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      04-13-2015, 10:03 PM   #1
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Ideal N52?

Just thinking up pipe dreams here...

I think it would be really cool if AA did end up coding for/making cams in addition to the headers and 3 stage tune they already have. Perhaps it would require beefed up injectors, but that would probably be possible considering that ESS has made some for their VT1+ kit. That would probably leave these motors (particularly the 215hp 3.0l version) with a lot more power.

From there, a 6 angle valve job along with race gas, perhaps Dinan's ram air and MAF would make it quite a potent powerplant for the track with beefed up cooling. This is probably cheaper than getting an N54/N55 track ready and maybe better suited for the job.

However, if AA doesn't end up making cams, it would be incredible to see a stroked 3.2l N53 with the ESS supercharger. The N53, being DI and without valvetronic, could be easier to modify with the realistic possibility of euro E36 M3 ITBs as seen on kbird's 335whp N52 build.

We have yet to see the true potential of the ESS supercharger as it supposedly made over 20 additional whp (on top of the VT1+) in development and that was without E85 or any further tuning. I'd love to see what a 3.2l stroker would make supercharged! Nothing like negating the proven reliability advantage of a silky smooth engine

What do you think? Sorry for the BS post.
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      04-13-2015, 10:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by NA Fanatic View Post
Just thinking up pipe dreams here...

I think it would be really cool if AA did end up coding for/making cams in addition to the headers and 3 stage tune they already have. Perhaps it would require beefed up injectors, but that would probably be possible considering that ESS has made some for their VT1+ kit. That would probably leave these motors (particularly the 215hp 3.0l version) with a lot more power.

From there, a 6 angle valve job along with race gas, perhaps Dinan's ram air and MAF would make it quite a potent powerplant for the track with beefed up cooling. This is probably cheaper than getting an N54/N55 track ready and maybe better suited for the job.

However, if AA doesn't end up making cams, it would be incredible to see a stroked 3.2l N53 with the ESS supercharger. The N53, being DI and without valvetronic, could be easier to modify with the realistic possibility of euro E36 M3 ITBs as seen on kbird's 335whp N52 build.

We have yet to see the true potential of the ESS supercharger as it supposedly made over 20 additional whp (on top of the VT1+) in development and that was without E85 or any further tuning. I'd love to see what a 3.2l stroker would make supercharged! Nothing like negating the proven reliability advantage of a silky smooth engine

What do you think? Sorry for the BS post.
We'll know in a month or so, maybe sooner, if reground stock cams deliver a significant increase in power. If so you'll be able to get them from Riot Racing.

Injector upgrade won't be needed as the stock parts have way more flow capacity than needed. Fuel pump is plenty is as well and doesn't need to be upgraded in any way.

Getting the head flowed and valve seats properly ground, replacing stock valves with one piece stainless race valves, and having the valve train balanced will return a slight increase in redline and more power in conjunction with coated and wrapped headers and a proper race exhaust.

But race gas won't return anything until the compression ratio is increased and that's going to require skimming the head and changing to custom pistons. Better beef up the bottom end and while you're at it have it blueprinted and balanced.

You will likely need an oil cooler and improved radiator, possibly waterless coolant and a pressurized system. And colder plugs.

MAF is fine but the DME parameters for the engine model feedback would need to be optimized, not simple.

Stroking the engine would be a waste of time imo given how much the piston skirts would be thrashed about.

But all this with a three stage, etc. should get close to 330hp, net crank.

To get to 330rwhp and have a streetable car isn't something that seems doable but I've been wrong before.
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      04-13-2015, 11:04 PM   #3
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. . . but I've been wrong before.
Say it isn't so!
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      04-13-2015, 11:08 PM   #4
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Say it isn't so!
OK, my head just 'sploded...
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      04-13-2015, 11:55 PM   #5
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I'd just like my car to run right.
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      04-14-2015, 12:22 AM   #6
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I'd just like my car to run right.
yeah, so would we!
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      04-14-2015, 01:38 AM   #7
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At least your car is running. Haven't seen mine in nearly a month.
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      04-14-2015, 03:51 PM   #8
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Don't forget upgraded suspension bits and weight reduction to top it off!
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      04-14-2015, 05:36 PM   #9
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remember that the N52 is already pretty weight optimized - rods, crank, pistons, valvetrain - it's all pretty well put together & balanced. improving on it will be extremely costly. I'd be willing to bet a lot of aftermarket stuff won't even be as good as some of the stock parts.

