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      12-16-2014, 07:25 PM   #1
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Ambient Thermal Management FMIC Review

I recently purchased and installed an Ambient Thermal Management (ATM) stepped FMIC for my 2011 135i DCT and wanted to share my experience with the forum. I believe ATM designed the intercooler previously sold by Helix and are now offering the intercooler directly to the consumer. I don't think ATM has posted the n54/n55 FMIC for sale yet so I thought this would be a good time for me to share my first review on the forum.

Packaging
The intercooler packaging was excellent. The intercooler and ancillary parts were placed in a box which was then placed in another box with styrofoam supports and bubble wrap. The intercooler arrived with zero damage.


Build quality
Intercooler: The build quality of the intercooler is excellent and I really like the matte look of the sand blasted finish. The welds are very good, the end tanks are cast, big, and seem to flow well, and overall the whole thing feels solid. Also, one thing I like about the ATM stepped core is the face of the intercooler is one piece whereas on other stepped intercoolers the larger front face is two pieces. I know it's a small detail, but I'm mildly anal retentive and appreciate details like this .

Ancillary parts: The high quality continues with the ancillary parts. The silicone hoses are thick and the aluminum j-pipe has a smooth mandrel bend. The j-pipe has a sand blasted finish, similar to the FMIC. I will point out the beads on the j-pipe were a little small, making it challenging to feel the bead through the silicone hose. My preference when installing hose clamps is to get the hose clamp right next to the bead, which is a little harder to do with the small bead. Having said that, I believe the bead will do its part in helping prevent the silicone hose from slipping off.
Lastly, there are four worm clamps and two pan head washers. The worm clamps are good quality as they have an inner layer to prevent the perforations of the worm clamp from damaging the silicone hose. Some prefer t-bolt clamps to worm clamps, but I have used both types haven’t had issues with either one.











Basic measurements
Weight was taken on my bathroom scale. I did my best to take accurate measurements, but please keep in mind they are meant to give you a rough idea of the general size and various dimensions of the intercooler. I am sure ATM will be able to provide more precise measurements.

Intercooler:
Weight: 20lbs
Diameter of inlet/outlet (internal): 2.25”
Height (front): 7.75”
Depth (front): 2”
Height (rear lower core): 5”
Depth (rear lower core): 3.5”
Width of core: 21”
Total width (end tank to end tank): 26.75”
Total depth of core (front to rear): 5.5”

Ancillary parts:
Diameter of silicone hoses (internal): 2.5”
Diameter of J-pipe (internal): 2.5”




















Installation and fitment
My recommendation would be to find a few diy’s as well as instruction manuals online. There were no issues with fitment of the intercooler and I did not remove my bumper.

From what I understand, no trimming is required on the E9X cars. On the E8X cars, usually the temperature sensor bracket requires a minor amount of trimming. Initially, I thought I could get away with not having to trim my temperature sensor bracket. However, after looking over my install, I double checked the clearance between the intercooler and the bracket. After removing the passenger side intercooler mounting screw, I could see that the intercooler was hitting the bracket about 1 or 2 cm before the intercooler bracket was coming in contact with the car. So, I removed the intercooler and trimmed the bracket with my dremel and a file. File is completely optional, I just used it at the very end to smooth out the surface.

Picture of bracket before trimming.


Picture of fitment before trimming.


Picture of bracket after trimming.




Picture of fitment after trimming.


Picture of dremmel.


Picture of file.



I believe one of the more difficult parts of the installation for an intercooler kit that replaces the factory piping will be installing the cold side piping. Even then, on most cars, this shouldn’t be an issue since there is sufficient open space to tighten the hose clamp securing the j-pipe to the silicone connector. This part of the install becomes more challenging if you have a DCT or 1M (I think) because these cars come with a transmission heat exchanger (picture below), and it sits right around the bend of the silicone elbow on the cold side. The heat exchanger blocks access to the hose clamp that secures the silicone elbow to the j-pipe, making it difficult to tighten, and also introduces an additional hose that you need to negotiate when fitting the piping. I just took my time to adjust the positioning of the hose clamp and silicone elbow to avoid parts that are touching from damaging each other. For me, it was impossible to avoid things from touching each other so my goal was to make sure there were no areas of major pressure, which I believe I was able to accomplish. The things to watch for when installing the cold side piping are: 1. Is the hose clamp clear of any belts and clear of the additional hoses coming from the heat exchanger, 2. Is the silicone elbow clear of the heat exchanger.

