Chadillac2000's 2008 135i Road Warrior Daily Driver Build Thread

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
Four months ago I made the conversion from the OEM twin turbos to a larger, single turbo made by Precision. Since then, I've used the car as a daily driver -- racking up over 10,000 miles in that timeframe with no issues to note. That includes driving through a ton of different conditions, including side roads and dirt parking lots. Even though the engine bay could use a detail, and is covered in a layer of dust, everything is holding up extremely well.

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The BMS single turbo filter is key in protecting expensive hardware and has done a great job so far.

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Now I'd finally found the time and collected all the parts to feed this ST setup the fueling it deserved. Prior to the teardown, I gave the car a quick exterior wash.

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Once everything was dry, it was time to get the car situated inside for a quick interior cleaning.

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After vacuuming all the carpets and wiping down all the surfaces, I removed the rear seat knowing I'd need to access the fuel pump cover at some point. I also used the seat belts to secure the grey felt layer up and out of the way.

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Before moving to the trunk to disconnect the battery, I rolled down the front windows and moved the power seats as far forward as they would go so I'd have as much room as possible. For what it's worth, I also have plans to pick up a full size spare, jack, and some other tools for a roadside emergency. I need more than a can of Slime and a cigarette lighter powered air compressor for as many miles as I travel; oftentimes over an hour away from home.

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Using simple green, a brush, and a light stream of water, I gave the engine bay a bath (avoiding the downpipe wrap + blanket, air filter, and alternator). At this point everything was completely clean, so I started removing things from the engine bay. A half hour later and I had managed to remove the cowl, strut bars, charge pipe, and intake manifold.

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Here's a quick comparison shot of the Phoenix Race IM versus the OEM IM.

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Using Fuel-It's excellent guide to replacing the HPFP on an N54, it wasn't long before we were making serious progress.

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After using some creative wrench combinations to reach the three 5mm allen key bolts, I had removed my first HPFP. The old on the left, part number 7616195-03, and the remanufactured version from FCPEuro on the right, part number 7616194-03. The one on the left had 100,000 miles of use, 50,000 of high E85 concentrations, and was still holding on strong at 17psi on E20 fuel. Although I wasn't experiencing long cranks or any other symptoms of HPFP failure, the dips in the logs and misfire I'd experienced at one point when upping boost on E40 fuel, meant that it wasn't 100% healthy either.

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From there, it was time to remove the hard line connection that runs from the HPFP to the fuel line and the existing Fuel-It upgraded fuel line that runs to the ethanol sensor mounted underneath the car. That line will not be reused as I'll be using the new Fuel-It Y-line with camlock fittings that connects at the ethanol sensor and runs to the HPFP hard line + PI fuel rail.

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While I was underneath the car with the plastic shields removed, I wanted to give everything a thorough inspection. There had been some discussing as to how much of an upgrade, if it all, the aluminum guibo had been over the rubber version I removed. Some people had mentioned that they'd seen failures, so it was something I'd wanted to keep an eye on. Plus I had considered going back to the OEM transmission mounts to help out with NVH with the MFactory SMFW. To my surprise, the guibo was completely destroyed, and I have no reason to believe it hadn't been for quite some time. I'm honestly surprised it hadn't been giving me more trouble than it had.

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Luckily, I had hung on to my OEM rubber guibo that was still in excellent condition so I could just swap them back out. For the record, I haven't launched the car, haven't even went full throttle in 2nd gear -- only a low amount of 3rd-4th gear pulls. After seeing this, I'm excited to feel how smooth the car drives with the old rubber guibo reinstalled.

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The next order of business will be to hop back inside the car, remove the stage 2 bucket, and install the stage 3 bucket in its place.
 
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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
I found a few more hours last night to drop by the garage to continue wrenching for a bit. I'd already gotten the car up on stands, removed the HPFP, removed the stock intake manifold and surrounding accessories, as well as the upgraded ethanol sensor to HPFP hardline from Fuel-It I had installed. That meant next up was to get the Fuel-It stage 2 bucket out of the tank, and get the stage 3 in.

