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  1. #1
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    25 out of 25 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No

    N54 turbo replacement DIY

    This is my turbo replacement DIY. This should be fairly complete. When needing to replace my turbos I only could find tips or brief write ups so I decided to make this. This method involves leaving the subframe in place. I have done it 2 times this way. Removing the subframe frees up a lot more room and most likely would save time. I did not have an engine support bar so the subframe was left in place. It is a very time consuming process but not necessarily hard. Sorry the pictures are not the best. I tried to include what I could to help as best as possible. Also note this was done on a manual 333i e90 so there may be some differences. Let me know if you see any mistakes or have any input!

    -Jack up car and place on jack stands

    -Remove engine and transmission plastic under tray. After the bolts are off the transmission tray, rotate 90 degrees to line up tab and remove (8mm socket, 21 bolts)


    Click here to enlarge


    -Remove 2 small metal bracket that tray attaches to (8mm socket, 2 bolts)


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    -Remove Intercooler. If still running a factory intercooler there are two tabs the will release a small plastic cover. Remove clamps or clips depending on if you have a factory or aftermarket setup. Place a floor jack under the intercooler and remove 2 T25 bolts. Slowly lower intercooler and tape/cover openings on intercooler and car. (T25 socket, 2 screws)

    -Drain engine oil (17mm wrench)

    -Drain coolant. There is a green plug on the driver side of the radiator. Use a large Phillips head to remove the plug and remove cap on reservoir on the passenger side of the car.


    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove power steering line from the rubber mount on the right side of the steering rack. Use a 17mm wrench on the flats of the rubber and remove with a 10mm socket/wrench.


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    -Using a E14 and 16mm wrench remove the 2 bolts holding the power steering rack in place. Pull the whole rack down and forward. Wire the previously removed line out of the way


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    -Remove Sway bar and brackets. Remove the 4 nuts from the brackets and disconnect the end links using a 17mm wrench and 16mm socket. Now remove the sway bar



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    - Remove the cowl. Remove the 4 bolts (8mm socket) holding the cabin air filter housing. Remove the two bolts holding on the cowl (8mm socket). Disconnect the plug on the passenger side. Now pull forward on the wires running across the front and disconnect the large loom under the cowl.


    -Remove the engine cover (5mm allen wrench, 4 bolts).

    -Remove the vac canisters using a 10mm socket. Label the 4 vac lines and then remove the lines

    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove the front air tube from grills to airbox. (T20, 2 screws)


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    -Remove the electric fan. Unplug the connector for the cooling fan. Now remove the one screw on the passenger side (T25) and remove the fan by pulling straight up. It is tight but it will come

    - Remove the 2 lines going to the coolant reservoir and the 2 bolts holding it in place (10mm)


    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove thermostat and water pump. Have a pan ready because coolant will drain when removing most of these lines. Remove the small connector going to the tstat using a small flat head to lift the connector). Remove the connector going to the water pump. Remove the u shaped hose that connects the thermostat to water pump (2 clamps). Remove the 3 hoses that run to the thermostat (Spring clamps and worm gear). Remove the 2 bolts holding the thermostat in place (10mm). Now pull the thermostat out. Remove the clamp and hose going to the top of the water pump. Now remove the 3 water pump bolts (E12). The top one is hard to see but reachable. Slowly lower the water pump and remove the last hose.


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    -Remove the brace holding the mid pipe. (E10, 1bolt)


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    -Remove the 4 nuts that hold the downpipes to exhaust. Use penetrating oil if they have not been off recently. (12mm, 4 nuts).


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    - Label the 2 lower o2 sensor plugs to know what side socket it plugs into. Unplug the lower o2 sensors.


    Click here to enlarge

    -Mark the upper o2 sensors (front and rear) then remove using a 7/8 wrench or o2 sensor socket. Cover (I used saran wrap) and place safely on top of valve cover to avoid damage


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    -Loosen the 2 vband clamps holding the downpipes to the turbos (13mm).


    Click here to enlarge

    -The downpipes are now loose and ready to remove

    -Place jack under oil pan or use engine hook at support from the top. I used a piece of wood and scissor jack under the oil pan so I did not have to worry about a hydraulic jack leaking. Do not lift the engine just provide support. Remove the center nut on the passenger side motor mount (16mm). No lift the engine slightly to take weight off the mount. Remove the 2 bolts holding the motor mount to subframe (E12). Jack the engine up enough to remove the mount. Now remove the 4 bolts holding the mount bracket to the block and remove bracket.


