BMW N47 Tuning

"All you need to know about tuning the BMW N47 engine!"

The BMW N47 are awesome to work on and with carefully chosen motorsport parts like a remap, turbo kits, and camshafts you will really maximize your driving experience.

The N47 is incredibly popular, primarily because BMW installed this diesel engine into so many models. Power varied from 97hp to over 215 and it came in two cylinder capacities but is essentially the same block.

It replaced the M47 and was succeeded by the B47, it was essentially a good engine, but had its fair share of issues and problems, so make sure you know what to look out for and you can keep on top of those problems.

TorqueCars will examine the options for your N47 tuning and point out the ultimate modifications we have a diesel tuning video tutorial. We will be providing a more specific video for the N47 in the future, so please subscribe to our channel to avoid missing out.

Please Watch my Video on "beginners' guide to Diesel Tuning".

History, Power & Specs of the Engine

N47D16

  • 94 hp @4,000 rpm 173 lbft @1500 - 2750 rpm 2013
  • 114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1500 - 2750 rpm 2012

N47D20

  • 114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1750 rpm
  • 141 hp @4,000 rpm 221 lbft @ 3000 rpm
  • 161 hp @4,000 rpm 251 lbft @ 2000 rpm
  • 174 hp @4,000 rpm 258 lbft @ 3000 rpm
  • 181 hp @4,000 rpm 280 lbft @ 2750 rpm
  • 201 hp @4,400 rpm 295 lbft @ 2000 rpm
  • 215 hp @4,400 rpm 332 lbft @ 2500 rpm

The engines were fitted in the following models and we get a lot of interest from people looking to tune this up and extract a little more power from them.

114 hp @4,000 rpm 192 lbft @ 1500 - 2750 rpm 2012

  • E81 E87 116d E90 316d

141 hp @4,000 rpm 221 lbft @ 3000 rpm

  • E81, E82, E87 and E88 118d
  • E90 and E91 318d
  • F20 118d
  • F30 and F31 318d
  • 2009-2015 BMW E84 sDrive18d and xDrive18d
  • 2010–present MINI Countryman Cooper SD (R60)
  • 2010–present MINI Cooper SD (R56)
  • 2010–present MINI Cabrio Cooper SD (R57)
  • 2010–2015 MINI Coupe Cooper SD (R58)
  • 2012–2015 MINI Roadster Cooper SD (R59)
  • 2013–present MINI Paceman Cooper SD (R61)
  • 2014–2015 F22 218d
  • X3 xDrive18d

161 hp @4,000 rpm 251 lbft @ 2000 rpm

  • E90 BMW 320d Efficient Dynamics

174 hp @4,000 rpm 258 lbft @ 3000 rpm

There was also a twin turbo version :
201 hp @4,400 rpm 295 lbft @ 2000 rpm

  • E87 123d
  • E84 X1 xDrive 23d
  • 2014–2015 F22 225d

Revisions between engine models are generally injectors, turbo and the ECU map. The higher power ones generally use Pintle injectors vs the earlier Piezo's and as these are wired differently can't be swapped over. But swapping a turbo and doing a remap gets you a fairly easy power upgrade on the lower power versions.

Tuning the BMW N47 and best N47 performance parts.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your N47

  1. Air Induction and Performance Exhausts - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER on most cars, but they can help enhance power after other mods by freeing up a restriction.
  2. Mapping - A Remapped N47 ECU gives the biggest gains for the money, replacement ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Fast road cams are significant power adders, but they must be installed by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but there might be a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  4. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  5. Lighter flywheels - a lower weight flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. But not always suitable for all N47 engines.
  6. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - A New Turbo is the most significant way to increase air supply, which permits you to combust more fuel and make higher power. Although one of the most technically difficult modifications it does provide the largest gains.

N47 Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Fast road camshaft, Sports exhaust header/manifold, Intake manifolds, drilled & smoothed airboxPanel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, high flow fuel injectors, induction kit, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust, Ported and polished head.

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

Review your options and then buy your parts and set yourself a power target to avoid costly mistakes.

Best N47 mods

Just because particular parts are popular with N47 owners it doesn't mean it is good, we shall ultimate parts that will give your N47 the best power gain for you spend.

Essentially on a diesel engine you need to dump in more fuel and air, and you'll see a power increase, so most mod address this and increase the flow.

Please note the standard intake and exhaust flows well enough and shouldn't need replacing unless there is a serious hike in power.

N47 Remapping

The ecu map and fuel pump and injectors also will say much on the torque gains you'll achieve. Meaning the remap alone is the single biggest power gain you can get for your money, and as an added bonus you'll see more power and better fuel economy.

The downside of the N47 remaps is that you should shorten your service schedules, particularly oil changes, and change the timing chain more frequently.

It will usually give you around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles, but your results usually rely on the mods you've done and the condition of your engine.

remap should help to establish the full potential of all the mods you've fitted to your N47.

Avoid Peak Power Claims from remapping firms

Because tuners are known to sometimes create a power blip or spike to capture attention, you should not compare maps that just show peak power.

As an alternative, pay attention to the whole torque curve on a dyno printout.

Two common problems with poor remaps are traction issues which are caused by increased power at the bottom end with the turbo spooling up sooner, while more power at its top end causes turbo and component failures.

Use the dyno graph above to try and determine which map best suits your driving style and need - do you want the 200hp or the 175hp one?

When compared to the green line, which shows an increase in power throughout the whole RPM range, the red line shows a decrease in power across the entire RPM range with a peak blip at 5000 rpm.