Again, I used the great DIY provided by Fuel-It! for installing one of their stage 3 LPFP buckets.

I'd already removed the rear seats in preparation, so the first step was using my trusty Fuel-It lock ring tool to get started -- this is now the third time I've used this for removing + reinstalling a fuel pump for an N54 car. Makes getting these lock rings on and off super-simple.

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Lock ring removed, top vent line and electrical connections unplugged, and top hat partially removed.

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Stage 2 LPFP up and out.

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Quick comparison between the stage 3 pump with 2 Walbro 450s on the left versus the stage 2 pump with 1 Walbro 450 on the right.

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The stage 3 pump went in just as easily as the stage 2 pump came out, and a half hour later all the hoses were connected, two Walbro 450's were in the fuel tank, and the lock ring was reinstalled. I left the two top vents uninstalled for the time being, so I could connect the power wires.

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Because the 2nd Walbro 450 fuel pump is only activated when instructed to by the Hobb's switch I'll be installing, this requires some additional wiring that wasn't required when running a single pump. I had Fuel-It pre-wire my top hat and the power/trigger wires are all included, so connecting the power wires was as easy as connecting the positive and negative terminals.

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The not so convenient part of this, was that I had to route these wires into the battery compartment. This included removing the rear passenger side wheel liner and snaking the power wires down through where the smaller vent tube goes to.

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From there, the wires snake into a grommet that enters the trunk behind one of the side trunk liners.

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With the passenger side trunk liner removed, as well as the entire battery, we now had power wires routed all the way from the secondary fuel pump to the trunk.

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I plan on getting in a few more hours tonight, so hopefully I can finish up all the wiring for the secondary fuel pump, open up the DME box and get the JB4 PI controller installed, bolt in the rubber guibo, and finalize preparations for installing the PI manifold on Saturday. In the meantime, I've been very much enjoying giving our second car some daily duty.

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Last edited:

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
Picking up where I left off, I finished up the wiring in the trunk of the car for the stage 3 pump. I'd already ran the power lines for the 2nd fuel pump through the rear passenger side wheel well and up into the battery compartment through a grommet, so I made those connections in their proper place in the pre-made relay harness and mounted it. That relay's power wire is connected directed to the positive terminal in the battery. After some wire loom, and because of the way I routed the wires, you can't tell anything has been added at all inside the trunk.

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The trigger wires, which once activated, will turn on the power to the second pump, were routed from the relay seen above, down through the same hole I brought the power wires through from, and alongside the battery cables that run up the passenger side undercarriage of the car (some panels must be removed to access) and into the DME compartment. In my case, these trigger wires would be getting their signal from a 15psi Hobb's switch -- which I decided to place on the new manifold instead of my charge pipe. There are 4 ports, but I'm only using two: one for the Hobb's switch and one for a large reference port for my Tial blow off valve.

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Now after reassembling everything, I only had the wiring in the engine bay remaining. This was by far the most tedious part of the install. I started by test fitting to see if the JB4 PI controller could fit in the DME box, which it did.

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Having an ethanol sensor previously installed meant that I'd have to remove that pin from the DB25 side of the JB4 and move it to another portion open slot on the connector, as the PI controller needed that input.

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The same chassis ground I used for the ethanol sensor, was also used for the PI controller.

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Yellow TMAP wire to the DB9 side of the Jb4.

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I didn't get pictures of everything, but that's because it was a handful keeping my head wrapped around the wiring. Routing everything properly so the DME lid fit back on nice and secure was also a challenge, but eventually it was done and time to move on to adding in the new hardware, starting with the HPFP. Once the splines were aligned and everything seated properly, the bolts were tightened down and it was time to move on to the fuel lines.

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Compared to the other fuel line clips used, this new camlock style fitting is much preferred. And with the supplied lube for the hard lines, the fuel line slid right on with ease.

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Here's the connection at the ethanol sensor, as well as a good comparison shot of the old style fitting and line on the left, with the new style on the right.

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Now the remaining end of the y-shaped fuel line would attach to the port injection fuel rail, but first we'd need to fit the manifold. I relocated the "evil black box" mounting bracket, as well as the manifold sensor before bringing it over to the engine bay.

