The 8 Most Common BMW N54 Engine Problems – Common Failures and Performance Issues
Jake currently owns two N54 powered BMW’s – an E60 535i and E82 135i. Jake has 10 years of experience maintaining, repairing, and upgrading his BMW’s. The 135i features a single turbo Precision 6266 conversion capable of 700+whp; Jake completed the entire project on his own. With over 200 automotive articles published, Jake brings a balance of writing skill, hands-on BMW experience, and technical knowledge to the table.
The BMW N54 engine might be the best tuner engine of all time…at least we think so. Before we even get started, I’m going to drop a plug for a soon-to-come post on why the N54 engine is better and more tuner friendly than a 2JZ. Hopefully I can get some Toyota fans to read it so we can stir up some drama.
Anyways, back to the point. The N54 engine is one of BMW’s best engines, no doubt. But…that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have any problems of its own. In fact, the N55 engine was slightly dialed back in an attempt to tame some of the common engine problems of the N54. Be sure to read our guide on the N54 vs. N55 if you aren’t sure what the differences are (outside of single turbo vs. twin turbo).
This post is going to cover the most common N54 engine problems, along with the symptoms and error codes to be able to identify them. On top of that, I will cover general maintenance tips to reduce the possibility of these engine problems, as well as repair and replacement options in the case that you fall victim.
Common BMW N54 Engine Problems
These are the most common N54 engine problems:
- High-Pressure Fuel Pump (HPFP) Failure
- Turbocharger Failure / Wastegate Rattle
- Leaky Fuel Injectors
- Leaking Boost / Chargepipe Failure
- Valve Cover Oil Leak
- Carbon Build-up
- Vanos Solenoids (2A87 and 2A88)
- Water Pump Failure
We will touch on all of these in-depth, focusing on the symptoms of each problem, the performance impact, and the repair options.
If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our BMW N54 Common Problems video below:
Woah, that’s a lot of problems…how common are these N54 problems?
If you are in the market for an N54-powered BMW and just read that list, you are probably reconsidering your choice. “Well, maybe an N55 is better”, is likely running through your mind. It definitely did when I was looking for my 135i…but the substantial difference in tune-ability between the N54 and N55 is what brought me back.
My 135i is a 2008 (10 years old already!) with only 32.5k miles on it, meaning it is probably running on 95% straight-from-the-factory parts that are 10 years old too. And my warranty is up. But the truth of the matter is, while some of these problems are inevitable, the majority of them are preventable.
If you drive 125mph for 30-minutes like you are on the Autobahn, yes you will probably bust your N54’s water pump. If you are running 20psi on factory turbochargers, yes you will definitely bust your chargepipe, and probably blow the turbos. Read on and we will cover each N54 problem.
1. High-Pressure Fuel Pump Failure (HPFP)
You guessed it, the N54 high-pressure fuel pump is responsible for injecting fuel into the engine. The HPFP feeds fuel through the injectors, which directly supplies the engine with gasoline necessary for combustion. If your HPFP fails, your engine will not get the fuel it needs to run. Sounds like a big problem? It is.
Unfortunately this is probably the single most common engine problem on N54’s. Fortunately, BMW realized that, and warrantied it for 10 years or 120,000 miles. If you own a higher mileage N54, it is likely that you have had your HPFP replaced at one point in time.
If you are interested in learning more about N54 fuel pump failure, we wrote an entire article on the subject including symptoms, diagnostic information, and fixes.
BMW N54 HPFP Failure Symptoms:
- Long crank time (slow engine start)
- Check engine light illuminated
- Car enters limp mode, and runs poorly with decreased power
N54 HPFP Failure CEL Codes:
These are common codes, certain ones might not indicate a failed HPFP (such as a cylinder misfire code)
- P142E: low pressure in HPFP system – injection disables to protect catalytic converters
- 2FBF: Fuel pressure at injection release
- 2FBE: Fuel pressure after motor stop
- 29DC: Cylinder injection switch off
- 29E2: Fuel injection rail
- P030(1-6): cylinder misfire (last digit of code is the cylinder responsible)
Why Does the N54 HPFP Fail?
This is a fantastic question. We asked BMW the same thing – but there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason outside of poor mechanical engineering. BMW did have dealers recall HPFPs with certain manufacturing codes, which suggests that it might be related to bad manufacturing batches.
