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    • Custom built motor E46 330 M54 turbo completed with Nick G tuning - 414 whp at 10.5 psi

      This car belongs to user bluejeansonfire. The car is an E46 330ci with an M54 that has been custom built. It features 8.5:1 wiseco pistons, eagle rods, and a JBR valvetrain including the heads, springs, and retainers. Schrick 252/256 cams are used with a hta3582r turbo feeding a 3.5 inch exhaust. It is nice to see a built M54 turbo application but this is only putting up slightly higher numbers than the Technique Tuning Stage 2 setup does on the stock internals. We look forward to seeing what this can do with the boost turned up!







      This article was originally published in forum thread: Custom built motor E46 330 M54 turbo completed and tuned by Nick G - 414 whp at 10.5 psi started by Sticky View original post
      Comments 81 Comments
      1. DLV-Engineering's Avatar
        DLV-Engineering -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        That is quite a compliment. I am looking forward to seeing the M54 really taken to the next level and in particular how it stacks up to the M50/M52.
        I will be trying to do that within the year or so. In house built M54(sleeved and all), ported head, custom intake manifold etc.

        I would like to see 800ish WHP, but who knows =/

        Seems right now bluejeansonfire is on the right track with his build. I'l like to see his turbo maxed out and what that engine can do.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DLV-Engineering Click here to enlarge
        I will be trying to do that within the year or so. In house built M54(sleeved and all), ported head, custom intake manifold etc.

        I would like to see 800ish WHP, but who knows =/

        Seems right now bluejeansonfire is on the right track with his build. I'l like to see his turbo maxed out and what that engine can do.
        I hope you have deep pockets.

        A good piston package, rods, crank, and block work will be over $10k just for the bottom end. It's really easy to spend another $15k on a solid top end, $5k on cooling, and $5k on fuel system. Proper stand-alone EMS and wiring will be in the $15k area.

        Turbo stuff...I won't even post here.

        Then you need a drivetrain that will handle this, which I've posted elseware how that can add up to $20k really fast.

        We haven't even touched chassis or suspension yet...which can dwarf the numbers above to do it right to handle that kind of power. For example, my 330Ci chassis had over 200hrs billed to me by the chassis builder, and I was working with him a lot of the time which substantially cut down on costs. Materials costs....holy crap!!

        I look forward to your build thread.
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        When Mr PEI330Ci comments on a thread it shows that you have to pay attention to that thread.
        and Julio Good luck with your car
      1. mpoweroo1's Avatar
        mpoweroo1 -
        Damn Julio, your getting Krunk on this project!
      1. DLV-Engineering's Avatar
        DLV-Engineering -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        I hope you have deep pockets.

        A good piston package, rods, crank, and block work will be over $10k just for the bottom end. It's really easy to spend another $15k on a solid top end, $5k on cooling, and $5k on fuel system. Proper stand-alone EMS and wiring will be in the $15k area.

        Turbo stuff...I won't even post here.

        Then you need a drivetrain that will handle this, which I've posted elseware how that can add up to $20k really fast.

        We haven't even touched chassis or suspension yet...which can dwarf the numbers above to do it right to handle that kind of power. For example, my 330Ci chassis had over 200hrs billed to me by the chassis builder, and I was working with him a lot of the time which substantially cut down on costs. Materials costs....holy crap!!

        I look forward to your build thread.
        I'm looking forward to it also.
      1. Itsbrokeagain's Avatar
        Itsbrokeagain -
        Me three.


        Just a bit OT here but $15k into the head build? And people here $#@! about $4k being too much for headwork.

        I think I priced out mine with a cam and all, with machine shop labor to be in the $3800 range....and I have 12 less valves and one less cam O_o
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Matt@Camber-Toe Click here to enlarge
        And people here $#@! about $4k being too much for headwork.
        Hold on, not people here, children who can't get that much cash out of their parents, that is who.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Matt@Camber-Toe Click here to enlarge
        Just a bit OT here but $15k into the head build? And people here $#@! about $4k being too much for headwork.
        I'll break that down a little bit:

        A properly designed and built intake manifold will run about $5k

        A properly designed valvetrain (Cams,lifters, springs, hardware, valves) will also run about $5k

        That leaves you $5k to figure out the porting, machine work, and assembly. FYI, just setting valve lash with solid lifters is going to run you over $1k in labor/machine work.

        Now go actually do it...and you'll find my numbers aren't at the far end of the scale.

