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BMW M54 Engine – History, Specs and Problems

The engine is based on the M52TU engine. Among its main differences are the use of a fuel system without a reverse line, a fully electronic throttle and an electronically controlled thermostat.

The BMW M54 is an inline six-cylinder DOHC engine produced by BMW between 2000 and 2006, which replaced the M52 engine. Unlike the previous generation engine, this engine did not receive a TU (technical update) and its specifications remained unchanged throughout the seven years of production.

The engine is based on the M52TU engine. Among its main differences are the use of fuel system without a reverse line, fully electronic throttle and electronically controlled thermostat. Unlike its predecessor, North American models now also have an aluminum block with cast-iron liners.

Like the M52TU, the engine is equipped with the Double Vanos variable valve timing system (Dual Vanos), which controls both intake and exhaust valves, and a separate air intake system called DISA.

BMW M54 Engine – History, Specs and Problems
BMW M54B25 engine inside BMW 525i (E39)

In addition, the M54 engine has received a cylinder-type detonation control system and redesigned catalytic converters. When developing this powertrain, BMW aimed to reduce environmental emissions, save fuel, and at the same time increase performance.

In 2003 and 2004, the M54 engine was named the best engine in the 2.0 to 2.5 liter segment.

This power unit was first introduced in 2001 on the X5 E53. From June 2000, it was fitted to the E46 BMW 3 Series (sedan, touring, coupe, convertible and compact) and Z3 (Coupe/Roadster), and, from September, to the E39 5 Series (2.5-liter versions). Also different versions of the M54 were installed on the 5 series E60/E61, 7 series E65/E66, Z4 (Coupe/Roadster) and X3 E83.

Since 2004, the engine was gradually replaced by the BMW N52 engine.

Technical Features of the BMW M54 Engine

The old and reliable BMW M50 engine laid an excellent foundation for the further development of BMW inline sixes. In contrast to its predecessors, the M54 has an aluminum head and block with thin-walled cast-iron liners.

The old and reliable BMW M50 engine laid an excellent foundation for the further development of BMW inline sixes. In contrast to its predecessors, the M54 has an aluminum head and block with thin-walled cast-iron liners.

Repair dimensions were returned to the engine, making it more serviceable.

The engine is assembled on a single crankshaft driven by six pistons. Forged connecting rods are used. The timing mechanism uses a chain in combination with two camshafts, which also increases reliability.

BMW M54 Engine: The Double VANOS system allows the camshafts to rotate relative to the sprockets depending on engine operation.

The Double VANOS system allows the camshafts to rotate relative to the sprockets depending on engine operation. The inlet manifold is made of plastic and is of variable length, resulting in a higher density of incoming air, which has a positive effect on cylinder filling.

In contrast to the M52 family, the exhaust manifold is shorter, and the air ducts have a larger diameter. The timing system uses hydro-compensators, which allows to eliminate the need to adjust the valve gaps.

There are three versions of the cylinder block, with a displacement of 2.2, 2.5 and 3.0 liters. The difference in volume depends only on the diameter and stroke of the pistons. The timing system provides variable valve opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. The engine runs smoothly and quietly. The throttle is controlled electronically. Sharp pressure on the gas pedal informatively raises the tachometer arrow.

Under the hood of the BMW 5-series, the engine is located longitudinally to the axle of the car. Each of the six platinum plugs is provided with a spark from a separate ignition coil, which eliminates unnecessary wires under the hood and ensures steady operation.

A timing chain drive increases engine reliability. The crankshaft carries twelve counterweights and is supported by seven main bearings. The pistons are lightweight with a shortened graphite skirt to reduce friction on the engine cylinder wall. An oil pump and oil pressure regulator are integrated into the oil stabiliser. The weight of the engine is 170 kg. Equipped with a turbocharger, the crankshaft can be cranked instantly. In general, the engine is quite successful and reliable. However, it is demanding to the quality of fuel and oil. Do not forget about the mileage before maintenance. Any shortcomings in operation should be corrected in time, as a minor breakdown can lead to costly repairs. The engine has eliminated most of the shortcomings of previous BMW powertrain models. The Bavarian designers have developed not only a more reliable and economical engine, but also a more environmentally friendly one.

