Raise your hand if you've blown up an N54!

Have you blown up an N54?

  • Yes

    Votes: 47 41.2%
  • No

    Votes: 67 58.8%

  • Total voters
    114

suspenceful

700 HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
542
551
0
Ride
2015 M3, 2008 135i, 2009 335i
I'm creating this thread for a few different reasons. I'd like to get a better idea of how many bad N54s there are out there. Maybe it's my own opinion, but I feel like most people are quiet about blowing up a motor. Whether it's embarrassment or covering a vendor's ass.

For those of you who have, please comment with the following info:
  • Mileage:
  • Power:
  • Reason:
  • Now what?
I'll start...
  • Mileage: 120k, tuned since 85k
  • Power: ~600-650whp (MMP Stage 3 twins at 28psi with straight E85)
  • Reason: Low compression on cylinder #3. Not 100% sure why yet. I was having large ignition drops that I tried chasing down by installing a better intercooler, colder plugs, and the PR ignition upgrade. None of them helped. Eventually it started to misfire on one pull and I still sent it. I'm guessing port injection played a roll in the mess as well. All cylinders were at 170psi, except for #3 was at 70-80psi and went up to 120psi when I added a tablespoon of oil.
  • Now what? I'm still deciding. I'd like to find a lower-mileage stock motor to throw back in. Maybe I'll build my current motor over the next couple years.
If you don't want to comment, at least vote in the poll.
 
Last edited:

Erichale77

Lieutenant
Nov 14, 2016
827
446
30
Clearwater, FL
Ride
07 E92 coupe
MILEAGE: Only about 2 miles
POWER: ~700-750whp (6266 g2)
REASON: Cam bolt snapped. Not 100% why.
NOW WHAT: Sent motor back to VAC for another build (as they don't warranty these things) This was almost 2 years ago and I'm still waiting for them to finish my motor. Car will be an antique before I get my motor back. Should've had a new motor built somewhere else.
 

veer90

Captain
Nov 16, 2016
1,000
762
25
West Nyack, NY
Ride
e90 335i 6MT
  • Mileage: around 90k
  • Power: FBO stock turbos pump gas (~400whp)
  • Reason: combination of WOTbox and banging the motor off the limiter doing donuts / burnouts. spun hub, valvetrain damage necessitating motor removal. motor still ran fine, just would set inlet VANOS codes below 1200rpm due to clogged oil channels in the head from broken valvetrain pieces getting where they shouldn't. don't bang an N54 off the limiter for more than a few seconds, it doesn't like it lol.
  • Now what?: built the motor while it was out of the car and refreshed the head with new valve seals. been running fine for the past 7k miles
 
Last edited:

doublespaces

General of the Army
Oct 18, 2016
8,938
4,143
0
AZ
Ride
2009 E93 335i
MILEAGE: Only about 2 miles
POWER: ~700-750whp (6266 g2)
REASON: Cam bolt snapped. Not 100% why.
NOW WHAT: Sent motor back to VAC for another build (as they don't warranty these things) This was almost 2 years ago and I'm still waiting for them to finish my motor. Car will be an antique before I get my motor back. Should've had a new motor built somewhere else.

Are you fucking serious? No warranty, okay that is normal. But their shit breaking after 2 miles is not normal. Taking 2 years is absurd.
 

[email protected]

Lieutenant
Nov 5, 2016
596
606
55
Bay Area
I'm creating this thread for a few different reasons. I'd like to get a better idea of how many bad N54s there are out there. Maybe it's my own opinion, but I feel like most people are quiet about blowing up a motor. Whether it's embarrassment or covering a vendor's ass.

For those of you who have, please comment with the following info:
  • Mileage:
  • Power:
  • Reason:
  • Now what?
I'll start...
  • Mileage: 120k
  • Power: ~600-650whp (MMP Stage 3 twins at 28psi)
  • Reason: Low compression on cylinder #3. Not 100% sure why yet. I was having large ignition drops that I tried chasing down by installing a better intercooler, colder plugs, and the PR ignition upgrade. None of them helped. Eventually it started to misfire on one pull and I still sent it. I'm guessing port injection played a roll in the mess as well. All cylinders were at 170psi, except for #3 was at 70-80psi and went up to 120psi when I added a tablespoon of oil.
  • Now what? I'm still deciding. I'd like to find a lower-mileage stock motor to throw back in. Maybe I'll build my current motor over the next couple years.
If you don't want to comment, at least vote in the poll.
Port injection played no role in this. When will people stop blaming PI for broken ringlands from detonation, on tired motors. You popped a ring land 110%. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. The stock pistons are WEAK. Any real detonation, (you see the timing pulls, THAT is telling you the car is detonating) and a ring land can go at any time. Many things cause detonation. The main ones being. GREED! Trying to push the car too hard on stock motor, poor tuning, too much timing, too lean AFR, etc, etc. People need to stop blaming PI for blown motors, and start admitting. Ok I got greedy with power, my tuner put too much timing in, I was too lean, etc.
 