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My first attempt at this took some effort, as there are quite a few hoses, wires and cables that run along the firewall, with space is at a minimum -- especially around the fuel rail at the rear. Eventually I was able to get the manifold over the studs and the AN fitting of the fuel line tightened onto the fuel rail, but it took raising the hard AC line up and out of the way a few inches.

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With the throttle body and sensor reinstalled.

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The fully visible top fuel rail looks phenomenal, especially when the JB4 PI harness is plugged in.

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At this point, I reattached the battery, primed the pump, and confirmed there were no leaks present. Luckily, there weren't and moved on to addressing the flash tune and firmware. I used my JB4 mobile app to update to the latest firmware, and then loaded up the BMS ST TS E85 PI THR flash. Back in the JB4 settings, I changed to map 1, set all the duty bias to 50, set meth signal scaling to 99 so I can make sure the PI is engaging, and adjusted my FUA so I can still see my ethanol content.

Amazingly, the car fired up on the first crank and began idling normally. I got under the car, and closely monitored the manifold and connections to ensure there were no leaks to address.
All in all, everything lined up perfectly as far as fitment goes. I did have to do a bit more trimming to the engine cover in order to make it fit, as it was coming in contact with the PI fuel rail and connections. I also took the opportunity to remove the BMS filter and give it a thorough cleaning as well. The compressor cover of these PTE turbos is a shame to have to cover up though.

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With everything put back together, the engine bay looks sensational -- definitely an upgrade aesthetically over the stock waffle plastic intake.

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By the time I was finished, had everything reinstalled, and got the car back on the ground it was entirely too late to take it for a spin, so I'll save that for this week sometime. I'll start at the lowest boost setting on E50 or E60 fuel, make sure I got all the wiring correct for everything to activate when desired and that logs look good, then I'll slowly ramp up the boost.
 
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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
Unfortunately this morning before I went on a drive, I realized that I purchased my G5 ISO board in March of 2015, about 6 months before they started shipping with the updated chip. So while I was all ready to go this morning, this means no PI for me until the anti-lag + PI driver 24K22 chip gets here from BMS. I put in an order for one this morning with expedited shipping, as well as picked up a Dragy, so I'll be patiently waiting.
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
To update the situation regarding the aluminum guibo I managed to break in a very short time, after finishing up installing a Fuel-It stage 3 LPFP, Phoenix Racing PI IM, and upgraded fuel lines, I swapped back on my old 103,000 mile old rubber guibo and finally got to drive the car a bit. I did note some ever so slight stress cracks starting to form in the rubber near the bushings on this one before I bolted it back in.

To my pleasant surprise, probably 99% of the NVH was experiencing and blaming on the SMFW immediately remedied themselves after reinstalling the rubber guibo. A night and day difference in vibration, downshifts are now easier to rev match cleanly, and I no longer experience the the "rocking" sensation I was getting when quickly letting off the throttle at most speeds. I'll probably grab a brand new rubber version and install it during my next oil change just to be safe and avoid future problems and vibrations.
 
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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
As I mentioned a few posts back, soon after wrapping up the installation of all the new fueling hardware, I realized I had ordered my G5 board about 6 months prior to when BMS started shipping them with their 24K22 chip that's needed for PI integration. It only took a few days for the anti-lag chip (and Dragy module) to make its way from California to North Carolina. Installation seemed like a breeze. Just pull out the old chip and insert this new one in the same orientation.

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Moments after the picture above was taken, I managed to break off one of the pins on the very end of the new chip while trying to get it seated. Doh! I felt like an idiot, but swallowed my pride, managed to reinstall the old chip back into the JB4, put everything in the engine bay back together, and made a rush order for another updated 24K22 chip. Thanks to Payam, it got out the same day and would be in my hands 48 hours later so I could try again.

In the meantime, I downloaded Fuel-It's iPhone app (previously I'd only been monitoring E85 content through the JB4 Mobile app) and took the car to add some more ethanol. Because prior to all the new parts, my HPFP was struggling to keep up, I had been running only a few gallons of E85 per tank to help with timing while running mostly pump gas -- E17 in this case.

