N54Tech.com - International Turbo Racing Discussion
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nextNME nextNME is offline
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Default When is it a failing turbo? - 07-14-2019, 06:35 PM

When to call it quits and get new turbos? I don't take to this repair lightly.

When a turbo "fails" is it zero boost from then on out? Or does it fail slowly? No 30FF codes *knock on wood

How long can one expect stock turbos to last?
2008 535xi
100k miles
DCI, XHP, JB4, MHD back end

Daily commuter. Not babied, but not abused. All maintenance up to date. Wastegate rattle is pretty bad without the JB4 masking it.

10 - 12psi once warmed up. ~14psi on a nice cool morning. 15psi target never reached anymore But it does go when you get on it. You can feel it when you're paying attention to the car, just not quite the same as it used to be.

I've posted a few logs in other threads about what might seem to be boost leak, but I've tested and replaced and double checked this engine many times now. I guess it's possible to be missing something. I try to be pretty anal about keeping it running good. But again I've never had an older turbo vehicle before.

How does one really know it's the end?
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iminhell1 iminhell1 is offline
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Default 07-14-2019, 09:37 PM

Well,

I'm 145,000 on factory stock turbos.
They have been 20+ psi for 100,000, 20,000 of that above 25psi.
I've made well over 300 drag passes and countless street runs as well as hundreds of logs.

I have yet to see any indication that they are tired or failing.
My belief is those that do, are just flat out pushing junk too far. If you maintain they will last a long time. Watching you WGDC and fixing problems when they arise will be key.


2010 135i auto,
2020 mods: Speedtech S366, VTT DBBL, PR Coils, dual 450's, etc
Best stock turbo 1/8 mile: 7.469 @ 98.56, 1.769 60'
Best stock turbo 1/4 mile: 11.480 @ 121.79 1.802 60'
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funglenn funglenn is offline
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Default 07-15-2019, 07:34 AM

mine went bad and made it very apparent. Anything close to WOT would cause limp-mode and the car would shudder and shake when trying to move forward--no matter how much gas I gave it. Even if I put it in first gear manually it would not move very well.

I would have to turn the car off and back on and it would clear the limp mode and the car would drive normally. however, I knew that if I had to make a left turn through traffic. I had to turn not too aggressively since it would cause the car to shudder and not actually get out of the way. It got a bit worse until I bit the bullet and replaced both turbos. Being an xdrive they had to do a bit more to get to them and it costs more. also some plastic pipe on top of the transmission broke (assume it was brittle) and they had to pull the transmission to replace the plastic pipe as well. Added a lot to the cost. But the car is fun to drive again!

good luck with the decision. I had it done in Stuttgart and I remember them telling me that at least the new turbos had a better design than the originals. If I was stateside I would have looked at remanufactured or vargas or something else.


2009 535i Xdrive Sport. Alpine White/Black Leather. JB4 G5, Dinan Exhaust. Escort Passport SRX laser jammer. Burger catch can, Sport SAT Transmission retrofit, Beyern Mesh Chrome Rims, CIC Retrofit
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Vorsprung_CJB Vorsprung_CJB is offline
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Default 07-15-2019, 08:14 AM

There are two main types of failure for N54 - wastegate failure, and turbo failure.

When the wastegate wears out, there is too much play to fully seal and boost builds up slowly if at all. Rattle is worse than usual. You probably get under boost codes, but you may still actually hit full boost at higher RPMs, depends how bad and how much each turbo is affected. This can happen over time.

When one or both turbos actually fail internally, its usually bearing or seal related, you probably will get little to no boost that never builds up. You'll be smoking or leaking oil most likely. Happens more suddenly.

If you had a log we could make suggestions.
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Default 07-16-2019, 05:26 AM

Thank you for the replies.

