Chadillac2000's 2008 135i Road Warrior Daily Driver Build Thread

Dmak

Specialist
Nov 19, 2017
63
I been really thinking about getting the rb external pcv kit. The only thing i worry about is the pcv freezing in cold weather.
Hows ur pcv system working in the cold?? Does the oil/moisture that got catch in the can freeze up?
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
233
NC
I been really thinking about getting the rb external pcv kit. The only thing i worry about is the pcv freezing in cold weather.
Hows ur pcv system working in the cold?? Does the oil/moisture that got catch in the can freeze up?
I've run this kit now for 2 winters and never had any problems. It's been between the temperatures of 10 and 30 degrees F here in NC all week. Besides the snotty, milky consistency you get in the winter time when running the can in a space away from a heat source like mine, the only inconvenience is more frequent emptying of the catch can. In the summer, the contents of the catch can go back to normal.

Motor oil does not technically freeze, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Contents of the can in WINTER on top, contents of the can in SUMMER on bottom

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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
233
NC
Thx. Thats good to know. How often do you empty the can in winter time? (As in mileage)
Because of the thick consistency of the fluid during the winters, and the fact that I do A LOT of highway driving, I do empty the can every other fill up. Any more than that and I'd be risking the fluid flowing back out of the "Out" tube. In the summer, it's usually closer to every 4th or 5th fill up.

Hmm... i have a leaky valve cover and an empty catch can(same mishimoto as yours)..time to investigate
Yeah I would certainly check that out. Mine catches a ton. Keep in mind that my car spends 99.9% out of heavy throttle. In fact, my BMS high side catch can catches practically nothing regardless of season.

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For full disclosure, I've had recent thoughts of getting rid of both catch cans. The low side takes constant attention, yet my intake valves still look as dirty after 30,000 miles as they did without the can--took a peek at them recently when upgrading my BOV source to a larger diameter. And as I just mentioned my high side can has caught nothing in that same 30,000 miles. When I install turbos over the next few months, I may just install a new PCV valve from Vargas, plan on cleaning valves on a regular basis, and ditch the cans.
 

Dmak

Specialist
Nov 19, 2017
63
.
For full disclosure, I've had recent thoughts of getting rid of both catch cans. The low side takes constant attention, yet my intake valves still look as dirty after 30,000 miles as they did without the can--took a peek at them recently when upgrading my BOV source to a larger diameter. And as I just mentioned my high side can has caught nothing in that same 30,000 miles. When I install turbos over the next few months, I may just install a new PCV valve from Vargas, plan on cleaning valves on a regular basis, and ditch the cans.
Thats discouraging....my only reason to run a catch can at the low side is to delay the intake valve carbon build up.
I also read that those oil vaper can lower the over all octane when burn in the engine. But then if theres not much get catch in the can in summer time, its probably dont make a measurable different.
 
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Reactions: chadillac2000

[email protected]

Lieutenant
Dec 7, 2016
626
St. Louis, MO USA
For full disclosure, I've had recent thoughts of getting rid of both catch cans. The low side takes constant attention, yet my intake valves still look as dirty after 30,000 miles as they did without the can--took a peek at them recently when upgrading my BOV source to a larger diameter. And as I just mentioned my high side can has caught nothing in that same 30,000 miles. When I install turbos over the next few months, I may just install a new PCV valve from Vargas, plan on cleaning valves on a regular basis, and ditch the cans.
Couple thoughts for you here:
1) If you think that neither oil catch can is mitigating any valve buildup and wish to remove them it is makes sense to do as such. When it comes to the low load side Oil Catch Can removal you can very easily connect the External PCV Valve to the vacuum reference bung directly, simply removing the Low load Oil Catch Can from the system (ie. the low load can is optional). This just means all vapors, condensation, etc.; will be digested as it would've been with the internal setup in place. Better though it should be digested with a better distribution across all valves, than what transpires with the OE internal setup (which tremendously favors cyl 5, then 4/6, then 3, then 2, then 1 by design of internal vacuum channeling).
2) It would be interesting to see pictures of what you have going on today as well with the ports. Are they just dirty or discolored? If so could be perfectly normal. Or are they completely built up with carbon and sludge literally to the point of affecting airflow? This is what you should be trying to mitigate by using the low load oil catch can, keeping in mind that that brand new shiny port look (ie. after valve cleaning) will never last forever (even if you run PI). More on that here: http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showpost.php?p=566520&postcount=498
3) If there is tremendous buildup such as one would expect from an N54 not running any low load oil catch can, is the buildup more so equally distributed across all cylinders? Or does the buildup still favor a cylinder and if so which one(s)? More equality in buildup over time should also be a perk of running the external PCV setups, regardless of if the Oil Catch Can is utilized or not. Obviously the catching of the oil in the can should mitigate the rate at which buildup occurs.
4) I skimmed your thread and see you recently replaced your valve cover, so this could be and is likely a moot point for you, but given that your head plugs are still open (you opted out from plugging them) it is possible that if the gasket did not seal well (or has degraded) you could still be vacuuming oil through the open ports or possibly even only prior to the VC swap. All in all we do not suspect this is a sure thing for you here but certainly can be for some, at minimum it is worth mentioning that by not plugging the head ports you (or others) do have some vulnerability in place as well.

