In the video below I will be testing whether it is worth opening the exhaust valves on a BMW 550i with an n63 engine.
On BMW engines such as the N20, N54, N55 and many others people have been doing what is known as the GOLF Tee exhaust mod. That’s when you stick a golf tee into the vacuum line that goes to the exhaust valve. Unfortunately, on this and a few other cars, that would not work as the valve is CLOSE and NOT open by default. It only opens when the car is in high revs or high-power demand.
I wanted to experiment and see if keeping them open at all times would the exhaust note better. So, I used some metal zipties I had laying around and ziptied the valves open.
Let’s see if it made any difference and if it’s worth the trouble.
In my opinion, it gave slightly throatier sound on idle and around 3000 RPM. I would totally recommend it as a cheap and easy mod to make you exhaust sound just little better. Of course, this isn’t anything like installing proper sport exhaust, but something is better than nothing. I also wanted to mention that I drove the car for a few miles and no codes or other issues came up. Let me know what you think, could you hear a difference via the camera mic? Leave your comment below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.
Today we will be discussing features you didn’t know you wanted on your next BMW. Of course, there are many more features on newer cars, but if you are buying a used BMW 5 series like this one, these are some of the features to look out for. I was not aware of half of these items when I bought the car 3 years ago and for my next big, long distance BMW I will be looking to have most if not all as it makes the car so much more special. I will only talk about features that my car actually has and I can show you. Let’s get to it.
The first feature that has now become common on most cars is comfort access. Not only does it allow you to open the doors and start the car, you don’t even have to take out the key in order to open the trunk. You can simply wave your foot under the car and put your groceries or other big items in. Just like this:
It’s also really nice to have folding back seats, I can actually use this car for carrying stuff and fit larger objects without an issue. I was surprised that many cars don’t do this or don’t offer 60/40 split.
A little bonus while we are here in the back, did you know that you can’t actually lock your key in trunk. Good thinking on BMW’s part!
The next feature that makes this car feel very luxuries to me is the soft close doors. Who knew you didn’t have to slam the doors! I’ve only seen this feature on a few very, very expensive cars, so it’s definitely nice to have on a mid level BMW.
Next is the Sport+ Mode, it turns DTC (Traction Control) off about half off, but still keeps you on the road when the things get hairy. It also allows you do launch control. Of course, you can turn all safety features off by pressing this button, but then you better know what you are doing. This also goes nicely with the sport displays. I don’t use this often, but when I do, I have a great time!
This car also has HUD – (Heads up display) which allows you to see phone calls, music, your speed and navigation. Very useful on long trips and allows you know your speed at all times.
Next is AutoPark or Auto-Hold feature. I love this for when I’m driving in the city and there is a lot of lights and stop and go traffic. The car will hold the brake for you while you are stopped, you can then simply touch the gas pedal and the car will start moving. Also here is a cool little trick the gear shifter does: “Show how it goes into park as soon as you press P even when it’s in sport mode*
This next item is present on pretty much any BMW and I miss it every time I drive a different car. When you put the mirror select button to the driver’s side and the passenger side mirror will tilt down when reversing. If you have it selecting the passenger side, it won’t tilt when reversing. I also like that all windows are a one touch up and down. Most other cars will only do the driver side as a one touch.
Next we have the 18-way adjustable heated seats that have profiles mapped to the key, so two people can have their preferred settings without manually re-adjusting each time they get in. The car also has a heated steering wheel. It may not be useful on a hot day like today, but it’s amazing in the winter.
And the last item I like is having a personal little glove box on the left of the steering wheel. Perfect for sunglasses, protection or whatever else you’d like to put in there.
I also did a pole on some groups to see what others can’t live without on their F10 cars and here is what people mentioned. Some of the options that stood out to me were the cooling seats, my car only has heated seats. The adaptive suspension so that you can have sporty and comfortable ride and maybe the 360-degree camera system. I will be looking for these options as well when I shop for my next big luxury BMW.
