Modding uprating the BMW M57 engine!

Modifying and improving: "M57 Modifications"

M57 Modifications Guide

How to modify and upgrade the BMW M57

"Comprehensive guide to performance tuning the BMW M57 engine!"

TorqueCars are frequently getting emails requesting information on how to improve the M57 from people wanting to know what are the best tips for M57 power upgrades. So let us look into BMW M57 parts and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some common pitfalls along the way.

This pages aim is detail the best approach to M57 tuning and outline the premier upgrades. BMW M57 are awesome to work on and with the right performance parts like a remap, turbo improvements and camshafts you will positively maximize your driving fun.

When talking about the ultimate parts for your M57 engine, we are going to concentrate on the modifications that give the best power gain for you spend.

M57 induction kits

Improving air intake on the M57

You need air and fuel for an engine to work. If there is insufficient fuel then it will run lean, if there is too little air it runs rich sapping power which risks damage to the M57. We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So Feeding air into each cylinder is the primary aim to any engine tuning project.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the M57 when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

We see 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting power at a much lower level.

Engine intake manifolds take the on the suck phase from the air cleaner and allow it to be drawn into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

The shape and flow rate of the Intake headers can make a big change to fuel delivery on the M57.

We often see intake manifold are begging for a performance upgrade, although a few OEM provide reasonably well designed intake manifold.

Fitting big valve kits, carrying out 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also boost bhp, & more importantly will permit raising the bhp increase on other tuning parts.

M57 performance cam tips.

Some M57 engines respond better to extreme cam durations so view each engine as unique.

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors also will make differences on the power gains you'll hit.

Longer valve durations can alter the power band and on most engines the exhaust and intake durations do not need to match, although most cams and tuners use matched pairs there are some advantages to extending the intake or exhaust durations.

Altering your M57 camshaft will make a dramatic difference to the engine bhp. Choosing a higher performance camshaft profile raises the bhp accordingly.

NB: Fast road camshafts usually bump the bhp through the rpm range, you may lose a little low down bhp but the higher rpm power will be lifted.

Competition camshafts, bump the higher rpm power band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

In a car driven daily you need to match your engines power to your usage of the car.

You will never find a M57 Competition camshaft is a pleasure to live with when driving in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the M57

Before we break the best tuning upgrades down into stages of tune, let's list the most effective tuning upgrades for you.

  1. Suspension Upgrades - always improve your cars handling
  2. Brake Upgrades - Even before adding power improve those brakes
  3. Intake - make sure the intake is not restricted, use filters and intake upgrades to improve this
  4. Exhaust - as with 3 ensure there is not restriction in the exhaust, cats are the usual bottleneck
  5. Tunes - remapping, piggyback ECU's and aftermarket ECU's can all make decent gains
  6. Fuelling - when you've increased power you'll need to match this with more fuel
  7. Turbo upgrades - Improving the intake with a large turbo and better flowing intercooler will be the biggest power gain you'll see (but one of the most complex).

This video guide to tuning cars is a great starting point to work from in your project.

Stage 1 M57 parts:

Intake headers, Sports exhaust manifold, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Stage 2 M57 parts:

Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, induction kit, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injectors, fuel pump upgrades.

Tuning tips and articles Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Stage 3 M57 parts:

Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Twin charging conversions, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Carefully think through your options and then acquire your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

Remapping should help to fully realize the full potential of all the tuning mods you've done to your M57.

You will typically expect to see gains of approximately 20-30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but power output usually depend much on the tuning mods you've applied and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the M57

To get a turbo working on a NASP engine there is a lot involved, from lowering compression ratio to improved fuel supply and mapping, so we have found a great guide to helpavoid the common pitfalls or end up with an unfinished project because you were not told what you were getting into by doing this on the M57.

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes massive power gains.

If the engine is turbocharged, parts are relatively easy and turbo charged engines will have harder and stronger components.

There are tuning limits for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only just able to handle stock power

Research these limits and fit more solid crank and pistons to handle the power.

There are many drivers spending a lots of money on turbo charger upgrades on the M57 only to suffer the indignity of watching the engine block explode when it's first rolling road session.

Big upgraded turbochargers tend to suffer no power at low rpm, and little turbochargers spool up more quickly but don't have the peak end bhp gains.

In recent times the world of turbo units is always developing and we are seeing variable vane turbo units, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo units divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and direct these at differently angled vanes in the turbo. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

Beefing up the air intake by adding a supercharger or additional turbo will help you achieve very large torque gains, although more challenging to install. We have this in depth look at twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the M57

Don't miss you'll need to improve the fuel system when you are increasing the bhp - it makes the car more thirsty. At this point we flag up the need to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The accepted safe increase is to add 15% to the flow rate when buying an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a little spare capacity should the engine require more fuel.

Don't forget that different fuel grades will usually require different settings, a high octane fuel will burn more efficiently than lower octane fuel for example. A car will trim fuel supply to keep within the ideal air fuel mix but at the extreme ends you may need to adjust your injector capacity, or the mapping or you'll get flat spots and potential lean or rich fuel issues..

Recommended M57 performance exhaust upgrades

We'd only recommend you look to improve your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll find your flow rate is still ok even on modest power gains, but on a serious tuning project with a big boost in power you will certainly need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Don't go with the biggest exhaust you can source you'll slow the exhaust rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between one and a half to two and half inches. Your exhaust design, the bend angles and construction are what have more effect on flow rates than your pipe width to a certain extent. So the exhaust design is a big factor.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be traced to the filters installed, so adding a better flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

Decat pipes (NB:catalysts reduce harmful engine emissions) is illegal in most countries and regions.

Faults issues and things to look out for on the M57

Like most engines an M57, should have few issues if it gets properly serviced and looked after.

We cannot stress enough the need for oil changes with the correct grade of oil on the M57, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned M57 this is more important than ever and close attention should be paid to your maintenance schedule.

If you are interested in learning more or getting impartial tuning advice for your M57 why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about M57 tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their M57.

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