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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 08-22-2013, 01:53 PM
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Mark K Mark K is online now
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Carbon buildup on N55

I have 48,000 miles on N55 engine. Car is in right now for

- MT fluid change
- diff fluid change
- spark plugs

and my indy shop sent me these for evaluation. This is how intake valves look like on my engine. He was mildly surprised and so am I. Actually, I'm more than mildly surprised. I wasn't expecting horror pictures I saw here because those were taken at much higher mileage than mine, but I wasn't expecting it this good, either. I decided to let it be and take it in again at 60,000 miles for walnut blasting. Comments?

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2011 E92 335i 6MT ZSP ZCW (ED May 17th 2010)

2013 118d BMWNA Special Edition. Black on black cloth (yay!), 5 door hatchback, 140hp diesel. Special edition items: factory debadge| "VW", "Golf" and "TDI" badges factory applied | MT | Standard go flat tires | Spare tire (yay!) | No moonroof (yay!) .
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2013, 02:17 PM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Based on those shots, my first comment would be to ask if an N55 PCV system can be retrofit onto an N54.
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2013, 02:30 PM
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thekurgan thekurgan is offline
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I would want to see all 12 valves and wonder why the first two photos looks bad while the others look cleaner.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2013, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
I would want to see all 12 valves and wonder why the first two photos looks bad while the others look cleaner.
Can't say. The guy wrote in e-mail , quote "Several of them look very good. A few others are starting to get some buildup on the backside, but by no means the worst I have seen".
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2011 E92 335i 6MT ZSP ZCW (ED May 17th 2010)

2013 118d BMWNA Special Edition. Black on black cloth (yay!), 5 door hatchback, 140hp diesel. Special edition items: factory debadge| "VW", "Golf" and "TDI" badges factory applied | MT | Standard go flat tires | Spare tire (yay!) | No moonroof (yay!) .
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2013, 02:48 PM
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thekurgan thekurgan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
Can't say. The guy wrote in e-mail , quote "Several of them look very good. A few others are starting to get some buildup on the backside, but by no means the worst I have seen".
Strange. Maybe ask him which cylinders the worst set came from? Looks like he sent you a range, yeah, nice mechanic.
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
Strange. Maybe ask him which cylinders the worst set came from? Looks like he sent you a range, yeah, nice mechanic.
OK, just got back. The worst were cylinders 5 and 6. Cylinder 1 was iffy, cylinders 2,3,4 were quite clean.

I think only two things here helped (if at all) to keep them as clean:

- the engine was probably never shut off under 200 F

- after I reach 230-250 F I drive it really hard and WOT to redline happens at least once every time I take it out. Quite often multiple times in 2nd gear.
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2011 E92 335i 6MT ZSP ZCW (ED May 17th 2010)

2013 118d BMWNA Special Edition. Black on black cloth (yay!), 5 door hatchback, 140hp diesel. Special edition items: factory debadge| "VW", "Golf" and "TDI" badges factory applied | MT | Standard go flat tires | Spare tire (yay!) | No moonroof (yay!) .
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
OK, just got back. The worst were cylinders 5 and 6. Cylinder 1 was iffy, cylinders 2,3,4 were quite clean.

I think only two things here helped (if at all) to keep them as clean:

- the engine was probably never shut off under 200 F

- after I reach 230-250 F I drive it really hard and WOT to redline happens at least once every time I take it out. Quite often multiple times in 2nd gear.
I don't know specifics of the n54/n55, but on past BMW I6 engines, cyls 5 and 6 ran the warmest, doesn't explain #1 however. Still they look good comparing others here.
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  #8  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:34 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Thank you for sharing, Mark.

A number of us here have recently DIYd our spark plugs, and IIRC all but one person noted that that plugs at #5 and #6 were the most fouled, including on mine. (I would love to hear why this is the case with our engines, maybe DSX would know?)

Now I even wonder if it is even possible to predict the amount of carbon buildup by looking at the plugs. I suppose it's not really helpful, and I only ask because I have absolutely no idea how much more involved it is to get to the valves once the plugs are accessed.

