Build Log: M57 X5

TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
End of Winter Start of Spring Update.

Truck/trailer rental? No thanks!
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Passenger seat removal was key
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Fighting the good fight against winter grime
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Got caught in a snow squall on a snowboard trip. This was the drive up...
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This was the drive back (in squall)
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Aftermath, proud to say this is my best "winter coat" to date.
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https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/p...NB4z_4DpLkBUnAh2Ug=w1239-h929-s-no?authuser=0

X5 + SNOW + MUSHROOMS=
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Telluride is very nice, probably the most striking mountains I have seen so far in the Rockies.
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Picked up some kayaks from the in-laws. MPG wasn't great driving from Havasu, AZ to Denver.
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All 3 vehicles clean at once? Had to snap a pic
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New summer wheels inbound. Switching the 5th Gen 1LE ZL1 wheels for 6th Gen. I prefer the more traditional 5 spoke look but the wheels are still chunky, concave, and relatively light. The wheels are currently at the machine shop, then straight to the powder coated for a fresh satin black finish.
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I also snagged an exhaust manifold which will be ceramic coated. This is part of my hot-side refresh which will include new ex-manifold studs, hardware, and all new gaskets to hopefully, finally, resolve my annoying exhaust leak.
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fmorelli

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
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E89 Z4 35i, F10 535d
@TwinTurboWagon, have you considered barrier coating the exhaust manifold instead of cerakote? For example, Swain who has been in the business for many decades, used by NASCAR, etc. We were working with them back in the 90's and they were good, for endurance racing applications.
 

TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
Just rolled over 131,000 and since my last update in April I have averaged >26mpg over the past 5,000 miles, very respectable. Over the past 5 months the X5 has been a doing it's job facilitating work and play.

Mountain bike here
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Mountain bike there
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Mountain bike everywhere
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Yakin' too
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Finally got a strut for my cargo floor!
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Got my manifold back with it's ceramic coating.
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Pile-o-goodies. Oil, various filters, tie rods, and some window surrounds for the C/D pillar window. Also exhaust manifold studs, nuts, and gaskets.
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New tire deflectors
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New wheels mounted
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Washy wahsy
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Back to Work! Strapping and insulation for my garage ceiling. It will be R59!
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Back to Play!
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
Driving home from a trailhead I was on a dirt road which had a lot of washboard surfaces. On the drive a small front end clunk became a front end bang-bang. When I got back onto paved roads the clunking continued so I knew something let go. When closer to home and stopped at a red light I did notice the smell of raw diesel which I thought was odd but I didn't think too much about it .....until I got home and noticed a trail of fuel in the driveway. lol

As it turns out the Phantom fuel system (which is like a small fuel filter) which was installed in-line near the OEM fuel filter had it's connection rattled loose and was leaking. For simplicity and reliability I removed the unit. This was originally installed since it is intended to "excite" the fuel and improve combustibility and therefore improve economy and performance. Hard to really extrapolate data to confirm that since there are so many variables in the mix but I figured with it now removed I can see if there are any noticeable differences.

I figured the clunking was from the Phantom fuel sysytem banging around since it was loose and was only secured with a couple zip ties. When removing the Phantom fuel system I also swapped in a fresh OEM fuel filter.

Better to have a fuel leak under the vehicle instead of the engine bay!
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Phantom system which was removed
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We replaced our utility sink with a dog wash for our good boi Oliver.
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Dog-wash also = auto parts and wheel washer!
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Going for a drive after addressing the fuel system it became very clear I did NOT resolve the clunking. Time to go back in...
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rugh rough
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RUGH ROUGH!!!
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Found the problem! Sturt mounts had 40k on them but this damage was caused by an installation error ...by me. Turns out I didn't install the metal washer on the underside of the strut mount, therefore on the rubber was keeping the strut shaft from poking through, if the washer was installed it would bottom out on the strut mount and squish the foam rings. Whoops!!
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I had some sturt mounts shipped from FCP and while I waited for them to arrive I took advantage of having the X5 in the garage and did some other maintenance.

