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-   -   Chadillac2000's 2008 135i Road Warrior Daily Driver Build Thread (https://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41696)

chadillac2000 08-15-2016 08:05 PM

Chadillac2000's 2008 135i Road Warrior Daily Driver Build Thread
Let me preface this by saying I've been a member of the N54 community for 5+ years now. My first N54 powered car was a "Certified Pre-Owned" 2008 BMW 535i that I purchased with only around 50,000 miles on the odometer from Century BMW in South Carolina. For those interested, the car is currently still being driven daily with over 175,000 miles and running great with the original turbos. This served as a great foundation for learning the ropes of this platform and I very much enjoyed adding a plethora of bolt on parts as well as taking care of the maintenance myself. After 5 years of every day use and adding over 125,000 miles on the car myself, I began to seek a way to give the car a bit of a rest from the high amount of miles it was racking up; plus I had developed a distaste for the automatic transmission, heavy curb weight, and squishy suspension.


What I'd be looking at getting in trade-in value or private party sale with this many miles was minimal, so I just decided to keep the car and began looking for the car I'd been crushing on for the past 6 months: the E82 135i. I tried to be fair to other cars and investigate something that would fit my wants/needs, but the 135i always came out on top. For 3 months I scoured the country for one with exactly what I was looking for which included: 6-speed, completely stock, white black or silver exterior, HIDs, and less than 70,000 miles.

When the right car popped up, I quickly hopped on the seller’s asking price and made arrangements to make the 7-hour drive to Norfolk, Virginia to bring the car back home to North Carolina with me. The seller said all the right things, and the car was even in better condition than described. Bone stock, always warmed up properly before being pushed, maintained religiously, had already had some of the injectors and HPFP replaced under warranty, and as clean inside-and-out as an 8 year old car could be. 53,000 miles on the odometer and right in my price range too. Besides the very first time I got behind the wheel of my first E46 M3, I had never been so happy after purchasing a car. I smiled the entire drive back home as I got used to everything; especially the active steering and 6-speed gearbox. The 535i has since been inherited by my significant other who has retired the car to simply getting her to work and back, about a 10 mile round trip. We also use the car for road trips and simple errands on the weekends when the 135i doesn’t make sense. Here’s a shot right after I got the E82 back home and she was introduced to her big brother.





I wasted no time getting to the modding side of things. Since the 535i was going to spend the rest of its life being driven nice and easy, I started analyzing which parts I could swap over. I did not want to deal with the hassle of reinstalling the OEM down-***** to the 535i, which meant I’d need to retain some type of tune to keep the service engine lights away. The FMIC had also been performing great and had taken some fabrication to install correctly on the E60 platform, so I decided to keep that. And lastly, the Fuel-It! Stage 2 LPFP was performing flawlessly and was installed initially to replace a failing OEM unit, so that would stay installed as well.

At that point, I began picking up some used parts including a cheap, older JB4 G4 with wiring harness. I swapped out the G5 ISO and Bluetooth connector from the 535i to the 135i and installed using the including wiring harness from the JB4 G4. I was able to tuck the JB4 itself deep into the ECU box so the lid could easily close without issue. Now both cars were running JB4 tunes, and although the 535i was equipped with a slightly outdated model, it still retained all the code reading and deleting functionality I was looking for.


After knocking the JB4 install out quickly, I was feeling ambitious about completing all the mods I had on hand which included this extensive to-do list: changing the oil, plugging the holes from the front license plate, swapping over the used BMS dual cone intakes from the 535i, installing an ER charge pipe with HKS BOV and a 7” VRSF FMIC I purchased used from the forums, a new RB PCV valve, new OEM spark plugs, BMS cowl filters, a BMS modified CDV, a BMS clutch stop, blackout grills, LUX H8 amber angel eye LED bulbs. If this sounds like a lot to install in one day, it was. Took me practically an entire day to get everything in, but surprisingly enough, caught almost no snags and was able to take my time and was able to triple check my work. The FMIC gives the front end an aggressive look, but by leaving the lower mesh installed, leaves a little to the imagination as well.



The charge pipe and HKS BOV were the first aftermarket parts to find their way on my car. I'd always been hesitant to run the HKS BOV, and even though I probably won't run it forever because of the aggressive sound, its hard to deny the fun factor at times.


I've always preferred the badge-less look, so it wasn't long before the fishing line and Goo-Gone were at it again.


After letting my hands and body heal over the next 5 days, I was back at it the next weekend installing a used set of BMS down-***** and a new set of MMP stock location silicone inlets. Previous to taking on this install, I thought that installing down-***** on the E60 535i was the hardest thing I’d put in by myself because of the tight clearances and awkward angles. Little did I know this would be a walk in the park compared to inlets. The strategic decision to install inlets and down-***** at the same time was no accident and was done to avoid tearing the car apart twice. I would need to remove the OEM ********* regardless to reach the rear inlet, so might as well upgrade them instead of putting the restrictive original ***** back in place.


I took my time removing the plastic under trays and OEM down-*****, and besides one of the nuts/bolts connecting the down-***** and midpipes shearing off and having to be cut, the disassembly was fairly simple. A few hours in and I was ready to tackle the removal of the front OEM inlet. The front inlet was easy enough to get out and I was even able to pull it out in one full piece by removing the radiator fan.


The MMP replacement was secured with no issues, cleared the front belts perfectly and was completed in less than an hour. At this point, I was feeling pretty confident. If you look deep enough at the engine bay from up top, you can make out the MMP logo on the inlet connecting to the snout of the front turbo.


