Build Log: M57 X5

TwinTurboWagon

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Nov 7, 2016
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Torgus

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Thanks!

Did you have to drill that hole or is it there on both sides?

Looking back would you have done anything differently?
 

TwinTurboWagon

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Nov 7, 2016
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San Diego
As my age gets higher so does my ride height :) Front KWs were raised to match the rear and ditch the rake for a level ride height, very happy with the the results. I am still developing thoughts on the KWs so for those interested in feedback please sit tight.

I am happy to report the exhaust system is complete. Installing the larger (wider) F85 rear differential meant the stock piping wouldn't fit and for the a while I ran some clamps, a resonator, and a turn down off my mid pipe which terminated just before the diff. I was toying with reinstalling my QTP exhaust valve as I appreciated having the option to open the valve when I wanted to puff my M57 chest but the reality is space was now a premium and although my QTP valve has been reliable, in general they are not known for being particularly so. I again, took the mature/classy/boring? route and decided to keep the exhaust quiet by skipping the valve, keeping the OEM muffler, and also adding a Vibrant Ultra Quiet Resonator.

I was surprised to learn the resonator killed a lot of the turbo spool. I run the same resonator on my E61 with twin turbos and the spool is loud and piercing, not on the M57 I guess those frequencies were gobbled up. The resonator also kept the hissing and fluttery noises to a minimum which I do appreciate as the growl of the M57 comes through better. Overall the sound of the system is subtle, a bit classier/cleaner, but still has character.

I had a local shop assist with the fabrication. They welded the Vibrant resonator into my Rawtek mid pipe, fabricated piping around the rear differential to connect mid pipe to OEM muffler, and fabricated piping from the muffler to accommodate the rear tips. A couple v bands were added to make the system modular and easier to install/remove.
Everything is mandrel bent and tig welded.

Here is the layout of the system:
Rawtek down-pipe
Rawtek catted mid-pipe w/ Vibrant ultra quiet resonator
OEM E70 X5D muffler w/ OEM F15 M Sport tips

Sorry for the shit pics but you get the idea...
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Fitting F15 tips isn't for the faint of heart, it requires precise trimming and some creative fabrication skills to bring it all together. After mocking up the tips, eyeing, and measuring multiple times I was convinced it could work and proceeded to prep and trim the bumper. I traced the tip onto cardboard and then used a torx bit to extend the size, my goal was to have ~1/4" clearance around the tip, erroring on the side of "tight" and clearancing more as needed. Nothing is worse than having a hacked up bumper with excessively large holes. yuk
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I applied tape to the bumper and used both the actual F15 tip and template to scribble my cut mark, double, triple, and quadruple checking as I went.
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The driver side came out in about 20 pieces and I was a lot more proficient on the passenger side, here is the rough cut of the first pass, I came back in to clean up everything
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Unibody was also slightly trimmed
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Little OEM tip swimming in a sea of clearance.
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Initial pics after installation.
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Scratches on the bumper courtesy of the fabrication shop. Aside from this collateral damage I was very happy with their work. As you can see the bumper needed some additional clearance.
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Added tape and revised my trimming.
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Muffler/bumper fitment is so tight the bumper needs to be removed to remove muffler, not ideal but sometimes I sacrifice function for aesthetics, this is one of those times. V-band just before muffler makes this process much easier.
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I thought about painting the muffler black to match the tips but it would have been a bit of work and I wasn't convinced it wouldn't chip over time from road debris so I decided just to refurbish the muffler and piping with some wet sanding, I love how you can bring new life to metal with some elbow grease.
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Cleaned, scuffed, and primed.
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....and painted
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Final pics
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fmorelli

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Aug 11, 2017
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Nice work as usual, @TwinTurboWagon. Evan, can I asked (maybe I missed it) why you stuck with the rear muffler? I would understand you want the X5 quiet, but I have to imagine between turbos, cat and mid-pipe muffler that there is not much left to quiet down. Especially going down the highway.
 

TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
196
219
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San Diego
Nice work as usual, @TwinTurboWagon. Evan, can I asked (maybe I missed it) why you stuck with the rear muffler? I would understand you want the X5 quiet, but I have to imagine between turbos, cat and mid-pipe muffler that there is not much left to quiet down. Especially going down the highway.
I did want the X5 quiet-ish. I was going to have a custom muffler delete fabricated with twin Vibrant UQRs but decided to put one in the mid pipe and just reuse the muffler for simplicity and to keep the cost down on fabrication. When I was temporarily running the exhaust with the turn-down at the rear axle with the DOC and Vibrant resonator upstream it was much louder than I expected, I think some of this was due to having a turn down firing exhaust gasses at the ground which would resonate under the car instead of fire backwards but still. The X5 still has some character with the exhaust and paired with my turbo inlet you still get enjoyable sounds coming from both ends of the vehicle, it appeases my "I want to hear what's going on with the engine" but not to the point where it's annoying to me (or my wife).
 