(In some cases, when you've done lots of mods and want more control over things 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.)

N47 Camshaft Upgrades

Significant gains on the N47 can be made from camshaft upgrades. Altering the camshaft profile alters the intake and exhaust durations on the engine and can dramatically change the engines power and power output.

If you can't find a replacement cam in your area, your best bet may be to regrind the factory one.

A remap should be used in conjunction with a cam since the fueling may need to be adjusted to take advantage of the additional power.

Fast road cams tend to raise the torque throughout the rev band, you could sacrifice a little low end bhp but your top end will be better.

Race cams, raise the top end band but as a result the car will not idle smoothly and low end power nearly always suffers.

On a car used daily, really you should, ideally aim to optimize your power band to your cars usage.

I'd be surprised if you like driving with an N47 Race camshaft in heavy traffic.

We've heard from several drivers who regretted their choice to install an aggressive competitive cam profile on their engine since the low-end idle would be quite bumpy and inconsistent.

Different N47 engines respond better to less aggressive cam durations so view each engine as unique.

Longer 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.

N47 Intake mods

It is the whole point to any performance tuning job to shove more fuel and air into your N47

The intake plenum transmits the air during the suck phase from the intake filter and allow it to be sucked into the engine and mixed with fuel.

We should mention the elephant in the room that is the swirl flaps on these engines.

The swirl flaps are only really effective at lower RPMs so it's more of an economy and emissions feature than a performance one.

As the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve does its thing oil residue builds up coating the intake with carbon, narrowing the intakes, and in some cases, we've seen these lose 50% of their capacity to flow air.

When you add the EGR issues to the swirl flaps the problems just keep getting bigger, and instead of helping emissions and low RPM efficiency, it degrades it further.

So many owners are option to remove the swirl flaps completely, but this may not be legal in some areas, and we would prefer to fit a stronger swirl flap design to retain the usefulness of these at low rpms, where you want your torque and economy.

Keep an eye out for symptoms of carbon buildup in the intake.

Fitting big valve kits, doing a bit of N47 port enlargement and head flowing will also lift power, the fantastic side effect is it will permit a better power increase on other tuning parts. But for most N47 tuning projects this is probably a step too far.

N47 Turbo upgrades

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.

BMW used a twin turbo setup which worked quite well, allowing a fast spool up and lots of headroom.

There are weak spots for every engine, with some being incredibly solid and some only able to handle stock power

Research these limitations and upgrade to better pistons and crank to cope with the power.

We've seen drivers spending a stack of money on turbo charger upgrades on the N47 only to watch the whole thing literally blow up when it's finished.

Bigger turbochargers commonly suffer low end lag, and small turbochargers spool up really quickly but won't have the top end engines power gains.

Thankfully the market of turbo chargers is always increasing and we commonly find variable vane turbo chargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbo chargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbo charger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is common that there is a restriction in the air flow sensor AFM/MAF on these engines when considerably more air is being pulled into the engine.

N47 Fuelling

When you raise the bhp you will need to uprate to the fuelling.

More bhp needs more fuel this is the simple equation and in the case of the N47 your injectors  piezo common rail injection was fitted to the higher power units, and this has an pressure of around 1900 bar, the lower power ones instead used electromagnetic injectors with an injection rail pressure of 1600 bar.

So a significant upgrade was required to push power to the 200hp regions.

We strongly recommend you to over specify your flow rate on the injectors.

The accepted safe increase is to add 20% to the flow rate when fitting an injector, which takes into account injector deterioration and provides 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.

N47 Exhaust

Only look to increase your exhaust if your exhaust is actually causing a restriction.

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

We've seen few N47 projects where an exhaust upgrade was required, the DPF/Cats are the usual areas of restriction and better flowing alternatives are available with catalysts having a higher flow rate, or decatted / catless versions, which are illegal in most areas and regions.

So adding a faster flowing race alternative such as a sports catalyst pretty much removes this restriction, thanks to its larger size and surface area, and will effectively raise the performance to levels you would expect without having a catalyst installed, but keeps the car road legal.

Weak spots Issues & problem areas on the N47

The N47 engines are generally alright as long as they are regularly serviced and maintained.

The N47 engine family is prone to excessive timing chain wear and premature failure, later engine versions designated with a T (technical update) have a revision to prevent this happening and a better ECU setup.

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.

Swirl flaps and EGR valves can cause carbon build up, so these need carefully maintaining and regular checks.

The OEM swirl flaps were prone to break, but thankfully stronger replacements are available.

Turbo wastegate springs would often fail causing it to stick open. The hoses are also in need of attention as these seem to be quite fragile.

Regular oil changes are vital on the N47, 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 N47 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 tuning mods 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 N47 tuning guides which get regular updates and revisions.

Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...


PLAY VIDEO

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

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.

Feedback - What do You Think?

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, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.


Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.



Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).


BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning

Popular articles

Tuning diesels
ECU Remapping
Double Clutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Chip tuning
Insuring Modified Cars
Track day insurance cover
Remapping Diesels
MPG calculator
Clearing a DPF
Forza tuning


Flywheel Lightening

Lightening the flywheel
Read more...

Tune A Car

Tuning a car engine
Read more...

Painting Calipers

Tips on brake caliper painting.
Read more...

Car Mats

Tailored fitted custom and off the shelf car mats.
Read more...

Staying Alert

Staying alert
Read more...

2004 Car News

Car News highlights from 2004
Read more...

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG
Read more...