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    • BMW 2.0 liter four cylinder N20 turbo motor already having issues? Head cracks under stress above 331 pound-feet of torque?

      Some interesting information was posted in the N20 section of the BimmerBoost BMW forums regarding the durability of the N20 motor. Now, the motor is becoming very popular and is winning multiple awards and rightfully so as it is currently the best factory 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder in production. The keyword there being factory as apparently it is not going to be a stout aftermarket tuning platform at least not yet. Take the information you are about to read as unconfirmed but from an interesting source.

      There are companies that stress test engines for OEM's. One of these companies has been testing the N20 apparently. The advice given is not to go beyond Stage 2 on the N20 which means a slightly more aggressive tune on the factory turbocharger. Why? The N20 head apparently cracks at around 331 pound-feet of torque. That is not exactly a whole lot of torque in the turbo tuning game especially considering the motor puts out an underrated 258 pound-feet from the factory.

      Apparently the engine is just running very hot and multiple heat cycles are creating problems. BMW behind the scenes is supposedly trying to correct the issue. For whatever reason BMW seems to have a reputation for problems with new motors. S54 bearings, S65 bearings, and the next BMW new motor issue looks to be the N20 head cracking.

      The story is that one of the lead designers and engineers for the N20 was flown out to the USA to inspect the findings for himself. It is doubtful BMW would do that unless there was something of substance to this. This same company also apparently tested other BMW motors including turbo motors such as the N54 and N55 when they were new and they did not run into these head issues.

      So what is going to happen? Well, right now it is not recommended for N20 owners to push their motors too far which they can't anyway as there are not aftermarket turbo options out just yet. BMW will likely resolve the problem with a new head which will mean for those with the N20 there will either be a recall or there will be a BMW part number option to get the new head. We will have to wait and see what happens but N20 owners should be aware of the potential issue especially if intending to tune as BMW is unlikely to say anything until they have to.


      This article was originally published in forum thread: N20 Owners started by VargasTurboTech View original post
      Comments 167 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Would anyone mind explaining EWG control to me?
      1. George Smooth's Avatar
        George Smooth -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Would anyone mind explaining EWG control to me?
        Its a electric unit that control the waistegate position vs a vacum controlled waistgate. It sits on the turbo and push/pulls waistgate arm. EWG= electronic waistgate control.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by George Smooth Click here to enlarge
        Its a electric unit that control the waistegate position vs a vacum controlled waistgate. It sits on the turbo and push/pulls waistgate arm. EWG= electronic waistgate control.
        Thank you. So with control of that it is essentially boost control right?
      1. George Smooth's Avatar
        George Smooth -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Thank you. So with control of that it is essentially boost control right?
        In theory yes but not in practice. The DME has it's set parameters so it needs to get tied up with everything but having control is important and it seems to be the future as the VAG group has also implemented this on Gen 3 motors.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by George Smooth Click here to enlarge
        In theory yes but not in practice. The DME has it's set parameters so it needs to get tied up with everything but having control is important and it seems to be the future as the VAG group has also implemented this on Gen 3 motors.
        It's a big step forward we'll have to see how the ECU reacts.
      1. 335ievo's Avatar
        335ievo -
        Anyone know how the engine would hold up? I heard some people blowing their engines with a E85 tune.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 335ievo Click here to enlarge
        Anyone know how the engine would hold up? I heard some people blowing their engines with a E85 tune.
        We don't really know. N20 issues have been rumored but we also haven't seen anyone pushing these far enough yet.
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        We've run into some interesting things with the 5+ engines we've messed with.

        Lots of things have been learned the hard way, unfortunately.

        We would need to get a bigger turbo on here to really push the envelope, because honestly I think they are great little engines.

        I'd love to build a harness for this one as well as my N54/N55 engines, as I plan on doing swaps into other cars

        Retro N20 2002 just makes me BLEED with excitement.



        BTW, what is "blowing up" mean? I'm always interested in new engine failures for analysis.
        Popped head gasket? We have a fix/solution for the most probable cause for that. We have head studs for these engines as well!
        Broken pistons? Gotcha covered. We do aftermarket JE or Wiesco pistons.
        Bent rods? Did you know we had AWESOME aftermarket performance rods for them?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        Retro N20 2002 just makes me BLEED with excitement.
        That's probably up there on the coolest swaps one can do.
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        all in good time, sir!


        Still hammering on this stupid stand alone N54 wiring harness. Its turning out to be really entertaining.

        Then, off to do N55.
        Then N20.
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        We've run into some interesting things with the 5+ engines we've messed with.

        Lots of things have been learned the hard way, unfortunately.

        We would need to get a bigger turbo on here to really push the envelope, because honestly I think they are great little engines.

        I'd love to build a harness for this one as well as my N54/N55 engines, as I plan on doing swaps into other cars

        Retro N20 2002 just makes me BLEED with excitement.



        BTW, what is "blowing up" mean? I'm always interested in new engine failures for analysis.
        Popped head gasket? We have a fix/solution for the most probable cause for that. We have head studs for these engines as well!
        Broken pistons? Gotcha covered. We do aftermarket JE or Wiesco pistons.
        Bent rods? Did you know we had AWESOME aftermarket performance rods for them?
        I'm sorry but what engine are you talking about? N20 or N55?

        What have you done on the N20s so far?
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        In which context?

        N20's? Taken them apart and put back together. A lot Click here to enlarge
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        In which context?

        N20's? Taken them apart and put back together. A lot Click here to enlarge
        Broken engines? Whats the most common issue?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by marcoac14 Click here to enlarge
        Broken engines? Whats the most common issue?
        I believe some of them consumed water.
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        oh, OUR engines. yes, they were all flood cars with bent rods and whatnot.

        We did some experimentation on a few engines, some worked- some didn't. We learned from our mistakes.
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        oh, OUR engines. yes, they were all flood cars with bent rods and whatnot.

        We did some experimentation on a few engines, some worked- some didn't. We learned from our mistakes.
        What kind of experimentation you did?
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        Lots, honestly. Lots of things we'd rather not discuss due to propriatery information.
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        Lots, honestly. Lots of things we'd rather not discuss due to propriatery information.
        Come on, just give us a clue Click here to enlarge

        Anything related to turbo upgrade?
      1. alex@ABRhouston's Avatar
        alex@ABRhouston -
        lips are sealed, dude Click here to enlarge
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by alex@ABRhouston Click here to enlarge
        lips are sealed, dude Click here to enlarge
        Can you tell us when you expect to release this info?

        Thanks