Rob
 
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Jedi135i

Lurker
Nov 5, 2016
20
Margate, Fl
Impressive right up and work
Preface: So I recently discovered this forum after bouncing around a few others. First was N54Tech, then that expanded to 1Addicts, E90Post, and eventually bummerboost when I started getting into more complex modifications. I'm going to copy my build thread over to Spool Street for reference as I feel this forum fits my needs as to how my interests have evolved on this platform, and as I approach my first DIY turbo install, will be something I continue to update. Look forward to joining you guys in discussions!
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08-15-2016: I've been a member of the N54 community for 5+ years now. My first N54 powered car was a "Certified Pre-Owned" 2008 BMW 535i that I purchased with only around 50,000 miles on the odometer from Century BMW in South Carolina. For those interested, the car is currently still being driven daily with over 175,000 miles and running great with the original turbos. This served as a great foundation for learning the ropes of this platform and I very much enjoyed adding a plethora of bolt on parts as well as taking care of the maintenance myself. After 5 years of every day use and adding over 125,000 miles on the car myself, I began to seek a way to give the car a bit of a rest from the high amount of miles it was racking up; plus I had developed a distaste for the automatic transmission, heavy curb weight, and squishy suspension.
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What I'd be looking at getting in trade-in value or private party sale with this many miles was minimal, so I just decided to keep the car and began looking for the car I'd been crushing on for the past 6 months: the E82 135i. I tried to be fair to other cars and investigate something that would fit my wants/needs, but the 135i always came out on top. For 3 months I scoured the country for one with exactly what I was looking for which included: 6-speed, completely stock, white black or silver exterior, HIDs, and less than 70,000 miles.
When the right car popped up, I quickly hopped on the seller’s asking price and made arrangements to make the 7-hour drive to Norfolk, Virginia to bring the car back home to North Carolina with me. The seller said all the right things, and the car was even in better condition than described. Bone stock, always warmed up properly before being pushed, maintained religiously, had already had some of the injectors and HPFP replaced under warranty, and as clean inside-and-out as an 8 year old car could be. 53,000 miles on the odometer and right in my price range too. Besides the very first time I got behind the wheel of my first E46 M3, I had never been so happy after purchasing a car. I smiled the entire drive back home as I got used to everything; especially the active steering and 6-speed gearbox. The 535i has since been inherited by my significant other who has retired the car to simply getting her to work and back, about a 10 mile round trip. We also use the car for road trips and simple errands on the weekends when the 135i doesn’t make sense. Here’s a shot right after I got the E82 back home and she was introduced to her big brother.
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I wasted no time getting to the modding side of things. Since the 535i was going to spend the rest of its life being driven nice and easy, I started analyzing which parts I could swap over. I did not want to deal with the hassle of reinstalling the OEM down-pipes to the 535i, which meant I’d need to retain some type of tune to keep the service engine lights away. The FMIC had also been performing great and had taken some fabrication to install correctly on the E60 platform, so I decided to keep that. And lastly, the Fuel-It! Stage 2 LPFP was performing flawlessly and was installed initially to replace a failing OEM unit, so that would stay installed as well.
At that point, I began picking up some used parts including a cheap, older JB4 G4 with wiring harness. I swapped out the G5 ISO and Bluetooth connector from the 535i to the 135i and installed using the including wiring harness from the JB4 G4. I was able to tuck the JB4 itself deep into the ECU box so the lid could easily close without issue. Now both cars were running JB4 tunes, and although the 535i was equipped with a slightly outdated model, it still retained all the code reading and deleting functionality I was looking for.
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After knocking the JB4 install out quickly, I was feeling ambitious about completing all the mods I had on hand which included this extensive to-do list: changing the oil, plugging the holes from the front license plate, swapping over the used BMS dual cone intakes from the 535i, installing an ER charge pipe with HKS BOV and a 7” VRSF FMIC I purchased used from the forums, a new RB PCV valve, new OEM spark plugs, BMS cowl filters, a BMS modified CDV, a BMS clutch stop, blackout grills, LUX H8 amber angel eye LED bulbs. If this sounds like a lot to install in one day, it was. Took me practically an entire day to get everything in, but surprisingly enough, caught almost no snags and was able to take my time and was able to triple check my work. The FMIC gives the front end an aggressive look, but by leaving the lower mesh installed, leaves a little to the imagination as well.
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The charge pipe and HKS BOV were the first aftermarket parts to find their way on my car. I'd always been hesitant to run the HKS BOV, and even though I probably won't run it forever because of the aggressive sound, its hard to deny the fun factor at times.
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I've always preferred the badge-less look, so it wasn't long before the fishing line and Goo-Gone were at it again.
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After letting my hands and body heal over the next 5 days, I was back at it the next weekend installing a used set of BMS down-pipes and a new set of MMP stock location silicone inlets. Previous to taking on this install, I thought that installing down-pipes on the E60 535i was the hardest thing I’d put in by myself because of the tight clearances and awkward angles. Little did I know this would be a walk in the park compared to inlets. The strategic decision to install inlets and down-pipes at the same time was no accident and was done to avoid tearing the car apart twice. I would need to remove the OEM downpipes regardless to reach the rear inlet, so might as well upgrade them instead of putting the restrictive original pipes back in place.
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I took my time removing the plastic under trays and OEM down-pipes, and besides one of the nuts/bolts connecting the down-pipes and midpipes shearing off and having to be cut, the disassembly was fairly simple. A few hours in and I was ready to tackle the removal of the front OEM inlet. The front inlet was easy enough to get out and I was even able to pull it out in one full piece by removing the radiator fan.
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The MMP replacement was secured with no issues, cleared the front belts perfectly and was completed in less than an hour. At this point, I was feeling pretty confident. If you look deep enough at the engine bay from up top, you can make out the MMP logo on the inlet connecting to the snout of the front turbo.