Running a tune, such as the JB4 or Cobb, will not increase the chances of your HPFP failing. Nor will any other performance part for that matter. Stock and tuned N54s have both experienced these issues. Also, there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between a failed pump and how hard you drive the vehicle or whether you have a standard or automatic transmission.
The most likely cause of N54 fuel pump failure is the design of the pump itself. While earlier pumps contained two chambers, one for lubrication and one for fuel, that were separated by a faulty O-ring, BMW later figured out how to seal these chambers much better.
High-Pressure Fuel Pump Repair Options & Warranty
We mentioned earlier that most of these common issues are preventable. Well, unfortunately, this one really isn’t. But I promise most of the others are. HPFP failure seems to be related to the specific pump in your car and is random in nature.
BMW has warrantied this part for 10 years and 120,000 miles. Hopefully, you fall into this warranty. If not you will need to buy the part and have it installed by a mechanic, if you aren’t capable of DIY’ing it.
Replacement Part: https://www.bmwpartsfactory.com/GENUINE-BMW/9/13-51-7-616-446
Replacement HPFP: ~$450 (plus install, don’t go to a dealership)
DIY Difficulty: Advanced
DIY Guide: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=654820
2. Turbocharger Failure & Wastegate Rattle
While the high-pressure fuel pump failure might sound like a disaster, Wastegate rattle is by far the worst most common N54 engine problem. Typically, Wastegate rattle requires two brand new turbochargers, which is very expensive if you aren’t still under warranty. Read on to learn the symptoms of Wastegate rattle and learn how to mitigate the chances of it happening to your N54.
What is an N54 Wastegate and Why is it Important?
The Wastegate controls the outflow of exhaust gases away from the turbochargers. This regulates the speed at which the turbos spool and generate boost pressure. In simpler terms, the wastegate controls the maximum boost pressure created by the turbos, which protects both the engine and the turbochargers.
The “rattle” that you hear when you experience this common engine problem is the Wastegate actuator arm/rod improperly functioning from general engine wear and tear.
N54 Wastegate Rattles Symptoms
- Rattling noise coming from the engine
- Low boost engine codes
- Significant loss of power
- Smoke coming from exhaust (oil leaking from turbo seals)
Why Does the Wastegate Fail?
The N54 Wastegates fail from simple wear and tear of the engine. Over time the actuator and rods of the turbocharger wear down, resulting in rattle and boost control issues. In this case, running higher levels of boost (psi) on your turbochargers will likely increase your chances of Wastegate failure. Yes, this means running a JB4, Cobb, or PROcede tuner will increase the likelihood you blow your turbos. This is because the extra boost pressure created from these tunes puts more strain on the turbochargers, creating accelerated wear and tear.
How to Decrease the Chances of Wastegate Rattle
We aren’t saying don’t tune your N54 (obviously). Zach and I both run JB4s, as do thousands of other N54 owners. If you are running a JB4 on Map 5, you likely won’t run into this issue until you are nearing 100k miles or more. Zach blew his turbos twice (around the 80k mark), you can read about it here.
When you start experimenting with serious psi/boost pressure is when you run the risk of blowing your turbos. If you are trying to run 22psi, yes this is more likely to happen. Stick to appropriate boost levels and you will be fine. Additionally, make sure you always let your engine warm up to AT LEAST 160 degrees (Fahrenheit) before you get on the gas and seriously spool the turbos.
How to Fix N54 Wastegate Rattle: Repair Options
The turbochargers are warrantied for up to 10 years or 82,000 miles. When you take your N54 to the dealership, they will first try to update and adjust the ECU. They do this by readjusting the slack in the actuator arms, which will typically work for a little while, but your car will be a ticking time bomb at this point.
BMW’s hope is that the ECU update will last long enough for you to no longer be on warranty. Make sure you get them to replace the turbos when this happens!
Replacing the turbochargers is extremely expensive. New turbos will cost you upwards of $1,000, and it takes nearly 6 hours of labor time just to get the turbos uninstalled. Then you have the cost of install, etc. This replacement is usually around 15+ hours of labor.
A lot of people will elect to upgrade their turbos if they experience wastegate rattle and are no longer under warranty. The cost of labor won’t change (for the most part), so the only difference in cost is the cost of the upgraded turbos. You can get your turbos rebuilt, but since you are already paying all the labor costs, why not get a little extra power out of it.