Problems and malfunctions of the BMW M54 engine

Problems and Malfunctions of the BMW M54 Engines

This engine is considered one of the most successful and successful BMW engines, but nevertheless it is not without the probability of technical problems, the occurrence of which depends largely on the nature of operation and maintenance of the power unit.

Among the most common faults are the following:

  • Crankcase ventilation system with differential valve;
  • Leaks from the thermostat housing;
  • Cracks in the plastic engine cover;
  • Failure of camshaft position sensors;
  • After overheating there are problems with tearing off the threads in the block for the cylinder head mounting;
  • Overheating of the power unit;
  • Over consumption of oil;
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

Metal pin falling out of the rotary valve

It often happens that there is a rattling knock under the hood of the car, similar to the sound of hydro-compensators. A metal pin falls off one side of the rotary valve manifold length change valve and begins to vibrate inside the damper, creating a rattle. This pin can hardly get into the engine, as it is supported on one side by the manifold wall. Sometimes you just have to insert the pin tightly back into the hole.

Increased oil leakage

Piston rings are not high, so they are more susceptible to coking. And already by mileage of 200,000 km the engine starts to eat oil. Consumption can increase up to one liter per 1,000 km. High oil consumption leads to burn-out of exhaust valves, deposits on manifolds, exhaust system, fouling on pistons.

Compensator malfunctions

If there are faults of hydro-compensators, when the engine is cold the valve timing does not close all the way and the control unit registers ineffective operation of a cylinder. Fuel supply to the respective cylinder stops and the engine runs unstable or may stall. Such a disease can be cured by replacing the faulty hydro-compensators for valve clearance.

BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

Valve rupture in crankcase ventilation system

Another problem with the M54 engine is the crankcase ventilation system with a differential valve, if it ruptures the oil flow increases atrociously. When it freezes, the crankcase gas pressure increases, which can lead to a gasket being pressed out and resulting in oil leaks. Mostly the cylinder head valve cover gasket is squeezed out. Unstable operation manifests itself due to air leakage through the inlet manifold connector plane and the cylinder head. If the intake manifold is not cracked, which can happen, it is enough to replace the gasket.

BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 before repair. After 11 years of operation, this is the first engine repair. The engine started consuming too much oil. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

Thermostat leakage

There can be leaks from the thermostat housing, as it is plastic and will eventually warp and leak antifreeze. Cracks in the plastic engine cover are an unavoidable problem.

Camshaft position sensors failure

Frequent camshaft position sensor failures result in trouble starting the engine and erratic operation. Failure of the crankshaft position sensor is a rare but not uncommon disease.

Overheating and its consequences

In 100% of cases, overheating will result in crushing of the long aluminum head. If no cracks are found, grinding will restore the flatness of the joint. After overheating, there are problems with thread stripping in the block for the cylinder head mount. You have to drill out, cut larger threads and screw in a socket to match the size of the stud.

BMW M54 engine cylinder head after repair. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 engine cylinder head after repair. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

Failure of the plastic pump impeller can lead to overheating. When replacing the pump, it is better to choose one with a metal impeller, which is common with some manufacturers.

BMW M54 after repair. Photo: stolica-atc.ru
BMW M54 after repair. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

Despite the many breakdowns, which, in principle, can occur in the engine of any car brand, the M54 is very reliable and repairable. It is only worth remembering about the timing of replacement of operating materials and to look under the hood for visual inspection from time to time.

BMW M54 after repair. Photo: stolica-atc.ru

BMW M54 Engine Versions

This engine has three versions with a displacement of 2.2, 2.5 and 3.0 liters. The difference in displacement is achieved solely by changing the diameter and stroke of the pistons.

The M54B22 Engine

The basic version of the M54 engine debuted in 2000 and is based on the 2-liter version of the M52.

