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View Full Version : What FI reliability related problems have you had?


Justin e36
11-23-2006, 04:57 AM
So your FI engine is up and running. After the install, what types of reliability problems have you guys had? Blown engines, head gaskets, cracked manifolds, turbochargers needing rebuilt... etc.

I still have a turbokit and still contemplating putting this on my daily driver. Reliability is most important to me though.

jeffrie
11-23-2006, 07:30 AM
SC seems to win hands down for reliability, hence why I went this way with my daily driver. Main issues related with reliability when I was lurking through all them FI threads from various forums was leaks in the plumming and slipping clutches. If all this is contantly up-kept seem to be no issues either way unless your going heavy boost 10 PSI+. THen you start seeing blown head gaskets and Pistons that have had one "PING" too many on stock compression. Just some info I'v gathered sofar as a spectator

Furious
11-23-2006, 06:44 PM
FI is just hands down hard on the car as a whole not just the engine. justin you already know my pain

propr'one
11-23-2006, 07:02 PM
Not that i know nearly as much as any of the above guys, or you for that matter in regards to FI, i'll just state why i will never boost my motor.

-The first problem is the initial cost. I know for you this isn't a problem, but even swapping a m50 in your 318 does have cost associated with it. Cost is oftentimes overlooked, because we love our cars enough to be willing to spend enormous amounts of money on them. (and some of us are just crazy. cough mark cough)

-The second is accelerated engine wear. From my reading mostly on bf.c, and talking to a few guys who don't mind explaining complex boost principles to a complete boost newbie, although there are certain implementations of forced induction that are less hard on the motor, ALL boost applications are very hard on motors. I've read in several places that turbo's are harder on motors than superchargers, but a lot of that seems unfounded, as well tuned turbo applications seem to be similar in problems/maintenance to supercharger applications.

-The accelerated wear on regular engine components, such as clutch, brakes, etc, the use of more gas, more work for your cooling system, more airflow through your exhaust, and so forth, all result in more work needing to be done on a the car regularly. Clearly there is a cost associated with this, but there is also the aspect of car downtime. I think the FI guys on the board will agree, that FI almost always means more downtime.

-Although tuning FI applications is something i know completly nothing about, that in itself means something. (not using myself as a benchmark of knowledge for cars, but you know what i mean) Just the fact that there's absolutely nothing i can do about the tuning myself on boost applications is worrysome, as with FI more and more aspects of car maintenance/repair would be out of my hands, and furthermore in an area of car-knowledge that i have no foundation in. I'd be completly trusting my car to someone else. Having said that, there are very capable people out there who i would trust enough to tune the car (yes, rocco does tune boost applications,) why put yourself through the trouble if you dont have to?

-and perhaps most important for me is the fact that, although not nearly as much as you, i drive a lot. My car has seen more ontario small towns in north bay than a beaver hat salesman. The idea of me HAVING to tow my car to toronto to have it worked on is VERY discomforting. Although if something serious broke outside of toronto i'd like tow the car anyway, at least if its something standard, i would have the option of having a shop work on it locally. For instance, my car is in ohio right now. If it doesn't start/run properly (knock on wood) when i try to pull it out of storage, i'll tow it to cleveland BMW. If my car was boosted? tow is 600 KM back to toronto?


A lot of the boosted guys don't daily their cars. That's not to say all dont. Mark drives his beast to work in the summer. I think darko drives his car around quite a bit. Vitaliy doesn't have a beater, his DASC 318 has been on the road, problem free, with no after-install retunes since he got his kit a while ago. So its not to say that it can't be done, but if you plan on keeping the e36 as a daily, or even as a daily winter, i couldn't justify the headaches, cost, and paranoia of boosted daily ownership.

That's just my point of view, i'm sure it will stimulate some discussions from the boosted guys. If i had limitless money, or even just the physical parking space to have two cars at once, perhaps i'd consider it. But the already high compression of bmw motors, ontop of the reasons listed above have me convinced that boost is not for me. Mabye you see things differently.