You can read our upgraded turbos blog post here (when it’s fully written). For the sake of length, I won’t go into it further in this post.
OEM Turbo Replacements: Cylinder 1-3 Turbo, Cylinder 4-6 Turbo
Replacement Cost: $6,000 from the dealer, $3,500 from a local shop
DIY Difficulty: Dealership mechanics hate to repair these
Good youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQD6tITYH7k
3. N54 Leaky or Clogged Fuel Injectors
The N54 fuel injectors run hand in hand with the high-pressure fuel pump we discussed earlier in this guide, so I guess it is no wonder that these are a common N54 engine problem as well. The fuel injectors are responsible for spraying the spark plugs and ignition coils with gasoline, so that they ignite on start-up and every revolution thereafter.
Fortunately, there are some useful preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of leaky fuel injectors. Read on to learn why these injectors leak, what the symptoms are, and how to avoid this problem altogether.
Why do N54 Fuel Injectors get clogged?
As mentioned above, the injectors spray the spark plugs with gasoline. Carbon naturally builds up inside the engine, but this carbon is typically burned off when the engine is running hard and heated up to high temperatures. When the engine cools down, the carbon can get stuck inside the engine and inside the injectors, causing clogging. Clogged injectors can also cause a bad fuel spray patter.
A bad spray pattern can result in the plugs either getting too soaked, or not soaked enough in gasoline, which can create misfires, and cold-start problems.
What are Leaky Fuel Injectors?
Due to the way the N54 fuel injectors are positioned, if they leak, drips of gas will land on the spark plugs. When the injectors leak a considerable amount, this will make the spark plugs very wet, which will in turn make it harder for the engine to ignite the spark plug and start the engine. This will result in difficulty starting the car, and possible misfires upon start and while driving.
N54 Fuel Injectors Failure Symptoms
- Hard time cold starting the engine
- Misfires (especially upon a cold start)
- Excess oil and gas on the spark plugs
- Rough engine idle
These symptoms could either be the result of a leaky fuel injector, or a clogged fuel injector. The fortunate scenario is it’s just a clogged fuel injector. If it is a clogged injector, you can follow the maintenance steps below to help solve the problem. When it is a leaky injector causing these symptoms, then you will likely need to replace the injectors (which is expensive).
Maintenance to Avoid Fuel Injectors getting clogged
Alright, there are 3 main things you can do that will be astronomically beneficial for your N54: these will help reduce the chance of your injectors getting clogged. While they will be beneficial overall, they may not reduce the chance of your injectors leaking.
- Use an add-on Mishimoto Oil Catch Can: aftermarket oil catch cans are the best addition to your engine when it comes to reducing carbon buildup. They are well worth the price if the long run
- Run E85 Ethanol Cleaner through your fuel system occasionally.
- The bottles cost $13, buy 5 bottles and do this once per month. The fuel cleaner will help release the carbon build-up in your engine and fuel injectors, and create smoother running conditions
- Get your N54 Walnut Blasted: read our post on N54 walnut blasting. Walnut blasting, for lack of better words, blasts all the carbon gunk built up in your engine away. This should be done on N54’s every 30k miles or so, especially if it is tuned.
- Put your engine to work: warm up the engine at low speeds, and then take the car onto the highway and run it for 20 minutes at 4500rpms. After doing this 3-4 times, you will likely clean out enough carbon buildup to reduce clogged injectors
N54 Fuel Injectors Repair Options
Another BMW warrantied part. The nice thing with these common BMW engine problems is that BMW actually acknowledges it is a problem, and gives you a better warranty for it. The N54 fuel injectors are warrantied for 10 years or 120,000 miles.
If you are under warranty, BMW will try to only replace the fuel injector that is leaking. MAKE THEM REPLACE ALL! If you have one injector leaking, it is likely more will follow soon after. Give the dealership a little push and shove and they will replace all of them.
If you don’t have a warranty
As previously mentioned, try the above maintenance techniques to see if the problem is only a clogged fuel injector. If you get your engine walnut blasted and you are still experiencing this issue, then it is probably a leaky injector.
The injectors are expensive (about $120/ea), and I do strongly recommend replacing all 6 at the same time to save on labor for when others start to leak.
