One of the hidden weak points to the S54 engine in the E46 M3, MZ3, Z4M is the mounting bolts for the cam sprockets. The original bolts are known for working themselves loose, which puts more stress on the the shank portion, and they have been known to snap straight off. BMW re-issued the bolts with a stronger material and experts recommend using Loctite or thread-fastener with the new bolts.
There are two bolts to be aware of –
- 07129905536, fillister-head M6x16 screw (fillister = Torx). This mounts the sprocket to the camshaft. These are the S54 bolt failures and these must be replaced with the new bolt design.
- 07119913589, M6x25 hex bolt. These standard hex bolts mount the “hub” to the sprocket. The hub is on the outside of the sprocket (the exhaust has two tabs sticking out). These bolts are not known for failure but the originals should not be re-used at this point.