"In this Special Series, I document the bulletproofing of my S54 with the Beisan kit with a slight detour in internal performance upgrades: let's cam it!
In this entry, it's time to bulletproof with the best of them.
Paraphrasing the words of a master, I document the problems and solutions created by Beisan to solving the VANOS anxieties for good - and we get to work."
Starting with the S54B32, we couldn't trust BMW M for over a decade to come with double VANO systems.
The S54 wasn't yet the low point of VANOS.
Things got more dangerous with the S85B50
Hold your breath
How would you feel about 4x solenoids, high pressure oil lines, internal high pressure pump running off sprockets and chains off the forged crankshaft pumping close to 1,200 PSI of pressure to maintain and adjust precise timing inputs off a DOHC naturally aspirated V10 revving to 8,500 RPM?
This is the V10 VANOS life, chose it consciously.
To this day, we still replace failing VANOS components with new OEM components.
Admittedly, many parts got updated by BMW M throughout the V10's lifetime and they fixed various issues related to the camshaft & VANOS connection itself.
The aftermarket didn't come to rescue the V10. These 400 US solenoids are an example, and there are 4x of them.
[...] and still weren't perfect when the S65B40 rolled around.
The community recently discovered the V8 could grenade itself by plugging up its oil pick up with plastics from internal engine components.
May I interest you a set of cracked plastic VANOS covers? BMW still doesn't let you buy these separately. The aftermarket came to help with CNC'ed covers.
Let's flip the script.
We can only make the statement we're really bulletproofing anything if we finally trust somebody with something.
No matter what would we find (or not) with my S54, I sought trust over anything.
Before even opening up my S54, I had already researched, compiled, bought and organized my S54 VANOS refresh.
I trust Beisan and their legacy.
Beisan was founded by Rajaie.
He emigrated to America from Kuwait in the 70s along with his entire family. He picked the name "Beisan" in honour of his mother who passed in 2005 - it was the name of the village she came from in the Middle East.
As a former computer software & electrical engineer, he reinvented himself as an automotive engineer later in his life.
He had a passion for BMW cars, fixing things and helping other M owners with detailed procedures on fixing their S54 engines and other BMW VANOS shortfalls. Since 2007, Beisan has researched, developed and marketed the most trustworthy VANOS bulletproofing components in the world.
Rajaie passed in 2022 in part due to COVID19. His legacy lives on with Beisan and his family.
The Beisan parts list.
The company was referred by every other S54 owner I talked to that ever had to deal with VANOS issues.
Earlier this year, I got in touch with Beisan and was connected to Lama - Rajaie's sister.
She continues the legacy and looks upwards: developing new parts for new BMW M applications.
Below you will find all the Beisan parts used in my VANOS refresh. The descriptions are taken from Rajaie copywriting across various archived and still active forums.
A small number of early production S54 engines had a different VANOS exhaust hub compared to the overwhelming majority of production S54s. These changes were likely made to ease the release of the hub from the forging die it’s formed in.
BMW made multiple small dimensional changes in the new hub design. The most visually apparent of the changes is the reduction of the mounting holes dimeter to provide a tighter fit with the mounting bolts.
The critical changes were the increased angle of the hub wall and deepening of the wall's base curve: this resulted in an overall thinner tab. We now know this was bound to fail.
The Beisan exhaust hub is fundamentally a design combination of the BMW early production and main production hub.
The Beisan exhaust hub incorporates the thicker wall and wall base curve of the original hub version, and the improved dimensional features of the new hub version.
The Beisan hub tabs are the same width as the BMW hub tabs.
The Beisan hub is made from 4041 steel like BMW, but the manufacturing processes are different: it is milled instead of forged. The exhaust hub is also engraved with the BS logo.
A required combination.
The hub and vanos disk rotate at differing rotational harmonics. These differing rotational movements resonate at certain RPMs and due to the excessive fit play allow hitting and often rattling.
The rattling usually occurs at ~2,800 RPM. The hub tabs fatigue over time from the impacts and eventually break.
The solution for the breaking hub tabs is to reduce the play between the hub tabs and vanos oil pump disk holes.