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Fuel-It's app connects via Bluetooth to the analyzer to show ethanol content and fuel temperature, and also includes this very helpful E85 calculator for mixing.

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After using the calculations above to achieve E50, and allowing the new mixture to make its way past the ethanol sensor and into the engine, we were looking at an actual E49 mixture. For what I was targeting, that's pretty accurate and also confirms I have a reliable source of E85.

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The second time around, I was able to get the PI integrated chip installed successfully. From there I flashed the BMS ST TS E85 PI THR BEF, switched to map 2 (17psi), set fuel bias to 50 across the board, set FF low, set my DWP to 80, set my open loop to 0, set meth scaling to 99, and made sure menu 8 was on option 0 through the steering wheel controls. After all this, the port injection and dual fuel pump setup should be ready and active.

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Unfortunately the rain has been a nuisance for the last week or so, so I wasn't able to get any multi-gear logs, but I was able to get on the throttle enough in third gear to take some short logs that confirmed the PI was flowing properly -- this could be seen by looking at the fuel enrichment column on the JB4 logs. In addition, the trims were looking excellent and high and low pressures looked steady. Even at map 2's 17psi, the port injection E85 tune was a night and day difference compared to the pump gas tune, and spooled noticeably faster.

It also feels nice to be running so many modifications with not a single warning light on the dash.

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Finally, I should be ready to rock n' roll with this single turbo now that it has all the fuel it needs. I can't wait to see what E60 and 23psi will feel like. I'll be posting up some 3rd-4th gear pulls on map 2 sometime this week, weather pending, so I can confirm everything looks good when WOT for an extended period.
 

suspenceful

700HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
461
That keytag in the background tho ;)

Lookin' good so far man. I'm excited to see you turn up the boost and try out Dragy.
 

ShocknAwe

Lieutenant
Jan 24, 2018
618
SC
Looks great man! Glad the setup is working so flawlessly, gives me hope for mine.

What are your thoughts on the BMS Phoenix IM vs OE IM? Any benefits aside from a better PI delivery mechanism?
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
That keytag in the background tho ;)

Lookin' good so far man. I'm excited to see you turn up the boost and try out Dragy.
Glad you noticed, thought you might! Still loving my single turbo shirt and keytag. Boost will be turned up very very soon barring something unforeseen, which is always possible with these motors.

Quick question are you running on base map beef or you got custom tune now>?
If so from who?
I am running the "off-the-shelf" BMS JB4_BB2_IJEOS_ST_E85_PI_TS_THR bin that can be found on their site.

I don't plan on getting a custom tune at the moment. I log often, and have learned a lot of what to look for so I can make sure everything is looking healthy. Before turning up boost or progressing to the next map, I usually post up a few logs for the pros to take a look at just to confirm I'm not missing anything.

Looks great man! Glad the setup is working so flawlessly, gives me hope for mine.

What are your thoughts on the BMS Phoenix IM vs OE IM? Any benefits aside from a better PI delivery mechanism?
I've been really impressed with how the single turbo components are holding up. There's really no reason to think this couldn't last a very long time and be reliable.

I'm really enjoying the intake manifold for the short time I've been using it. Some quick pros would be: obviously the ability to integrate PI pretty seamlessly, it looks better and doesn't retain dust and debris in the nooks like the OEM waffle, less leaking points than traditional PI systems, is cheaper than most of the other intake manifolds on the market, works with all your existing hardware, and allows a bunch of accessories to be added on like a Hobb's switch and bigger BOV reference.

The only cons I've found are up-front costs and heat retention. $1,000 is the entry fee to this setup, which isn't necessarily cheap, even if it is by comparison to other manifolds. The manifold is also too hot to touch after the car has been running for a while as it picks up all that heat from the head, although I'm not sure that's as important when running E85 and having an efficient FMIC.
 
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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
Back when I was installing this latest round of fueling mods, I touched on the fact that I had found my aluminum guibo completely destroyed.

