Ah, the infamous N54…Yes, we are going to talk about it. So brace yourself.
The N54 platform is pretty stout. We won’t get too deep into it because a simple search will provide you with mountains of information on the motor itself. The N54 coming equipped with a forged crank and rods (yea, yea this is up for debate according to half of the community but we’re basing this on our personal experience) have made upwards of 800+ hp on STOCK INTERNALS.
However, it seems at this point in their existence they have gained some sort of reputation for being rather unreliable… which is quite interesting to us.
Most of the N54’s we see come through our shop on a daily basis have already lived the first half of their life as a full bolt-on/tuned car.
Now as the second and third owners acquire these cars at the 80,000 miles + mark, they are experiencing the failure of gaskets, water pumps, electronics, turbos, etc.
This where the bad reputation begins.
Every motor faces normal wear and tear. Completely stock motors end up with leaky gaskets, blown turbos, broken coolant lines, etc. These items are only made to last so long. Especially with most of these items being made out of plastic. Factor in the additional heat, the additional power, and torque being pushed through these motors when they become tuned – now you have sped up that process.
As the current owner, you hold the responsibility to understand and respect the performance this platform provides you. Maintain it!
As the next owner, you have to educate yourself. Do your research, find the history, modifications, mileage, what maintenance has been performed, and what needs to be done.
The unfortunate downfall of the N54 platform is simply the owner’s failure to keep up with maintenance.
We see it all too often.
We cannot stress enough the importance of maintenance. Believe us, we know it sounds lame.. who wants to spend $2,000 on maintenance when you could make 500hp and then some with that same money but you’ll thank us later when you have a reliable 600+ hp N54.
A great example of this very conversation is our good friend Cristian, or as some of you may know him by, Vehicle Virals. We’ve been working with him for quite some time on his 335i. When he first came to us, we had a similar conversation about his feelings on the reliability of the N54 motor. He was frustrated by multiple repairs that were needed at this point in the car’s life. However, like most others, Cristian was not taking into account the current mileage of the vehicle vs the additional power that he has now chosen to add.
When customers like Cristian come to us and are in need of turbos, gaskets, and other maintenance items, we offer an option to drop the motor and completely reseal it. This route means we can knock out turbo replacement and all gaskets well under the same time frame of doing only turbos. Basically, you guys get more for less!
Cristian opted to take this same route and decided to document this process with us for his Youtube channel.
His videos show a lot of this process in-depth and explain why we offer this option and a lot of our feelings on the N54. Check them out!
For more information, BMW modifications, service, repair, or any other questions you may have, feel free to contact us.
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