Single Turbo E61 Build

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ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
Alright I’m hopping back into the forum life, something which I haven’t been a part of since I used to ride motorcycles.

Recently took the plunge and picked up a car I’ve wanted for a long while now. I’ve wanted an E61535xi ever since I ran across several build logs years and years ago.

Well here is my own 2008 535xi with 130xxx miles, that came with its fair share of problems (mostly stemming from improper maintenance). So I’ve decided to refresh the poor thing and give it new life.

First up on the docket was to get all the misfires, codes, and 100k maintenance done. No problem. Water pump, thermostat, VCG, OFHG, Low/High PCV cans, precision raceworks coils, n52 spark plugs, VRSF charge pipe w/tial BOV, and walnut blast.

This initial work was tackled all in one weekend courtesy of an extra set of hands donated by my younger brother.

Along with the initial fixes I decided to go ahead and do a full manual swap while retaining the AWD system since my auto trans is on its way out in inglorious fashion. I have all the components needed Including a beautiful RTD lockout shifter coming my way soon. I settled on a GS653BZ transmission since I couldn’t find a reasonable GSX653DZ transmission that was supposedly the original that came in the manuals. I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re interchangeable and have set those worries aside. Only thing is figuring out the wiring, I’ve read and read and heard from people that it’s not awful...but whatever, any wiring is awful in my opinion lol.

As I am currently a dental student I don’t have much free time on my hands so the trans swap will be coming in March on my spring break, and it will be fully documented. I have been very graciously allowed lift time by a local BMW shop over the course of two weekends to get my setup sorted.

Now bear with me as I figure out the photo situation here and I’ll have photos and documentation to go along with my ramblings.

As the title suggest I am also preparing the wagon for a full single turbo setup, something which not very many (if any at all) have ventured in. As motivation I picked up a Garrett GTX3582R from real st for an amazing price as the heart of my system. The turbo setup will slowly be pieced together over the next year as my pocketbook allows.

This wagon is and will be my daily driver and I will be doing the build in two steps. Initial pump gas setup to try and make 450-500whp and work out all the system kinks, and then a full e50 port injection setup that will try and hit my final power goals of around 650-750whp.

Stick around, I’ll be trying to update this when I can and when I have time to do a little wrenching on “Das Boot.” Input is greatly welcomed. Cheers!
 

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Last edited:

Torgus

Captain
Nov 6, 2016
1,409
Boston
Are you planning a top mount or bottom single turbo? It should be possible to fit a top mount. Someone mocked up my ACF manifold and there was lots of room iirc. I Don't have the pictures anymore...

@islandroad
 

ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
Are you planning a top mount or bottom single turbo? It should be possible to fit a top mount. Someone mocked up my ACF manifold and there was lots of room iirc. I Don't have the pictures anymore...

@islandroad
I’m going too mount for sure. That’s actually great to know, I was looking at an ACF manifold, and the On 3 manifold, I was between the two because of the tight confines on the 5 series chassis.

Currently leaning towards the On 3 kit, since the turbo is a 1.06 AR open T4. But ideally I’d swap the turbine housing down to a .83 AR with a divided T4 for the ACF manifold. I’ve got time to decide since there are pros and cons of each option.
 

Torgus

Captain
Nov 6, 2016
1,409
Boston
Island road can post the pics up if he still has them and you can see the clearance. I vote ACF but I am biased.
 

ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
ah gotcha! I’d love to see that though. I’ll be sure to list my turbo component parts as I pick them up. For now I’m mostly worrying about my manual swap happening in March.
 

AKN54135i

New Member
Aug 18, 2018
8
Alaska
Awesome build plan Mate! I'll be curious to see if the GS653BZ works or not. i've been slowly piecing together awd stuff for my 135i and finding a reasonable GSX653DZ has also been a struggle and really the last piece of the puzzle for me.
 

island road

Corporal
Nov 21, 2016
103
Boston
I’m going too mount for sure. That’s actually great to know, I was looking at an ACF manifold, and the On 3 manifold, I was between the two because of the tight confines on the 5 series chassis.

Currently leaning towards the On 3 kit, since the turbo is a 1.06 AR open T4. But ideally I’d swap the turbine housing down to a .83 AR with a divided T4 for the ACF manifold. I’ve got time to decide since there are pros and cons of each option.

Here are some pics for fitment of @Torgus ACF Kit test fitting on our E61. I am in the process of doing of doing a Bottom mount GTX3582r BB hybrid 67mm .84 A/R divided T4 should be good for 740hp.

Once there in there we will see what needs to be moved around, waiting on the turbo now.

As you can see there is a slight grind needed on the engine mount, plenty of room up top though once the ABS modules are moved out of the way. There is not only room for a EFR but u can move the turbo away from the valve cover, although all ST kits are made for the 335 they tend to hug the engine side of things.

