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Old 11-18-2019, 04:15 PM
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Custom Turbo Inlet System for my X5D

I wanted to share a recent project on my X5D.

Disclaimer: This isn't a step by step guide however for those inclined DIYers all the critical information is covered and the process is outlined, there should be adequate information to build your own replica if you fancy. Follow at your own risk, do your own research, and take responsibility for your work. No that this is done....

The goals:
- Improve turbo response by shortening intake length and increasing air flow potential
- Retain "cold" air source
- Simplify system to make engine access easier
- Clean OEM+ aesthetics

I have yet to confirm the performance gains of the system but once I get my X5 tuned I plan to get some back to back dyno runs comparing the custom inlet vs stock airbox. I would love to find a race shop that can bench dyno the CFM too. This system was "engineered with common sense" so it would be nice too see some data to confirm the increase in performance
....or show that I wasted my time Hopefully #CommonSenseEngineering prevails.

Here is the parts list, if they were modded those details are below:

- K&N RC-5000 Filter
- K&N RC-70031DK Dry-Charger
- 3.5" 45 Elbow
- 3.5" 90 Elbow (4" legs recommended)
- 3.5"-3" Reducer (3" length)
- 3.5" Aluminum Joiner
- HPS SSWC-59-83 x1
- HPS SSWC-84-108 x4
- Pro Fabrication 3.5" Oval 90 Pipe
https://www.profabrication.com/3-5-x...l-bend-ms.html

Parts ran me ~$300

Here was when the idea was conceived. Happy to say this state-of-the-art scribble turned out to be fairly accurate.


The star or this inlet system is the 3.5" 90 degree oval piping as retains the 3.5" diameter while clearing the hood once it's shut. Originally I was looking at a 3.5" oval pipe from CX Racing that was aluminum but I went this Pro Fab pipe because it has a tighter 4" radius, I called CX Racing and asked them for the specs but they didn't know (must be lost in China somewhere, lol). If I had to guess the CX piping is 4.5-5" radius, either way the 4" of the Pro Fab is extremely helpful.

*This Pro Fab pipe is mild steel and starts to rust if you look at it wrong so plan to seal/protect it somehow.

Here is the original pipe being test fit


In an ideal world I would maximize the amount of metal and minimize the amount of silicone used to construct the inlet but the direct routing to the turbo meant form will follow function. Here is what I was eyeing up.


The oval pipe fit snugly into the oem hole in the shroud but the pipe needed to sit lower for hood clearance. This is without trimming, notice the height relative to OEM.


If you look closely at the edge of the green tape you can see there was a circular cutout in the radiator shroud so I trimmed the plastic on top and did my best to make a clean cut.


I did an initial trim of the oval pipe.


With the oval pipe and the radiator shroud trimmed fitment was much better, notice how low the pipe sits now, very similar to the stock snorkel.


I had to take some more length off the oval pipe to help straighten the routing. Here is after final trimming. I don't have the exact measurements but there is about 1" of leg (past radius bend) that goes towards the filter, the other end which runs to the turbo is slightly longer with ~2" of leg.


Here is the OEM turbo inlet removed from the X5


We won't be needed the top part and thankfully the PCV connection is built into the lower pipe. With the upper portion removed I noticed there was a large flange, this isn't ideal.



Using a sanding wheel I removed the outer lip and bored out the inside to make a nice smooth transition.



For good measure I bored out the MAF as well.


This is the 3.5" joiner I use between the silicone 90 and 45. It has a bead as it's intended to be used as charge piping.


That bead will only disrupt air flow so I trimmed off each bead to keep things smooth. Not pictured but you can notice this when observing the final product but I stuck this 3.5" pipe in my bench vise and made it oval to help keep continuity in the shape of the piping.


If you look closely you can see the oval piping is slightly concave on the long sides, this is a byproduct of the bending process.


To alleviate this I used some JB Weld to fill in the small dips on all 4 sides.



After the JB cured over night it was time to sand, clean, prep, prime, and paint. I used some high temp stable engine paint and added further protection with a top layer of ceramic coating. Hopefully this resists paint chips when I inevitably remove the inlet for more wrenching.




Once I got the general routing of the system down my attention focused on filter location. I was adamant about the filter being vertical and NOT contacting the shroud or radiator, or poking through towards the kidney grills so aligned the filter where I wanted it and worked backwards aligning and trimming if needed.