Some things that helped make the install easier are:
1. This is not required, but I shaved down the plastic cross bar around the area where the ends of the intercooler are. The crossbar curves inward at the ends and shaving it down slightly (maybe 1 or 2mm) with a dremel gave a little more room to push the intercooler up. You can see where I marked the cross bar with a marker.




2. There are two radiator clips that hold up the fan support. Unclipping both allows the fan assembly to drop an inch or so which makes it easier to push the intercooler up. I was able to push up the intercooler without unclipping the clips on my second go around by pulling back on the fan shroud a little bit as I pushed the intercooler in. The fan shroud has a little give without removing the clips. I guess this is one of those things where you just have to try and see what works for you.



3. Set the orientation and length of the cold side piping similar to the factory piping .

4. For cars with the transmission heat exchanger, I tried getting to the cold side hose clamp that secures the silicone elbow to the j-pipe using a variety of extensions and swivel sockets. While I was able to tighten the clamp, I wasn’t 100% sure it was tight. So I test fit the cold side piping and adjusted it for fitment, tightened the clamp as much as possible with my crazy extension setup to make sure the pipes do not change orientation, then dropped the cold side of the intercooler and removed the piping. Then I tightened the clamp down to confirm it was tight, and reinstalled.

This is the transmission heat exchanger.



5. Last but not least, it would be nice to have an extra set of hands available. Another set of hands will help when shoving the intercooler between the fan shroud and bumper support and slipping on the hoses. Having said that, I ended up removing and reinstalling the intercooler by myself when I went back to double check the install and take additional pictures. I just layed on my back and put my creeper right in front of the car so I had a place to put the intercooler after it came out. As the intercooler dropped down, I rested it on my chest/stomach and transferred it over to the creeper.

Here are some additional installed pictures of the intercooler. From the front, when looking at bumper level, all you see is intercooler. I took a picture from a low enough point where you can see the top of the intercooler as well. You can see there is a gap between the bumper and the top of the intercooler, allowing airflow to go to other places.

Front at bumper level.


Font bumper close up.


Front bumper close up looking up into the bumper.

Passenger side.


Driver side.


Intercooler angle 1.


Intercooler angle 2.



Performance
Current list of engine mods on my car is: PTF 91 octane etune, iCarbon downpipe, BMWP y-pipe , ER charge pipe, AFE dry drop-in filter, and ATM FMIC. I did not do any before and after dyno’s so I will not have any HP results, but there is plenty of information out there showing the potential HP increases from a FMIC. I think the best way I can show the intercooler is working is through IAT. I grabbed multiple logs since the install and attempted to capture different scenarios. The results are great in my opinion.

First are the 2, 3, 4 gear logs. Unfortunately, my go to testing road for tuning ended up being too short for a full 2, 3, 4 gear pull and I ran out of room going into 4th. But this is what I have for now lol.

This pull I let the car shift at redline. I know this is not as fast as shifting earlier in the rev band, but I just wanted to grab the full RPM range.
CSV


This pull I decided to do the run similar to if I was on a ľ mile run. So the shifts are in the 5000K range.
CSV


Next are the 3rd gear pulls.

This is the pull I grabbed right after completing the install.
CSV


The next two pulls I grabbed the same day as the 2, 3, 4 gear pulls.

3rd gear pull 2.
CSV


3rd gear pull 3.
CSV


Overall I believe this is a great option for a FMIC upgrade. The pictures of the intercooler speak for themselves. In addition, ATM customer service has been great. Although I didn’t have any issues, they have been responsive to my inquiries regarding the intercooler. I am definitely happy with the purchase and believe others looking for a FMIC upgrade will be happy as well.

If you have any additional questions or if I left out anything, please feel free to ask or chime in. Finally, thanks for reading!! Hopefully I helped somebody!

