Category Archives: Maintenance

BMW 335is/550i Clutch Upgrade

2017 Update: Clutch setup is holding up great after 20k hard miles!

After adding my aggressive E85 flash last summer, the factory clutch started to slip. I decided it was time to upgrade so I could enjoy the car to it’s full potential this summer. From Spec to ACT, there are plenty of aftermarket options available. Then I found the 335is/550i clutch upgrade on ECSTuning, so I started to do some research.

This clutch comes factory in the F10 550i, which puts down 443 tq and weighs a whopping 4552 lbs. DINAN doesn’t offer a clutch upgrade for their different stages of 550i’s, so apparently they feel that it is adequate. Their Stage 3 550i puts down 580 tq and they kept the factory clutch. Also, someone on the forums is using this clutch and claims that it is holding at over 620wtq on aftermarket turbos. To me, it sounds like the clutch is severely underrated.

My 135i won’t see more than 500 tq anytime soon. I’d guess that it is currently around 420whp/465wtq, but only weighs 3300 lbs!

I decided to give it a try. Here is my parts list from ECSTuning:
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BMW N54 Serpentine Belt Issues

A few weeks ago the car started making a squeaking noise. So, I popped the hood and started taking a video. Here is what I found:

As soon as I noticed the shredding serpentine belt, I drove home and parked the car. Ordered a new belt and tensioner, along with oil filter housing gaskets (#1 & #2) because mine were leaking. Once the parts arrived, Bob helped me install everything. Here is a picture of the OFH gaskets going in, what a mess…
Oil filter housing gaskets

Obligatory picture of the shredded belt:
Shredded serpentine beltWe put everything back together and assumed all was good. Wrong. About 50 miles later, the belt started shredding again. This time it started wrapping around the alternator pulley and burnt up the backside of the brand new tensioner pulleys.

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How-To: Detail BMW with Paint Correction

This car has been in need of a good detail and I finally got around to doing it. First I washed it with Meguiar’s Gold Class Shampoo, then went over the whole car with their Clay Bar Kit. I was surprised at the amount of crap the claybar took off. Then I used a high-speed corded drill with a velcro attachment for cutting, polishing, and waxing.

I started with Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound on a 6″ foam cutting pad from Harbor Freight. After going over a body panel, I would let it dry and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. Next, I used Meguiar’s Polishing Compound on a 6″ polishing foam pad, again wiping it off with a microfiber towel once finished. The last step was applying Meguiar’s Black Wax with a 6″ foam finishing pad. Obviously wiping the excess off with a microfiber cloth.

I took a picture before I started the cut/polish/wax process. Once I was finished, I took another picture to show the results. Keep in mind, the “before” picture is when the car was already washed and clean. The imperfections you see are all swirls or scratches, not dirt.

This animated GIF will switch between images. Click it for high-res.
BMW 135i - paint correction

In the two photos, you can see a lot of things in my garage reflecting off the paint. The two lines near the middle of the photos are power cords, not scratches. The lighter reflections above those are the power boxes on the light stands. All other bright imperfections are either lights on the ceiling, lights on the stands, or bright objects laying on the ground or on top of shelves. Obviously you can see the reflections of the yellow and red light stands themselves.

Continue reading How-To: Detail BMW with Paint Correction

Replacing Spark Plugs on my N54

Now that the car is running higher boost, I decided I should probably replace the OEM spark plugs. I went with NGK 5992 plugs because they run a step colder than stock and are gappable.

NGK 5992 spark plugs

I visited Bob again because I wanted to test for boost leaks. Part of me was hoping we’d find a small leak somewhere so I could upgrade to a metal charge pipe with a blow-off-valve and a larger intercooler. We didn’t find any leaks, but I’ll still buy those parts sometime soon.

Bob also has the tools for flashing the DME. My first flash was the free BMS E85 flash. It was okay, but I didn’t notice much. I went back and had him load an E85 flash from Wedge. It was great. I ran it for a week or so, took some logs, sent them to Wedge, and he sent back another version of the flash. This time when I visited Bob, I had him load the new flash that Wedge created. On the way home, I pulled up to an E39 M5 on the highway. He toyed with me and once things cleared up, we were able to do a pull. I put bus lengths on him! I’m not sure if I should have expected more out of his 4.9L V8 or if my car is just fast. I plan on hitting up the drag strip next week.

BMW 135i – CDV Delete & Oil Change

Since Memorial Day is on Monday, I decided to take advantage of the long weekend and do some maintenance on the car. She was due for an oil change so I picked up 7 quarts of Castrol Edge, fully synthetic 5W-30. I also stopped at the dealership and picked up an oil filter kit.

oil-change

I saw a few posts online about people deleting the Clutch Delay Valve for a better clutch feel. Since I was already underneath the car, I figured I might as well try removing this thing:

cdv1

I popped out the locking pins with a small screwdriver and pulled the valve right out. I quickly capped both lines with my fingers because I didn’t want to lose any brake fluid. After that, I simply connected the lines back together without the valve in place. Then I got to work on bleeding the clutch. The whole process only took about a half hour with the help of a friend. Look how restrictive it is!

cdv2

This car has the best clutch feel out of any car I’ve ever driven. The CVD delete paired with the BMW Performance short shift kit and the BMS clutch stop really makes for an awesome driving experience.