A while ago I purchased a project E46 M3 to tinker on and either flip or go full track car. It’s SMG and the plan was to drive it until that system failed and convert to manual.

The car had an awful engine knock, I was hoping for just a lack of maintenance and it needed a valve-gap adjustment. Or maybe worn timing chain guides. The VANOS had been rebuilt so luckily that was one thing off the list.

But as always happens with projects, life took priority and having other cars needing my attention this took the back burner for a while.

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So finally, the time came where I rolled up my sleeves and handed the car to a trusted mechanic friend to check on it for me. I initially wanted sell it quickly so my potential buyer and I agreed to have it checked out.

Unfortunately, he immediately listned to the engine and said “you idiot, that’s not the timing chain. That’s rod bearings.”

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Great.

I prepared for the worst considering the lack of proper service records. This is what my friend sent once he cracked it it open.

Completely trashed rod bearings, damaged rods and crank. Awesome. Car has 122k miles and had the updated factory bearings. As I mentioned, sketchy service history but also operated primarily in high temp environments. My guess is higher engine temps plus the longer service intervals (approx 15k miles) aided in the accelerated wear.

So, the engine must come out now and about three times the amount of work needs to be done than I initially anticipated. But, once it’s complete it will be much better off than stock and a great platform for a track car.