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Thread: 125,000km - Pulling the head

              
  1. #1
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    Post 125,000km - Pulling the head

    I still just can't get enough of the N54 even after 4 years with this car. It sucked not having seen the end of the E92Fan N54 engine build on e90post from a year or two ago. I truly enjoyed everything he was doing but we were never updated on what happened with the engine/car and how it ran after the build for reasons discussed before (owner was too busy getting his restaurant business to work out).

    A couple days ago I decided to dive into the incredible N54 jewel under the hood of every 335 and see what this unbreakable beast is all about with my own two eyes, live, after 125,000km of beating, of which the last 40,000km were with RB turbos with the procede, jb4, cobb, combinations of tunes, over 100 gallons of methanol/water/washer fluid, race gas, 4 clutches (stock, cm, act, hpf now), 4 sets of plugs, injector and HPFP recall, year long cylinder 5 misfires, earlier smoking issues, and most of all: oil consumption that was having me add 1L of oil every 1500km (without any noticeable major smoke) and apparent traces of coolant that were found in the Used Oil Analysis reports by Blackstone Labs posted on here in the past while. These traces of coolant had me thinking my head gasket may have a tiny crack in it but I was very doubtful and contributed it to either meth/water injection or oil/coolant mixing elsewhere where they were in close proximity.

    Now, this car was DRIVEN! This motor has seen over 150 dragstrip passes. It has seen literally hundreds of 3rd, 4th gear pulls, close to 200 dyno pulls, at least 50-60 60-130mph runs, countless datalogs. Its looked the devil in the face, SPIT in between its horns and came right back up Click here to enlarge

    To make the long story short, engine is shockingly CLEAN. Truly pristine condition everywhere. We started by dropping the turbos. Then down came the oil pan. Then, valve cover. No oil sludge anywhere from the timing chain to the cam bearings to the under side of the valve cover. Clean!

    Then came the vanos and timing sprockets and timing chain. Out came both the cams. Looking at them made me think I was looking at something that was literally just off the machine shop floor. I couldn't believe how smooth everything was still after 125,000km of daily hard driving and abuse.

    Next up was removing the head. It came off without a fight. Head gasket, a 3 piece multi layer design, perfect. Not a single issue, I could almost put it right back in Click here to enlarge of course not but I was just pleasantly surprised as I had tiny doubts about it.

    Now come the pistons and this just took my breath away. Every single piston had literally no heavy carbon deposits on it after this much time. The piston tops were basically just darker but again, clean! No visible damage anywhere. Cylinder walls had absolutely no grooves or damage of any kind. To the touch they were as if I was touching bottom of a smooth porcelain dinner plate.

    The bottoms of intake and exhaust valves on the front cylinders did have a bit of carbon buildup. Cylinder 2 did have a leaky fuel injector that was fixed under warranty a long time ago and may have contributed to it. But this is also nothing major at all. However, it might explain why I was getting cyl2 and cyl5 to act up sometimes with timing corrections while other cylinders were quiet.

    The ONLY noticeable issue, if I can call it that which I found, was that the injector 6 looks to have not been sealing properly. When we took it out and had a look inside the injector holes, injector 6 hole had some discolouration coming down the hole. This can be indicative that cyl6 didn't have full compression for some time and was robbing the engine of some power.

    But that's it folks. I am extremely pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Here's some pics I could capture as we were pulling things off last night. They're off my Galaxy Nexus phone so don't mind the quality. Phone died just before we lifted the head off so more pics of the bottom of the head, head gasket and pistons will come shortly.

    In terms of what's next, let's get a discusion on what you guys would recommend doing at this point. What shop to go with? I've talked to a few but I'm still indecisive given pristine condition of everything. I would like to have the head looked at by a capable shop and possibly upgraded for down the road. I'm not sure I'd want to touch compression on this motor at all but I may be going with a larger twin scroll in the near future so not sure there either. Bottom end looks extremely beefy and very capable of taking a lot more punishment before giving up.

    If anyone would like to see closeups of anything, measurements of anything, now's the time so let me know...

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    damn! nice writeup. definatly looking forward to more pictures.

    as far as the head, I, think the only active people on the boards are VAC, so it would be illogical to go with anyone else at this point. I would not touch compression just yet though, it would be better too see what the heads themselves do first. of course, thats if your ok with opening it up again down the road

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    wow nice man! what about the valve guides? were those ok?
    07 335i AT - MOTIV 750 - COBB (Custom Cobb mapping by MOTIV) - BMS PI - JB4G5 - Okada Coils - NGK 5992 Plugs - Helix IC - Snow Stg. 3 - Stett CP - Custom midpipes with 100 HJS Cats - Bastuck Quad - PSS10 - QUAIFE LSD - BMS OCC - Forge DVs - AR OC - ALCON BBK - M3 Chassi - Dinan CP - Velocity M rear Toe arms - Advan RZ-DF - LUX H8 - Level 10 AT upgrade
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
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    damn! nice writeup. definatly looking forward to more pictures.

    as far as the head, I, think the only active people on the boards are VAC, so it would be illogical to go with anyone else at this point. I would not touch compression just yet though, it would be better too see what the heads themselves do first. of course, thats if your ok with opening it up again down the road
    Yes, VAC does sound like a great option.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by enrita Click here to enlarge
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    wow nice man! what about the valve guides? were those ok?
    Those will only be seen once the valves and springs are out. Given next to no carbon buildup on the pistons I doubt the guides are worn at all but we'll see.
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    Get the head built!

