Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Looking for hp from 528i, advice sought

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by 190796, Sep 23, 2009.

    • Member

    190796

    Post Count: 48
    Likes Received:1
    Hello E39ers. I have a 1999 528i wagon with a manual trans and all the sport options. I have upgraded my suspension to Dinan Stage II and added M5 staggered 18" wheels. I fantasize about installing an M5 motor and trans in the car but the money is too large. I've briefly looked into the superchrgers from ESS and RF Engineering, but there again, $5000-$8000 is kind of heavy. I tweaked my engine software with Dinan but that is it.

    What is the trick here? Any advice? The car must remain fairly civilized (no Chevy small block conversions!!).

    Thanks for your thoughts. Scott

    ViolinARC guest

    Post Count: 178
    Likes Received:1
    Yup...for that amount of money, you could buy a 2000-2002 540i instead. I was gonna jokingly say, "Get a 540" but after reading your post, it appears to be a valid suggestion...:eek:
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    How many driver schools have you done in that car?
    • Member

    190796

    Post Count: 48
    Likes Received:1
    It has been a while since I've done DE. I did tons of it in the 80s when I was autocrossing in SCCA, but it has been a while. Do you ask because (A) you think I would get more out of the car if I improved my skills (B) you cannot imagine why one would want more power or (C) your reply is less than sincere and you are being sarcastic. I can handle your reply regardless, I just want to know if your advice is sincerely intended or just something I should ignore. Forums can be funny places.
    • Member

    190796

    Post Count: 48
    Likes Received:1
    I am actually looking for advice here E39 friends. I do not want to "buy a 540i" since I looked very long and hard to find a 5 speed wagon with all of the M Sport options. It was a difficult car to find and having found a good one and having invested a few thousand dollars upgrading the suspension I seek some more power. If you have useful info I would love to hear it. Thanks
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
    Likes Received:3

    Quite frankly, if you don't want to invest in a supercharger or an engine swap, you're pretty much out of luck in the power department. The thirst for power can only be fulfilled one of (or more than!) three ways:

    1. Engine swap
    2. Turbo/supercharger
    3. Rebuild the engine to a more performance-oriented spec

    The first two could be similar in price, and the third the most expensive option IMO.


    So, as I said, no engine swap/supercharger, then no more power. Enjoy it as it is, is my opinion. You have a nice, rare car.




    Oh, and by the way,
    CRKrieger's post was meant in ALL seriousness. He and many others on this forum (including myself) make it a point time and time again, to do lots and LOTs of DE's before even considering optimizing your car, because 'till you know what each part affects on the track, you won't know what it'll really affect on the street. You'll find on this forum that people aren't really the sarcastic not-wanting-to-help type; we are all here to help each other out. This isn't Bimmerforums; we all respect each other here, so the need to ask if something was meant sarcastically (or in an offensive way) is unnecessary.


    So, with that said, your options are limited in regards to power. What do you feel you need to do? Did you have anything in mind?

    zr6sbc guest

    Post Count: 10
    Likes Received:0
    Too bad these guys ...

    http://www.eurosporthighperformance.com/supercharger.html

    are expensive and only for E36's. They're here in Salt Lake and a few local installs looked and performed very well.

    I have a 540iT and sometimes wish for the simplicity of the BMW 6. Sometimes, but not enough to trade. :)
    • Member

    190796

    Post Count: 48
    Likes Received:1
    Thanks for the advice, to one and all. I have always (well, ever since I sold my 2002s) had 6 cylinder BMWs. I really admire the simplicity and durability of the 6's. I'm just trying to squeeze more performance out without sacrificing reliability. I am going to pursue exhaust options.

    I am going to need a clutch soon and thus have been evaluating performance enhancements to determine if a stock clutch is adequate or if I am going to need a higher performance clutch to deal with power I might add in the future. It doesn't sound likely, I doubt I'll go the distance of supercharging, it is kind of big bucks.

