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Thread: DeadPool DEFEATED! -- 540i6 Front Mount Turbo Build

  1. #1
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    DeadPool DEFEATED! -- 540i6 Front Mount Turbo Build

    Current status at post #1174 (project basically complete! And probably ready to be sold):

    Mostly Finished Underhood.jpg
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________
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    This is something I've wanted to do for pretty much the entire time I've had the car (over 6 years?), but for a multitude of reasons I've slacked and procrastinated on it like mad. One of the main reasons for all of the slacking and procrastination is the same reason that this sort of a build seems to be regarded as being close enough to impossible, and probably also why we haven't seen one on the board here that has actually performed at all -- It's a really REALLY big pain to package in the car... And of course, it's a huge pain to tune as well. Geargrinder has repeatedly drescribed the difficulties in his irrefutable fashion on this forum, so for anyone wondering what the heck is so hard, I suggest you search those posts. His documentation of the people who have underestimated the challenges involved in something like this led to the creation of the "Dead Pool."

    Nonetheless, I'm a guy who likes to try stuff just for the fun of trying it even if it is ill-advised. I also like to build stuff just as much as I like to enjoy the end product of the build, so late last winter/early last spring I finally decided it was time to get busy on this project and see what I could do with it. I worked on it whenever I was able to until sometime in April, when I got distracted by my desire to try out some drifting. On a whim I bought the "The Little Red S#!tbox (LRS)". I then proceeded to spend most of the rest of the year wrenching and building on it. Finally in the fall I was able to do some serious tire shreding with it, and then I forced myself to get back after the 540turbo project.

    That brings me to now. Over the past couple of days I have gotten back to a point where I have a little bit of momentum on the 540turbo build fabrication. I decided that I needed to make this thread to keep the heat on me to focus on it and hopefully not get distracted from it too much until I can get it kind of put together, at least as far as the main fabrication of the hotside up to the turbo, and the simple initial version of the pressure piping is concerned. Because my life and my mood with regard to what I feel like working on are rather unpredictable, I'm not going to make any claims about when I will get this project completed to a certain point, or what level of performance it will produce, but here it is... Lol

    It turns out that I don't have any decent pics of the car since it's been on coilovers and Mpar reps, but here is a crappy cell phone pic of the victim:

    FrtDrvrSideSmall.jpg

    As I mentioned before, packaging a turbo setup in these e39 V8 cars is a big challenge, especially if you don't want to use a low-mount setup that requires a scavenge pump to pull the oil from the turbo drain and return it back to the oil source (generally the engine oil pan or a separate oil reservoir for a divorced turbo oil system for a rear-mount turbo). My goal here is to make a single turbo setup that can use a gravity drain back to the pan, and that has a big enough turbo to keep hotside back pressure low and not make inordinate boost pressure at really low RPMs.

    For that reason, I decided to go with a generic GT45 turbo for the initial build. They are cheap, on the large side, have a relatively big turbine with good exhaust flow relative to the compressor size, and they regularly push mid-3000s pound cars into the low 10s in the quarter. The large size of the turbo was important to me because I wanted to find out how well a turbo of this size could be fit into the apparently spacious area of the stock air box. What I didn't want to do was to start out with a nice compact turbo that I would eventually want to swap out for a larger one, and then realize that I had to rebuild everything to make it fit.

    It turns out that nothing on these cars is as spacious as it appears. When you take into account the positioning of the turbo to accommodate the routing of the downpipe, the routing of the pressure piping, the routing of the up-pipe to the turbo, and the potential for some intake piping, there really isn't enough room to fit the turbo without chopping the crap out of it. Here are a few pics of the mods to the compressor housing being done:

    GT45_CompHousing.jpg

    Attachment 587263

    GT45_CompHousingGround.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by tptrsn; 06-02-2018 at 10:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    And here is the partially modded turbo sitting back in its approximate location of final rest:

    _1190520.jpg

    540TurboMounted-ExhaustSideView.jpg

    I threw a random chunk of 4" diameter tubing into the end of the turbine outlet just to get a look at downpipe routing, and predictably, it is going to be a disaster too, just like everything else about this project :

    _1190530.jpg

    Here's a pic of the mount for the turbo:

    _1190531.jpg

    More to come! (hopefully fairly soon)
    Last edited by tptrsn; 11-25-2016 at 12:47 PM.

