2002 BMW M roadster: Inspection II

I’m preparing to perform Inspection II on my 2002 BMW M roadster. One of the tasks is the valve clearance check and adjustment. One special tool is needed: BMW (formerly, which I bought. This tool is a magnetic pickup tool for removing and replacing the valve shims which determine valve clearance. Without it, there is some risk of dropping a shim into no-mans land (one of the galleys leading to the crankcase) or into a cylinder if you’re a clumsy fool and also don’t plug the spark plug holes.

Another special tool, BMW (formerly is needed on some S54 engines, but I don’t think it’s needed on mine. It’s a tool that fits over 4 bolts on the crankshaft vibration damper, used in cooperation with a ratchet to turn the engine. From what I remember, my S54 is new enough that it has the hex nut on the end so I can just use a socket. I’ll know when I look again, but I bought the tool anyway since it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Finally, feeler gauges are needed. I’m not thrilled with the offering from BMW, they don’t offer the granularity I’d like or even the values I’d like without stacking. Hence I ordered some Eastern Industries feeler gauges from threadcheck.com, and have a quote request out for custom gauges in the range of interest: .15mm to .35mm in .01mm increments, 6″ long, with a 90 degree bend about 1″ from the business end.

Then there are the parts. The big expenditure is the valve shim kit, BMW List price for this set is $466.46 as of today, but it can be found for about $375 on line. In addition, many gaskets are needed. The valve cover gasket (BMW, list price $47.27), thirteen of the valve cover nut grommets (BMW, list price $1.28 each), two valve cover seal washer grommets (BMW, list price $1.05 each) and six spark plug hole gaskets (BMW, list price $9.43 each).

I bought all of the parts plus the magnetic shim tool (BMW mentioned above in a kit from ECS Tuning for $445.00. That’s a savings of about $180 versus list price.

January 19, 2012
I received the off-the-shelf Eastern Industries feeler gauge sets. Nothing out of the ordinary here, but I’m glad I bought them since my old ones were in pretty rough shape. I now have:

Eastern Industries FG-22-STEP step-ground

Eastern Industries FG-26-4-45 45-degree

Eastern Industries FG-25-3-SS stainless