In this version, the engine has a displacement of 2171 cc (2.2 liters), is equipped with a Siemens MS43.0 electronic control unit, and develops 170 hp at 6100 rpm, and 210 Nm of torque at 3500 rpm.

The M54B22 modification was installed on the following models:

  • BMW 320i/320Ci (2001-2006, generation E46)
  • BMW 520i (2001-2003, E39 generation)
  • BMW Z3 2.2i (2001-2002, E36 generation)
  • BMW Z4 2.2i (2003 – 2005, E85 generation)
  • BMW 520i (2003-2005, E60/E61 generation)

M54B22 Specifications

Engine Specifications
Engine code M54B22
Layout Four stroke, Inline-6 (Straight-6)
Fuel type Gasoline
Production 2000-2006
Displacement 2.5 L, 2,171 cc (132.5 cu·in)
Fuel system Fuel injection system
Power adder None
Max. horsepower 170 PS (125 kW; 168 HP) at 6,100 rpm
Max. torque 210 N·m (21.4 kg·m, 154.8 ft·lb) at 3,500 rpm
Firing order 1-5-3-6-2-4
Dimensions (L x H x W):
Weight 130 kg (286.6 lbs)

M54B22 Cylinder block

Cylinder Block
Cylinder block alloy Aluminum alloy
Compression ratio: 10.7:1
Cylinder bore: 80.0 mm (3.15 in)
Piston stroke: 72.0 mm (2.83 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil): 2 / 1
Number of main bearings: 7
Cylinder inner diameter (standard): 80.000-80.010 mm (3.1496-3.15 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard): 79.980-79.993 mm (3.1488-3.1493 in)
Piston pin outer diameter: 22.000 mm (0.8661 in)
Piston ring side clearance: Top 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Second 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Oil 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Piston ring end gap: Top 0.100-0.300 mm (0.0039-0.0118 in)
Second 0.200-0.400 mm (0.0079-0.0157 in)
Oil 0.250-0.500 mm (0.0098-0.0197 in)
Crankshaft journal diameter: 60.000 mm (2.3622 in)
Crankpin diameter: 45.000 mm (1.7717 in)

M54B22 Cylinder head

Cylinder Head
Cylinder head alloy Aluminum
Valve Arrangement: DOHC, chain driven
Valves: 24 (4 valves per cylinder)
Intake/Exhaust duration:
Valve head diameter: INTAKE 33.0 mm (1.2992 in)
EXHAUST 30.5 mm (1.2008 in)
Valve steam diameter: INTAKE 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)
EXHAUST 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)

M54B22 Maintenance

Maintenance
Compression pressure
Minimum 10.0 kg/cm2 (9.9 bar, 145 psi) / 350 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders: 1.0 kg/cm2 (1.0 bar, 15 psi) / 350 rpm
Oil system
Recommended engine oil SAE 5W-30
Oil type BMW LL-98 or LL-01
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) ~ 6.5 L (6.87 US. qt, 5.72 Imp. qt.)
Oil change interval, km (miles) 5,000-10,000 (3,000-6,000)
Ignition system
Spark plug Bosch: FGR7DQP, NGK: BKR6EQUP
Spark plug torque: 25 N·m (2.5 kg·m, 18.4 ft·lb)

M54B25 Engine

The middle engine in the range – the M54B25 – is based on its predecessor and retains the same power and dimensions: 2494 cc (2.5 L) volume, 75 mm stroke, 84 mm bore.

It develops 192 hp at 6,000 rpm and 245 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm. The engine is also equipped with Double VANOS variable valve timing system.