  3. #3
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    SUBSCIBED....
    I too have a non-vanos 540i6 ('97) and will be looking forward to your build...after my LWF and clutch install, i will be saving for a turbo build, hopefully by August.

    there really is NO room and i see you have the welding/fabrication skills needed to pull this off, so GOOD LUCK! headers are gonna be a PITA and are you gonna put in a nice blow off valve? (LOVE THAT SOUND)...anyway, how much boost? im excited for you...

  4. #4
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    You plan on going aftermarket or oem ecu?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Msport540 View Post
    You plan on going aftermarket or oem ecu?
    I have been able to make changes to the timing table and the main fueling table of the stock DME with WinOLS, but I currently don't see me going that way initially because of my inability so far to be able to rescale the MAF correctly. For that reason, my plan is to initially go back to "my old love" haha, and have MegaSquirt 3 + the MS3X board run the injectors and probably timing. If the DME continues to be happy running the IAC valve, then that will be great, we shall see... I kind of doubt that the DME will be happy with that, since one of the main reasons to run MS3 with a turbo build is to do away with the need for the MAF. When I have run another car's fuel and spark on MS1, MS2, and MS3, the factory ECU would never control idle speed properly. I think it's largely because they use a good dose of timing to control idle speed, plus in the case of the bimmer, I suspect it want's load information from the MAF...

    Quote Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
    SUBSCIBED....
    I too have a non-vanos 540i6 ('97) and will be looking forward to your build...after my LWF and clutch install, i will be saving for a turbo build, hopefully by August.
    What is your plan? Personally I wouldn't have a clue how much to save up for something like this unless you too are going to try to fab your own setup?

    Quote Originally Posted by golfgod View Post
    there really is NO room and i see you have the welding/fabrication skills needed to pull this off,
    Haha, we shall see... I'm not going to say "yes I do" yet. This is a very tough project.

    As far as the headers, I am only making one for the passenger side. I have made a Y-pipe to bring the two driver side primary Ys together, and route them under the rear end of the trans, and then back forward on the passenger side to run through a forward flowing log where the passenger side primaries will flow in. I'll put up pics of that stuff eventually. I'm currently working on the passenger side manifold.
    Last edited by tptrsn; 11-25-2016 at 01:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Holy mother of god. Your actually doing this. Well trying to at least. I like your mod to the turbo to get it to fit. Remember clearance for motor mount movement. Cant wait to see hot side work. Hats off to you tp! In for updates on this big time.
    98 540i 6, 525 whp, 120 mph 1/4, V3 Si S/C'er @16 psi, W/A I/C, Water/Meth, Supersprint, HJS, 3" Ex, UUC Twin Disc, Wavetrac LSD, AEM FP, Aeromotive FPR, AEM Failsafe AFR/Boost, 65's w/275's, M5 Box, Eibach, M3 Shifter, Evans, 85 Deg Stat, PWM Fan, 10" Subs, B.A. speakers, Grom Aux/BT, Still Rolling as my DD!

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    Your first posts alone get farther than 99% of the other 540i turbo projects I've seen started. Looks like you are on the right path, hope it works out for you. With how well the 6's do with a snail I'm very curious to see how the M62 will behave with one. They seem to like boost with s/c kits and turbos have a much higher power ceiling. Keep at it

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    Be right back. Have to change pants ...



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BimmerBreaker View Post
    Your first posts alone get farther than 99% of the other 540i turbo projects I've seen started. Looks like you are on the right path, hope it works out for you. With how well the 6's do with a snail I'm very curious to see how the M62 will behave with one. They seem to like boost with s/c kits and turbos have a much higher power ceiling. Keep at it
    There are alot of videos of turbo m62's on youtube, my fav has to be the spenna twin scroll putting down 770hp at the crank which was built for a e39 wagon.
    Renting: M62 G.A.S. Master timing tool kit & M62 KTC crankshaft holding tool

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    Go on Thad !! i`m looking forward to seeing this to fruition.
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    I think you'll find more of M60 turbo engines than there is for M62 engines.



