S54 Vanos System

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.

  • The S54 Vanos fits these models...

    • All US E46 M3
    • All Euro E46 M3
    • E85 Z4 M3.2 Roadster
    • E86 Z4 M3.2 Coupe
    • '01 - '02 Z3 M Coupe
    • '01 - '02 Z3 M Roadster
  • Camshaft Exhaust Hub Failures

    The S54 (camshaft) 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 more severe engine damage 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.
  • Solenoid Failure Issues

    The vanos also uses a complex solenoid valve body to operate the vanos. These solenoids are very sensitive to oil pressure and can easily become clogged or damaged over time due to contaminates in the oil. We highly recommend changing the oil every 3500 miles and only using the BMW 10w60 High Performance oil to prolong the life of the vanos. We only recommend using NEW factory solenoids over refurbished solenoids.
  • Damaged Oil Pump Disc

    The oil pump disc along with the exhaust drive hub is a common failure point that may cause extensive damage in a worst-case scenario. The tabs on the exhaust hub are known to fail without warning causing severe misfires and poor performance. Additionally, the tabs will cause excessive wear to the oil pump holes as they bang back and forth, creating excessive play. Our rebuilt S54 vanos units use a modified oil pump disc to address this potential failure point, and when combined with our cryogenically treated exhaust hub will virtually eliminate the chances of hub tab failures.
  • Refundable Core Deposit

    The core deposit 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 for the core refund. This helps to keep your downtime to a minimum.

    All US domestic vanos orders come with a pre-paid UPS return shipping label to get your core refund to you quicker and with less hassle!

S54 Vanos

Complete Vanos with NEW solenoids: $1395 (plus a refundable $400 core deposit)

The S54 Vanos price ($1795) 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.

Our S54 vanos comes fully rebuilt with brand new factory solenoids and solenoid valves. Keep in mind that these new solenoids alone are $925 from BMW. The rebuilt vanos also includes our CNC modified oil pump disc (shown below) which will work with either the Cryo hub, or the D300 hub listed below. We also replace ALL piston seals with ultra-high quality lifetime seals for maximum performance and durability.

Our rebuilt vanos includes the following -

  • Fully rebuilt housing with upgraded pistons seals and O-rings
  • Modified oil pump disc
  • Brand new BMW solenoids and valves
  • Mounting gasket
  • Viton O-rings for oil pressure return valve
  • One year warranty
For the ultimate setup, use either our Cryo or D300 exhaust hub below (sold separately) to prevent potential hub failures.


S54 Vanos parts and accessories