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I quickly moved to breaking the rear inlet mounting tabs loose, and made the cut at the bottom of the rear inlet so I could pull it out the top. While this wasn’t the easiest, another hour and it was complete. I was still confident and not sure why people had claimed having such difficulties doing this on jack stands.
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So four hours from the start of the install, I was now looking at placing the rear inlet into place, and everything would be complete. After the first four hours were enjoyable, I spent the next four hours letting my little 135i beat the **** out of me. I bled, I perspired, and I cursed. I’ve had to call in reinforcements before due to time constraints or to help hold something heavy, but never have I had to call in reinforcements because I simply couldn’t get it done by myself. I reached a point where there was no option going forward without another pair of hands. Even after calling in a friend to pull from the bottom as I pushed from the top, we were barely able to get it through, and then spent the next 30 minutes or so getting the inlet on the turbo itself and secured properly. down-pipes went on with ease, but never fun dealing with those pesky v-band clamps. Exhausted and relieved doesn’t begin to explain the feeling of cranking up the car, hearing no strange noises, no service lights, and hearing the engine purr with a slightly deeper growl than before.
MMP inlets finally in place:
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The next weekend, it was time to address the current suspension. While the M-Sport OEM setup on the 135i was a giant step up from the feel of my 535i, I still had desires to get rid of the wheel gap, stiffen the ride slightly, but nothing to adversely effect drivability on a daily basis. When Tire Rack put the combination of the Koni STR.T shocks and Eibach Pro-Kit on sale at a little over $500, I jumped on the opportunity to upgrade. I've swapped out a dozen or so suspensions on newer model BMWs, so the installation on the E82 wasn't too difficult.
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Rear Koni shocks and Eibach Pro-Kit springs ready to be put in to place:
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And installed:
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One front spring/shock into place, and the other assembled:
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The previous owner had ditched the original run-flat tires in exchange for some Michelin PSS in upgraded sizes. He'd obviously pushed the tires through the twisties on a few occasions as they had decent wear on the outer edge of the fronts. Before I knew it, the front tires were in dire need of replacing. This was an excuse to get the wheel setup I'd always been set on since first seeing them -- Apex ARC-8. As their stock was dwindling, I was able to pull the trigger on a set of anthracite ARC-8 wheels in 18x8.5 ET45 & 18x9.5 ET58 wrapped in a set of brand new 235/265 Hankook V12s.
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The BMS wheel pin and lug tool are both really helpful, and certainly something I wanted to use when mounting up the new wheels for the first time.
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I also threw on some cheap smoked side markers from DDM tuning -- $10 + $10 shipping.
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I'm really loving the new look. The drop is perfect and the ride is fantastic. Obviously not a huge leap in improvement over the stock suspension, but the lower center of gravity and more rubber makes it feel light, nimble, and confident. The wheels and tires go great with the black exterior and really bring the car together. Here's a sneak peek of the new stance and appearance until I can find the time for a proper shoot.
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I spent the new few weeks enjoying the glorious new sounds coming from the front and rear of the car, getting used to all the available power on tap, and doing plenty of "parking lot look backs" to admire the new suspension, wheels, and tires. I’m not one to fully push the limits of an engine, so on 93 pump gas, I was content with the 13psi on map 1 for the time being. The combination of the cowl filters, intakes, inlets, hard intercooler pipes, HKS BOV, and catless down-pipes made the car sound sensational, while the modified CDV and clutch stop helped out with getting the car to effortlessly engage into each gear.
It wasn't long before the E85 station on my way to work started calling my name.
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After thoroughly shaking down the car with all the new mods and making sure everything was working properly, I added 3 gallons of E85 to an empty tank, filled the rest up with 93 octane as I had done time and time before on my 535i, set the JB4 to Map 5 and gave it a whirl. I did a few quick pulls to let the ECU learn and on my third pull with this new mixture, a dreaded misfire reared its ugly head. At this point the problem was only surfacing at WOT and under boost and my first long indicated that I desperately needed a back end flash to get my trims in line. In addition to gathering the equipment to use the BB software to load a back end flash more suitable for E85 use, I also decided to purchase my second Fuel-It! product: a new build Stage 2 LPFP.
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This would give me the flexibility of adding more E85 once I got things running right. As was my last install with a Fuel-It product, this one went about as smoothly as possible and only took a little over one hour. Hooking up my BT cable and flashing the 135i with the BMS E85 BEF took longer than the install of the pump when it was all said and done. I also took this opportunity to flash my 535i back to the OEM BIN seeing as how it wouldn't be seeing much E85 anymore. Once I had verified everything was flowing properly and the new BEF boost settings were working correctly, I switched to 4/2 on the JB4, added what I equated to be a full tank of E50 and switched to map 1, which would target 15psi. I immediately began having the same misfire issues as before, but unfortunately this time it seemed to be getting worse as I drove and was triggering a cylinder 6 misfire code that eventually wouldn’t go away. Eventually the car began to run on only 5 cylinders, all the while this is the only code that was being triggered.
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Since the spark plugs had only a few hundred miles on them, I expected a failed coil to be the culprit. I made the decision to replace all six so I wouldn’t have to deal with the need to replace one by one at a later date. After installing the new coils, I fired the car up with the new coils installed and still the same symptoms. Poor idle, running on 5 cylinders, etc. At this point I was a bit discouraged. Despite all the aftermarket parts being installed correctly and functioning properly I did not have a functioning vehicle. Misfires are common with N54 engines, and I’ve had to deal with them before with the 535i, but I hadn’t really expected having to investigate injector problems so soon after purchasing the car (only 2500 miles so far); especially injectors that had supposedly already been replaced once. Following a deep dive into everything injectors about this car, I discovered I had a mixture of two 07 and four 08 index injectors. Cylinder 6 happened to be one of those 07 index injectors. At this point I was already annoyed, so I wanted to avoid having this headache in the future.
Six new index 12 injectors would hopefully solve my problem and keep me misfire free in the near future considering the car now has all new injectors, coil packs and plugs.[/QUOTE
 