Cabin (and recirc) filters
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New passenger handle
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Added some more sound deadening material (felt tape) to various locations on the dash to known creaky locations, back of Nav screen shown here.
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The metal grills on my P3 vent gauge were once black but have become copper-ish from, I assume, UV. So it was refreshed with Plasti Dip.
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On a side-note this style jack stand does well on the Swisstrax floor and doesn't deform or damage it.
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
Time for the long overdue leather cleaning. I previously used Leatherique on my wife's Q7 which has awesome Valcona leather and the results were awesome.

Q7 leather BEFORE
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Q7 After
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Shortly after coating all of the leather in Leatherique I realized I wasn't sure is Dakota was even real leather. As it turns out it's a real leather but has a coating on top which renders Leatherique not as effective. Thankfully my leather is perforated so the cleaner can penetrate there. I followed through with the procedure knowing it's unlikely the results would be as spectacular and in the end I am happy with the results but this really makes me want to track down an X5M interior with Merino leather. No doubt the Dakota is durable but I am not a fan of the way it feels, it reminds me of Crayons and plastic.

Anywho, back to pictures!
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Here are BEFORE photos
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Leatherique Rejuvinator applied. 2.5 coats and let it sit overnight.
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Leatherique Pristine Clean applied and then leather was agitated with a horse-hair brush, wiped, and buffed. It's always a fun transformation to observe, notice how the leather has a nice matte finish.
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Steering wheel stitching before
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Stitching after
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Wheel after. There is still some shiny-ness (dirt and grease) up top so I may reapply later but overall it's a dramatic change.
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Bucket before cleaning driver seat and steering wheel
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...After
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Pokey pokey!
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Rear seat During/After
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AFTER
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New strut mounts arrived. I couldn't find my OEM strut dust shields/washers and FCP/BMW wanted $35 per washer *pfft* get outta here, to the local yard I went for some recycling.
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New strut mounts AND WASHERS installed, we're back in business.
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Yea, that's some nice rubbing. You gotta pay the the 295/45/20 tax in order to enjoy the benefits of those cushy sidewalls.
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
X5 has been chugging along being a versatile beast, currently approaching 135,000 miles young. The pile of parts for maintenance/mods has been growing and I am looking forward to diving into a couple projects when time allows.

Here are some snaps of the X5 with some Fall colors.
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E70 x Colorado Mud - artist collaboration....
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Fall turns into Winter
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My plan was to collect/build a 20x10 square setup of OEM Style 343Ms from an F10 M5 (4 rears) but deals weren't really popping up and now winter is eminent and I decided to settle for a more conventional set of wheels.

I found a set of OEM Style 611M (F85 X5M) locally. Not an ideal setup for winter due to the wide rears. 20x10 F and 20x11.5 R Listing photo didn't inspire confidence but I am glad I went to go check them out. They were being sold by a high end used car dealership and these wheels were a second set for an F85 that was traded in. The wheels were dirty and had some very minor blemishes but met my high quality standards which was nice as I won't need to fully recondition and powdercoat them. Price was right.

The wide rears aren't ideal for winter duties but the worst part of these wheels are their weight, they're are chunky bois.

Here is the original listing photo.
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Original worn summer tires removed.
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Bath time
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Thankfully I am a BMW parts horder so I had a set of 68mm center caps laying around.
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Moment of truth....
....ooof!
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OOOOOOF!!!!
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2 wheels had very light rash and some light sanding was enough to clean most of it up. I also used a ceramic spray coating on them to help keep them slick to make winter clean up easier. Now we wait for tires, I will be running 275/45F 305/40R which is slightly narrower than stock sizes but aspect ratio is bumped up one size for more meat/cushion. Going with Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV.
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
Feels weird to throw the winter setup on the X5 when it was 68F outside but that's Colorado for you. 5-7" expected for Christmas and no, that's not an inappropriate joke. hehehaha!

With the changing of the wheels I took the opportunity to swap my spherical front thrust arms for some OEM hydro/rubber units. With the rough paved roads and frequent trips on dirt fire roads here in CO the added isolation and comfort from the OEM arms is welcomed.