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
196
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San Diego
Mini update.

The big news is this San Diego, CA vehicle is now a Boulder, CO vehicle as I have recently moved. The 1,000+ mile drive through CA, AZ, NV, UT, and CO was awesome and the X5 was a champ. Loaded to the gills with tools, belongings, bikes etc. it returned 22-23mpg on the drive which may not seem that great but with speeds between 80-90mph and elevation eclipsing 11,000ft through the rockies, they are satisfactory numbers. For reference the wife's Q7 4M with a few suitcases and 2 dogs, no cargo box or aero drag, only mustered 19mpg.

Also, now that I live in a fairly flat area the X5 is poised for MPG greatness. I am 1/2 way through my first tank of fuel in Boulder with mostly urban driving checking out homes for sale and I am sitting at 28+mpg which includes some spirited canyon driving and overtaking. By my calculations ~30mpg for a tank of fuel should be the new norm. Impressive considering the altitude and the fact I would get 21-24mpg per tank in CA.

Here are a couple better pics of my exhaust system as well as the "cool" X5M trans pan and differential heat sinks.
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Apparently the X5 with the KWs installed couldn't get aligned on the Hunter machines? Techs say that the machine needs to have weight added to the back of the vehicle to read specs and they weren't able to do this. Kind of a bummer since I paid for a lifetime alignment via Firestone and essentially it's now useless.
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Fresh oil change for the drive out to CO and knowing I won't have my tools available for the first few months out here.
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Some pics on the drive East
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
196
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San Diego
Been a minute. The move to Colorado has been a long 5-month process from start to finish but here we are at the end. The new garage is getting a make over and once complete I should have a nice space to work in and continue my automotive projects.

Let's start with a few Colorado lifestyle pics
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Exterior door which will be installed as a side door in the garage.
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Scored a deal on some Swisstrax (again)
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Before
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After
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Collecting kayaks from relatives
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My plan was to have both my white E61 and black E39 Touring shipped from CA-CO but transit companies were a bunch of smoke and mirrors so I drove the E61 (knocked out the 15 hour drive in 1 day) and since the E39 doesn't run I drove the X5 out to CA, picked up a UHaul trailer, and towed it back to CO. My father accompanied me on the drive which was awesome.

With the white wagon out in CO we were just missing one....
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E39 loaded up in CA. Trailer + wagon should be about 6,500lbs. I had my pellet grill and some other household items inside the X5. Of course I forgot my keys for the E39 and had to call AAA to gain access and then drilled out my steering column to delete the steering lock. (Thanks YouTube)

CA-CO is roughly 1,100 miles so 2,200 round trip. Long but driving the drive on the 15 and i70 is absolutely beautiful. Postcard shit.
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We broke the drive up with a stop in St George, UT for sleep.
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"Trucks"
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More scenery (and pee break)
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Surprisingly the tongue weight was <500lbs.
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Made it!
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Fuel Economy. Blue is outbound CO-CA going 80+mph. Red is CA-CO return while towing, 60mph average I would say. This trucks a beast. 20+mpg towing 6,000+lbs up and over the Rockies is impressive.
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#AlwaysDirty in Colorado
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TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
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San Diego
Not too much to report as most of my time has been spent remodeling the garage in which progress has been slow since other house projects keep getting in the way. Plan is to have the garage done before winter.

Colorado is a tricky place to live if you like to keep your vehicles clean (but worth it).

The X5 did receive an oil change (5k interval) but aside from that is has just been getting used. Odometer recently rolled over 120,000 miles. 40,000+ of which are under my ownership during the past 3.5 years.


Finally big the bullet and bought an EV. This is the only EV will own for a long time.
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Oil Change
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2nd wash in 3 months :/ Deeper clean with fender liners and brakes getting some love.
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Deep clean followed by driving through peanut butter mud. Can't win! lol
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Colorado Fall colors
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CTP Cryo

New Member
Oct 20, 2022
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amazing Journey...Another one leaves So Cal.. Been Looking to swap an M57 info an E39 Wagon... Lets hope the work is anywhere near as nice as yours!
 

TwinTurboWagon

Corporal
Nov 7, 2016
196
219
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San Diego
I am pleased to say I have some catching up to do on the build thread since the X5 has received some love recently.