aus335iguy

Captain
Nov 18, 2017
1,193
Please be patient with me but Am i missing something ????
Why are we recirculating crankcasepressure and why aren’t we venting to atmosphere?

Ive asked my previous question a number of times in various places because i keep reading knowledgeable people talking about these engines and that they NEED PCV valves and various high and low side scavenge systems. Aside from DI there isnt anything radically new or different about an N54 engine crankcase compared to any other turbocharged engine produced in the last 50 years.

I think that the fact we aren’t getting rid of the PCV valves and recirculating the condensate we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Why are we spending so much time getting exact amount of fuel and air into our cylinders for best performance and reliability and then contaminating it with unknown and unpredictable quantities of oil condensate? Emissions.

It makes no f%$king sense

This is why i think this
Manufacturers add recirculated PCV for emissions reduction so that any oil condensate is burned in the combustion chamber instead of contaminating the environment. This has many negative effects.
-Negative effect on knock resistance of ingested AIR/FUEL mix!!
-Intake tract getting soaked with condensate resulting in scum buildup on intake valves and ports
-Uneven combustion across cylinders because of uneven distribution of condensate,
-Condensate wearing on turbo impeller.
-Raw oil combustion in severe cases.

How many times have you seen timing corrections on a log on individual cylinders and asked yourself why is that happening ?? This could be the reason.

Ultimately we are trying to alleviate positive crankcase pressure caused by blow by. This is nothing new...
In years gone by on race cars (high compression/forced induction engines have more blow by because of higher combustion pressures) this was quite simple.

Put some great big holes in the valve cover, plumb them into a catch can that can seperate oil from air so you dont spill oil everywhere and then vent the air.

You could either run a return line to the sump to scavenge the oil (not great for your oil purity) or empty the can periodically.

This system had no moving parts and cost next to nothing. On eBay you can find bad ones for like $20 better ones are $50 and really good ones that target condensate are $200-$300

Some cars added vacuum pumps for cold start conditions so that the condensate would be sucked out but once warm and combustion was starting to blow by these aren’t really needed since the atmosphere is at lower pressure and would escape anyway.

Like i said what am i missing here? Help me understand...?
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
233
NC
Couple thoughts for you here:
1) If you think that neither oil catch can is mitigating any valve buildup and wish to remove them it is makes sense to do as such. When it comes to the low load side Oil Catch Can removal you can very easily connect the External PCV Valve to the vacuum reference bung directly, simply removing the Low load Oil Catch Can from the system (ie. the low load can is optional). This just means all vapors, condensation, etc.; will be digested as it would've been with the internal setup in place. Better though it should be digested with a better distribution across all valves, than what transpires with the OE internal setup (which tremendously favors cyl 5, then 4/6, then 3, then 2, then 1 by design of internal vacuum channeling).

2) It would be interesting to see pictures of what you have going on today as well with the ports. Are they just dirty or discolored? If so could be perfectly normal. Or are they completely built up with carbon and sludge literally to the point of affecting airflow? This is what you should be trying to mitigate by using the low load oil catch can, keeping in mind that that brand new shiny port look (ie. after valve cleaning) will never last forever (even if you run PI). More on that here: http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showpost.php?p=566520&postcount=498

3) If there is tremendous buildup such as one would expect from an N54 not running any low load oil catch can, is the buildup more so equally distributed across all cylinders? Or does the buildup still favor a cylinder and if so which one(s)? More equality in buildup over time should also be a perk of running the external PCV setups, regardless of if the Oil Catch Can is utilized or not. Obviously the catching of the oil in the can should mitigate the rate at which buildup occurs.

4) I skimmed your thread and see you recently replaced your valve cover, so this could be and is likely a moot point for you, but given that your head plugs are still open (you opted out from plugging them) it is possible that if the gasket did not seal well (or has degraded) you could still be vacuuming oil through the open ports or possibly even only prior to the VC swap. All in all we do not suspect this is a sure thing for you here but certainly can be for some, at minimum it is worth mentioning that by not plugging the head ports you (or others) do have some vulnerability in place as well.

Rob
Thanks for chiming in Rob.

1) I wasn't insinuating it wasn't helping any. In fact, I'm most certain it is with the amount of oil I am constantly catching in the Mishimoto OCC. I was simply touching on the fact that when I purchased catch cans for both high/low sides, I was hopeful that the carbon buildup would barely be noticeable from there on out; maybe even enough so to eliminate future valve cleanings. That seems to be wishful thinking.

