Modding uprating the BMW M88 engine!

Tuners tips on "M88 Modifications"

How to modify and upgrade the BMW M88

"Comprehensive guide to tuning the BMW M88 engine!"

Hello, enthusiasts of precision engineering and fans of the iconic BMW M88 engine! If you've ever marveled at the engineering prowess of this legendary powerplant, get ready for an exciting journey. Join me as we explore the world of the M88, a masterpiece that has left an indelible mark on automotive history.

The BMW M88, a high-performance inline-six engine, is not just a powerplant; it's the beating heart of classic BMW M models like the M1 and M5, ready to bring exhilarating performance to your driving experience. Imagine this: the M88 roaring to life, poised to deliver a symphony of power on the open road.

Now, let's delve into the specifics because, let's face it, that's where the magic happens. The M88 is a testament to BMW's commitment to precision and driving pleasure. It's not just an engine; it's a masterpiece designed for enthusiasts who crave the perfect balance of power, responsiveness, and precision.

So, if you're ready to delve into the legacy of the BMW M88, stay tuned. In the paragraphs to come, we'll journey through the history, specifications, and the distinctive characteristics that make the M88 an engine worth celebrating.

But this isn't a solo exploration – I want to hear about your experiences with the BMW M88! Use the comments below to share your stories, ask questions, and let's create a vibrant community of enthusiasts celebrating the brilliance of the M88.

Get ready because the next part of our adventure is about immersing ourselves in the legacy of the BMW M88, appreciating its engineering marvels, and relishing the driving experiences it has brought to enthusiasts around the world. Let's rev up those engines and celebrate the automotive masterpiece that is the M88!

TorqueCars are regularly getting messages requesting information on how to improve the M88 from people wanting to know what are the greatest M88 mods that work. So let us look into BMW M88 parts and outline the best modifications on this great engine and point out some problems along the way.

Therefore we look into M88 tuning and provide tips on the ultimate modifications. BMW M88 great bases for a tuning project and with the best performance tuning mods like remaps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will enhance your driving pleasure.

The top M88 upgrades on an engine are typically the ones that give the biggest return for your money.

We won't be swayed by popular M88 upgrades, they need to be cost effective.

M88 induction kits

Improving air intake on the M88

You need fuel and air for an engine to work. If there is not enough fuel then it will run lean, if there is insufficient air it runs rich losing power . We'll pick up on fuelling later in this article but for now we shall look at air supply.

So Pushing air into the M88 engine is vital to any engine modification task.

It is not unusual that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on the M88 when a lot more air is being pulled into the engine.

We note 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor limited bhp at a much lower level.

Intake manifolds flow the on the suck phase from the filter and allow it to be drawn into the engine and mixed with fuel.

Structure and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a noticeable improvement to fuel mixing and power on the M88.

It's not uncommon that intake headers are in dire need of an upgrade, although some makers provide reasonably good intake headers.

Big valve conversions on the M88, getting 3 or 5 angle valve jobs and porting and head flowing will also raise performance, and more importantly will allow you to get a greater performance increase on other tuning mods.

M88 performance cam tips.

Some M88 engines respond better to less aggressive camshaft durations check your engine on a rolling road.

The ECU mapping and fuelling also will make differences on the bhp gains you'll make.

Altering valve durations can alter the bhp 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.

The camshaft profile plays a big part in the engines power output so camshaft upgrades make quite a large difference. The intake & exhaust durations will alter depending on the chosen camshaft profile, so large torque gains are on offer for camshaft upgrades.

NB: Fast road cams usually bump the bhp and torque throughout the rpm range, you might lose a little bottom end torque but your higher rpm power will be lifted.

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

For a car driven daily you should ideally to match your engines power to your typical driving style.

You will never have ever thought a M88 Motorsport camshaft is a pleasure to live with when in heavy traffic.

Stage 1, 2 and 3 mods for the M88

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

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

Stage 1 M88 parts:

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

Stage 2 M88 parts:

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

Stage 3 M88 parts:

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

Review your options and then source your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

Remaps helps unlock the full potential of all the modifications you've done to your M88.

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 your mileage usually vary depending on the modifications you've done and the condition of your engine.

Turbo modifications on the M88

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 M88.

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 an engine is turbo charged tuning mods are relatively easy and we find turbocharged engines are made with better components.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being very over engineered and some only just able to handle stock power

It is important to find these restrictions and fit better quality crank and pistons to handle the power.

It's not unheard of people spending a lot of money on turbo charger upgrades on the M88 only to have the motor catastrophically fail just after it's been enthusiastically driven.

Large upgraded turbochargers often experience a bottom end lag, and low capacity turbochargers spool up really quickly but do not have the top end torque gains.

We are pleased that the range of turbos is always improving and we are seeing variable vane turbos, permitting the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end bhp and torque.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust gases into two channels and feed these at differently angled vanes in the turbo charger. 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 complex to configure. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Tips about fuel supply on the M88

When you lift the bhp and torque you will need to increase to the fuel delivery.

More bhp and torque needs more fuel. Experienced mechanics will tell you to be generous with your injector capacity.

As a rule of thumb add 20% capacity when specifying an injector, this accounts for injector deterioration and gives a bit of spare capacity should the engine need 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 M88 performance exhaust upgrades

You may need to replace your exhaust system with an upgraded one is if your exhaust is creating a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you'll see 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.

Sports exhausts can help balance the flow of air through the engine.

But if the exhaust is too large, ie: over two and a half inches diameter, you will lose a lot of the flow rate and end up sapping power and torque.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing high performance 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 M88

Like most engines an M88, 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 M88, failure to do this will exacerbate engine wear, on a tuned M88 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 M88 why not pop over to the forums at TorqueCars where you can chat about M88 tuning options and read about others projects who may be planning to do similar modifications on their M88.

We need your help to complete and improve this page, so do give us your feedback in the comments box below.

We want to know your experiences with parts on your M88, it helps us improve our tips and keeps us current so please use the comments box to drop a tip.

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Check out TorqueCars new YouTube channel, and see their awesome new content...


Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article