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I had attributed this failure to all the clunking and drivetrain vibration I'd been experiencing in 1st and 2nd gears. While the car was up on stands, I swapped back in the OEM rubber guibo the car came with back in 2008 and torqued everything back in. Keep in mind, I did not drop the mid-pipe portion of the exhaust, nor did I drop the heat shielding above that shields the driveshaft from the elements. When I got the car back on the road to test out the port injection and second Walbro 450, it seemed that most of the problem had been resolved. I could still feel the vibration I was experiencing with the aluminum guibo, but it had become much more manageable.

Over the next few weeks, however, things had gotten worse and most of the vibration had returned in 1st and 2nd gear. In fact, in 1st gear under anything but the lightest of throttle, it sounded like the driveshaft was making contact with metal. I limped the car to my garage, and got the car back on stands again. To my surprise, the guibo was still intact and didn't look ripped in the slightest.

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This meant the center support bearing was the next possible failure spot, but getting a clear view of that portion of the driveshaft meant dropping the mid-pipe and heat shielding. At that point, it was obvious the center support bearing was destroyed and the culprit of the harshness I'd been experiencing.

The other obvious issue was that back when I'd dropped the driveshaft to upgrade my clutch/flywheel earlier in the year, I had not paid close enough attention to the orientation and installed it upside down. This was putting the angle of the driveshaft slightly off kilter, and therefore trashing the center support bearing itself, as well as the guibo.

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I was disappointed in my dumb mistake, but it's not the first nor the last I'll make while wrenching, and now I know for sure what was causing the issue. I used FCPEuro to pick up a brand new OEM BMW guibo and center support bearing. The lifetime warranty on some of these wear and tear items is valuable in my eyes.

I started at the guibo end of the driveshaft and disconnected those 6 bolts. Most DIYs I reviewed recommended pulling the driveshaft at the differential end, but I did not have the 50mm open end wrench in order to remove the oversized nut. This meant leaving the driveshaft attached at the differential, disconnecting the two bolts securing the center support bearing, and pulling back the rubber boot to expose the splines of the driveshaft.

At this point, you'll want to mark the two ends of the driveshaft so they can be reassembled in the exact same way they were removed. The driveshaft is balanced as a single unit and has weights in certain areas for vibration free driving. From there, a 3 jaw puller made light work of getting the center bearing removed from the driveshaft.

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Old parts compared to the new ones.

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New guibo on the left, old cracked guibo on the right.

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To install the new center support bearing, make sure the old one is installed in the same orientation as the old one. I marked mine just to be sure. I used a pipe that was slightly larger than the driveshaft spline and a rubber mallet to push the bearing up the shaft and into place. A press was not needed.

This time around, I made sure I had the center support bearing properly rotated before bolting it down. This made a huge difference in how the driveshaft sits, and tucks much better up in the tunnel.

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Final look at both ends after bolting everything back down properly. When reinstalling the guibo, make sure the arrows on the outer ring are pointing towards a flange. That will ensure everything is oriented properly.

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Hopefully this can help someone else avoid this very avoidable problem. At least both of the guibo and center support bearing are considered wear and tear items, so its nice to know there's fresh rubber in there.
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
Since replacing the guibo and center support bearing with new OEM parts, the 135i has been an absolute pleasure to drive. All the NVH I'd been blaming on the SMFW was unwarranted. With a 950RPM idle, even with the AC on, there's no noise at idle, and from a take off, the MFactory SMFW feels better than my old worn out OEM DMFW. Revs are a cinch to match, the engagement point and stiffness of the Stage 2+ clutch is excellent, especially with the Ultimate Clutch Pedal.

Now that I'd taken care of that problem, another had popped up. I had just been boasting recently about how I loved having a very modified single turbo car with no warning lights on the dash. The very next day, while in heavy rain, I received the Adaptive Headlight error warning. It had popped up a few times over the past few years, but went away. This one, however, was here to stay. I fully expected to find the seals on my back cover compromised and condensation in the lenses, but this was not the case. Both headlights were dry, the LUX modules were secured as to not interfere with the motors, and all the connections/ball joints were still in place. I was not interested in tracking down replacement parts for a function of the car I didn't use, and I'd also been considering hiring someone to remote code the car for some additional functionality, so I seized the opportunity to contact Joe at Top Gear Solutions to help me out. I'd worked with INPA before, but didn't feel comfortable with NCSExpert enough to attempt this one myself and mess something up.