After achieving ideal filter location and confirming there would be no contact with the hood shut I looked into ways to secure the system. I was thinking about L-brackets and all kinds of serviceable mounting solutions but once I had the system mocked up I realized the system was fairly rigid. The silicone does offer some flex but considering the short length of the system overall and the M57 doesn't seem to move much underload, the intake wasn't flopping around, it was barely moving at all. My solution was using a small rubber disc I had laying around, I attached some 3M VHB, and use this is a locating /buffer for the hose clamp. After some test drives and manyu WOT pulls I confirm this works like charm. The only contact points for this whole system are this and where the OEM turbo inlet bolts to the turbo. Very happy about this.



*Depending on what length 45 degree silicone elbow you buy your trimming may differ but I took about 1" off each end of mine. Also the 90 degree silicone elbow w/ 4" legs was also trimmed, I took about 1" off the end that connects to the MAF.

*Also not pictured but the opening of the K&N filter is larger than the 3.5" oval piping. The trick is to take one of your 1" silicone trimmings and use that as a spacer. -Slide the 1" long ring of silicone onto the forward edge of the oval pipe and then install your filter, works like a charm and you can recycle! Look closely at the pics below and you can see the silicone sticking out where the filter mounts.

For added security you can add a K&N Dry-Charger which is a hydrophobic filter guard, great for dust and water.



Let's first take a look at the stock intake system



...and a peak inside, notice the entire filter is not utilized



Now the final product





Installed


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  #2  
Old 11-18-2019, 07:30 PM
robnitro robnitro is offline
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Nice craftsmanship but I hate to say it but our stock filter is huge and not a restriction. Even with it dirty, I reach at most 1-2 in h2o on my restriction gauge. Max 30 psi and all the way to redline (max mass flow is at high rpm and high boost). We have more of an issue with exhaust manifold pressure as tuning goes up.
If you take that k+n and unwrap the filter element and measure surface area vs the stock panel filter it will be close. My money is on the stock filter having more surface area. This would be a great mod on the 335d where they have an overly restrictive filter.

The piping is not a restriction at all. It's bigger all over cross section area wise than what the turbo inlet takes in.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:53 PM
SPL15 SPL15 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnitro View Post
Nice craftsmanship but I hate to say it but our stock filter is huge and not a restriction. Even with it dirty, I reach at most 1-2 in h2o on my restriction gauge. Max 30 psi and all the way to redline (max mass flow is at high rpm and high boost). We have more of an issue with exhaust manifold pressure as tuning goes up.
If you take that k+n and unwrap the filter element and measure surface area vs the stock panel filter it will be close. My money is on the stock filter having more surface area. This would be a great mod on the 335d where they have an overly restrictive filter that's far more restrictive...

The piping is not a restriction at all. It's bigger all over cross section area wise than what the turbo inlet takes in.
This is actually the best "DIY" air intake system I've seen so far for the E70 35d. Magnitudes better than all of the "Hot Air" intakes being incompetently cobbled together by folks who don't appear to understand basic technical theory behind how an internal combustion engine works, nor who understand the gist of what Bernoulli's equation implies

How are you measuring the 1-2 InH2O pressure drop across the filter element during full throttle and high boost conditions? I've seen video of folks showing around 1 PSI (27.7 InH2O) vacuum inside the M57 crankcase under certain conditions, where the only source of crankcase vacuum is via the crankcase PCV breather tube, located downstream of the intake air filter... To put things into perspective, there's only around 2.0 InH2O pressure differential between the air in your lungs, and ambient / atmospheric air pressure, when breathing normally, in a restful state, for a healthy human adult...

There's enough pressure differential created by the OE solution, where the spring loaded door on the underside of the airbox (for emergency conditions to bypass the intake snorkel and / or primary side of the filter element) will slightly open under certain engine conditions at high RPM and full throttle on a clear bright sunny day with a brand new filter (it's audible if you know what to listen for). If you've ever pushed in that spring loaded door with your fingers, you'll know, without any doubt, that there's a whole lot more than 1 - 2 inH2O pressure differential created by the OE air filtration system, as this door is being opened by the pressure differential that's primarily created across the face of the white bonded fiber pre-filter pad, not the compressed "paper" media filtration element...

True that the filter media surface area of the OE filter element is likely higher than the K&N filter; however, this does not mean that the OE filter will have less pressure drop for given airflow rate. K&N filter elements (and all of the cotton weave oil "wetted" filters) will have very low pressure drop per unit of surface area compared to a legit compressed fiber filtration media, albeit at the high expense of significantly less filtration efficacy, allowing MUCH more small particulates to pass thru into the engine. I don't run these types of filter elements for this reason, they may have lower pressure drop per unit of area at a given flow rate, which is fine and desirable in a race car engine that's frequently rebuilt and maintained like a race car; however, this is not ideal in a daily driver automobile that has 5K - 10K+ mile oil change intervals, where low engine wear over 100K miles in a variety of highly non-optimal conditions takes priority over a relatively slight air-density gain from using a lower restriction air filter on the factory tune, that is already very conservative due to emissions and reliability / durability requirements...