[email protected]

Lieutenant
Nov 5, 2016
596
606
55
Bay Area
MILEAGE: Only about 2 miles
POWER: ~700-750whp (6266 g2)
REASON: Cam bolt snapped. Not 100% why.
NOW WHAT: Sent motor back to VAC for another build (as they don't warranty these things) This was almost 2 years ago and I'm still waiting for them to finish my motor. Car will be an antique before I get my motor back. Should've had a new motor built somewhere else.
Eric, a cam bolt snapping will simply bend the valves. I can honestly swap a head on these cars from start to finish in 10 hours. Why would you need an entire motor, when its just bent valves?
 

suspenceful

700 HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
542
551
0
Ride
2015 M3, 2008 135i, 2009 335i
Port injection played no role in this. When will people stop blaming PI for broken ringlands from detonation, on tired motors. You popped a ring land 110%. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. The stock pistons are WEAK. Any real detonation, (you see the timing pulls, THAT is telling you the car is detonating) and a ring land can go at any time. Many things cause detonation. The main ones being. GREED! Trying to push the car too hard on stock motor, poor tuning, too much timing, too lean AFR, etc, etc. People need to stop blaming PI for blown motors, and start admitting. Ok I got greedy with power, my tuner put too much timing in, I was too lean, etc.

You're right. It's a ring or ringland, meaning PI probably was not the cause.

However, the car was setup properly. Timing was very conservative, AFR was good (rich if anything). I don't know why I was seeing the timing drops. Could've been bad before high boost, which then exploited it. I'm not sure. It ran great on stock turbos trapping 124mph in the 1/4 mile. The timing drops came after the port injection installation, which was around the time I starting asking more out of the MMP turbos.
 

135Pats

Specialist
Nov 17, 2016
70
48
0
MD
You're right. It's a ring or ringland, meaning PI probably was not the cause.

However, the car was setup properly. Timing was very conservative, AFR was good (rich if anything). I don't know why I was seeing the timing drops. Could've been bad before high boost, which then exploited it. I'm not sure. It ran great on stock turbos trapping 124mph in the 1/4 mile. The timing drops came after the port injection installation, which was around the time I starting asking more out of the MMP turbos.
Was it pulling out timing in the cylinder that ate the rings? Or was it random across cylinders.

Pure curiosity...im chasing down a cyl5 miss but the cylinder isnt yanking tons of timing out. It feels like a spark/ign miss and *only* happens WOT above 6.5k RPMs. Its always cylinder 5 combustion misfire, no other codes accompany it. It's weird...

Hoping BL coils fixes it because I'm out of ideas otherwise
 
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veer90

Captain
Nov 16, 2016
1,000
762
25
West Nyack, NY
Ride
e90 335i 6MT
Are you fucking serious? No warranty, okay that is normal. But their shit breaking after 2 miles is not normal. Taking 2 years is absurd.

I'm not surprised. VAC has been coasting on their reputation with older BMW motors for some time now. I'm convinced they are clueless when it comes to N series and newer motors. Case in point:

* Mourad at VAC attempted to sell me bed plate studs for my motor when I was building it. THEY DON'T EXIST.
* Sent me incorrectly sized main bearings for my motor delaying my build by weeks while shop scrambled to find replacements, and get them WPC treated.
* at bimmerfest there was a stock turbo FBO 1er with a VAC ported head. why on earth would you do that for power when parts and labor on turbo upgrades are comparatively so much cheaper? The vacuum source for the Tial bov was also set up wrong on the car: tiny stock ID vacuum line... with a tee -__-

oh, and 900 bucks for an ATI damper which you can only get away with charging because you guys strongarmed ATI into an exclusivity contract is a fucking joke!
 

suspenceful

700 HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
542
551
0
Ride
2015 M3, 2008 135i, 2009 335i
Was it pulling out timing in the cylinder that ate the rings? Or was it random across cylinders.

Pure curiosity...im chasing down a cyl5 miss but the cylinder isnt yanking tons of timing out. It feels like a spark/ign miss and *only* happens WOT above 6.5k RPMs. Its always cylinder 5 combustion misfire, no other codes accompany it. It's weird...