    I wish I could significantly lighten the car. I had the drivers seat out of the car and couldn't believe how heavy it was. All of those fancy motors!

    Again, thanks for the advice. I do appreciate it and I'll make a point of putting some DE events on my calendar. Must keep my skills sharpened.

    Scott
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,779
    Likes Received:142
    When it comes to making a 'project' out of one's car, I usually suggest - make a plan, and a budget, based on your intentions, or desired use of the car. BMW's typically can be modified in a gazillion different ways, so a little planning can go towards mediating expense, or allowing you to make worthwhile comparisons.

    More power out of a stock engine without going as far as, say, increasing displacement (requiring engine removal, boring, stroking, different pistons, rods, crankshaft, headwork, etc.) - without knowing who makes what for your car/engine in the aftermarket realm, there are some typical 'tiers' of performance mods -

    For handling, the first thing you can change that makes a big difference is tires and/or wheels; after that you move into modifying suspension components, from mild to wild, depending on how much you want to sacrifice street comfort and usability for making your car increasingly race-car intolerable (with concurrent gains in lateral grip, responsiveness, etc). Sounds like you've already got that covered with your Dinan mods.

    So - going faster; What CR was _probably_ getting at was that if you don't have the skillset to make the car go as fast as it can (competently & safely), then money put towards that end might allow you to discover and safely exploit a theretofore previously unkown level of your vehicle's performance envelope. Point being that perhaps there is little point in creating a vehicle with capabilities that far exceed your own. However, it sounds like your prior experience addresses that.

    Then there are the relatively inexpensive and easy options, performance software being to most obvious. After that comes things like performance mufflers & air intakes. An engine is basically an air pump, so the more air you can move through (and match with burned fuel), the more power can be made. Then, headers. Along that path might also be included extrude-honing intake plenums (not sure if that's appropriate for your engine or not), but that's one of those small-gains-for-relatively-higher-expense things. Not sure if larger throttle bodies may apply for your engine or not. You already have mass-air-flow-sensor setup, so that's not particularly restrictive compared to the earlier air-flow-meters, but perhaps there's aftermarket alternatives there also. Fuel injectors are one of those things you change if you need to, you want to make sure you're not leaning out or bumping up against the limit of fuel delivery if more is needed, so somewhere along the path depending on how far you go, dyno-runs with air-fuel ratio measurement may come into play.

    Then you get into stuff like camshafts, and after that would come superchargers/turbochargers.
    Camshafts are a chunk of change, but if you have the time, tools, skills, and workspace, perhaps you can mediate the labor expense by installing yourself. Of course you don't want to screw anything up either, could end up w/ some expensive engine damage, potentially.

    Gearing - you can always change differential ratios (getting you there quicker at the expense of some gas mileage, running higher rpms otherwise all-the-time, and top-end speed), or transmissions. A bit pricey tho.

    Lots of weight can come out of the car, depends on how street-friendly you want it to be. Strip the interior and insulation padding and stick in some lightweight seats - ok, but then you have a noisy car that's less-than-comfortable for street use.

    Then - if you're making it faster, don't forget the brakes - stainless steel brake lines and higher temp fluid are the first steps, then consider air-ducting or big brake kits.

    And if you consider engine mods like cams or turbo/superchargers, it probably would be silly to not be doing exhaust, headers, and intake, so throwing on a turbocharger will be a marked difference, but _perhaps_ a bit choked down with stock exhaust.

    If you are planning on pursuing auto-x and track days, and begin looking at the expense of modifying the 5er wagon, considering it's size and weight, it might become worthwhile to consider a more dedicated track toy - you could probably get an E36 M3 for the cost of a supercharger or turbo plus what you've already spent on the wagon.

    Things like headers, chips, exhaust, intake, and muffler, make small improvements that
    individually and one-at-a-time may not be so seat-of-the-pants noticeable. Collectively, you would likely notice some difference. Add in cams, and you should definitely have a noticeable difference - not earth shaking, not plaster-you-into-the-seat-upon-acceleration, but stronger than stock. Unless you use cams with the wrong profile. Extreme race cams work well w/ race engines, you opt for something crazy there, and you might find your powerband nowhere where you want it.

