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      02-17-2018, 02:14 PM   #229
chadillac2000's Avatar

Drives: ST N54 135i
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NC

iTrader: (6)

I apologize in advance for the long post, but I have some catching up to do as Iíve been absent recently! As some of you may know, a while back I picked up a complete set of brand new GC Lite turbos and accessories to replace my smoking stock twins. I had been meticulously planning the install, doing my research, and gathering all the parts needed to make this a smooth DIY. But life suddenly had other plans and I found myself having to put everything on hold indefinitely. These unforeseen circumstances prompted me to return everything Iíd purchased over the last 6 months, as well as forfeit the $1,000 discount Iíd won through VTT. I was also forced to consider the idea of selling the 135i all together; a car that Iíd had all intentions of keeping forever. Over a matter of months though, things began to improve drastically, and not only was I able to keep the 1er as my daily; I was even able to treat her to that freshening up she deserved for all of her loyal hard work lately.

While it hasnít been that long since I purchased this car back at the beginning of 2016, since then, I have spent a lot of seat time in this thing--to the tune of 50,000 miles in 24 months. Apart from the normal N54 problems, I was able to get out of ahead of most of the issues that typically arise, so ownership had been very enjoyable. More proof that if you take care of these cars with preventative action, they can be extremely reliable without breaking the bank; assuming you can do your own modifications, repairs, and maintenance of course.

It pained me to see my 1erís mileage exceed 100,000 miles, but thatís certainly just a number in my carís case though. So many systems have been refurbished and enhanced since taking ownership, that it certainly didnít reflect its actual age. I finally had the car just where I wanted it on FBO + E85 power levels. It also looked and sounded sensational. It had been a while since Iíd bought anything for the car aside from maintenance items and tooling over the past 6 months, so I thought a few upgrades were in order to commemorate the 100K milestone in the form of a few interior and drivability enhancements.

The first present came in the form of a mod that Iíd been eyeing for the past year, the Ultimate Clutch Pedal. $295 is excessive for a pedal in my opinion, but it was hard to deny the overwhelming positive reviews Iíd read from anyone that had decided to take the plunge and install one. Eventually I gave in and hit ďadd to cartĒ.

In addition to the pedal itself, it also came with a few other attachments and shoulder bolts for installation, including their own clutch stop that Iíll be replacing my BMS clutch stop with. The instructions made things simple.

The first step was to remove the bottom dash cover so we could gain access to the pedal fittings. Disconnecting the Bluetooth module from this panel was the most tedious part of the panel removal.

Working under the dash is among the most awkward places imaginable. It takes constant contortion of your body to make things works. Removing the stock clutch pedal was no different. But progressing through the easy-to-understand instructions sheet eventually left me looking like an automatic.

Because Iíd installed the BMW Performance aluminum pedal set, Iíd need to transfer that one over. Hereís a comparison of the UCP versus the OEM version:

Once I had the aluminum pedal secured to the UCP, all it took was securing the large shoulder bolt and replacing the clip that attaches the slave cylinder to the pedal. After researching as much as I could, I decided to forego the helper spring re-installation. The lack of a helper spring should result in a more linear clutch feel, but takes a bit more effort to engage. A few hours later and things were all reassembled. On to present number 2 of 3.

I loved the thick feel of the M-sport steering wheel, but it was lacking in a few areas; enough that some of other wheels had started to catch my eye despite the high cost. On mine, the perforated leather had become worn at the 7 oíclock position, and the more alcantara I added to the interior, the more I wanted. I wasnít interested in the electronic readout on some of the higher priced BMW Performance wheels, so that left me with only a few options. Keeping with the BMW Performance theme, the full alcantara model with the yellow 12 oíclock stripe seemed fitting. I already had the OEM alcantara trim insert, so they would match up perfectly. The lack of a heated steering wheel that Iíve had in other vehicles meant that on Carolina winter mornings I was frequently forced to use gloves for the first 15 minutes of my morning commute until things warmed up, so hopefully that helps alleviate the need for those as well.

Removing the stock steering wheel was straightforward. First and most importantly, disconnect the battery. Insert a screwdriver on the slits found on the backside of the wheel, depress the spring clip, and pop out each side of the airbag.

Once the airbag is off, a few electrical connectors need to be disconnected, and then a single 16mm bolt before everything is free.

I swapped over the alcantara trim insert from the original steering wheel, and installed in reverse of removal. I have to admit, that ended up being way easier than Iíd anticipated. At this point, Iíd eliminated all the M themed components from the car aside from the ZHP weighted knob, something I was hesitant to remove as it held a nostalgic connection to my former E46 M3. I have strong feelings about that car, and running the same shift knob was my way of paying homage to one of my all time favorite vehicles. But my OCD took over and wanted uniformity. That meant a BMW Performance knob with alcantara accents was installed.

At this point the car was equipped with OEM BMW Performance alcantara boots, knobs, trim, and steering wheels. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, the improvement is undeniable.

Initial thoughts are all extremely positive. The steering wheel completely transformed the interior of the car. Grabbing this thing is pure bliss, and although Iíll have to use more care with how clean my hands are when driving, is well worth the enhanced look and feel. It also isnít uncomfortably cold in the mornings when the temperatures have dropped below freezing the night before. The new knob sits slightly lower than before, and although it takes slightly more effort since it weighs less, fits in perfectly with my interior theme. The Ultimate Clutch Pedal was perhaps my favorite of all three. All the side to side slop has been eliminated. The lower pedal position and included clutch stop, when paired with the lack of a helper spring, just gives a much more precise, linear feel to engaging/releasing the clutch. Now I can immediately find the engagement point and let things smoothly set into motion, where as before with the helper spring, it was much more of a guessing game. Iím surprised removing the helper spring from the stock pedal isnít done more often. Also, the overall range of pedal travel was nearly cut in half. It just gets I imagine this will help even more when I have a more aggressive clutch installed.

The steering wheel, shift knob and clutch pedal completely transformed the driving experience, but unfortunately did not solve my problem of the cloud of smoke that would envelope my car when coming to a complete stop in traffic that Iíd been dealing with for the better part of a year now. At this point, I had a decision to make yet again, as well as some more maintenance items Iíd need to address now that Iíd crossed into six digit mileage. Should I go with OEM replacements for simplicityís sake, take the trip back down the upgraded hybrids route, or opt for a well-put together single turbo kit? I eventually made a decision, but youíll have to wait until later this week to find out.
Visit Chadillac2000's 2008 135i Road Warrior Daily Driver ACF Top Mount Single Turbo Build Thread HERE

Last edited by chadillac2000; 02-17-2018 at 03:19 PM.