X3 Sabine - Alpinweiss F25 Build Thread (N55)


Nov 23, 2018
Meet the fastest X3 in Denver! Probably Colorado too. This thread will serve as a jump off point for anyone interested in the details of my build.



Timeline & Pics (WIP):
  • Dec 2016: Learn that 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee (RIP) has rod knock, install subwoofer anyway
  • Dec 15, 2016: Buy some POS 2015 Jeep from Autonation, use it as an extended test-drive, return within 5 days (THANK GOD, I WOULDN"T BE HERE)
  • Dec 26, 2016 - 6,142 mi: Buy the thing, be amazed at the difference
    • Was a loaner car for the initial miles
  • Dec 30, 2016: Move Subwoofer from Jeep
  • Jan 20, 2017 - ~8,000 mi: BMS Filter (for that psh psh noise)
  • Mar 2017: Mountain Vacation(including some woofer install shots)
    • Got some light offroading in
    • Found my second favorite road (Frying Pan Rd. outside Basalt, CO)
  • Jun 2017: Move to Longmont (this is where mileage starts climbing)
  • Jul 29, 2017 - 21,051 mi: That time a paperclip made my run-flats useless
    • Couldn't repair the damage since it was in the sidewall
    • No, I'm not kidding. A f** paperclip. At least she was with good company at the tire shop
    • Upgraded to Toyo Proxes 4+, major difference!
  • Aug 27, 2017: That time I ran (TBA August 2020)
  • Sept 2017: Who doesn't like variety?
  • Oct 3, 2017 - 26,912 mi: Full de-badge
  • Oct-Dec 2017: Various Trips & Pics (Summit County, Denver)
  • Dec 14, 2017: Weisslicht turn signals
  • Dec 24, 2017: ///Merry Christmas
  • Dec 28, 2017: Cheers (burns a quart every 5000 mi)
  • Jan 11, 2018: Broadway
  • Jan 12, 2018: Squad Life- Remember the JB4'd E92? It turned into an F30 328i with custom paint!
    • This was terrifying for a number of reasons. Learned our lesson about snow tires. Kitty litter and rock salt helps for grip.
  • Jan-May 2018: Various Trips & Pics 2(Summit County, Cripple Creek, & Denver)
    • Found my favorite road (HWY 67)
  • April 24-25, 2018 - ~43,000 mi: Bootmod3 Stage 1
    • Turned my car into a brick for a day and a half because I didn't have a charger
    • Never blew the stock charge pipe
  • May 14, 2018: This came out of my exhaust, thank you burble tune
  • May 27-28, 2018: Pueblo -> Cripple Creek -> Buena Vista
  • May 31, 2018: The accident
    • Camry and I go past Ambulance on the highway, Camry decides to slam on brakes after we pass
    • ~$24K in damage
  • June-Aug 2018: No Sabine :(
  • Aug 3, 2018: She's back!
  • Aug-Sep 2018: Various Trips & Pics 3(Coal Creek, Buena Vista, Nederland, & Georgetown)
    • This car is seriously not bad for off-roading on the all seasons (Nederland)
    • Eventually had the driver side strut replaced under warranty for leaking
    • New license plate cause I somehow lost my old front plate
  • Sep 30, 2018: FTP Charge Pipe
    • Took 4 hours because I've never done more than an oil change on a car
    • Pulled it out through the top
  • Oct 2018: New toys
    • Preparing for the DP install
  • Oct-Nov 2018: Various Wraps
  • Dec 1-2, 2018: Downpipe
    • Turned into a 2 day job because the stock cat had stripped/stuck threads on the lower O2 sensor (sweet!)
    • Satisfying results
  • Dec 28-30, 2018: Detailing in an Apartment + Local Shoot
    • Using a hand pump sprayer takes a bit longer, but gets great results
  • Jan 6, 2019 - 50,933 mi: That time I changed the oil and my turbo died
    • Took down some Subies, put down probably 100 mi since the change, and boom goes the dynamite
    • Towed it to Schomp, at first they had no problem warrantying it
    • 4 days later they tell me that they cannot warranty it because of the DP
    • Tons of oil in the intercooler & exhaust, broken exhaust fin on turbo
    • Choices are:
      • New stock turbo from BMW - $10,000
      • New stock turbo installed by my guy - $2000
      • New PS2 installed by my guy - $4500
  • Feb 2, 2019: PS2 getting installed
    • Pure sent the wrong turbo for my chassis at first. When I contacted them, they over-nighted the right one, was pretty impressive
    • Metal bits from stock turbo bearings in downpipe