    Click here to enlarge

    -In the middle of the turbos remove the two bolts holding 2 coolant lines to the coolant supply pipe (T30). Pull both lines out of coolant supply hose. All of the turbo lines are hard to remove. I found spraying penetrating oil around the fittings helped. Be careful prying on the lines you do not want to damage them. Pull straight out. Once the 2 lines are removed remove the 4 bolts holding the coolant supply pipe to the block (E8). Now remove the pipe


    Click here to enlarge

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    -Back up top remove the 4 nuts (10mm) holding the solenoids to the heat shield right above the turbo. Unclip/lines wires from holders and secure lines and solenoids to top of valve cover. Now remove the heat shield by removing the 4 bolts (E8)


    Click here to enlarge

    -Loosen the 2 clamp using a 5mm allen wrench that holds the charge y-pipe to the compressor outlet. Remove the pipe out the top. If you are having trouble or not enough room adjust engine height.

    Click here to enlarge


    Click here to enlarge



    From here on I worked on the front turbo first until it was removed then the rear.


    -Remove the 2 oil drain lines from the turbo ( 1 T30 on the block side and 2 T30 on the turbo side per turbo)


    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove heat shield bolts behind turbo (4 on each turbo). For the front turbo I could not get at the upper right bolt so I had loosen the mounting bolts on the turbo manifold to head. These may be hard to get out.

    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove the coolant lines from the front the turbo (T30). Leave the other end of the top coolant line in the block.


    Click here to enlarge

    -Disconnect the oil feed (junction). The front turbo line will pull out from the rear and the rear will pull out of the block.

    Click here to enlarge

    -Remove 2 bolts that hold the front intake tube in place (T30) and loosen the clamp where it attaches to the airbox or dci. Slowly pull the tube off the turbo


    Click here to enlarge

    -Disconnect the vacuum line going to the wastegate actuator. On the front turbo I followed the line and removed it from the solenoid. On the rear I removed it from the actuator. Either way is fine.

    -Remove bolts holding the turbo to the head and remove the turbo out of the bottom. Be careful to move the upper coolant line out of the way.
    Repeat for the rear turbo except the turbo feed pulls out of the block. Make sure the turbo slides out of the rear tube when coming out and does not put too much pressure on the tube bending the bracket.

    Now it is time to prep for installing the new turbos

    -Clean all of the old manifold gasket material off the head . You may need a small screwdriver to lightly scrape excess out of the ports.

    -Remove the feed lines from the turbo. Clean both feed and drain lines with alcohol/carb clear ect. and blow out with compressed air. Replace all the o-rings on the feed and drain lines. Be sure to lube the o-rings before installing to avoid tears. I installed the turbos with the feed lines attached.

    The install should be reverse of the removal.

    Here are a large portion of the torque specs

    Click here to enlarge

    Make sure you have the heat shields in place before tightening down the turbo to head. It will make it much easier to get them in place.

    Refill with fluids and purge the air out of the cooling system. Put the key in the ignition but do not start. Hold the gas pedal down for 10 seconds. You should now hear the water pump cycle on and off. Once it is complete top off the antifreeze.

  2. #2
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    Ahhhh content overload.

    Great stuff.

    I promise to get you a dedicated DIY section ASAP and this is being worked on.

    Repped good sir!

  3. #3
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    Repped for a good detailed DIY.

  4. #4
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    A DIY section would be great! Sorry for it is very long and a lot of steps people know if they have worked on an N54 but I figured the more info the better. This is not terribly fun on jack stands, but very doable and will save a bunch of money.

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    The radiator drain removal is unnecessary, removing the bottom hose off the water pump completely drains engine. Also it does not matter what vacuum lines go to what vacuum tank, they are interchangeable.

    I would also advise working the charge air pipe out towards the front and coming out the bottom where it connects to the intercooler.

  6. #6
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    2 out of 2 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Car not in garage

    Car on jack stands

    Removing turbos

    and taking photo records for DIY

    2010 N54 - DocRace - Motiv - CKI - TCKR - Volk - ER - CSF - Vorsteiner

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  7. #7
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    Great informative and detailed DIY. +1 for a DIY thread, looking forward to it! A lift makes all things underneath easier for sure, but its good to see the info and tips for all levels of gear head! Great jobClick here to enlarge
    FBO|Backend Flash E60 mix| MFactory LSD/Diff Bushings| MFactory SMFW/335is Clutch| VRSF 7"| BMW Performance SSK| MTEC H8 7000k Angel Eyes| D1S Bulbs-6000k| Underground Euro HID Foglights-6000k| Aero Lip| CF rear spoiler

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    Great job, very detailed! Ballsy without removing the subframe!

    Cheers!
    N54 - FBO - MFactory LSD - 60% Corn Gas... 100% love

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    Great DIY!