Replacement Costs: ~$1,400 for injectors, $100 for BMW to code them, plus install at a shop if you don’t DIY
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
DIY Guide: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=651538
4. N54 Chargepipe Failure / Leaking Boost
Stock N54’s owners are lucky on this one…because you likely won’t run into this issue. N54 chargepipe failure and leaking boost (caused by chargepipe failure) are both primarily the result of tuned engines running above stock boost/psi.
If you read our “How-to Build a 500HP N54” guide, you will notice that we highly recommend upgrading your chargepipe when you tune your engine. Note, this is only necessary if you are running a flash tune, such as the JB4, Cobb AP, or PROcede. Other performance parts won’t (in most circumstances) burst your chargepipe.
The N54 Chargepipe holds boost pressure until release by the blow off valve
Turbocharged engines build up boost pressure (psi) inside the engine, which is causes the increased power and speed associated with them. The chargepipe is a component of the turbo system, and holds boost until it is released out of the system by the blow off valve.
BMW built their N54 chargepipes out of plastic, which is why this failure gets to make it on our most common list. It happens a lot!
Why does the Chargepipe leak or crack?
Under high boost applications, such as running a JB4 or other flash tuner that increases the turbo’s psi, the plastic chargepipe simply cannot handle the pressure. The high pressure can either cause the chargepipe to leak boost pressure (which will cause a loss of horsepower), or completely crack or pop.
Benefits of Upgrading your N54 Chargepipe
If your chargepipe is working properly and not leaking, then it doesn’t matter if it is made out of plastic or stainless steel. Meaning, there are no performance/horsepower benefits to upgrading your chargepipe. With that being said, an upgraded chargepipe is not necessary for stock N54’s, or N54’s running stock boost levels. The chargepipe still can fail under stock boost pressures, but it is a lot less likely.
If you are planning on running meth or ethanol, an upgraded chargepipe isn’t even a question.
For tuned N54’s, upgrading the chargepipe is a must! The question is if, it’s when. Do a search on the forums and you will read countless stories of drivers’ chargepipes bursting and popping off while driving.
Upgrading your chargepipe is a good preventative modification. If you are going to run high boost levels, it’s a must. That’s all that needs to be said. It is an easy DIY and a cheap part.
Upgraded Chargepipe Cost: $250
DIY Difficulty: Easy
DIY Guide: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66252
5. Valve Cover Oil Leak
Another common area prone to problems is the N54 valve cover, and the valve cover gasket. The gaskets on these cars are very prone to withering away and degrading over time, which results in oil leaks, and a buildup of oil in your engine.
A second common issue is the valve cover cracking, which also results in oil leaks. Valve cover cracks are caused by heat cycling, or the transfer of heat from the block to the cover. The covers are plastic, and therefore are affected more by the increased heat created by turbocharged engines. A crack requires both the cover and gasket to be replaced.
N54 Valve Cover Oil Leak Symptoms
Common N54 valve cover oil leak symptoms are:
- Oil on the threads of the spark plugs, but not on the electrodes
- Ignition coils covered in oil
- Crevices of the head/valves are filled with oil
- Burning oil smell, possible smoke coming from valve cover
- Low engine oil light
This issue won’t throw any codes, which makes it hard to recognize sometimes. In severe leaking cases, you might get a low oil light on the dash once enough oil has leaked out. If your engine isn’t smoking or giving off a burning smell, the easiest way to diagnose this issue is to pop the valve cover off and inspect for oil. If there is a leak, you will usually see a buildup of oil underneath. Pop the coils out and inspect them to see if they are coated in oil. If you still are unsure, pull the plugs and look for oil on the spark plug threads, but not on the electrode (the tip).
Tuned and modified engines will not cause valve cover problems!
N54 Valve Cover Oil Leak Replacement
There are one of two scenarios here: you could have a simple leak from a worn down gasket, or you could have a cracked valve cover that is causing the leaking. If you just have a leak, you will only need to replace the gasket. If your head cover is cracked, you will need to replace the cover and the gasket. You can guess which is more expensive! Regardless, this is a problem that shouldn’t go unfixed for too long. And unfortunately, replacement is the only option. Always replace the gasket when you replace the cover.
Replacement Cost: $32 for the gasket. $308 for the cover (if you’re cover cracked) + labor. Do not go to the dealer for this, they will try to milk you for $1,000 just for labor! The DIY isn’t overly hard, but also isn’t a beginner’s task.