    • Difference is immediate even on the stock tune
    • Other parts like FTP boost pipe, DV+, FMIC were installed at this time
  • Feb 25, 2019: Thermostat & Coolant hose
    • Something wasn't fitting right, replaced both parts
    • Cleaned my belly pan. Now I check it weekly
  • Feb 28, 2019: AFe Pro Dry S replaces BMS intake
    • Already plenty of turbo noise
  • Mar 12, 2019: Smoke test @ Cryotune Performance
    • Found a significant boost leak, that solves why I can't hit targets!
    • Getting it fixed this week next month
  • April 9, 2019
    • Car back, boost leak not there, full custom inlet installed!
    • Going to adjust the wastegate and see what that gets me
  • May 10, 2019: Installed Custom CF Trim
    • This stuff is no joke
    • Made by Nelson Racing Wheel
    • Matching gas door in the works
  • May 14, 2019
    • Boost targets were weak due to a significant vacuum leak (exhaust flap did me dirty)
    • Fixed it and H O L Y S H I T B A L L S
    • Seems to have solved the burning oil issue somewhat
  • May 22, 2019: Dyno #1
    • First dyno at Cryotune Performance (Mustang dyno)
    • BM2 Stage 2H map not built for altitude, WGDC lower than it should be.
    • 336WHP peak
  • May 29, 2019: Dyno #2
    • Back at cryotune with a better map for the wastegate
    • 350whp peak, better AUC, really pleased considering this is an OTS tune without anything special
    • Cruised with Denver Auto Enthusiasts after, always an eclectic group!
    • Still burning an unnecessary amount of oil
  • June 5, 2019: New Valve Cover
    • Starting here to diagnose my oil consumption
    • Had some off throttle hiccups from time to time, this has eliminated those
    • Still burning a lot of oil, need to check downpipe & intercooler before I narrow this down to valve stems or piston rings
  • June 12, 2019: Bandi #1
    • First time, best time was 14.57
    • Heatsoak is real. From a cruise with cool IATs I can get under 13 from a dig. IATs were 130-140 before each pull and stayed there throughout.
    • Definitely have a lot of respect for those building fast dig cars, didn't realize how much goes into heat management alone
  • June 19, 2019: Anotha 1of1 Part + Bandi #2 + Another DAE Cruise
    • Picked up another part from Steven @ Nelson Racing Wheel
    • Next up are matching side markers and mirror caps, maybe an S55 engine cover if it fits?
    • Hit Bandimere again. Got 3 runs in this time, best was 14.37. Car definitely needs a CAI solution to break 14 and beyond.
  • July 12, 2019 - 54,368 mi: Changed oil
    • Moved from Rotella T6 to Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W-40
    • Realized my oil consumption is probably rotella related
    • Will keep driving on the MPPK tune for a couple weeks and watching levels
  • September 6, 2019: More CF Goodies from NRW
    • Small but powerful tweak to get rid of some chrome.
    • Matches the hex carbon theme I have started
  • October 21, 2019 - 56,900 mi: Changed Oil
    • Still rocking Pennzoil Platinum 5W-40, still burning a quart per 1000 miles
    • Enabled extreme cooling, seems to keep oil temps down enough to lower oil consumption
  • Dec 18, 2019: X5 50i Front Brake Upgrade
    • Rear brake sensors tripped, replaced everything all around and added stainless lines.
    • Calipers and adapter hardware made by hardparker
    • Had these calipers sitting in my garage for almost a year before they were installed
  • Jan 17, 2020: Blew Stock Motor
    • Expected based on the oil consumption issues
    • Will replace with a built motor, looking at ARB and Ghassan at the moment
  • Feb 21, 2020: New (used) Motor is in!
    • Work done by Bluewater Performance in Denver
    • New engine has 22,740 miles on it. I lucked out, it is from the exact same model and year of car, just 4 months newer
    • Going to put about 2K on it at the stock tune, ensure oil consumption is good and other issues do not come up
    • Also had the front strut brace installed, tranny/front diff serviced, and had Pilot Sport 3+ A/S put on. Take care of your toys!