I quickly moved to breaking the rear inlet mounting tabs loose, and made the cut at the bottom of the rear inlet so I could pull it out the top. While this wasn’t the easiest, another hour and it was complete. I was still confident and not sure why people had claimed having such difficulties doing this on jack stands.


So four hours from the start of the install, I was now looking at placing the rear inlet into place, and everything would be complete. After the first four hours were enjoyable, I spent the next four hours letting my little 135i beat the **** out of me. I bled, I perspired, and I cursed. I’ve had to call in reinforcements before due to time constraints or to help hold something heavy, but never have I had to call in reinforcements because I simply couldn’t get it done by myself. I reached a point where there was no option going forward without another pair of hands. Even after calling in a friend to pull from the bottom as I pushed from the top, we were barely able to get it through, and then spent the next 30 minutes or so getting the inlet on the turbo itself and secured properly. down-***** went on with ease, but never fun dealing with those pesky v-band clamps. Exhausted and relieved doesn’t begin to explain the feeling of cranking up the car, hearing no strange noises, no service lights, and hearing the engine purr with a slightly deeper growl than before.

MMP inlets finally in place:


The next weekend, it was time to address the current suspension. While the M-Sport OEM setup on the 135i was a giant step up from the feel of my 535i, I still had desires to get rid of the wheel gap, stiffen the ride slightly, but nothing to adversely effect drivability on a daily basis. When Tire Rack put the combination of the Koni STR.T shocks and Eibach Pro-Kit on sale at a little over $500, I jumped on the opportunity to upgrade. I've swapped out a dozen or so suspensions on newer model BMWs, so the installation on the E82 wasn't too difficult.



Rear Koni shocks and Eibach Pro-Kit springs ready to be put in to place:


And installed:


One front spring/shock into place, and the other assembled:


The previous owner had ditched the original run-flat tires in exchange for some Michelin PSS in upgraded sizes. He'd obviously pushed the tires through the twisties on a few occasions as they had decent wear on the outer edge of the fronts. Before I knew it, the front tires were in dire need of replacing. This was an excuse to get the wheel setup I'd always been set on since first seeing them -- Apex ARC-8. As their stock was dwindling, I was able to pull the trigger on a set of anthracite ARC-8 wheels in 18x8.5 ET45 & 18x9.5 ET58 wrapped in a set of brand new 235/265 Hankook V12s.




The BMS wheel pin and lug tool are both really helpful, and certainly something I wanted to use when mounting up the new wheels for the first time.


I also threw on some cheap smoked side markers from DDM tuning -- $10 + $10 shipping.



I'm really loving the new look. The drop is perfect and the ride is fantastic. Obviously not a huge leap in improvement over the stock suspension, but the lower center of gravity and more rubber makes it feel light, nimble, and confident. The wheels and tires go great with the black exterior and really bring the car together. Here's a sneak peek of the new stance and appearance until I can find the time for a proper shoot.


I spent the new few weeks enjoying the glorious new sounds coming from the front and rear of the car, getting used to all the available power on tap, and doing plenty of "parking lot look backs" to admire the new suspension, wheels, and tires. I’m not one to fully push the limits of an engine, so on 93 pump gas, I was content with the 13psi on map 1 for the time being. The combination of the cowl filters, intakes, inlets, hard intercooler *****, HKS BOV, and ******* down-***** made the car sound sensational, while the modified CDV and clutch stop helped out with getting the car to effortlessly engage into each gear.

It wasn't long before the E85 station on my way to work started calling my name.


After thoroughly shaking down the car with all the new mods and making sure everything was working properly, I added 3 gallons of E85 to an empty tank, filled the rest up with 93 octane as I had done time and time before on my 535i, set the JB4 to Map 5 and gave it a whirl. I did a few quick pulls to let the ECU learn and on my third pull with this new mixture, a dreaded misfire reared its ugly head. At this point the problem was only surfacing at WOT and under boost and my first long indicated that I desperately needed a back end flash to get my trims in line. In addition to gathering the equipment to use the BB software to load a back end flash more suitable for E85 use, I also decided to purchase my second Fuel-It! product: a new build Stage 2 LPFP.


This would give me the flexibility of adding more E85 once I got things running right. As was my last install with a Fuel-It product, this one went about as smoothly as possible and only took a little over one hour. Hooking up my BT cable and flashing the 135i with the BMS E85 BEF took longer than the install of the pump when it was all said and done. I also took this opportunity to flash my 535i back to the OEM BIN seeing as how it wouldn't be seeing much E85 anymore. Once I had verified everything was flowing properly and the new BEF boost settings were working correctly, I switched to 4/2 on the JB4, added what I equated to be a full tank of E50 and switched to map 1, which would target 15psi. I immediately began having the same misfire issues as before, but unfortunately this time it seemed to be getting worse as I drove and was triggering a cylinder 6 misfire code that eventually wouldn’t go away. Eventually the car began to run on only 5 cylinders, all the while this is the only code that was being triggered.


