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GopherBrokeRacing
GopherBrokeRacing New Reader
5/16/24 7:21 p.m.

I have the same car but it's an '08 135i.  More power and better brakes, but the same car really.  Mine's got 180k on it and it's been a money pit at times, but I don't care.  I love driving the thing!  

I bought it in 2012 w/ 48k on it and have done a lot of mods in the ensuing 12 years.  A real 1M might post slightly better numbers, but it couldn't possibly be any more fun to drive.  The stock M Sport suspension was a real let down.  The thing was scary to drive at anything over 7/10.  Biggest difference?  Rear subframe bushings.  Do it!  Don't even think twice.  Stiffer springs and shocks, more negative camber front and rear and you'll have a track day wonder.  Be sure to upgrade brake pads!

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
5/18/24 9:37 p.m.

In reply to GopherBrokeRacing :

Solid taste in cars! I've enjoyed the 128i so much that I've considered getting a 135i on numerous occasions. My biggest hesitation is that the N52 seems to be much cheaper to feed and maintain vs the N54/N55, plus if I get back into the world of autocross or time attack, there's seemingly a lot of places (at least locally) the 128i can be very competitive without bankrupting me. 

That's a heck of an ownership period! I'm curious, what all has gone wrong on your 135i? 

I would agree, up to about 7/10ths (maybe 8/10ths), the E82 is wonderful to drive, but pushing past that, the rear end is unnerving to say the least. Subframe bushings are high on the list of upgrades I plan on throwing at the car. 

GopherBrokeRacing
GopherBrokeRacing New Reader
5/20/24 9:52 p.m.

Thanks!  I have a sticker in the  rear window that says "Life's Too Short to Drive Boring Cars"!  Several years ago, a cop pulled me over and ticketed me for speed.  After handing me the ticket and turning to walk away, he said "Oh, and that sticker in your rear window is absolutely true." 

I know I won't remember all of the repairs, but the big repairs were:  Turbos to cure wastegate chatter, (went with upgraded) Water Pump/Radiator,  Oil Cooler Hoses, Alternator/Battery, clutch/pressure plate/flywheel (went non dual mass, lightweight), shocks, window motors in both doors, replace hydraulic tappets (needs that again ...tick tick), brake pads and rotors obviously. 

For several years I was getting what I thought was really high oil consumption (BMW didn't think so though).  I'd barely get 1,200 mi / qt.  I had resigned myself to "High mileage engines use oil; get used to it!".  Then I decided to change the "flapper valve" and the PCV valve at the rear of the valve cover.  I found that both valves were clogged with oil and jammed so that they couldn't move.  The PCV especially was a piece of plastic junk.  Replaced with quality all metal valve from VTT.  After that, a miraculous change...4,500 mi / qt!!  Woohoo!

Performance upgrades: stiffer springs, Koni yellow adjustables, camber plates, "square" wheel and tire setup (non-run flat), exhaust mid pipes from an N55 engined 135 (Two less resonators, really opens up the sound.  It's like a church organ that can really rip, and the pipes are OEM BMW!), EBC Red pads, drilled and slotted rotors, those M3 rear subframe bushings, short shift kit,  clutch delay valve delete, MHD stage 1 tune,  upgraded coil packs, Turner monoball front lower control arms (spherical bearing}. I'm sure there's more... Wow seems you can do a lot over 12 years, LOL. 

Though I do maintain it sort of obsessively, with 180k it definitely does not show it's age. 

Go create your masterpiece! 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
5/26/24 4:38 p.m.

After deciding that the 128i will be used for track work going forward, I figured an oil cooler is in order. I technically already have a heat exchanger (coolant to oil) in my garage that I pulled from an X5 3.0si, but the more I think about it, to avoid a power loss on track at my elevation (5000+ ft above sea level) it's probably a good idea to invest in a dedicated air-to-air oil cooler. I read online that N52 powered 128i's can run the OEM oil cooler from the 135i. 

Side note: it would appear that the OEM 135i oil cooler is not an option for 128i's that come with an N51 engine. The oil cooler setup is fairly simple: it cooler itself mounts in the front passenger/right side bumper area. It would appear the only thing needed is to install the Oil Filter Housing (3 bolts) from a 135i (I'm sure the same setup from a 335i will work just fine), run the lines to the passenger bumper area and mount the OEM 135i oil cooler. 