Beisan provides an S54 vanos oil pump disk product with smaller face holes that reduce the play between the exhaust hub tabs and disk holes from 1mm to .05mm, a 95% reduction.
The oil pump disc is a core exchange, uprated Beisan product from the BMW original product.
The Beisan oil pump disk resolves the exhaust hub tabs to vanos oil pump disk holes rattling and tab breaking.
Due to the increased width of the Beisan hub tabs, new non-indented disk holes are best for allowing proper tab matting and embedding in the disk hole sides.
The Beisan exhaust hub should always be installed with a new Beisan oil pump disk.
The BMW specified piston seals and static seal O-rings are made of the correct materials and don’t experience premature failure, other than the O-ring on the oil pressure restrictor,
Over time, the piston seal O-rings will experience notable compression set (flattening) and the Teflon rings will experience wear (loss of material). The static seal O-rings will also experience notable compression set and could eventually leak.
This can lead to degradation in performance. Thus there is a need for a replacement seals solution for the S54 VANOS.
The BEISAN kit includes a VANOS replacement set of OEM equivalent material Teflon rings and Viton O-rings.
Each bag is specifically marked, pay attention!
It's a nice touch instead of a generic bag of XYZ sized seals from most companies.
The VANOS solenoid experiences these types of failures:
- Coil pack malfunction.
- The soldered joints crack and fail.
- Sticking solenoid valves.
- Sticking failure is due to sludge buildup in the valve piston cylinders.
- Deteriorating vanos solenoid sealing plate rubber rings.
- The high temperatures damage the rings.
Beisan uprates the BMW original product on a core exchange basis.
It involves repairing the connector pin solder joints and incorporating design changes to address the problems that likely facilitate the failure.
The coil pack cover is cut off to open the unit and facilitate the repair. The cover is remounted with sealing adhesive.
The vanos solenoid valve sticking failure is due to sludge buildup in the valve piston cylinders. The solution is to clean the valve passages to remove the sludge.
The 4x o-rings are for the solenoid pack sealing plate. Made by Vitron, they are spec'ed to 400F.
The solenoid pack put back on the sealing plate, and onto the VANOS casing.
Anti Rattle Kit.
The vanos rattle is caused by wear in the variable valve timing helical (slanted) gears. This is most important to fix as I am fitting create stronger camshaft lash forces and thus are more susceptible to causing a rattle.
Here's the gear itself.
Removing the splined shaft bearing axial play significantly reduces the rattle to the point where it’s barely heard or not heard at all in the passenger compartment.
Beisan developed a simple repair kit including tooling to complete the work.
The vanos rattle repair kit includes two sets of replacement bearing ring and two outer washers.
It also includes tools to complete the job: a splined shaft holder and splined shaft socket. The holder is square and mounts in a vise and receives and counter holds the splined shaft.
The socket is designed to be used with an impact wrench to overcome the cover thread locker. The socket is also used with a torque wrench for final tightening.
Upper Timing Chain Guide.
BMW spec'ed the upper timing chain guide with virgin nylon, it will last roughly 140,000 km.
The concerns with a worn upper timing chain guide are, unsurprisingly, with the lower timing guide. The wear on top will affect wear on the bottom.
The Genuine BMW bottom guide is made from nylon, with carbon additives to increase its resistance.
You want to avoid this considering you need to take the timing chain cover off. It's a lot more work.
Beisan created an uprated chain guide made from Quadrant NSM: it is Nylon with a solid lubricant filler.
NSM is specified as having 28% less friction and 85% less wear than virgin Nylon. It is the highest rated Nylon available on the market.
In internal testing, the BMW guide's weaker nylon wore down 3x times as fast.
The mating surface depth of a new BMW guide is 2.8mm before hitting 4mm of webbed structure.
The Beisan unit is made entirely from nylon and has a 9.4mm total thickness when the entire guide is factored it.
This improves the durability of the chain guide by increasing the effective thickness.
Up next: BMW did fix some things themselves.
We'll chat auxiliary service components that you should address when bulletproofing, and refreshing your S54 VANOS.