Since the spark plugs had only a few hundred miles on them, I expected a failed coil to be the culprit. I made the decision to replace all six so I wouldn’t have to deal with the need to replace one by one at a later date. After installing the new coils, I fired the car up with the new coils installed and still the same symptoms. Poor idle, running on 5 cylinders, etc. At this point I was a bit discouraged. Despite all the aftermarket parts being installed correctly and functioning properly I did not have a functioning vehicle. Misfires are common with N54 engines, and I’ve had to deal with them before with the 535i, but I hadn’t really expected having to investigate injector problems so soon after purchasing the car (only 2500 miles so far); especially injectors that had supposedly already been replaced once. Following a deep dive into everything injectors about this car, I discovered I had a mixture of two 07 and four 08 index injectors. Cylinder 6 happened to be one of those 07 index injectors. At this point I was already annoyed, so I wanted to avoid having this headache in the future.


Six new index 12 injectors would hopefully solve my problem and keep me misfire free in the near future considering the car now has all new injectors, coil packs and plugs.

Everything all laid out after removing the old injectors and prior to putting in the new index 12s:


Following some time in map 4 to make sure everything was functioning properly, I filled up with a tank of E40, switched to map 1 at 15psi, found some open road with no traffic, and rolled into the throttle. Plenty of power, no misfire, and felt smooth as silk with the new back end flash. Map 2, E40 fuel, and my current mods brought about all I was looking for in my power output from my daily driver -- gobs of torque and horsepower, conservative boost levels, and sounded sensational, but still a few decibels too quiet for my desires. A log of the map 2 run confirmed that the car was running stellar. My fueling setup and current mods allow for running map 3 at 19psi, or even the race map at higher levels, but for now I'm looking for some dependability and longer life from my OEM turbochargers, so map 2 at 17psi running E40 fuel seems to be a nice balance for daily driving.


Now that the engine seemed to be healthy and running strong, I began looking at some other aspects of the car that I wanted to improve. The gear selection shift knob was swapped for the ZHP weighted version (had and loved this same knob in both of my E46 M3s) and the perforated leather emergency brake handle was upgraded to the OEM BMW Performance pearlescent version. I also added a bit of alcantara with the OEM BMW Performance performance shift knob boots for the shifter and emergency brake.


I also added a custom-fit black Canine Covers seat protector for the rear. The rear seat is way too small for most humans, but it's practically perfect for my border collie, Winston. This piece protects, covers everything, and is easily removable for washing.


He liked the 535i, but he loves the 135i.


Ever since I swapped the used dual cone filters from the 535i to the 135i, the dirty (even though they were clean) look had bothered me. I began researching for a filter colored similar to the amber output of the LUX angel eyes. What I found was that white, red, and black were about the only colors available. With the suggestions from another forum I took on the task of creating my own. A set of white BMS dual cone intakes, some Tangerine RIT liquid dye, and orange Green Filters oil resulted in the following look. Coupled with the Plasti-Dipped black ECU and brake covers, and rusty vacuum canister bracket, the engine bay is starting to come together nicely.




Stay tuned for more upgrades and maintenance related DIYs to come!

ucsbwsr 08-15-2016 09:06 PM

Sick! Great build thread.

Interior looks great, jealous of the iDrive delete, I would be all over that if it was retrofittable on the E6X. Not sure if you are a fan of M steering wheels but your E82 looks like a great candidate for it, I believe E8X and E9X share the same wheel so if inclined, you should be able to track one down for around $300.

It would be interesting to throw both cars on a scale to confirm the weight difference.


suspenceful 08-15-2016 09:39 PM

Love it. Very similar to my car.

chadillac2000 08-16-2016 09:50 AM


Originally Posted by ucsbwsr (Post )
Sick! Great build thread.

Interior looks great, jealous of the iDrive delete, I would be all over that if it was retrofittable on the E6X. Not sure if you are a fan of M steering wheels but your E82 looks like a great candidate for it, I believe E8X and E9X share the same wheel so if inclined, you should be able to track one down for around $300.

It would be interesting to throw both cars on a scale to confirm the weight difference.


Thanks! I appreciate the Plasti-Dip suggestion on the DME cover and brake fluid reservoir -- saw you pull that off in another thread. Turned out great.

Agreed on the I-drive delete. The system quickly became obsolete in my 535i, so finding a car without the system was a plus. My iPhone 6 Plus in the mount does all I need it do (JB4, GPS, music, etc.)

Now that I've knocked out the major power/handling modifications that I've had my eye on, I will definitely be looking into some smaller cosmetic mods going forward such as steering wheel and tails. I'd love to grab a wheel that includes a little alcantara to match the boots when the time comes.


Originally Posted by suspenceful (Post )
Love it. Very similar to my car.

VERY similar. The ARC-8s in anthracite look amazing on the black exterior.

DSG03Bolt 08-16-2016 01:39 PM

Very nice! I need to get those shocks / springs at that price for my 535i!

chadillac2000 08-20-2016 08:02 PM

As any N54 owner knows, carbon buildup is always a concern. Cleaning the valves on my 535i with around 120,000 miles on the odometer was an eye opening experience. Spending the better part of a day cleaning hard to reach places with an assortment of brushes and brake cleaner was not something I wanted to have to do anymore than absolutely necessary. I had always wanted to try the oil catch can setup from Burger Motorsports to try and stop some of this buildup, but after considerable research, it seemed as though my rather reserved and light-footed driving style wouldn’t result in catching much of anything. Valve cleanings were just something I was going to have to get used to doing more often than I would like. Seeing as how my newly acquired 135i just turned 60,000 on the odometer, this maintenance chore was already on the docket to be done very soon.