For me personally, I'd rather ditch the entire setup completely and free up a few hundred bucks, rather than just more evenly distributing the carbon buildup across the cylinders and being forced to blast them eventually anyways.

2&3) They were NOT completely sludged up by any means when I removed the intake manifold about 20,000 miles ago. But they were black and discolored enough to tell that carbon was stuck to the valve. As to whether or not it would have been worse if the catch cans weren't in place, I cannot speculate on that. I'll be sure to take detailed pictures of each port when I install turbos here in another 10,000-15,000 miles. That would make about 40,000 miles of use since freshly cleaning the intake valves and installing the catch cans on both sides. That would give a more accurate indication of exactly what is happening with the external PCV in place.

You seem to think that intervals will be spread out from 30,000 miles to 80,000+ miles plus in some of those posts from N54. Do we have any actual evidence of this on a strictly DI motor with no PI? Personally I've never heard of anyone doing intake valve cleanings every 30,000 miles, that seems premature for most people. There can't be that many people that have tested this out for close to 100,000 miles.

4) Yes, after running the catch cans problem free for about 5,000 miles I started to get smoke when coming to a stop (which I've detailed fully for some time now) and after double checking all my catch can connections, replacing the flapper valve, and making sure there were no oil leaks, I decided to change out the valve cover as it was approaching 100,000 miles of use. All signs point towards tired turbo seals after doing a compression test. The original valve cover and gasket were in excellent condition when they were removed with no cracks or defects, and I re-installed a brand new OEM valve cover, gasket, and bolts from ECS Tuning which went as smooth as I could have hoped. It wasn't my first time installing an N54 valve cover, and I've put quite a few miles on it since, so I don't think the valve cover, gasket, or how they were installed is causing any issues.

And you're correct on my choice to not plug the head ports, just wasn't interested in doing that.

Considering my car is strictly a DD, it still seems there's no solution to just the natural side effects of a DI engine and the VC/PCV system BMW decided to use.

For my own personal use, there now seems to be two options and I'm not sure what's better or if I'll switch back to option 1:

Option 1 - staying completely OEM and cleaning intake valves on a regular basis (every 50,000 miles give or take), replacing PCV valves/valve covers/gaskets as needed.

Option 2 - invest substantial money in an order to attempt to combat the effects of DI by running the BMS high side catch can, externalizing the PCV system with a Mishimoto catch can on the low side, dealing with finding an appropriate place to mount (hint: there are no good places), deal with the condensation associated with some mounting spots in cold weather that causes for it to quickly fill up and need constant emptying, plug the head to ensure the valve cover/gasket doesn't compromise the entire system, and in the end, STILL have to clean the intake valves and replace valve covers/gaskets as needed.

Although hindsight is 20/20, maybe I should have just left everything as is came from the factory.
 
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[email protected]

Lieutenant
Dec 7, 2016
626
St. Louis, MO USA
Yes sir even in a perfect world with a simpler port injected, non-turbocharged engine, even if the PCV is eliminated and is VTA; carbon and discoloration will form on piston tops, valves, intake ports, etc. over mileage. This said IMO there will never be the silver bullet to ensure valves and ports forever after look like they did the moment of walnut blasted valve cleanings on the N54 nor any Internal combustion engine for that matter.

Running the catch cans is simply a way of mitigating the buildup as much as possible that is going to obviously help length the walnut blasting maintenance interval. Intervals can vary substantially as well, we've had hundreds and hundreds of conversations with N54 owners over the years and some claim to have had very mucked up valves even at 20k miles. On the other hand we have heard from others with 100+k miles who have never had it done before, but by this point they are having issues and the valve appearance makes you wonder how the engine even ran at all. Anyway there is not going to be some perfect mileage or hard fast rule that can be predicted for every N54 vehicle on the road but IMO from years of working on cars and studying this engine/pictures etc the N54 commonly seems to have substantial buildup forming at around 30-40k miles; whereas a standard non-turbo Port injected engine will have at around 4x the mileage. And in the 30-60k mileage zone nearly every N54 engine is fairly mucked up to the point of certainly being ideal to walnut blast them. The idea with the oil catch cans is to lengthen this, perhaps double or triple it; you are correct .

There are more variables with the turbochargers too, of course, if you have CHRA units that are on their way out the compressor seals could be tossing out excessive amounts of oil as well, although this would lead to a more "even" coating to the valves over time (whereas the Internal PCV setups tend to coat primarily the bank 2 valves). There is some catch can potential in the Intercooler for such a thing but oils do get by and nothing in the PCV system can stop this from happening, only repairing the cause will help here. Not saying this is your case but it is possible in some scenarios that buildup is still happening from other degrading hardware (ie. Turbos/VSS/Short Block/Cylinder Head/etc.).

At any rate personally I'm not against your current mindset. Any person I've ever spoke to could attest to this as well, if you are doing Oil Catch Cans for the purpose of NEVER having to clean ports again you are indeed wasting your time. However if you are doing them because you wish to mitigate buildup as much as humanly possible then you have the ability with the catch cans in the mix. For some it may not be worth the trade off with constant maintenance in emptying the OCC(s) over the longhaul vs. simply accepting the applicable walnut blast interval.

Rob
 
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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
233
NC
Yes sir even in a perfect world with a simpler port injected, non-turbocharged engine, even if the PCV is eliminated and is VTA; carbon and discoloration will form on piston tops, valves, intake ports, etc. over mileage. This said IMO there will never be the silver bullet to ensure valves and ports forever after look like they did the moment of walnut blasted valve cleanings on the N54 nor any Internal combustion engine for that matter.