DIY Difficulty: Intermediate
DIY Guide: http://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17897
6. N54 Carbon Build-up
If you read our fuel injectors section above, we touched on natural carbon buildup inside the N54 engines and how it can lead to problems with the injectors. Aside from clogging fuel injectors, carbon buildup in the N54 can result in sluggish performance, and misfires.
Carbon buildup is a result of Direct Injection fuel systems, which as the name suggests, injects gasoline at high pressures directly into the combustion chamber of the engine. Direct Injection systems allow for a lot more precise fuel measurements (think air-to-fuel ratios, etc.) than traditional injection systems.
Direct injection shoots gasoline into the cylinder, instead of the back of the valve. Therefore the valve and the ports do not get cleaned by the gasoline and other detergents as they normally would. This leads to a buildup of carbon deposits inside the valves and ports.
ALL direct injection engines suffer from carbon buildup, not just BMWs, and not just N54s. Audi and VWs also have the same issues we are going to describe here.
N54 Carbon Build-up Symptoms
- Sluggish performance, noticeable loss of power
- Misfires, likely without any engine codes
- Hard starts
- Poor fuel economy
How to Reduce N54 Carbon Build-up
- Use an oil catch can
- Get your engine walnut blasted
- Use ethanol fuel injector cleaner
- Only use the highest possible octane (93+ preferably)
- Change your oil and oil filter every 7,500 miles at a minimum
- Switch off using different brands of gas
- Drive your car on the highway for 20-30mins at 4500rpms (once per month)
Your best bet, if you have never done anything to minimize carbon buildup, is to get a walnut blasting. This is the best place to start, and then use these tips above to prevent the carbon from building back up.
Walnut Blasting your N54 to Remove Carbon Build-up
Once your N54 hits roughly 45,000 miles, it likely has a good amount of carbon built up inside of the valves. The easiest, most effective, and most efficient way to remove this carbon buildup is through walnut blasting! This technique uses walnut shells, and blast theme at high pressure into your valves to completely wipe out all of the gunk.
While there might not be a huge improvement in “go-fast” performance, some people have seen HP improvement of up to 20HP, after walnut blasting their N54. In this case, you aren’t getting more horsepower per se, you are just unlocking power that had been lost from the carbon deposits. The most common benefits are increased throttle response, smoother idling, and overall smoother and improved performance.
Helpful forum post on walnut blasting: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=682116
Helpful Products to Reduce N54 Carbon Build-up
7. Vanos Solenoid Failure
Read our guide all about VANOS: Diagnosing a Failing BMW Vanos System – When to Repair Your Vanos
8.Water Pump Failure
The water pumps on the N54 engine are another fragile piece of equipment. The water pump is responsible for pumping water into the radiator, in order to cool engine temperatures. Along with your engine fan, the water pump and radiator are important parts of your cooling system. The N54 water pumps typically fail around 70k-80k miles. Zach is upwards of 100k on his 335i, and still running on his stock pump, although we blew one on our 535i way before 70k too.
A lot of times these pumps will fail with almost NO warning signs! If you are lucky enough to get a warning sign or two, you will experience something like the below.
N54 Water Pump Failure Symptoms
- Engine overheating, above normal running temperatures
- Water pump and fan running noise is very loud
- Engine coolant draining abnormally fast
- CEL Code 2E84
N54 Failed Water Pump CEL Codes
- 2E84: replace water pump and thermostat (main code)
- FC 377A: Coolant pump switcher off due to blockage
- Check fuses F07, F09, 80, and 33
- Please comment to help me get more codes!
Water Pump Replacement Options
There are no quick fixes here, no easy fixes, and no cheap parts. Your only options is to replace the water pump and suck up the cost. The OEM part costs $400, and install will run you a few hundred more. This DIY will likely take you a good 8+ hours of work, if you are experienced enough to handle it.
Don’t replace your water pump with anything other than the OEM water pump. If you chose to, just know you have been warned.
DIY Difficulty: Experienced DIY’ers
DIY Guide: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=784416
BMW N54 Problems Guide FAQ
What are the most common BMW N54 engine problems?
