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N54 Engine Charge Air Duct Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

N54 Engine Charge Air Duct Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$200

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, flathead screwdriver, T20, T27 Torx drivers

Applicable Models:

BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)

Parts Required:

Charge air ducts, charge air duct clamps, duct seals, O-rings

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Remedy fault codes and restore engine performance

Complementary Modification:

Replace air filter

Starting with the 2008 E60 5 Series models, BMW introduced the turbocharged N54 engine. This 3-liter, 6-cylinder engine produces more power (an extra 45 hp) and torque (an extra 80 lb-ft) than the equivalent 3-liter naturally aspirated N52 engine. The key to the additional torque and power is the twin-turbochargers integrated into the exhaust manifolds. As the exhaust is forced out of the cylinders, it powers a turbine which turns a compressor, essentially a high efficiency fan, blowing air forcibly into the intake system. The additional, denser, air increases combustion efficiency and power as needed. This is an efficient way to achieve higher power output from an engine without increasing engine displacement.

However, compressing air also heats it. The turbocharged air (or charged air, for short) is therefore ducted to the front of the engine where it passes through an air-to-air heat exchanger (or intercooler) and then back up to the engine intake. The ducts used to funnel the charged air have seals and flexible sections that fail over time. A faulty charge air duct can cause a number of problems, from a check engine light to a rough or surging idle. Before you condemn a specific charge air duct, be sure to inspect them all. They should be well sealed and free from cracks or tears. Check the function of your crankcase breather valve. It is integrated into the valve cover. If a breather hose valve fails, the air leak can cause a rough idle or engine stalling.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Remove the engine covers. See our tech article on engine cover removing. Remove the engine splash shields. See our tech article on engine splash shield and reinforcement plate removing.

The intake ducts are comprised of the intake air housing (red arrow), the front intake charge air duct (yellow arrow), which has a sealing ring (blue arrow) and the rear intake charge air duct (green arrow).
Figure 1

The intake ducts are comprised of the intake air housing (red arrow), the front intake charge air duct (yellow arrow), which has a sealing ring (blue arrow) and the rear intake charge air duct (green arrow).

The pressurized charge air ducts are comprised of the intercooler (yellow arrow), the turbocharger outlet pipes (green arrow), the intercooler outlet duct (red arrow) and the throttle housing duct (blue arrow).
Figure 2

The pressurized charge air ducts are comprised of the intercooler (yellow arrow), the turbocharger outlet pipes (green arrow), the intercooler outlet duct (red arrow) and the throttle housing duct (blue arrow).

Front intake charge air duct:
Front intake charge air duct: First remove the intake air duct (blue arrow).
Figure 3

Front intake charge air duct: First remove the intake air duct (blue arrow). Working at the radiator support, remove the plastic rivet (red arrow). Then pull the duct out of the intake air housing and out of the radiator support in the direction of the green arrow.

Front intake charge air duct: Next you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose.
Figure 4

Front intake charge air duct: Next you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose. There is a gray lock (blue arrows). Rotate this lock counterclockwise about 45 degrees to unlock it. This style hose lock can be hard to get off due to time and debris entering the collar. If so, you can rotate it using channel locks, but be careful not to damage the hose or lock. They are made out of plastic. Then, using a flathead screwdriver loosen the air duct hose clamp (red arrow). Then pull the duct off the intake air housing.

Front intake charge air duct: Remove the radiator cooling fan and the upper radiator hose.
Figure 5

Front intake charge air duct: Remove the radiator cooling fan and the upper radiator hose. See the N54 engine oil cooler replacing article and radiator replacing article for more information. Then, working at the engine, just below the cylinder head, remove the two T30 Torx duct fasteners (red arrows). Be sure not to lose the washer (blue arrow) when removing.

Front intake charge air duct: Follow the front duct around the right side of the engine.
Figure 6

Front intake charge air duct: Follow the front duct around the right side of the engine. Remove the E8 inverted Torx fastener (red arrow). Then unclip the hose mount (green arrows).

Front intake charge air duct: Next, you will have to remove the duct from the engine.
Figure 7

Front intake charge air duct: Next, you will have to remove the duct from the engine. Begin by lifting the left side of the duct up as you feed it out and away from the turbocharger. The turbocharger end (blue arrow) will pull straight off. The red arrow points to the fitting on the engine where the upper radiator hose mounts.

Rear intake charge air duct:
Rear intake charge air duct: Working at the rear of the engine at the cylinder head, detach the breather hose from the duct (green arrow).
Figure 8

Rear intake charge air duct: Working at the rear of the engine at the cylinder head, detach the breather hose from the duct (green arrow). Start by removing the electrical connector. Release the retaining tab and pull the connector straight out. Then remove the breather hose by releasing the retaining tabs (yellow arrow) with a flathead screwdriver and pulling it straight out of the duct.

Rear intake charge air duct: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose.
Figure 9

Rear intake charge air duct: Next, you will have to unlock and disconnect the front boost recirculation hose. There is a gray lock (green arrow). Rotate this lock counterclockwise about 45 degrees to unlock it. This style hose lock can be hard to get off due to time and debris entering the collar. If so, you can rotate it using channel locks, but be careful not to damage the hose or lock. They are made out of plastic. Then, using a flathead screwdriver loosen the air duct hose clamp (red arrow). Then pull the duct off the intake air housing.

