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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 185 Comments
      1. morkusyambo's Avatar
        morkusyambo -
        Should i wait for this, or go ahead and trade in for a new m3?Click here to enlarge
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by morkusyambo Click here to enlarge
        Should i wait for this, or go ahead and trade in for a new m3?Click here to enlarge
        The new M3 will have much more potential...
      1. Tony@VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        Tony@VargasTurboTech -
        We are moving on this, but I agree the M3 is such a sick car, if you have the budget, I would trade in
      1. DFM's Avatar
        DFM -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
        We are moving on this, but I agree the M3 is such a sick car, if you have the budget, I would trade in
        If only I had the means to trade up to the new M3. Maybe things will turn up, but in the mean time I eagerly await what you come up with for this n20 Click here to enlarge
      1. nbrigdan's Avatar
        nbrigdan -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DFM Click here to enlarge
        If only I had the means to trade up to the new M3. Maybe things will turn up, but in the mean time I eagerly await what you come up with for this n20 Click here to enlarge
        Did anyone here see the autocar comparison between the D3 Alpina and M3?? I just watched that, and if I lived over there... I have to say I would be looking at a new D3 in my garage just about now.
      1. morkusyambo's Avatar
        morkusyambo -
        I saw it. I havent done the research on price, but the only way I would go Alpina is if the total cost of the the 335 and Alpina mods were 15k less than the M.
      1. nbrigdan's Avatar
        nbrigdan -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by morkusyambo Click here to enlarge
        I saw it. I havent done the research on price, but the only way I would go Alpina is if the total cost of the the 335 and Alpina mods were 15k less than the M.
        I think it's.. 10 thousand GBP cheaper? Not sure.
      1. subaru335i's Avatar
        subaru335i -
        Any update on this? I assume since the new B series engines have been announced that the N20 is dead?
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by subaru335i Click here to enlarge
        Any update on this? I assume since the new B series engines have been announced that the N20 is dead?
        The B hasn't even launched fully and I'd expect the N20 to get more tuning as the cars come off warranty. Who knows if the B will pose new tuning challenges as well.
      1. rdsdanny's Avatar
        rdsdanny -
        Soooooooo any update?
      1. Tony@VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        Tony@VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by rdsdanny Click here to enlarge
        Soooooooo any update?
        Dinan has finished testing on their race car, and loves it, they are ordering two more for the season. We will see how they do in the series. We should be offering these soon.
      1. rdsdanny's Avatar
        rdsdanny -
        I read so much about motors blowing with each upgrade.... kind of worries me a little bit. thats just a few engine out of thousands.... I reluctantly fishing around for an upgrade (I saw pure turbo had one out). I know the N20 is so fragile. I am scratching 55k and unsure what to do. I need MOAR POWA (besides trading in of course)
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by rdsdanny Click here to enlarge
        I read so much about motors blowing with each upgrade.... kind of worries me a little bit. thats just a few engine out of thousands.... I reluctantly fishing around for an upgrade (I saw pure turbo had one out). I know the N20 is so fragile. I am scratching 55k and unsure what to do. I need MOAR POWA (besides trading in of course)
        Keep it mild unless you plan to build the engine.
      1. rdsdanny's Avatar
        rdsdanny -
        I just ordered FF wires........ I guess I should tread carefully.... I might pull the trigger on the upgraded turbo.

        ya know, because science
      1. Tony@VargasTurboTech's Avatar
        Tony@VargasTurboTech -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Keep it mild unless you plan to build the engine.
        Yes the Dinan motor is fully built, and they lets say went through some parts figuring out how to make them live. They are weak.
      1. rdsdanny's Avatar
        rdsdanny -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Tony@VargasTurboTech Click here to enlarge
        Yes the Dinan motor is fully built, and they lets say went through some parts figuring out how to make them live. They are weak.

        a little piece of me just died right now
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        That's awesome! I just got a stage 2 upgrade for my N20 and am about to have it installed. I'm kinda worried of course but intend to keep boost low for now. Do you have any idea what it takes to make it stronger? Pistons, rods, bearings and that's it?

        Thanks
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by marcoac14 Click here to enlarge
        Do you have any idea what it takes to make it stronger? Pistons, rods, bearings and that's it?

        Thanks
        @alex@ABRhouston knows these motors well.

        You will probably want the entire bottom end forged so definitely rods and pistons to start.
      1. marcoac14's Avatar
        marcoac14 -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        @alex@ABRhouston knows these motors well.

        You will probably want the entire bottom end forged so definitely rods and pistons to start.
        Sure. I know the guy and have been in his shop a few months ago. I have also talked to him several times. He seems to be a very knowledgeable and nice guy.

        He personally told me it's possible to use N54 parts in the build. I wanted to buy the parts from him but I don't live in the US and he said it's too difficult to assemble the motor properly and so on. Long story short, he doesn't seem very prone to selling the parts because he's not close enough to be in charge of the assembling process. =/
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by marcoac14 Click here to enlarge
        Long story short, he doesn't seem very prone to selling the parts because he's not close enough to be in charge of the assembling process. =/
        I mean it makes as if he sells you the parts and some monkey assembles it and it doesn't work right he doesn't want to be held responsible and then for people to say the parts don't work, etc. etc.

        I'm sure something can be arranged if you find a competent engine builder. Finding a competent engine builder though...