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  1. #26
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    Ok, so here's the plan...

    1. Get car back from incompetent mechanic.
    2. Drive car and build spare engine (block and head) - Engine 2.
    3. Once engine 2 is complete, install.
    4. Take engine built by incompetent mechanic (engine 1), tear down, install forged pistons, rebalance rotating assembly, do necessary machine work, rebuild bottom end. Check head, install. End result is a complete engine minus the oil pump and oil pan (might eventually buy a spare).

    I'd like to be able to interchange these engines without tuning issues or significant variance in power or specs. Is where blueprinting comes in?

    I like the data piece from the stand alone but I'm not sure how much I'll use it unless I start getting serious racing in NASA or BMWCCA. Then...I'd probably ditch this M54. I've quickly looked at stand alones but what are my options and what should I look for? I think I need at least 6 channels for an M54? I saw the Motec units which are supposed to be top notch but what else is out there?
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  2. #27
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  3. #28
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    Ok, so here's the plan...

    1. Get car back from incompetent mechanic.
    2. Drive car and build spare engine (block and head) - Engine 2.
    3. Once engine 2 is complete, install.
    4. Take engine built by incompetent mechanic (engine 1), tear down, install forged pistons, rebalance rotating assembly, do necessary machine work, rebuild bottom end. Check head, install. End result is a complete engine minus the oil pump and oil pan (might eventually buy a spare).

    I'd like to be able to interchange these engines without tuning issues or significant variance in power or specs. Is where blueprinting comes in?

    I like the data piece from the stand alone but I'm not sure how much I'll use it unless I start getting serious racing in NASA or BMWCCA. Then...I'd probably ditch this M54. I've quickly looked at stand alones but what are my options and what should I look for? I think I need at least 6 channels for an M54? I saw the Motec units which are supposed to be top notch but what else is out there?
    That's quite a process! (A little more elaborate than what I had thought)


    Are you doing the engine swaps? It's a bit of a process with all the OEM stuff in there...and I could see it being pretty expensive if you are paying someone to do them.

    There are a lot of good options that can run an M54 completely, but it takes more I/Os than most people realize. The DBW for example takes 2 analog inputs for the pedal, and 2 analog inputs for the TB position. Then there's 2 H-Bridge drivers for the TB, and 2 outputs for the idle control. Where this gets really useful is torque management. Normally you have really non-linear torque output in relation to throttle position. This is partly because people like the illusion of disproportionate power output in relation to small throttle inputs, but it's also because that's just how cable based throttles responded, and people were used to that. This however does not take into account that every persons foot is sized different, and that moving an ankle through 80% of it's movement will result in different throttle inputs for each person. This is where DBW really shines: Setting the torque demand for your foot and driving style.

    The thing is...you can also get DBW wrong...and Motec a few years ago had a horrible reputation with it's DBW4 expander. (Drive by wire expansion box) So it's possible to have great hardware, but set it up wrong....really wrong. This is where having great technical support, and/or a great tuner really makes or breaks a product. Ideally, you want both.

    What is out there that can run our engine? A lot. The question for me is more along the support side than the hardware side. What good is having a kick-but piece of hardware if you spend a year trying to get it to work...all on your own?
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  4. #29
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    ^ Empty post
    Do I get any rep points for those?

    LOL
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  5. #30
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by PEI330Ci Click here to enlarge
    Do I get any rep points for those?
    Technically, yes.

  6. #31
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    I'll be doing the swap myself. I figure this plan would keep me from rushing to failure. I can take my E90 M3 to the track and just DD the 330 until the new engine is complete. And I don't have an idle car sitting in my 2 car garage for 2-3 months.

    Thanks for the feedback on the stand alones...right along the lines that I needed to stimulate some thought and ideas...

  7. #32
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    The other thing I recommend to do is to CC the cylinder bore with a piston at TDC.
    What does CC mean?


    Also, what is the value of blueprinting an engine?

  8. #33
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    What does CC mean?


    Also, what is the value of blueprinting an engine?
    CC = Measuring displacement, or volume. A good engine builder will have no problem CC'ing the combustion chamber volume, and piston dome.

    Engine blueprinting is simply the process of checking clearances and weights, then making adjustments as required to meet specifications. Those specifications can be provided by the OEM, or by the engine builder through experience/engineering principles. Technically, all "rebuilt" engines should be blueprinted, but that process is not often part of the budget, so it's skipped.

    A simple example of "blueprinting" is where I had the OEM rods balanced, matched. (weights, journal dimensions, rod width)



    Click here to enlarge


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  9. #34
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    OK...thanks. I'm meeting what's supposed to be one of the better engine builders in Austin this Thurs. We'll see how it goes.

  10. #35
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    OK...thanks. I'm meeting what's supposed to be one of the better engine builders in Austin this Thurs. We'll see how it goes.
    Ask if they have any experience with Performance Trends or Pipemax software. There's no "right" answer, it will just lead you into a conversation about theoretical versus actual performance.
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  11. #36
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    OK...thanks!