My primary concern with aftermarket and DIY air filtration solutions, other than increased quantities of fine particulates getting into the engine (mostly addressed w/ more frequent oil changes, where EGR is likely FAR worse for an engine), is measurement accuracy / performance of the MAF sensor due to unknown turbulence, eddy currents, and stratification of air density thru the bends of the ducting before the MAF sensor. This is a known issue with aftermarket air filter solutions for the E90 335d on some tunes in certain instances, where incorrect MAF sensor mass volume measurements can cause issues with A/F ratio with tunes that still use the MAF sensor output for closed loop mapping.

The factory intake box has a center dividing fin within the output ducting to help maintain laminar flow, as well as maintain equal sectional density of the air volume within the duct right before the MAF sensor. The MAF sensor output is calibrated at the sensor level by Bosch for a laminar flow with uniform sectional density of the air column flowing thru it, where this sensor level "corrected output" is further corrected via some sort of "Linearity and Bias" adjustment / calibration within the DDE; likely a basic 1st order "Slope and Offest" correction factor, which does not do well at all with additional degrees of freedom / non-linearities who's coefficients became significant after modification, especially on the extreme ends of the measurement range.

If you know anything about injection molding of plastics / polymers, you'll notice the output ducting of the factory airbox has a fairly aggressive micro-textured surface instead of being smooth, where the sections of this same injection molded piece that do not interface with intake air movement, are perfectly smooth (other than the top surface of the air box that is moderately textured for cosmetic purposes). This aggressive micro-texturing costs money and is definitely not cheap for long term costs and maintenance of the tooling, as it wears out quickly and is ALWAYS intentional for some reason or another (especially with high content glass fiber reinforced polymers like the air box uses, which wears out fine features on tooling MUCH faster). The reason for this aggressive micro texturing is for airflow characteristics to the MAF, as this micro texture has an effect on the boundary layer conditions between the plastic housing and the volume of air moving swiftly past it, reducing apparent "drag" on the volume of air passing by the static surface of the housing. This is how finely tuned and engineered the factory air box is for making sure the MAF measures the mass of air as accurately as possible...

Tunes that still use the MAF sensor output for closed loop operation with a non-stock air filter solution, will very likely run some degree of richer, or leaner, than intended by whoever did the original tune on some unknown vehicle condition state, in unknown atmospheric conditions, with unknown modifications... The tune will likely be "OK" enough for most and not show severe issues for most who's modifications are similar enough in climates that are similar enough, but it will definitely not be optimal for your specific car, and may cause some pretty obvious A/F ratio issues if your MAF sensor output becomes too far out of range for the tune.

Out of all the non OE air filter solutions I've seen for the E70 35d, this is by far the best one, period, where it will likely allow slightly higher air density into the turbos & engine over the stock system; however, I'd still want a custom tune, w/ my car on the dyno, if I ever installed it to make sure my A/F's were where I want them to be during all driving scenarios, where I'll personally stick with the OE solution for all of the reasons I listed above. The thing is, this air intake "idea" shown here could be refined a bit more to ensure proper MAF sensor output (with some knowledge of CFD and CAD to do so). Take the same overall layout / idea, and get some capital to buy "relatively" cheap aluminum tooling that should be good for producing a thousand or so injection molded pieces that have the necessary accommodations for uniform sectional density at the MAF, you'd have a hit product. Apply the lessons and learnings to another application / platform, you'd have the start of a product line and potential business

Last edited by SPL15; 11-21-2019 at 01:37 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-21-2019, 09:35 AM
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ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPL15 View Post

Tunes that still use the MAF sensor output for closed loop operation with a non-stock air filter solution, will very likely run some degree of richer, or leaner, than intended by whoever did the original tune on some unknown vehicle condition state, in unknown atmospheric conditions, with unknown modifications... The tune will likely be "OK" enough for most and not show severe issues for most who's modifications are similar enough in climates that are similar enough, but it will definitely not be optimal for your specific car, and may cause some pretty obvious A/F ratio issues if your MAF sensor output becomes too far out of range for the tune.
Thanks for taking the time to share your insight, I am learning.

