Most Requested Mod on my BMWs – Replacing Kidney Grills on BMW Z4 and 550

Hey guys and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel. Ever since I started posting videos online, I have gotten many suggestions, requests, complaints and even compliments once in a while, but the part that seemed to bother people the most and maybe had the most comments overall was that I had the M colors on the grill! So, in this video I’m replacing the fake M kidney grills with regular gloss black on both the BMW Z4 and the 550i.

Now, I installed mine before I knew how much people hated these and the stigma behind them. Everyone knows not to put M badges on a regular car, but what’s the harm in the M kidney grills? Well, apparently a lot as you cannot go on a forum or video without people complaining and hating on cars! So, for your pleasure and mine, let’s get these new shiny black ONLY grills installed and make the world a better place!

Do you agree with the general opinion? Leave a comment down below and let me know your opinion on this and while you are there, hit that like bottom for the Youtube Algorithm and maybe more than 20 people will see this video. Let’s get to it!

BMW N55 Engine Rebuild Project Part 7 – BMW N55 Injector Install and Teflon Rings DIY

Hey guys and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy Channel. Today we are installing injectors on my BMW N55 engine with an early production date. The reason I mention this is because the process is different on newer engines and if you’d like to see what that process is like, check out my video on the BMW N20 injector replacement as it’s exactly the same. In this video, the injectors are already removed from the vehicle, so once again, if you need those steps, check out the N20 video in the description. Now, let’s go to the garage, get the injectors prepared, installed and at the same time hit that like button for the YouTube Algorithms.

Now we are going to replace the decoupling elements and the Teflon rings on my used injectors. These must be replaced or you will have issues in the future such as lose of compression or fuel blowby. The decoupling elements simply pop off with a flat head screwdriver and a new ones can pop back in once we do the seals and clean the area.

Next we remove the Teflon ring seal by carefully cutting it with a razor blade or a box cutter and peeling it off the injector. You don’t want to cut into the injector, so be careful here. With those out of the way, we can wipe the injector with a clean paper towel and pop the new decoupling elements in place. The round part of the element faces the nozzle of the injector. For the next steps you are supposed to use a few special tools, but I do it my own way. You can find the proper tools in the description if you’d rather use those.

This really does work well, you just have to find the correct diameter plastic pieces or cut them down to size.

I have a video on how to adjust the compensation on the injectors from a couple of years ago, so check that out if you need steps. With that, thanks for watching, I hope you found the video useful and I’ll see you in the next one!

BMW N55 Engine Rebuild Project Part 5 – Timing Chain and Oil Pump Replacement

Hey Guys and Welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel. In this video, we will have some fun installing the oil pump, oil pick up tube, the timing chain and timing the engine. I liked doing the timing chains so much that I did it twice. More on that later!

If you are new here, well, I have been rebuilding my BMW N55 engine for the past few weeks and it’s been a great learning experience. I have replaced the main bearings, crankshaft, sealed the bed plate, installed new rod bearings and a new head gasket. The last huge item on the list is the timing chain, which is today’s video.

While I’m doing this with the engine out, it is possible to do a timing chain job without having to remove the engine from the car. As in previous videos, I won’t be showing those steps, but I’ll do a quick overview on how to get where we are. I recommend you watch my previous videos where I show a lot more detail on disassembly.

HOW TO GET TO THIS POINT:

So, the quick overview. Here we go.

Step 1: Unplug the battery and drain the oil from the engine. Remove air filter housing or clean air pipe running over the valve cover depending on the car and undo the gas pressure lines.

Step 2: Remove the underbody protection, intake silencer housing, fan cowl and the serpentine belt that runs the accessories. With that access, you can now remove the vibration damper and the front crankshaft seal. If the belt tensioner is in the way, you may need to remove it as well.

Step 3: Remove the valve or also known as the cylinder head cover by unplugging the vacuum lines, wiring from the injectors and anything else that’s in the way. If you will be reusing the valve cover, make sure you undo the bolts in the correct order (show here) and remove it from the cylinder head.