I run the RPMs up there when warmed up, but I don't always redline either (though I did a few drives ago). Unfortunately, my engine probably has been shut off below 200F on many occasions. Hmm...

edit: ah, just read kurgan's post, so they ran the warmest in the past eh, okay that makes sense I guess...
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:38 PM
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ilovemycar View Post
Thank you for sharing, Mark.

A number of us here have recently DIYd our spark plugs, and IIRC all but one person noted that that plugs at #5 and #6 were the most fouled, including on mine. (I would love to hear why this is the case with our engines, maybe DSX would know?)

Now I even wonder if it is even possible to predict the amount of carbon buildup by looking at the plugs. I suppose it's not really helpful, and I only ask because I have absolutely no idea how much more involved it is to get to the valves once the plugs are accessed.

I run the RPMs up there when warmed up, but I don't always redline either (though I did a few drives ago). Unfortunately, my engine probably has been shut off below 200F on many occasions. Hmm...

edit: ah, just read kurgan's post, so they ran the warmest in the past eh, okay that makes sense I guess...
I was told this by my indy mechanic, but the diff isn't dramatic, just a coolant flow design. I've just read some articles on cyl 5 6 temp spikes in n54 engines. I'll see if I can post the link ...

http://forums.n54tech.com/showthread.php?t=808
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Last edited by thekurgan; 08-22-2013 at 06:41 PM. Reason: link found
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2013, 06:40 PM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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You are looking at the wrong place. It look like this is a boroscope view through the spark plug hole. You need view the intake port though the intake manifold or remove the intake manifold and view it. The build up will be on the back of the valves, the ports and the valve stems. Still, from what I can see it is promising.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:03 PM
Ilovemycar Ilovemycar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
I was told this by my indy mechanic, but the diff isn't dramatic, just a coolant flow design. I've just read some articles on cyl 5 6 temp spikes in n54 engines. I'll see if I can post the link ...

http://forums.n54tech.com/showthread.php?t=808
Thank you, I read the whole thing and found it very interesting. I realize it's an old thread now and many things have been realized since then, but the R map idea was pretty interesting, if at the expense of water pump and associated parts longevity. I think it's wild that BMW engineers have a mapping for when exterior temp is 180F! Wow, lol. I also had no idea that DI water is extremely corrosive, if what that poster said was true. I am googling around right now, and not yet finding conclusive results, though I see someone quoting a study that says aluminum, boron-steel, stainless steel are not affected, but that tungsten and copper are corroded by DI water...

That thread sort of makes me feel better for never adding a tune.... I am happy with my current power, I mean I could use wee bit more sometimes but oh well... hehe...
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2013, 10:04 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark K View Post
OK, just got back. The worst were cylinders 5 and 6. Cylinder 1 was iffy, cylinders 2,3,4 were quite clean.

Interesting. Issues always seem to be cyl's 5/6....


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  #14  
Old 08-23-2013, 06:23 AM
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Mark K Mark K is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke4689 View Post
You are looking at the wrong place. It look like this is a boroscope view through the spark plug hole. You need view the intake port though the intake manifold or remove the intake manifold and view it. The build up will be on the back of the valves, the ports and the valve stems. Still, from what I can see it is promising.
You are correct, they accessed it through spark plug hole - I was in to change spark plugs + other things so they said they can take a look and pics at no additional cost.

It seems obvious that cleaning WILL be necessary, I'm just glad (and it seems very reasonable) to do it every 60,000 or even more. I'll go in and clean them up at 60,000 regardless. Will resurrect this thread or start a new one with pics when everything is off at 60,000.
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2011 E92 335i 6MT ZSP ZCW (ED May 17th 2010)

2013 118d BMWNA Special Edition. Black on black cloth (yay!), 5 door hatchback, 140hp diesel. Special edition items: factory debadge| "VW", "Golf" and "TDI" badges factory applied | MT | Standard go flat tires | Spare tire (yay!) | No moonroof (yay!) .
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