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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:04 AM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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The Junkyard N54 Engine: Rebuild and Refresh

N54 Community,

Most of my updates are posted in my build log but I figured this was interesting enough and deserved it's own thread.
My E61 Build Thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...702&highlight=

I also hope this is motivational for those debating whether to pull the trigger on a big project like an engine swap, trans swap, whatever. Go for it! BMW forums are filled with people advising others to "sell your car and just buy a manual one," where the reality is these "advisors" have never done the swap or have any first hand experience with the intricacies of the project, it seems their advice is driven by fear of the unknown. Furthermore, the sense of accomplishment with tackling projects yourself is worth it all by itself, not to mention the knowledge gained or the money saved on labor.
*steps off soapbox*

So it has been about 4 months since I blew my motor:
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...1239066&page=2

Prior to my engine exploding I was collecting parts for my AT-MT conversion as well as an AWD-RWD conversion with all M5 components. A blown motor is never convenient but the timing worked out well as I was in a position where I could undertake all projects at once which has certain advantages. My wrenching skills and understanding of the E6X/N54 platforms have been developing and although all of these relatively major projects were beyond the scope of work I had previously done, I felt I could pull it off with ample due-diligence and patience. I mean it's all nuts and bolts right?

I don't have plans to take the HP/TQ much past what it was previously (~550-600whp) for my intended use as a daily-driven weapon, that power is ample and it think it is a good range where the stock internal N54 can manage the load/stress. It seems >600whp is where wear and tear are really amplified.

My goal was to find a N54 long block with low-moderate (<75,000) miles on it, $2,000 or less was the price I was hunting for. Many people sarcastically wished me luck or simply said that it was not possible; I am a competitive person by nature so this feedback only fueled my interest in succeeding ....so thanks! As all the naysayers would have it, most of the engines that met my criteria were in the $3,000-$4,000 range. The best deal I had found after a month or so of casual searching was a 535xi engine w/76k and a 6 month part warranty for $2,650 shipped from Canada (shipping was $230 or so). Not a bad deal but I passed.

I ended up finding an ad on Craigslist for an N54 engine out in Fontana for $800, no picture or additional information listed but after contacting the seller they confirmed with was an N54 from a 2011 335is and had 35k on it. I went immediately to view the engine in person. The engine was complete minus the turbos and had been in an accident where the car was totaled, there was some damage to the exterior components, oil pan, and valve cover. As it was, $800 was still a great deal and if the engine was a flop I could likely part it out and break even financially. Oddly enough the CL ad was posted for over 3 months, there had been multiple buyers but all of them were scared off by the damage.

I bought the engine for $800, paid $100 for it to be shipped to my house later that day, and tipped the high schooler who delivered it $40. So $940 shipped to my garage, not bad. After the initial tear down I sold the oil filter housing, wiring harness, HPFP, and i12 injectors for $950 so I know had a free N54 engine.

My main concern was the block and head which after examining the damage inflicted to the engine from the crash, should still be good, I confirmed this with some "good enough" leak down tests and continued ordering parts to rebuild the front side of the engine: timing chain, cogs, oil and vacuum pump drive system, etc. All of the other engine components would be transferred over from my blown motor.

Rebuild Parts List
Chains, sprockets, gears: $170
Oil pan gasket, hardware: $85
Used "eBay 535i oil pan: $220
TOTAL: $475

Since the engine is still out of the wagon and it has not yet been started, ran, or tuned to confirm function, WE WILL SEE if this all plays out or if the joke's on me (naysayers patiently waiting). As it stands now, $465 for an N54 with <35k on it is a deal I am very happy with.

On to the pics!
Evan


Replacement engine home for the first time:





Stripping down the engine. Most components were damaged but some were not.


A better look at the damage on the bottom.


You cans ee the stress cracks in the cog and also the impact marks on the chain and chain guide.


Valve cover damage


Thankfully it was only superficial to the cover


There was some mild contamination inside the engine from the holes in the oil pan + sitting in a junkyard for a few months


The rest of the engine looked great internally


Peaking up a cylinder


Engine stripped down and exterior cleaned




There was a broken oil pan bolt which needed to be rescued




The as-is leak down test yielded terrible results so I oiled up the cylinder walls and retested. There were some variation with the reading on 2 cylinders but they had audible intake valve leak (inconsistent) and since I can't fire up the engine to get it up to operating temp, possibly clean gunk, and improve valve seat, the numbers were "good enough" for me to continue with the rebuild.
1%
12%
8%
4%
6%
12%




Next up was cleaning the valves
1


2


3


4


5


6
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:04 AM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Mein Auto: E61
Annie the dog is not amused


New oil pan arrived, it is in much better condition than the others


Tech Tip: A used subframe bolt works well as a counterhold in the Harbor Freight engine stand. I would still recommend a proper hub counterhold but this certainly helps.


Didn't have the proper tool to remove this vacuum pump gear access plug from the front and on my old engine I was able to pop it out from the inside (working by the oil pump) with a long pry bar. Knowing I had an extra one to use, this one got the dremel.


Got it!


Camshaft lock installed


Chainguide mounting plugs removed


Timing chain tensioner removed, make sure to pump it a few times to evacuate old oil and also replace the aluminum seal.