Running the catch cans is simply a way of mitigating the buildup as much as possible that is going to obviously help length the walnut blasting maintenance interval. Intervals can vary substantially as well, we've had hundreds and hundreds of conversations with N54 owners over the years and some claim to have had very mucked up valves even at 20k miles. On the other hand we have heard from others with 100+k miles who have never had it done before, but by this point they are having issues and the valve appearance makes you wonder how the engine even ran at all. Anyway there is not going to be some perfect mileage or hard fast rule that can be predicted for every N54 vehicle on the road but IMO from years of working on cars and studying this engine/pictures etc the N54 commonly seems to have substantial buildup forming at around 30-40k miles; whereas a standard non-turbo Port injected engine will have at around 4x the mileage. And in the 30-60k mileage zone nearly every N54 engine is fairly mucked up to the point of certainly being ideal to walnut blast them. The idea with the oil catch cans is to lengthen this, perhaps double or triple it; you are correct .

There are more variables with the turbochargers too, of course, if you have CHRA units that are on their way out the compressor seals could be tossing out excessive amounts of oil as well, although this would lead to a more "even" coating to the valves over time (whereas the Internal PCV setups tend to coat primarily the bank 2 valves). There is some catch can potential in the Intercooler for such a thing but oils do get by and nothing in the PCV system can stop this from happening, only repairing the cause will help here. Not saying this is your case but it is possible in some scenarios that buildup is still happening from other degrading hardware (ie. Turbos/VSS/Short Block/Cylinder Head/etc.).

At any rate personally I'm not against your current mindset. Any person I've ever spoke to could attest to this as well, if you are doing Oil Catch Cans for the purpose of NEVER having to clean ports again you are indeed wasting your time. However if you are doing them because you wish to mitigate buildup as much as humanly possible then you have the ability with the catch cans in the mix. For some it may not be worth the trade off with constant maintenance in emptying the OCC(s) over the longhaul vs. simply accepting the applicable walnut blast interval.

Rob
Great reply Rob and thorough explanation. Definitely makes sense that my aging turbos would add to the problems. I'll be sure to add some more detailed feedback when I can give a closer inspection of everything soon just for documentation sake.
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
233
NC
I apologize in advance for the long post, but I have some catching up to do as I’ve been absent recently! As some of you may know, a while back I picked up a complete set of brand new GC Lite turbos and accessories to replace my smoking stock twins. I had been meticulously planning the install, doing my research, and gathering all the parts needed to make this a smooth DIY. But life suddenly had other plans and I found myself having to put everything on hold indefinitely. These unforeseen circumstances prompted me to return everything I’d purchased over the last 6 months, as well as forfeit the $1,000 discount I’d won through VTT. I was also forced to consider the idea of selling the 135i all together; a car that I’d had all intentions of keeping forever. Over a matter of months though, things began to improve drastically, and not only was I able to keep the 1er as my daily; I was even able to treat her to that freshening up she deserved for all of her loyal hard work lately.

While it hasn’t been that long since I purchased this car back at the beginning of 2016, since then, I have spent a lot of seat time in this thing--to the tune of 50,000 miles in 24 months. Apart from the normal N54 problems, I was able to get out of ahead of most of the issues that typically arise, so ownership had been very enjoyable. More proof that if you take care of these cars with preventative action, they can be extremely reliable without breaking the bank; assuming you can do your own modifications, repairs, and maintenance of course.

It pained me to see my 1er’s mileage exceed 100,000 miles, but that’s certainly just a number in my car’s case though. So many systems have been refurbished and enhanced since taking ownership, that it certainly didn’t reflect its actual age. I finally had the car just where I wanted it on FBO + E85 power levels. It also looked and sounded sensational. It had been a while since I’d bought anything for the car aside from maintenance items and tooling over the past 6 months, so I thought a few upgrades were in order to commemorate the 100K milestone in the form of a few interior and drivability enhancements.

The first present came in the form of a mod that I’d been eyeing for the past year, the Ultimate Clutch Pedal. $295 is excessive for a pedal in my opinion, but it was hard to deny the overwhelming positive reviews I’d read from anyone that had decided to take the plunge and install one. Eventually I gave in and hit “add to cart”.

HI77Wla.jpg


In addition to the pedal itself, it also came with a few other attachments and shoulder bolts for installation, including their own clutch stop that I’ll be replacing my BMS clutch stop with. The instructions made things simple.

jmZ72e4.jpg


The first step was to remove the bottom dash cover so we could gain access to the pedal fittings. Disconnecting the Bluetooth module from this panel was the most tedious part of the panel removal.

6FM4UPY.jpg


Working under the dash is among the most awkward places imaginable. It takes constant contortion of your body to make things works. Removing the stock clutch pedal was no different. But progressing through the easy-to-understand instructions sheet eventually left me looking like an automatic.

wmkVNwF.jpg


Because I’d installed the BMW Performance aluminum pedal set, I’d need to transfer that one over. Here’s a comparison of the UCP versus the OEM version:

sRqxXim.jpg


Once I had the aluminum pedal secured to the UCP, all it took was securing the large shoulder bolt and replacing the clip that attaches the slave cylinder to the pedal. After researching as much as I could, I decided to forego the helper spring re-installation. The lack of a helper spring should result in a more linear clutch feel, but takes a bit more effort to engage. A few hours later and things were all reassembled. On to present number 2 of 3.

