N52 head swap, injection and vanos controls

doublespaces

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so port the head if you want more flow.

I don't think anyone is picking up on what I'm putting down here.
Run PI with 1000cc Bosch style injectors as your main form of fuel.
Run your DI as the lower volume supplement much like we do now with PI supplementing DI.
Basically backward of what anyone is running.

I actually like this idea, but its more of a tuning subject rather than what is going on here.

A ported N54 head will flow what? Compared to the N52/S54 head? Price of super aggressive port job vs a used 328i head?
 
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If one were to actually go this route, going with a standalone ECU (LINK, Haltech, AEM, etc) s probably the best way to go compared to using a stock BMW DME with all of its inherent limitations. There are CANbus adapters/translators out there which will take of driving the dash, HVAC, etc... You would also need to delete/lock valvetronic. This one fellow in the UK who used to campaign an E82 130i racecar actually milled the valvetronic tower and installed a cam ledge on the intake side + a pair of custom cams. I recall he ended up squeezing 360-370PS out of an NA N52 with high compression and ITBs as well..
 
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I actually like this idea, but its more of a tuning subject rather than what is going on here.

A ported N54 head will flow what? Compared to the N52/S54 head? Price of super aggressive port job vs a used 328i head?

I haven't measured this on a flowbench, but my hunch is that a stock N52 head should outflow any ported N54 head - especially on the exhaust side, on account of its significantly larger ports and valves, plus its fully-CNC'd finish. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it flowed within ~5-6% of an S54 head - on the intake side at least.
 

Dreyo27

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Standalone is the way to go, I heard ECUMasters have the BMW canbus figured out, but they can't do DI. Should be perfect for this application. this way you have an ECU that has proper knock detection and boost control like the MSD81 and can control the vanos and PI from the n52.

Do the oil and coolant passages line up between the n54 block and n52 head?
What about the exhaust manifold flange and intake manifold flange?
 

Panzerfaust

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Standalone is the way to go, I heard ECUMasters have the BMW canbus figured out, but they can't do DI. Should be perfect for this application. this way you have an ECU that has proper knock detection and boost control like the MSD81 and can control the vanos and PI from the n52.

Do the oil and coolant passages line up between the n54 block and n52 head?
What about the exhaust manifold flange and intake manifold flange?
If you watch the video the OP linked, you'll see that everything does line up except when it comes to the head gasket. You'd either need a modified N52 gasket (because the coolant drain holes in the gasket are slightly smaller, and cover one of the N54 drains completely) or a custom head gasket. You'd also need to drill out some of the bolt holes on the N52 head because the N54 uses larger head bolts.

Honestly, fuck the DI vs PI and valvetronics, I'd be interested enough in a kit that allows this just for the increased headflow. As someone previously said, even ported and polished N54 heads shouldn't flow as much as a stock N52 head from the looks of it. Let alone the cost difference between going to a scrapyard or even the flow of a ported N52 head instead.
 
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What I ended up doing on my build is an N53 head swap. N53 = naturally aspirated euro-only N54 with 12:1 compression with 32mm intake valves, a very decent-looking intake port with no choke in the venturi, a nice sharp recessed port divider, N52-style exhaust ports + ex manifold bolt pattern, and coolant passages. A nice bonus is that it comes with no vacuum passages in the intake port/valve cover flange, so that's one less thing to worry about. Should still flow better than any ported N54 head, especially on the exhaust side. 8000rpm here we come!
 
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Erichale77

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What I ended up doing on my build is an N53 head swap. N53 = naturally aspirated euro-only N54 with 12:1 compression with 32mm intake valves, a very decent-looking intake port with no choke in the venturi, a nice sharp port recessed divider, N52-style exhaust ports + ex manifold bolt pattern, and coolant passages. A nice bonus is that it comes with no vacuum passages in the intake port/valve cover flange, so that's one less thing to worry about. Should still flow better than any ported N54 head, especially on the exhaust side. 8000rpm here we come!
Yes keep us posted. I'm curious to see the benefit of this
 

Panzerfaust

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I hope to have some results to share within a fortnight or so, just waiting for a couple of parts to arrive first...
Wait, do you already have the head installed at least? A brief rundown of that would be excellent, assuming the other parts are more just other things you want to bolt on before a dump session.
 

doublespaces

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Wait, do you already have the head installed at least? A brief rundown of that would be excellent, assuming the other parts are more just other things you want to bolt on before a dump session.
Pretty sure he made a thread or updated a thread with this information or most of it. Not at a PC right now but it's here.
 

Panzerfaust

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Pretty sure he made a thread or updated a thread with this information or most of it. Not at a PC right now but it's here.
Hmm, you sure? I'm on my phone so maybe my searching is limited but checking his post history, this is the first of it I can find. Different account maybe?
 
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Wait, do you already have the head installed at least? A brief rundown of that would be excellent, assuming the other parts are more just other things you want to bolt on before a dump session.
I have the N53 head installed, and (very) soon to be running on my car. Here is a brief rundown of what needs to be done to get this to work.

a) first and foremost, an N53 head needs to be sourced from Europe. Note that these weren't all that common to begin with...
b) several water jackets need to be welded shut and port-matched to an N54 HG, and the oil drainage holes need to be enlarged as well
c) head bolt holes are 1mm too small, and N54 head bolt washers are too large and need to be machined down
d) There is a 19mm hole/fitting in the back of the head that needs to be plugged
e) exhaust ports are completely incompatible with anything N54-related, so a suitable solution will need to be devised here
f) inlet ports have no drillings leading to the valve cover ports, so an external low-side PCV solution will need to be rigged up.
g) all other parts (intake manifold, cams, ledges, seals, valve cover, etc) fit with no modification

In all, it was a lot of work. And I don't think the effort is justified for anything but the most hardcore of builds, especially since most forum members here have head porting options available to them locally. Before you ask, I did not take any pics of the process above. I will however, share pics of my completed setup within the coming few days, in a separate build thread...


FWIW running an N52 head properly would be the same deal, with the addition of the following

a) standalone ECU
b) milling the valvetronic bridge and fitting an intake cam ledge with some proper cams
 
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doublespaces

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Someone told me a few months ago they had already purchased an S55 block. I think it was someone in the S55 intercooler thread. That block with the factory closed deck paired with the N52 head would be a pretty sweet combo perhaps.
 
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Someone told me a few months ago they had already purchased an S55 block. I think it was someone in the S55 intercooler thread. That block with the factory closed deck paired with the N52 head would be a pretty sweet combo perhaps.


If my N54 bottom end ever gives me any trouble, this is definitely the route I'm going to be taking.. Need to figure out the crank trigger and an EWP delete for this to be viable though. *cough @jyamona cough*
 
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MoreBoost

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Surely if you put any more significant power into an N54, you're going to need to upgrade the whole block?
Sleeved, closed deck, forge rods and pistons. What about this crack hub issue as well? :(

I'd like to have my N54 ported but then I'll probably oval a cylinder.
 

fmorelli

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It's seems like the two biggest PITAs are sourcing and then being resigned to making one's own exhaust manifold. The rest seems quite reasonable. Great undertaking ... looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Filippo