I already had the cable and a laptop dedicated to BMW Standard Tools, so the only thing else I needed to do was download Team Viewer (remote access software) and have a reliable internet connection. I made payment at almost 5pm EST, scheduled an appointment for the very next morning at 10am. For $89, I would be: coding out my AHL error, and adding auto close windows uninterrupted while opening door, disable key in ignition door chime, open/close windows and sunroof with fob, and display digital speed. At 10AM the next morning, I connected to the internet from outside, while I was at work I may add, I set everything up, turned the ignition on, and texted Joe the Team Viewer access code to let him know I was ready. Then I went back inside and continued with my work.

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Less than a half hour later, he texted me saying I was good to go. I went back out to the car, disconnected the computer, tested the functions, and was very happy that the giant intrusive AHL error was gone, I had the digital speedometer to look at, and added a few preference features to boot. Everything couldn't have went smoother. I highly recommend this remote service if you don't feel great about coding yourself.

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Along with the digital speedometer, you can also see my beloved 1er is about to roll over 115,000 miles on the odometer. To commemorate all these miles, I've started to ramp up the boost on high concentrations of E85 :smile:

I've been keeping a close eye on my logs, and reviewing them with Payam (can't say enough great things about my experiences with this guy), as I've progressed up the single turbo JB4 map options. We started at map 2 on E50 fuel, and then map 3 on E60 fuel. You can find the log check thread on N54Tech if you feel like getting nerdy and like looking over numbers, but it's finally time to turn the car up to map 4. That 23psi map on E60 fuel is where I'll cap this project for the time being. This car has always been a daily, and I've also preferred longevity over raw power numbers, and that's why things have been overbuilt. Once I really dial in that 23psi map, I'll grab some videos, get some Dragy data, and hit up the dyno once again.

Did I mention how fun this thing is to drive?!

A small detail, but found a way to mount the MAC solenoid where it wasn't touching the ground stud of the car and didn't have to be zip tied down.

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chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
I took advantage of the awesome weather this weekend to take the 135i on a small road trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway. This car gets plenty of action during the week on my long commute to work and back, but it felt good to take it through the paces on a long set of twisty roads I don't usually get to navigate. My wife, my dog Winston, and I sat off on Saturday morning in Asheville, NC -- elevation 2,314 feet -- and headed northeast into the Pisgah National Forest.

After about an hour of switchback turns, we had made our way 4,460 feet up to Curtis Valley overlook where we stopped to grab a few pictures with the mountains in the background.

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From there we continued past Mount Pisgah at 5,722 feet, before descending down to 3,268 feet as we reached Linville Falls, our final destination. While the aesthetics of this build were simple, I can't help but love the OEM+ look it has.

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*non car-related content*


We spent the next 5 hours hiking, taking in the views, and letting the dog swim around. Note the BimmerStreet N54 single turbo tee -- love this thing. I've worn it a lot, washed/dryed a bunch, and still feels excellent.

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Then it was back in the driver's seat for another 2 hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway back home as we admired the sunset. On a few open stretches, I was even able to dial in the 23psi map I've been running.

This daily driver is an absolute animal, as confirmed by the reaction from my wife (her first time riding with since the single turbo upgrade) the first time the open WG dumps roared, and can hold its own in the tight turns thanks to the minor suspension upgrades. Next up on the agenda is another oil change (3,000 miles comes around quick at the rate of usage this thing sees) and scheduling DynoJet appointment for sometime in September so I can get some new numbers.