the N52 head is actually similar to the S54 with the finger lifters, the main differences are valvetronic and having hydraulic lifters instead of shims. of course the ports & valves are smaller and the cam is less aggressive.

definitely cams could make a big difference. also, if you want more top end power, a shorter intake tract would help a lot. the 3 stage manifold is great and increasing low end torque and drivability, it's not necessarily great at top end power. I'm willing to bet the guy who did that ITB N52 gained most of his power from ditching the stock intake manifold.

rather than doing a stroker, taking the existing displacement to a higher RPM would probably be more effective. Which would require cams and headwork.
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      04-17-2015, 10:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justpete View Post
We'll know in a month or so, maybe sooner, if reground stock cams deliver a significant increase in power. If so you'll be able to get them from Riot Racing.

Injector upgrade won't be needed as the stock parts have way more flow capacity than needed. Fuel pump is plenty is as well and doesn't need to be upgraded in any way.

Getting the head flowed and valve seats properly ground, replacing stock valves with one piece stainless race valves, and having the valve train balanced will return a slight increase in redline and more power in conjunction with coated and wrapped headers and a proper race exhaust.

But race gas won't return anything until the compression ratio is increased and that's going to require skimming the head and changing to custom pistons. Better beef up the bottom end and while you're at it have it blueprinted and balanced.

You will likely need an oil cooler and improved radiator, possibly waterless coolant and a pressurized system. And colder plugs.

MAF is fine but the DME parameters for the engine model feedback would need to be optimized, not simple.

Stroking the engine would be a waste of time imo given how much the piston skirts would be thrashed about.

But all this with a three stage, etc. should get close to 330hp, net crank.

To get to 330rwhp and have a streetable car isn't something that seems doable but I've been wrong before.
Awesome, thanks for the info. I didn't really take the piston skirts into consideration with the stroker kit, but I'm excited to see what cams yield! I'd be interested to see a supercharged N53 running a little extra boost (made possible through an intercooler, pulley, tensioner and/or wastegate/BOV that could be easily programmed for due to the lack of valvetronic) along with headers and a custom E85 tune

It's not that I can't appreciate even a stock 128i motor (let alone one with a 3IM, tune, and headers), but I'm just excited to see the aftermarket potential. People wrote these off due to potential reliability issues when I doubt many have been modified to be as unreliable as a stock N54 with a tune. Good luck with the regrinds.
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      04-17-2015, 10:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
remember that the N52 is already pretty weight optimized - rods, crank, pistons, valvetrain - it's all pretty well put together & balanced. improving on it will be extremely costly. I'd be willing to bet a lot of aftermarket stuff won't even be as good as some of the stock parts.

the N52 head is actually similar to the S54 with the finger lifters, the main differences are valvetronic and having hydraulic lifters instead of shims. of course the ports & valves are smaller and the cam is less aggressive.

definitely cams could make a big difference. also, if you want more top end power, a shorter intake tract would help a lot. the 3 stage manifold is great and increasing low end torque and drivability, it's not necessarily great at top end power. I'm willing to bet the guy who did that ITB N52 gained most of his power from ditching the stock intake manifold. rather than doing a stroker, taking the existing displacement to a higher RPM would probably be more effective. Which would require cams and headwork.
Good points; it feels so perfected from the factory which is quite satisfying. I think the weight difference (particularly compared to the iron block N54) makes a real difference when driving; I wonder if any tuners would consider a shorter runner intake. Hopefully the ITB guy will upload a video of that 130 in action someday...
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      04-17-2015, 10:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by hassmaschine View Post
remember that the N52 is already pretty weight optimized - rods, crank, pistons, valvetrain - it's all pretty well put together & balanced. improving on it will be extremely costly. I'd be willing to bet a lot of aftermarket stuff won't even be as good as some of the stock parts.

the N52 head is actually similar to the S54 with the finger lifters, the main differences are valvetronic and having hydraulic lifters instead of shims. of course the ports & valves are smaller and the cam is less aggressive.

definitely cams could make a big difference. also, if you want more top end power, a shorter intake tract would help a lot. the 3 stage manifold is great and increasing low end torque and drivability, it's not necessarily great at top end power. I'm willing to bet the guy who did that ITB N52 gained most of his power from ditching the stock intake manifold.

rather than doing a stroker, taking the existing displacement to a higher RPM would probably be more effective. Which would require cams and headwork.
Yes, it will be expensive but not terribly so, about twenty grand I've been told for a full race top end build but I get a decent break on costs so it's not comparative. Will cost about that much again to rebuild the bottom end with custom pistons, etc. for higher compression, blueprinted and balanced, maybe pinning the bedplate as well, etc. And race valves and springs, etc. are required, at a minimum, for higher redline. Have a builder identified and onboard for the work when we get to that point. But it'll be in two stages with the head work first and then if it seems to be worth it then we'll follow up with the bottom end.

