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  1. #1
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    Almost 4,000 Miles with My Daily Driven Single Turbo N54 135i

    Two months ago today, I began tearing down my 135i in order to remove my failing stock turbos and convert the car to a single turbo using ACF's N54 kit. Three weeks later, working on and off during my spare time, the install was complete. Over the subsequent five weeks between that first fire up and now, I've racked up 3,750 miles of use, broken in the clutch fully, learned how to drive the car over again with all the new hardware, and had to iron out the inevitable kinks involved with a project of this magnitude.

    Since I had some free time today, and won't have much in the foreseeable future, I took the opportunity to take advantage of the nice weather and perform my annual polish and wax. Even though this car is a daily in all sense of the word and has spent every day and night outdoors for over two years now, I still like to keep the exterior looking mint. And since I'm transitioning to shorter oil change intervals now that I only have one turbo, even though it had been less than 4,000 miles and only 5 weeks since the N54 had gotten some fresh Motul and a new Mann, it was also time to do my first oil change.

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    I've already detailed the steps I use to paint correct and seal my car earlier in my build thread, but after buffing diligently for many hours, I had something to show for my hard work. Not too bad for now having over 106,000 miles on the odometer.

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    After spending so much seat time in such a short time, and in my previously used "stream of consciousness" style, here are my thoughts on owning a single turbo N54 135i, and in particular the 6062 ball bearing PTE turbo using AC Fabrication's kit:


    • For the first two weeks of single turbo life, I was plagued by o2 sensor issues. I had purchased and installed ADV sensors specifically for this conversion, but for whatever reason, I could not get them to cooperate with my IJEOS ECU. After pulling my hair out over possible culprits, I finally installed a set of NTK o2 sensors and my problem was solved so I could start enjoying the car. Those NTK sensors haven't skipped a beat since.
    • The Spec Stage 2+ clutch proved problem free while breaking everything in, and it was quite easy to learn the new engagement points. In comparison with the OEM clutch, pedal pressure has increased slightly, and everything grabs a bit harder once it reaches the engagement point. All in all, I don't have many complaints about my clutch choice. The combination of the UCP, shifter mods, and lack of a CDV, make gear engagement buttery smooth.
    • The MFactory steel SMFW on the other hand, has been the aspect of this build I've been the least keen on. Using MHD to raise the idle of my car to 950 has kept the "marbles in a can" sound many describe at bay for the most part, but this can be still be heard slightly with the AC on or if RPMs dip while taking off from a stop in 1st gear. While this is very easy to live with, the noticeable NVH caused by the SMFW at low RPMs in first gear was somewhat disappointing and surprising. This gets worse after shifting into 2nd gear after the RPMs fall again and low throttle is applied. That NVH during low-speed driving has been my biggest gripe yet, but doesn't manage to ruin the entire driving experience. Hopefully in the future, we'll have an option to ditch the SMFW and high HP misfires.
    • I've closely monitored engine activity through the JB4 Mobile App, and shared a bunch of the logs I've collected across numerous forums to get feedback and make sure things were looking okay. I had intentions of running an ethanol blend for added safety and more power, but as I progressed the wastegate spring boost of 15psi up to map 2's 17psi, it wasn't long before I saw I was running out of fuel from the HPFP side on E30 fuel at 17psi. Since then, I've tapered back the fuel to E25 to take some stress of the HPFP, and opted to just daily drive on 15psi. For the time being, I'm content with running this low boost map, but more than likely I'll add one of the upcoming intake manifold upgrades with integrated port injection once I get bored at this power level. For the record, things feel far faster at 15psi through the 6062 than 20psi + inlets felt through the stock twins.
    • The Phoenix Race FMIC is pretty unbeatable it seems. I've yet to see a log where IAT hasn't went down during a pull. My VRSF 7" non-HD FMIC would result in a large increase over a multiple gear pull when I was FBO. I'm also enjoying the stealthy black finish I gave it before installing.
    • By pairing the same catless N54 midpipe with Vibrant resonators and MadDad Whisper axleback that I'd been using for a while now with all the new single turbo hardware, the exhaust note is much improved. At idle and during normal driving, things are very tame. But any heavy application of the throttle and all hell breaks loose. Airplane style spool up sounds, a terrific throaty growl out of the rear end, and external wastegate dumps that make me smile every time. Natural run over or "burble" isn't as audible as it was with the twin turbos; not sure of the cause of the reduction--I've never used the MHD option and don't intend to. The common comparison to the 2JZ exhaust note from single turbo N54s is not exaggerated, they certainly share similarities. For a daily driver, I wouldn't change a thing sound wise. Plus no there's no sound pollution from rattling wastegates, nor do I have to worry about there being any in the future.
    • On the topic of being a daily driver, switching to a single turbo has only seemed to improve overall functionality and fun. Since the conversion I've been averaging 21.9 miles per gallon on a variety of low percentage ethanol blends between E20-E40. Oil temperatures are consistently lower. The large amounts of smoke and terrible smells of burning oil I used to be embarrassed by regularly are a thing of the past. There are no lights on the dash, and no functions were lost during the conversion. Drivability with the BMS ST E85 TS THR BEF is even better than I thought it would be, and the cruise control feature is even smoother than it was with the OEM twin turbo configuration. Four days a week I take this car on a 3 hour round trip, and it hasn't hiccuped once. Earlier this week I drove the car for 7 hours straight in a variety of different driving conditions with nothing negative to note. I'm impressed.