All in all, in the last 7 days, I've logged about 16 hours of driving and over 1,000 miles with zero hiccups. Let's hope this good luck continues, and all my maintenance will continue to pay off despite pushing probably close to double the stock power output.
 

chadillac2000

Corporal
Oct 26, 2017
214
NC
It’s been multiple months and another 10,000+ miles of daily duty since my last update. I’ve continued my assault against the odometer, now at nearly 125,000 miles, and as usual, this 1er hasn’t fussed about the abuse one bit. Several oil changes, a fresh set of NGK plugs, and plenty of E60+ fuel is all she’s asked for in return for her loyalty. I’ve also made a habit of getting Blackstone Laboratories to do an analysis every other change, and still getting stellar results with Motul X-Cess and a Mann filter; even when running higher concentrations of ethanol every single fill up.

I finally felt I had the car dialed in properly and had been wanting to see what kind of power I was producing with all the new parts, so when Bimmer Performance Center in Raleigh, NC (about 4 hours away) announced their Fall Dyno Day on a Saturday I had free, I had all intentions of going. Unfortunately, a few days prior to the event, I was at a family member’s house when my 1er was involved in its first impact with another vehicle. I was parked on the street and a neighbor in a raised truck managed to back their truck hitch square in the middle of my M-sport front bumper. Luckily he stopped before wrecking any of the components underneath the bumper cover, but did manage to put a decent sized hole right in the center.

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I was obviously disappointed about the damaged front bumper, but there was nothing I’d be able to do before the event and it didn’t have an effect on horsepower, so I still planned on attending. In addition to changing the oil and giving the car a good cleanup, I also wanted to swap out my spark plugs to ensure some clean pulls on their DynoJet. The 95770 NGK plugs were approaching 20,000 miles of use with no misfires to note, and considering that’s the high end of their life expectancy, it was time for 6 new ones. I was pleasantly surprised to see the condition of the old plugs were excellent with hardly any buildup of any kind.

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The Delphi coils I switched to when I went single turbo had been performing great, but only 5 of the 6 made it out unscathed during this latest plug change. For the first time in my N54 career, I had a boot seize to the spark plug and come off the bottom of the coil. Using a pick and a set of long needle nosed pliers, I spent at least a half hour removing the rest of the rubber bits stuck in the galley until I could gain access to the plug itself. I’ll be buying one piece rubber coils in the future to avoid this problem with the Delphi.

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Unfortunately I did not have another coil on hand and by this time on Friday most every auto store was closed in my area, so I was stuck. I considered getting up very early Saturday, and sourcing a coil locally, but when I awoke to a torrential downpour, I took it as a sign and abandoned the dyno day trip I’d been looking forward to. Fortunately these are pretty easy to source nowadays locally at any Autozone or the like, so I was able to grab one later that day with a lifetime warranty. When reinstalling the new coil, I also used some dielectric grease to avoid future issues. Lesson learned.

Following the coil debacle, I began searching for replacement front bumpers. I’d enjoyed the look of the OEM M-Sport version combined with the durable Ikon front lip, but ultimately wanted to change up the styling to something else given the opportunity. After deciding that I’d like to round out the BMW Performance theme I had going on in the rear on the sides, I made an order for the BMW Performance front bumper through Turner Motorsports with a 2 week advertised lead time. I was okay with the wait to get what I wanted. Fast forward 2 weeks I’m surprised to find the order status as cancelled when checking to see the shipping status. I was unhappy because I wasn’t notified, but after talking with them for a while, it turns out the performance bumper is no longer available with anyone, even directly from Germany. This forced me to go with the 1M style that has built in air ducts. Not the end of the world, but not exactly what I wanted either. Regardless, it should look better than the previous setup and shouldn’t look so out of place given the existing aero mods I already have installed. Plus the aggressiveness of this front end seems to be subdued when painted jet black.

A few years ago, I posted about how I’d come across an OEM BMW Performance rear carbon fiber diffuser on eBay for cheap, and purchased it despite the slight cracks and peeling clear coat.

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I had a business contact repair the clear coat to where it was disguised much better than the picture below of how I originally received it, but the underlying crack has always been an eye sore for me.

