E87 N54, questions thread. (Builds)

digitalashley

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Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
I won't say much but thought I'd open this thread Incase others wish to do a E87 - N54 build also.

There are threads around the web with people that have done this build and have helped a lot with information but.. no doubt will be others like me that was Keen to find additional answers and couldn't find a place to ask. Hopefully this will help find more info related to this build for others.

I have specifically done my build with a 2007 E87 120i which started with the N46 engine.
And used most parts off my old E82 N54 in my build.

Parts off the top of my head I to keep in mind.

Headlight brackets must be off the E82 due to N54 being longer.
The front main crash bar also needs to be off the e82 also due to the larger N54 engine.

E82 DSC
E82 brake booster
E82 rear subframe or at least the rear brakes, halfshafts and discs I believe.
E82 diff
E82 springs and shocks
E82 driveshaft
E82 engine mounts
E82 ebox fan
E82 fuel pump and regulator
E82 EKP module
E82 DME from N54
E82 CAS unit.
E82 key fobs
E82 hood release front section
E82 front engine support bar (core support)
E82 headlight brackets that mount to the lights
E82 full exhaust (had to shorten at rear section)

There will be wiring differences between models no doubt.

My E87 never had idrive, IBS, ebox fan, sunroof, heated seats, paddles there are others that I had to add into the loom from the E82s loom no doubt.

I was lucky to have both complete cars. One crashed and the other bought cheap for the chassis. I think this is best to have everything to use.

I'll be happy to help in anyway I can if someone has a question.
 
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digitalashley

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Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
I did this with RHD vehicles.
I have a lot of photos to document pulling apart both cars and putting stuff into the e87
Stuff like sections of loom from the e82 for the idrive system, ekp3 unit.

There's little differences between models,
Like the electric engine fan connector was different from the n46 motor to the n54 and had to be cut off and added onto the e87 wiring as the pins inside aren't the same sizes sadly so can't just de-pin to swap the connectors over.
I needed the diversity module from inside the e82 roof for the key fobs to work, since the aerial is in the rear window on the e82 but in the rear view mirror in the e87 .
I also transferred the complete sections of wiring for the front seats as they had additional wiring for the heated seats and inflation of the bolsters.

These are just some items that I can think of currently.

Here's a random build photo
IMG_20190908_170911.jpg
 
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digitalashley

Specialist
Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
Also it's best to buy a facelift model e87 with the same dash and upgraded taillights etc, as they have the same wiring as needed for n54 swapping. 130i would be easiest as it has ekp and everything already just swap engine loom, cas,dme and mechanical parts.

Non facelift e87 models do not have same fusebox behind glovebox so wiring from a donor like e82 n54 will be needed to make complete loom from both.
 
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digitalashley

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Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
How much of the loom did you have to mess with? Did you end up gutting the interior?
With my 1st swap I used facelift e87 so only had to add engine harness. Ekpm3 wiring, acceleration sensor wiring, ebox fan wiring.
I pulled all the carpet etc so had access to all the wiring.

2nd swap I'm doing now much different story. I haven't tested wiring yet but I have pulled both an e82 loom sister and e87 pre-facelift loom apart. To add sections like rear doors into the e82 loom. The rear hatch door section. Other stuff too no doubt.

Definitely an interior out situation
 

CalvinNismo

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Nov 1, 2020
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With my 1st swap I used facelift e87 so only had to add engine harness. Ekpm3 wiring, acceleration sensor wiring, ebox fan wiring.
I pulled all the carpet etc so had access to all the wiring.

2nd swap I'm doing now much different story. I haven't tested wiring yet but I have pulled both an e82 loom sister and e87 pre-facelift loom apart. To add sections like rear doors into the e82 loom. The rear hatch door section. Other stuff too no doubt.

Definitely an interior out situation
I’ve just looked up the E-box fan, I’ve not had this on my E82 or E87, might be a hot climate thing? Not sure. I am nearly on the other side of doing similar to your second swap. Just some taping left on the main harness assuming I’ve done it all right!

Rear light clusters wiring wants swapping around and some wires appear redundant on the E82 to begin with.

Rear doors as you’ve said and the dimmable lighting circuit. The whole boot and wash/wipe setup as you’ve said. The number plate lights are different and have sealed connectors, whereas the E82 uses unsealed.

The E82 curtain airbag wires aren’t long enough to take the OEM routing in an E87 so those want swapping unless you get creative with the routing.

The signal to unlock the car goes to the diversity antenna on an E82, whereas it goes to the interior rear view mirror on the E81/E87/E88, so steal that wire from your E87 harness.