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Nov 17, 2016
Henderson, NV
E92 335, F10 M5
Sweet. Like these uncommon builds. In because of Dec. 2016 timeline update. Need to find the mofo that stole your gas cap too.


Nov 23, 2018
Updated OP and timeline to present

Sweet. Like these uncommon builds. In because of Dec. 2016 timeline update. Need to find the mofo that stole your gas cap too.

No stolen gas cap, just ricey choices

Hey nice, I like the way these look but honestly never been in one.

They're great! Still feels nimble like a 3 series despite the size. I'm not a fan of the latest models in terms of styling but I'm sure they handle even better.
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Nov 23, 2018
Full custom interior trim by Steven Nelson of Nelson Racing Wheel. Also got his paddles fully installed and they feel SO solid. Currently he's working on a custom gas cap with the exact same material, but I expect it to take a bit since he's always got a huge backlog!

Installed only the dash piece since it pops in and out easily. This weekend I will get to the door pieces as well as the center console piece.




Nov 23, 2018
Installed VTT's crankcase breather since I am only burning oil at WOT and high RPM. My hope is that this will stop the oil burning without the complexity of a catch can (I know catch cans aren't that complex on N55's, but it keeps the bay cleaner to not have one).

Have to say I am impressed with the build quality of it, more of a VTT fan now. Should have a good idea whether this helps oil consumption after a few drives.


Nov 23, 2018
that interior trim piece is beautiful

does Steven plan to mass produce?

He does a lot of one offs, but the interior parts need a base (I used the cheap plastic trim that comes with base models, he puts real CF over the top after prepping it). We have talked about him producing an Alpina spec rear diffuser for this car, but his development is mostly for the 1/3 series and Corvettes, GTRs, Audis.

His new site is up here, should be able to order whatever you need: https://www.nelsonracingwheel.com/
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Nov 2, 2017
135i N55 DCT; PS2
Sorry to hear about your motor. Were you running an OTS tune? Any logs of how she was running?


Nov 23, 2018
What? No! How'd you do that? How bad? Pics!

I think some of those chunks are me. Was a pretty routine 3rd/4th gear pull onto the highway, probably happened between 5K and 6K RPM.

Sorry to hear about your motor. Were you running an OTS tune? Any logs of how she was running?

BM3 Stage 2, so only about 400WHP. No logs from the moment but my most recent is here, no real signs of failure until the moment.

How did you blow the motor on the stock turbo?

PS2 turbo, I was waiting for this to happen after the way the stock turbo went last year: sent a couple quarts of oil through the intake when the CHRA grenaded and she has been burning oil in an unsolvable way since. Last night, motor wouldn't turn over and the noises were pretty nasty before it shutdown completely.
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Nov 2, 2017
135i N55 DCT; PS2
Well she is going to be even better with a built motor. Would love to hear what route you take once you have it all figured out.

Finally had a chance to look at the log. I didn't know bootmod3 had an OTS map for the PS2. I am not super familiar with bootmod3, but it looks like your boost is around 10-11psi at redline but the target is supposed to be closer to 17? Do you use 91 octane?


Jan 23, 2018
I'm still holding out hope that it's just your turbo that's toast. I've killed two PS2s on my X3 at our 5,500 foot altitude.
Houtan, the mild wgdc on the ots tune, combined with the altitude, yields the boost deficit in the upper RPM.
If you need to rebuild it, I'd be inclined to go with @GhassanAutomotive . They're just over in Oklahoma and seem to be very experienced in BMW motor rebuilds at reasonable prices. You could flatbed your car there and drive it home. Maybe with a built motor and BigBoost 3.4?
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