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TomSx

M54 Tuning - Is It Worth It?

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Forgive me if this has been asked before but i've done a search and cant find much. Is the M54 receptive to mods? Just simple mod's really as in a panel filter, remap etc? Is the standard exhaust system restrictive?

What can be acheived from them without forced induction? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by TomSx

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simple mods wont do much for you as they don't actually increase the amount of air/fuel the engine takes in as this is limited by the physically shape and size of the metal components of the engine. The camshafts above however will change the physical make up of the engine.

this thread on e46fanatics has some good stuff on it.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=736943&highlight=weight+reduction

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Generally the M54 engine isnt worth touching unless you look at internals such as cams. The gains from exhaust, panel filters and remap are all very minimal.

Another thing to consider is perhaps a port and polish, but again its expensive. That said i think these come with custom maps.

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Thanks for that. As i thought with it being a NA engine its very little reward for your money.

On a side note, how is this throttle reset malarky done?

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Thanks for that. As i thought with it being a NA engine its very little reward for your money.

On a side note, how is this throttle reset malarky done?

this really depends on why you are doing it, if you want to play tuning top trumps (tell everyone about it and generally be regarded as one who has a powerful engine) then yes it is a waste of time and money but there is a lot of fun to be had from a well tuned engine besides having wet dreams over numbers. :lol:

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They are not that tunable without deep pockets IMO cams are really expensive for the gains but I imagine the car would feel a lot bettor for it but you will need a map that raises the rev limiter to make use of it

Im looking into getting the stock throttle body bored out and a bigger plate put in on my 330 but not sure what gains it will give really I might see if the mesh on the back of the maf pulls of to open up more surface area but cant pull the front off as its used for straightening the flow over the sensor parts

Without boosting it one way or another your not getting much I chose nitrous as it was cheaper than boosting and was a bit of a novelty really

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As above really fit a supercharger ftw

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They are not that tunable without deep pockets IMO cams are really expensive for the gains but I imagine the car would feel a lot bettor for it but you will need a map that raises the rev limiter to make use of it

Im looking into getting the stock throttle body bored out and a bigger plate put in on my 330 but not sure what gains it will give really I might see if the mesh on the back of the maf pulls of to open up more surface area but cant pull the front off as its used for straightening the flow over the sensor parts

Without boosting it one way or another your not getting much I chose nitrous as it was cheaper than boosting and was a bit of a novelty really

have a look at the e46fanatics thread i linked to above, I think he did the TB bore and it wasn't really successful, makes sense really as i don't see how this is a bottleneck in the system. However the MAF screen removeal combined with a long tube intake the same diameter as the MAF housing (which you already have i think) did yield a gain.

As for the cams being expensive, they are to buy new but getting a set reground isn't. I had mine done (single camshaft for 4 cylinder 318) for £130, even if each one for a 6 cyl costs £200 its not bad considering how much many of us spend on style mods. Only issue really is the cost of a custom remap, seems that a lot of companies bang on about 'custom' mapping but really they are just off the shelf tunes ad the minute you mention an aggressive cam they act like you've called their bluff and quote you £500 or so quid and no promises. I suspect this is because an off the shelf tune will be adaptable enough to not notice a Cat removal or hi-flow air filter, but a proper change in the engine, suddenly the word custom doesn't actually mean 'that' customised.

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The one and only way to gain more power is to increase the size of the explosion inside your combustion chamber.

You can put a free'er flowing air filter on there but the pistons alone suck the air in through the valves and they haven't changed their characteristics.

You can put a huge exhaust on there but with modern fueling it'll probably just mess up the mapping.

You could get a remap but you'll not see much gain - you can add/remove fuel across the rev range but without adding air to match you wont see a change.

As stated, if you're tuning an NA you need deep pockets. The only way to get noticable power increases are to modify the head to allow it to take in more air. As Dr T stated with the use of different profile cams as these will allow the valves to stay open longer allowing more air in.

Porting and polishing the head depents on OEM design, some are good, some not so. I've no idea what the M54 is like in standard. If it's bad a little extra breathing capacity will help.

That little lot is going to cost you in excess of £1500 IMO. Then you'll want a very good remap of the ECU done. I'm not sure how well you can modify the OEM ECU to adapt to these substantial changes in engine characteristics so you might need a piggy back ECU or even a stand alone. So budget any where between £250 to £1,000 for that.

Add in a decent full exhaust system to get all the extra gasses being burnt out of the system - £500+

And for that little lot you'll probably get 50 - 80 bhp.

So IMO, save your money or buy a faster car. Ideally with a turbo if you want to mod it ;)

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Then you'll want a very good remap of the ECU done. I'm not sure how well you can modify the OEM ECU to adapt to these substantial changes in engine characteristics so you might need a piggy back ECU or even a stand alone. So budget any where between £250 to £1,000 for that.

i've asked this here before i think but sadly none of us knows the answer, what is the scope of the standard ECU to change fueling to suit whats going on? For instance, the fuel pump in my 318 is the same part code as in the 330, it is rated to about 550bhp i think, its the same story for the injectors, so even cutting that in half to 225 to be very very safe, can the ECU 'tell' the fuel system to provide sufficient fuel to achieve this or not? If not, what is the boundary/limit. At what point would the ECU 'say' "this is beyond me". Having thought about for a second while i'm typing this, Autosri, what have you done fuel system wise to ensure sufficient fuel is there to utilise the additional oxygen the nitrogen carries into the cylinders?