In the meantime, I had began to further investigate a more long-term solution which is when I discovered the RB External PCV/Dual Catch Can kit. These fittings and hoses would externalize the PCV system and catch any blow-by with an oil catch can. The benefits to this setup are plentiful and should help keep the valves much cleaner, keep the engine/turbos from smoking, and allow for easy dumping of the catch can contents if you purchased one.

At this point I went ahead and purchased the recommended Mishimoto 2-Port OCC as well as the full N54 OCC kit from Burger Motorsports. This would mean I would have both the low and high sides covered for oil blow-by. This should be the most effective solution at the moment to avoiding PCV related issues and the best at keeping those valves from gunking up prematurely. Total cost ended up being right at $500 for everything.


Some close-ups of the BMS OCC:



The external replacement for the current internal RB PCV valve I'm running now:


This Mishimoto seems to be really well built:



Instructions were to scrap the fittings supplied by Mishimoto and replace them with the RB heavy-duty versions:


The next task at hand is finding a clean, proper place to mount the catch cans.

chadillac2000 08-27-2016 10:34 PM

In the past, whenever I lower a car, I usually lose the spoiler. In my eyes, this provides a more aggressive stance and a sleeker appearance. In the case of the E82 135i trunk, the natural upward curvature mimics the E46 M3 CSL trunk. Took way too long to get all the leftover adhesive off after removing the wing. Also took the opportunity to replace my cracked third brake light.



deltalima0 08-28-2016 06:09 AM

Looks super nice, what a great find! Tastefully modded, where are you at in NC? I was just up in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago for some friendly driving with about 15 other enthusiasts.

chadillac2000 08-28-2016 04:02 PM


Originally Posted by deltalima0 (Post )
Looks super nice, what a great find! Tastefully modded, where are you at in NC? I was just up in Charlotte a couple of weeks ago for some friendly driving with about 15 other enthusiasts.

Over in Asheville, NC. Not many BMWs around here -- mostly Subaru country. I would love to see that single setup you have!

chadillac2000 09-01-2016 11:21 AM

I had many learning experiences on my 535i over the years of ownership. One of which was a DIY intake valve cleaning using the soak and scrub method. Back when I did this prior, I was also forced to replaced the oil filter housing gasket, oil cooler gasket, and oil cooler o-rings because they were leaking. Seeing as how I had just turned 60,000 miles on this 135i, had collected all the necessary parts to externalize the PCV system and add in catch cans for the high and low sides, it seemed appropriate to set aside a full day to do this tedious task once more. Here are all my supplies laid out:
  • Brakleen
  • Gun cleaning kit with brass brushes
  • OEM oil filter housing gasket
  • OEM oil cooler gasket
  • OEM oil cooler o-rings
  • OEM thermostat to cylinder head hose


Since the intake manifold obviously has to be removed in order to clean the intake valves, and the gaskets surrounding the oil filter housing and cooler are prone to failure, replacing them seemed like the right thing to do in order to avoid removing all these parts again in the near future to access the gaskets. My 535i developed an aggressive oil leak because of the failure of one of these gaskets and made a mess everywhere; something I was definitely trying to dodge this time around. The first task at hand was starting to rip out the parts in the way of myself and those valves. Im getting pretty speedy and installing and removing all the N54 cold side parts at this point. A tip for anyone doing this: to remove the black box under the intake manifold simply grab each side of the box and pull upwards with some force. The tabs will bend and the box will slide off.

I purchased the thermostat to cylinder head hose to avoid being stuck with a car that wouldn't hold coolant. When I did this same job on the 535i, I removed the top of this hose connection so I could access one of the oil filter housing bolts, but when I went to put it back, the decomposing internals wouldn't allow a proper seal. This left me without wheels for a few days until the part came in. Fortunately this time I used an 8mm wrench on the oil filter housing bolt and was able to avoid removing the thermostat to cylinder head hose at all.


It wasn't long before I got my first glimpse at my valves that have been accumulating carbon buildup since 2008.


Cylinders 1-6 were all in need of a thorough bath. Lucky for me, as the car sat, 3 of the cylinders were fully closed. Here was my method for getting the job done and one that worked very well with minimal effort.
  • Place plenty of towels under the cylinder head ports to avoid making a big mess.
  • Fill the closed cylinder completely full with Brakleen.
  • Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes.
  • Using a syringe or turkey baster, remove some of the liquid so it doesn't spill out when scrubbing with a power drill.
  • Take the brass brush attachments and insert in a power drill.
  • Work every nook and cranny of the valves to agitate and remove any of the stubborn carbon not willing to let go.
  • Suck out as much of the leftover liquid as possible with your syringe/baster.
  • Using a shop vac with some 6mm vacuum hose duct taped on as an attachment, completely suck out the contaminated Brakleen (very little remaining so I wasn't worried about combustion in the shop vac).
  • Spray in a little more fresh Brakleen, and hit it with the brass brush one more time.
  • Vacuum out excess
  • Used a compressed air attachment to dry and blow out the completed and clean intake valve. 1 hour from start to finish on the first 3 valves.
  • Put the car in 6th gear, and roll the car frontwards or backwards to close the other valves. I was able to get 2 of the remaining 3 closed on the 2nd try, so I went ahead and filled those two.
  • Repeat all steps until the valves are clean.

Filling up an intake port to the brim with Brakleen is always nerve-racking the first few times:


In between scrubbing and waiting for the Brakleen to soak and penetrate the carbon buildup, I took the time to remove the difficult to navigate bolts holding on the oil filter housing and oil cooler attachments. I had to use a few different tools to access some of the hard to reach bolts on the bottom side. Pictures of this process were scarce at this point as I opted not to drain the oil and coolant beforehand, so keeping things clean was a struggle. New oil cooler gasket in:


The RB External PCV system includes some high quality parts. Here's a shot of the throttle body attachment that seated with a nice, satisfying click into place.


