High mileage Single Turbo n54's

Clean WHP

Corporal
Apr 24, 2017
173
136
0
Ride
2010 135i Msport 6MT
Hey everyone, Im curious to know who has the highest mileage N54 stock motor with a single turbo and what power levels they have been pushing for how long.

Long story short, I found a car that is exactly what I what at a great price but it has 135k miles and Im nervous how its longevity would be on a single turbo, especially if down the road I wanted to add e85 and turn it up to 650WHP or so. First and foremost, im working with the seller on getting it compression tested so I will have that info shortly, but if it all checks out im still a little iffy about it.

I know 135K may not be too bad, but what Im really nervous about is if I invest all the money into the build, i'm gonna wait to drive the damn thing and then mileage will creep up to the 150K+ mark after a year or so.

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Like
Reactions: suspenceful

Torgus

Major
Nov 6, 2016
1,856
1,311
0
Boston
Ride
ACF 6466 E92 + METH
I would suggest doing a compression and leakdown test. if everything is good I would say go for it, especially if it is stock and was never modified and beat on.

I would also ask for the maintenance history. There is a good chance you will need to do a fair amount if you want to get it into good shape for a ST. VC, plugs, waterpump, pulleys, plugs, walnut blast etc. the usual.
 

Clean WHP

Corporal
Apr 24, 2017
173
136
0
Ride
2010 135i Msport 6MT
the car has some bolt ons and from what I can teller the owner likes to drive it. I know its on e85 too. The good thing is that is has index 12's and new plugs/coils and recently had carbon blasting done, so seems like the owner takes care of it
 

Clean WHP

Corporal
Apr 24, 2017
173
136
0
Ride
2010 135i Msport 6MT
One of my cars has 300k with a ST made 680whp 700wtq

first off, that is insanely awesome that you even have a 300K mile n54. second off, at what mileage did it get single turbod!? was it stock its whole life before turbo'd and just driven on highway a lot?
 
Oct 27, 2016
412
261
25
30
first off, that is insanely awesome that you even have a 300K mile n54. second off, at what mileage did it get single turbod!? was it stock its whole life before turbo'd and just driven on highway a lot?

I bought the car with like 280k miles dirt cheap and modded it up for shits and giggles I guess lol. The car was FBO but with junkyard parts to say the least. It has about 15k miles with the single turbo, waiting for friend to pay me for it. He DD at 20 psi on e30 blend.

Here's some more info on what the car had and made etc:

http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=49546
 

doublespaces

Administrator
Oct 18, 2016
9,052
4,158
0
AZ
Ride
2009 E93 335i
Personally, I'd never buy a high mileage European car. If you can do a lot of work on your own and don't mind doing it, that is something to consider. But time is money, just a matter of where you spend it. When you look around your car, things are sun beaten, scratched up, etc. In order to get that thing back to a pristine state you'd have to just replace the whole car. So if you're willing to live with a car that is a few steps down in the visual department then go ham. If I went this direction, I'd just gut the car and make an all out race car. Suits the purpose much better IMO. Its also worth mentioning I'm not like most people in this regard it seems.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Clean WHP

fmorelli

Major General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
3,279
3,022
0
54
Virginia
www.morelliguitars.com
Ride
E89 Z4 35i, F10 535d
Actually I don't think a lot of people realize how this works until they've had the experience at least once or twice. Doesn't take 300k miles. Frankly once one gets over a 100k on a BMW one starts replacing a reasonable number parts. I've completely rebuilt 3 BMWs in the last 4 years that had between 130 and have between 130k and 160k miles. Having wrenched plenty on my later-model e89 Z4 I can assure you that the quality, especially in the plastic pieces, has gone downhill if anything. My N57 F10 - damn scared to have that car past CPO. And I tend to like to drive my cars how to a 100k to 175k miles.

Then again I've seen people on this board complain that their manual clutches blew out on an FBO car at 80k. Try doubling the horsepower on a Japanese car with a manual transmission and let me know how that goes....

Filippo
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Ace718 and Torgus

Clean WHP

Corporal
Apr 24, 2017
173
136
0
Ride
2010 135i Msport 6MT
let's get this thread back on topic which is just about the internals of the n54 at high mileage and high horsepower on single turbos.