The M54B25 modification was installed on the following models:

  • BMW 7/Z3 2.5i (2001-2002, generation E36)
  • BMW 325i/325xi (2001-2005, E46 generation)
  • BMW 325Ci (2001-2006, E46 generation)
  • BMW 325ti (2001-2004, E46 generation)
  • BMW 525i (2001-2004, E39 generation)
  • BMW 525i/525xi (2003-2005, E60/E61 generation)
  • BMW X3 2.5i (2004-2006, E83 generation)
  • BMW Z4 2.5i (2004-2006, E85 generation)

M54B25 Specifications

Engine Specifications
Engine code M54B25
Layout Four stroke, Inline-6 (Straight-6)
Fuel type Gasoline
Production 2000-2006
Displacement 2.5 L, 2,494 cc (152.2 cu in)
Fuel system Fuel injection system
Power adder None
Max. horsepower 192 PS (141 kW; 189 HP) at 6,000 rpm
Max. torque 245 N·m (25 kg·m, 180.6 ft·lb) at 3,500 rpm
Firing order 1-5-3-6-2-4
Dimensions (L x H x W):
Weight 130 kg (286.6 lbs)

M54B25 Cylinder block

Cylinder block
Cylinder block alloy Aluminum alloy
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Cylinder bore: 84.0 mm (3.31 in)
Piston stroke: 75.0 mm (2.95 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil): 2 / 1
Number of main bearings: 7
Cylinder inner diameter (standard): 84.000-84.010 mm (3.3071-3.3075 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard): 83.995 mm (3.3069 in)
Piston pin outer diameter: 22.000 mm (0.8661 in)
Piston ring side clearance: Top 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Second 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Oil 0.015-0.060 mm (0.0006-0.0024 in)
Piston ring end gap: Top 0.200-0.400 mm (0.0079-0.0157 in)
Second 0.200-0.400 mm (0.0079-0.0157 in)
Oil 0.200-0.450 mm (0.0079-0.0177 in)
Crankshaft journal diameter: 60.000 mm (2.3622 in)
Crankpin diameter: 45.000 mm (1.7717 in)

M54B25 Cylinder head

Cylinder head
Cylinder head alloy Aluminum
Valve Arrangement: DOHC, chain driven
Valves: 24 (4 valves per cylinder)
Intake/Exhaust duration: 228°/244°
Valve head diameter: INTAKE 33.0 mm (1.2992 in)
EXHAUST 30.5 mm (1.2008 in)
Valve steam diameter: INTAKE 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)
EXHAUST 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)

M54B25 Maintenance

Compression pressure
Minimum 10.0 kg/cm2 (9.9 bar, 145 psi) / 350 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders: 1.0 kg/cm2 (1.0 bar, 15 psi) / 350 rpm
Oil system
Recommended engine oil SAE 5W-30
Oil type BMW LL-98 or LL-01
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) ~ 6.5 L (6.87 US. qt, 5.72 Imp. qt.)
Oil change interval, km (miles) 5,000-10,000 (3,000-6,000)
Ignition system
Spark plug Bosch: FGR7DQP, NGK: BKR6EQUP
Spark plug torque: 25 N·m (2.5 kg·m, 18.4 ft·lb)

M54B30 Engine

The top version in the line of M54 engines. In addition to the increased volume compared to its predecessor M52B28, it has also changed mechanically. New pistons were installed, with a shorter skirt compared to the M52TU, and the piston rings were replaced to reduce friction.

It got its crankshaft from the S52B32, which was installed on the M3. The DOHC timing was changed, the elevator was increased to 9.7 mm, and new valve springs were installed to increase lift. The intake manifold was also modified, becoming 20 mm shorter. Tube diameter was increased slightly.

The engine has 2979 cc (3 liters), 84 mm cylinder diameter and an increased to 89.6 mm piston stroke. The M54B30 develops 230 hp at 5,900 rpm and 300 Nm of torque at 3,500 rpm.

