• 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 -
        Hows it coming out?
      1. MC330CI's Avatar
        MC330CI -
        It's a pleasure reading this thread!!! What a difference it makes when you have bright and well mannered individuals on a thread. Great environment for those wanting to learn!!!!

        I'm running on Nick's Stage II+ kit on my 01 330ci and I'm just loving it. Currently waiting on the right time to upgrade my exhaust as I'm tired of blowing off the CAT on every hard pass...LOL.

        One issue that I'm trying to address right now is the build up of oil in the inter-cooler. I'm in the process of retrofitting an oil catch can and hope this will help the situation. Have you guys experienced the same with your setups?

        Julio, how's your progress man? Amazing to see where your at compared to a couple years back. Awesome work!!!

        Mike
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        It's a pleasure reading this thread!!! What a difference it makes when you have bright and well mannered individuals on a thread. Great environment for those wanting to learn!!!!
        I'm not bragging or anything, but, quoted for truth.

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        I'm running on Nick's Stage II+ kit on my 01 330ci and I'm just loving it. Currently waiting on the right time to upgrade my exhaust as I'm tired of blowing off the CAT on every hard pass...LOL.
        Why not just remove the cat for now or hollow it out?

        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        One issue that I'm trying to address right now is the build up of oil in the inter-cooler. I'm in the process of retrofitting an oil catch can and hope this will help the situation. Have you guys experienced the same with your setups?
        I have no experience with an OCC on the M54 but that should help I would think. If not, may be indicative of something else or something more serious.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        One issue that I'm trying to address right now is the build up of oil in the inter-cooler. I'm in the process of retrofitting an oil catch can and hope this will help the situation. Have you guys experienced the same with your setups?
        Mike,

        Are you also finding your MAF needs to be cleaned often?

        Great to hear you continue to enjoy your Stage 2+.
      1. MC330CI's Avatar
        MC330CI -
        Hey guys thanks for the quick reply.

        Sticky,

        In terms of the CAT, like you said the easiest option for now maybe to just remove it. How do you hollow out a cat by the way?

        PEI330CI

        I am getting the Brake/DSC/ and Triangle indicators under cruising conditions. I'm having to throw her in neutral and power cycling ( EE term ;0) ) in order to reset the error code and get her out of limp mode. I'm hoping this is a MAF sensor indicator - I can't say for sure since my OBDII meter only indicates the missing secondary air pump that I removed during the upgrade, but no bad MAF sensor codes.

        Nick mentioned that it could either be Oil in the system or a vac leak. During the build I did see oil pooled on both sides of the inter-cooler. I'm also getting oil seeping between the bearing insert and compressor housing as well, so I'm thinking the blow by oil may be the issue. When I removed the MAF sensor I did see a little oil residue on the MAF, but nothing massive. After cleaning it, it did help alleviate the car from going into limp mode. Assuming that this is the issue I purchased an Oil Catch Can from 42draftdesigns and I'm hoping this will help prevent blow by from entering the intake side.

        Although the oil from the inter-cooler wasn't removed, I would have expected the error code to have returned after some time and not soon after the clean. I believe it popped back up after a day or so....not sure that makes sense. This is starting to occur on a daily basis now, so its starting to become annoying.

        The other possibility is a vac leak some where between the MAF and the Throttle body. I've searched and couldn't isolate anything that looked abnormal - there aren't many areas for a leak to pop up between these two components. If a leak was present in the intake manifold would the same indicators pop up as well I wonder?

        This weekend I'll be heading to Nick's shop, so hopefully he'll be able to pull more information from the DME, so we can get to the bottom of this issue.

        Thanks for listening guys - I'll keep you guys posted on the situation.

        -Mike
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        How do you hollow out a cat by the way?
        Any muffler shop should be capable of this. It involved just removing all the material inside, so it ends up being just a pipe.
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        PEI330CI

        I am getting the Brake/DSC/ and Triangle indicators under cruising conditions. I'm having to throw her in neutral and power cycling ( EE term ;0) ) in order to reset the error code and get her out of limp mode. I'm hoping this is a MAF sensor indicator - I can't say for sure since my OBDII meter only indicates the missing secondary air pump that I removed during the upgrade, but no bad MAF sensor codes.

