Single Turbo Tuning Advice

Midshift

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Nov 30, 2017
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Hey all,

While I understand this topic has been beaten to death all over the internet, we all know that the platform is constantly evolving. With that said, I am looking to replace the twins sometime this summer and go with a mild single setup. I've tried to research the best I can, but there are still some technicalities that have me confused.

As for tuning options, I've heard of two main sources.

1) MHD + Boost Controller
2) JB4 + MAC Solenoid

Because I do only have MHD (no JB4) I would most likely stick with the first choice. With option one, is a MAC solenoid still needed? Would I simply just be running boost based on the controller, or will the MHD tune need to be adjusted for the boost levels through the controller. I'm assuming it's possible to upload a single turbo map based off of previous research -- but not quite sure how this is done. If someone could link me a resource that would be great!

Yes, of course, the car will get a custom tune in the foreseeable future after install. But, I don't mind running it on low boost or wastegate. Has anyone ran a specific box single turbo tune without issue? The goal is simply just 450-500whp on 93 pump. With that said, I would also assume that the LPFP would need to be replaced.

Would a single walbro 450 be sufficient for 450-500whp? Or would PI/TBI/ST2 Kit be needed?

Trying to keep goals realistic for a daily driver. Tired of wrenching on the twins. I just replaced the clutch with an IS/550i and understand that anything above 500 is pushing the edge. Just trying to understand the other components surrounding the single kit before I pull the trigger. Thanks!
 

Midshift

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Nov 30, 2017
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Picture of car for some sort of posting incentive to get you guys talking :tearsofjoy:
34347193_10204872407966178_7733275022323613696_n.jpg
 

suspenceful

700 HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
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For MHD only you will need a BoostBox (and possibly a Mac soleonid?).

I love my JB4 + MHD BEF + Mac solenoid setup.
 
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AZN54

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Nov 18, 2016
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You still need a mac solenoid while using Boostbox. I'm running a 4-port, most run 3-port; either is fine. There aren't any off-the-shelf ST flash only maps available through MHD like there are twins, so you'll want to have a tuner lined up and a base map ready to flash before startup. Your Walboro should be fine for 93 oct. I'm running e30 and mine started to dip a bit in higher rpm nearing 20psi. I recently upgraded to a DW400.

If your goal is to reduce wrenching time, I HIGHLY suggest going with a quality kit. Do not skimp out on this setup as it will create more issues during install and/or down the road. Also, even with 500whp goal, absolutely make sure your maintenance is up to date.
 

Midshift

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07 E92 335i
You still need a mac solenoid while using Boostbox. I'm running a 4-port, most run 3-port; either is fine. There aren't any off-the-shelf ST flash only maps available through MHD like there are twins, so you'll want to have a tuner lined up and a base map ready to flash before startup. Your Walboro should be fine for 93 oct. I'm running e30 and mine started to dip a bit in higher rpm nearing 20psi. I recently upgraded to a DW400.

If your goal is to reduce wrenching time, I HIGHLY suggest going with a quality kit. Do not skimp out on this setup as it will create more issues during install and/or down the road. Also, even with 500whp goal, absolutely make sure your maintenance is up to date.

Thank you AZN54! I am aware MHD does not have OTS maps for single kits, but was more or less curious if there are base maps I can download and run the car from there for a little bit. I've used TunerPro before, and understand that it is the primary tuning application for N54. As for maintenance, everything is up to date aside from the oil filter housing gasket, which is being done next oil change. :grinning:
 
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doublespaces

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Oct 18, 2016
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Thank you AZN54! I am aware MHD does not have OTS maps for single kits, but was more or less curious if there are base maps I can download and run the car from there for a little bit. I've used TunerPro before, and understand that it is the primary tuning application for N54. As for maintenance, everything is up to date aside from the oil filter housing gasket, which is being done next oil change. :grinning:

If you want to stay with Flash only, then as mentioned above you'll need a BoostBox and MAC. Our ECUs expect to be operating vacuum actuated wastegates, but (most) aftermarket turbos are paired with boost actuated wastegates. The vacuum solenoids used on our cars use a very high frequency, the boostbox does the translation so a normal boost solenoid like the MAC can understand and operate your TiAL wastegate for example.

