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      03-29-2012, 10:57 PM   #1
Maxx2
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BMW N63 Tuning...

The purpose of this thread is to share and collect as much information as possible regarding the BMW N63 50i engine and the tuning potential. Anyone with any information can post in this thread allowing us to collect as much useful data as possible in one central location for quick reference and ongoing discussions.

Thought it would be a good idea to get this started and to post what I have collected so far...
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Ever since I received my new X5 50i a month ago I have been researching the N63 platform and the potential for improving on this already excellent engine.

The obvious first comparison is with the S63 offered in the "M" X-series vehicles. With an identical 4.4L V8TT configuration these two engines have many similarities, however, it appears they have many differences with the biggest being the 155hp deficit for the N63. That is a significant difference for two engines which on paper look to be the same. The comparison chart below obtained from another forum is useful for understanding some of the basic differences between these two engines:

(S63 on the left and N63 on the right)


When deciding what the first step should be for increasing the performance of the N63 I initially looked for a tune which is the most common upgrade done to quickly increase the hp and torque.

The tunes currently available in the U.S. today range from very mild +40hp up to +96hp and even +120hp for one tuner in europe. The claimed gains are subject of great debate and each tuner has reasons why their tune is the best. Some believe that the larger claims are impossible to achieve on this engine with just a tune on factory turbos. Although this may prove to be true, for the time being we should explore the possibility that the gains are real and there may be more to these higher hp tunes that needs to be understood. Unfortunately when trying to validate these high hp numbers on a dyno and they are not achieved, the blame is often placed on improper dyno testing which is very hard to dispute and opens a whole new discussion on proper dyno testing procedures.

One of the topics of recent discussions with a few tuners on this board has been the limited gains achieved with their products relative to some of the other tuners and the reasons for that. Some of the arguments made have been that the turbos installed on the N63 are the bottleneck when compared to the S63 and are significantly limiting the tuning potential. Again, this may be true, but we need more information before reaching that conclusion. With that information I decided to research the specifics of the turbos used on both engines and then determine if that is indeed the reason for the limited gains. The following information is what I have discovered so far:

1) The N63 uses the same P/N turbo for both the right bank and left bank
2) The S63 has two different P/N's labeled "right" and "left" respectively for each bank
3) The N63 Garrett model number for each turbo is MGT2256GS
4) The S63 Garrett model number for each turbo is MGT2260SDL
5) The Garrett GT Series turbos use the first 4 digits in the model number to identify turbine & compressor wheel diameters in millimeters
5A) The N63 turbo uses a 22mm turbine wheel and a 56mm compressor wheel
5B) The S63 turbo uses a 22mm turbine wheel and a 60mm compressor wheel
6) The letters at the end of each model number are used to designate features of the turbo
6A) The N63 turbo features a "Compressor recirculation valve" and "Single passage bypass turbine"
6B) The S63 turbo features a "Single passage bypass turbine", "Dual passage bypass turbine" and "Water
cooled center housing"

Below is the Garrett GT series model designation chart for understanding turbo model numbers:



Using the information above it appears the turbos have the same size turbine wheel diameter, but have a 4mm larger compressor wheel on the S63. This information is not enough to fully understand the differences which may exist between these two turbos, but it is a starting point for discussion. I am still searching for more information including the compressor flow maps which are another important piece of the puzzle.

Another aspect of the N63 which has been discussed recently as a contributor to the power deficiency vs the S63 is the intake system. Thanks to TahoeM3 for posting this recent picture showing the N63 with the plastic shroud removed:



It is pretty clear from this picture that there is a considerable restriction in the intake path when compared to the S63. This is a very important aspect of tuning this engine and possibly an area of significant gains. To fully understand the differences between these two engines in this area it will require more research on the S63. The feasability of using components from that system on the N63 should also be explored as this may be a viable option.

Last edited by Maxx2; 03-29-2012 at 11:11 PM.
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      03-30-2012, 07:18 AM   #2
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Great info, thanks for posting it! I'm really tempted to open up the airbox and see what's inside. BMW went to great lengths to keep it from being modified. I've never seen an airbox that was bolted shut.