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    I need to pick up a GoPro in order to get some better in-car footage, but here's a quick video I was able to make this afternoon including some start up action, walk around, some idle/revs, as well as a quick pull at the end . I wanted to get some audio of the exhaust at full throttle, as well as the external wastegates, so please excuse the fact I had to use my front facing iPhone camera to do so.


  2. #2
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    I'm not an E82 fan but I'll be honest this is a clean build. From the rims to the engine bay all well done in a classy manner.

    I will nitpick the red calipers just to nitpick.

    Edit: What brakes are those anyway?

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky2 Click here to enlarge
    I'm not an E82 fan but I'll be honest this is a clean build. From the rims to the engine bay all well done in a classy manner.

    I will nitpick the red calipers just to nitpick.

    Edit: What brakes are those anyway?
    I appreciate the compliment--I'm pretty happy with how everything has come together over time. I don't see myself doing too many more modifications in an effort to not overdo it. My goal now is just to maintain and keep everything running properly for as long as possible. It's not my only car, but I enjoy making it my daily by choice.

    When my pads/rotors needed replacing, I sent off the OEM 6-piston 135i calipers made by Brembo and had them completely rebuilt. The pistons and seals were replaced, and the finish was sandblasted and powder coated to a dark cherry red with white Brembo decals. The Brembo decals rub some the wrong way, but I prefer it over the big BMW font normally found on these.

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    I couldn't quite tell if those were Brembos. As they are in the traditional Brembo red I retract my previous criticism.

    Beautiful with the function to back it up.

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    Sweet ride!!! I admire your patience and effort. Congrats!
    Stock 991.2 C2 Manny. Project build https://www.boostaddict.com/showthre...arrera-project
    DD e90: MHD+JB4 tuned by Trebila.

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    How's the lag compared to stock turbos?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by quattr0 Click here to enlarge
    Sweet ride!!! I admire your patience and effort. Congrats!
    Thanks for the comment! Detailing in particular, but building a dependable N54 daily in general definitely requires patience and constant effort/attention.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by nikitino25 Click here to enlarge
    How's the lag compared to stock turbos?
    This is a common question when comparing a ST setup to the traditional twin turbos. My answer would be not nearly as noticeable as you'd think. My seasoned 100,000 mile stock turbos with the JB4 wastegate rattle applied (which adds lag) compared to the ball bearing 6062 isn't that far off.

    In logs or dynos, when starting from 2,000 RPM in 4th gear and going to 7,000 RPM, the lag would probably be noticeable. But in real world driving, or when doing a pull where the RPMs are at or above 3,500 RPM anyways, the 6062 is PLENTY responsive and hits full boost quick. I make wastegate boost (15-16psi by 3,500 RPM). I can't imagine what this setup will do at 20-23psi. My idea is that will be the real sweet spot on E40 fuel.

    To be honest, I've never heard of anyone going single turbo, then regretting the decision because of additional lag compared to OEM twins. I certainly don't and don't anticipate I ever will.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by chadillac2000 Click here to enlarge
    Thanks for the comment! Detailing in particular, but building a dependable N54 daily in general definitely requires patience and constant effort/attention.
    Tell me about it. Steering rack just gave up on me....I'm at 106k miles. Transmission flush was done few weeks ago. New tires soon lol

    I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need a new daily but it's getting harder as miles are building up....

    I've missed Japanese cars hahaha

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by chadillac2000 Click here to enlarge
    Thanks for the comment! Detailing in particular, but building a dependable N54 daily in general definitely requires patience and constant effort/attention.



    This is a common question when comparing a ST setup to the traditional twin turbos. My answer would be not nearly as noticeable as you'd think. My seasoned 100,000 mile stock turbos with the JB4 wastegate rattle applied (which adds lag) compared to the ball bearing 6062 isn't that far off.

    In logs or dynos, when starting from 2,000 RPM in 4th gear and going to 7,000 RPM, the lag would probably be noticeable. But in real world driving, or when doing a pull where the RPMs are at or above 3,500 RPM anyways, the 6062 is PLENTY responsive and hits full boost quick. I make wastegate boost (15-16psi by 3,500 RPM). I can't imagine what this setup will do at 20-23psi. My idea is that will be the real sweet spot on E40 fuel.