        Nick mentioned that it could either be Oil in the system or a vac leak. During the build I did see oil pooled on both sides of the inter-cooler. I'm also getting oil seeping between the bearing insert and compressor housing as well, so I'm thinking the blow by oil may be the issue. When I removed the MAF sensor I did see a little oil residue on the MAF, but nothing massive. After cleaning it, it did help alleviate the car from going into limp mode. Assuming that this is the issue I purchased an Oil Catch Can from 42draftdesigns and I'm hoping this will help prevent blow by from entering the intake side.

        Although the oil from the inter-cooler wasn't removed, I would have expected the error code to have returned after some time and not soon after the clean. I believe it popped back up after a day or so....not sure that makes sense. This is starting to occur on a daily basis now, so its starting to become annoying.

        The other possibility is a vac leak some where between the MAF and the Throttle body. I've searched and couldn't isolate anything that looked abnormal - there aren't many areas for a leak to pop up between these two components. If a leak was present in the intake manifold would the same indicators pop up as well I wonder?

        This weekend I'll be heading to Nick's shop, so hopefully he'll be able to pull more information from the DME, so we can get to the bottom of this issue.

        Thanks for listening guys - I'll keep you guys posted on the situation.

        -Mike
        Mike,

        Nick will be able to help diagnose your engine problems for sure. While not likely to be related at all to your Turbo kit, he'll have the experience and the tools to sort out what's going on.

        Regarding the oil in your inter-cooler: Nick has been very helpful explaining the cause to me, as I've heard of this in other custom installations as well. You are getting "blow-by" past the piston rings which is pressurizing the crank case and making it hard for the turbo to drain back it's lubrication oil. Basically, the oil is getting pushed from both the top (feed oil) and bottom (drain pipe back to the oil pan) of the center housing and it has no where else to go but out past the turbine shaft seals.

        For those that may be having this issue with a custom turbo application, there are a couple of solutions to consider:

        • Remove the OEM crank-case breather system, and install an external oil catch can system
        • Install an oil scavenging pump that will suck oil out of the turbo, and force it into the oil pan
        • Rebuild the engine to eliminate the piston ring blow-by issue
        • Install a vacuum pump system on the crankcase/oil pan
        • Install a dry sump oil system


        Increasing the size of the oil drain from the turbo, or raising the turbo position to increase the "gravity feed" effect will not solve a piston ring blow-by issue which causes oil to leak into the cold side of the turbo.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        PEI330CI

        I am getting the Brake/DSC/ and Triangle indicators under cruising conditions. I'm having to throw her in neutral and power cycling ( EE term ;0) ) in order to reset the error code and get her out of limp mode. I'm hoping this is a MAF sensor indicator - I can't say for sure since my OBDII meter only indicates the missing secondary air pump that I removed during the upgrade, but no bad MAF sensor codes.

        Nick mentioned that it could either be Oil in the system or a vac leak. During the build I did see oil pooled on both sides of the inter-cooler. I'm also getting oil seeping between the bearing insert and compressor housing as well, so I'm thinking the blow by oil may be the issue. When I removed the MAF sensor I did see a little oil residue on the MAF, but nothing massive. After cleaning it, it did help alleviate the car from going into limp mode. Assuming that this is the issue I purchased an Oil Catch Can from 42draftdesigns and I'm hoping this will help prevent blow by from entering the intake side.

        Although the oil from the inter-cooler wasn't removed, I would have expected the error code to have returned after some time and not soon after the clean. I believe it popped back up after a day or so....not sure that makes sense. This is starting to occur on a daily basis now, so its starting to become annoying.

        The other possibility is a vac leak some where between the MAF and the Throttle body. I've searched and couldn't isolate anything that looked abnormal - there aren't many areas for a leak to pop up between these two components. If a leak was present in the intake manifold would the same indicators pop up as well I wonder?

        This weekend I'll be heading to Nick's shop, so hopefully he'll be able to pull more information from the DME, so we can get to the bottom of this issue.

        Thanks for listening guys - I'll keep you guys posted on the situation.