        In contrast, the port work I'm currently working on involves multiple ported heads, massive amounts of flow bench work, Ferro arm scanning into CAD, CNC setup work, and a minimum production run just to get on a machine. If "kids" complain about $4k, they'll run home to Daddy crying with my numbers....
      1. m54b25's Avatar
        m54b25 -
        Well, not sure if it's a good analogy... It's like they didn't get enough free breast milk when they were kids to man up & just keep crying. But, thanks to all of those that understand the process of getting things done rite & where the money ends up going into R&D time.
      1. DLV-Engineering's Avatar
        DLV-Engineering -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        I'll break that down a little bit:

        A properly designed and built intake manifold will run about $5k

        A properly designed valvetrain (Cams,lifters, springs, hardware, valves) will also run about $5k

        That leaves you $5k to figure out the porting, machine work, and assembly. FYI, just setting valve lash with solid lifters is going to run you over $1k in labor/machine work.

        Now go actually do it...and you'll find my numbers aren't at the far end of the scale.

        In contrast, the port work I'm currently working on involves multiple ported heads, massive amounts of flow bench work, Ferro arm scanning into CAD, CNC setup work, and a minimum production run just to get on a machine. If "kids" complain about $4k, they'll run home to Daddy crying with my numbers....
        What PEI330Ci is saying is very true. The R&D is not cheap, after the R&D is done and perfected then you can buy the proper products for your neccesities at a reasonable cost. Thats where the money is made back, then turned into a profit for most companies.

        The figure you are giving is true but more geared for someone off the streets who doesn't know what they're doing and just wants a fast car. You can cut that down by more than half if you don't have to pay someone to design things for you or do the work for you. But that also depends on your knowledge and resources.

        For instance, this is my case:

        A properly designed mainfold runs me roughly $700-$800 in parts, design work is a no brainer with the tools and knowledge I have access too... I have a TIG also and know how to use it. So that cuts the $5k down to $1200 or less for me. In other works. DIY.

        Valvetrain. I see no need for springs or yadaya bs if you're not going to be turning the motor past 7K, the stock stuff will work just fine. Thats what it was designed for.

        I can go spend $1k on SuperTech valves & springs. But there really is no need. I MAY get the SuperTech springs just for the sake of having them. Now, for 800HP, that engine may need to be revved to 8-9K, also depends on the head work. If the head work if right, the engine will want to rev higher, then in that case I would possibly need valvetrain work.

        As far as assembly, I do it all myself. Its not rocket sicence. Especially when you have all the tooling to do it and the experience.

        On to porting, for me is practiaclly free because my very close friend(by friend I mean, he will get out bed and pick me up from the middle of no where at 3am) does that for a living and is very well respected and knows what he's doing. Plus if the head is amazing, digitizing only runs $1000 and the head work that has been done is now leagally only his. Anytime a head needs to be done, just send one in, $500 gets it CNC'ed and out the door you can sell it for a reasonable price.

        The M54 head flows great out of the box, and with a good head guy on one, they should work wonders. Best part is, I have access a flow bench, venutri tubes, flow balls etc to do testing with and someone who's been doing that type of work for over 16 years.

        So back to your earlier post of pricing.

        Bottom end is roughly $6000. Includes sleevs, pistons/rods, bearings, main cap bolts, and machine work. I don't see $10k unless someone is doing the work for you entirely.

        Head runs about $2300 with cams, springs, valves and port work from my friend(add $1k for port work if you're coming from the streets not knowing him)

        Turbo stuff runs about the $4-5K range with everything. Once again, I'll do all the fabricating and design work(thats the money saver)

        Now, $5k on cooling? Come on. For real? It won't cost more than $1500 with oil cooling if you know how to fabricate and source your own things and buying high quality parts.

        $5K on a fuel system is also out of the roof(even with a fuel cell). I spent $1550 between twin Denso pumps, lines, fittings, rail and injectors. They'll support over 1000HP on E85, so even more on gasolines.

        $15k on an EMS and harness? DTA S100 is $1650, I can build the complete harness for under $500 that'll pass FAA cert if need be. No need to run $8k Motecs and that nonsense. I really dont see $15K there, even with me paying someone to tune it.

        Drivetrain I can see $20K on a car like the one you built, which I may add was a beautiful machine. But my car will be to do some 1/4 mile passes and highway running, so M5 diff and axles, and I will have a drive shaft made but a reputable driveshaft shop down here(roughly $2K) For a trans/clutch I' can use my 5 speed or get a 6 speed from an E46 M3 and run a twin or triple plate clutch set up($5000K with an M3 trans if I need) So $7k in total. I can built trans and diff bracing myself so just add the cost of materials.

        And factor in like $1k on misc stuff.

        So, I can and do see the figures you state for a person who has never done this before, or a comapny doing R&D. But for me what I stated is what its going to roughly run is about $26550.