If you aren’t replacing the oil pump or oil pump chain and sprocket, no further disassembly is required. Otherwise, you will have to remove the front axle differential, remove the power steering pump and remove the bearing support to be able to remove the oil sump and have access to those parts.

Before you can remove the timing chain or the oil pump components, you have to rotate the engine into the TDC (Top Dead Center) position using the main bolt. You know it’s in the correct position when cylinder number 1 is at the very top. Now we can install the timing tool onto the camshaft to make sure they do not move while we remove the central bolts on the intake and exhaust camshaft adjusters. You should have no issues unbolting these. Then remove the chain tensioner as well which will give your chain some slack and allow you to remove the camshaft adjusters by hand.

Next, the main bolt must be loosened and taken out. This is a tough one. With the engine out, it took an 8 foot pipe to get it done, but I have also done it in with the engine in the car on my N20 timing chain job and it was a little easier. Whichever way you go about this, make sure the socket is very secure on the bolt and doesn’t slip and spray some WD-40 or whatever else you have if it’s a bit rusty.

With the main bolt out, there are only a few things holding the timing chain and timing chain guide in place. The 2 bearing journals that are hiding behind the screw plugs, the crankshaft hub, two little screws at the top by the camshaft adjusters and of course the camshaft adjusters themselves. With those removed, hold the timing chain and guides with one hand and remove the hub with the other making sure not to drop the sprocket. I recommend keeping the chain tight to avoid this and just pull it up as soon as the hub has cleared it.

Now that everything out of the way, we can finally get to fun parts! Since I’m rebuilding the engine, I’m reinstalling the oil pump using new bolts. The install is very simple, but to be safe I do a mock up with old bolts while I’m working on getting the chain assembly in. Just in case I have to move it or something isn’t lining up properly. If I used new bolts and have to loosen them, I’d have to get new bolts again. The 3 bolts at the top are torqued to 10 Nm and then 180 degrees angle of rotation for the longer bolt and 90 degrees for the shorter bolts.

We are almost done with this job and as you can see it does take some time and effort to get there, no wonder a shop would charge you a couple thousand bucks for this! Anyway, to install the new chain and tensioner, make sure it’s all assembled correctly and the sprocket pointing the right way. Then it can all be lowered into the engine, lining up the sprocket with the crankshaft hub and locking it in place with a new main bolt. You don’t want to tighten it to spec just yet. First, reinstall the 2 bearing journals and the 2 little screws at the top to hold everything in place. Torquing all to spec, of course.  Now the main bolt can be torqued to 100 Nm and additional 270-degree rotation. I recommend having someone help you out with this one, it felt a little sketchy as I was doing it.

With the main bolt locking everything in place, it’s time to install the intake and exhaust camshaft adjusters back in with the chain around them. Should be pretty easy since the chain tensioner is not yet installed. Of course, you have to make sure that the intake adjuster goes on the right side and the exhaust on the left, you cannot mix these up! While you are pulling the chain over the exhaust adjuster, make sure it is sitting on the guide rail and not anywhere else. With everything looking good, we can install the pretensioning tool instead of the chain tensioner and torque it to 0.6 Nm and torque the central bolts to 20 Nm with 180-degree rotation after. The very last step before testing is installing the chain tensioner and torquing it to 55 Nm.

Once everything looks good, we can remove all special tool and rotate the engine a couple of times making sure everything sounds good and recheck the timing. If everything still lines up and the timing tool fits as it did before the engine is timed and ready for its new crankshaft seal and re-assembly. A video on front crankshaft seal is coming out soon!

Now, remember how I said I had to do this job twice? Well, after I rotated the engine a few times, it made this clicking sound from the camshaft adjuster which I wasn’t very sure about. So, I posted a short clip to check with others and see if it’s normal. I learned that indeed, it is normal and it will go away as soon as oil pressure is built up and circulating, but I also learned that I was making a mistake. Initially when I looked at the timing components, they looked fine to me so I reused them.. but after many, many convincing arguments from strangers, I have decided to replace it all with brand new stuff, including the chain tensioner. Anyway, thanks for watching, check out the links in the description for parts needed, leave a comment down below and I’ll see you in the next one.