The most common BMW N54 engine problems include high-pressure fuel pump failure, wastegate rattle, clogged or leaky injectors, chargepipe failure, valve cover oil leaks, carbon buildup, VANOS solenoid failure, and water pump failure.
While some of the most common BMW N54 engine problems are the result of poor design at the hand of BMW and their parts suppliers, most of the problems listed above can be prevented with regular maintenance and general care.
I’m thinking about getting an 09 335i, this has been so helpful. Thank you!
Did you get the 2009 and have you had these problems and what was the mileage when you purchased?
Hi Tricia, these are simply the most common problems people with the N54 experience. I actually wrote about my own car and its maintenance costs here: https://www.bmwn54tuners.com/n54-cost-of-ownership/
Excellent article! If I buy a 2008 (14 years old) 135i and the turbos fail before 120k miles , is it still under warranty?
Ian – no you won’t have any warranty left, it was capped at 8 years I believe.
Great input … Thanks.
great read, tons of inf
thanks for creating this web page. def helped in my assessment of what to look for and ask in shopping for my 335
Can the failure of of the high pressure fuel pump cause failure of injectors and/or the need for a new engine? Thank you.
I do not have compression on all of my cylinders–the was running great and then it just stop. I check the fuel at the fuel rail and it came with some force and then it stoped.
Great info for our 335I , really appreciate you putting this altogether it helps a lot !
That is some good info on these 07 N54 twin turbo but i will have wait an see what happen after i put all these new parts on and clean the intakes, an see if i get water in my oil thanks for the Info
I got my 09 n54 335i for my wife 5 years ago and decided to make it my DD when I read up on its potential. The best advise I can give is to keep an eye on your OFH gasket for leaks. My wife had a leak for a while and kept driving and adding oil. The leak dripped onto the serpentine belt. It broke and the timing chain chewed it up and sucked belt bits into the engine. Took it to Supremepower and Andrew fixed it up right. Here’s my repair list:
Front crank shaft.
Oil pan clean/gasket.
Upper Idler Pulley.
Lower idler Pulley.
Power Steering Pulley.
All from the oil filter housing gasket leaking on the serpentine belt.
I have 2009 BMW335XI coupe and I have almost done all of those services , EXPECT Walnut blasting, Turbos, and solenoids. I have been thinking of tuning my car. 83,000 miles still running great. I abuse my car and it takes it like a Champ. I have done a lot of service , Just change your oil every 4,000- 5,000 miles
Thank you, this is great info. I’m on my 5th BMW, currently have an 09 335 xDrive sport coupe and installed a Cobb about 6 months ago along with a catch can. I can say that all of the above are problems almost anyone will have before 80k miles. I’ve got 89k now and in the last 6 months I had to replace the coolant water pump, post cat 02 sensors, had to have a carbon cleaning, replaced high pressure fuel pump, injectors, coil pack, spark plugs and fuel injectors. I just got an error code for a boost leak, so likely the solenoids but will find out soon, perhaps the charge pipe. Only thing that hasn’t happened yet is the turbo wastegate. Sad to say as much as I love BMWs, this will be my last one. All 5 of them had constant problems once they hit 80k. I can’t seem to drive more than a month without an error code, including the 4 years I owned my car without the Cobb.
When it says 80k or 10 years – is that “whichever comes first”. I have a 335i with 85000 and under 10 years old, is it in warranty or out of warranty?
Alex – yes, unfortunately the warranty ends when either one of those limits has been exceeded, so since you have broken 80,000 miles you are no longer under warranty.
DI’d you buy a 335i? Please let me know email@example.com
John – Zach has been driving a 335i for a few years now and I have been driving a 135i for a little over a year now.
Per my message above, I had an error code for a boost leak. Thanks to your info, I assumed it was either the charge pipe or VANOS solenoids, so I bought replacements for both because either way, they would have needed to be replaced (just about at 90k miles). Prchased an FTP Motorsports charge pipe, very happy with the quality, made of aluminum. Original charge pipe was in fact leaking, likely a result of adding the COBB earlier this year. There was some oil throughout the original charge pipe, but didn’t look like anything more than typical blow by. I’d second your recommendation that if you’re going to add extra boost, replace your charge pipe before it fails, because it will. Road tested and no boost leak, but still a little rough idle and some stuttering when maxing the throttle. VANOS solenoids will arrive today and am hoping that will resolve the issue. Per above, everything else has been replaced. Only thing left on the list is for the turbos to go. Really hoping it won’t happen, and that I can finally get at least 10k miles before I see another error code.