Boot lamp and boot cigarette lighter are separate on an E82, but next to each other on the E87. Subtleties.

There’s a few audio loom differences too, but I’ve not quite got that nailed down yet.

That’s what I can recall off the top of my head anyway!
 

digitalashley

Specialist
Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
I’ve just looked up the E-box fan, I’ve not had this on my E82 or E87, might be a hot climate thing? Not sure. I am nearly on the other side of doing similar to your second swap. Just some taping left on the main harness assuming I’ve done it all right!

Rear light clusters wiring wants swapping around and some wires appear redundant on the E82 to begin with.

Rear doors as you’ve said and the dimmable lighting circuit. The whole boot and wash/wipe setup as you’ve said. The number plate lights are different and have sealed connectors, whereas the E82 uses unsealed.

The E82 curtain airbag wires aren’t long enough to take the OEM routing in an E87 so those want swapping unless you get creative with the routing.

The signal to unlock the car goes to the diversity antenna on an E82, whereas it goes to the interior rear view mirror on the E81/E87/E88, so steal that wire from your E87 harness.

Boot lamp and boot cigarette lighter are separate on an E82, but next to each other on the E87. Subtleties.

There’s a few audio loom differences too, but I’ve not quite got that nailed down yet.

That’s what I can recall off the top of my head anyway!
Ahh I see that may be a possibility, all my e8x cars were jap imports and had the ebox fan. I ran my car (1st swap) without it one for months. Installed it in the end for completeness lol.

Oh nice my wiring is taped up and been sitting in the car for weeks. Such a slow build for me this time round, life haha. Fingers crossed you have done it right and same here.

Im at a point where I'm modifying the turbo outlets as RHD rear turbo outlets sucks in factory style.

Yeah the rear lights situation can be done a couple ways it seems like people that have DIY posts up for pre to facelift taillight mod.
I wired my rear lights up like it was a facelift model while loom was apart, I noticed there is a difference between some facelift taillights wiring though. If I recall each light may or may not have a Yellow,black wire(LHS) and a Yellow,purple wire (RHS) Which was strange. I have a few sets of facelift taillights with the factory connectors still attached and some have those two wires and one didn't. But I just copied my first hatches setup with wires and pinouts and added those two in to copy the first swap. Fingers crossed there haha.
Been a while since I did the coupe side of wiring but I have a book noting all down the wires mine each had before changing etc and think most wires could possibly be just repinned to work but I wasn't confident in that route.

I didn't notice anything or didn't look at stuff to do with dimmable lighting circuit, what's that for interior lighting?
Number plate lights, different yeah man almost missed that when I first started only trying to pull some pieces out for the rear right section of loom.

That makes sense with the roof airbags wiring too, I swapped in the e87 wires for those when I did the rear wiring sections, i think it was just the more complete way to pull it apart when I did it so I'm glad I did now you mention it.

Ahh yes the antenna for FOB side of things I got held up on that for a while thinking of different ways to setup those wires. And can't recall what I decided there. But did note one wire that was common between both looms possibly a black wire? Pin 13? On one of the FRM module connectors towards those diversity modules. I'd have to check what I've actually done there.
One method I had was to use a Y cable to connect both diversity modules up from each car and just have em both in the car, as a mate did that method in his swap similar to ours.
I'll definitely update later down the road about this and what I ended up doing.

On my first swap I didn't know much and (still don't) never did and body loom wiring changes, and just swapped in the DME CAS, maybe JBBF? And only thing that doesn't work in that car is the radio. FOB unlock etc works fine , must admit just with a shorter range when using I found.

Yeah boot Cigg lighter wiring length are slightly different so I made sure when to adjust lengths as needed when I taped loom up while in car. Think they differ on the ground point locations.

The audio loom difference might be more due to the audio spec difference? Like hifi or something vs base audio spec? If using e82 and e87 looms.

I didn't notice any difference between my two cars on this current swap. They both have base spec audio. It's nice those sections of the loom are kinda like a Lego where you can pull the whole audio section out and swap for another higher spec audio.

Sorry for massive reply. I think you're doing well by the sounds.
Would be cool to hear more about your diversity module setup though To confirm stuff for me/others. I really need to get back into my swap so I can relay stuff haha.
 