  10. #10
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    I installed my single kit with the subframe in with only the passenger motor mount removed. Not easy but definitely doable. Nice detailed write up compared to the "pointers" most people put up. This will help out a lot of people. Would rep but I have to spread the reputation Click here to enlarge
    2010 AW/BLK 135i VM 6465 Single Turbo w/ OCDworks Modified T51r Housing, JB4 + MHD, VRSF CP & Tial, Big Tom, Fuel-It PI + Stage 3 + Return + Ethanol Sensor, BMW PE, MFactory LSD, Spec 3+ & MFactory SMFW, RB External PCV, ADV sensors, and many more....
    RIP Click here to enlarge2008 AW/BL 135i
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  11. #11
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    Excellent DIY. I'll be using this when I finally get around to upgrading my turbos. Very detailed and well done.

    How long would you say this takes? (since you've done it multiple times now)

  12. #12
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    Note that the cooling system purge requires temps set to highest and fan to the lowest (not off) setting.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Fr3nch Click here to enlarge
    Excellent DIY. I'll be using this when I finally get around to upgrading my turbos. Very detailed and well done.

    How long would you say this takes? (since you've done it multiple times now)
    10 hours on a lift if you've done it before.

    A Saturday and Sunday on the ground I would bet.

  14. #14
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by drfrink24 Click here to enlarge
    Note that the cooling system purge requires temps set to highest and fan to the lowest (not off) setting.
    Correct I forgot to add that in there! Thank you. As for time a Saturday/Sunday should work just start early and make sure you have all you parts ready to go. Getting the lines out are a pretty big pain if they have never been out. Glad the DIY helped and hopefully will encourage members to take on the job. There is nothing better than completing and big job and seeing the end result.

  15. #15
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    Excellent detail. Took two of us, car on a lift about 12 hours. Wish I would have had this back then. I'd rep you if I could.

  16. #16
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    Where did you pull the turbos out from with the subframe in?

  17. #17
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by bigdaddyaaron Click here to enlarge
    Where did you pull the turbos out from with the subframe in?
    Really easy. I never understood why people remove the subframe when you can just take the passenger side motor mount out and you have all the room in world to work. Thats how I installed my single kit and removed the stock twins.
    2010 AW/BLK 135i VM 6465 Single Turbo w/ OCDworks Modified T51r Housing, JB4 + MHD, VRSF CP & Tial, Big Tom, Fuel-It PI + Stage 3 + Return + Ethanol Sensor, BMW PE, MFactory LSD, Spec 3+ & MFactory SMFW, RB External PCV, ADV sensors, and many more....
    RIP Click here to enlarge2008 AW/BL 135i
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  18. #18
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    So what you are saying OP is that it's very easy and my mechanic should not charge for removing or installing Turbos. Just joking.

    Great post!!! Gave it the thumbs up.
    Best:11.79@119mph on stock turbos.
    11.74@129 on GCs.
    FBO+Meth Port injection, GC Turbos, custom bucketless stage2, JB4, Trebila flash.

  19. #19
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BostonBeemah Click here to enlarge
    Really easy. I never understood why people remove the subframe when you can just take the passenger side motor mount out and you have all the room in world to work. Thats how I installed my single kit and removed the stock twins.

    I did the same thing
    2010 N54 - DocRace - Motiv - CKI - TCKR - Volk - ER - CSF - Vorsteiner

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BostonBeemah Click here to enlarge
    I installed my single kit with the subframe in with only the passenger motor mount removed. Not easy but definitely doable. Nice detailed write up compared to the "pointers" most people put up. This will help out a lot of people. Would rep but I have to spread the reputation Click here to enlarge
    I did the same.

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    Great DIY - thanks for taking the time to put this together. I haven't tackled this yet, but as I've worked on this car over the years the confidence level increases to take on the job - thanks to great write ups like this.

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    Totally forgot about this but now I might just use this to put my single kit in. I know I can't rep again but here is a THANK YOU!

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    Just did some preliminary investigation to look at the access behind the wheel and underbody. Looks tight but doable. The bolts for the DP's will definitely need a wire brush and a good soak in penetrating oil!! I sure wish there was a good aftermarket option for XI DP's... I'd hate to have to put them back in after removing them.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Theduke Click here to enlarge
    Just did some preliminary investigation to look at the access behind the wheel and underbody. Looks tight but doable. The bolts for the DP's will definitely need a wire brush and a good soak in penetrating oil!! I sure wish there was a good aftermarket option for XI DP's... I'd hate to have to put them back in after removing them.
    There is a good aftermarket DP for the XI. I'm ordering CP-E kitty less this Friday
    2008 335xi MT Coupe. Sparkling Graphite. Pro-tune by Twisted Tuning. AD-e 650hp FMIC/Charge pipe w/ BOV. CP-e downpipes. KW V1 suspension.Click here to enlarge.

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    Wait, you don't need to drop the subframe to do turbos ? Great lol

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