Agreed that the manifold inhibits top end gains and that an ITB setup would be better but I'm not expecting to push redline all that much past 7K. Been told 330hp is readily doable though. Going to have to a widebody conversion at some point I guess.

Seems more rational than building a stroker or going FI.
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      04-17-2015, 10:58 PM   #13
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Good points; it feels so perfected from the factory which is quite satisfying. I think the weight difference (particularly compared to the iron block N54) makes a real difference when driving; I wonder if any tuners would consider a shorter runner intake. Hopefully the ITB guy will upload a video of that 130 in action someday...
Once the engine's on solid mounts, like mine is, that perfect feeling from the factory disappears entirely. It has to be blueprinted and balanced at a minimum. I keep trying to get ATI to finish the Super Damper for it but who knows when they'll ever take all their new projects off hold.
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      04-17-2015, 11:18 PM   #14
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You could do that with stock components. The block design of the n52 with a bed plate lends itself to stiffness. This ain't no M54.
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      04-17-2015, 11:25 PM   #15
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You could do that with stock components. The block design of the n52 with a bed plate lends itself to stiffness. This ain't no M54.
Can't get high enough compression ratio with just skimming the head before valve clearance problems appear. No way out without custom pistons to get to 11.5:1 as far as I know. And from what I understand, which ain't much honestly, the valves are technically two piece so it'd be a good idea to go to one piece stainless race valves but no idea if they need to be hollow stem or sodium filled.
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      Yesterday, 01:21 PM   #16
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how high would you want to rev though? the stock valves will probably work fine assuming you keep the stock bottom end. the earlier valves have the smaller stems and will be lighter. I presume they went with the larger stems on later motors because the valve guides wear a bit faster.

good point about the CR, but bumping it up to 11.5:1 won't make much difference in power anyway. the dynamic compression ratio may not be as important on the N52 either since even with more aggressive cams, the intake lift and overlap are controlled by the DME.

the traditional reason to bump the CR (aside from the small power increase) is because you're using a more aggressive cams and you need the bump since the dynamic CR will drop. since only regrinds are possible at this point, there's not much of a change there either.

my main worry for a 10% increase in rev limit would be the bearings. it just depends on how stiff that block is. you could probably do a balance and blueprint on the bottom end and that would likely be enough.
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      Yesterday, 02:09 PM   #17
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how high would you want to rev though? the stock valves will probably work fine assuming you keep the stock bottom end. the earlier valves have the smaller stems and will be lighter. I presume they went with the larger stems on later motors because the valve guides wear a bit faster.

good point about the CR, but bumping it up to 11.5:1 won't make much difference in power anyway. the dynamic compression ratio may not be as important on the N52 either since even with more aggressive cams, the intake lift and overlap are controlled by the DME.

the traditional reason to bump the CR (aside from the small power increase) is because you're using a more aggressive cams and you need the bump since the dynamic CR will drop. since only regrinds are possible at this point, there's not much of a change there either.

my main worry for a 10% increase in rev limit would be the bearings. it just depends on how stiff that block is. you could probably do a balance and blueprint on the bottom end and that would likely be enough.
Not all that much higher, enough to make it safer hitting seven would be fine with me really. The CR is the minimum to extract some extra power from 100 octane and is pretty much last on the list of things to try, might not even be worth the effort and cost, in fact it probably isn't. Was thinking it might squeeze out a bit more horsepower, maybe a bit more bottom end torque, but it is expensive to do.

And, yeah, we've been talking about the bearings and the stiffness of the block as well. Seems to be ok for the N54 if the bedplate is pinned. Blueprinting and balancing the bottom end is one of the key items for sure, the question was raised as to whether we should look at other changes once the block is out and torn down but the law of diminishing returns really kicks in hard if it still has to be streetable. Otherwise CR would be higher at the expense of not being able to run on street gas. That and the DME would go as would Valvetronic.
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