Every other item of a car besides its drivetrain will wear based on essentially how its treated/protected. (interior, plastics, paint, clutch, etc..) and It goes without saying that when your buying any used car at all you evaluate how these things were treated. With that said, Ive already looked into all those things immensely and I pleased with what I found. Now I just need to know about the high mileage on the motor for my intentions which is 550whp on 93 pump gas on a single turbo, and 650-700whp or so on full e85 every once in a while.

I don't see many single turbo n54's that are pushing 600-700WHP at 135k-150k miles. I know of 1 guy who is pushing 550whp on 93 pump only and is at 160k and his motor has been single since 120k and is still pulling strong as ever. Also, I found what @[email protected] said to be very very interesting and impressive no doubt. 290K and 680WHP is definitely inspirational.

If anyone else has experience with their single turbo car at high mileage, Id love to hear it!
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,189
678
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
I'm curious what issue you are expecting at a higher mileage? The only thing you really are looking at with higher mileage is increased bearing wear, if any. The N54 isn't known for excessive bearing wear, so a 150K mile motor and a 50K mile motor will work just the same, barring all the crap you'd be replacing at 50 - 70K anyways. I think with mileage over 100K the main thing you'll be looking at that is worn is suspension bushings and components. Shocks/struts are horribly neglected, so they'll likely be due for replacement. Everything else is pretty much luck of the draw - electronics could work, or go bad. My thought is if they lasted until 130K or so, you're probably in the clear and they won't go bad. Or, the prior owner replaced them at 80K, lol.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: boostE92d

Clean WHP

Corporal
Apr 24, 2017
173
136
0
Ride
2010 135i Msport 6MT
I'm curious what issue you are expecting at a higher mileage? The only thing you really are looking at with higher mileage is increased bearing wear, if any. The N54 isn't known for excessive bearing wear, so a 150K mile motor and a 50K mile motor will work just the same, barring all the crap you'd be replacing at 50 - 70K anyways. I think with mileage over 100K the main thing you'll be looking at that is worn is suspension bushings and components. Shocks/struts are horribly neglected, so they'll likely be due for replacement. Everything else is pretty much luck of the draw - electronics could work, or go bad. My thought is if they lasted until 130K or so, you're probably in the clear and they won't go bad. Or, the prior owner replaced them at 80K, lol.

I guess i'm just worried on the motor being tired and worn, or blowing up with the added boost/stress of a single, but that's where the compression and leak down test come into play i guess
 

STE92

Corporal
Mar 3, 2017
170
47
0
Ride
E92
The ideal thing would be to do a compression test and leak down. That would give you a good idea what condition is the internals. If everything checks out would be a lot of maintenance, VC, PCv, waterpump... etc. If everything good after all that pick a good tuner and data log data log data log.
 

Itsbrokeagain

Corporal
Jan 28, 2018
185
70
0
Strong Island
Ride
E70 X5d, E39 528iT, E46 325xi
Personally, I'd never buy a high mileage European car. If you can do a lot of work on your own and don't mind doing it, that is something to consider. But time is money, just a matter of where you spend it. When you look around your car, things are sun beaten, scratched up, etc. In order to get that thing back to a pristine state you'd have to just replace the whole car. So if you're willing to live with a car that is a few steps down in the visual department then go ham. If I went this direction, I'd just gut the car and make an all out race car. Suits the purpose much better IMO. Its also worth mentioning I'm not like most people in this regard it seems.

There's a guy on Rennlist I think with a 996 Turbo and the odometer is sitting at 425k miles. Routine maintenance and it was spotless. His Cayenne Turbo also has 300k plus in it and never had to open the engine up for anything.

They are out there lol
 
  • Funny
Reactions: Shav shav

Bongo

Specialist
Feb 22, 2018
61
54
0
Ride
E92 N54 335i
BMW only used high milage engine blocks back in the day to build their reliable F1 cars..
Like the M12 1.5 with 1500hp (limited to 850hp).
They only used ones with at least 100K on them because at that milage all te stresses of the casting would have been worked out. If the block would break, it would have done already. :grin:
This ain't N54 related or involving a complete engine but it think it's a cool fact.. lol
 
Last edited:

fmorelli

Major General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
3,279
3,022
0
54
Virginia
www.morelliguitars.com
Ride
E89 Z4 35i, F10 535d
Actually I seem to recall the heat cycling hardens the steel. Funny part is BMW Motorsport got those motors out of German junkyards as I understand it.

Filippo
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Bongo