The only thing we can definatly agree on is you should run Mr. Transmission in your turbo/supercharger. Its really the only way to go. (sorry):P

jeffrie
11-23-2006, 07:18 PM
^^^ points well taken but something your missing.
With boost doesn't mean you "Have to use it".
It's throttle dependent.
My 318 drives just like it did before with the same load and close to the same fuel milage. Only real difference is when I want power I have it instead of always robbed of it. Therfore the same engine ware - the few exceptions when I use all that power.
Even stock if your constantly rod the piss out of the car it'll probably blow up just as fast, although with the drivetrain I agree, still doesn't take abuse nearly as fast as it does on a FI car with all that extra TQ. In My case I justify it by the fact that drivetrain was desighned with the 325 in mind - my diff and CV axles which I have spares.

PedroBMW
11-23-2006, 08:11 PM
as with FI more and more aspects of car maintenance/repair would be out of my hands, and furthermore in an area of car-knowledge that i have no foundation in. I'd be completly trusting my car to someone else. Having said that, there are very capable people out there who i would trust enough to tune the car (yes, rocco does tune boost applications,) why put yourself through the trouble if you dont have to?


I have to sorta disagree with this, just because one thing that I am thrilled about is that once I go standalone I will hopefully have completely broken away from dependance on the BMW dealership, except maybe for parts department. everything else I agree with.

Hey Justin, if you decide to get rid of your turbo instead of installing it, I mightbe interested in some parts depending on what you have.
just out of curiosity (not cause I'm intersted in them), what are the specs of your setup that you have? There arent to many ppl on here with custom turbos. Also I think you should go ahead with it, don't look back :cool:

330DTM
11-23-2006, 09:02 PM
As the saying goes, if you want to play, you got to pay.

One thing that people seem to overlook is setting money aside for maintenance, especially for a FI setup. You know you're going to accelerate wear, you know will have to pay more attention to the maintenance of the engine. So why bother going FI if you don't even have the funds to tune and maintain it?

FI setups can be reliable, obviously with some accelerated wear, but generally if you run a conservative and properly tuned low boost setup, you will have a reliable setup vs. a setup running higher boost application.

Justin, would you care to share some info about your turbo kit? Was it designed for the M42/M44 or is this kit for another model? My only guess is you have the Molesmann (sp?) turbo kit which Kraiser runs on his 318.

Justin e36
11-23-2006, 09:42 PM
Pedro/328DTM... the turbo is custom for a M50/M52. I have a spare M50 engine kicking around and was originally looking to do a full engine swap + turbo at the same time. I have everything.. (in fact, I've had the entire turbo kit.. brand new, still boxed, for around 2 years now!).. just not much desire to install it at the moment.

Anyway, it's a Garett complete kit, it's basically a knockoff (in terms of piping) as the AA kit, except I also picked up some larger injectors, high flow fuel pump, and Apexi air/fuel management computer, ARP head studs, to finish the kit off. All the piping, intercooler, BOV, manifold... every last screw and clamp and hose are all still baggied and boxed, unopened.

I designed everything to run 6psi all day long, a smaller turbo that will spool up soon after idle.. (my car is a street car/winter beater, not a track car... so torque in the lower range is more important to me.)

I don't care to show off dyno numbers, if I did I'd buy an american car. I'm more concerned with reliability, and have a bit of power on tap as well. It was more of a decision that is I'm going to swap in an M50, I might as well bolt on a turbo before putting it in.

All input is appreciated folks...
J

Skeezix
11-23-2006, 11:47 PM
I would say for the application you would use your kit for, you won't have any problems what so ever after proper tuning is done. Tuning is the most important thing, and with the higher compression of BMW motors, tuning can't be stressed enough. But other then that, you're good to go. If I had the money, I would definatly install a turbo kit on my car. I also have a Mazda 323 turbo, boost is at 15psi and it loves it. My cousin ran his car (also a 323) at 20psi of boost with over 315,000km with no problems. This might be comparing apples to oranges but still, I think an M50/52 is built just as good as a Mazda 1.6L turbo.