I was chasing down some front end clunks which ended up being a loose bolt on the lower control arm. I also found the driverside sway bar bracket was missing on of it's bolts ...whoops. This explains not only the clunk but the very "tilty" side to side weight transfer. Hard to say how long this has been loose but my guess is quite a long time, like years as I clearly remember the clunking when driving offroad in Sedona to take engagement photos circa 2020. This sway bar bracket bolt was originally removed and reinstalled with a coolant hose clamp under it during the ATM intercooler install I assume that and the improper bolt torque led to my years of suffering listening to clunks. Should be good now!!

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I snagged a set of Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 SUV tires used and the fronts had decent tread (8/32") but the rears were questionable so I ended up buying a new pair of rears. I ended up finding a few online retailers selling them for $131/ea and my local Discount Tire which is handling my tire swaps was able to price match even though they throw their mandatory and overpriced tire insurance in the mix at $75/tire. Nonetheless I am optimistic for these tires given their sporty demeanor and initial impressions on ride quality is very positive, curious to see how they perform in real snow.

I went with 275/45/20 405/40/20 The tires in this size are actually an OEM "NO" variant and are built for E3 Cayennes. In predictable form I up sized the aspect ratio for a bit more cushion and fill of the fenders. Working within the constraints of tire options and <1% rolling diameter delta F/R for the X-Drive this is what worked. The 305 is a bit stretched on the 11.5" wide rear wheel but whatever.

Summer/All Season setup for reference
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Fronts
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Rears..... WOOOOF!!
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High contrast vs Low contrast
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Although the OEM X5M wheels are painfully heavy the silver lining is they are made for X5s so I am able to ditch the monster 30mm rear spacers that accommodated Camaro wheels.
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Took some time to fluff and buff the studs to keep the threads clean.
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Studs remounted and 12mm spacer installed
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I kept the KWs are max ride height to see how I got on with the new setup and see if I could get away without lowering it. Excessive fender gap is offensive and I have standards. It was looking pretty good.
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Then, when walking out from a store the light was hitting the tires just right to highlight that I did indeed need to lower the X5 a bit. Look at that rear fender gap "Ewww David!"
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KW adjustment range is 235mm-260mm in the front (measured from strut pinch bolt to top of threaded KW collar. I went from 260mm down to 245mm. Rear links lowered to match. This gave me ~6.25" from top of wheel to lower edge of fender flare. Originally I had 10mm spacers up front but it offered a little too much poke relative to the rear so that was dropped to 5mm. 5mmF 12mmR
Much better.
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I particularly enjoy this photo since it shows off the stance/wheel offsets but also to the enthusiast's eye you may notice the custom cold air intake, the LED light bar, and the upgraded intercooler peeking through the grills.
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I will admit I do appreciate the contrast the Style 611M wheels offer and I think the machine/gunmetal finish pairs well with the platinum grey metallic paint. Also, the machined wheels help tie in the chrome/silver headlights and aesthetically it all works pretty well. Definitely OEM+
Here are a couple collages showing the ride height Before/After

Happy Holidays!
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
After getting the winter setup installed and KW adjusted down I got an alignment done (lifetime at Firestone) and the results weren't great regarding camber. The E70 lacks useful adjustment in the rear and has no camber adjustment up front, not ideal when you are lowering a vehicle.

Previously I installed Meyle HD upper wishbones with a camber adjustment but never adjusted them. I also snagged some SPC upper trailing control arms for the rear and a magnetic camber gauge so I could crudely DIY this and see the improvement.

Here are my "before" at-home measurements:

FL -2
FR -1.6
RL - 4.2
RR -4.1

"After" at home measurements:
FL -.6
FR -.5
RL -1.75
RR -2.2

"After" according to Firestone:
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I asked for them to set total F/R toe to .02 instead of .2 and they weren't able to oblige. "We got as close as we could." But I've seen many posts of E70s getting the toe down to .02 so I know it's possible. I might go to another, more competent Firestone ....if such thing exists.