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So now that I was presented with having to get a bumper repainted, I also took the opportunity to repair the diffuser for good. Plus, the carbon fiber always looked a little out of place on my build considering it’s the only CF piece on the entire car. Part of me wanted to keep a bit of the carbon fiber exposed, but I ultimately opted against that and chose the full Jet Black treatment. So, the morning the bumper was set to arrive, I removed the rear diffuser and decided to continue dailying the car despite a missing body component and dented front bumper. It pained me to see her this way, but knew it wouldn’t be much longer before she’d be looking better than ever.

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I dropped the diffuser, along with my existing headlight washer covers (I wasn’t sure that the new bumper would include them or not so I wanted to have them painted), off at the body shop and told them to keep me updated once the bumper arrived. Much later in the day, I received a call asking if there were any other headlight washer covers that came with the bumper, as the OEM ones I provided were not fitting. After digging through the included accessories with the bumper, they were able to find the correct ones, but unfortunately they had sent two left hand side covers instead of a right and left. This should have been a huge red flag, but I chalked it up to a simple mistake. Through all my communications with Turner, they were convinced that incorrect accessories had been sent with the correct bumper and let me know it was highly unlikely the incorrect bumper was sent.

The next morning I was able to stop by the paint booth to see what exactly was going on with these headlight washer covers and why they weren’t fitting. As I rounded the corner into the back area, I see a beautifully painted front bumper in jet black sitting on a stand. As I got closer, devastation sat in as I had an epiphany of what had actually happened. The bumper Turner had sent, which had been sourced through ECS Tuning, was nowhere close to the E82 1M style front bumper I’d ordered, or what the packing slip had indicated.

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After doing some more research, it turns out I’d been sent an MTech LCI front bumper for E92/E93 cars with PDC and headlight washers. Not even close to my original order and now it was too late to correct their mess up. After contacting Turner, they agreed to send out another front bumper right away to remedy the problem, and would physically verify this time that this was the correct part before it shipped out. You’d think that would be standard, but I suppose not. As for the labor and materials cost associated with painting the bumper, they were not willing to help with any type of compensation with that -- citing that should have been my responsibility to make sure all parts fit prior to paint. Needless to say, I probably won’t be ordering anything else from Turner in the future.

Finally, on the Sunday afternoon after Thanksgiving, over a month since the initial collision, I was ready to install the completed front bumper.

On a separate note, over the past 6 months or so, I’d also noticed that my front end had gotten too noisy for my liking. At low speeds on rough roads, I was getting clunks over bumps despite having triple checked every front suspension component was torqued properly. After closer inspection and process of elimination, I finally determined the culprit to be crumbling bump stops and aging front strut mounts. I’d replaced nearly everything else, but these particular suspension components had 125,000 miles of abuse. So since I’d have the 1er up in the air to replace the front bumper, I also wanted to install the fresh Meyle shock mounts, shorter E36 M3 short bump stops, and Febi dust boots at the same time to tighten things up and hopefully provide a quieter ride. It took a while, and was tedious to completely remove the front struts, disassemble, reassemble and reinstall, but it was well warranted and immediately resolved all the clunks and bottoming out of the front struts over big dips.

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I didn’t get many pictures of the installation of the ECS branded, Taiwanese made front bumper, but I’d give it a 7 out of 10 overall. Fitment was pretty decent and didn’t take that long to attach, but all the other components were mediocre at best. The air ducts on the passenger side were spot on, but the driver’s side wasn’t and required modification. The windshield wiper covers were cheap plastic and don’t sit completely flush like the OEM version. The tow hook cover just wouldn’t fit and I ended up using the old one off my OEM bumper which popped right in. My enormous FMIC meant that it took some extra massaging to make everything mate up underneath with no gaps. A few extra holes had to be drilled underneath so it could line up with the OEM undertray. When fully buttoned up, however, the finished product was definitely to my liking. Plenty of airflow to important places, a new aggressive front look, and some added clearance due to the lack of a lip. Plus with all the other aero pieces I have, the 1M style front fits right in. But enough talk. Here are some photos of the current look:

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I've been running full E85 more and more often lately, and with the near 500 miles a week I put on this car, that means lots of fill ups. It also means a lot more time to take in the view.

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