 
Last edited:

ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
Here are some pics for fitment of @Torgus ACF Kit test fitting on our E61. I am in the process of doing of doing a Bottom mount GTX3582r BB hybrid 67mm .84 A/R divided T4 should be good for 740hp.

Once there in there we will see what needs to be moved around, waiting on the turbo now.

As you can see there is a slight grind needed on the engine mount, plenty of room up top though once the ABS modules are moved out of the way. There is not only room for a EFR but u can move the turbo away from the valve cover, although all ST kits are made for the 335 they tend to hug the engine side of things.


That’s awesome! I was wondering how the ACF manifold works with the coolant pipe? Any need to make a custom one?

That’s the reason I was leaning towards on3 (I know it doesn’t flow the best of all the options), but I’ve learned it doesn’t interfere with the coolant pipe. And as much as I love twin scroll turbos, i figured I’d be ok with the GTX3582R gen 2 i have with a tial .82 vband turbine housing. And I’m choosing to do that out of sheer simplicity of the setup (only 1 waste) since I’m not looking for too crazy of numbers (final goal is an optimistic 650whp) and I’m on a relative budget but I hate to sacrifice quality and reliability (I am still a grad student after all lol )

It looks like you guys are going to beat me to the punch! Finishing the kit this year just isn’t in the timeline anymore, since my trans swap is happening this summer now, and the engine reared it’s ugly head. The poor car wasn’t very well taken care of before me apparently so now im dealing with the repercussions of all that now. Thankfully it’s still relative healthy.

I’ll be pulling the engine when I have more free time to do the trans swap, oil pan gasket, VCG, OFHG, walnut blast, head port block, and either hi/lo CCs or a full PCV delete. Ideally I’d run a perf boutique billet valve cover eventually. I’m still weighing out the options on a PCV delete for daily driving.
 
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island road

Corporal
Nov 21, 2016
103
Boston
That’s awesome! I was wondering how the ACF manifold works with the coolant pipe? Any need to make a custom one?

That’s the reason I was leaning towards on3 (I know it doesn’t flow the best of all the options), but I’ve learned it doesn’t interfere with the coolant pipe. And as much as I love twin scroll turbos, i figured I’d be ok with the GTX3582R gen 2 i have with a tial .82 vband turbine housing. And I’m choosing to do that out of sheer simplicity of the setup (only 1 waste) since I’m not looking for too crazy of numbers (final goal is an optimistic 650whp) and I’m on a relative budget but I hate to sacrifice quality and reliability (I am still a grad student after all lol )

It looks like you guys are going to beat me to the punch! Finishing the kit this year just isn’t in the timeline anymore, since my trans swap is happening this summer now, and the engine reared it’s ugly head. The poor car wasn’t very well taken care of before me apparently so now im dealing with the repercussions of all that now. Thankfully it’s still relative healthy.

I’ll be pulling the engine when I have more free time to do the trans swap, oil pan gasket, VCG, OFHG, walnut blast, head port block, and either hi/lo CCs or a full PCV delete. Ideally I’d run a perf boutique billet valve cover eventually. I’m still weighing out the options on a PCV delete for daily driving.

With the ACF kit Dump pipes and DP it will need to be custom or modified no matter what kit. I think Coolant was but if going with bottom mount new engine mount will need to be made as well. I have a fab guy that is going to be doing

Typically things to do are DSC and AC lines relocate so you have space with any ST kit you happen to go with.

I would love a trans swap but not sure its in the books for me right now. I want to keep it AWD considering I am always in the snow for the winter months.

Waiting on the turbo now, I will keep you updated on the progress.
 
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ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
With the ACF kit Dump pipes and DP it will need to be custom or modified no matter what kit. I think Coolant was but if going with bottom mount new engine mount will need to be made as well. I have a fab guy that is going to be doing

Typically things to do are DSC and AC lines relocate so you have space with any ST kit you happen to go with.

I would love a trans swap but not sure its in the books for me right now. I want to keep it AWD considering I am always in the snow for the winter months.

Waiting on the turbo now, I will keep you updated on the progress.
I have the AC line relocation done already so that’s checked off, and I’ve been talking to some people that have done the e60 top mounts and they simply moved the dsc lower in the bay from where it currently sits. Seems the lines had enough play in them. Eventually I would like to do the m5 location swap.

I am staying awd actually! Just awd manual! Turns out the 335xi gearbox is the same so it was just easier to source one of those instead along with a driveshaft.

And same about the fabrication, I’ll need full custom down pipes with exhaust and dump tubes made as well, thankfully I also have a fab shop that is able to take care of the project.

Definitely looking forward to hearing more about your build!
 