Rear intake charge air duct: Then, working at the rear of the cylinder head, remove the two T30 Torx duct fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 10

Rear intake charge air duct: Then, working at the rear of the cylinder head, remove the two T30 Torx duct fasteners (red arrows). Be sure not to lose the washer when removing.

Rear intake charge air duct: Working under the vehicle ahead of the right side transmission bell housing (yellow arrow), remove the vacuum hose (red arrow) from the rear turbocharger waste gate.
Figure 11

Rear intake charge air duct: Working under the vehicle ahead of the right side transmission bell housing (yellow arrow), remove the vacuum hose (red arrow) from the rear turbocharger waste gate.

Rear intake charge air duct: Next, remove the 10mm nut from the duct (red arrow).
Figure 12

Rear intake charge air duct: Next, remove the 10mm nut from the duct (red arrow).

Rear intake charge air duct: Pull the duct away from the turbocharger in the direction of the red arrow.
Figure 13

Rear intake charge air duct: Pull the duct away from the turbocharger in the direction of the red arrow.

Rear intake charge air duct: Remove the air duct from behind the engine in the direction of the red arrow.
Figure 14

Rear intake charge air duct: Remove the air duct from behind the engine in the direction of the red arrow.

Inspect the condition of the seal for the front charge air duct (red arrow) and replace it if necessary.
Figure 15

Inspect the condition of the seal for the front charge air duct (red arrow) and replace it if necessary.

Turbocharger outlet pipes:
Turbocharger outlet pipes: Drain the cooling system and remove the coolant reservoir.
Figure 16

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Drain the cooling system and remove the coolant reservoir. See our tech article on coolant reservoir replacing.

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the vacuum reservoir, mark the vacuum line locations.
Figure 17

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the vacuum reservoir, mark the vacuum line locations. Then remove the vacuum lines (yellow arrows) by pulling them straight off the reservoirs. Then detach the vacuum lines from the mounts (green arrow). Remove the vacuum reservoir 8mm fasteners (red arrows). Then lift the reservoir up. Detach the vacuum hoses at the bottom and remove the reservoir from the engine.

Turbocharger outlet pipes: With the reservoirs removed, you can now see the turbocharger outlet pipes (red arrows).
Figure 18

Turbocharger outlet pipes: With the reservoirs removed, you can now see the turbocharger outlet pipes (red arrows).

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the front turbocharger, use a 1/4-inch flex-head ratchet with a 2-inch extension (green arrow) and loosen the hose clamp (red arrow).
Figure 19

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the front turbocharger, use a 1/4-inch flex-head ratchet with a 2-inch extension (green arrow) and loosen the hose clamp (red arrow). On my subject vehicle, I had to work below the charge air duct to access the clamp. Your vehicle may be different depending upon the orientation of the clamp. Once the clamp bolt has been removed, move the clamp up and off the connection (yellow arrow).

Turbocharger outlet pipes: The rear clamp is even tougher to get to.
Figure 20

Turbocharger outlet pipes: The rear clamp is even tougher to get to. You can just make out my hand (red arrow) jammed into the rear of the engine. Using the same ratchet, minus the extension, I loosened the clamp and moved it away from the connection.

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the intercooler, remove the right side charge air duct.
Figure 21

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Working at the intercooler, remove the right side charge air duct. Using a flathead screwdriver, lever the charge air duct retaining clip (red arrow) out until it reaches the stop. Once the retaining clip is disengaged, pull the charge air duct off the intercooler connection. Be prepared with a rag to catch any dripping oil. There is always a small amount of oil in the lower charge air pipes.

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Back at the top of the engine, loosen the flexible duct hose clamp (red arrow).
Figure 22

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Back at the top of the engine, loosen the flexible duct hose clamp (red arrow).

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Then pull the duct off the charge air pipes and remove it from the engine.
Figure 23

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Then pull the duct off the charge air pipes and remove it from the engine.

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Remove the charge air pipes from the engine by sliding them toward the radiator, then down under the radiator support (inset).
Figure 24

Turbocharger outlet pipes: Remove the charge air pipes from the engine by sliding them toward the radiator, then down under the radiator support (inset). Reverse the steps to install the charge air ducts. Be sure to replace all the clamps and seals.

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Comments and Suggestions:
muhammed Comments: I have a problem with x6 5.0 the fault code is charge air cooling system and it stalled at high acceleration. What could be the solution to the problem
October 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a faulty turbocharger or solenoid. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bill Comments: I have everything loose on the rear intake duct that wraps around the back of the engine, but it isn't coming out. It's free on both ends, but appears to be pinched behind the motor. I already had the subframe loosened and the passenger side motor mount off from taking off a catalytic converter to get to the pipe from the bottom, so I lowered the engine a hair. That definitely helped, but it looks like I'm going to have to loosen the other motor mount and drop the engine a good bit to get that pipe from behind the engine. Any thoughts/hints before I go down that road?
September 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Double check there isn't a fastener at the center of the duct, that attaches to the engine. It would be near the center of the cylinder head. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lew Comments: Hi Pelican Parts,
One of the T30 torx fastener in figure 5 front intake charge air ductis stripped. How can the fastener be removed. Is it feasible to remove the tensioner pulley and use a hack saw blade and squeeze between the duct and spongie washer to cut the fastener? And if yes, do you sell the fastener and washer?
Regards, Benny
August 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can either use vise grips or bang a smaller size E-Torx socket over the stripped one. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John F Comments: In figure 1, it looks to me like you have the front and rear intake ducts reversed
June 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good catch. I will have it fixed. Thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:40:47 AM