My Radiator fan is not working. Just got another Fan but my mechanic said there is an electric issue.
Great info about 335i I’m thinking about buying one but I want one with lower miles and warranty
Replaced both VANOS solenoids with genuine BMW parts, $350 for the pair. Idles perfectly, no more lag or studdering at max throttle. Final advice is this blog is right on point, preventative maintenance is best. Before my car hit 90k all on this list except the turbos had to be replaced and a carbon cleaning was required. Also new coil pack and spark plugs.
CWater pump left me stranded at 85k miles. Got a new one from fcp euro with lifetime warranty. Boost solenoids replaced at the same time due to ongoing p30ff code.
Right now my n54 is FBO+INLETS. Pure stage 2s coming soon. Even with all of its flaws, this is the most supported platform I’ve ever seen. My last car was a 540i and our only options for more power were Dinan SC or headers(gain 100 horse for $9k) or VF SC.
Thank you for the comment, Sdub. You are spot on about the support in the N54 community. I did not own too many cars prior to my 335i, however, I can attest to the fact it is the most mod friendly and community friendly platform I have experienced. There is truly endless information on the N54, which makes DIY’s and modding/tuning a very manageable task even for the less experienced.
It might be tough to find one with an n54 under warranty still. I think BMW went to the n54 in 2010 which is a little more reliable. But not as responsive to mods.
The 335is is an N54 sport version of the 335i that was made from 2011-13. It has the DCT transmission from the M3 and 1M. It’s more rare of a car too. If I were looking to buy another n54 it’s the way I would go
I drove my car to town not a problem. Then 2 hours later turned it back on to go home and felt it spluttering as if it wasnt getting enough fuel or something then it just got worse. I thought maybe someone put crap in my fuel tank i run 98 bp fuel anyone know what could be wrong 335i 07 model
Hey Pat, thank you for the comment and we are sorry to hear about the issues with your n54. Hopefully you have ironed out the issues by now. If you are still trying to track down the problem it sounds like it may be something related to the HPFP, fuel injector(s), spark plugs/coils, or vanos solenoids. However, it is tough to diagnose without seeing the car in person and testing for codes. Typically, the aforementioned items have symptoms that build up overtime but they are some common issues that frequently cause headaches with the N54.
This is extremely helpful, thank you for laying all of these issues out. I am considering purchasing from my father his 2007 335i 6MT with 68,000 miles. I am looking into his service history to determine if the car is likely to give me a lot of trouble in the near-to-medium term. I would greatly appreciate if anyone here could offer any insight into the potential maintenance risks with this car, given that he has undertaken serveral costly repairs and replacements over the last couple of years. How likely is it that these issues will not reemerge for a long time to come? Some of this work he has had done recently includes:
June 2016 – Replaced oil filter housing gasket & oil cooler housing gasket
February 2018 – New coolant pump installed; new battery; therm stat replaced; replaced expansion tank.
April 2018 – Solenoid valves replaced
Thank you for the comment, P.D. That is excellent that those repair jobs were previously performed. In most case-scenarios those repairs should hold up for at least 60,000 miles. Its tough to place an exact number on it as there are certainly many instances of these parts failing prior to that 60,000 number while there are also plenty of examples of those parts lasting well longer. Best of luck in your decision on purchasing the car.
Zach, many thanks for your reply, that helps a lot. I’ll also note that the high pressure fuel pump was replaced under warranty in 2009. The car has been running a Dinan Stage 1 Performance Software upgrade since around 2009 as well. Are there any specific issues that might pop up that would be related to the Dinan upgrade?
Im hitting 140,000 miles. I replaced HPFP, water pump, and oil pan gasket. My 08 bmw 335i is at my local shop for valve gasket and valve cover repair. Car has been overall reliable. I keep up with the maintenance. It’s stock and I’m praying to reach >200k miles. I bought it new and I’m determined to go the distance.
Are there any common check engine light codes for the fuel injection problems?
what causes the n54 engine to start hunting when reving its fine but on idling it hunts
Ajay – what do you mean by “hunting”?