Last edited by houtan; 02-02-2015 at 01:48 PM. Reason: added additional information/CSVs
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      12-16-2014, 10:17 PM   #2
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Looks like a nice piece....Welds look good
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      12-16-2014, 11:10 PM   #3
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So how much and where did you get? Do you have any installed pics? Great write up. Thanks for the effort.
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      12-16-2014, 11:28 PM   #4
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Wow. Great write-up. Also interested in some installed pics. I'm ready for a change from my 7" to a nice stepped core like this to fill the bumper up/flow/cool better.
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      12-16-2014, 11:42 PM   #5
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Do you have a before log of the IAT? Curious to see what the actual drop in temp was.
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      12-17-2014, 01:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A_Squared View Post
Looks like a nice piece....Welds look good
Yeah, i agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLU135i View Post
So how much and where did you get? Do you have any installed pics? Great write up. Thanks for the effort.
Thanks! The intercooler was $724 plus $70 for shipping for a total cost of $794. I emailed ATM directly at ambientthermalmanagement@yahoo.com. I'm sure they will chime in at some point, but i think emailing them will get you a faster answer on when they will be releasing it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e36addict View Post
Wow. Great write-up. Also interested in some installed pics. I'm ready for a change from my 7" to a nice stepped core like this to fill the bumper up/flow/cool better.
Thanks! I completely forgot to take pictures of the intercooler installed on the car. I will snap some through the grill as soon as it clears up. I will say that all you see is intercooler when you look through the bumper opening . I will snap some pictures from underneath the car this weekend as well when I get a chance to double check everything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuNkY6913 View Post
Do you have a before log of the IAT? Curious to see what the actual drop in temp was.
Are you referring to a before log at stock boost? I may have something. But I would also have to uninstall my tune to grab after logs at stock boost. I'll see what i can get this weekend.
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      12-17-2014, 09:38 AM   #7
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Could you make a 3/4/5th gear pull and show iat? It gives a better view on iat rise then a single 3rd gear pull.
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      12-17-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
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houtan > Nice wright up. I've been interested in getting a "no-cut" FMIC for a while. Which two clips are you referring to in terms of the fan/shroud. I'm pretty familiar with the fan/shroud so just curious. The two clips I know of, are on the inside of the shroud (middle of the unit), which come up. In other words, the fan doesn't go down any further, but you can pull it upwards and out.

Appreciate the input.
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      12-17-2014, 02:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhold View Post
Could you make a 3/4/5th gear pull and show iat? It gives a better view on iat rise then a single 3rd gear pull.
Thatís a little too ballsy for my blood on public roads! Lol. I will try to, or possibly a 2/3/4 pull.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TUN3D View Post
houtan > Nice wright up. I've been interested in getting a "no-cut" FMIC for a while. Which two clips are you referring to in terms of the fan/shroud. I'm pretty familiar with the fan/shroud so just curious. The two clips I know of, are on the inside of the shroud (middle of the unit), which come up. In other words, the fan doesn't go down any further, but you can pull it upwards and out.

Appreciate the input.
Thanks! I found this pic from an old thread for a different intercooler that does a good job showing one of the clips. Looking from underneath the car, the clips are on the left and right side of the intercooler. If you squeeze on the tab where the arrow is pointing to, the clip will release. It comes out by pulling straight down. After removing both, the whole radiator/fan assembly will drop down an inch or so making it easier to slip the intercooler in. once the intercooler is in, install the screws to hold the intercooler in place, then push up on the bottom of the intercooler and everything will move up. While pushing up, reinstall the clips. Also, pushing up on the radiator when removing the clips makes it easier to un-snap the clips before removing them.

One other thing to keep in mind is some 1 series owners needed to shave down the mount for the outdoor temp sensor. Would be easy to do with a dremel, but I didnít need to shave it down. I will upload a pic as soon as I get it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboBullett@Ambient Thermal Management View Post
Thanks for the review Houtan and glad you are enjoying the Intercooler, we are currently vendors on f30post and are in process of joining e90 and 1addicts. We will be starting a group buy shortly at the lowest price point mentioned above,($679+shipping for 07-08 and $724+shipping for 09+ due to j-pipe)and by all means try to do a 3-4-5 gear run!
We do have about 20 units in stock just need the final finish applied, so only a small wait to ship!

***moderator please PM me so we can get setup for this forum***
No problem. Thanks for the solid product.
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      12-17-2014, 02:50 PM   #10
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2/3/4 is fine as well
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      12-17-2014, 03:02 PM   #11
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houtan > Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification. Those are the radiator mounts. You had me going there with the "clips" thing. LOL! I just might jump on this. Thanks again for the wright up.