    Good luck whatever you do!
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    mooseheadm5

    Post Count: 1,880
    Likes Received:15
    You will not gain anything from an exhaust system other than noise. The software is the best bang for the buck that you can get. Since you have a 99, that means you have an M52TU. There really isn't a whole hell of a lot you can do for that other than forced induction. You can install an S52 or S54, but there will be communication difficulties, and it will be expensive. You can bump displacement up to 3.0L, but that will be expensive. You can buy a supercharger, but that will be expensive. You can buy a turbocharger, but that will be expensive. There is simply no cheap or easy way to make the car make more power. Nearly everything that MGarrison suggested for performance increases do not apply to this engine.

    ViolinARC guest

    Post Count: 178
    Likes Received:1
    Check this out...you may find it very cool!

    OK...so the 540 idea is off the table and I totally understand why. I hope you didn't take offense to my suggestion as it was a serious option to me. Anyway, here is an interesting conversion of a touring that Bavarian Professions did a while back since the M5 Touring wasn't an option in the states. You could contact them directly and I'm sure Mike will be more than happy to assist you in your search for more power from your touring.

    http://www.bavpros.com/media/BavPro_Press.pdf

    Otherwise, I have to agree with the comment about this NOT being BimmerForums so you don't have to be concerned about getting flamed by a bunch of jerks who think they know better than anyone else including BMW's extensive R&D so ask away and have no fear...:D
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
    Likes Received:3
    I really do think it would be worth supercharging that bad boy. See if you can find a used one for a couple of grand. If you don't want to buy another car to use as the "fun car", then I think this would be your best bet, along with the appropriate software for your engine.
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
    Likes Received:20
    The usual answer is (A). But you sound like me, an old autocrosser and DE veteran. You know how to work your way out to the edge of the car's performance envelope (as opposed to barging through it because you don't know where it is). I'm just making sure. About three times out of four, the owner doesn't have a clue how to do what you know and has no business messing with the car before learning. For you, the answer is (D) None of the above. No, the laws of physics and vehicle dynamics haven't changed; only the technology. The other advice is generally good. Not a lot you can do to these cars cheaply other than the chip or a diff change. Most of the other stuff is smoke & mirrors marketing.
    • Member

    190796

    Post Count: 48
    Likes Received:1
    Thanks a ton to both Paul (always a great contributor, many thanks) and MGarrison. Both of you have given some great suggestions. I was frollicking down the exhaust/header path myself. I can't afford to go crazy, if I totalled my car I would be out big money. It is probably a $10K car that I have $15K into, give or take. I really love the car and the Dinan mods really enhance the car. When I concentrate on picking a smooth and correct line I can make the car corner without slip most of the time. It sets up well, remains very calm and the M5 staggered wheel/tire setup keeps things planted.

    I may have taken the car as far as I can. Maybe I need to put my budget toward that 1971 911 I've always wanted. I am not a track guy though. I sell real estate and my weekends are for making bread, not turns!

    Thanks again to all who offered advice. I'll continue to monitor this thread and see who else weighs in.

    Scott
    • Member

    JDiazAmador

    Post Count: 91
    Likes Received:0
    I have the same M52TU engine. Are you saying that the stock exhaust system (which is very quiet) is so low in restriction that there is nothing to be gained by lowering that restriction?

    Personally I would not mind hearing a bit more engine sound, as I love the straight-6 sound. Just as long as it does not drone on the highway.

    It seems to me that a cold-air intake would not give much of a performance gain if the exhaust restriction is not reduced as well.

    Also I just hate that the exhaust pipe on my 528i points down like an old American car. I don't know why they didn't go with a muffler with two exhaust pipes pointing straight out. I see that on most newer BMW's.

Share This Page