So you'll need BoostBox and MAC solenoid. As for a base tune, perhaps contact MOTIV and they might give you a base file you can run wastegate only... But its never advisable to go boosting on the wastegate map. Just get a proper tune from the beginning or tune it yourself of course.
 
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Midshift

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If you want to stay with Flash only, then as mentioned above you'll need a BoostBox and MAC. Our ECUs expect to be operating vacuum actuated wastegates, but (most) aftermarket turbos are paired with boost actuated wastegates. The vacuum solenoids used on our cars use a very high frequency, the boostbox does the translation so a normal boost solenoid like the MAC can understand and operate your TiAL wastegate for example.

So you'll need BoostBox and MAC solenoid. As for a base tune, perhaps contact MOTIV and they might give you a base file you can run wastegate only... But its never advisable to go boosting on the wastegate map. Just get a proper tune from the beginning or tune it yourself of course.

Thank you for the advice! I wasn't aware that the OEM solenoids ran at a different frequency. This would, of course, make sense why people use the boost box as compared to traditional boost controllers. Perhaps the wastegate idea is dumb, but with taking cost into account on top of the price of the kit I was looking to see if there are alternatives. Most likely will brush up on TunerPro, especially in relation to the N54 platform, and plan to go that route.
 

Abacus38

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Nov 2, 2016
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As they say in the military do it right do it light do it wrong do it long. DONT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS! If you're already FBO you can realistically go single turbo for less then 3.5k if you used the on3 and sell you're FBO stuff. If you do go ON3 make sure you swap out the wastegate for a Tial or Turbosmart unit. The turbos are ok but the wastegates sucks. As far as tuning I'm partial to flash only( my jb4 experience was terrible) so I would recommend the Boostbox tuned by Motiv. As far as fuel pumps are concern depending on how healthy your stock fuel pump is you shouldn't need to upgrade if you're looking for 450-500whp on 93. However I can tell you now from personal experience you're going to want more. I went from only wanting 500whp on 93 to now running a full flex fuel setup and wanting over 650whp lol. Futhermore @BlueN54 made great thread on budget single turbo I suggest you take a look at it
https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/threads/complete-sub-3-000-single-turbo-swap.3359/
 

Midshift

Private
Nov 30, 2017
38
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Detroit
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07 E92 335i
As they say in the military do it right do it light do it wrong do it long. DONT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS! If you're already FBO you can realistically go single turbo for less then 3.5k if you used the on3 and sell you're FBO stuff. If you do go ON3 make sure you swap out the wastegate for a Tial or Turbosmart unit. The turbos are ok but the wastegates sucks. As far as tuning I'm partial to flash only( my jb4 experience was terrible) so I would recommend the Boostbox tuned by Motiv. As far as fuel pumps are concern depending on how healthy your stock fuel pump is you shouldn't need to upgrade if you're looking for 450-500whp on 93. However I can tell you now from personal experience you're going to want more. I went from only wanting 500whp on 93 to now running a full flex fuel setup and wanting over 650whp lol. Futhermore @BlueN54 made great thread on budget single turbo I suggest you take a look at it
https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/threads/complete-sub-3-000-single-turbo-swap.3359/

Just went over the whole thread. Exceptionally helpful! Thanks so much for the link!

The thread did spark a new question about the PCV system though. I had just upgraded to the RB PCV a couple of months ago. Is this sufficient or would it need to be deleted? If deleted, I am assuming a breather system will need to be put in place...?
 

AK135i

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Dec 13, 2016
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You have lots of options regarding A PVC set up. I currently am running a standard RB pcv on mt ST n54 with a bms occ, i plan on upgrading to vader solutions pcv delete kit here soon, as i randomly get puffs on smoke on decel, like once every few days.
Threads:
http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15382

https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/threads/pcv-poll.1831/

Products:

https://vadersolution.com/products/m50-52-obd1-valve-cover-breather-fitting?variant=8703940460635

https://vadersolution.com/products/vs-n54-pcv-delete-plug

https://www.rbturbo.com/rb-n54-external-pcv-kit


I ran the RB external pcv on my last st n54, it worked great, except i was emptying the can every 3-4 days it seemed. I just want to delete it now that theres enough data and reviews deleting it with Omar's kit. As of now since you already have a RB valve you don't NEED anything right off the bat, its sufficient to a point.
 

all4bspinnin

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Jun 12, 2017
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From a tuning perspective tuning directly via the stock ecu is always superior to anything jb4. Pick up a boost box and a mac valve. I can set everything up in the tune without having to set up the jb4 (even though its not difficult, its another step). 450 on pump is super easy. If you need any help with the tune, feel free to drop my a message.
 