        So we've gone from $80k(assuming you say $10K for the turbo stuff) down to $26550 by DIY and knowing what to do, so that saves me $53350. Its all possible, just need the right connections and all that.

        No I know if the car gets stupid fast, a cage will need to be built. =/ Fully caged E39 anyone?

        I'm glad you did point out the cost of R&D for high quality parts. So people can know whats involved.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DLV-Engineering Click here to enlarge
        What PEI330Ci is saying is very true. The R&D is not cheap, after the R&D is done and perfected then you can buy the proper products for your neccesities at a reasonable cost. Thats where the money is made back, then turned into a profit for most companies.

        The figure you are giving is true but more geared for someone off the streets who doesn't know what they're doing and just wants a fast car. You can cut that down by more than half if you don't have to pay someone to design things for you or do the work for you. But that also depends on your knowledge and resources.

        For instance, this is my case:

        A properly designed mainfold runs me roughly $700-$800 in parts, design work is a no brainer with the tools and knowledge I have access too... I have a TIG also and know how to use it. So that cuts the $5k down to $1200 or less for me. In other works. DIY.

        Valvetrain. I see no need for springs or yadaya bs if you're not going to be turning the motor past 7K, the stock stuff will work just fine. Thats what it was designed for.

        I can go spend $1k on SuperTech valves & springs. But there really is no need. I MAY get the SuperTech springs just for the sake of having them. Now, for 800HP, that engine may need to be revved to 8-9K, also depends on the head work. If the head work if right, the engine will want to rev higher, then in that case I would possibly need valvetrain work.

        As far as assembly, I do it all myself. Its not rocket sicence. Especially when you have all the tooling to do it and the experience.

        On to porting, for me is practiaclly free because my very close friend(by friend I mean, he will get out bed and pick me up from the middle of no where at 3am) does that for a living and is very well respected and knows what he's doing. Plus if the head is amazing, digitizing only runs $1000 and the head work that has been done is now leagally only his. Anytime a head needs to be done, just send one in, $500 gets it CNC'ed and out the door you can sell it for a reasonable price.

        The M54 head flows great out of the box, and with a good head guy on one, they should work wonders. Best part is, I have access a flow bench, venutri tubes, flow balls etc to do testing with and someone who's been doing that type of work for over 16 years.

        So back to your earlier post of pricing.

        Bottom end is roughly $6000. Includes sleevs, pistons/rods, bearings, main cap bolts, and machine work. I don't see $10k unless someone is doing the work for you entirely.

        Head runs about $2300 with cams, springs, valves and port work from my friend(add $1k for port work if you're coming from the streets not knowing him)

        Turbo stuff runs about the $4-5K range with everything. Once again, I'll do all the fabricating and design work(thats the money saver)

        Now, $5k on cooling? Come on. For real? It won't cost more than $1500 with oil cooling if you know how to fabricate and source your own things and buying high quality parts.

        $5K on a fuel system is also out of the roof(even with a fuel cell). I spent $1550 between twin Denso pumps, lines, fittings, rail and injectors. They'll support over 1000HP on E85, so even more on gasolines.

        $15k on an EMS and harness? DTA S100 is $1650, I can build the complete harness for under $500 that'll pass FAA cert if need be. No need to run $8k Motecs and that nonsense. I really dont see $15K there, even with me paying someone to tune it.

        Drivetrain I can see $20K on a car like the one you built, which I may add was a beautiful machine. But my car will be to do some 1/4 mile passes and highway running, so M5 diff and axles, and I will have a drive shaft made but a reputable driveshaft shop down here(roughly $2K) For a trans/clutch I' can use my 5 speed or get a 6 speed from an E46 M3 and run a twin or triple plate clutch set up($5000K with an M3 trans if I need) So $7k in total. I can built trans and diff bracing myself so just add the cost of materials.

        And factor in like $1k on misc stuff.

        So, I can and do see the figures you state for a person who has never done this before, or a comapny doing R&D. But for me what I stated is what its going to roughly run is about $26550.

        So we've gone from $80k(assuming you say $10K for the turbo stuff) down to $26550 by DIY and knowing what to do, so that saves me $53350. Its all possible, just need the right connections and all that.

        No I know if the car gets stupid fast, a cage will need to be built. =/ Fully caged E39 anyone?

        I'm glad you did point out the cost of R&D for high quality parts. So people can know whats involved.
        DLV,

        Very well put together post. I enjoyed reading that.

        I gave examples of what I believe is necessary to make 800rwhp with an M54, and I was being generous not including a number of necessary items. There are certainly other ways to do it, but not everyone is in that boat. I can also tell you from personal experience that a number of things you've listed just won't cut it. You'll have to spend more to prevent failure at this power level.