Precise science! Garage floor level?
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...kinda
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SPC control arms
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Here is a look down at the top of the Meyle HD upper wishbones on the front. This is there "normal" position before.
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...and after with + camber maxed out. I couldn't find info online with their adjustment range but I think it is +/- 1 degree.
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I also installed a new K&N filter, hydro sock, and cleaned the MAF. Performance greatly improved after this. I think I over-oiled my K&N previously and Colorado grime was clogging it up. I now have a significant performance gain, like >30% power. Whoops! Once I get ISTA properly installed I will reset the MAF and injector mean as well. I've never done this even with my various intake setups.
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Local LKQ had a couple E70s so I grabbed a couple trim pieces I needed to replace broken ones and I also stumbled upon this tray/insert for the center console.
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Living a life of true luxury ...with my Carmex in a secure spot. Colorado shit.
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With temps dropping my battery was showing weakness. A bit annoying as I was trying to adjust my rear ride height via air suspension and sensors and the battery died, adding insult to injury my fancy-pants Schumacher INC-700a charger isn't powering up so I was forced to use my mobile power station / car jumper but it wasn't allowing the jump and stating the battery was in a protection mode. I was able to recover the battery over night with my trickle charger but the real solution was a new battery.

Current battery was installed shortly before I bought the vehicle ~5 years and 55k miles ago. It was an AC Delco 49AGM. 95AH 900CCA. It aside from the drop in performance with ambient temps around or below freezing it has served me well.

Replacement is Super Start AGM. 105AH, 950 CCA
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Turns out when the last battery was installed it was never registered to the vehicle so the X5 thought it has a 105AH and it really had a 95AH. That has been corrected.
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
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San Diego
I decided to try a different intake setup. My cold air intake has served me well over the past 4+ years but I wanted to try something with better filter protection. Now that I live in Colorado (previously San Diego) I find myself driving more off road and in winter conditions where there is exponentially more airborne dirt and grime. Yes, I know there is the OEM intake I could reinstall but that's so boooooring.

Intake was mostly inspired by the system I built for my N54 which utilizes the same filter and velocity stack.
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"Less is more" was the mindset of this intake with the priorities being to minimize restriction and keep airflow smooth entering the MAF. Aside from having the outlet of the velocity stack slightly ovalized to perfectly match the MAF, this is as good as it gets. The bonus of the minimalistic design is a shorter and less expensive parts list.

Measuring hood clearances, it will be tight but possible!
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RACE TROCK!
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The straight coupler's 4" length was a bit too tall and I needed to position the velocity stack as low as possible so I cut it down to 3". The filter literally has millimeters of clearance around it and when the hood is shut the padded insulation on the bottom of the hood juuuuuust barely touches the top of the filter. The insulation has maybe 3/4" of give to it so I don't foresee any issues with the tight clearances and the engine movement while under load but it is something I will keep an eye on.
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~$200 worth of parts:
Vibrant 10960 Filter
Vibrant 10592 Velocity Stack
3.5" Coupler
3.5"-3" Reducing Coupler
HPS Worm Gear Clamps
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For those who aren't familiar the Vibrant filter and velocity stack are designed to work together.
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This filter is really stuffed into the engine bay so there were a couple modifications to accommodate. I used a large zip tie to pull the AC line out of the way and then my 335D engine cover needed a slight trim.
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Finished product (for now). Initial impressions are very positive. Overall in the intake performs just like the cold are intake with excellent response. The most noticeable difference is the added induction noises in the cabin; the *whooooses* *psst pssts* and *wuhbuhbuh* is easily heard from the driver's seat. Some might find it annoying but I love hearing what the turbos are doing. There is still plenty of noises heard from outside the vehicle as well.

I am very aware that this intake will be pulling warmer air from the engine bay and that was a sacrifice I was willing to make in exchange for the filter protection and turbo response. I plan to install an air scoop which will direct cold air towards the filter. I may also entertain building an additional heat shield to act as a partition between the filter and the exhaust manifold and turbos.
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CTP Cryo

New Member
Oct 20, 2022
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A couple of things that you can do to keep the heat down is also Ceramic Coat the hot side of the turbo as well....

Once you do a heat shield you can also ceramic coat the outer side of the shield as well... Of course as long as its sealed it might just work really well.
 

TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
A couple of things that you can do to keep the heat down is also Ceramic Coat the hot side of the turbo as well....

Once you do a heat shield you can also ceramic coat the outer side of the shield as well... Of course as long as its sealed it might just work really well.
Yup, I already have a ceramic coated exhaust manifold sitting on my desk ready to go in when I have some time and if I get around to building a heat shield I will have that coated as well. I did this on my E61 where I bought a manifold heat from RB, modded it, and had it coated.
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CTP Cryo

New Member
Oct 20, 2022
3
1
0
Since you're into more Power to the ground while also getting great MPG, I do have an upgrade suggestion.. Not Cheap per se but a long term solution thats used by drag racers and Bonneville guys. Ceramic wheel bearing retrofit.. If you're interested: https://www.performancebearing.com/

This trans shop bought out the business from the original owner Jack Wilson who had been developing ceramic bearings for over 25 years.
 
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
242
0
San Diego
Winter is wrapping up in Colorado, technically it's Spring but Colorado weather follows plays by it's own rules. 75F, 6" of snow, 75F, more snow...

In March we got ~18" of wet snow, not the typical light/fluffy/dry snow we normally get that can be blown away with a leaf blower. Our neighborhood isn't plowed so I took the opportunity to test the X5s ability to handle deep snow. It didn't go great. I got stuck twice but it was a lot of fun to plow the streets. Ground clearance was the main issue causing the vehicle to high side and get stuck once momentum is lost. The wide 265/305 tires didn't really help but regardless it's fun to test the capability of a vehicle. The wife's Q7 faired better.

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X5 plowing and planing the streets...
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Love me the little tailgate. Useful for transporting an exterior door.
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Snagged some more goodies to throw in the To Do pile of parts to install. OEM Individual Audio speakers and amp. Stinger amp is for an aftermarket subwoofer. Plan is to have the Stinger amp power an Audiomobile Evo 12. System will be processed with an Audio Control DSP.
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Short road trip up to Cheyenne Wyoming to collect some steel from Menards. This will be ceiling and wall coverings in my garage. Thunderstorms and strong winds on the drive. 23.5mpg for the 200mile round trip.
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For reference here is what it looks like going up
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Got some new rubber for the summer wheels. Michelin Pilot All Season 4 295/45/20. I'm excited to try the tires as they seem to be the benchmark for all seasons. I particularly like the performance to longevity ratio they offer.
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On paper the Micnelins are 6-7lbs lighter per tire compared to the Hankooks and Toyos I've ran. Once they were mounted I noticed the Michelins definitely appear narrower than the section width suggests and the sidewalls do have a stretched looks which I didn't experience with the other brands. The Michelins "look" more like a 275/285 than a 295 which was surprising but per usual form>function.

The Michelins + Camaro wheels does make for a fairly lightweight setup when you consider the 295/45/20x11 combo.
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Swapperoo
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Back to business
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
225
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San Diego
A set of OEM Style 612M popped up locally and if you go back to page 1 of this build you will see that I previously owned a set when I first acquired the X5. I love the styling and the fact they are forged but when I had my last set I was on worn OEM suspension and then (even worse) lowering springs, 21" tire options were also sparse.

Flash forward to present and I am now on KW V3s with essentially all other suspension components replaced and 21" tires are way more common with the unstoppable invasion of SUV/CUVs with huge wheels. The price was right so I snagged them. The wheels have a fair amount of light-moderate rash, enough to warrant a reconditioning for my standards but after a thorough cleaning they are presentable. Plan is to give them a run to see if I can handle the ride quality and if all goes well I will likely invest in repairing the rash or maybe a full reconditioning + powder coat.

The OEM Pilot Super Sports were in great shape but too thin for my liking and I replaced them with some used, 90% tread, Pirelli Scorpion Verde in a meatier 275/40 315/35/21 configuration.

I love my OEM split 5-spoke wheels!
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Aside from the rash the wheels cleaned up nicely
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OEM 285/35
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OEM 325/30
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275/40 Pirelli
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315/35 Pirelli
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Before and Afters
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Lovely
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