I would think that the S63 intake/airbox would be a pretty easy exchange, but would require a retune to account for the added air. If we can get engine part diagrams for both we could see if it could be done easily without modification, using the same mounting points, etc.
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      03-30-2012, 08:04 AM   #3
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By the way, here is the X5M engine for comparison, with shroud in place. Unfortunately when I had an M I never took the shroud off to take pics, but I imagine that the two air ducts feed to airboxes up front and then into the turbo inlet. The intake is integrated into the shroud, which may be a simple snap on item. There is a K&N filter replacement set available for the M (not for the 50i), which means that the airboxes are likely easier to access and can be opened. We can probably get a member here to post pics of the M engine without the shroud. If not, I can get one at the dealership.

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      03-30-2012, 08:04 AM   #4
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TahoeM3,

The filters on the N63 appear to be embedded into the center of a molded panel inside the airboxes. Completely different system from the S63 on the "M".

I searched online and haven't found any aftermarket filters or intake systems for the 50i.

I agree that with detailed diagrams, part numbers and pictures of the S63 intake this may be possible. I will search for more information. Ideally, if we had a bimmerpost member with an S63 willing to help with this effort that would make things a lot easier.

Below is the stock filter element outlined in red.
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      03-30-2012, 09:21 AM   #5
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Well that explains it. What a great design...if you want to limit airflow. Having the air double back on itself and exit the same way it came in is a good way to slow down the speed of air entering the engine and to limit the amount that actually gets through. And integrating the MAF into the airbox is going to make it challenging to undo some of this. That explains why they bolted the airbox shut, so that owners didn't screw up with the MAF while trying to change out that weird filter panel thing, which also can't be modified or replaced with an aftermarket part. Those are some real mod-blocking moves.
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      03-30-2012, 10:01 AM   #6
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This is great guys,keep it up,finding it very interesting.
I knew something was up with these air-boxes when i first bought my car,i asked the service guy where the air filters were as i like to change them often myself,when he showed me where they were,i thought i might give it a miss and he thought the same.BMW do seem to have gone to a lot of trouble with this.

Here in oz there is a $30000.00 retail price gap between the 50 and the M,so you cannot blame us for getting the 50 and doing mods to bring it close to the M.

It will be great to see what you guys find out,its a shame the tuning companies cannot shed more light on this too.

TahoeM3-what was the reason behind selling the M and buying the 50 and how do you compare them?,not that i dont like my 50,just curious
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      03-30-2012, 10:15 AM   #7
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Long story but basically the M was a bit too extreme for me in my daily drive, which is over 100 miles. I got the 550i to replace it but didn't love that...wanted to get back into an X5. I considered going back to the M, but my wife would have killed me, so I went for the 50i Msport and thought I'd at least chip it to narrow the HP gap. And she's happy because I gave the 550i to her.

By the way, that filter panel basically defines a restrictor plate, as I had referenced in the other post. I can think of a few ways to improve airflow through there if it's not possible to swap out the parts for the M parts.
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      03-30-2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Great info. Keep up the good work. Bad decision for replacing X5M with a BMW Lexus - If you posted for sale, I could've taken over your M. Darn. Had a fully loaded 550i M Sport on loan from a dealer for a weekend and could never convince myself to sail such a magnificent boat.
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      03-30-2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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Here are some pictures of the intake being removed on the N63 (550i)...


Engine shroud removed


Clamps on airbox lid



Airbox lid removed and turned upside down showing MAF sensor AND a charcoal filter in it. (Note: Removing just the charcoal filter on my E60 M5 bumped power by 10hp. Something to think about...)


MAF pulled out of lid


Bottom half of airbox showing molded plastic panel housing the stock filter element


Clip holding lower airbox in place


Detail of clip



Lower airbox with filter "panel" removed


Detail of tab holding lower airbox into plastic piping


Engine bay with left airbox removed



I will post some pictures I have found of the S63 intake system to compare...
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      03-30-2012, 07:39 PM   #10
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Pics from bleudyno during his K&N install on the S63....



































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      03-30-2012, 08:24 PM   #11
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Holy crap...talk about night and day difference! Baffle/restrictor plate vs. direct path straight into the turbo inlet.