PedroBMW
11-24-2006, 12:05 AM
Justin, what garett turbo are you planning to use? like specifically, also some more details on the other components (I'm in the early stages of doing my custom turbo setup so I like to see what everyone else has chosen if they don't mind, for comparison). Like the previous poster said, engine management is key with these bitches, and I think it will be the single biggest hurtle for me with this project.

sloveniaboy
11-24-2006, 12:37 AM
I ran the charger for a full summer and basically just ran into plumbing (pipes coming loose under heavy driving, fixed with better clamps and pipes) and vacuum issues (increasingly low vacuum noticed on boost gauge due to cracked hose to fpr, fixed with new lines) for the first week. My rad neck cracked due to the increase in stress the hose puts on it to work arround an idler pulley for the charger+the fact that it was 12 years old and the plastic on these are known to break at this age anyways. Usually it takes a good week or two of driving the car to work out all the little kinks that come with installing these kits.

I will upgrade my clutch as my 12 year old stock 325 clutch doesn't feel like it is holding the power well.

Other than that the car runs great *th-up*. Absolutely no overheating, no leaks, no problems.......so far *angel*

paul
11-24-2006, 04:07 PM
The bottom line is if the car is built right u wont run into any real big problems. MY best friend makes 600hp and drive the dam thing to the states and races it and drives back. In the end all the little problem are just part of the game yet no one thinks about those problems when u are on the 401 letting the thing hang. I have another project on the go right now i cant seem to get rid of this hobby *th-up*

BMW_7
11-26-2006, 02:38 PM
Looks like Ivan already chimed in for me, but yeah. Even though i am not running proper and I haven't had the SC looked at yet, during 1.5 years of having it (I know I know... I should get it looked at), it has held up great for me. I have no problems of any sort so far. Granted. I drive about 10,000 km per year (winter included), drove to NYC and back, and I have utmost confidence in my setup. I believe if I drove more my car could handle it. I love the 318 hahaha....

jeffrie
11-26-2006, 06:52 PM
http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=917956#post917956
What DA does to a 4 pot.

bmdbley'sBro
12-01-2006, 01:44 PM
my "reliabilty" problems have pretty much been due to the lack of thought that went into the build of my custom setup.

turbo unsupported. this puts weight on your manifold.
down pipe had no flex piping in it, so it was rigid.
things torq & flex= cracked manifold.

all other issues have been hi-milage related i fi'd at 240km's +

Darkness95m3
12-01-2006, 03:12 PM
My main problem was the faulty supercharger.
It took 1 year to figure this out.
The other anoying issue was the slipping.
The belt snapped causing the engine to overheat, this caused the head to crack.

This year I had no problems with the supercharger at all.
I believe every FI system has it's problems.

The Sly
12-02-2006, 10:57 PM
my "reliabilty" problems have pretty much been due to the lack of thought that went into the build of my custom setup.

turbo unsupported. this puts weight on your manifold.
down pipe had no flex piping in it, so it was rigid.
things torq & flex= cracked manifold.

all other issues have been hi-milage related i fi'd at 240km's +

Hey Adam ...i think you were very unlucky with this Turbo setup...
Hope things are going to be better for next summer..
Sly*th-up*

JMW
12-03-2006, 04:52 PM
my clutch slips..thats it

BMW_7
12-03-2006, 07:48 PM
I'm still on my original clutch after 170k's and a supercharger for 1.5 years! lol

Understated
12-03-2006, 08:15 PM
I'm still on my original clutch after 170k's and a supercharger for 1.5 years! lol

how many KMs have u put on in the past 1.5yrs?

JMW
12-03-2006, 11:38 PM
ye but i got way toi much power for my clutch

Furious
12-04-2006, 12:13 AM
ye but i got way toi much power for my clutch

how much power did you get the dyno done yet? stock m3 clutch i assume.