        -Mike
        This may need its own thread.
      1. MC330CI's Avatar
        MC330CI -
        PEI330CI, Sticky,

        I passed by Nick's shop today to go over my issues. He mentioned to me about blow-by and took the time to explain the details as you did above. He mentioned that he wanted us to take a step by step approch at resolving my issues. The first was to verify if there were any vacuum leaks and the second was the oil in the intercooler issue. After poking around for some time we were able to isolate a potential vacuum leak. The Pressure Regulating Valve nipple was left uncapped, during the upgrade install I replaced the PRV valve with a new unit and told myself to cap it - well it never happened....LOL. I think this may have been the source of my issue, as I haven't gotten a check engine indicator or limp mode occurance all day. In terms of the oil in the intercooler, Nick gave me a couple of options - since I already purchased the oil catch can I will go with this route. I hope to have this setup installed later next week, I'll take some pictures if you guys are interested.

        As far as blow by, I'm still trying to understand it, if you guys could help me out that would be great. It appears to me that this is basically a bottom end issue, where pressurization of the oil pan due to blow by, forces oil up the turbo drain and into the compressor housing and inter-cooler. As a potential solution an oil catch can is used to capture oil and gas vapor from the valve cover. Oil is captured in the can and gases are forced out and back into the intake stream. So this is where I completely get lost – how is it that by separating the oil and gas from the valve cover (top end), resolves the pressurizing in the oil pan (bottom end) due to blow by?

        Need some schooling...thanks guys.

        -Mike
      1. spdu4ea's Avatar
        spdu4ea -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        It appears to me that this is basically a bottom end issue, where pressurization of the oil pan due to blow by, forces oil up the turbo drain and into the compressor housing and inter-cooler.
        Probably going off topic, but while that's one way to look at it, it isn't technically accurate. Basically oil moves due to either a pressure differential or gravity. Oil inside your engine is pressurized which then motivates it to travel throughout the passageways into the bearing journals. It then typically returns to the pan via gravity and the crankcase's lower relative pressure.

        For example, lets say your oil pressure is 40, your boost is 15psi, you have a sufficiently large oil return pipe/hose, and your crankcase ventilation is functioning properly. The oil is motivated to move from your turbo into your oil pan by 40psi (oil pressure) minus say 10psi crankcase pressure -- for a 30psi differential. There is also a small amount of gravity at work, but with the TT's turbo placement that is almost negligible.

        Now lets say that you have either worn rings or a malfunctioning crankcase ventilation system so that your crankcase pressure is now 25psi. Your oil's motivation to move from the turbo to the oilpan is now only 40psi-25psi = 15psi... Most of the oil will still go where it is supposed to, but with only 10psi pressure in the turbo's compressor housing (and probably about the same in the turbine housing) the oil is now also motivated to try and escape past the turbo seals. Even worse is the moment you let off the throttle -- you now have vacuum in compressor & turbine housings so the oil really would like to leak out. This is why blown turbos typically smoke the worst right after the throttle is released...

        How is that different from what you said? The oil is coming from the feed line -- not being forced backwards up the return. Put simply, it isn't draining fast enough...


        As a potential solution an oil catch can is used to capture oil and gas vapor from the valve cover. Oil is captured in the can and gases are forced out and back into the intake stream. So this is where I completely get lost – how is it that by separating the oil and gas from the valve cover (top end), resolves the pressurizing in the oil pan (bottom end) due to blow by?
        Oil catch cans are meant to condense and capture crankcase oil vapor before it can be ingested by the engine. Aside from the whole burning oil unpleasantness, oil also lowers the effective octane... Catch cans generally do not lower crankcase pressure unless the entire crankcase ventilation system is redesigned in the process (and that would typically be a custom job where someone welds larger fittings to their valve covers so larger lines can be used moving a greater volume of air out of the engine -- even then that would only help in the event the stock fittings/lines were too small).

        Click here to enlarge
        Example of an engine that needs larger PCV lines -- Duane S's 1000rwhp 7mgte with custom valve covers & oversized PCV fittings/lines



        Do regular catch can kits still help? Sure... You're now boosting your engine, which means there will be a higher pressure of air in your combustion chamber. That means there will be a larger pressure differential across your piston rings -- meaning more air will be motivated to slip through = more blowby (remember all engines have some blowby). This additional blowby will cause some extra oil vapor to enter the intake tract (beyond what would normally be there when naturally aspirated). So the catch can will alleviate that part of the problem... It won't lower the crankcase pressure, so it won't help oil return out of your turbo...