HBWzoI9.jpg


I loved the thick feel of the M-sport steering wheel, but it was lacking in a few areas; enough that some of other wheels had started to catch my eye despite the high cost. On mine, the perforated leather had become worn at the 7 o’clock position, and the more alcantara I added to the interior, the more I wanted. I wasn’t interested in the electronic readout on some of the higher priced BMW Performance wheels, so that left me with only a few options. Keeping with the BMW Performance theme, the full alcantara model with the yellow 12 o’clock stripe seemed fitting. I already had the OEM alcantara trim insert, so they would match up perfectly. The lack of a heated steering wheel that I’ve had in other vehicles meant that on Carolina winter mornings I was frequently forced to use gloves for the first 15 minutes of my morning commute until things warmed up, so hopefully that helps alleviate the need for those as well.

mlu14SC.jpg


Removing the stock steering wheel was straightforward. First and most importantly, disconnect the battery. Insert a screwdriver on the slits found on the backside of the wheel, depress the spring clip, and pop out each side of the airbag.

otWOlWK.jpg


Once the airbag is off, a few electrical connectors need to be disconnected, and then a single 16mm bolt before everything is free.

Sq350yy.jpg


I swapped over the alcantara trim insert from the original steering wheel, and installed in reverse of removal. I have to admit, that ended up being way easier than I’d anticipated. At this point, I’d eliminated all the M themed components from the car aside from the ZHP weighted knob, something I was hesitant to remove as it held a nostalgic connection to my former E46 M3. I have strong feelings about that car, and running the same shift knob was my way of paying homage to one of my all time favorite vehicles. But my OCD took over and wanted uniformity. That meant a BMW Performance knob with alcantara accents was installed.

NqKjyCa.jpg


KM9CJph.jpg


At this point the car was equipped with OEM BMW Performance alcantara boots, knobs, trim, and steering wheels. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the improvement is undeniable.

B1uiu6D.jpg


T0pEMzx.jpg


Fw0fpQ7.jpg


BWIzXMr.jpg


Initial thoughts are all extremely positive. The steering wheel completely transformed the interior of the car. Grabbing this thing is pure bliss, and although I’ll have to use more care with how clean my hands are when driving, is well worth the enhanced look and feel. It also isn’t uncomfortably cold in the mornings when the temperatures have dropped below freezing the night before. The new knob sits slightly lower than before, and although it takes slightly more effort since it weighs less, fits in perfectly with my interior theme. The Ultimate Clutch Pedal was perhaps my favorite of all three. All the side to side slop has been eliminated. The lower pedal position and included clutch stop, when paired with the lack of a helper spring, just gives a much more precise, linear feel to engaging/releasing the clutch. Now I can immediately find the engagement point and let things smoothly set into motion, where as before with the helper spring, it was much more of a guessing game. I’m surprised removing the helper spring from the stock pedal isn’t done more often. Also, the overall range of pedal travel was nearly cut in half. It just gets I imagine this will help even more when I have a more aggressive clutch installed.

jgJJdlO.jpg


The steering wheel, shift knob and clutch pedal completely transformed the driving experience, but unfortunately did not solve my problem of the cloud of smoke that would envelope my car when coming to a complete stop in traffic that I’d been dealing with for the better part of a year now. At this point, I had a decision to make yet again, as well as some more maintenance items I’d need to address now that I’d crossed into six digit mileage. Should I go with OEM replacements for simplicity’s sake, take the trip back down the upgraded hybrids route, or opt for a well-put together single turbo kit? I eventually made a decision, but you’ll have to wait until later this week to find out.
 
Last edited:

doublespaces

Administrator
Oct 18, 2016
8,224
AZ
I apologize in advance for the long post, but I have some catching up to do as I’ve been absent recently! As some of you may know, a while back I picked up a complete set of brand new GC Lite turbos and accessories to replace my smoking stock twins. I had been meticulously planning the install, doing my research, and gathering all the parts needed to make this a smooth DIY. But life suddenly had other plans and I found myself having to put everything on hold indefinitely. These unforeseen circumstances prompted me to return everything I’d purchased over the last 6 months, as well as forfeit the $1,000 discount I’d won through VTT. I was also forced to consider the idea of selling the 135i all together; a car that I’d had all intentions of keeping forever. Over a matter of months though, things began to improve drastically, and not only was I able to keep the 1er as my daily; I was even able to treat her to that freshening up she deserved for all of her loyal hard work lately.

While it hasn’t been that long since I purchased this car back at the beginning of 2016, since then, I have spent a lot of seat time in this thing--to the tune of 50,000 miles in 24 months. Apart from the normal N54 problems, I was able to get out of ahead of most of the issues that typically arise, so ownership had been very enjoyable. More proof that if you take care of these cars with preventative action, they can be extremely reliable without breaking the bank; assuming you can do your own modifications, repairs, and maintenance of course.

It pained me to see my 1er’s mileage exceed 100,000 miles, but that’s certainly just a number in my car’s case though. So many systems have been refurbished and enhanced since taking ownership, that it certainly didn’t reflect its actual age. I finally had the car just where I wanted it on FBO + E85 power levels. It also looked and sounded sensational. It had been a while since I’d bought anything for the car aside from maintenance items and tooling over the past 6 months, so I thought a few upgrades were in order to commemorate the 100K milestone in the form of a few interior and drivability enhancements.