Is it possible to distinguish wastegate failure vs. external boost leak, other than pressurizing thru the intake?
(attempted test yesterday, stock turbo inlets/seals are leaking at ~10psi so I'll have to find a way to address that first in order to "hear" a leak elsewhere)

A few quick logs from this morning:
Attached Files
File Type: csv 190716_0657.csv (12.8 KB, 59 views)
File Type: csv 190716_0628.csv (7.9 KB, 41 views)
File Type: csv 190715_1655.csv (6.9 KB, 51 views)
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Default 07-16-2019, 06:25 AM

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Default 07-16-2019, 07:40 AM

subscribing to this thread, I know I've been wondering if wastegate or turbos lately too. I updated all my firmware last night, need to log a pull real quick, maybe tonight i'll have some time to travel to my "test road".
in the next few days I need to get back on the research train and see where some of my settings for wastegate DC and FF should be. i'm attaching a short auto log my car pulled last night after updating software.
if anybody sees a weird setting let me know. I run around in map 5 a lot so I don't know if it would have adjusted anything overtime.
Attached Files
File Type: csv 2019-07-15 20_26_23_Map-1.csv (7.7 KB, 46 views)


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Default 07-16-2019, 08:02 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dantesboyz
subscribing to this thread, I know I've been wondering if wastegate or turbos lately too. I updated all my firmware last night, need to log a pull real quick, maybe tonight i'll have some time to travel to my "test road".
in the next few days I need to get back on the research train and see where some of my settings for wastegate DC and FF should be. i'm attaching a short auto log my car pulled last night after updating software.
if anybody sees a weird setting let me know. I run around in map 5 a lot so I don't know if it would have adjusted anything overtime.
Itís ok to subscribe to a thread but if you have an issue start your own thread, itís not cool to hijack a thread


07 E90 AT - xHP
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FBO
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Default 07-16-2019, 08:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nextNME
Thank you for the replies.

Is it possible to distinguish wastegate failure vs. external boost leak, other than pressurizing thru the intake?
(attempted test yesterday, stock turbo inlets/seals are leaking at ~10psi so I'll have to find a way to address that first in order to "hear" a leak elsewhere)

A few quick logs from this morning:
Based on my experience, those logs look more like a boost leak or maybe a vacuum/solenoid problem. Would run through that line of troubleshooting first. It can be hard to tell those issues from turbo WG issue at first glance, so rule out the simple stuff first.
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Default 07-16-2019, 08:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vorsprung_CJB
Based on my experience, those logs look more like a boost leak or maybe a vacuum/solenoid problem. Would run through that line of troubleshooting first. It can be hard to tell those issues from turbo WG issue at first glance, so rule out the simple stuff first.
Thanks Vorsprung. That's what I think also. But I've replaced and checked:
-vacuum lines
-both boost solenoids
-charge pipe
-charge pipe o-ring (twice)
-pcv valve and flapper
-intercooler o-rings
-throttlebody gasket
-intake manifold gaskets
-diverter valves (now has BOV w/charge pipe)

I guess I can do it all again
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Default 07-16-2019, 09:39 AM

Sounds like you already did your due diligence troubleshooting. I am in a similar situation and went through the same steps. My symptoms are a little different though. In any case, with all that ruled out it is probably a turbo issue of some kind, unfortunately.

The tough thing with N54 is you can't test the turbos independently. One might be fine and the other bad and you get weird results in your logs.

Only other things you could do if maybe a smoke test, or possible WG adjustments. My advice on replacement though: if you like your car, just get it done right away and enjoy it, get your moneys worth from the repair, rather than holding off.
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Default 08-20-2019, 06:29 PM

No progress, but I guess something is failing for sure now. I made an appointment for this monday at the shop for the official diagnosis.

I don't have a new log, but would be interesting to see what's going on. There are a few different scenarios:
1. the boost will slowly build until 4.5k rpm. Then relatively quickly up to 10-11psi till redline.
2. or if boost does start to build normally, it randomly drops to zero (from ~8psi, usually happens around 4k rpms. Happens during a 2nd gear, or 3rd gear pull).
3. slow-ish boost build to ~8psi, pause/dip, then up to 13psi till redline.
4. normal boost build, ~13psi peak WOT 2nd gear into 3rd shift (automatic trans) - 3rd gear looses all boost, stays at zero.
5. drives normally. 13-14psi max boost.