Hoping BL coils fixes it because I'm out of ideas otherwise

It pulled timing across all cylinders for me. I thought it was false knock to be honest, the car ran good and pulled smoothly to redline. Then I installed the PR ignition coils and the misfires were noticeably felt. Kaboom.

Best of luck figuring yours out!
 

Im_sadam

New Member
May 10, 2017
4
6
0
Ride
08 535i
  • Mileage: 78k, tuned since 55k
  • Power: 424whp FBO + E85
  • Reason: serpentine belt snapped going 130mph , bits of the belt were sucked into oil pan via crankshaft seal . Clogged the oil feed and everyone knows what happens after that lol
  • Now what? Found a low mileage replacement motor at local junk yard , changed all seals and gaskets while motor was out and serviced transmission.
 

ryanmamikel

Specialist
Nov 5, 2016
58
27
0
London Ontario, Canada
Mileage: 275,000km - 40,000km Modded - 5000 km FBO + Meth
Power: FBO + Meth stock Turbo
Reason: Beating up a high mileage engine. There is a hole through the engine block on both sides. Pieces everywhere, Oil pan cracked, Turbos ingested engine bits. It was Bad. I found the Cyl 4 Piston Pin wedged between the starter and the outside of the engine block.
Now What?: Working on swapping LS based engine with turbo, 4L80E trans and custom driveshaft. Either M3 diff or ford 8.8 swap. It's become a Project.
 

Erichale77

Lieutenant
Nov 14, 2016
827
446
30
Clearwater, FL
Ride
07 E92 coupe
Eric, a cam bolt snapping will simply bend the valves. I can honestly swap a head on these cars from start to finish in 10 hours. Why would you need an entire motor, when its just bent valves?
Yes you're correct about head being destroyed. Wasn't even reusable but the valves also struck my pistons so instead of reusing them I had new ones installed. Block was honed and deck closed as well. My Arrow rods and hardened wrist pins were reusable though.
 

[email protected]

Lieutenant
Nov 5, 2016
596
606
55
Bay Area
Yes you're correct about head being destroyed. Wasn't even reusable but the valves also struck my pistons so instead of reusing them I had new ones installed. Block was honed and deck closed as well. My Arrow rods and hardened wrist pins were reusable though.
Again, this makes no sense. I have lost crank hubs at 7000+RPM 850WHP, destroying all 24 valves. The valves were literally sideways from hitting the pistons so hard. This puts slights marks on the top on the pistons, and make a dent in the head, but it does not destroy them. You clean them up when the head is off, and away you go. Also I find it very very very hard to believe your head was unusable. Simply remove the valves check the seats, and guides, put new valves in, and away you go. VAC is awesome at so many things, which is why I am confused this would take so long
 
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Erichale77

Lieutenant
Nov 14, 2016
827
446
30
Clearwater, FL
Ride
07 E92 coupe
Again, this makes no sense. I have lost crank hubs at 7000+RPM 850WHP, destroying all 24 valves. The valves were literally sideways from hitting the pistons so hard. This puts slights marks on the top on the pistons, and make a dent in the head, but it does not destroy them. You clean them up when the head is off, and away you go. Also I find it very very very hard to believe your head was unusable. Simply remove the valves check the seats, and guides, put new valves in, and away you go. VAC is awesome at so many things, which is why I am confused this would take so long
I agree on why its taking this long too. I was told that the lifters got smashed down into the bores (some of them) and they couldn't remove them. They also said (for the third time) that my coated bearings that they ordered arrived and Paul found a flaw in a few of them again so now i'm waiting for the 4th set of bearings. I have plenty of pics of damaged head and tops of pistons. I made a surprise visit there 2 weeks ago and boy were they surprised to see me. Went to look at the progress of my motor and apparently they had been taking my block to auto shows to show off new closed deck work. I've spent over 30 grand on both of these builds, I just want my motor back. It's been almost 2 years now. WTF?! And I hope they ordered the correct head studs from you like I requested.
 
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all4bspinnin

Corporal
Jun 12, 2017
168
92
0
Ride
135i TT
Was it pulling out timing in the cylinder that ate the rings? Or was it random across cylinders.

Pure curiosity...im chasing down a cyl5 miss but the cylinder isnt yanking tons of timing out. It feels like a spark/ign miss and *only* happens WOT above 6.5k RPMs. Its always cylinder 5 combustion misfire, no other codes accompany it. It's weird...

Hoping BL coils fixes it because I'm out of ideas otherwise

Try adjusting vanos. I've seen that clear up the persistant 5cyl timing correction.
 
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