I did some searching as to why this will not work on an N51 powered 128i (the N51 is a variation of the same engine, with slightly lower compression, a factory 3SIM and more stringent emissions equipment) and it would appear that the N51 version just has a few things in the way in the engine bay that make it difficult to simply run the lines into the right/passenger side bumper area: 



^^^I feel like with a drill/angle grinder/sawzall and/or ripping emissions nonsense out, you can probably make it work, but I'm just an idiot on the Internet, so take my unwarranted thoughts with a grain of salt. 

I found a wrecked 135i at a local junkyard a few days ago- which is a bit of a rarity! I drove down there and for $20 I was able to pick up the oil filter housing, hoses and the oil cooler bracket: 



Unfortunately, the car had sustained an accident to the front passenger side, which left the oil cooler itself no longer serviceable: 




So, when I got back home, determined to not have wasted my time, I ordered a used OEM oil cooler off of eBay for cheap, that happened to come with the front scoop/duct: 

 

^^^You can see the plastic scoop/duct that is bolted to the front of the oil cooler. It feeds down into the area where the right front fog light is. Depending on how everything lines up, I'll likely either remove the fog lights and maybe use a dremel to make sure I get good airflow to the cooler. 

I also ended up ordering an OEM rear vent from FCP Euro. It mounts behind the oil cooler and just bolts on to your OEM fender liner. My understanding is that the fender liner actually has a trace outline to show you where to cut it to line up with the oil cooler: 



While I was at it, I ended up ordering new hardware (all the bolts on this car are 1 time use aluminum things) and gaskets from FCP Euro. All in, I think I'm into this oil cooler project for about ~$250 or so. I suppose I could have spent a bit more on a bigger aftermarket setup, but I feel like this should probably be enough for an NA N52. We'll see. It should be a fun little project. 

docwyte
docwyte UltimaDork
5/27/24 9:06 a.m.

That's a score for the oil filter housing and lines!

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
5/27/24 12:04 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Not bad at all! I was a bit bummed about the oil cooler being crunched, but it certainly wasn't a wasted trip! 
 

I suppose I'll have to get back in the saddle and start wrenching again soon. As it turns out, I won't be needing shoulder surgery (huge relief!) and I'm almost done with physical therapy- I'm back to doing pull-ups, lifting and even doing a bit of CrossFit. Once I pay off the rest of the Mazda and work a bit more on strengthening the back & shoulder, I've got a lot of work to do on the little E82. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/29/24 7:20 p.m.

Sooooooooooooo, my 128i may be seeing track work soon. Any recommendations for track brake pads?

Not endurance racing yet, but looking for a solid pad that can handle 20-30 minute track sessions.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
5/30/24 8:54 a.m.

In reply to Robbie (Forum Supporter) :

Unfortunately, I haven't put my 128i on track as of yet, so I don't have anything to recommend. In previous cars I've had good experiences with Hawk DTC 60's (I don't believe they're available for the 128i) and their newer ER-1's, which I was planning on trying. The last set of ER-1's I had worked great for 20+ minute sessions, admittedly on a much lighter car. 

After doing some research, a few things I've found: 

1. The rear eDiff seems to be a real hindrance on track, as it burns up your rear pads trying to emulate an actual LSD. Lots of folks seem to recommend coding out the eDiff to avoid this issue. 

2. If you find yourself running through front pads too quickly, the tried and true easy button seems to be upgrading to 335i front brakes, which are relatively inexpensive, fairly easy to source and have a large selection of pads available. For the rears, it seems like the slight upgrade option is the calipers from a 328i- same size rotors as our 128i's, but slightly larger caliper/pad surface area. 

I know some folks run the much lighter, much prettier 135i sport brakes, but I remember some complaints about the design not holding up well on track- I can't recall what exactly the issue was, only that I wrote down in my notes: don't bother, just get 335i brakes. 

I was planning on coding out the eDiff and seeing how a set of Hawk ER-1's hold up before I started throwing money at a problem I might not have. 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/10/24 1:34 p.m.

