Tuning the BMW M60

"Comprehensive guide to performance parts and tuning the BMW M60 engine!"

The BMW M60 make awesome project engines and with carefully chosen sports tuning mods like a remap, turbo upgrades and camshafts you will definitely increase your driving pleasure.

Here we review and look at M60 tuning and point out the optimum modifications.

The top M60 tuning parts on an engine are typically the ones that give the best power gain for you spend.

We won't be swayed by popular M60 tuning parts, they need to be cost effective.

Altering your M60 cam will make a dramatic difference to the engine power band. Choosing a higher performance cam profile raises the power band accordingly.

NB: Fast road cams normally increase the bhp over the rev band, you could sacrifice a little low down power but the top end will improve.

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

For a typical daily driver you need to match your engines power to your usage of the car.

I'd be amazed if you have ever thought a M60 Race camshaft is a pleasure to live with when on the daily commute.

Some M60 engines respond better to mild camshaft durations so set your engine up on a rolling road.

The map and fuel pump and injectors also have a large bearing on the power gains you'll get.

Altering valve durations can alter the power 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.

Stage 1 modifications: Sports exhaust manifold, Intake headers, Fast road camshaft, Drilled & smoothed airbox, Panel air filters, Remaps/piggy back ECU.

Stage 2 modifications: Ported and polished head, induction kit, Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades, high flow fuel injectors, Sports catalyst & performance exhaust.

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

Plan your options and then acquire your upgrades and set yourself a power target to avoid wasting your time and money.

ECU flashing helps fully realize the full potential of all the mods you've fitted to your M60.

It will usually give around 30% more power on turbocharged vehicles and you can expect to see around 15% on NASP engines, but figures achieved usually depend much on the mods you've fitted and the condition of your engine.

Pulling fuel and air into your M60 is vital to any car tuning task.

Intake headers take the air from the air filter and allow it to be pulled into the engine cylinders with fuel for the squish phase.

Design and rate of flow of the Intake headers can make a substantial change to fuel delivery on the M60.

On popular production engines intake manifold are needing motorsport parts, although some makers provide reasonably good intake manifold.

Fitting big valve kits, doing some port work and head flowing will also improve bhp, & importantly will afford you increasing the bhp increase on other upgrades.

Turbo upgrades

NASP 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 superb power gains.

If your motor is turbo charged upgrades are simpler to install and you will discover turbocharged engines are built using strengthened components.

There are practical limits for every engine, with some being over specified and some just sufficiently able to handle stock power

Research these limits and upgrade to higher quality components to utilize the power.

It's not unheard of drivers spending a fortune on turbocharger upgrades on the M60 only to experience the car go up in smoke when it's first rolling road session.

Big turbochargers tend to suffer a bottom end lag, and little turbochargers spool up much more quickly but won't have the peak end bhp gains.

Thanks to new tech the selection of turbochargers is always moving on and we are seeing variable vane turbochargers, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end power.

Twin scroll turbochargers divert the exhaust flow into two channels and push these at differently designed vanes in the turbocharger. They also increase the scavenging effect of the engine.

It is not unusual that there's a restriction in the air flow sensor (AFM/MAF/MAP) on the M60 when a lot more air is being drawn into the engine.

Going up you'll find 4 bar air sensors coping with quite large power gains, whereas the OEM air sensor was restricting bhp at a much lower level.

Adding a supercharger or additional turbo will make large bhp and torque gains, although more challenging to get working. We have this feature on twinchargers if you want to read more.

Fuelling upgrades and mods

You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so need to ramp up the fuelling when you start extending past 20% of a performance increase.Most tuners we speak with say to be generous with your flow rate on the injectors.

As a rule of thumb add 20% when specifying an injector, this allows for injector deterioration and allows some 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 and mods

You may need to replace your exhaust if your current exhaust is actually creating a restriction in flow.

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

Do not go with the biggest exhaust you can find this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Usual exhaust restrictions are in the catalysts installed, so adding a freer flowing race alternative will help avoid this restriction.

History 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 290Nm(214 lbft) at 4500 rpm

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

M60B40

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

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

Weak spots, Issues & common problem areas on the M60

The M60 engines, if regularly serviced and maintained, are generally very reliable and have few issues.

Regular oil changes are vital on the M60, particularly when the engine has been modified and is putting down more power than the manufacturer intended.

For more information 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.

We need your help improving this article, so please send us your feedback in the comments box below and pass on any tips, points or facts we have wrong or have not covered.

We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which parts were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our M60 guides and tips are kept up to date.

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