Edited by Dr T

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On the port and polish option, Marty an old member had this done to his clubsport. Think there was a special offer going at the time and this alone cost something like £800 which i think took him to a rolling roaded 235/340bhp, which was about 20bhp over what it was before the port and polish.

Interestingly his BHP was down from stock as he was running a replica gruppe filter which sapped power!

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Take my advice unless you've got very deep pockets I would not bother with modding a normally aspirated M54 engine the improvements are simply not worth it IMO. The most cost effective modification for the extra power added is forced induction.......worth checking Pe330ci's m54 engine build (http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=728292) the write up is awesome and goes into some serious detailing too.

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Wise decision buddy.

I would extend the "not worth it" from M54 to pretty much all NA engines out there.

Unless you have a lot of time and money and have little regard for day to day drivability it's best just left alone.

Also, what some people dont realise, is a medium BHP increase is generally un-noticable.

I modded my last car from 200bhp in incriments to 320bhp.

First step was 200bhp - 235bhp and I can honestly say the difference in feel was minimal.

The biggest difference was 235bhp - 280bhp as that came with an aftermarket ECU and full map so the power was through out the range.

Even changing the turbo and upping the power again didnt yield a noticeable gain although it did tame the car a bit lol.

I cant wait for the 335i's to come down to sensible money. Then I'll have a ball tuning one up.

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its not changes in peak power that will be noticeable really, its where that power is deloped ad what increases are made at various points across the rev range, think more 'area under the curve' rather than 'highest point on the curve'. just looking at peak power is very 'top trumps' and in reality not really a good indication of what you have achieved nor why you'd go about trying to achieve it, this is where the comments about tuned cars being 'undriveable' come from.

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Wise decision buddy.

I would extend the "not worth it" from M54 to pretty much all NA engines out there.

Unless you have a lot of time and money and have little regard for day to day drivability it's best just left alone.

Also, what some people dont realise, is a medium BHP increase is generally un-noticable.

I modded my last car from 200bhp in incriments to 320bhp.

First step was 200bhp - 235bhp and I can honestly say the difference in feel was minimal.

The biggest difference was 235bhp - 280bhp as that came with an aftermarket ECU and full map so the power was through out the range.

Even changing the turbo and upping the power again didnt yield a noticeable gain although it did tame the car a bit lol.

I cant wait for the 335i's to come down to sensible money. Then I'll have a ball tuning one up.

Very true. Although you can get some good gains from say a K20 Civic Type R. But generally any NA engine as you say there seems very little improvement unless you are spending alot of money. Some engines seem to be held back from factory but im guessing the M54 isnt one of them.

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I don't think m54 cams can be reground as they are hollow so must be made from blanks Which is why you only see the shrick ones for sale and they are about 1200 quid then you would have to swap out all your old tappets and depending how aggressive. You go you may need stronger springs

When I had the inlet manifold off fitting the direct port kit I was coincidering having a measure up to make a manifold up for a set of ITB s but I was put off by the costs of mapping it as I don't think it would be that hard to do the making up part couple of sets of gsxr 1000 tbs split into two pairs of three

Dr t the fueling for the nitrous comes from a seperate tap before the injectors And it dossed in at a matched rate to the nitrous to give the correct Afr

If you need a little bit more flow from your injectors you could replace the oem fuel filter and replace it with an aftermarket fuel reg and up it a couple of psi

I have a long tube intake fitted already and a spare maf so will cut the rear screen out and see what effects it has

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so you have a separate wizards of nos supplied computer (ECU) that does the fueling for you?

With regard to the cams, that lik i posted in my first response offers a re-ground cam service for the M54 but i must admit, since i don't have an m54 i haven't really looked into them much.

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With the kit you get one nitrous solenoid and one fuel solenoid on a basic kit you put some jets in it and when you floor it they open and spray

As an upgrade you buy a controller that feeds the nitrous and fuel in at a steady rate to take the shock from the engine and gearbox

When I was researching I kept finding info saying it wasn't practical to do them due to them being hollow so when they spray weld the base of the lobe and grind the profile it deforms them but I will give them a ring as its quite interesting if they can do it

Edited by autosri

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the link i posted is for a dutch company i think, i used their specs as a guide, plus a bit of online searching and talking to the guy who did the work to get my duration and lift changes.

I used this company in the end, based in england (wasn't too keen on sending my camshaft overseas), think he mentioned that my cam ishollow too now you mention it. Anyway here's a link to their website

http://www.newman-cams.com/index.html

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Yeah I have heard of Newman cams before could be an option at least I have been looking for a set of zhp cams to come up on eBay.com

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