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2Addicts | BMW 2-Series forum Technical Topics N20 (228i) / B46 (230i) Engine, Transmission, Exhaust, Tuning 2 engines for 228i: N20 and N26: Can anyone explain?

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      06-12-2015, 04:13 PM   #1
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2 engines for 228i: N20 and N26: Can anyone explain?

According to my VIN #, my 228i M Sport is equipped with the N26 engine, where the car is usually listed as having the N20. They are obviously very similar, but not completely; the N20 puts out more power over 5500 RPM. I ran into this issue while contemplating a Stage 1 tune and was somewhat taken by surprise at having a slightly less potent engine. Here's how the differential is described on Dinan's 228i product page:

Quote:
NOTE: In stock trim, we found that the N20 engine produces more power than the N26 engine at peak rpm (+24 Hp at 6,000 rpm). This, despite BMW’s claims that the N26 engine produces just as much power as the N20. Below 5,500 rpm, both engines perform identically. By all means, the engines are identical, except for the EVAP system and the catalytic converters. The N26 engine uses higher density (read: more restrictive) CATs, which robs power from the engine at high rpm. The N26 CATs have 900/600 cells/sqin, while the N20 CATs have 600/400 cells/sqin. This difference also affects the power gains with DINANTRONICS™.
Can anyone comment? I'd be grateful to learn more. Thank you.
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      06-12-2015, 06:18 PM   #2
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That's interesting to hear from Dinan. Can't guarantee it's correct but this is what I picked up back in 2012 when the F30 was newer and it seemed there weren't many N26 on the block.

N20 is the ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor while the N26 is the SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor. This equates to the N26 having additional emissions equipment:

-V-band downpipe-to-catback exhaust flange (N20 is slip on)
-Electronic waste gate (N20 is pneumatic)
-Larger cats (detailed by Dinan)
-Crank case oil vent recirculation (I believe that's what it is at least - N26 has a tube from valve cover leading back to the intake post-MAF while the N20 does not)

I'm guessing their tune difference is due to the differing wastegate types (electronic Vs pneumatic). I know when Burger Tuning was initially releasing their F30 tunes the Stage 2 tune produced slightly less horsepower on the N26 than the N20 due to lack of ability to control the wastegate effectively. I'd imagine stock, they should dyno the same given OE boost levels (10% HP difference between N20 and N26 at peak RPM is a pretty substantial difference).

What baffles me is why BMW produces both N20 and N26 in states with high emissions standards. It was my impression the N26 would be in the tighter emission states (CA, NY, and a few others) while the N20 would be the standard version yet here in CA I see tons of N20 in addition to some N26.
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      06-12-2015, 06:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
That's interesting to hear from Dinan. Can't guarantee it's correct but this is what I picked up back in 2012 when the F30 was newer and it seemed there weren't many N26 on the block.

N20 is the ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor while the N26 is the SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor. This equates to the N26 having additional emissions equipment:

-V-band downpipe-to-catback exhaust flange (N20 is slip on)
-Electronic waste gate (N20 is pneumatic)
-Larger cats (detailed by Dinan)
-Crank case oil vent recirculation (I believe that's what it is at least - N26 has a tube from valve cover leading back to the intake post-MAF while the N20 does not)

I'm guessing their tune difference is due to the differing wastegate types (electronic Vs pneumatic). I know when Burger Tuning was initially releasing their F30 tunes the Stage 2 tune produced slightly less horsepower on the N26 than the N20 due to lack of ability to control the wastegate effectively. I'd imagine stock, they should dyno the same given OE boost levels (10% HP difference between N20 and N26 at peak RPM is a pretty substantial difference).

What baffles me is why BMW produces both N20 and N26 in states with high emissions standards. It was my impression the N26 would be in the tighter emission states (CA, NY, and a few others) while the N20 would be the standard version yet here in CA I see tons of N20 in addition to some N26.
Thanks, yes, further research reveals that it's all about emissions. People are also saying there is less turbo lag on the N26. I have also heard that all 6MTs are N20s; I am a bit skeptical about that. I cannot imagine any new 228is in CA with anything but the N26.