The M54B30 modification was installed on the following models:

  • BMW 330i/330xi (2000-2005, generation E46)
  • BMW 330Ci (2000 to 2006, E46 generation)
  • BMW 530i (2000 – 2003, E39 generation)
  • BMW Z3 3.0i (2000 – 2002, E36 generation)
  • BMW 530i (2003-2005, E60 generation)
  • BMW Z4 3.0i (2003-2005, E85 generation)
  • BMW X3 3.0i (2004-2006, E83 generation)
  • BMW X5 3.0i (2001-2006, E53 generation)
  • BMW 530i (2003-2006, E60 generation)

Throughout 2001-2003, it was consistently ranked among the top 10 engines available on the U.S. market by Ward’s AutoWorld magazine – Ward’s 10 Best Engines.

https://www.engine-specs.net/bmw/m54b30.html

M54B30 Specifications

Engine Specifications
Engine code M54B30
Layout Four stroke, Inline-6 (Straight-6)
Fuel type Gasoline
Production 2000-2006
Displacement 3.0 L, 2,979 cc (181.8 cu in)
Fuel system Fuel injection system
Power adder None
Max. horsepower 231 PS (170 kW; 228 HP) at 5,900 rpm
Max. torque 300 N·m (30.6 kg·m, 221.1 ft·lb) at 3,500 rpm
Firing order 1-5-3-6-2-4
Dimensions (L x H x W):
Weight 130 kg (286.6 lbs)

M54B30 Cylinder block

Cylinder block
Cylinder block alloy Aluminum alloy
Compression ratio: 10.2:1
Cylinder bore: 84.0 mm (3.31 in)
Piston stroke: 89.6 mm (3.53 in)
Number of piston rings (compression / oil): 2 / 1
Number of main bearings: 7
Cylinder inner diameter (standard): 84.000-84.010 mm (3.3071-3.3075 in)
Piston skirt diameter (standard): 83.995 mm (3.3069 in)
Piston pin outer diameter: 22.000 mm (0.8661 in)
Piston ring side clearance: Top 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Second 0.020-0.060 mm (0.0008-0.0024 in)
Oil 0.015-0.060 mm (0.0006-0.0024 in)
Piston ring end gap: Top 0.200-0.400 mm (0.0079-0.0157 in)
Second 0.200-0.400 mm (0.0079-0.0157 in)
Oil 0.200-0.450 mm (0.0079-0.0177 in)
Crankshaft journal diameter: 60.000 mm (2.3622 in)
Crankpin diameter: 45.000 mm (1.7717 in)

M54B30 Cylinder head

Cylinder head
Cylinder head alloy Aluminum
Valve Arrangement: DOHC, chain driven
Valves: 24 (4 valves per cylinder)
Intake/Exhaust duration: 240°/244°
Valve head diameter: INTAKE 33.0 mm (1.2992 in)
EXHAUST 30.5 mm (1.2008 in)
Valve steam diameter: INTAKE 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)
EXHAUST 6.0 mm (0.2362 in)

M54B30 Maintenance

Compression pressure
Minimum 10.0 kg/cm2 (9.9 bar, 145 psi) / 350 rpm
Compression differential limit between cylinders: 1.0 kg/cm2 (1.0 bar, 15 psi) / 350 rpm
Oil system
Recommended engine oil SAE 5W-30
Oil type BMW LL-98 or LL-01
Engine oil capacity (Refill capacity) ~ 6.5 L (6.87 US. qt, 5.72 Imp. qt.)
Oil change interval, km (miles) 5,000-10,000 (3,000-6,000)
Ignition system
Spark plug Bosch: FGR7DQP, NGK: BKR6EQUP
Spark plug torque: 25 N·m (2.5 kg·m, 18.4 ft·lb)

BMW M54 Engine Versions Comparison Table

Version Displacement Power Torque Years
M54B22 2.2 L (2,171 cc) 125 kW (168 hp)
at 6,100 rpm
210 N⋅m (155 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
2000–2006
M54B25 2.5 L (2,494 cc) 141 kW (189 hp)
at 6,000 rpm
245 N⋅m (181 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
2000–2006
M54B30 3.0 L (2,979 cc) 170 kW (228 hp)
at 5,900 rpm
300 N⋅m (221 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
2000–2006
S54B32 3.2 L (3,246 cc) 252 kW (338 hp)
at 7,900 rpm
365 N⋅m (269 lb⋅ft)
at 4,900 rpm
2000–2008

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