  12. #37
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    I got to talk to a potential engine builder and he pretty much said that the head to piston clearance is a critical aspect to preventing detonation. Not sure if that's the same thing as squish height.

    I told him that my expectation was that the engine should survive 3 years given a track weekend per month and some daily driving. He agreed that is reasonable given that I don't expect to run the motor at the ragged edge of boost.

    He also highly recommended dropping the compression to 8:1. He didn't seem too fond of how ESS only drops the compression to 9:1 with their kit.

    Otherwise, I think this place is a go for me. The builder has 26 years of experience in marine and baja racing engines. Plus I like how he is very territorial about his engines. For example, he builds an engine in TX, sends it to CA for installation and tuning...then the guy flies out there to oversee the tuning. Definitely takes ownership of his stuff. I'd rather have that than a useless warranty which is what I have now...

  13. #38
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    I got to talk to a potential engine builder and he pretty much said that the head to piston clearance is a critical aspect to preventing detonation. Not sure if that's the same thing as squish height.

    I told him that my expectation was that the engine should survive 3 years given a track weekend per month and some daily driving. He agreed that is reasonable given that I don't expect to run the motor at the ragged edge of boost.

    He also highly recommended dropping the compression to 8:1. He didn't seem too fond of how ESS only drops the compression to 9:1 with their kit.

    Otherwise, I think this place is a go for me. The builder has 26 years of experience in marine and baja racing engines. Plus I like how he is very territorial about his engines. For example, he builds an engine in TX, sends it to CA for installation and tuning...then the guy flies out there to oversee the tuning. Definitely takes ownership of his stuff. I'd rather have that than a useless warranty which is what I have now...
    8:1 is super damn low...

  14. #39
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Reputation: Yes | No
    The engine guy's point, Kevin, was that the supercharger is in control of the compression so whatever you drop with pistons you can make up for it by increasing boost...up to a limit of course. In my case, I can go lower compression and with the same boost. If I want more power, I can up the boost. Vs going with compression as high as the OEM spec with the same boost. I have no room to move up.

    He explained the whole key is the piston to head gap being right. Too much, you get detonation which is commonly misdiagnosed as a lean issue. So they turn up the fuel and retard timing. The problem is if you have too much clearance, unburnt fuel is not being cooled. The "cool" parts are the piston head, cylinder walls, and head. So if the gap is too large, the excess fuel is not being burnt nor cooler since it is too far from the cool parts. So the fuel gets hotter and then detonates. Many (to include my installer and Active Autowerke) turn up fuel and retard timing. This just exacerbates the issue because now you have more unburnt fuel which detonates. So this is where the knock sensors come in to save the day. In my case, Kevin thinks that the increase in fuel and timing retardation exponentially worsened the harmonics along the crankshaft and would explain why my VAC oil pump sprocket was about to fall off after 5 months.

    This guy had a engine there built for a Baja racer where apparently, those FI'd engines see constant full throttle for 30+ minutes at a time. It would seem that this track record, if verified, is a damned good one.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    Vs going with compression as high as the OEM spec with the same boost. I have no room to move up.
    Are you sure this is accurate?

  16. #41
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    I'm running 11psi with the OEM damper. I could move up but more risk is involved. I'm sure I could put 15-16 psi but how long would it last? I'll happily give up power to gain reliability. Max HP or a number is certainly NOT the goal here. In fact, I expect to be much lower than my last dyno of 340whp. I'll be ecstatic with a bulletproof build that puts down 300whp on a good day.

    I've driven my 414hp E90 M3 on the track which is about 25-30 more HP than my 330. I never missed that extra HP when I got back into my 330. Yeah, Vettes and Vipers can pull on the straight on me but I always catch them in the corners. The only non-race prepped cars that I've come across on the track can really run away from me are GTRs and a 700whp Evo X. Oh, and a Miata with an LS1 in it.Click here to enlarge

    Frankly, I'm really thinking about taking the stupid blower off at this point, swap out the 6sp for a 5sp, and get the weight below 2500 lbs pre-cage. Drop in a stand alone. Then when the M54 dies drop in an LS or an S54. Maybe even an S65!
    Last edited by bigjae1976; 01-11-2013 at 10:50 PM.

  17. #42
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    I got to talk to a potential engine builder and he pretty much said that the head to piston clearance is a critical aspect to preventing detonation. Not sure if that's the same thing as squish height.
    This is exactly what I was talking about, you have found a good engine builder.


    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    He also highly recommended dropping the compression to 8:1. He didn't seem too fond of how ESS only drops the compression to 9:1 with their kit.