    To be honest, I've never heard of anyone going single turbo, then regretting the decision because of additional lag compared to OEM twins. I certainly don't and don't anticipate I ever will.
    Clean car. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to raise the boost with only a stage 2 pump and DI. Keep raising the boost and you'll know within the next 5psi whether or not your pumps can keep up. With E40 the pumps might be able to keep up but will you start pulling timing.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by pr3ci5n335i Click here to enlarge
    Clean car. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to raise the boost with only a stage 2 pump and DI. Keep raising the boost and you'll know within the next 5psi whether or not your pumps can keep up. With E40 the pumps might be able to keep up but will you start pulling timing.
    You're correct. I should have elaborated. During these 4,000 miles, I've done numerous logs and shared them with the community. Using my own log reading ability plus the help of others, Payam, Terry @ BMS, and the Fuel-It! guys it became apparent that even on map 2 at 17psi trying to run E40 fuel that my HPFP wasn't keeping up. LPFP was hanging in there fine. Since then I've reverted back to map 1 (wastegate spring boost) of about 15psi and tapered back to about E25 to take some stress of the pumps.

    At this point, I'm limited to three options:

    1. Remain where I am at E25 fuel and 15psi. Logs are perfect at this setting. HPFP and LPFP perform great and I'm experiencing almost no timing drops. I'm opting to this for the time being.

    2. Revert back to full pump gas, and try and squeeze some more boost out of the car since the pumps won't be stressed as much. I'd rather not do this as I prefer the safety/power of adding ethanol.

    3. Add PI to take stress off the HPFP, raise boost to map 2 (17psi), 3 (20psi), or 4 (23psi) and hope the stage 2 bucketed LPFP keeps up at E30-E40. This is probably what I'll do once someone releases an intake manifold upgrade with port injection.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by chadillac2000 Click here to enlarge
    You're correct. I should have elaborated. During these 4,000 miles, I've done numerous logs and shared them with the community. Using my own log reading ability plus the help of others, Payam, Terry @ BMS, and the Fuel-It! guys it became apparent that even on map 2 at 17psi trying to run E40 fuel that my HPFP wasn't keeping up. LPFP was hanging in there fine. Since then I've reverted back to map 1 (wastegate spring boost) of about 15psi and tapered back to about E25 to take some stress of the pumps.

    At this point, I'm limited to three options:

    1. Remain where I am at E25 fuel and 15psi. Logs are perfect at this setting. HPFP and LPFP perform great and I'm experiencing almost no timing drops. I'm opting to this for the time being.

    2. Revert back to full pump gas, and try and squeeze some more boost out of the car since the pumps won't be stressed as much. I'd rather not do this as I prefer the safety/power of adding ethanol.

    3. Add PI to take stress off the HPFP, raise boost to map 2 (17psi), 3 (20psi), or 4 (23psi) and hope the stage 2 bucketed LPFP keeps up at E30-E40. This is probably what I'll do once someone releases an intake manifold upgrade with port injection.
    I had the evolution of speed intake manifold with built in PI, worked well.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by quattr0 Click here to enlarge
    Tell me about it. Steering rack just gave up on me....I'm at 106k miles. Transmission flush was done few weeks ago. New tires soon lol

    I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need a new daily but it's getting harder as miles are building up....

    I've missed Japanese cars hahaha
    It takes careful planning too. I put back about $50 bucks a month so tires aren't a huge unplanned expenditure out of nowhere. But some things, like when my injectors went, just can't be planned for. I agree that mileage does make me weary about a daily driver, but at this point I've replaced/upgraded/corrected the majority of the known gremlins with these cars. And learned a TON! And we all know that being able to do your own labor is a huge money saver around here. I can't imagine how deep in I'd be if I had been paying a mechanic all this time.

    Sounds like the same deal with your steering rack. I hope my steering rack doesn't give me issues anytime soon. I found out that my active steering rack is actually pretty rare on these cars, so that added some complexity when following DIYs when installing my single turbo. It looks to have a lot more electronics in it than the standard power steering rack. But after driving cars without it, I'm glad I lucked out and had this option installed.

    I didn't anticipate a Japanese car background with a username like quattr0, but I started out there too. DSM crew (2G GSX) here.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by pr3ci5n335i Click here to enlarge
    I had the evolution of speed intake manifold with built in PI, worked well.
    I've been eyeing that same setup for some time now, but looks like it would be close to $2,000 to make it happen for the options I'd want -- manifold + 52lb/hr injectors + JB4 controller. Not sure I want to invest that type of money right now, but maybe later this summer. I like the idea of an integrated PI setup over just the rail setups that are readily available from a bunch of different vendors. I wouldn't completely rule out a single barrel shotgun coupled with a new HPFP either in an attempt to stay DI, but there isn't a ton of feedback yet on those as far as long term reliability.

    I probably should have opted to hop in on the group buy for the DOCRace FF manifold with integrated PI, but now I'll probably just hold off for the EOS knockoff manifold BMS is about to start carrying soon. Hopefully it will be the cheapest of the options.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by quattr0 Click here to enlarge
    I've missed Japanese cars hahaha
    Click here to enlarge
    Three sets of brand new 991.2 3.0 headers for sale: Kline, Fabspeed, and Vektor Ceramic Coated

    IPD plenum for Porsche 991.2 3.0 for sale: $650

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