My exhaust and tune arrive today. I went with Malone and have a Flashzilla which offers the ability to store up to 5 tunes and flash as needed which is a luxury I fully plan to utilize. Owain says he can offer a MAF-less tune which is something we may play around with, the plan is to see how the X5 runs with the "normal" tune(s) which utilize the MAF, I assume with my data-logging and his tuning expertise we can see if there are inconsistencies due to the flow of the intake and either tune accordingly or give the MAF-less tune a shot. Either way I am excited to see what we find. My limited time behind the wheel with the intake installed was pleasant and the X5 felt strong with smooth response and power delivery.

For the sake of science I went ahead and bought a 3.5" Vibrant Velocity Stack, I run one of these on the turbo inlet system I built for my BMW E61 and since the 3" and 3.5" stacks run the same Vibrant filter so once the Velocity stack arrives I can set it up on the X5 and see how this system compares to what I built. Cold air source + bends vs velocity stack with short run what sucks in hot engine bay air.

Here is the system I built for the E61 showing the Vibrant Velocity stack and filter. They are intended to work together and the filter has a concave cone in the top of it to aid flow into the VS.

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Last edited by ucsbwsr; 11-21-2019 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 11-21-2019, 07:03 PM
robnitro robnitro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPL15 View Post

How are you measuring the 1-2 InH2O pressure drop across the filter element during full throttle and high boost conditions? I've seen video of folks showing around 1 PSI (27.7 InH2O) vacuum inside the M57 crankcase under certain conditions, where the only source of crankcase vacuum is via the crankcase PCV breather tube, located downstream of the intake air filter... To put things into perspective, there's only around 2.0 InH2O pressure differential between the air in your lungs, and ambient / atmospheric air pressure, when breathing normally, in a restful state, for a healthy human adult...
I think you're talking about other conditions and I think it was done on a 335d. In certain RPM ranges depending on which turbo is being used can change the draw on the CCV. I never took CCV readings but I would like to see the thread. If its the 335d thats going to be a factor, their filter is half the size of ours. A cone filter in the same location as the box helps their smoke a lot.

x5 35d filter is 12.76 x 10 = 127.6 sq in
335d filter is 11.78 x 9.23 with approx 6x6 triangle cut out 108.7 - 18 sq in= 90.7 sq in approx.
The 335d filter is 71% of the 35d filter.
What's funny is the 1.9 L VW TDI MK4 had a filter 14.6 x 7.4= 108 sq in! bigger than the 335d one on an engine that is 2/3 the size!
(Sizes here and picture to estimate the triangular size
http://www.fram.com/parts-search/CA1...VjXQ-Qrc6wwLpA
https://www.fram.com/parts-search/CA...VjXQ-Qrc6wwLpA
)


Sorry.. It was misread now that I look at this photo. It was below the first mark around 6 in h2o. Remove the filter and it will be much lower... the piping IS NOT a restriction.
See the image, 20 is already in the red zone. 27 is not normal and again, I'd like to see the thread to find the conditions.
It's a photo from Amazon, but I have one with the same scale.

First mark is the most I've seen at 30 psi to redline pull even with a used filter.

Also, I remove the foam from the filter because it clogs up much quicker than the paper element. The TDI had a similar rectangular filter but they also had a non cold weather one without that foam. On the TDI I got better filter life on filters without that foam because the paper has a much bigger surface area (and slower airflow per sq in) than the foam/cloth part would.

Speaking of the airbox flap, it's stupidly designed to pass flow only over that area with a divider. The filter was almost spotless on that section and the rest was dirty. Stupid....
I removed that divider so the whole filter is used. If there is some sort of restriction on the snorkel, the flap is supposed to open as a last resort- not in normal conditions. The TDI had another way of doing it, a screen on the snorkel pipe, and a flap with a spring between that screen and the filter... so a clog on the screen would open that flap at last resort.


Added: Here's a guy's shot of a dirty filter. See that 1/4 of the filter is unused because that divider is too tall. Perhaps they did it that way to protect a plastic bag or other super clogging debris from getting stuck on that part of the filter... it would stay on the 3/4 side- so air can still flow from the flap through the filter. But again that's an extreme condition that I'm not worried about.
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Last edited by robnitro; 11-21-2019 at 07:25 PM. Reason: resized huge photo
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:35 AM
crobbs32 crobbs32 is offline
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New to the forum and absolutely love this set up. UCSBWSR I've been following your build and it has been incredible. I purchased my 2012 X5 35D in December and have been slowly working my way through the engine, trying to complete everything you have suggested through your build. Keep up the great work!
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:12 AM
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ucsbwsr ucsbwsr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crobbs32 View Post
New to the forum and absolutely love this set up. UCSBWSR I've been following your build and it has been incredible. I purchased my 2012 X5 35D in December and have been slowly working my way through the engine, trying to complete everything you have suggested through your build. Keep up the great work!
Glad you enjoy it!
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:35 AM
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Little update on the inlet. I was able to get some dyno time on both a Mustang Dyno and a Dynojet.