In the video above we will be discussing some of the more common problems you can expect with your BMW F10 5 series car. The BMW F10 was sold from 2011 all the way up to 2017. So, as you can imagine the issues have changed over the years. New ones came up and older ones have been resolved by the BMW.
To start with, I have had my BMW 550i xDrive for 2.5 years and I’ve done all of the maintenance and took care of the car myself. My BMW F10 was CPO car from a BMW dealer and I’ve had zero issues for the year I had the CPO. After the warranty expired, I have replaced the ignition coils and spark plugs, engine oil, engine filters and that’s it.
I will be concentrating on the US spec cars as these are the ones I know about.
Right of the bet, we can split the cars into pre-LCI (model years before 2014) and LCI cars (model years from 2014 on). I would absolutely recommend getting the LCI cars as you get more features and most of the models have also fixed a lot of the issues in the previous version of the car.
The car has a great built quality, there are no rattles and the car really held up well even after 5 years.
All cars have run flat tires, so rim damage or deformation is not uncommon. Cars across the board have also had some issues with water getting into the trunk, back up camera and sensors not working well in the cold and other common BMW problems you can expect.
528i (N52B30 2010-2011)
Very reliable cars, but getting old now.
Oil and coolant leaks are the most common culprit when it comes to these engines and can cause engines to overheat.
528i (N20B20 2012–2016)
535i (N55B30 2011–2017 in US)
Early cars aren’t recommended (2011) due to having too many of the issues
BMW 535s with N55 engine is probably the most reliable car out of the 3 models we are discussing today. BMW are know for making decent straight 6 engines and this one is a good engine.
Known issues on early cars:
Increased battery drain issue
Leaking oil filter gasket
Belt Tensioner going bad
Turbos have issues, people have had them replaced under warranty
Oil Filter Housing and valve cover gaskets
550i (N63B44 2009–2013)
Excessive oil consumption, although more so in the pre-LCI
Ignition coils and spark plugs around 60K miles
Valve Stem Seal Job – my friend has had this done on this 40k mile N63TU engine right before his warrant ran out and it was an engine out job. If done outside of warrant this could cost around $5000.
Timing Chains are also a common on all years to a lesser extent and is obviously more prone on higher mileage cars
Known issues on pre-LCI cars:
High Pressure Fuel Injectors
Hot-Film Air Mass Sensors
Engine Vacuum Pump
Fuel System Low Pressure Sensor
Fresh Air Intake Turbo Seals
Crankcase Ventilation Lines
N63 Customer Care Package
The highlights are:
Check the timing chain for stretch; replace if necessary
Check the following items and replace if necessary:
mass air flow sensors
crankcase vent lines
engine vacuum pump
low pressure fuel sensor
Change the oil service interval to 12 months/10,000 miles
This has helped many vehicles and many owners reported way fewer issues after this CCP.
Most dealers and private shops recommend even smaller (5-7k) mile oil change interval.
If you go for a 550, it pretty much has to be a 2014 model or newer. The original N63 engine had a lot of problem. In 14, BMW switched to the N63TU for the 550.
LCI 550i (N63B44O1 (N63TU) 2014–2017)
BMW has improved the engine a lot with this update as well as increased the power to close to 450 HP from 400. Very solid performance.
Parking Camera and Sensors issues are somewhat common.
Oil Pump Gasket leaks happen on higher mileage vehicles.
In conclusion, I would recommend getting the BMW 535i or BMW 550i that is 2014 or newer as you will have plenty of power and decent reliability for this type of car.
No matter what kind of car you drive there is always something new and useful to learn about your favorite ride. I’m a big fan of BMWs and try to learn anything and everything about my car from the first day. Luckily manufacturers ‘hide’ some cool stuff for us to hide or even leave in the wide open and we just have to learn them In order to learn the top useful BMW hidden features, you can read the entire manual and find a lot of them. That of course takes quite a while and who has time for that!? Well, luckily for you, I read the manual and have owned my BMW 550i xDrive for over 2 years and learned about some cool features.