BMW N54 30FF Engine Fault Code – 30FF Diagnosis & Repair Guide
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 30FF BMW fault code is one you do not want to see on your BMW. Unfortunately, if you are here, I’m guessing you’ve got the dreaded code and are looking for answers and hoping those answers don’t come with big dollar signs. The 30FF code will usually read “DME: Turbocharger, charge-air pressure too low“. If you got this code, your N54 is not running enough boost or is running “underboost”.
There are a number of things that could be causing this issue: chargepipe, boost solenoids, vacuum lines, actuators, bad turbos, etc. Before you go dropping thousands of dollars replacing your turbochargers, follow our diagnosis guide to determine whether it really is the turbos having gone bad, or if it might be caused by a smaller and cheaper issue.
30FF Low Boost Symptoms
- Lack of power, sluggish acceleration
- Stalling at idle or rough idling
- Difficulty starting the engine
- Engine logs showing “unmet target” boost levels
- Wastegate rattle
Causes of 30FF Fault Code
- Bad turbochargers (worst case scenario)
- Leaking boost somewhere pre-turbo. This can be caused by:
- Cracked or leaking piping connecting the intake, intercooler, chargepipe, BOV’s, or diverter valves
- Leaking vacuum lines
- Bad boost solenoids
- Loose actuator rod
Diagnosing and Repairing 30FF Code
Before you go replacing your turbos, go through this checklist to ensure you aren’t just leaking boost from a pipe or vacuum line. The order you do this in doesn’t matter, but make sure you check each one of these things before you blame it on the turbos.
1. Inspect piping for the intake, chargepipe, diverter valves
Check all the piping on the bottom right side of your engine: intercooler piping, intake, diverter valves, BOV’s (if you have one), etc. If you have a serious leak, you should be able to feel it with your hand, but be careful doing this and only do it on a cold start to prevent burning your hand. Alternatively, you can follow a more advanced guide such as this: https://www.n54tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13114
If you notice a leak in any piping along the way, get yourself a new OEM replacement part.
If you have a leaking pipe, you will likely get the 30FF code immediately upon startup. This is the easiest way to diagnose if it is piping as other issues will usually only give you 30FF after you start driving around. If you already have the code, clear the code and then re-start the engine to see how quickly the code reappears.
2. Check your vacuum lines
The turbo wastegate is responsible for how much boost your turbos produce by regulating how much air reaches the turbo. Once the air hits the target boost level, the wastegate opens which results in the air bypassing the turbo completely. This requires the wastegate to know how much boost the turbo is creating. The wastegate knows this because it is connected to the turbo through vacuum lines.
If your vacuum lines are leaking or not functioning properly, the wastegates can remain open, resulting in all of the air bypassing the turbo, thus no boost.
Great diagram to help identify and check vacuum lines: https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=894084
3. Replace your N54 boost solenoids
The boost solenoids work in conjunction with the vacuum lines to control boost pressure. To be fancy, the solenoid is used to bleed boost pressure off of the hose that controls the wastegate actuator, which is what controls the opening and closing of the wastegate.
Symptoms of Bad N54 Boost Solenoids
- Shaky starting the engine
- Noisy/loud boost solenoids (most obvious)
- 30FE engine fault code
- Wastegate rattle
- Log shows unmet target boost levels and very low PWN and WGDC levels
- 30FF will appear after driving for a little while
Replacement Part: https://www.bmwpartsfactory.com/PIERBURG/244/11-74-7-626-350
Make sure you use the OEM Pierburg boost solenoids (in the link above). Don’t buy some cheap Amazon ones.
Guide: there are no true replacement guides, but this thread will be helpful: https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=894084
4. Adjust your wastegate actuators
As mentioned above, the wastegate controls airflow either into the turbo, or bypasses the turbo to control the amount of boost created. The most obvious symptom of a bad wastegate actuator (or a loose one I should say) is a “TICK” noise upon startup. You’ll usually hear multiple tick sounds.
Guide on adjusting acuators: https://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=176269
5. Replace your turbos
If you’ve done everything above and still haven’t been able to resolve your 30FF fault codes, then you have bad turbos. At this point, you have a few options:
- Replace your OEM turbos
- Get upgraded twin turbos
- Send it on a single turbo setup
Getting OEM replacements is going to be the cheapest option, but you can get some solid stage 1 or stage 2 upgraded twins for not much more and get some power out of it.
N54 Cylinder 1-3 Replacement Turbo
N54 Cylinder 4-6 Replacement Turbo
If you are thinking about getting upgraded turbos, read this ultimate guide here: BMW N54 Updated Twin Turbo Guide
hey so i am having the 30ff code… i have read your whole thread and have some questions…..my code comes on @ 4,000rpm after it warms up. i can drive it all day but as soon as i mash the peddle code pops up. please help.thanks again
Any luck finding out what caused it?
Hey Cody, same thing for me. Were you able to resolve this issue in your car? It will help me a lot if you share information with me.
Let me know, thanks.
Took mine to a BMW performance shop. They did a smoke test and everything was fine. When I get some money together I will have them do a boost test. If the boost test fails (meaning there is a leak) then they will replace the solenoids (300-600$ fix). They said if boost is getting to the turbo then it is in fact a turbo issue (~5000$ fix).
I’m having the same issue as you, a few months i took it to a shop and found out the MAP sensor had a short meaning it wasn’t reading anything. After that I’ve had this issue. I ordered a new MAP sensor today, about $60, for an OE upgrade (N20 MAP sensors allow for more boost)
Upgrade part number is VDO 13627843531
OEM BMW part number is BMW 13627585492
Did this end up solving the issue?
Hi Spencer Heichelbec, is that work out after you installed it, please answer as soon as possible, thanks in advance
His is a different sceneiro im sure those other people replying have the same underlying problem as cody which isn’t the MAP sensor
This page is a masterpiece, it help me a lot to find my 30ff problem, plenty, solid and well explain infos really helpful thanks you!