Charge pipes are a common discussion on turbo BMW engines. The charge pipe (CP) is partly responsible for carrying charge air (or boosted air) to the engine. Unfortunately, BMW's N55 engine uses a plastic charge pipe. The N55 charge pipe is prone to cracking and popping off at higher than stock boost levels. It's not even an uncommon failure at stock boost. This is where upgraded charge pipes come into play. In this guide, we will discuss some of the best upgraded charge pipes for the BMW N55.
Why Upgrade Your N55 Charge Pipe?
We'll keep this short since the charge pipe is a pretty basic intake hose that runs from the intercooler to the throttle housing. However, there are a few important reasons to consider upgrading your charge pipe:
- Aftermarket charge pipes are generally cheaper
- Reduced risk of cracking your charge pipe
- Meth injection
If your stock N55 charge pipe failed then aftermarket upgrades are absolutely worth the cost. The retail value on the crappy OE charge pipe is over $350 for both the E and F chassis N55. Upgraded metal charge pipes are often less than $250 (even cheaper for the E chassis). Unless you're under an extended N55 warranty then it likely makes sense to get a higher quality component for less money.
Additionally, it may make sense to upgrade the charge pipe as preventative maintenance. Depending on the severity of an N55 charge pipe issue you could be left stranded. Again, these N55 charge pipes are known to fail even at stock boost. As you increase boost it becomes more and more likely your charge pipe will let go. Once you push beyond ~20psi it often becomes a matter of when the charge pipe fails, rather than if. Upgraded charge pipes also generally offer 1/8" MPT bungs for meth injection.
**We'll now move onto a few of the best charge pipes for the N55. We believe these charge pipes offer the best balance of price, fitment, and quality. However, it is by no means an exhaustive list. We will also split it into two sections for E & F chassis N55's.
Best N55 E-Chassis Upgraded Charge Pipes
Some of the E chassis N55 charge pipes may share a product page with the N54 charge pipes. They are the same basic design, however the N54's diverter/blow-off valves are integrated into the charge pipe. The N55's diverter valve is built into the turbo design. As such, ensure you select the correct N55 option which should NOT have any DV/BOV flange. Nonetheless, we believe the following charge pipes are some of the best for the N55 E chassis.
1. N55 VRSF Upgraded Charge Pipe
We say this all the time, but it's truly tough to go wrong with offerings from VRSF. Their products truly offer some of the best balance between price, quality, and fitment. The VRSF N55 chargepipe uses powder-coated black aluminum piping. It also features two 1/8" NPT bungs for those interested in meth injection. It's hard to go wrong with any VRSF products, and that's especially true with a price tag of $149.99.
N55 VRSF CP Price: $149.99
Buy Here: BMW N55 VRSF Upgraded Charge Pipe
2. N55 BMS Charge Pipe Upgrade
Burger Motorsports (BMS) also offers some excellent products for the N55 at a great price point. As with the VRSF option, BMS' N55 charge pipe is black aluminum piping. It also offers two 1/8" NPT meth bungs. It also comes in at an excellent price point of $139. We still prefer VRSF since we run many of their products on our own BMW's with great success. However, a chargepipe really is just a basic metal pipe with meth bungs. The BMS N55 charge pipe is an excellent option all around.
N55 BMS CP Price: $139.00
Buy Here: BMW N55 BMS Upgraded Charge Pipe
3. Masata N55 Performance Chargepipe
Located in the UK, Masata is a great brand that offers high quality products at great price points. Masata has five different N55 chargepipe offerings fitting all F-Series and E-Series N55's, including the M2 and X3/X4.
Masata is our product of choice for all European N55 owners.
Buy Here: Masata N55 Chargepipes
4. N55 COBB Upgraded Charge Pipe
COBB also offers an excellent CP upgrade option for the N55. However, it's a decent bit more expensive than the above two options. Nonetheless, COBB is a well-known brand and some may find comfort in the brand name. Otherwise, we recommend opting for either the VRSF or BMS options above.
N55 COBB CP Price: $225.00
Buy Here: BMW N55 COBB Upgraded Charge Pipe
Best N55 F-Chassis Upgraded Charge Pipes
Below are a few N55 F-chassis CP's that we believe offer an excellent balance of price, quality, and fitment.
1. N55 VRSF Upgraded Charge Pipe - F Chassis
Once again, VRSF makes the list with their excellent balance of price, quality, and fitment. We recommend many of VRSF's products for this very reason, and the N55 CP is no different. This is basically the same product as the E chassis charge pipe, simply designed to fit the F chassis. However, unlike the two meth bungs on the E chassis charge pipe, this VRSF charge pipe only has one 1/8" meth bung.
N55 VRSF CP Price: $219.99
Buy Here: BMW N55 VRSF Upgraded CP
2. N55 BMS Upgraded Charge Pipe - F Chassis
BMS offers some great N55 aftermarket products at a very fair price point. As with VRSF, it's also black aluminum piping. However, it comes with two 1/8" meth bungs as compared to only one with the VRSF option. Overall, great product and great price.
N55 BMS CP Price: $199.00
Buy Here: BMS N55 CP Upgrade
BMW N55 Upgraded CP Summary
BMW's N55 engine unfortunately comes from the factory with a plastic charge pipe prone to cracking and popping off. It's not an uncommon failure even at stock boost levels. However, the risk of CP failure increases with boost. Upgrading your N55 CP is definitely worthwhile if your stock CP failed. It's also a great upgrade to knock out as preventative maintenance.
The N55 E & F chassis each use different CP's, however the brand recommendations remain more or less the same. Both VRSF and BMS offer excellent charge pipe upgrades for very fair prices. Although this N55 mod doesn't increase horsepower it's certainly a great upgrade to assist in pushing your N55 to the next level.
Did your N55 chargepipe fail? What have your experiences been? Drop a comment and let us know
Check out our guide on building a 400+whp N55