While I am a little disappointed that I have a slightly down-rated engine (although, as you say, 10% HP at 5500 is not incidental), there may be maintenance advantages for an engine with metal parts in place of rubber hoses. Either way, catalytic converters can be a gigantic, hideously expensive PITA and the fact that the M26's is robbing the engine of more power than the N20's bugs me a bit.

FWIW, my BMW performance tech, who has done a lot of Dinan Stage 1 installations on the N26 (because they are all California cars) says it's an exceptionally effective tune and that it makes a really significant performance difference even if there is slightly diminished output numbers compared to the N20.

Last edited by BarryJI; 06-12-2015 at 06:41 PM.
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      06-12-2015, 06:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryJI
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
That's interesting to hear from Dinan. Can't guarantee it's correct but this is what I picked up back in 2012 when the F30 was newer and it seemed there weren't many N26 on the block.

N20 is the ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor while the N26 is the SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor. This equates to the N26 having additional emissions equipment:

-V-band downpipe-to-catback exhaust flange (N20 is slip on)
-Electronic waste gate (N20 is pneumatic)
-Larger cats (detailed by Dinan)
-Crank case oil vent recirculation (I believe that's what it is at least - N26 has a tube from valve cover leading back to the intake post-MAF while the N20 does not)

I'm guessing their tune difference is due to the differing wastegate types (electronic Vs pneumatic). I know when Burger Tuning was initially releasing their F30 tunes the Stage 2 tune produced slightly less horsepower on the N26 than the N20 due to lack of ability to control the wastegate effectively. I'd imagine stock, they should dyno the same given OE boost levels (10% HP difference between N20 and N26 at peak RPM is a pretty substantial difference).

What baffles me is why BMW produces both N20 and N26 in states with high emissions standards. It was my impression the N26 would be in the tighter emission states (CA, NY, and a few others) while the N20 would be the standard version yet here in CA I see tons of N20 in addition to some N26.
Thanks, yes, further research reveals that it's all about emissions. People are also saying there is less turbo lag on the N26. I have also heard that all 6MTs are N20s; I am a bit skeptical about that. I cannot imagine any new 228is in CA with anything but the N26.

While I am a little disappointed that I have a slightly down-rated engine (although, as you say, 10% HP at 5500 is not incidental), there may be maintenance advantages for an engine with metal parts in place of rubber hoses. Catalytic converters can be a gigantic, hideously expensive PITA.

FWIW, my BMW performance tech, who has done a lot of Dinan Stage 1 installations on the N26 (because they are all California cars) says it's an exceptionally effective tune and that it makes a really significant performance difference even if there is slightly diminished output numbers compared to the N20.
I have a California bought 228i with an N20.

Also bought my wife a 320i with an N20 in California.

Both automatics.

Both have m-sport / sport package on them respectively. Don't know if that makes a difference.

And yes I'm 100% positive they are N20 and not N26. Trust me I looked into it. So it is imaginable haha.

Hope this adds to the BMW confusion
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      06-12-2015, 06:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thescout13 View Post
I have a California bought 228i with an N20.

Also bought my wife a 320i with an N20 in California.

Both have m-sport / sport package on them respectively. Don't know if that makes a difference.

And yes I'm 100% positive they are N20 and not N26. Trust me I looked into it. So it is imaginable haha.

Hope this adds to the BMW confusion
Strange. Oh well, the N26 is what I got, according to my VIN. I was going to say "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade" but the N26 is a pretty fierce engine and the stock M Sport a fast car, so no lemons here! It's a little galling that the tune will produce slightly smaller HP and torque gains but it will still make a very productive engine even more so by a significant margin.