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Torgus

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Nov 6, 2016
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I just installed an ACF 6466. Fit fine for the most part. Tuning now with mhd + boost box + motiv. Motiv had a base map ready adn the car fired up 1st try which was nice.
 

R.G.

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Nov 17, 2016
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Boostbox converts the mac solenoid signal for the DME. That was a huge leap forward in tuning for the N54 brought to us by the unrivaled nerd strength at Motiv. :hearteyes:
 

veer90

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Nov 16, 2016
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Everyone is in here recommending the boost box, how many have had issues? Real talk, none of the usual Motiv fanboy stuff.

I have their motor, it runs great. But I don't trust the boostbox. Even as recent as a month or so ago I see posts of someone who couldn't get it to work right and had to switch to an external boost controller.
 
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R.G.

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Nov 17, 2016
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I've been running since beta w zero issues but run a mild tune. I'll promote it cuz it's worked for me and had issues w unnamed piggyback. Whatever that's worth
 

Torgus

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Nov 6, 2016
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Everyone is in here recommending the boost box, how many have had issues? Real talk, none of the usual Motiv fanboy stuff.

I have their motor, it runs great. But I don't trust the boostbox. Even as recent as a month or so ago I see posts of someone who couldn't get it to work right and had to switch to an external boost controller.


3 weeks. Zero issues.
 

AZN54

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Nov 18, 2016
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Mesa, AZ
I've logged 1200 miles since installing the ST kit and BoostBox; no issues. I believe the majority of the issues were in the first version, but have since been resolved. I was hesitant about using it and thought about going back to a JB4 (had one with twins and changed to MHD OTS); I spoke with Wedge who confirmed great results with the new version. Thus far, I'm happy with the decision.
 
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BlueN54

Lurker
Jan 2, 2018
15
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e90 335i
As they say in the military do it right do it light do it wrong do it long. DONT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS! If you're already FBO you can realistically go single turbo for less then 3.5k if you used the on3 and sell you're FBO stuff. If you do go ON3 make sure you swap out the wastegate for a Tial or Turbosmart unit. The turbos are ok but the wastegates sucks. As far as tuning I'm partial to flash only( my jb4 experience was terrible) so I would recommend the Boostbox tuned by Motiv. As far as fuel pumps are concern depending on how healthy your stock fuel pump is you shouldn't need to upgrade if you're looking for 450-500whp on 93. However I can tell you now from personal experience you're going to want more. I went from only wanting 500whp on 93 to now running a full flex fuel setup and wanting over 650whp lol. Futhermore @BlueN54 made great thread on budget single turbo I suggest you take a look at it
https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/threads/complete-sub-3-000-single-turbo-swap.3359/
thanks for the tag man! just spreading the experience/knowledge!
 

Torgus

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Nov 6, 2016
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ACF 6466 E92 + METH
As they say in the military do it right do it light do it wrong do it long. DONT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS! If you're already FBO you can realistically go single turbo for less then 3.5k if you used the on3 and sell you're FBO stuff. If you do go ON3 make sure you swap out the wastegate for a Tial or Turbosmart unit. The turbos are ok but the wastegates sucks. As far as tuning I'm partial to flash only( my jb4 experience was terrible) so I would recommend the Boostbox tuned by Motiv. As far as fuel pumps are concern depending on how healthy your stock fuel pump is you shouldn't need to upgrade if you're looking for 450-500whp on 93. However I can tell you now from personal experience you're going to want more. I went from only wanting 500whp on 93 to now running a full flex fuel setup and wanting over 650whp lol. Futhermore @BlueN54 made great thread on budget single turbo I suggest you take a look at it
https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/threads/complete-sub-3-000-single-turbo-swap.3359/

once you replace the crap turbo and waste gate you are at the single turbo quality kits price range imo. With a better manifold.
 
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