No codes. Doesn't switch to map4. Always use 93 octane. Desensitize knock sensors enabled. Cool morning drive into work the car drives nice. Hot commute home tho, no bueno. No shuddering or smoking. No obvious oil consumption, or in catch can.

Swapped to "old" pierburg boost solenoids. Checked bov, charge pipe, ran my hands along vacuum lines... *scratches head...


2008 535xi. BMS DCI. CP. BOV. 5" FMIC. OCC. JB4. MHD BEF. XHP. BR14's

Last edited by nextNME; 08-20-2019 at 06:35 PM..
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plus1111 plus1111 is offline
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Default 08-24-2019, 06:55 PM

I am fighting a similar issue in a bone stock 2008 535xi. We're at 220k miles. I hear no rattle, there is no smoke or shuddering. It goes to limp mode when I am entering a freeway, usually with an uphill ramp. Never full throttle. Even after limp mode the car drives fine but with no fun. I've done visual and touch inspections of the charge ***** and related stuff. Hate to pull the bottom pan off but that's the next step so I can touch the waste gate linkages. I will be watching here in case you guys find the issue.
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Default 08-26-2019, 09:40 AM

Well, shop needs to reschedule for two weeks out. No update there.

But I've got MHD back-end flashed back to "stock" and now the car feels like it gained much more low end torque. Pulls pretty hard and I'd say feels better overall. Strange.

I've been running the JB4 with 0/4 and 4/4 selected, and it will boost 8psi no problem.

Changing to 0/4 and 4/3 it boosts 8psi also.

Logs attached.
Attached Files
File Type: csv 190826_1211.csv (10.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: csv 190826_1214.csv (8.9 KB, 20 views)
File Type: csv 190826_1215.csv (8.5 KB, 22 views)
File Type: csv 190826_1216.csv (12.5 KB, 25 views)
File Type: csv 190826_1217.csv (11.1 KB, 17 views)
File Type: csv 190826_1225.csv (11.1 KB, 18 views)


2008 535xi. BMS DCI. CP. BOV. 5" FMIC. OCC. JB4. MHD BEF. XHP. BR14's
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Default 08-26-2019, 09:57 AM

Not uncommon for the car to run "normal" when stock or stock-ish.

Any tune puts more strain on parts (turbos, plugs, coils, driveline etc etc)

Just because the issue isn't showing stock- doesn't mean it isn't there, there just isnt enough "stress" to cause the issue.



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Default 08-26-2019, 05:52 PM

Thanks Dave. I drove it home from work using Map1, and it would only hold 10psi max. So you're right... it's still a problem. Logs look the same as before, no point in posting them :-(


2008 535xi. BMS DCI. CP. BOV. 5" FMIC. OCC. JB4. MHD BEF. XHP. BR14's

Last edited by nextNME; 09-09-2019 at 06:24 PM..
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Default 09-23-2019, 06:34 PM

Some good news, some bad news.

Shop said there was nothing they could do. Everything checks out. Except for an oil pan leak. *They said they're more than willing to do a turbo swap. Maybe in the spring if it keeps losing boost. Holds stock boost okay.

At about 11.5psi max these days.

Over the past month I replaced all the vacuum lines again. Swapped back to known good solenoids. Removed vacuum canisters. Replaced intake manifold gaskets. Throttle body gasket. Charge pipe o-ring. Swapped BOV. Added 5" intercooler. Ditched all stock intercooler plumbing. Pretty much everything I could eliminate.

Put it back to JB4 Map1, MHD BEF, XHP flash. Car pulls good. And IATs are low. Can only surmise it's a leaky turbo. It has not had any strange behavior like that one instance earlier this summer. Probably due to the intense heat.

Two quickie logs today when I lowered the pid gain to 15 and FF isn't going quite as high now. Wastegate adaptation rises to 100 tho. 2nd-3rd-4th gear pull IATs rose to 109*.


2008 535xi. BMS DCI. CP. BOV. 5" FMIC. OCC. JB4. MHD BEF. XHP. BR14's
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Default oil seals - 09-28-2019, 04:06 AM

my oil seals have gone on my VTT stage 2+ turbos ... would it be safe to drive the car to the garage to fit my new turbos ? roughly hour away.
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