  13. #13
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    Haha, thanks guys!

    Philly98540, I have a flex piece planned into the horizontal tube (up-pipe) that runs forward under the motor mount bracket, with the flex mounted just forward of the bracket probably. That location should have the flex tube located pretty much perpendicular to the direction of flex movement from the engine torquing, so I'm hoping that will suffice. We shall see. I threw some M5 motor mounts in the car last spring, hopefully that keeps torque movement down to a reasonable level. I needed a motor mount for the mock up motor since the hotside up-pipe runs between the motor mount and oil pan so I just bought M5 ones to put in the car.

    [EDIT] I see you actually mentioned clearance for motor mount movement, not flex accommodation for motor mount movement. The turbo compressor housing is the only piece so far that is in close proximity to the hood, and the turbo is mounted to the fender well, so it **shouldn't** move. If it does, something has gone badly wrong, which is very possible... Lol. I will keep motor mount allowances in mind when I make up the downpipe.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by auaq View Post
    I think you'll find more of M60 turbo engines than there is for M62 engines.
    That's what I've found for sure. There is one guy I know of in Sweden who was running M62s in his E36 drift car, but due to engine break downs and the limited amount of power he could make with them, he recently converted back to an M52. He said he was fine at 500whp, but when pushing it up over 600wheel they wouldn't take it. So far I haven't been able to get any specifics about the nature of his failures, or if he had done anything to the engines to help them handle the bewsts.
    Last edited by tptrsn; 11-25-2016 at 06:53 PM.

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    This is sick! Gonna need some big vents in the hood to let out some of that crazy heat from the turbo. Do you plan on keeping the ABS module where it is? It seems like that could boil the brake fluid if you're not careful...
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    Ha ha ha the man finally comes out of the closet! Usually when somebody comes out, the whole family knows already but this time I guess I was the only one in on the secret.

    Dude way more pix than you sent me before, great to see more documentation.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by geargrinder View Post
    Ha ha ha the man finally comes out of the closet! Usually when somebody comes out, the whole family knows already but this time I guess I was the only one in on the secret.

    Dude way more pix than you sent me before, great to see more documentation.
    It's a small family, but there are a couple more family members on here who knew about my "closet" situation. And many more pics to come. This may or may not pan out, but at least there will be pretty decent documentation of the attempt!

    Quote Originally Posted by computiNATEor View Post
    This is sick! Gonna need some big vents in the hood to let out some of that crazy heat from the turbo. Do you plan on keeping the ABS module where it is? It seems like that could boil the brake fluid if you're not careful...
    Hood vents are not completely out of the question, but I have some ideas about heat management/containment that hopefully don't require hood vents. The ABS on the other hand is probably a goner unless I'm just too damn lazy to get rid of it. This guy is no big fan of ABS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tptrsn View Post

    Hood vents are not completely out of the question, but I have some ideas about heat management/containment that hopefully don't require hood vents. The ABS on the other hand is probably a goner unless I'm just too damn lazy to get rid of it. This guy is no big fan of ABS.
    I have had my ABS not working for the past 4 months and I haven't gone to fix it yet since I know how to drive but my dad reminded me I should fix it just in case I get in an odd situation where someone else meets to drive my car.
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  18. #18
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    If anyone drives this thing, the lack of ABS will be the least of their trouble, Lol. Seriously though, I decided the only way I can have motivation to finally crank through this build is to just build it the way I want it to be for me. So far so good since I arrived at that conclusion.

    So, here's a little pictorial update -- The secondary Y-pipe I made last spring that mounts to the driver's side primary Ys, and the crossover tube:

    CrossoverSmall.jpg

    The passenger side flow-through manifold being constructed:

    PassManifoldInProgress.jpg

    PassManiStubsWelded.jpg

    PassManiStubsInteriors.jpg

    20161125_195314.jpg

    As soon as I finish up the pass side manifold I can slap it on the car and make the connection between the crossover and the rear of the manifold, then I can connect the front of the manifold to the up-pipe.
    Last edited by tptrsn; 11-26-2016 at 11:00 AM.