    Otherwise, I think this place is a go for me. The builder has 26 years of experience in marine and baja racing engines. Plus I like how he is very territorial about his engines. For example, he builds an engine in TX, sends it to CA for installation and tuning...then the guy flies out there to oversee the tuning. Definitely takes ownership of his stuff. I'd rather have that than a useless warranty which is what I have now...
    If you are chasing absolute hp, within tightly controled operating conditions, more compression when combined with race fuel is benificial. The CP pistons I'm running in my street car are 8.5:1....I really don't see that much of a problem dropping to 8.0:1 in comparison.

    This guy is spec'ing a formula that he stands behind; this is worth buying into even with a slight loss of torque at lower operating RPMs. You are right that you can safely make up the loss at higher RPMs if you have the blower headroom.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    I'm running 11psi with the OEM damper. I could move up but more risk is involved. I'm sure I could put 15-16 psi but how long would it last? I'll happily give up power to gain reliability. Max HP or a number is certainly NOT the goal here. In fact, I expect to be much lower than my last dyno of 340whp. I'll be ecstatic with a bulletproof build that puts down 300whp on a good day.

    I've driven my 414hp E90 M3 on the track which is about 25-30 more HP than my 330. I never missed that extra HP when I got back into my 330. Yeah, Vettes and Vipers can pull on the straight on me but I always catch them in the corners. The only non-race prepped cars that I've come across on the track can really run away from me are GTRs and a 700whp Evo X. Oh, and a Miata with an LS1 in it.Click here to enlarge

    Frankly, I'm really thinking about taking the stupid blower off at this point, swap out the 6sp for a 5sp, and get the weight below 2500 lbs pre-cage. Drop in a stand alone. Then when the M54 dies drop in an LS or an S54. Maybe even an S65!
    Look at the weight of the M54 versus your other 2 options....you'll see that it's actually an advantage. If you get a well built M54, and the ancillary issues handled, you may find that with FI it's a more attractive package.

    A good stand alone package would be the icing on the cake...and depending on what is chosen, could be used for your "next" project. They can be somewhat future-proof.
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  18. #43
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    PEI...thanks! I'm still not sure what I plan on doing. I feel like I've defined my choices and what a reasonable result should be. A big, big thanks to you! Let me know if you are in the TX area and I'll buy you dinner!

    I'll post up my decision...whenever I make it.

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    So to recap if I decide to keep the twinscrew...here is the list of engine parts other than OEM:

    VAC Oil pan baffle
    4 bolt oil pump sprocket
    Forged rods and pistons, matched set from Carillo/low compression
    ATI damper
    Shrick FI Cams
    10mm Raceware head studs
    head gasket spec'd for correct piston to head clearance
    timecert all cam cap bolts near the alignment dowels
    S54 chain tensioner
    VAC billet housing, inline filter, and oil cooler

    Am I missing anything?

  20. #45
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    So to recap if I decide to keep the twinscrew...here is the list of engine parts other than OEM:

    VAC Oil pan baffle
    4 bolt oil pump sprocket
    Forged rods and pistons, matched set from Carillo/low compression
    ATI damper
    Shrick FI Cams
    10mm Raceware head studs
    head gasket spec'd for correct piston to head clearance
    timecert all cam cap bolts near the alignment dowels
    S54 chain tensioner
    VAC billet housing, inline filter, and oil cooler

    Am I missing anything?
    The only piece of hardware I would add would be a stand alone ECU. But...to start with I highly recommend you focus on working with your chosen engine builder. It may be expensive...but in my experience, it's worth it. It hurts to buy quality up front, but every time you use it will be a pleasure. In contrast...low quality you may hate every time you use it.
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  21. #46
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    So to recap if I decide to keep the twinscrew...here is the list of engine parts other than OEM:

    VAC Oil pan baffle
    4 bolt oil pump sprocket
    Forged rods and pistons, matched set from Carillo/low compression
    ATI damper
    Shrick FI Cams
    10mm Raceware head studs
    head gasket spec'd for correct piston to head clearance
    timecert all cam cap bolts near the alignment dowels
    S54 chain tensioner
    VAC billet housing, inline filter, and oil cooler

    Am I missing anything?
    :excited: I am also on the hunt for new block/parts. Oh I should know something soon about the parts! Click here to enlarge

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    Cool! Let me know. I'll get a price from my potential builder who has a good relationship with carillo.

    Stand Alone: I'll do some research and think about it. Wouldn't the stand alone make the tuninig a LOT less complicated and more reliable? Am I wrong?

  23. #48
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    Wouldn't the stand alone make the tuninig a LOT less complicated and more reliable? Am I wrong?
    Yes and no. Cost goes up, tuner needs to be more competent.

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    Yeah but you can find more competent people with the capability to tune the car. The issue is finding someone with the expensive stuff to do it.

  25. #50
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigjae1976 Click here to enlarge
    Stand Alone: I'll do some research and think about it. Wouldn't the stand alone make the tuninig a LOT less complicated and more reliable? Am I wrong?
    I won't have solid answers until late-March, or Early April. There are a lot of really good products coming out at that point....
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