CA can be annoying, considering the strict emission standards combined with 91 octane maximum at the pumps. Oh well, at least I can run the Michelin Pilot summer tires all year round, which is a big bonus.
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      06-12-2015, 07:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
That's interesting to hear from Dinan. Can't guarantee it's correct but this is what I picked up back in 2012 when the F30 was newer and it seemed there weren't many N26 on the block.

N20 is the ULEV (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor while the N26 is the SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) motor. This equates to the N26 having additional emissions equipment:

-V-band downpipe-to-catback exhaust flange (N20 is slip on)
-Electronic waste gate (N20 is pneumatic)
-Larger cats (detailed by Dinan)
-Crank case oil vent recirculation (I believe that's what it is at least - N26 has a tube from valve cover leading back to the intake post-MAF while the N20 does not)

I'm guessing their tune difference is due to the differing wastegate types (electronic Vs pneumatic). I know when Burger Tuning was initially releasing their F30 tunes the Stage 2 tune produced slightly less horsepower on the N26 than the N20 due to lack of ability to control the wastegate effectively. I'd imagine stock, they should dyno the same given OE boost levels (10% HP difference between N20 and N26 at peak RPM is a pretty substantial difference).

What baffles me is why BMW produces both N20 and N26 in states with high emissions standards. It was my impression the N26 would be in the tighter emission states (CA, NY, and a few others) while the N20 would be the standard version yet here in CA I see tons of N20 in addition to some N26.
N20's can have an electronic waste gate. As mine does.
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      06-12-2015, 09:07 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 2msport View Post
N20's can have an electronic waste gate. As mine does.
Interesting, maybe that's a later year thing. All my research was for the F30 platform and a few years back, things may have changed a bit
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      06-12-2015, 09:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryJI View Post
Strange. Oh well, the N26 is what I got, according to my VIN. I was going to say "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade" but the N26 is a pretty fierce engine and the stock M Sport a fast car, so no lemons here! It's a little galling that the tune will produce slightly smaller HP and torque gains but it will still make a very productive engine even more so by a significant margin.

CA can be annoying, considering the strict emission standards combined with 91 octane maximum at the pumps. Oh well, at least I can run the Michelin Pilot summer tires all year round, which is a big bonus.
Exactly, BMW seemingly makes no sense pumping out N20 & N26 cars with no obvious rhyme or reason at this point. Confusing indeed.

I'd still doubt a 10% power loss for having the N26 - theoretically, if that's the case, you'd see HUGE gains when going to a catless downpipe with appropriate tune.

Would love to see a side-by-side N20 and N26 dyno comparison (same dyno/same day)!
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      06-12-2015, 09:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
Exactly, BMW seemingly makes no sense pumping out N20 & N26 cars with no obvious rhyme or reason at this point. Confusing indeed.

I'd still doubt a 10% power loss for having the N26 - theoretically, if that's the case, you'd see HUGE gains when going to a catless downpipe with appropriate tune.

Would love to see a side-by-side N20 and N26 dyno comparison (same dyno/same day)!
You know much more about this than I do, Matt. I hope you don't think I'm an idiot for getting the Stage 1 tune for the N26 in spite of the more moderate gains.

I know from the way I drive the car, i.e. spiritedly but all road, no track, that I do not spend a lot of time at 5,500 rpm and above.
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      06-12-2015, 09:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryJI View Post
You know much more about this than I do, Matt. I hope you don't think I'm an idiot for getting the Stage 1 tune for the N26 in spite of the more moderate gains.