The rear run-flats are down to 3/32nds of tread and I still want to keep driving the car on the street so I decided to pick up a set of OEM sized Continental ExtremeContact DWS 06 Plus (UHP all-season) tires for the 128i. As it turns out, you can fit a set of 4 tires in the back of the E82 with the rear seats folded down: 

 

 

A set of 245's or 255's might be a bit of a tighter fit in the back. We'll see in the future. 
 

In truth, the little lady and I have a weekend mountain trip planned here in a couple weeks and the higher performance Continental's seemed like they might help make canyon carving through the Rockies a bit more fun! That might have spurned me into picking up a set of street tires just a bit sooner. 
 

I considered a set of summer tires, but I plan on driving the car in the winter, not as a primary car, but on occasion, so I don't mind giving up a bit of grip in exchange for all-season friendliness. I'll be sure to have some 200tw summer rubber by next spring. 
 

I just paid off my Mazda, so once my bank account recovers a bit, the more serious mods for the BMW will begin. 
 

I also just scheduled a baseline dyno for the old girl to see what kind of power she's making before I start throwing mods at it. 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/10/24 4:20 p.m.

Updates on the car: 

-It's been about a month since I put in the shifter bushings. Around the same time, I swapped the Condor Speed tall shift knob back in, but modified it a bit. It's the shift knob listed here: 

https://www.condorspeedshop.com/products/condor-weighted-shift-knobs

I had previously removed the Condor Speed tall shift knob and put in a genuine BMW M tall shift knob. The Condor Speed knob comes with a removable weight to put inside of it... I'm not sure if they accidentally sent me the wrong weight or not (they also have a shorter knob), as it didn't reach the "top" of the knob, leaving the shift knob feeling like it had a weight that was "low" in the knob itself (I don't know how else to explain that). I prefer a shift knob where the weight is towards the top of the knob (to aid in the lever action), not the bottom. 

Either way, I added a small bolt wrapped with several small washers to the bottom of the shift knob, which not only added more overall weight to the knob, it also raised the height of the removable weight they sent with the shift knob. Result? Mild improvement in shifting- it slots into gear just a bit easier now. 

I should mention I have a preference for taller shift knobs as a general rule. 

The combination of the new shifter bushings and going back to the Condor Speed knob (now with more weight, up higher)? Subjectively, while more accurate and a good bit tighter feeling, it's still the same somewhat rubbery shifter feel as pretty much all BMW's. Objectively? It's been a month and I don't believe I've missed a shift once! I don't even think I've been close to missing a shift... so, while it still doesn't feel as engaging as an old school Honda, objectively, this is the most accurate the shifter has ever been. I used to occasionally miss a 1-2 or 3-4 shift, whereas it now slots into gear as smooth as butter. 

Bonus: the taller shift knob allows me to drive around town with the center console/arm-rest down without feeling awkward, as I can now shift "above" the arm-rest. With a shorter shift knob, I used to frequently flip the arm-rest back/up while driving to avoid the awkwardness of trying to shift with my arm at a downward angle (elbow pointed upward, wrist/hand downward). 

Without going to some crazy expensive chassis mounted shifter, this is probably the best the shifter is going to get. 

-Tires. I just put the new Continental tires on today and spent about 20-30 minutes driving around. I removed the runflat Bridgestone Driveguards that were on there. The new Continentals are NOT runflats. The car now feels a bit different. The steering wheel feels just a bit lighter. The car seems to have a bit more grip, but oddly enough, the body roll is now just a bit more pronounced. Maybe because of the extra grip? Maybe because of the lack of tire stiffness? Either way, the steering is now a bit lighter and the body roll is a bit more noticeable. The slightly stickier tires accentuate the soft suspension and the less-than-desirable rear subframe bushings (they feel a bit wobbly when pushing past about ~6/10ths or so). I'm excited to throw the mushy rear subframe bushings in the garbage soon! And as comfortable as the OEM suspension is, I've been eye-balling a set of Fortune Auto 510 coilovers for a while now... 

adam525i
adam525i SuperDork
6/11/24 12:47 p.m.