Hi guys, I purchased a 07 n54 335i today, but unfortunately, the engine start to become shaky and engine warning light came up after a ten minute slow drive(40-50kmh). The fault code is 30BB DME injectors 456 or DME internal fault. Is there any chances the ECU is malfunctioning or the electric component or cable having problems? I’m worrying about it as it’s only the first day of driving it. What should I do?
N54 … what can i say …… my e92 335i has been by far the best car iv ever owned from the look of the e92 to the amazing power unleashed by the n54 engine. Proper maintenence is the key to keeping any performance engine going. Will keep mine as long as i possibly can regardless how much it costs me to maintain and fix the thrill of driving it vastly outweighs ghe money it costs ten times over !!!!!!!!!!
@jake, when you replace the coolant pump, you should also (always) replace the thermostat housing as well. It’s recommended during the service. Additionally, don’t use cheap (green or orange, American or Asian spec) coolant. Use the BMW blue and remember that it’s 2:1 concentrated so use only distilled water as the other part. Be sure to check your reservoir, hoses and your radiator for leaks that led to low coolant levels too. Heat cycles soften and harden rubber pipes over time (and then they get weaker).
Just my 2 cents on the cooling issues for the N54.
(I own a 2009 E90N54).
So I am looking to purchase either a 135 or a 335 coupe either of these would be 2008 – 2011. So my questions will both of these ve using the N54? And of these 2 which in you opinion is a better vehicle overall?
Does anyone know reason for low voltage at
high pressure pump 8.4 volts not start selanoid valve not opening
Did you figure this problem out?
If I purchase a used 135i with 91,000 miles, still under warranty for some of the common problems mentioned, do you know if I would be able to walk into any BMW dealership and request that a problem is fixed, if 1) the car was not purchased at that dealership, and 2) I was not the original owner?
Ruben – the warranty remains intact regardless of how many owners the car has had and regardless of which dealership you take it to. You should be good here!
I’m looking to buy my first BMW. It’s a 2008 335i Convertible with only 52K miles on it.Also its a manual and I hope it makes sense to buy it! It did already have the the High-Pressure Fuel Pump and the water pump changed under warranty @ the dealership by the previous owner. I do hear the rattling noise and I’ve been told the turbos could need to be replaced. Here is the list of repairs. I’m just trying to decide if this would be a good reliable daily driver for me. Has a rattling noise coming from the turbos. Also been told it needs a valve cover replacement. They say it has DME faults too. With regards to the turbos, just because they rattle does that mean they are destined for failure? I can get the car for $8500 but it might take too much to fix it. How can I be sure I’m getting a solid car? Thanks!
I just put a can of walnut oil in the fuel tank and it eliminates this process.
This is so helpful I read it from time to time.
Got a 2008 E60 535i AT.
I had everything changed but the turbo is leaking oil now.
If i slap a bigger single turbo do you think that the transmission will hold on without breaking? zf6
Cheers ma dudes.
Thank you for your comment. That’s a tough one. The ZF transmissions are pretty stout, especially with the xHP transmission flash. A single turbo is generally easier on the AT when compared upgraded twin turbos at similar power levels. The ST will make more power up top and torque comes on smoother. That said, anything over roughly 500-550wtq on the AT is starting to push the limits. Some hold up for years and others may begin slipping much sooner.
With something like a PT 6266 you could likely make 600+whp while keeping torque under 550 to the wheels. Again, things could still go wrong even at those levels. It’s part of the risk in making that kind of power. Hope this helps. Best of luck if you go the upgraded turbo route!
We had the HPFP failure at 114.000KM on our 2010 E91 325. We were still able to drive, but not faster than 50k/h, otherwise the engine choked due to fuel shortage. It costed about NZ$1800 for replacement at a local Indy. The weird thing was, when it started chocking, the cooling fan started to blow very fast for some reason.
With respect !!!
excellent tips enjoyed reading every one thank you
Had my water pump replaced on 2012 335i convertible with only 34000 miles. Cost 1800$!. Dealer wanted 1900$ plus I would have to tow 40 miles. Love driving it on nice days only and it looks so pretty in my garage
can anyone help me on my BMW e60 N54 engine 535ix 5series it cranks and doesnt start
the error code thrown was DME Master Relay, Activation ans DME Power Management relay, deactivation.
anyone encountered this kinda issues before should please help.
i have replaced a blue coloured relay in the ECU compartment in the engine room, still having same error and car cranks but no start.