I know from the way I drive the car, i.e. spiritedly but all road, no track, that I do not spend a lot of time at 5,500 rpm and above.
Heck no, stage 1 on N26 is still good! I ran the Burger tune stage 1 on my N26 for a bit because at the time, it was the only option, and it was worth it. You especially can't go wrong with Dinan regardless of driving style, they're an industry leader for a reason
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      06-12-2015, 10:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tiltmode43 View Post
I'd still doubt a 10% power loss for having the N26 - theoretically, if that's the case, you'd see HUGE gains when going to a catless downpipe with appropriate tune.
I bet you are right but catless downpipes are way above my pay grade. Plus: fumes, check engine lights if no tune to match...and it's illegal in CA!
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      06-14-2015, 11:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by BarryJI View Post
I bet you are right but catless downpipes are way above my pay grade. Plus: fumes, check engine lights if no tune to match...and it's illegal in CA!
BarryJI if you want the best bang for your bucks tune & if you're thinking of catless downpipe then ECU Flash can turn off CEL from DP thru their software GSR Autosport
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      06-15-2015, 12:47 AM   #13
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Thanks, ROBNYC but I want to stay on the right side of my dealership and have no need for these radical, track-orientated tunes and modifications. I just want to access the capabilities of the engine that are not made available in stock form but not to a point where excess wear might occur, or a violation of warranty. I do not want to be playing cat and mouse with my dealership, either, and because they are a licensed Dinan shop, I won't have to with a Dinan tune. The car is way too fully loaded to be practical as a track car, even if I wanted to do this (I don't, it's a DD), so Dinan is the best path for me.
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      06-15-2015, 08:30 PM   #14
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Isn't it just 'peak' HP at the RPM? Net HP is the same for both. I don't think it makes less than the N20. I have an N26 and funny thing is, the hoses all say 'N20' lol. Don't care..car is quick in either version and the GSR tune will take care of the rest of my need for speed . I do agree..would be nice to test an N20 and an N26 same day, same dyno.
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      05-12-2017, 06:28 PM   #15
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Ok, so I accidentally bought the N26 and have been patiently waiting for the aftermarket manufacturers to embrace the lesser of these two engines. (2-years and No-Joy)

Now I am back on the forums hoping someone has found a work-around.

In my head this seems like it should be a simple conversion, the block and heads are the same on both N20 and N26 engines, right? There's got to be some way to convert the engine management system of an N26 into an N20, or fool the aftermarket stage-3 upgrades so that we can all buy the same off-the-shelf N20-only parts.

What is it going to take for us to bolt these N20 parts (like DINAN's stage-3, big-turbo, etc.) onto our sad little misfit N26's?

Sorry about all the whining...
Cheers, Mac
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      05-12-2017, 07:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mc228 View Post
Ok, so I accidentally bought the N26 and have been patiently waiting for the aftermarket manufacturers to embrace the lesser of these two engines. (2-years and No-Joy)

Now I am back on the forums hoping someone has found a work-around.

In my head this seems like it should be a simple conversion, the block and heads are the same on both N20 and N26 engines, right? There's got to be some way to convert the engine management system of an N26 into an N20, or fool the aftermarket stage-3 upgrades so that we can all buy the same off-the-shelf N20-only parts.

What is it going to take for us to bolt these N20 parts (like DINAN's stage-3, big-turbo, etc.) onto our sad little misfit N26's?

Sorry about all the whining...
Cheers, Mac
"Sad little misfit N26s"?? Not mine. I have found a really good line of tuning products for this engine, everything you'd need for the street. Now, if I were intending to track or race the car, I would be deeply embarrassed about buying an N26 "accidentally" because its ceiling for performance modifications you'd want on the track is so much lower than the N20's. I thought about if the Dinan Big Turbo kit plus tune could be reverse-engineered for my N26 but I just don't need peak torque at well over 5,500 RPM for the street. Dinan do not even recommend this mod for street driving. I actually respect the CA emissions policy that resulted in SULEV engines like the N26; that's because I remember what trying to breathe was like in Los Angeles in the summer in the eighties. So... The N26 is no "sad little misfit", especially when it can be tuned -- legally and under warranty -- to do 0 - 60 in less time than a stock M235i and every bit as fast as an equivalently street-tuned N20.
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      05-16-2017, 07:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mc228 View Post
Ok, so I accidentally bought the N26 and have been patiently waiting for the aftermarket manufacturers to embrace the lesser of these two engines. (2-years and No-Joy)

Now I am back on the forums hoping someone has found a work-around.