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CalvinNismo

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Nov 1, 2020
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Ahh I see that may be a possibility, all my e8x cars were jap imports and had the ebox fan. I ran my car (1st swap) without it one for months. Installed it in the end for completeness lol.
My E87 is an N43 118i which does have the DME in that box, and an N55 E82 which doesn’t (on the intake manifold), not much to cool in there for me anyway, just couple of fuses. 😂

Yeah the rear lights situation can be done a couple ways it seems like people that have DIY posts up for pre to facelift taillight mod.
I wired my rear lights up like it was a facelift model while loom was apart, I noticed there is a difference between some facelift taillights wiring though. If I recall each light may or may not have a Yellow,black wire(LHS) and a Yellow,purple wire (RHS) Which was strange. I have a few sets of facelift taillights with the factory connectors still attached and some have those two wires and one didn't. But I just copied my first hatches setup with wires and pinouts and added those two in to copy the first swap. Fingers crossed there haha.
Been a while since I did the coupe side of wiring but I have a book noting all down the wires mine each had before changing etc and think most wires could possibly be just repinned to work but I wasn't confident in that route.
I found there’s an extra ground and one wire per lamp that does nothing according to the FRM pinout on the E82, both are on the smaller connector. So I removed those. I just looked at the actual E87 board that holds the bulbs and compared it to the FRM pinout as my wire colours were different to E87 wire colours according to the wiring diagrams. Only thing I have done different is that I’ve put the fog lights to the lower brake lights, rather than the upper, I thought it would be better that way.

I didn't notice anything or didn't look at stuff to do with dimmable lighting circuit, what's that for interior lighting?
Number plate lights, different yeah man almost missed that when I first started only trying to pull some pieces out for the rear right section o
I probably just spent more time than I should on the dimmable circuit because it took me so long to pull out of the E87 as it seems to run everywhere! It’s all the switches and instrument lighting that you can adjust the brightness of using the cluster. I’ve added the boot unlock button which ties into that so I’ve spent a bit of extra time on it.

Ahh yes the antenna for FOB side of things I got held up on that for a while thinking of different ways to setup those wires. And can't recall what I decided there. But did note one wire that was common between both looms possibly a black wire? Pin 13? On one of the FRM module connectors towards those diversity modules. I'd have to check what I've actually done there.
One method I had was to use a Y cable to connect both diversity modules up from each car and just have em both in the car, as a mate did that method in his swap similar to ours.
I'll definitely update later down the road about this and what I ended up doing.
I did think about using the E82 diversity antenna, but I couldn’t figure out an elegant way to mount it. I’m trying to go for an approach that is as “factory” as possible. I have kept the power and CAS wires (as well as radio power on) going to the E81/E87 diversity, but there are seemingly no accommodations on the board for them, even though the socket housing is 3-pin. The coupe diversity wires are just long enough to reach into the boot lid to the E81/E87 diversity antenna. I have ran the signal wire to the rear view mirror for remote key fob signal and just relocated the other wire to a pin that does nothing according to the CAS pinout, leaving me the option to reconnect it.

Would be cool to hear more about your diversity module setup though To confirm stuff for me/others. I really need to get back into my swap so I can relay stuff haha.
I am going to emulate the factory diversity antenna which links the rear window antenna to the roof antenna for FM. See this German thread which I’ve found for guidance. I am also retrofitting DAB (digital radio) which was not an option available in the UK market, I have opted for an aftermarket roof aerial to do this. I’ve bought a few hatch diversity antennas on eBay for not much money, one came with the antenna wires still attached to shattered glass, so I will solder them on to my rear screen.

The audio loom difference might be more due to the audio spec difference? Like hifi or something vs base audio spec? If using e82 and e87 looms.

I didn't notice any difference between my two cars on this current swap. They both have base spec audio. It's nice those sections of the loom are kinda like a Lego where you can pull the whole audio section out and swap for another higher spec audio.
Yeah, my E82 was pretty high spec’, here is what my 2 audio looms look like side by side. No prizes for guessing which is base audio.
IMG_1871.jpeg


I absolutely loved my E82, the only thing I wish it had was rear doors, so I thought I’d do something about that. 😁
 
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Davecara

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Jul 8, 2023
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I'm dead set on dropping a 6 pot into my E90 and chinning the N43 off!, I'll be following this with interest!
 

digitalashley

Specialist
Apr 8, 2019
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135i n54, E87 N54
Not really as it wouldn't be my car anymore and a 335i as clean as my car would cost me around 10k. My labour is free so a swap wouldn't cost me even half of that
Okay fair enough, money poor time rich. Wish I had one of those ATM hahah. Good luck, take lots of photos and notes. Always helps