Where are the MAFs on the S63? If they are the same part as on the N63 I wonder if it could be as easy as plug and play with a tune to match. That could be huge.
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      03-30-2012, 10:45 PM   #12
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Ok, did a little bit of research and found the following:


Left Side intake filter/panel


Right Side intake filter/panel


N63 Complete air duct


N63 Complete airbox



S63 Complete air duct


S63 Complete airbox



So far, I haven't been able to find the MAF sensor on the S63 engine diagrams. The intake path on the S63 is ideal and directly into the turbos as opposed to the mess they put on the N63...
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      03-31-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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I'd guess the MAF on the S63 is somewhere between those two diagrams. It's likely underneath the middle portion of the shroud.
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      03-31-2012, 08:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokovovoru View Post
Great info. Keep up the good work. Bad decision for replacing X5M with a BMW Lexus - If you posted for sale, I could've taken over your M. Darn. Had a fully loaded 550i M Sport on loan from a dealer for a weekend and could never convince myself to sail such a magnificent boat.
Yeah I know...lesson learned. It's a nice car but as much fun as driving my living room...hence "black cloud" as it floats down the highway. Thankfully my wife likes it and I was happy to give it to her to get back into an X5.
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      04-01-2012, 01:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxx2 View Post
Ok, did a little bit of research and found the following:


Left Side intake filter/panel


Right Side intake filter/panel


N63 Complete air duct


N63 Complete airbox



S63 Complete air duct


S63 Complete airbox



So far, I haven't been able to find the MAF sensor on the S63 engine diagrams. The intake path on the S63 is ideal and directly into the turbos as opposed to the mess they put on the N63...
The MAS sensors on the S63 are located on the air ducts after the air filter boxes - whereas the N63 ones are further in the back. Check the diagram on Realoem.com. Also note, how rebust the air cooler boxes are on S63. I am uncertain if they are the same parts as the N63.
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      04-01-2012, 02:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokovovoru View Post
The MAS sensors on the S63 are located on the air ducts after the air filter boxes - whereas the N63 ones are further in the back. Check the diagram on Realoem.com. Also note, how rebust the air cooler boxes are on S63. I am uncertain if they are the same parts as the N63.
The S63 diagrams above are from realoem, but I don't see the MAF sensors. Can you point them out?
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      04-07-2012, 05:59 PM   #17
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I did a search online and found a reference to a Dinan intake for the N63 that may be in development. I guess we will see...
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      04-10-2012, 07:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TahoeM3 View Post
I did a search online and found a reference to a Dinan intake for the N63 that may be in development. I guess we will see...
I inquired with Dinan a few days ago regarding their upgrade plans for the X5 50i and below is the response I received...

My original email:
Hello. I would like to know what upgrades you are working on for a 2012 X5 50i. Will you offer a stage 2 and stage 3 tune? Will you be releasing an upgraded intake for this platform? I would appreciate any info. Thanks.


DINAN response:
We actually do now offer a Stage 2 and Stage 3 software version for the X5 50. The State 3 is specifically designed for use with our Free Flow Exhaust.

We are also developing an intake system, but I do not have a projected delivery date as yet. I would guess in the next 60-90 days, but thatís just a guess at this point.



Best regards,

Scott Leandres

800-341-5480, x105




Sounds like they have something planned for the intake, but at what cost?? Dinan is notorious for being VERY expensive. I am very interested to see their solution to the intake path restriction though...

That stage 3 tune with 511hp and 580lb-ft sounds great but $3,700 puts it well above any other tune available. If they produced a dyno sheet and real world testing results they would sell quite a few tunes even at that price. Difficult to justify that much $$ without any documented results...

Also worth noting is the fact that the above specs are with the factory intake in place. I would suspect that those numbers will climb once they improve the intake system.
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      04-10-2012, 08:02 PM   #19
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That fits what I heard from my dealer, which is also a Dinan dealer. They said I could get stage 1, 2, or 3. I'm also hoping for an intake soon.
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      04-11-2012, 04:58 AM   #20
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Bring on the intake
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      04-11-2012, 04:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
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Bring on the intake
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      04-11-2012, 05:56 PM   #22
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This isn't updated on the website. I already have the exhaust and stage 1 so I would definitely get Stage 3 if its available
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