• BMW 2.0 liter four cylinder N20 turbo motor already having issues? Head cracks under stress above 331 pound-feet of torque?

      Some interesting information was posted in the N20 section of the BimmerBoost BMW forums regarding the durability of the N20 motor. Now, the motor is becoming very popular and is winning multiple awards and rightfully so as it is currently the best factory 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder in production. The keyword there being factory as apparently it is not going to be a stout aftermarket tuning platform at least not yet. Take the information you are about to read as unconfirmed but from an interesting source.

      There are companies that stress test engines for OEM's. One of these companies has been testing the N20 apparently. The advice given is not to go beyond Stage 2 on the N20 which means a slightly more aggressive tune on the factory turbocharger. Why? The N20 head apparently cracks at around 331 pound-feet of torque. That is not exactly a whole lot of torque in the turbo tuning game especially considering the motor puts out an underrated 258 pound-feet from the factory.

      Apparently the engine is just running very hot and multiple heat cycles are creating problems. BMW behind the scenes is supposedly trying to correct the issue. For whatever reason BMW seems to have a reputation for problems with new motors. S54 bearings, S65 bearings, and the next BMW new motor issue looks to be the N20 head cracking.

      The story is that one of the lead designers and engineers for the N20 was flown out to the USA to inspect the findings for himself. It is doubtful BMW would do that unless there was something of substance to this. This same company also apparently tested other BMW motors including turbo motors such as the N54 and N55 when they were new and they did not run into these head issues.

      So what is going to happen? Well, right now it is not recommended for N20 owners to push their motors too far which they can't anyway as there are not aftermarket turbo options out just yet. BMW will likely resolve the problem with a new head which will mean for those with the N20 there will either be a recall or there will be a BMW part number option to get the new head. We will have to wait and see what happens but N20 owners should be aware of the potential issue especially if intending to tune as BMW is unlikely to say anything until they have to.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: N20 Owners started by VargasTurboTech View original post
      Comments 145 Comments
      1. DFM's Avatar
        DFM -
        Just picked up a 328i. Looking forward to seeing what upgrades become available.
      1. ModBargains.com's Avatar
        ModBargains.com -
        I need Vargas N20 Turbos on my F30 MSPORT 328i ASAP! Click here to enlarge

        -Frank
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ModBargains.com Click here to enlarge
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        I need Vargas N20 Turbos on my F30 MSPORT 328i ASAP! Click here to enlarge

        -Frank
        We are working on one. We will see how it goes..Click here to enlarge
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        Watch it, they have electric and vacuum turbos, according to the 5 N20's i've been screwing with at the shop......
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
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        Watch it, they have electric and vacuum turbos, according to the 5 N20's i've been screwing with at the shop......
        Ive seen both as well. I am assuming if you spoof the map signal the DME will just control the gate as it would if it still had the vacuum system. They are ditching the vacuum pumps, canisters, solenoids, etc. As running wires is easier than all that other crap. For these we would most likely send the turbos with no actuator and you would attach your appropriate version before sending your core in.
      1. morkusyambo's Avatar
        morkusyambo -
        Are there any inherent advantages to power delivery and/or reliability considering electric vs. vacuum turbos?

        What is the deal with BMW using different solenoids and turbo designs on a new car in less than a year?

        Was there any consistency regarding build dates and which had an electric vs. vacuum turbo?
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by morkusyambo Click here to enlarge
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        Are there any inherent advantages to power delivery and/or reliability considering electric vs. vacuum turbos?

        What is the deal with BMW using different solenoids and turbo designs on a new car in less than a year?

        Was there any consistency regarding build dates and which had an electric vs. vacuum turbo?
        I thought I had explained it in the last post, the logic they are using would seem to be to me, why run an entire vacuum system when you can run a couple wires and program control into the DME. No idea on anything else.
      1. nbrigdan's Avatar
        nbrigdan -
        Any updates on this? I'm sure a lot of people are highly anticipating this!
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by nbrigdan Click here to enlarge
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        Any updates on this? I'm sure a lot of people are highly anticipating this!
        We have the turbo out being test machined off the upgrade. But honestly we have received very little in the way of interest on the N20 stuff.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
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        We have the turbo out being test machined off the upgrade. But honestly we have received very little in the way of interest on the N20 stuff.
        Yeah it's still very early. That platform won't get going for another 2-3 years.
      1. fastgti69's Avatar
        fastgti69 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
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        We have the turbo out being test machined off the upgrade. But honestly we have received very little in the way of interest on the N20 stuff.
        Dont even worry about it man. In a couple of years as Sticky said it will get bigger. It's just like APR, they make it then a couple years later, everyone only trusts them.
      1. DFM's Avatar
        DFM -
        When my warranty is up I will be interested. Just gotta convince my other half that we need 450+ whp
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DFM Click here to enlarge
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        When my warranty is up I will be interested. Just gotta convince my other half that we need 450+ whp
        Just do it and don't tell her.
      1. chrisisnapping's Avatar
        chrisisnapping -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
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        We have the turbo out being test machined off the upgrade. But honestly we have received very little in the way of interest on the N20 stuff.
        i mean if you want to target a 4cyl audience, you may want to come back to VW, we're always looking for a quality upgrade.
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        someone lemme build them a N20 and see what happens Click here to enlarge
      1. nbrigdan's Avatar
        nbrigdan -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by fastgti69 Click here to enlarge
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        Dont even worry about it man. In a couple of years as Sticky said it will get bigger. It's just like APR, they make it then a couple years later, everyone only trusts them.
        +1
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by chrisisnapping Click here to enlarge
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        i mean if you want to target a 4cyl audience, you may want to come back to VW, we're always looking for a quality upgrade.
        Problem is, the market is already very crowded. Why we came to this platform to begin with is because of the very limited offerings out there for people.
      1. fastgti69's Avatar
        fastgti69 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
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        Problem is, the market is already very crowded. Why we came to this platform to begin with is because of the very limited offerings out there for people.
        Market is crowded, but no actual good solutions. You should make some type of EFR/GTX kit for that car like you did the N55.
      1. chrisisnapping's Avatar
        chrisisnapping -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
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        Problem is, the market is already very crowded. Why we came to this platform to begin with is because of the very limited offerings out there for people.
        not necessarily in the TSI market. As of right now only APR and CTS make BT kits (excluding ko4 and 1 hybrid offering). Of course, for the 2.0FSI and 1.8T markets, I couldn't agree more.

        Ideally you can get into the 3rd gen EA888 market (in current '14 cars), or the next gen which will be in the cars coming state side next year.
      1. VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by chrisisnapping Click here to enlarge
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        not necessarily in the TSI market. As of right now only APR and CTS make BT kits (excluding ko4 and 1 hybrid offering). Of course, for the 2.0FSI and 1.8T markets, I couldn't agree more.

        Ideally you can get into the 3rd gen EA888 market (in current '14 cars), or the next gen which will be in the cars coming state side next year.
        Give me some more info on the which models came with the TSI and who is currently making upgrades for it. I am not against trying to see what we can do.