BMW N55 Engine Rebuild Project Part 4 – Cylinder Head Gasket Replacement

Hello everyone and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel. This is part 4 of the BMW N55 engine rebuild project where I install the new head gasket and reinstall the cylinder head back on the engine. In the previous videos I have taken the engine out of my BMW 335i, tore it apart and found that it was not rebuildable… some time later I found this engine for cheap locally and have replaced the main bearings, crankshaft, piston and installed new rod bearings. Now this engine is ready for the cylinder head to go back on.

I chose not to do much work on the cylinder head except to clean it up a little bit and remove some carbon. After inspecting it, I didn’t see excessive wear or anything of concern and honestly, I’ve used most of my budget that I had for this rebuild on bolts, seals, gaskets and all the replacement parts.

Clearly my engine is out of the car and it took a decent amount of work to get this far but I’m not sure I’d recommend doing this with the engine in the car if it is at all possible. BMW  also recommends taking the engine out for this job and that’s why you see so many valve cover videos on YouTube, but I couldn’t find any as far as the head gasket. Anyway, this series is meant more to document my journey with this car and rebuilding the engine as a hobby mechanic and hopefully help someone in the future do the same or at least start doing DIY jobs at home. Also, now would be a great time to hit that like button for all the BMW DIYers and for the Youtube algorithm.

Check out my video where I disassemble a BMW n55 engine and take the cylinder head off to get an idea of what to do to get to this point. If those specifics aren’t your thing, I’m highlighting the basic steps in this video.

Step 1, remove the engine from the car by removing the exhaust system, draining all of the fluids, removing the intake, radiator, all of the piping and disconnecting it from the wiring loom and transmission. Wow, that was easy! The engine is out now!

Step 2, mount the engine on the engine stand, removing the exhaust manifold with the turbo, injectors, gas lines and anything else attached to the cylinder head. We are moving right along!


In step 3, we undo all of the bolts from the valve cover, remove it and install the timing tool onto the camshafts. Now we can undo the central bolts and remove the camshaft adjusters.

That’s it! Now we only have 14 big bolts holding it in place and after muscling those out of the way, we can lift the cylinder head off the block! No body said this one was easy, but now we are finally ready to replace that head gasket.

Now starts the most tedious part of the job and that’s getting everything nice and clean. This doesn’t look that hard on video, but it sure takes a while to do. I’m mostly just removing the carbon build up as much as I can to help the engine breathe a little better and have the oil flow a little smoother.

Removing remanences of the old gaskets is the most important step; otherwise, your new, expensive gasket will not make a very good seal and you’ll have oil leaks after all of this hard work. I didn’t use any metal tools while doing this as it’s very easy to damage the mating surface, but I did use a brass spinning wheel on the valves to get rid of all that build up carbon. The brass tool is approved for aluminum, so I had no concern using it on hardened valves. Having this great access to the pistons, I gave them a quick clean as well. MUCH BETTER!

Now that all of the parts are ready, it’s a good idea to wipe everything down and make sure there is no oil and dirt in the blind holes or anywhere the gasket will touch. Then, it’s time to actually install the gasket. I decided to go with the ELRING head gasket as they are the OEM for BMW and I’ve used their products before. It simply drops on top of the block, making sure all of the holes line up and the head can go on top. It’s heavy and you should really have a buddy help you out, but I work on this stuff at night and I like being in the way of the camera, so here we are. Once everything looks good and it’s lined up, it’s time to grab a torque wrench and the angle gauge and torque our head bolts to spec.

These bolts drop in easy, but make sure the washers are there. Very easy for those to fall out and get overlooked. You’ll need a special long torx bit set to reach the bolts and set correct torque values. I got mine on Amazon and if you’re interesting, check out the link below, these work great.