On the Mustang dyno I did a pull with my custom intake and then 2 pulls with the stock air box, you can see the difference in the overlay.
Best #s on the Mustang were 317whp 504wtq.

The next weekend I got the X5 on a Dynojet and did 2 pulls with my inlet and then for fun did a run with just a velocity stock. There wasn't much of a difference between inlet and V-stack HOWEVER the dyno sessions was a bit odd since my X5 was having a cut in power which you can see in the graph, this didn't happen on the Mustang dyno and it has never happened on the road ever. Also, the dyno operator was starting the pulls at a very high rpm (for a diesel). Ideally the pulls would start at 1,500 but he was giving it the beans in the 2k-3k range, M57 redline is 4,750rpm. I was busy data logging and recording video so the high rpm start to the pulls slipped by me.

Dynojet #s were 370whp 530wtq but that doesn't tell the whole story. Since the operator was starting at such high rpms peak torque in the powerband was overshot. On the M57 the small turbo handles most of the boost until the crossover to the big turbo at ~2,900 rpm and peak torque is usually the byproduct of the small turbo. So 530wtq is not accurate. I plan to get back on a dynojet for some clean pulls but in the meantime if we used the hp/tq relation from the Mustang syno and apply it to the Dynojet we can assume that the torque should be ~580 instead of 530.

Mustang Dyno


Dynojet






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  #9  
Old 05-10-2020, 06:22 PM
robnitro robnitro is offline
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Dynojet is inertial so yeah you're probably right about starting too late. On other turbo cars they don't want to floor it before 2k because of the possibility of detonation or surge.

I'm not sure about mustang but if it's Eddy current, that puts a better consistent load on the engine.
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Old 05-12-2020, 08:37 PM
ArgentoCarNut ArgentoCarNut is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnitro View Post
I think you're talking about other conditions and I think it was done on a 335d. In certain RPM ranges depending on which turbo is being used can change the draw on the CCV. I never took CCV readings but I would like to see the thread. If its the 335d thats going to be a factor, their filter is half the size of ours. A cone filter in the same location as the box helps their smoke a lot.

x5 35d filter is 12.76 x 10 = 127.6 sq in
335d filter is 11.78 x 9.23 with approx 6x6 triangle cut out 108.7 - 18 sq in= 90.7 sq in approx.
The 335d filter is 71% of the 35d filter.
What's funny is the 1.9 L VW TDI MK4 had a filter 14.6 x 7.4= 108 sq in! bigger than the 335d one on an engine that is 2/3 the size!
(Sizes here and picture to estimate the triangular size
http://www.fram.com/parts-search/CA1...VjXQ-Qrc6wwLpA
https://www.fram.com/parts-search/CA...VjXQ-Qrc6wwLpA
)


Sorry.. It was misread now that I look at this photo. It was below the first mark around 6 in h2o. Remove the filter and it will be much lower... the piping IS NOT a restriction.
See the image, 20 is already in the red zone. 27 is not normal and again, I'd like to see the thread to find the conditions.
It's a photo from Amazon, but I have one with the same scale.

First mark is the most I've seen at 30 psi to redline pull even with a used filter.

Also, I remove the foam from the filter because it clogs up much quicker than the paper element. The TDI had a similar rectangular filter but they also had a non cold weather one without that foam. On the TDI I got better filter life on filters without that foam because the paper has a much bigger surface area (and slower airflow per sq in) than the foam/cloth part would.

Speaking of the airbox flap, it's stupidly designed to pass flow only over that area with a divider. The filter was almost spotless on that section and the rest was dirty. Stupid....
I removed that divider so the whole filter is used. If there is some sort of restriction on the snorkel, the flap is supposed to open as a last resort- not in normal conditions. The TDI had another way of doing it, a screen on the snorkel pipe, and a flap with a spring between that screen and the filter... so a clog on the screen would open that flap at last resort.


Added: Here's a guy's shot of a dirty filter. See that 1/4 of the filter is unused because that divider is too tall. Perhaps they did it that way to protect a plastic bag or other super clogging debris from getting stuck on that part of the filter... it would stay on the 3/4 side- so air can still flow from the flap through the filter. But again that's an extreme condition that I'm not worried about.

On that airbox flap, do you know what the flap is there for? It appears retractable... I am curious


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