Just reviewed your shifter bushing install and the troubles you had with the URO part, thanks for that. I'll be going down this road soon one way or another as I'm constantly annoyed when the car doesn't slot into gear on the first try.

If you are thinking Fortune Auto I would strongly suggest sending Chris at Redshift motorsports an email and let him know what you would like to do with the car. I had a set of 500's on my E28 and now run the full the Competition setup from Redshift instead. There were some fundamental flaws with the FA stuff on the E28 that I would hope isn't the case in your car but even without that the Redshift perform better (at least on track/autocross). I know the 510's are different but I think it is worth shopping a bit and even waiting on the Redshift delivery. FA has a very effective marketing department though.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/11/24 2:03 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Thanks for the recommendation! I actually had a set of Chris' coilovers on my old STS CRX! I didn't realize he was making them for our chassis. I'll be sure to reach out to him! 

docwyte
docwyte UltimaDork
6/12/24 9:49 a.m.

For my BMW street/track cars I've always been happy with the TC Kline coilovers.  For my more track BMW's, MCS coilovers.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/12/24 5:34 p.m.
docwyte said:

For my BMW street/track cars I've always been happy with the TC Kline coilovers.  For my more track BMW's, MCS coilovers.

I've seemingly only heard good things about TC Kline coilovers. I would like to still be able to drive it on the street... although after doing a bit more searching, for similar money, Ohlins are apparently also an option... but from doing a bit of searching, I don't believe the Ohlins come with any form of camber plates, so technically the cost would be a bit higher. I've never had Ohlins before, but I've ridden in a couple of Ohlins cars and they've always been appealing to me. 

Never a bad thing to have options! 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/13/24 12:48 p.m.

So, I baseline dyno'd the 128i this morning at a local shop here in Parker, CO (MoFab). It was reasonably warm outside (around 80 degrees or so). Car is running 91 octane pump gas. From a powertrain standpoint, the car is pretty much bone stock, with the only "mod" being the removal of the factory charcoal filter. It's even running a normal paper air filter. The car has 137,000 miles on the clock. Here's what she put down: 




Honestly, that's pretty much exactly what I expected. She's a healthy girl. Calculating for around a ~15% drivetrain loss would put power around 228hp at the crank- she's rated for 230bhp, so that's pretty much spot on. All 5 runs were back-to-back with no cool down in between- which showed me that the car is very consistent. On the street, the car is always very consistent, so that makes sense. 

Overall, these are not dyno-breaking power numbers, but I'm glad to have a baseline before I start with power mods. I'm truly curious to see how the car reacts to the 3-stage DISA manifold. 

docwyte
docwyte UltimaDork
6/13/24 5:59 p.m.

My 98 M3 with basic bolt ons put down 241rwhp on that same dyno. 

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/13/24 7:58 p.m.
docwyte said:

My 98 M3 with basic bolt ons put down 241rwhp on that same dyno. 

Sounds like a strong E36M! 

The results from my lowly 128i are right in line with what I expected from what I've seen from other N52 powered cars online. 

docwyte
docwyte UltimaDork
6/14/24 9:45 a.m.

It was a great car that I wish I had the space and money to keep.

roninsoldier83
roninsoldier83 HalfDork
6/14/24 3:30 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

Finding the space is the rough part. I always liked the E36 M3 and almost bought one a few times. It's never too late to get another one... even if the prices on them are going up. I remember not too long ago when ~$7000 would buy you a very clean example. It would appear those days are long gone. 

I actually kind of view the 128i as somewhat of a successor to the E36 M3- similar curb weights (around ~3200 lbs), similar power (230hp vs 240hp), simple/reliable NA inline 6's, similar power gains with full bolt-ons (full bolt-on N52's seemingly pick up 40+whp), etc. I would think the biggest advantage the E36M had would be the OEM LSD- as tossing a LSD into the 128i costs a good chunk of cash. Comparable nonetheless. 

docwyte
docwyte UltimaDork
6/15/24 10:29 a.m.

In reply to roninsoldier83 :

Yeah, I agree.  The 138 does sound like an e36 m3 successor.  $10-12k used to buy you pretty much any E36 M3 you wanted.  Now a nice one is high teens to low 20's. 

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