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Turbo replacement, coolant, ignition, VANOS work

E61 Touring Discussion The touring is also known as the wagon version of the 5 series.

Turbo replacement, coolant, ignition, VANOS work

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Old 09-25-2018, 05:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Montreal
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My Ride: 2010 535xiT Touring
Model Year: 2010
Engine: N54 3.0L Twin Turbo
Default Turbo replacement, coolant, ignition, VANOS work

My 5 Series wagon just hit 185,000 km (115,000 miles), and I've had an engine light (low boost error) for the past 4,000 km. A trip to the dealer confirmed that I had a worn waste gate bushing, corroborated by the unmistakable waste gate rattle sound on acceleration. I was returning from a camping trip with the kids and I got on the phone with Turner Motorsports and discussed the turbo replacement options - I decided to replace the turbos with new Mitsubishi OEM units - identical to the BMW part but at half the price. I thought about what work I would do while having the front end apart, and I added the following:

1. Walnut blast the intake valves;
2. Replace the radiator, expansion tank, thermostat and upper / lower coolant hoses (due to the damage to the radiator fins behind the grille and age). I've already replaced the coolant pump about 2 years ago;
3. Replace the VANOS (variable valve timing system) solenoids;
4. Replace all the drive train fluids - engine, transmission, transaxles
5. Ignition - plugs and coils
6. Do a good inspection and replace any leaking drive train seals.

Today I got the covers off the engine, removed the plugs and coils, did a compression test, dropped the engine and tranmission fluids, and sampled both for lab analysis.

As I go, I plan to do a short writeup with some photos - here's the first day's writeup here:

https://tcbf62.blogspot.com/2018/09/...placement.html


Engine covers and intake piping removed, ready for compression test.

Compression test results were good, but I had oil in the intake tubing - looks like turbo bearing seals may be worn as well.
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:05 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Abbotsford, BC
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My Ride: 535xi wagon 6MT
Model Year: 2009
Engine: N54
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Wow, I intend to do some of this in the next while on mine, I'm definitely looking forward to your progress! You're taking on a big job but I'm very excited about it and wish you well.
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Old 09-27-2018, 04:51 AM
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My Ride: 2010, E61, 535i xDrive
Model Year: 2010
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I will be following your progress to help me make a decision on what to do, my car is still running fine but with 124k miles turbos are bound to fail sooner than later. The decision is to either repair it myself or take it to a mechanic (~$2,000 in labor at minimum)....or sell the car and get a V90 (V90 R-design, not the cross country).

The good thing about replacing the turbos is that you'll have a good car for a good while without any other major issues, so I think it is worth the investment if one plans on keeping the car for a long time.
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Old 09-27-2018, 05:26 AM
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My Ride: 2010 535xiT Touring
Model Year: 2010
Engine: N54 3.0L Twin Turbo
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Job just got a little larger - I have an oil leak at between the engine and transmission, and along the oil pan. Suspect the rear main seal.

Was planning to do the turbos in place. Now it looks easier to pull the engine - this way I can do the rear main, oil pan seals, do the turbos with the engine out of the car. I'm planning on doing a walnut blast of the intake valves - can do that out of the car as well since I have to remove the intake manifold anyway to lift the engine......

Just working on my courage - will be about $600 for the engine lift, stand and lift bar - looking like small change compared to the parts I've purchased.

Will keep you all up to date. I have some spare time now - and investing $6k to get all this done will allow me to get another 80,000 miles out of the car.....
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Old 09-27-2018, 07:46 AM
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My Ride: E61 535xi
Model Year: 2008
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Did the same thing recently, went for turbo replace and DP install. end up with replacing all seals and gaskets + all fluids, walnut blasting + some engine goodies like occ/ CP. (dropped the engine and trans)
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Old 09-27-2018, 08:20 AM
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My Ride: 535xi wagon
Model Year: 2008
Engine: N54
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I currently am having my entire engine replaced as it seized due to a failed oil pump (no warning) at 107k miles. Turbos were replaced (under warrantee) with vanos, o2 sensors at 79k miles. moving parts over from old engine and replacing seals etc. entire job about 6k. Car is otherwise in new condition and struggled with option of repair or parting out. I just do not have the time or place to have a car sitting in my yard to part out.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:38 AM
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My Ride: 2010 535xiT Touring
Model Year: 2010
Engine: N54 3.0L Twin Turbo
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Thanks for your input guys - my time on the fence is over - I'll pull the engine, add the front main seal and oil pump to the list.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:49 AM
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
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My Ride: 535i M-Sport AT
Model Year: 2009
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I recently replaced my turbos too. Though I did it a much tougher way. Now I have some boost leak issues my "rigged" up intercooler connection, will solve by just getting a new intercooler. In the video below I explain why I had such a hard time.

Last edited by phil2045; 09-29-2018 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:13 PM
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My Ride: 2010 535xiT Touring
Model Year: 2010
Engine: N54 3.0L Twin Turbo
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@Phil2045 - thanks for sending me the link to the video - very interesting. Have been watching and reading everything I can get my hands on.

I'm convinced now I'll have to pull the motor - will make everything else easier. I just have to live with the fact that the car will be in the garage for several weeks until the work gets done. Thinking of having the hood and bumper covers repainted since the car will be in the garage for this long...

Have started pulling the front end apart - have the bumper, headlights and reinforcing bar off - just need to pull the AC condenser and radiator and I'll have a big hole to pull the motor through....

Will put up some photos tomorrow night.
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Old 10-01-2018, 06:35 PM
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How's it going @gman6262?
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