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    Contact VAC, when I was there for my Quaiffe install Mike told me they would be getting into this motor in the future and already are looking at providing upgraded parts. He even showed me the n54 they had there for testing/building. Vac may have some stuff in the works...

    Im Glad you put together this write up! Makes me feel good about my weekend driven cobb stg 2 335 :-). It hasn't seen anywhere close to the abuse your motor has seen!

    Bimmerboost is def the place to go for tech discussions
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    Thanks for sharing!

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    Great work Dzenno, it's amazing to see the quality of these engines given the abuse we give them. Would love to see the result of some head work on that beast Click here to enlarge

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    Great shots. Thanks for all your contributions to the community dzenno, it's much appreciated Click here to enlarge

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    Nice, looking forward to more pics.

    Sticking with twins, do nothing
    Single, then you may want to consider rpm, compression, ports… but if you do this, then you’d be running “big” power to take advantage of the work and have to potentially strengthen the bottom end also.

    So, do nothing is my thought.

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    Until a better/proven single option comes out, I'd do nothing. Your car is fast as it is....right now the single that is out is unproven and HPF, others etc haven't shown anything substantial either....YET
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    dzenno is never happy with his car. Click here to enlarge Whatever he does, it's good information for the community.

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    advantage to put a better head gasket and cylinder lapping look if you change the pistons as the n54 is ready for that, like the cylinder head, intake valves and exhaust so much your engine will thank
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    I'd also leave the cr alone, appreciate the write up! I love these damn cars!

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    Dude, when do you sleep? Get those ports opened up!

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    excellent write up dz. props to 'popping the cork'. not many have the guts (or wallet) to do so. +rep and i look forward to your updates of pics as well as pertinent info.
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    Give us good pics (proper depth of focus ie not phone cam pics) of intake and exhaust ports!!!
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    Many single turbo options are coming together right now. I know of at least 3 others in progress and 2 sort of getting started. Most interest of those to me goes to Steed Speed and Full Race for their twin scroll manifolds.

    Constantly pushing power in most cases just ends up costing more money than being worth the "investment". Becomes a race of fixing parts faster than they get to break. Although its very enjoyable to watch from the sidelines I don't think anyone should be fooled into thinking they'll have reliability they can trust and depend on.

    Personally, I think this car can have a happy 500-550wheel on the stock motor, with a proper tune of course, and last and be reliable quite a long time, but we'll see what the single turbo options bring to the table in the next while I guess, especially when it comes to reliability as well as tuning.

    At this moment I'm just looking to have some fun with what I already have. Given how easy it is to pull the head once the turbos are off (honestly very very easy, no fuss) especially when you've got a great buddy mechanic doing 99% of the work and you're just holding up the flash light and helping him pull the head off the motor Click here to enlarge
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    How easily can you reach that rear intake pipe with the head off?

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    lol @ "boost gets you laid" Click here to enlarge

    With the tranny off and the motor tilted down a bit the rear intake pipe is easily swappable as well...rear intake pipe secures to the cylinder head on the rear of the engine so those bolts had to be removed to take the head off...that rear intake pipe is just sitting back there now until further notice
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    Oh, here's the BMS OCC catch that was found after less than 10,000km, this can works like no other:

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    looking forward to seeing pics on this. While you have it out, you better upgrade everything you can or you will regret it.....trust me.

    everything looks in similar condition to my engine at 90k miles on a 13 year old car. i'm not surprised its clean at all.
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    Damn dzenno! Keep up the good work!

    I can't wait for you to come up with your perfect setup so I can just copy it later Click here to enlarge
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by nafoo Click here to enlarge
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    Damn dzenno! Keep up the good work!

    I can't wait for you to come up with your perfect setup so I can just copy it later Click here to enlarge
    QFT

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by sniz Click here to enlarge
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    looking forward to seeing pics on this. While you have it out, you better upgrade everything you can or you will regret it.....trust me.

    everything looks in similar condition to my engine at 90k miles on a 13 year old car. i'm not surprised its clean at all.
    Question is, what would the true upgrades be AND/OR would they only be swapped parts in the end Click here to enlarge This motor is different than many before its time in many ways...effects of that are even further compounded by the fact its DI

    Funny thing is so far, the mix of posts here is just like me going back and forth on what to do with it...all over the place basically, upgrade everything, don't touch anything, just port the head, do everything so i can copy Click here to enlarge
    Last edited by dzenno@PTF; 04-17-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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