        Take your sleeved block, and you'll find you will need to install 11mm head studs to keep the head down with 500rwtq. (I've calculated this out BTW based on hold-down strength of the fastener, and peak calculated cylinder pressure times area of the combustion chamber dome) With 500rwtq, you will have to spin the engine over 8000 RPM to make 800rwhp. (15% drop in torque from peak torque to peak power RPM) The OEM M54 oil system will destroy itself at these RPMs, you will quite simply need a dry sump.

        Another thing is that you'll need a substantially more robust wrist pin on the piston, both for compression pressure, and the acceleration forces on the piston from these RPMs. This wrist pin+piston combo is actually heavier than OEM, and off the shelf aftermarket rods won't last long at the RPMs required with this kind of weight. (I contacted manufacturers, and they said no-go) The result: You need a custom rod which is designed for the application. Guess the price range.

        I have lots of other examples from designing and building the ultimate M54B30 engine. For example getting an OEM crank mallory balanced for the new rods/pistons to run above 8000 RPM is a very expensive job. It's not the labor or machine time that's expensive, it's the mallory. Want to nitride the crank? Holy crap!

        While I appreciate your detailed response, I can tell you my list is based on a fist full of receipts from actually doing it. Some was for the 330Ci, some was for other cars I was directly involved with, and some is for the rebuild of the 330Ci.

        Whatever the case, even $27,000 is more than most can stomach, so I honestly enjoyed seeing someone realistically account for those funds, and also appreciate where $80k can go.
      1. DLV-Engineering's Avatar
        DLV-Engineering -
        PEI,

        I did forget the studing of the block. I believe I was going to be using studs meant for a Supra 12mm.

        So whats the issue with the oiling system? Is it the design or a flaw in the materials? I have an M54 here I'm soon going to be tearing down and analizing the engine.

        I almost have to disagree with you on the wrist pin theory, but if I am wrong by all means correct me, the more we learn the more we benifit from one another.

        I would believe some billet chromoly steel con rods with ARP2000's would hold fine past 800HP, and custom rods run me about $1600 from a guy who's done rods for my odd ball projects like my turbo Isuzu truck.

        The piston and wrist pin from JE should be fine, my friend who does the cylinder heads is good buddies with Nick from JE Pistons, so in other words the right piston and pin combo is a call away. I'm actaully going over that way in a few to check out some stuff. I'll have a chat with him.

        I will be tearing down an M54 and pretty much doing what you did, analizing the heck out of it and comparing your findings with mine. Also I'm going to have the cylinder head done, maybe we can both share experiences from those and see how things turn out.

        Any info and issues you've had that you'd be kind enough to share with me will be greatly appreciated. I enjoy learning.

        So whats the next step for your build? I believe you had a TT turbo kit on a 330 last I saw?
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DLV-Engineering Click here to enlarge
        PEI,

        I did forget the studing of the block. I believe I was going to be using studs meant for a Supra 12mm.

        So whats the issue with the oiling system? Is it the design or a flaw in the materials? I have an M54 here I'm soon going to be tearing down and analizing the engine.

        I almost have to disagree with you on the wrist pin theory, but if I am wrong by all means correct me, the more we learn the more we benifit from one another.

        I would believe some billet chromoly steel con rods with ARP2000's would hold fine past 800HP, and custom rods run me about $1600 from a guy who's done rods for my odd ball projects like my turbo Isuzu truck.

        The piston and wrist pin from JE should be fine, my friend who does the cylinder heads is good buddies with Nick from JE Pistons, so in other words the right piston and pin combo is a call away. I'm actaully going over that way in a few to check out some stuff. I'll have a chat with him.

        I will be tearing down an M54 and pretty much doing what you did, analizing the heck out of it and comparing your findings with mine. Also I'm going to have the cylinder head done, maybe we can both share experiences from those and see how things turn out.

        Any info and issues you've had that you'd be kind enough to share with me will be greatly appreciated. I enjoy learning.

        So whats the next step for your build? I believe you had a TT turbo kit on a 330 last I saw?
        There's a difference between my perspective, and many others. I know this, and I certainly don't think anything less of people that question it as I don't mind explaining and sharing.

        Probably the biggest difference between where I am right now with the M54, and where I was back in 2006, is that I look to prove something will work before I actually build it or use it. In other words, a bit more engineering, and in the case of custom con rods, FEA. That costs....to get a qualified engineer to run through your engine program and design a part to your specifications. My specifications have changed since 2006 from "it should work", to "it will not fail under these operating conditions". Using a wrist pin as an example, I went directly to Precision and told them what I was doing and asked for an appropriate part. Now admitedly what they specified and sold to me looks more like a Top Fuel wrist pin....but when you look at the operating conditions, I can understand why they did this. BTW, this particular example cost about the same as many spend on an entire piston set. But again....it's a no-fail solution.