  19. #19
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    This is pretty awesome, rooting for you. Im pretty sure the majority here has played out turboing their v8 at some point just as myself, with that said i have some questions.
    1) have you thought of mounting the turbo low vs high? Im a tech for tesla and we use electric a/c pumps, well one day i was thinking that would be an awesome solution to the big prob of room.
    2) whats your boost goal (im assuming 10psi or below)
    3) intercooled?
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  20. #20
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    Thanks!

    I did think about several different low-mount configurations, but I really wanted to stay away from a scavenge pump if possible. After considering every different setup I could conjure up, this one I'm building is what I thought might work best for me. There are certainly a lot more ways the thing can be done, but with all things considered, I just didn't like them as well. Quite possibly when all is said and done, I will decide I chose the wrong option. Haha... Sometimes you just have to try stuff to see how it is really going to work out.

    My plan is to do this build in stages and see how long I keep going at it. The initial plan is not intercooled, but running e85, which will allow me to get after it a bit more than 93 octane would without an intercooler. If I decide I need a bit of detonation suppression at some point, I will probably do a small nozzle pre-turbo water/methanol injection. Also, I still haven't had the front end off of the car because I haven't gotten to that part of the build yet, but it's possible that when I do get the front end off I will have an epiphany about how to mount an A/A IC. I've also considered doing an A/W.

    The boost goal is as much as it will take. I really don't have a goal for it yet, but I know that if I can get it to trap 120 that will make me pretty happy for starters. But I'm not even sure I can get there, at this point. There are many question marks about the whole thing, and that is kind of why I want to do it.

  21. #21
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    I can appreciate the effort for the turbo conversion,but taking a section of the outer turbo housing and flattening it will impact the performance of the turbo quite a bit I would think.
    Last edited by jp5Touring; 11-26-2016 at 03:19 PM.

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  22. #22
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    We shall see!

  23. #23
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    Nice looking fab work! Keep the updates coming.

    Where you routing the front of the drivers side mani to?
    98 540i 6, 525 whp, 120 mph 1/4, V3 Si S/C'er @16 psi, W/A I/C, Water/Meth, Supersprint, HJS, 3" Ex, UUC Twin Disc, Wavetrac LSD, AEM FP, Aeromotive FPR, AEM Failsafe AFR/Boost, 65's w/275's, M5 Box, Eibach, M3 Shifter, Evans, 85 Deg Stat, PWM Fan, 10" Subs, B.A. speakers, Grom Aux/BT, Still Rolling as my DD!

  24. #24
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    I'm using the factory primary Ys on the driver's side, so they exhaust out by the left side of the front part of the trans like normal. Then that Y-pipe I posted the pic of connects to them and routes the driver's side exhaust across under the rear part of the trans. I will be adding another bend to the end of that J-piece to route the driver's side exhaust forward through the passenger's side manifold.

  25. #25
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    I'll just throw a few random shots from yesterday on here before I go out and try to finish up the manifold runners.

    It turns out the manifold flanges I'm reusing weren't very flat even before I welded on them, so after welding I gave them a nice touchup on the disc sander:

    FlatFlange.jpg

    Normally I use my DeWalt dry cut saw for most things, but sometimes it is just very difficult to get positioned properly for a cut in the middle of a bend or something, so I started using my Harbor Freight porta-band saw a bit more. The cuts it makes very easily are incredible, even before cleaning up:

    PortaBandCut.jpg

    Doing all of this mild steel welding (part of which is on aluminized material Lol) with ER70S6 filler, I forget how pretty stainless welds are, even if it's a stainless to mild steel weld done with 309 filler:

    309Weld.jpg

    And for anyone shopping for a Tig hood, I can't say enough nice things about the Lincoln 4C setups. Normally they are so clear that it's like you can see the electrons jumping around. I was seeing a little less well because my inner and outer cartridge cover screens were getting pretty dirty, so I brought my hood inside and gave all of the screens a good cleaning. The outer cover screen is getting a bit messed up so I'll have to replace it soon, but what an awesome rig:

    WeldingHelmet.jpg
    Last edited by tptrsn; 11-27-2016 at 11:45 AM.

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