Much better.


I had originally intended to make a custom bracket that attached to the driver's side strut bar, but because of limited space due to the AC lines and cone intakes, I ordered another BMS OCC bracket to mount the Mishimoto. Now both cans are mounted in convenient areas, firmly attached to the strut bar, allow the attached hoses to sit in a relaxed position, and should be easy to empty. Pretty happy with the results.




6 hours of my time and $100 in supplies (not counting the RB External PCV, BMS OCC, and Mishimoto OCC of course) was all it took to have my valves looking fresh and brand new gaskets that should help stay in front of any future oil leaks from the usual fail points. On top of the peace of mind of knowing valves are clean and gaskets are replaced, the new catch can system should keep it that way for a while now. I will report back with my findings in the near future.

chadillac2000 09-05-2016 12:37 PM

Once I had adjusted some of the interior bits to my liking such as adding some alcantara boots, BMW performance knobs/handles, and deleting the armrest, there were a few more minor details I wanted to address. The first was adding the matching OEM BMW alcantara steering wheel trim piece to the shift boots. The original M-Sport model was peeling and becoming an eyesore.

The second was adding a full set of OEM BMW Performance pedals. I dislike working under the dash to begin with, so add in the pain of pushing the rubber through the aluminum slats and having to drill holes in place not conducive to fitting a cordless drill, this wasn't my favorite job, but the look is undeniable.


Here are a few more shots of the entire interior looking clean:



chadillac2000 09-05-2016 12:45 PM

After driving around the car for a few weeks with all the new power modifications and a healthy ignition/fuel system, it didn't take long before I started yearning for a subtle increase in exhaust volume; at least enough to match the sensational symphony of sounds coming from the intake side of things. At that point I began doing research for what I considered ideal for my daily driver. The fact that I was running ******* ********* meant that it would be very easy for me to overdo things and wind up with a droning setup that would drive me crazy on my morning and afternoon commutes. While a small increase in overall volume, crackles and pops was the ultimate goal, looks and being drone-free also played an important factor. Soon after starting my investigation I placed my order for the best option for me, the Maddad Whisper axleback with optional black ceramic coated 304SS tips. Unfortunately it took over a month for the new piece to arrive despite no backorder, but Rich compensated me for the delays and I can understand having something custom built to order can take time. Once the exhaust arrived and I was able to see the build quality; it was water under the bridge. Some shots of the brand new exhaust unboxed:





The install went fairly smoothly. I hate dealing with spring bolts, but still had the OEM piece removed and the MadDad Whisper fitted up in a little over an hour.

My initial thoughts are:
  • The ceramic black tips are exactly what I was looking for
  • The weight is significantly lighter than the OEM piece
  • Fit and finish was spot on
  • Cold starts are noticeably louder
  • Quietens down quickly and sounds almost stock at idle
  • On an average drive, volume has probably increased 15-20% over stock
  • More pops and burbles on deceleration, as well as when the engine is free revved
  • NO DRONE at any RPM in any situation





Once the exhaust breaks in a bit, I'll update everyone with how I feel after a few months of daily driving with the new setup.

chadillac2000 09-12-2016 08:24 PM

The combination of the BMS ******* *********, OEM N54 midpipes, and the Maddad Whisper axleback had produced nearly the exact sound I was looking for on all levels for my 1er. Subtle, aggressive, burbly and looked great out the rear diffuser. In an attempt to further fine tune the exhaust note and fitment, I had a few things I wanted to address. The first of which was to delete/replace the spring bolts (one of which was stripped during the initial axle back install despite using vice grips). The second was to replace the infamous bolt securing the midpipe bracket in place that was also stripped. The third was to adjust how high the Maddad Whisper tips sat; they were just a little too low for my liking. The last and most involved task at hand was to remove the midpipe, cut out the secondary cats, and weld in a pair of Vibrant 1790 bottle-style resonators in their place.


I chose to go this route over aftermarket midpipes or the N55 midpipe for the following reasons:
  • Most importantly, cost. Aftermarket midpipes are too expensive in my eyes and this setup was only $100 shipped for the pair of resonators.
  • My access to a welder/saw allows me to swap back in the factory secondary cats down the road if need be.
  • Looking to avoid drone/rasp at all costs, the N55 midpipe (essentially a straight pipe version of the N54 midpipe) is notorious for adding rasp.
  • This setup implements 3 total resonators (2x Vibrant 1790 + the large OEM one), which gives me my best chance with an aftermarket axleback and ******* ********* to keep rasp/drone/obnoxious volume at bay.
Removing the OEM midpipe was fairly straight forward. Despite only having 5,000 miles or so on the "bomb-proof" ******** to midpipe gaskets and hardware, they were trash after removal. 2 of the 4 bolts connecting the midpipe to the ********* sheared off. The close proximity to the turbos and extreme heat these bolts, nuts, and gaskets are exposed to just wreak havoc on their ability to be reused with any regularity.


Once I got past this small hiccup, I was able to fully remove the OEM midpipe so I could hack it up. The orientation of the secondary cats make welding in a straight piece of piping a little tricky. Fortunately the bottle-style design provides some additional room to resolve fitment issues.