There are 3 types of bolts here. We have the M11 and M9 bolts, those are the ones that go in the middle and are torqued to 30 NM, then 90 degree angle of rotation and another 180 degrees on second round. The 3 third type are the M9 short bolts that go on the side where the timing chain is and are torqued to 22nm. I don’t think I have to explain how important it is to do this to spec, just imagine the pressure between the block and the head when the engine is running. And the last thing to do to finish the job is to put back the stopper bolt for the eccentric shaft and the oil spraying nozzle that we removed to get to the bolts.

That is all for part 4 of the BMW n55 engine rebuild project, in the next video I will be installing the oil pump, the timing chain guides with the timing chain and timing the engine. If you’d like to see that, subscribe to the channel and I’ll see you in the next one. Thanks for watching.

BMW N55 Engine Rebuild Project Part 2 – Piston, Crankshaft and Main Bearings Replacement

Hey guys and welcome back to Part 2 of the BMW N55 Engine Rebuild Project. In this video we install a piston, new main bearings, new crankshaft and seal the bedplate. Since the original engine had chunks the size of my fist, yet still somehow ran, I bought another engine on Facebook marketplace and that’s the engine we are working on today. Check out the playlist to see the teardown video and more info on how I got it. If you’d like to see what the original engine actually sounded like despite having chunks of metal and a hole at the bottom, click the links in the description below and before we start, hit that like button like the piston hit the cylinder head on my engine for the YouTube algorithm and to make me feel a little better for spending so much money on bolts and gaskets!


Now, back to this engine that I got for cheap off of Facebook. In the last video, I disassembled it to see if it was worth saving and decided that it’s actually a rebuildable engine. Since then, I have been ordering parts and cleaning all the parts I could clean. I’ve tried a few different degreasers, but ultimately the regular brake cleaner and even the cheaper AutoZone brake cleaner seem to have been working best. I’ve also learned that using a ScotchBrite pad helped get rid of the tougher, built up stuff and smooth out the contracting surfaces. Even though this looks easy and fast on video, it took hours to do, but I WAS being careful not to damage anything as I’m fairly new at this.

Removing and installing a piston

Since this engine spun the bearing on piston 6, I decided it would be best to replace it for a couple of reasons. The most important reason was that there was damage on the connecting rod where the new rod bearing would go, which of course would not last very long even with a new bearing in pl ace. I was also worried that the connecting rod itself could have been slightly bent, internally damaged or no longer perfectly round and since I have 4 perfectly good pistons from the original engine, I decided to swap one in. I picked the best out of the bunch, gave it a good clean and then went to adjust the piston rings.

Now, it’s a little difficult to see this on camera, but the M-Flex ring is made from 3 different parts. Bearing spring being the middle and two steel band rings that go on top and bottom. The idea is to get the M-flex ring and the two steel bands to be 120 degree apart at the opening or separation point. It’s also important to make sure that the contact point is not arranged over what’s called a pin boss or basically avoid the area where the piston is connected to the connecting rod.

Once you have to bottom ring properly adjusted, you need to also adjust the middle and the top ring to be 120 degree from each other. The instructions on this aren’t super clear, but I went with 120 for the 3 parts of the M-flex ring and then again 120 degree separation between the 3 rings.

Now that I had my piston ready to go, I cleaned up the cylinder wall to make sure it was perfectly clean, oiled it and then oiled the piston as well. I don’t have any fancy tools for installing pistons, but honestly, it was much easier than I expected. I used this $13 tool from amazon and it worked perfectly. It’s a little fiddly, so if you do this a lot, spend more money on something more solid, but for me it worked exactly as I need it to. I oiled up the inside of the tool to make sure nothing got scratched and tightened it around the piston. Inserted the tool with the piston into the cylinder and gently pushed it in with my fingers. You do not want to use any tools here or force it in. The new piston is now installed… woohoo!

