

Oh, BTW, the painted crank is done to shred oil. On any engine, oil will cling to the internal parts. On many race engines, the inside of the block and the crank are painted to help the oil slide off and return to the sump faster. Another technique is an oil scraper to "scape" the oil off the crank. The heavier the weight oil, the greater its shear strength, so it will stay attached and not get flung off the crank even at high RPM.

I almost wished I lived in Jersey so I could beg Randy to do my Z4MC.
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  #5  
Old 11-06-2011, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebruder View Post
Do you recall how high your Blackstone lead levels were? I am getting between slightly and moderately high lead readings (recent one was 34) and I am showing some concern about bearings.
Thanks for the clarification Randy and thanks for taking the time to get this done for me at such short notice

ebruder - the high lead readings don't appear to be related to after a specific mileage than to track events and usage style between changes. The first "high" reading (6 ppm) was at 24, 700 miles. The next 10K miles I was seeing 4 or 5 ppm, but then it dropped down to 3 after a road trip last March to Texas (and 10 - 12 standing mile runs to 150-156 mph). See below for history (all reports below 20K miles were 1ppm). At 42K I had a 7 and a 9 at 47K. It almost seems that once the numbers started to go up, they seem to settle at a higher ppm ...

I tried Greddy 10w60 for one oil change (3 track events) and it did just as well as the Castrol so may use that for a couple of changes next year.








Quote:
Originally Posted by dave94502 View Post
WOW-great photos PAL and nice work Randy

I could not quite read the PlastiGauge--was it .051mm (.002")?
What oil have you been using? the 10-60 TWS?

Oh, BTW, the painted crank is done to shred oil. On any engine, oil will cling to the internal parts. On many race engines, the inside of the block and the crank are painted to help the oil slide off and return to the sump faster.
All my oil changes except for the last one were Castrol TWS 10w60. I used Greddy 10w60 for the last change and that seemed to fair at the same levels as the Castrol.

Thanks for the clarification on the painted crank. It makes a lot of sense.

If I remember right it was 0.0015" in terms of what Randy was aiming for so you seem to be right on ....
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Last edited by pal; 11-06-2011 at 10:16 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2011, 10:32 AM
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Randy's still in Toledo, Ohio (hear that, EB?) but not for too much longer__should be established in SW FL by springtime!
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  #7  
Old 11-06-2011, 01:45 PM
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Here is a table of oil change intervals, track days on the oil against lead PPMs.

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  #8  
Old 11-06-2011, 05:34 PM
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Pal,

Thanks very much for your posting the matrix with miles, events, lead, etc.

I'm going to try to track down what, hopefully besides bearings, might be causing my high lead readings. Blackstone has pointed to possibly bearings, but without urgency.

Thanks again,

EB
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2011, 09:47 AM
2.3z3 2.3z3 is offline
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Randy is that MityVac 7201? I guess I should try an extractor. OP nice detailed post.
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2011, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
Randy's still in Toledo, Ohio (hear that, EB?) but not for too much longer__should be established in SW FL by springtime!
Randy,

I know you are still in Toledo, but I sure hope that I don't need the work that you did for Pal. I am just off of warranty in September, and I had John Negus, whom I believe you know, do a full fluids flush/change when his shop popped on my winter wheels/tires.

For your info, Cindy R. is as much of a hoot as always. The ZBimmer group she leads had a great end of the season run a couple of weeks ago, but one quickly decreasing radius 190 degree hairpin had one car spinning out and a second driving off the road down a ~ 15 foot embankment. Both drove on.

EB
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:57 PM
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Before reading this, I slept better at night "knowing" this was only a Z3M problem.


... dangit.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:39 PM
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Increasing lead levels

My most recent Blackstone oil analysis shows steadily increasing lead levels: 6 ppm at 33,908; 7 ppm at 38,810, and 10 ppm at 42,865.
Like PAL I do a lot of track driving with frequent oil changes. I switched to Red Line 10W-60 at the last change and have two changes of Greddy 10W-60 on the shelf.
Blackstone Oil Analysis S54 October 2012.pdf
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:56 PM
FinneganZ FinneganZ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmillet View Post
My most recent Blackstone oil analysis shows steadily increasing lead levels: 6 ppm at 33,908; 7 ppm at 38,810, and 10 ppm at 42,865.
Like PAL I do a lot of track driving with frequent oil changes. I switched to Red Line 10W-60 at the last change and have two changes of Greddy 10W-60 on the shelf.
Attachment 344535
I'm sort of resigned to the fact that with a good deal of track driving I'm going to have to budget for this "maintenance item" at some point in the next 12-24 months.

I'm on the UOA bandwagon now, so we'll see what results show. Jim, are you going to try the Greddy for the ZDDP levels, shearing resistance, or both?
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2012, 05:34 AM
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Found this thread last night; more of the same: http://bimmerboost.com/showthread.ph...r-35k-mile-car
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:00 AM
JayMac JayMac is offline
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Guys, I just purchased a S54 to put into my 328is. I plan to do the bearings and would not mind doing them myself with adult supervision of course. Couple of questions, sorry if I missed them in the post.
Did you re use your old rod bolts or go with new ones when doing the plasti gauging?

When you plasti gauge do you torque to max spec or just tight?

Are the coated the only way to go?

Any other advice is appreciated!

Jay
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Old 10-13-2012, 12:55 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayMac View Post
Guys, I just purchased a S54 to put into my 328is. I plan to do the bearings and would not mind doing them myself with adult supervision of course. Couple of questions, sorry if I missed them in the post.
Did you re use your old rod bolts or go with new ones when doing the plasti gauging?