While I have access to a nice MIG welder and gas, I hardly ever take advantage. Welding stainless steel to non-SS ended up being a little difficult considering my lack of experience, especially when I had some small gaps to fill because of the angles of the cuts associated with removing the secondary cats.


But I took my time, ensured everything sealed properly with no leaks or weak spots, and eventually the job was complete. I placed the secondary cats away for safe keeping in case I need to put them back in for some reason. OR I could probably find a scrap metal yard and break even on the purchase of the resonators. Again, not the prettiest welds but they will get the job done and sit well hidden under the car. Plenty of room when test fitted up in the exhaust tunnel. They actually sit even higher/tighter than the OEM secondary cats because they're smaller.


After I fitted the newly revised midpipe with resonators into place, I took this opportunity to do a few other things before tightening all the exhaust bolts, firing it up, and listening to the new snarl.

Working down my checklist of things to-do from the rear of the car to the front, I opened up the trunk area to install a set of recently acquired OEM LCI Blackline tailights.


This was a mod that I had been debating for the past few weeks. I didn't have any objection to the factory tailights, but after securing the Blacklines into place, these give the rear end a very updated look and the smoked shading looks great with the overall dark theme of the car.



To get the exhaust tips exactly where I wanted them, I used some simple worm clamps wrapped around the exhaust hangars (hidden out of view) to pull the tips up to the perfect placement. Now there is a uniform amount of space between the left, right, and top portions of the opening in the diffuser. Using slightly smaller bolts than the original holes, I then replaced the midpipe to axleback OEM shoulder bolts that had partially stripped during the initial axleback installation. Now the exhaust sits correctly, is tightened evenly on both sides, ensures a leak-free seal, and has a nut on the backside in place of the welded in version.


Moving forward, the next task was to address the bolt securing the midpipe bracket in place. This bolt is known for stripping easily and I was a victim of this while trying to tighten it into place during the re-installation. The tack welded square nut on the top side of the bracket had broken loose completely, so I was able to replace with a standard bolt/nut, which allowed for a much more secure fit than before.


As I mentioned previously, the heat of the ********* coming off the turbos had deemed the gaskets/hardware unusable after I removed them to disconnect the midpipe. This led to a trip to a local part store to try the 9547 Felpro gaskets that only cost a few bucks each, are in stock at most stores, and have been proven to seal up just fine. I also picked up some new 10.9 hardware. Total cost was less than $10 for everything pictured below with no wait time.


Fit perfectly and absolutely no leaks.


While I was under the car with access to the tie rod ends, I also took this opportunity to remedy a problem I'd been having since my last alignment. Since getting the car back, it tracked perfectly straight, but the steering wheel was off center; sitting about 2 inches to the left. This bothered me to no end, especially considering how much time I spend in this car. Using this DIY I found, I put ramps under the front tires and loaded it up, loosened the tie rod bolts slightly, adjusted the tie rods by the same amount and voila, the steering wheel was sitting perfectly straight. Worked like a charm.

(Pictures borrowed from the thread linked above)



The last task at hand was to see how much oil had been accumulated by the BMS and Mishimoto oil catch cans after 500 miles of mostly highway use to see what I would be dealing with as far as catch can dumping intervals. The BMS can was bone dry, but then again, I've only went WOT once or twice since it was added so that was somewhat expected. The Mishimoto can attached to the RB External PCV however, had caught plenty. I'll double check this one again in a few thousands miles, but this confirms that I should be fine waiting until my 5,000 regular scheduled oil change intervals to worry about emptying the catch cans.

Words cant explain how great I feel about keeping this gunk out of my intake tract.


While the car was still up on stands so I could check for leaks, it was time to fire it up and see what all the hard work I'd just done had resulted in. From underneath the car, I ensured that I was leak-free at both ******** to midpipe connections, the welded seams at the newly added resonators, as well as the midpipe to axle-back connection. After verifying no air was escaping from any of the exhaust *****, now it was time to soak in the new sound.

After a few drives, my initial impressions are:
  • Overall volume, if it could be quantified, is probably another 10% louder than setup I began this post with, and probably 25-30% louder than a full stock exhaust at this point.
  • Burbles on decel are increased and can only be described as intoxicating at this point.
  • Happy to report that still no drone or rasp at any RPM in any gear with the windows up or down.
  • WOT pulls through multiple gears are absolutely brutal -- so many sexy sounds.
  • Exhaust fumes have increased now that all four cats have been eliminated, but I've never been one to be bothered by ******* fumes.
  • The ******* *********, N54 midpipes with Vibrant 1790 resonators in place of the secondary cats, and the Maddad Whisper axleback produce EXACTLY what I was looking for.
A proper shoot to get some pictures/videos of the car is next on the agenda.

snelson3003 09-14-2016 08:00 AM

Nice!! :) Good pictures, build details, and clean!!

chadillac2000 09-15-2016 06:45 PM

Some quick shots I took of the car on my evening ride home. I'm absolutely in love with how it looks, sounds and drives at the moment.




chadillac2000 09-19-2016 12:39 PM

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune of cracking the screen on my iPhone 6 Plus. Although it was an unplanned expense, I decided to go ahead and pre-order the newly announced iPhone 7 Plus to replace it. This brought about a new obstacle. My previous setup consisted of my iPhone 6 Plus sitting in a Kenu Airframe vent clip, with the lightning charger and auxiliary cord plugged in. Seeing as how Apple went away from the headphone jack, I would no longer be able to access audio from my phone in that way. To remedy this, I headed to Amazon and purchased a highly rated Bluetooth receiver that attaches to the same auxiliary port plug-in and is powered by the built-in USB cord. This allows the receiver to automatically turn on and off with the ignition and automatically pair with my phone.