In my head this seems like it should be a simple conversion, the block and heads are the same on both N20 and N26 engines, right? There's got to be some way to convert the engine management system of an N26 into an N20, or fool the aftermarket stage-3 upgrades so that we can all buy the same off-the-shelf N20-only parts.

What is it going to take for us to bolt these N20 parts (like DINAN's stage-3, big-turbo, etc.) onto our sad little misfit N26's?

Sorry about all the whining...
Cheers, Mac
Other than the Cat/downpipe being more restrictive on the N26, it's the same damn engine. Relax

The N26 is based on the BMW N20, with the following changes: metal fuel lines (instead of rubber), a valve in the fuel tank venting system to test the fuel system for leaks, an electronic wastegate and larger catalytic converters.[2] ---Courtesy of wikipedia.
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      05-22-2017, 12:20 PM   #18
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Thanks for the feedback. I think that we are in agreement about the engine, and the term "misfit" was used purposefully in reference to it being the same engine but cast aside by DINAN. I have the stage 1, but being told engine management upgrades beyond that are off limits due to the added features mentioned above.

The real question is "how do I add Dinan stage 3 for an N20 to this N26?"

Thanks again
Mac
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      05-22-2017, 07:19 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mc228 View Post
Thanks for the feedback. I think that we are in agreement about the engine, and the term "misfit" was used purposefully in reference to it being the same engine but cast aside by DINAN. I have the stage 1, but being told engine management upgrades beyond that are off limits due to the added features mentioned above.

The real question is "how do I add Dinan stage 3 for an N20 to this N26?"

Thanks again
Mac
Dinan did not "cast aside" any engine. They are committed to making products that are emissions-legal in all states; that is their business plan and that is why it is not cost-effective for them to be developing products for low-production SULEV engines that have to conform to stricter emissions regulations in a handful of states.

Look, you bought a car that you obviously wanted to tune very aggressively but you ended up with an N26 engine unsuitable for the most radical modifications because you didn't do your homework. Some might call that monumentally foolish. Now you complain that Dinan has somehow let you down. Grow up. If your N26 cannot be made fast enough for you (and lord knows why you want to flog that small engine within an inch of its life with a Stage 3 tune and a big turbo if it's not a dedicated track car) then cut your losses, sell your "misfit" car and get something that will make you happy. Or find an iffy back-street tuner who will jury-rig your N26 with a tune that was not designed for it and see if that makes you happy (it won't). Or you could jeopardize your warranty by using non BMW-approved aftermarket parts. But stop whining! The N26 in the 228i is a good engine and there are plenty of -- legal and illegal -- tuning options for it. It is not Dinan's fault that you bought the wrong car.
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      05-23-2017, 08:23 AM   #20
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Again, Thanks for the feed back.

I love my car and am a loyal DINAN supporter. Obviously my brand of humor is not making it through the filter of the loyal. No matter how I say it I can't seem to articulate the thought that a quality N26 to N20 conversion would be great for guys like me who bought their 1st BMW assuming that a 228i was supported across the board.

Thought that I admitted to being naive and stupid, finding out afterward how stupid I truly was. I guess I made a second mistake reaching out here. Shame on me.

Sorry, had no idea how offended I could make the world of BMW and DINAN faithful by asking for a conversion kit that would allow me to play in your exclusive sand box. I'll go sit in the corner and color in my coloring book if that gives your ego the stroke it needs. Thanks for the assist.
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      05-27-2017, 12:04 PM   #21
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From what I've researched it's all in the cat that makes problems.

I would ask dinan if you modded an n20 cat to fit, could you use the n20 tune.

(Yes I know it's not a bolt on and would require welding)
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      06-05-2017, 10:25 PM   #22
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How do I know if I have the N20 or N26 engine in my 2016 228ix. I am thinking about a stage 1 tune and would like to find out.
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