Hub counter hold and breaker bar with 22mm socket


Teamwork


Interesting build up, my 535xi engine with 105k didn't have anything like this



Vanos sensors removed and cleaned


Removing Vanos units


Vanos, timing chain, and chain guide removed


Vanos cleaned


Vacuum and oil pump drive system removed


Closer at the oil pump drive damage


Bent cog vs new


Chain guide damage from chain tension


An oversight on my part but there are subtle differences between some N54 hubs and sprockets


535xi cog left, 335is right, the friction/spacer design is also different but most importantly the 335is cogs I ordered would not fit on the 535xi style hub I bought so I ended up running the original 335is hub with new cogs.



Workspace


N54 guts


With frontside components removed I cleaned the engine as much as I could with rags and compressed air


Much better now


I used my old lower chain guide as it didn't have any damage and installed all new drive components


Oil pump in. I reused the 335is pump as it had no noticeable damage and had 1/3 the mileage of my 535xi unit.


Drive system in


Timing chain and vanos back in


Camshaft sensors and timing tool installed


Crank hub in
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #3  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:05 AM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Mein Auto: E61
Timing chain pre-tensioned


Torqued to spec (torque + 180)


Oil pump, pickup, and baffle installed and torqued


Oil pan gasket


Oil pan installed and torqued


Inspected and cleaned all pulleys. They collect little mounds of dirt over time so removing that should lighten the pulleys and improve performance right? +5hp?


Before/After


Installed


Belt tensioner installed


Had a roque/stripped manifold stud to remove


#Tools Hard to reach places and specifc torque angles + low load specs



Valve cover on


Let's see how well I organized my oem nuts and bolts...


Alternator and compressor installed


Oil filter housing service. I had a set of new gaskets sitting for over year so this was an IDEAL time to install them, lol. New filter and the BMS bypass valve


Gotta love machined metal


My low mileage i12 injectors cleaned and installed



New set of NGKs needed to be gapped.


I have 2 different gap tools and they both suck, this is by far the best way I have found to lower the gap.


Delphi coils and plugs installed


HPFP, fuel rail, and engine mount installed


Starting to look like a normal N54
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #4  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:13 AM
Lewis Skolnick Lewis Skolnick is offline
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Damn... Some serious work goin' on here!
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  #5  
Old 07-27-2016, 11:39 AM
Kurt_ Kurt_ is online now
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Location: Ontario
 
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Mein Auto: 2007 530xi
Very nice read. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
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  #6  
Old 07-27-2016, 09:24 PM
BostonJon BostonJon is offline
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Location: Boston, MA
 
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Mein Auto: 2007 E61
on the edge of my seat hoping that this beast fires up on the first crank!
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2016, 10:59 PM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis Skolnick View Post
Damn... Some serious work goin' on here!
Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurt_ View Post
Very nice read. Thanks for taking the time to write this up.
Sure thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonJon View Post
on the edge of my seat hoping that this beast fires up on the first crank!
You are telling ME! lol Either was I am freaking out.

Evan
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #8  
Old 07-28-2016, 12:52 AM
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DanielFD DanielFD is offline
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Oh damn. If i lived near where you were I'd be all over it. That is one clean engine rebuild. I've seen and helped with so many engine rebuilds from old Jaguar V12s to V8, V6, and V12 Mercedes engines but non of them were done with the extreme care your taking. Thats some awesome work man. Cant wait to see that engine running.
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2017, 06:36 AM
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Rusty34 Rusty34 is online now
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Thank you for taking the time to post your pictures. You are to be commended on being well organized and for attending to all the necessary details. Well worth the effort.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2017, 05:22 PM
gohornedfrogs gohornedfrogs is offline
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Applause.


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  #11  
Old 02-20-2017, 07:28 AM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty34 View Post
Thank you for taking the time to post your pictures. You are to be commended on being well organized and for attending to all the necessary details. Well worth the effort.
Thanks for the kind words!
Quote:
Originally Posted by gohornedfrogs View Post
Applause.
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2017, 08:15 AM
Viperbeemer Viperbeemer is online now
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we getting tis any further? did i miss another thread?
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2017, 08:50 AM
ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viperbeemer View Post
we getting tis any further? did i miss another thread?
Build has been stagnant for a bit but hope to have an update soon. I will update my build thread as opposed to this one since technically the rebuild and refresh was completed before the engine was installed.

Evan
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N54 Powered M5 Wagon:
- M5 Driveshaft, M5 LSD, M5 Axles, M5 Brakes
- M5 Front End, M5 skirts, M5 Mirrors, M-Tech Rep Rear
- KW V3, RD Sport Sways, UR Strut Braces, Forgestar F14 SDC
- Manual Swap, MFactory SMFW, Spec Stg 3+ Clutch, Shiftteck SSK
- EOS Port Injection Manifold, Fuel-It: Stg 2 LPFP +Lines +Ethanol Sensor
- N54B30, JB4, Hexon RR550s, Custom Y-Pipe Inlet, AR DPs, 3" Exhaust, VRSF 7" IC, ER CP, Tial BOV, RB PCV, BMS OCC
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2017, 04:23 PM
H F H F is offline
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Excellent write up ,detailed and organized .. You're threads are very informative and nicely done . It will be a good reference thread for others to follow . Great work !

Just thought I'd mention . Usually as a rule of thumb , the front and rear crank seals should be done ,because of the engine sitting out in the elements. I noticed you didn't mention them .
.
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Last edited by H F; 02-20-2017 at 04:26 PM.
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2017, 05:51 PM
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NoQuarter NoQuarter is offline
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My son is away and had the coolant hose from the cylinder head to the thermostat blow apart.

I sent him one of these awesome photos to help show me what happened and we were able to figure it out!

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