JuniorB

Sergeant
May 9, 2017
320
Rhode Island
Definitely a lot of work, and a lot of room once the whole right side is eliminated. I was considering the benefits of a single like an On3, this kit seems to have a better configuration were space is confined. You would think with all the 335 singles coming out, someone would raise the bar and make one for the e60!
 

ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
Bad news, my engine ate a belt...bad. Like metal flakes in the oil pan bad. And of course it happened a week before I was planning on doing all the preventative maintenance anyways. So i picked a spare block and am in the process of swapping engines before I start up classes and seeing patients again in September.

Upside is I now have a spare block to build with upgraded internals and mock things up before I make any final decision. This will delay my single conversion for a good year now, in the meantime I’ll be collecting and running supporting mods on the new-ish twins on the car (helix overdrive, stage 2 lpfp, 7.5” charge cooler, flex fuel, etc)

Some changes are being made to the initial plan. IF the manifold/turbo clear the passenger side engine mount and bracket then I might be going with the CES bottom mount kit. It’s a very well thought out kit and packages everything nicely, plus I’m liking the idea of not having all that heat at the top of the engine bay more and more.

With the engine swap I’m also doing a RWD, manual, and m5 subframe/driveline/diff swap a la Evan Patak. Only difference is I kept the transfer case and decided to run xdelete. So the front subframe area has a lot more clearance for for maintenance and activities haha.

P.S. My apologies for lack of photos or updates, I’m not really one to really document my builds albeit a journal of chicken scratch I can only read but I’m always up to respond to questions. I’ll post photos when I actually decide to take them lol

In regards to the AC delete question, Evan rents out a template for the ac lines, it basically Frankenstein’s the existing ones that wrap around the front of the engine to it going around the back of the engine. My tip is find a good shop that willing to take the time and weld everything properly because it is not an easy or cheap job if you want to keep your AC.
 
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socaln54

Private
Jul 25, 2018
38
Bad news, my engine ate a belt...bad. Like metal flakes in the oil pan bad. And of course it happened a week before I was planning on doing all the preventative maintenance anyways. So i picked a spare block and am in the process of swapping engines before I start up classes and seeing patients again in September.

Upside is I now have a spare block to build with upgraded internals and mock things up before I make any final decision. This will delay my single conversion for a good year now, in the meantime I’ll be collecting and running supporting mods on the new-ish twins on the car (helix overdrive, stage 2 lpfp, 7.5” charge cooler, flex fuel, etc)

Some changes are being made to the initial plan. IF the manifold/turbo clear the passenger side engine mount and bracket then I might be going with the CES bottom mount kit. It’s a very well thought out kit and packages everything nicely, plus I’m liking the idea of not having all that heat at the top of the engine bay more and more.

With the engine swap I’m also doing a RWD, manual, and m5 subframe/driveline/diff swap a la Evan Patak. Only difference is I kept the transfer case and decided to run xdelete. So the front subframe area has a lot more clearance for for maintenance and activities haha.

P.S. My apologies for lack of photos or updates, I’m not really one to really document my builds albeit a journal of chicken scratch I can only read but I’m always up to respond to questions. I’ll post photos when I actually decide to take them lol

In regards to the AC delete question, Evan rents out a template for the ac lines, it basically Frankenstein’s the existing ones that wrap around the front of the engine to it going around the back of the engine. My tip is find a good shop that willing to take the time and weld everything properly because it is not an easy or cheap job if you want to keep your AC.

How much did they charge your for the A/C Line?
 

JuniorB

Sergeant
May 9, 2017
320
Rhode Island
That’s too bad about the motor, in all my years around vehicles, I’ve never heard of shit like this happening, or loosing a motor after a oil housing gasket replacement. SMH! I’ve read excellent reviews on the CES kits, the cock block is out motor mount that’s smack dab in the front of all bottom turbos, and all the other exhaust work needed. I’ll keep an eye out on this thread. Good luck!
 
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ThatSTe61

New Member
Jan 10, 2019
9
Iowa
The AC line relocation is an investment, I’m roughly 400$ into it, including labor and parts.

Thanks! I hope to keep this updated a little better as I do smaller mods here and there over the next year.
 

island road

Corporal
Nov 21, 2016
103
Boston
The AC line relocation is an investment, I’m roughly 400$ into it, including labor and parts.

Thanks! I hope to keep this updated a little better as I do smaller mods here and there over the next year.
Really? I just finished up my 2nd one and in labor (considering I brought my to a shop) was around $100.

Hows the ST coming along, i have just about all my parts. Car will soon be dropped off to the Fab guy to build out the DP and intake. What are you doing for fueling options?
 

Mrangel

New Member
Nov 5, 2019
1
Just ran across this
I’m attempting to install a jp works top mount on my e60 535i I know around what will need to be relocated .
 

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