Installing Crankshaft

Having actually accomplished SOMETHING, I decided it was time for a little bit more cleaning.. I’ve definitely learned that a big part of engine rebuilding is getting rid of all the old muck and gaskets and all kinds of buildup. If I ever do this again, I might get a parts cleaner or maybe a Dremel with a soft pad or something like that. At least getting it to look new again DOES make you feel like some progress is being done, so that’s a plus.

Now that I felt better about how it looked, I removed the connecting rod bolts and the connecting rod bearing caps on the big end. It’s VERY important that these rod bearing caps do not get mixed up and go to the correct connecting rod when reused or you’ll have another knocking engine very soon. I marked them and put aside until they are needed again when we replace the rod bearings in the next video. The bolts will also be used before the final install for testing, so I’m keeping them for now. Subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss that video! Now that the crankshaft is not held in by anything, it can be simply removed from the engine. Do be careful as it weighs about 50 pounds and you don’t want to drop that on your foot.

I wanted to show you the difference between a good crankshaft and onethat has been abused. Let’s compare the crankshaft from the original engine to the one I’m installing shortly. You can see how much shinier and smoother journals are on the good part. Of course, the old one is not going to waste, it can be resurfaced and used again with oversized bearings.

Back at the engine, I removed all of the old crankshaft bearings, cleaned the area with some ScotchBrite and removed the residue with brake cleaner and a lint free paper towel. We are now ready to install the new stuff!

Installing Main Bearings

WHY am I going with aftermarket main bearings? Well, that’s a very good question with a few answers. First, these seem to have a better reputation with people that have rebuilt their N54 and N55 engines. Second, these King bearings have an improved crankshaft finish for reducing microscopic ferrite peaks if your crankshaft isn’t perfect and since I’m not installing a brand new one, it isn’t perfect. They also have improved oil clearances which should reduce wear on the engine and increase its life. Other than all of those reason, the price was also a factor as these much less expensive compared to OEM.

Installing these is actually fairly simple, put the grooved side in first, squeeze the bearing just a little and push it down with your fingers. They pop in and seat themselves when done correctly. At least they did in my case. The set with a little oil hole goes on the engine block and the solid ones are installed on the bedplate. Of course, I cleaned all surfaces to make sure there was nothing there before installing.

Now that everything is ready, we can temporarily install the crankshaft so that we can check the crankshaft bearing clearance. If it didn’t go in perfectly on the first try, don’t spin it, lift it out a little bit and put it back down where it’s not in the way of anything.

To make sure the bearings have seated correctly and are not over or undersized, it’s important to check the crankshaft bearing radial clearance. For this BMW recommends using plastigauge. I have a full video on how to use plastigauge if you’d like to see the entire process. The basic process is to cut a piece of plastigauge the width of the journal, place it on top of each journal you’d like to test and then install the bedplate back on the engine block.

We then follow the correct sequence to install the bolts and torque them to spec! I left mine for a couple of minutes and then removed the bolts and the bedplate.

Now that I’m confident with the fitment of my new crankshaft, it is time to do the final assembly. Of course, I have cleaned all of the areas again and removed the plastigauge from the crankshaft as well as the bed plate. With all the surfaces clean, I then installed some assembly lube as this will be the only oil between the journals and the bearings when the engine runs for the first time. After the oil pressure is build up, regular oil will go in through the holes in the bearings and lubricate, but we have to protect the engine for those first few rotations. I put some assembly lube on the bedplate bearings as well and even rub a little on the journals directly. This stuff isn’t going to hurt anything and it still much better to the surfaces compared to regular oil.

Since there is no gasket between the bedplate and the engine block, it has to be sealed with a special sealant. The one I got is recommended by BMW and is specified in the service manual. I applied a good bead into the groove as specified.

I really hope you enjoyed this video or at the very least learned something new. If you enjoy this type of content or just like cars, check out the rest of the channel for many more car related videos. Most aren’t nearly as technical. Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in part 3 where we install the rod bearings.