When you plasti gauge do you torque to max spec or just tight?

Are the coated the only way to go?

Any other advice is appreciated!

Jay
Rod bolts depends on the year of engine manufacture; 11mm (only available from ARP at this point) for all the Z3/M engines (M3 perhaps up to 12/03, but not certain off the top of my head) and all the Z4/Ms have 10mm bolts (available as OE)

Plasti-gauge to final torque spec (varies, depending on 11mm or 10mm bolts) and DO NOT rotate engine. Remove and read, doing one (1) or two (2) cylinders at a time, as noted in Post #2 above.

Depends who you ask, but I've been doing the coating process since 1992 and have never had a problem__I recommend it. Unfortunately, when I did the rod bearings on my own Z3/M, I did not have a curing oven at that time, and just put in plain (uncoated) bearings. I do plan to pull those back out at some point, just to see if the "recall bearings" are less prone to slipping in place than the originals__though my bearings were not dislodged like so many of the Z3/M ones are.

As for any other advice, how soon can you get (your engine) to Florida...?
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Last edited by Randy Forbes; 10-13-2012 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 01:14 PM
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Randy, thank you for your reply. I can bring my engine down any weekend or have it shipped. I do come to Florida for the Rolex in January and that would be ideal to come down a few days extra for some sun and engine work. I would like to say I have a plan but I would be lying. Since I don't know what I don't know I am open to suggestions. So far what we have is the engine and a 3.91 lsd for the rear end. The info I have is that the engine came out of a 2002 car.
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:40 PM
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'I don't know what I don't know' sounds really familiar.

Are you by change a bubble head?
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Old 10-13-2012, 04:19 PM
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:18 PM
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Here are Blackstone reports since the bearing change 14, 043 miles ago. I have since done 16 track days on the car. Below is the most recent report that has number for all prior reports since the bearing change at 59K miles.

Lead numbers are starting to go up a bit but not too bad and per Blackstone I am OK for now. I may have Randy pull the bearings later this year to take a look and see how the coated ones are doing.

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Old 01-27-2013, 08:10 PM
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Ron Stygar Ron Stygar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pal View Post
here are blackstone reports since the bearing change 14, 043 miles ago. I have since done 16 track days on the car. Below is the most recent report that has number for all prior reports since the bearing change at 59k miles.

Lead numbers are starting to go up a bit but not too bad and per blackstone i am ok for now. I may have randy pull the bearings later this year to take a look and see how the coated ones are doing.

4,500:

69 = 14

73 = 8
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:53 AM
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Hi Pal, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but last week was "priddy" (I'm going somewhere with that...) busy! We got our first offer on the house in Toledo, and after beating each other up, we accepted it; really took a <> bath, buying at market's peak, but after carrying it for the nine (9) months since we moved, we just wanted to cut our losses, and stop the bleeding. According to Sue, we'll never sell another house__and that suits me just fine, as I really, really like where I'm at!

We also had our first house guests last week; spy photographer extraordinaire Brenda Priddy (and her World Famous Park Ranger boyfriend, Jay Snow) stayed with us a few days. ANYBODY who's ever picked up a car magazine and seen pictures of camouflaged new car models being tested in the desert should be familiar with her work. The BMWCCA buys one (1) picture a month, for inclusion in the Roundel magazine. Many interesting stories, and Jay himself walked across the entire US, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans!

But anyway, I'd pretty much echo Blackstone's conclusion; keep watching your numbers to see if the lead/tin/copper spike, but make plans to swap shells when it's convenient.

Not too long ago, JayMac brought me his "loose" S-54 engine (only) to swap the connecting rod beasring shells in it, and I was more than a little concerned with what I found. With zero prior history of the car/engine, I can only go with forming an opinion based on my findings; Jay's engine appears to have had the bearing recall, as the shells I removed have the same markings as the ones supplied in the recall kits I've been buying and applying the dry-film lubricant polymer coatings to. This is what they looked like when removed:



Again, I want to reiterate that we know nothing about this engine, like when these bearings were installed, or by who, so now I'm particularly interested to see how the ones in your car are wearing. The thing that concerns me the most about these bearings (shown above) is not so much that the surface is wearing away, I expect that (again, no idea of the miles at which this has taken place) but the points of contact__or lack of__is what I'd like to confirm.

I have an uncoated set of the bearings in my own 01 Z3/M, that I already plan to swap with coated ones, but I'm always too booked up with customer cars to spend that kind of luxury on my own. Knowing the miles on my own uncoated shells, and to be able to see how yours are wearing, will go a long way towards determining what kind of parts BMW is supplying!

BTW, THIS is how you want to do a bearing swap!



Gallery album: http://www.spcarsplus.com/gallery3/i...4-bearing-swap
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1961 McCulloch R1 go-kart Screaming Yellow
1995///M3 Coupe Dakar Yellow Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
2001///M Rdstr Steel Gray
2011 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue/Cinnamon
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Old 01-28-2013, 05:36 PM
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Sorry to hear about your Ohio place. We bought our place at the peak of the market as well and are really 'stuck' with it; I am glad we like it. And yes, your place in Parrish sounds like a dream - wished I could be in a warmer place last week.

I have seen the camo BMWs in Roundel, European Car, Car & Driver etc - you get to hang out with some real talent I would love to take time off from work to walk across the continent- should be a lot of fun.

I will bring the car down late spring/early summer. I am thinking about getting the VAC high pressure oil pump down so we can swap that in when the oil pan is out. What are your thoughts on ARP rod bolts and bimmerworks 'treated' bearings (no coating)?

You should see my post on zpost.com; some interesting responses there.
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