        Hope that helps
      1. Sorena's Avatar
        Sorena -
        very very great comments can be found here , thank you all
      1. PEI330Ci's Avatar
        PEI330Ci -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
        So the catch can will alleviate that part of the problem... It won't lower the crankcase pressure, so it won't help oil return out of your turbo...
        Great post.

        One small comment though: A catch can, if vented to atmosphere or into the intake tract with a check valve, will lower crank case pressure.
      1. spdu4ea's Avatar
        spdu4ea -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        One small comment though: A catch can, if vented to atmosphere or into the intake tract with a check valve, will lower crank case pressure.
        How will that lower crank case pressure any more than a crankcase vent to the atmosphere or check valve in the intake tract (without the can)? FWIW, there is no reason to vent to the atmosphere on a turbo car -- there is always some relative vacuum somewhere (intake manifold off boost, turbo inlet on boost). On a SC car, I'd rather vent into a catless exhaust stream (slight vacuum)
      1. jacobs323i's Avatar
        jacobs323i -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        Great post.

        One small comment though: A catch can, if vented to atmosphere or into the intake tract with a check valve, will lower crank case pressure.
        Agreed this is how we solved the issue on my custom turbo, thry called it an oil air seperater so basically a ctch can with sone an fittings and lines to return the oil once past a certain point into the dipstick tube, while the pressure from the gasses is vented to the atmosphere via a crank case breather ontop of the quote unquote catch can. worked like a charm for me!
      1. MC330CI's Avatar
        MC330CI -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by jacobs323i Click here to enlarge
        Agreed this is how we solved the issue on my custom turbo, thry called it an oil air seperater so basically a ctch can with sone an fittings and lines to return the oil once past a certain point into the dipstick tube, while the pressure from the gasses is vented to the atmosphere via a crank case breather ontop of the quote unquote catch can. worked like a charm for me!

        jacob323i,

        That's awesome!! I'm hoping to have mine installed this weekend if not the following weekend as I have to have the brackets for the catch can fabricated. Since you're venting to the atmosphere from the catch can do you get much oil vapor leaving the filter?

        -Mike
      1. Bimmerdude's Avatar
        Bimmerdude -
        I've also seen some use of the E39 M5 cyclone separator in this manner. There isn't a pressure reducer valve on that separator so it should work function similarly to a draining catch can. For my RX7 project I'm probably going to make my oil funnel/catch can/separator (NASA requires 1 quart or larger- and SCCA won't let me run with the V8).
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by MC330CI Click here to enlarge
        jacob323i,

        That's awesome!! I'm hoping to have mine installed this weekend if not the following weekend as I have to have the brackets for the catch can fabricated. Since you're venting to the atmosphere from the catch can do you get much oil vapor leaving the filter?

        -Mike
      1. sylvesterboy's Avatar
        sylvesterboy -
        thats pretty and cool but how much money did you spend for this special project? And what about the transmission? did you modified anything?
      1. hobbit382's Avatar
        hobbit382 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
        I hope you have deep pockets.
        PEI made a post of e46fanatics on the price to turbo a e46. When I first saw it I thought it was ridiculously blown out of proportion. So I decided to make a post to prove him wrong, well prove him wrong I did just not in the way I thought, it was actually under quoted... He is usually spot on or conservative when he talks about cost of this stuff especially if your having someone else do the labor. It also made me realize how much I've spent which is depressing...Click here to enlarge
      1. hobbit382's Avatar
        hobbit382 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DLV-Engineering Click here to enlarge

        I would like to see 800ish WHP, but who knows =/
        I think that's going to but a hard number to hit on an aluminum block. There has been quite a few issues with these motors and head studs pulling/stretching and thats only on 400-500ish whp. Once you start getting higher than that I wouldn't be surprised to see main cap issues... Also the m50 guys are almost all on oringd blocks at that power level and I don't know anyone with a orind aluminum block, not to say it's not possible. As far as the heads flowing good PEI would be the best person to answer that but from the visual perspective the ports IMO are rather small.
      1. hobbit382's Avatar
        hobbit382 -
        Julio, that exhaust manifold is a work of art! Who made it and which kidney do I have to sell to get one? My manifold is dull in comparison.