I had also become unimpressed with the stability of my phone while in the Kenu Airframe, so I began looking for a replacement to alleviate that annoyance. This would probably be necessary to do anyways as the colder months approach because of the fact that the phone blocks the vent and in the past, the heat hitting the rear of the phone has caused it to get too hot at times and power down.

After investigating the available options, I ended up ordering a Koomus CD cradle. This holder fits snugly into the CD slot (which I haven't ever used and don't plan on), is much easier to secure and remove the phone from, frees up space in front of the vents, and sits perfectly aligned towards the driver.


My setup now consists of the Apple iPhone 7 Plus sitting in the Koomus cradle taking care of audio, GPS, and handling the JB4 Mobile App. With the armrest deleted, I have easy access to all the ports and plug-ins sitting at the rear portion of the center console. I added a dual USB charger into the rear cigarette lighter, one of which holds the lightning cable to recharge my phone. The second port to the charger is occupied by the Bluetooth receiver and is also plugged into the auxiliary port. The entire Bluetooth receiver assembly is secured inside the back cover of the center console cover completely hidden out of view. The last and final port, the factory USB plug-in, is attached to the JB4 Bluetooth USB power cord (routed from the DME box, into the glove box, into the center console, and all the way back to where the USB plug is) so it turns on and off with the car.


As soon as I step in the car and activate the ignition, my phone automatically pairs with the factory Bluetooth capabilities to handle hands-free calling, automatically pairs with the JB4 Mobile App to keep an eye on the engine to provide live data and logging, and lastly, automatically pairs with the Bluetooth receiver to handle audio.

I'm loving this setup so far. Looks clean and covers all the functions I need my daily to have the ability to do.




Do not worry, some of these pictures were taken with the ignition off -- I can ensure the water temperature never reached 2250 degrees Fahrenheit.

turboalb 09-25-2016 04:38 PM

Sweet build and ride, did you dyno or run the 535i? What car does you're dog like better? easier for him to get in the e60

Torgus 09-26-2016 03:38 PM

Nice looking ride!

ifarted 09-26-2016 04:25 PM

Amazing build!
I'm planning to do a walnut blasting this weekend and got a question. How do i know if the valve is fully closed? Do you have any photos of yours being fully closed and open/not fully closed?

ucsbwsr 09-26-2016 08:40 PM


Originally Posted by ifarted (Post )
Amazing build!
I'm planning to do a walnut blasting this weekend and got a question. How do i know if the valve is fully closed? Do you have any photos of yours being fully closed and open/not fully closed?

This question is better asked elsewhere like the support section as opposed to a build thread. Intake valves are primarily closed so if they were just opened once you turn the engine over it is likely they will be sealed and sealed for a while as you continue to turn it over, only 1 or 2 cylinders will be open at a time and you can view the other valves which are either close or open to see if they look different, if you are not sure you can turn the engine over some more to confirm they are either open or closed. Hope this makes sense, if not then head over to the support section.

Back to the build thread,

chadillac2000 09-27-2016 08:34 AM


Originally Posted by turboalb (Post )
Sweet build and ride, did you dyno or run the 535i? What car does you're dog like better? easier for him to get in the e60

I'm sure he enjoyed the easy access and his own domain in the rear with the two rear windows lowered and his head sticking out of the E60. I like the security of having him tucked away safely in the back in the E82. He's still able to stick his head behind the seat and out the front window while not hanging out or slipping all over the place during turns.


Originally Posted by Torgus (Post )
Nice looking ride!


Originally Posted by ifarted (Post )
Amazing build!
I'm planning to do a walnut blasting this weekend and got a question. How do i know if the valve is fully closed? Do you have any photos of yours being fully closed and open/not fully closed?


Originally Posted by ucsbwsr (Post )
This question is better asked elsewhere like the support section as opposed to a build thread. Intake valves are primarily closed so if they were just opened once you turn the engine over it is likely they will be sealed and sealed for a while as you continue to turn it over, only 1 or 2 cylinders will be open at a time and you can view the other valves which are either close or open to see if they look different, if you are not sure you can turn the engine over some more to confirm they are either open or closed. Hope this makes sense, if not then head over to the support section.

Back to the build thread,

Appreciate the kind words. As I've said before, I've fallen head over heels for this vehicle.

As far as ensuring the cylinders are closed, what Evan said. I had a friend push the car back and forth while it was in gear while I was monitoring the valves with a flashlight. Once you see the movement a few times, it's easy to tell which are open and closed. Still doesn't making spraying liquid down there any less terrifying. I'm still relieved when the puddle of Brakleen begins to form and doesn't leak out.

ifarted 10-07-2016 06:55 PM


Originally Posted by chadillac2000 (Post )
I'm sure he enjoyed the easy access and his own domain in the rear with the two rear windows lowered and his head sticking out of the E60. I like the security of having him tucked away safely in the back in the E82. He's still able to stick his head behind the seat and out the front window while not hanging out or slipping all over the place during turns.

Appreciate the kind words. As I've said before, I've fallen head over heels for this vehicle.

As far as ensuring the cylinders are closed, what Evan said. I had a friend push the car back and forth while it was in gear while I was monitoring the valves with a flashlight. Once you see the movement a few times, it's easy to tell which are open and closed. Still doesn't making spraying liquid down there any less terrifying. I'm still relieved when the puddle of Brakleen begins to form and doesn't leak out.