Can't wait to see those pics man -- let me know. Awesome!
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      12-17-2014, 03:44 PM   #12
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Those welds are practically eye-wateringly good.
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      12-17-2014, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShocknAwe View Post
Those welds are practically eye-wateringly good.
They are some pretty nice dime stacks.
I can get half as good on aluminum with my 3 weeks worth of welding late at night on a college student project. Just goob it up was our motto sometimes.
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      12-17-2014, 06:03 PM   #14
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I was referring to a log at any boost level. I was wondering if you have one with the exact same tune/mods before intercooler and after intercooler. So people can see the overall temp drop.
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      12-17-2014, 10:51 PM   #15
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Looks great! in for installed pics
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      12-18-2014, 02:17 AM   #16
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Thanks for the review including all the specs!

IIRC, the Helix intercoolers use OE style pipe connections, but this ATM uses larger size silicone joiners.
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      12-18-2014, 06:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John_01 View Post
Thanks for the review including all the specs!

IIRC, the Helix intercoolers use OE style pipe connections, but this ATM uses larger size silicone joiners.
We developed the intercoolers for Helix and never implemented the factory connectors on the e90-92-135i as they are a restriction to flow. We do use the factory connectors on the newer f30 intercoolers as they are much larger ID.

Last edited by TurboBullett@Ambient Thermal Management; 12-18-2014 at 08:04 AM.
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      12-20-2014, 01:18 PM   #18
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Updated the original post per requests/suggestions! thanks for all of the feedback and comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by e36addict View Post
Wow. Great write-up. Also interested in some installed pics. I'm ready for a change from my 7" to a nice stepped core like this to fill the bumper up/flow/cool better.
pictures are up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TUN3D View Post
houtan > Gotcha! Thanks for the clarification. Those are the radiator mounts. You had me going there with the "clips" thing. LOL! I just might jump on this. Thanks again for the wright up.

Can't wait to see those pics man -- let me know. Awesome!
Lol! my bad. pictures are up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShocknAwe View Post
Those welds are practically eye-wateringly good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtla1 View Post
They are some pretty nice dime stacks.
I can get half as good on aluminum with my 3 weeks worth of welding late at night on a college student project. Just goob it up was our motto sometimes.
agree! I really like the welds as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuNkY6913 View Post
I was referring to a log at any boost level. I was wondering if you have one with the exact same tune/mods before intercooler and after intercooler. So people can see the overall temp drop.
Unfortunately, I cannot find my logs with the stock intercooler. ☹ hopefully the logs will help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by project jayden View Post
Looks great! in for installed pics
pictures are up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John_01 View Post
Thanks for the review including all the specs!
no problem, thanks for reading.
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Last edited by houtan; 12-20-2014 at 01:28 PM.
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      12-20-2014, 07:50 PM   #19
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Thanks for posting up the installed pics! I love how it has a 7 inch front face. Fills up the front bumper nicely. Only thing I'm worried about is why they chose to use 2.5 inch inlet/outlet. I read somewhere that 3 inch was the ideal size. Also my charge pipe uses 3 inch so I was hoping to keep things consistent. I wonder why they did that...Quality looks top notch though!
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      12-21-2014, 12:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by project jayden
Thanks for posting up the installed pics! I love how it has a 7 inch front face. Fills up the front bumper nicely. Only thing I'm worried about is why they chose to use 2.5 inch inlet/outlet. I read somewhere that 3 inch was the ideal size. Also my charge pipe uses 3 inch so I was hoping to keep things consistent. I wonder why they did that...Quality looks top notch though!
Awesome!! Thanks for
The picture updates.
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      12-21-2014, 05:02 AM   #21
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Tnx Houtan.
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      12-21-2014, 01:12 PM   #22
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Guys we have 20 of these in stock, however we need to get the final Sandblasted finish done to them, we will be starting a Group Buy on E90post this week but in the meantime if anyone wants to place a deposit simply PayPal us $100 at

Ambientthermalmanagement@yahoo.com

Initial price for 07-08 is $679 and $724 for 09+(added J-pipe) + shipping, if we hit certain quantities in GB the price will drop ie:

Qty 1-10 $679/724
Qty 11-15 $659/704
Qty 15+ $639/684

Last edited by TurboBullett@Ambient Thermal Management; 12-21-2014 at 01:41 PM.
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