Diesel World - - Contents - BY ADAM BLATTENBER­G

Italked about this last month and at the time I re­ally didn’t think it would have hap­pened so quickly, but I pulled the trig­ger and picked up a diesel Bim­mer. After break­ing a plan­e­tary in my 7.3L’s trans­mis­sion, and with my other truck un­der the knife, I needed a car and fast. So the BMW dream be­came a re­al­ity. I’ve been shop­ping on­line for one off and on for the bet­ter part of a year and I found that there’s re­ally not a ton of them out there. Go search for an ’06 Ram and you’ll find thou­sands for sale, but a 335d? Not so much. There’s re­ally only a hand­ful avail­able at any given time and most re­quire a plane ticket to check them out in per­son. So I had al­ready pre­pared my­self for the in­evitable trip across the coun­try to pick one up. But when the time came, the best one I could find after fac­tor­ing in ve­hi­cle op­tions and price was in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia, only a few miles away from me. That’s some amaz­ing luck to say the least. I ended up find­ing a 2011 four-door Sport model in Space Grey Metal­lic, with only 50k miles, for much less than $20k. Thing is ba­si­cally brand-new.

So far it’s been great. Gobs of torque (428 of them to be ex­act)—the trac­tion con­trol is get­ting a work­out, as break­ing the rear tires free is just too easy. It gets great mileage (28 in the city), looks good and is a blast to drive. But…

I’m a truck guy. I’ve owned 12 ve­hi­cles (only in­clud­ing the 4-wheeled va­ri­ety) in my life and two were cars…well sorta. One was a Ranchero, so fine, one car and one car with a bed. After driv­ing a car ev­ery day for the last few weeks while the 7.3 was get­ting a new tranny, driv­ing my truck again was such a huge dif­fer­ence. I know, I know… we all know this hap­pens, but it re­ally was a trip how huge the dif­fer­ence was. I had got­ten used to be­ing low, tiny, frag­ile and in­signif­i­cant, and had for­got­ten what it felt like to be able to see sev­eral cars ahead of me in traf­fic, to be larger than most ve­hi­cles on the road, and to be able to drive over al­most any­thing with­out

wor­ry­ing about sig­nif­i­cant dam­age (to my truck at least). Plus, the feel­ing of safety you have in a large truck is just non-ex­is­tent in a small car.

Do I like driv­ing my truck more? It’s not even a con­test, yes all the way. But the diesel Bim­mer is just some­thing so com­pletely dif­fer­ent, and I’m find­ing that no mat­ter the sit­u­a­tion I’m grab­bing the BMW keys much more of­ten than the truck keys. Guess I’m a car guy now…

The first few mods for the new whip will be aes­thetic while I get used to the car, learn the driv­e­train, and find out what these cars do and don’t like mod­i­fi­ca­tion wise. Not mak­ing any un­in­formed de­ci­sions with this one (fa­mous last

words). I plan on only do­ing things once ver­sus the way I’ve built so many trucks: sev­eral dif­fer­ent tur­bos, sev­eral sets of dif­fer­ent sized in­jec­tors, sev­eral dif­fer­ent lift kits, yada, yada, yada. It looks like a good clean­ing of the in­take to re­move Egr-re­lated soot will be first, with the oblig­a­tory in­take/tune/ex­haust com­ing next. I’m go­ing to see just how much power I can get out of the stock in­jec­tors be­fore go­ing big, hit it with a larger fuel sys­tem, in­ter­cooler and then mod­ify the fac­tory tur­bos. We’ll see where that gets me. Oh yeah, did I men­tion that these cars come from the fac­tory with com­pounds? Never thought my first set of com­pounds would be in a car. They’re tiny—44mm on the at­mo­spheric—but they light

in­stantly and ac­tu­ally put out around 28 psi with a stock tune. In the end the goal is go­ing to be some­where around 400 hp. It’s 280 hp at the crank now. From what I’ve seen this will be fairly easy to achieve, as all the mods re­quired are re­ally no dif­fer­ent than with diesel trucks. It’s a com­mon rail, so tun­ing should be cake, and driv­abil­ity at twice the fac­tory horse­power should be amaz­ing. It’s go­ing to be a fun year learn­ing a new plat­form. Stay tuned.

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