BMW M60 Tuning

"All you need to know about performance parts and tuning the BMW M60 engine!"

The BMW M60 are popular tuning projects and with a few sensible motorsport upgrades like ECU maps, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will noticeably improve your driving pleasure.

This pages aim is look at M60 tuning and point out the ultimate modifications for your car.

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History, Power & Specs of the Engine

This was a DOHC NASP and the first v8 BMW produced.

It was quite light for a V8 thanks mainly to the aluminium used in the block and head.

The ECU was the Bosch Motronic 3.3.

M60B30

215 bhp at 5800 rpm 290 Nm (214 lbft) at 4500 rpm

  • 1992–1995 E34 530i
  • 1992–1994 E32 730i
  • 1994–1996 E38 730i

M60B40

282 bhp at 5800 rpm 400 Nm (295 lbft) at 4500 rpm

  • 1993–1995 E34 540i
  • 1992–1994 E32 740i
  • 1994–1996 E38 740i
  • 1992–1996 E31 840i

Tuning the BMW M60 and best M60 performance parts.

Best M60 modifications

When talking about the best ultimate for your M60 engine, we are going to focus on the parts that give the best power gain for you money.

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

Fast road camshafts normally bump the torque throughout the rpm band, you may lose a little bottom end torque but the high end rpm power will be better.

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

A Competition cam won't do well if driving in heavy traffic.

You should ideally optimize your bhp range to your driving style so for a car used daily stick with a fast road M60 cam

Each engine responds better to mild camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and injectors and fuel pump also will say much on the torque gains you'll hit.

Altering valve durations can alter the torque 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.

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Best Mods for Your M60

  1. Fast road Camshafts are one of the most significant mechanical changes, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and tracking one down may be hard but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.
  2. Flywheel lightening - a reduced weight flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. But not always suitable for all M60 engines.
  3. Intake Upgrades and Performance Exhausts - NB: on their own these mods won't ADD POWER , but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  4. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.
  5. Adding a Turbo is the most efficient approach to improve intake air supply, allowing you to combust more fuel and make more power. Typically one of the most complex mods but provides the best gains on the M60.

M60 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often includedrilled & smoothed airbox, Remaps/piggy back ECU, Intake manifolds, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Fast road camshaft, Panel air filters.
Typical stage 2 mods often include: induction kit, Fast road cam, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injectors, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Competition cam, Adding or Upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Twin charging conversions, Engine balancing & blueprinting, Internal engine upgrades (head flowing porting/bigger valves), Crank and Piston upgrades to alter compression.

Plan your options and then acquire your tuning parts and set yourself a power target to save yourself from expensive mistakes.

ECU flashing allows a tuner to release the full potential of all the mods you've fitted to your M60 but you'll really need to use a piggyback ECU or aftermarket ECU on early M60 engines.

(In some cases, as the factory ECU is locked flashing is not an option, so an aftermarket ECU is the route to take, and many of these will outperform factory ECU's but make sure it has knock protection and that you get it setup properly.)

On NA (naturally aspirated) engines, you should expect to see a 15% boost in power, although this will vary depending on the modifications you've made and the state of your engine.

The primary purpose of any M60 engine tuning strategy is to provide sufficient air and fuel to the engine.

When the air cleaner is sucked in, the intake manifold allows the air to be sucked into the engine.

Changing the design and flow rate of the M60's Intake manifold may have a significant impact on fuel mixing and power.

While some OEMs supply well-optimized intake, the vast majority of them are in in need of an overhaul.

Big valve kits, port-matching and head-flowing will also boost torque, and considerably increase the amount of space available for additional changes that improve torque.

M60 Turbo Upgrades

NA (naturally aspirated) engines need quite a lot of work when you add a turbo, so we have a separate guide to help you take into account the pros and cons of going this route on your M60

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

However most engines have weakspots

It is important to find these limitations and upgrade to better quality components to utilize the power.

You'll commonly see there's a limit in the air flow sensor MAP/MAF/AFM on these engines when a lot more air is being sucked into the engine.

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

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp gains, although more difficult to setup. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

M60 Fuelling

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will have to look at the fuelling when you start going beyond 20% of a torque increase.Don't forget to be generous with your injectors flow rate.

The rule of thumb is to add 20% when fitting an injector, helps cope with injector deterioration and allows a little spare capacity should the engine need more fuel.

We think this one is common sense, but you'll need to match your fuel injector to the type of fuel your car uses as well.

Exhaust Upgrades on the M60

You should look to boost your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually causing a flow problem.

On most factory exhausts you should find that your flow rate is good even on modest power gains, but when you start pushing up the power levels you will need to get a better flowing exhaust.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow through the engine but do not go too wide or you might just stuff your flow rate and make things worse. So generally speaking, keep to a size of 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Typically exhaust restrictions can be traced to the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing performance catalyst removes the restriction. We note that performance cats perform similarly to decats and have the added benefit of keeping your car street legal, as decats or catalyst removal is illegal in most territories for road going cars.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the M60

The M60 engines are generally reliable and solid units, as long as you follow the manufacturers service schedules, and use a good quality oil to ensure longevity. Few problems should happen as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

Carbon build up in the head, particularly around the valves which will sap power or create flat spots, this is a larger issue on direct injection engines but should be looked out for on all engines. We have tips on removing carbon build up.

Some of our members have had issues with flat spots or glitches after applying mods and upgrades or tuning, this is not usually related to this engines design, so instead see our article on diagnosing flat spots and problems after tuning which should help you get the bottom of this issue.

Regular oil changes are vital on the M60, especially when tuned and will help extend the life and reliability of the engine.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your M60 engine please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss tuning options in more detail with our tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below.

We love to hear what our visitors have got up to and which parts work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these M60 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

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One Response to “M60 Tuning”

  1. David says:

    Very thorough and insightful article. Gave me plenty of information and answered all of my questions. will continue to read other articles on this page

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