We will start with some remaining pics from Fall in CO and peanut butter mud.
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Fall then turned to Winter...
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My excitement for the M57 X5 platform grows as Santjer Performance Development charges forward with development. It's nice to see a tuner FINALLY get the M57 to it's true potential. Delete + Tune is fun but this is the sort of performance I am after. You can put the hurt on X5Ms or SRT8s and then add some salt to the wound since you get 2-3x the fuel economy.

SPD now has their dual HPFP setup available for the X5, it paired with larger injectors, Tim's hybrid turbos (the turbo I run), and valve springs -this is the result. From where my X5 stands it's roughly $5k to get to this level, sign me up! The 1LE Camaro wheels look great on his X5, wonder where he got the idea! :)
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I had some poor turbo response which turned out being a vacuum leak. Ever since my original deletes I had a vac line running to my EGR pressure converter with the output capped and the cap was deteriorated. The vac system is now capped at the main vac line and the EGR PC is now fully disconnected. I was scratching my head a bit since M57s should have 28+in/hg and I was only getting 24. It wasn't until I had a conversation with my buddy who is a pilot and me mentioned vacuum decreases as elevation increases, factoring in my ~5,500ft the conversion makes my 24in/hg a near perfect 29in/hg at sea level.
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I still have this super annoying *squeal* which happens at lower RPM and vanishes at the 3,000rpm crossover. It sounds like an exhaust or boost leak and I haven't been able to find any signs or exhaust leak from the manifold or turbo connections, no signs of carbon leaking. I have replaced my ATM silicone pipes once already; they weep so much oil it's hard to ID any potential boost leaks. Eventually I will build a mainly aluminum up-pipe from the intercooler to intake with some Vanjen clamps or similar. I did notice some signs of weeping from one of my swirlflap plugs so I ordered a new set of o-rings. I doubt this is my main issue but any amount of boost that's contained is a good thing.
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As you can see in this photo the flap for the lower tailgate had broken all of it's plastic tabs for spring retention so it was just flopping around. Hilariously used beat-up ones are sold on eBay for $140 and a new OEM part was $160 from FCP. No brainer.
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From multiple times adjusting and readjusting the lower latch eyelet in hopes of getting a tight seal on the cargo hatch I damaged the threads on the unit so I snagged a used lower latch assembly from a fellow diesel owner. It was a very easy repair.
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TwinTurboWagon

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Nov 7, 2016
196
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San Diego
My 2 biggest complaints with the X5 are it's poor ride quality and noise from the interior -both road/wind noise and more so the banging, creaking, and crackling of the interior. It is now time to quiet this thing down. I will be adding sound deadening materials in phases as I am able to tackle the projects, I just completed what can be considered Phase 1 which included adding Kilmat to the doors, rear hatch, and cargo floor.

I did an uncharacteristically poor job photo-documenting the project, my apologies. Here is a photo as I started the cargo floor, when I was done every section of visible metal was covered and the sections of floor which weren't covered by the carpet has Noico Red 8mm closed cell foam laid on top. My X5 originally had a 3rd row which was removed but the OEM carpet has quiet thick foam under it so I didn't add any CCF under as I thought it would be redundant.
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It's cold in Colorado but with a couple 50+F days I utilized the sunshine to warm the X5, butyl, and myself.
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Here is another "before" photo which has no "after" lol. Both of these D-pillar areas by the taillights got the treatment. With the fuse panels removed you can access a large cavity which reaches towards the fuel cap. I was able to stuff an entire 16"x10" sheet of Kilmat up there and it was nearly out of sight. All metal was covered with Kilmat and CCF.
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Hey! A before/after photo! This isn't a very critical area for sound deadening but it does show the detail work involved. Especially on the tailgate there are multiple locations for clips to mount that you must be aware of, much like this.
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Lower and upper tailgate complete
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With every trim piece removed I am adding some felt tape between plastic-plastic connections to hush the cracks and squeaks. This has been veryn effective so far and I can't wait to do the rest of the interior. STFU interior!
My driveway has a 10 degree pitch and when I would back up at an angle the cargo area would make all kinds of noises when the chassis flexed, the felt greatly reduces these noises.
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I don't have any photos of the doors but I installed Kilmat on the outer panels (installed on the inside of the exterior door panels), no CCF as I wasn't confident there would be clearance for the windows when rolled down. I am very happy with the results, the most noticeable difference is the solid "thud" the doors now have, be gone hollow resonance! Hopefully the video works, if not this is the link, if you can't hear the difference get better speakers :)
 
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SLOWESTN54

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Feb 9, 2021
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Not to interrupt your thread. But that’s insane how fast that thing is. This is my dads E7X X6M. That I put downpipes in and a stage 2 tune for him. The X6 did trap higher but that’s insanely close.
 

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