Did you have trouble starting your car after? or it started right away?
I attempted this today and my car won't start now

chadillac2000 10-08-2016 12:43 PM


Originally Posted by ifarted (Post )
Did you have trouble starting your car after? or it started right away?
I attempted this today and my car won't start now

Mine fired up right away. When I did this in my 535i, it had a slight stumble for a few seconds, then it cleared up, but never did it not start at all.

I would double check all the connections that you had to remove to get the intake manifold off. Chances are one of those is probably disconnected or something is pinched.

chadillac2000 10-17-2016 07:22 PM

After installing Fuel-It's Stage 2 LPFP, which allowed me to increase the amount of ethanol I could run, I'd been mixing E85 with 93 octane at the pump. While I didn't mind the few extra minutes per fill-up, it always bothered me that I never knew exactly how much ethanol I was actually running. I even went as far to create a spreadsheet of different concentrations I could fill up with based on how much fuel I had remaining. But what if the concentrations straight from the pump had changed or weren't accurate, then what?

Fuel-It (and some others) had developed a way to keep a closer eye on exactly what ratio of ethanol a car was actually running. This was done via a Continental ethanol sensor and their ethanol analyzer. I had considered budget ways of doing the same thing with a homemade kit, but I was quickly reminded how much I'd enjoyed dealing with Fuel-It in the past, especially considering their install videos, plug & play components, and stellar reputation.

It was as this point I decided to go ahead and upgrade my fuel lines from the tank to the HPFP. This way I wouldn't have to hack up my OEM fuel lines (if for some reason I ever need to revert to stock), and I'd get a head-start on the ultimate goal of the future: single turbo. Whenever I add port injection, I'll already have some of the components installed (and purchased) which will help break up the costs. I also opted for the JB4 option on their analyzer so I can read the ethanol content using my JB4 Mobile app.

As usual, Fuel-It stuff packaged well and properly labeled to make installation a breeze.



I watched the installation break-down videos made by Fuel-It prior to starting the install, so I had a good idea of what to expect along the way. As instructed, I began under the rear seat, disconnecting the power to the LPFP, starting the car, and allowing the car down to shut down from fuel starvation. This released the pressure from the line on the fuel-filter side. Unfortunately, when I removed the OEM fuel line, I did get sprayed a bit, but it quickly dissipated.


At this point, I had to get the car in the air and the bottom plastic panels removed to gain access to the lines. Once the OEM fuel line was removed from the four brackets, it was time to pull the line down from the tank and snake the Fuel-It replacement line up to the fuel filter side of the tank. After a few tries, I successfully routed the larger diameter line up to the fitting. From there, it connected to the fuel filter easily.


Back underneath the car, I continued removing the OEM fuel line (the blue line).


Since I opted for the complete fuel line replacement from tank to HPFP, I would have to remove some components to gain access. After the filters, charge pipe, throttle body, and black box underneath were removed, I removed the OEM fuel line and replaced it with the Fuel-it upgrade. I greased the fitting, added the appropriate clip, and slid on the larger diameter line. It's also worth noting that Fuel-it provided all the zip ties, grease, clips, etc. to do the job correctly.


Now I turned my concentration back under the car to where I'd be mounting the ethanol sensor. Using the provided bolt, the Continental sensor mounted up perfectly. From there, both sides of the fitting were greased, and each of the Fuel-It replacement lines were connected. With the fantastic looking Fuel-It ethanol analyzer plugged in, and wiring routed over towards the DME box, wiring the analyzer in was the lone remaining task. The fit and finish of everything once mounted was definitely up to my standard.


Wiring up the electronics proved to be light work as well. With the harness side of the JB4 removed, I plugged in the provided wire into pin 15 (for the N54), tapped into the power wire, and grounded the analyzer to the closest strut tower bolt. Again, Fuel-It provided all the necessary wires, connectors, and zip ties. Even extras in case you managed to mangle some. You can also see how I have my G5 ISO board sitting so the lid closes easily without issue, as well as the strut bolt I used for the ground.


I then reinstalled all the removed components, primed the fuel pump a few times by turning on the ignition, and started the car while still up on jack stands. I quickly checked all the connections to make sure there were no leaks, which there were none. Now that the upgraded lines had been confirmed as installed correctly, it was time to test that I had wired the analyzer up properly.

I activated the ethanol feature on my JB4 app, set meth scaling to 100, and set E-Content to display as one of 5 gauges. I'm not a fan of the new futuristic theme, so I continue to use this one. Would be really nice to get a theme that matched the OEM gauges closely. I then connected to the car, and confirmed that the past few hours of work hadn't been a waste. And already proving useful as I thought I had been running E40. The new sensor confirmed I was actually running E43.


  • Fuel-It products are top notch.
  • I now have a live reading of ethanol content viewable through my JB4 Mobile App that I connect to using Bluetooth.
  • I've successfully split up some of the cost of eventually going single turbo down the road.

Steve @ BMS/Fuel-It! 10-18-2016 10:03 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Nice write up and build, a lot of good info in this thread. :clap:

For the record, that is our new ethanol analyzer and it has both bluetooth and JB4 integration capabilities. If you choose, you can also download our bluetooth app for your iPhone (or Android) and use that to monitor your ethanol content as well. :)

Here are the links for those.



Attachment 55588

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