The first present came in the form of a mod that I’d been eyeing for the past year, the Ultimate Clutch Pedal. $295 is excessive for a pedal in my opinion, but it was hard to deny the overwhelming positive reviews I’d read from anyone that had decided to take the plunge and install one. Eventually I gave in and hit “add to cart”.

HI77Wla.jpg


In addition to the pedal itself, it also came with a few other attachments and shoulder bolts for installation, including their own clutch stop that I’ll be replacing my BMS clutch stop with. The instructions made things simple.

jmZ72e4.jpg


The first step was to remove the bottom dash cover so we could gain access to the pedal fittings. Disconnecting the Bluetooth module from this panel was the most tedious part of the panel removal.

6FM4UPY.jpg


Working under the dash is among the most awkward places imaginable. It takes constant contortion of your body to make things works. Removing the stock clutch pedal was no different. But progressing through the easy-to-understand instructions sheet eventually left me looking like an automatic.

wmkVNwF.jpg


Because I’d installed the BMW Performance aluminum pedal set, I’d need to transfer that one over. Here’s a comparison of the UCP versus the OEM version:

sRqxXim.jpg


Once I had the aluminum pedal secured to the UCP, all it took was securing the large shoulder bolt and replacing the clip that attaches the slave cylinder to the pedal. After researching as much as I could, I decided to forego the helper spring re-installation. The lack of a helper spring should result in a more linear clutch feel, but takes a bit more effort to engage. A few hours later and things were all reassembled. On to present number 2 of 3.

HBWzoI9.jpg


I loved the thick feel of the M-sport steering wheel, but it was lacking in a few areas; enough that some of other wheels had started to catch my eye despite the high cost. On mine, the perforated leather had become worn at the 7 o’clock position, and the more alcantara I added to the interior, the more I wanted. I wasn’t interested in the electronic readout on some of the higher priced BMW Performance wheels, so that left me with only a few options. Keeping with the BMW Performance theme, the full alcantara model with the yellow 12 o’clock stripe seemed fitting. I already had the OEM alcantara trim insert, so they would match up perfectly. The lack of a heated steering wheel that I’ve had in other vehicles meant that on Carolina winter mornings I was frequently forced to use gloves for the first 15 minutes of my morning commute until things warmed up, so hopefully that helps alleviate the need for those as well.

mlu14SC.jpg


Removing the stock steering wheel was straightforward. First and most importantly, disconnect the battery. Insert a screwdriver on the slits found on the backside of the wheel, depress the spring clip, and pop out each side of the airbag.

otWOlWK.jpg


Once the airbag is off, a few electrical connectors need to be disconnected, and then a single 16mm bolt before everything is free.

Sq350yy.jpg


I swapped over the alcantara trim insert from the original steering wheel, and installed in reverse of removal. I have to admit, that ended up being way easier than I’d anticipated. At this point, I’d eliminated all the M themed components from the car aside from the ZHP weighted knob, something I was hesitant to remove as it held a nostalgic connection to my former E46 M3. I have strong feelings about that car, and running the same shift knob was my way of paying homage to one of my all time favorite vehicles. But my OCD took over and wanted uniformity. That meant a BMW Performance knob with alcantara accents was installed.

NqKjyCa.jpg


KM9CJph.jpg


At this point the car was equipped with OEM BMW Performance alcantara boots, knobs, trim, and steering wheels. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the improvement is undeniable.

B1uiu6D.jpg


T0pEMzx.jpg


Fw0fpQ7.jpg


BWIzXMr.jpg


Initial thoughts are all extremely positive. The steering wheel completely transformed the interior of the car. Grabbing this thing is pure bliss, and although I’ll have to use more care with how clean my hands are when driving, is well worth the enhanced look and feel. It also isn’t uncomfortably cold in the mornings when the temperatures have dropped below freezing the night before. The new knob sits slightly lower than before, and although it takes slightly more effort since it weighs less, fits in perfectly with my interior theme. The Ultimate Clutch Pedal was perhaps my favorite of all three. All the side to side slop has been eliminated. The lower pedal position and included clutch stop, when paired with the lack of a helper spring, just gives a much more precise, linear feel to engaging/releasing the clutch. Now I can immediately find the engagement point and let things smoothly set into motion, where as before with the helper spring, it was much more of a guessing game. I’m surprised removing the helper spring from the stock pedal isn’t done more often. Also, the overall range of pedal travel was nearly cut in half. It just gets I imagine this will help even more when I have a more aggressive clutch installed.

jgJJdlO.jpg


The steering wheel, shift knob and clutch pedal completely transformed the driving experience, but unfortunately did not solve my problem of the cloud of smoke that would envelope my car when coming to a complete stop in traffic that I’d been dealing with for the better part of a year now. At this point, I had a decision to make yet again, as well as some more maintenance items I’d need to address now that I’d crossed into six digit mileage. Should I go with OEM replacements for simplicity’s sake, take the trip back down the upgraded hybrids route, or opt for a well-put together single turbo kit? I eventually made a decision, but you’ll have to wait until later this week to find out.
Unless you bought a jpworkz kit, then we may never find out.

That aside, awesome post! I love the alcantara additions. My Performance wheel is second hand and requires cleaning, so I can attest that it will get worse for wear. Hopefully a good cleaning can bring the fibers back to life. That clutch pedal seems like a nice mod, I have not noticed anyone doing it before.
 
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