        M54B30s are notorious for harmonics, and oil pump failures. Back in 2007 I did a lot of digging on the topic....and eventually in 2008 approached ATI to build a custom damper for the M54B30. It took a few months of back and forth using data I got from discussions with many people. (A guy that I will only refer to as Mike did an FEA of the S52B32/M54B30 crank and found that harmonics were a huge issue) So in late summer 2008 version #1 of this damper came out. Now parallel to my engine program, another guy completely unknown to me at the time was thinking and doing the same thing. He ended up having ATI build version #2 for the M54B30, and more recently a version #3 has been done for a Group Buy on another forum. (I bought one for my 330i street car BTW) The guy (Karl) with version #2 ended up going on to make 348rwhp Naturally Aspirated with an M54B30 turning just over 8000 RPM. Anyway, getting back to the harmonics issue, the M54B30 was run in Koni Challenge cars for years with all kinds of failures. Keep in mind the RPMs were under 7000, with most tracks seeing under 6500 on the back straights. (Teams ran strict shift points for their drivers of just over 6000RPM to keep the engine alive...and because there just isn't power above there in N/A form) Failures on these cars included sheered off oil pump shafts, oil pump chain failures, timing chain failures, and even the timing wheel on the back of the crank exploding. The solution was to run the BMW Motorsport oil pump system, or run a dry sump system. The former is $3k available through TMS and all BMW dealerships that sell motorsport parts, and the latter is a $6k-$8k option to do it right.

        I'm sure there are ways of doing all this cheaper, but I can tell you from having very strong industry connections, and having race teams contact ME for advice, it's just expensive to run M54s well outside of their design envelope.

        As far as cylinder heads go, there just no way you can port a single head and have it all figured out. I know of race teams with very deep pockets that kept trying things, and finding things. There's a reason why there's R&D. Now I quite easily could have sent a head to a reputable shop and had it done, and that would be the end of it....but my experience in the profesional racing environment has taught me otherwise. There's more to be learned...so why not try a whole bunch of heads, scan them, and figure out which port design does what, and apply that port to the application you have. Scanning 1 cylinder head for CNC work isn't that big of a deal, scanning whole bunch....well that's where it get's really really pricey. And while I have industry connections, I understand that a guy's best work is on the clock with a good set of instructions. Something else that many don't realize about heads, and the M54 specifically, is that there is "casting drift". There are different castings with the same port and chamber design, but the wall thicknesses vary. The port you design on one head, may not work on another.....and it sucks to find that out by having a wall crack and fill a cylinder with water. There is so much more to the story of making 800rwhp with an M54B30 than people know.....

        The 330i street car is getting the Technique Tuning stage 2+ treatment. Stage 1 just whet my appitite. I'll probably post a build thread for it up here later this spring.

        Having 2 project cars is really time consuming....
      1. McSpeed's Avatar
        McSpeed -
        Great read, guys!
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by McSpeed Click here to enlarge
        Great read, guys!
        You might notice I'm parking the "Good stuff" on this forum now....like the M54 cylinder head data....
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        You might notice I'm parking the "Good stuff" on this forum now....like the M54 cylinder head data....
        You might notice we appreciate it Click here to enlarge

        So far we have done a good job keeping the riff raff out and the quality info / members in.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        You might notice we appreciate it Click here to enlarge

        So far we have done a good job keeping the riff raff out and the quality info / members in.
        I have noticed that.
      1. bluejeansonfire's Avatar
        bluejeansonfire -
        I've talked about this, but I've been lazy to share. So here's my fabrication adventure:

        e46nonM diff upgrade

        I also added some pics that well illustrate the difference in output shafts, which are one of the main reasons why I chose to go big-diff. The benefits are significant: bigger output shaft, bigger ring and pinion, stock rebuildable clutch-type LSD, supports tougher halfshafts.

        e46nonM output flange comparison

        what was involved in this: new wheel speed sensors, new diff, new subframe, new axles, new driveshaft... and by 'new' I mean new to me, as in at least one of these parts is roughly as old as I am.

        ...and while i was at it, I got new hubs and bearings for good measure..
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bluejeansonfire Click here to enlarge
        ...and while i was at it, I got new hubs and bearings for good measure..
        Is that a pun?
      1. bluejeansonfire's Avatar
        bluejeansonfire -
        the kind of good measure that sends your head through the wall after 500 good whacks