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      12-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
jtsherri
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Post REVIEW: P3 Vent Integrated Digital Interface

One of the biggest regrets I have in myself since buying this car is the amount of time that I waited to buy a boost gauge. I *know* that I can't resist modifying vehicles and when forced induction is involved, the first "mod" that everyone should realistically perform is a gauge to closely monitor boost. It's incredibly important to make sure things are running within the right parameters, especially when running significantly more boost than stock! Sadly, this mod was many steps in and over a year after I installed my first power adders... And this is mostly because I was picky, not because there weren't any available. Yes, folks, I am an idiot.

That said, I would have been kicking myself over and over again if anything had happened to my car... But also think I'd have kicked myself just as much IF I hadn't waited for the one I ended up with! I've seen a few of the other options on the market and while I'm sure they work "OK," after learning a little more about the R&D that went in to the P3 gauge, I'm pretty sure they don't work as perfectly, on all levels, as this one does!

I started talking to Rick about obtaining one of these units quite a while back. And I'll admit, I was one of the people that thought, "Man, that's a lot of dough for a boost gauge!" But I'll also admit that I was dead-wrong in thinking it was like any other option out there. Not only is this thing custom built and integrated specifically for our cars, it also has the option to be Plug 'n' Play (I *HIGHLY* recommend this for the extra $25!), switch maps on your cp-e™ Standback™ 2 Engine Controller, Vishnu PROcede Rev II CANbus, or BMS Juice Box Stage 3 (JB3) - keep in mind that a tune is NOT necessary to run this gauge - AND it's also completely customizable!

As you can see, I was one of the lucky ones that got in on the first run of these bad boys. It came fully assembled in an OEM vent unit, which made the install even easier than what my buddy with a 335xi explained it to be!


(Click for larger version(s))

Something that I forgot to take pictures of, yet were just as high of quality as everything else with this gauge was the packaging and shipping materials. You can see some pics of them in Bullitt's post HERE. (Thanks for posting them, Bullitt!)

Here are close-ups of the power supply, boost sensor and harness that allows for map switching (for those with one of the aforementioned tunes). Part of the reason it's more costly for Rick to produce our unit vs. the 335i/xi gauge is because of this power supply. The design for ours had to be modified because it couldn't be integrated in to the main circuit board (due to size constraints). The reason for this pic is also to show just how high of quality the parts are that Rick used to develop this piece for us. It truly is impressive.



Below are all of the wires that are included if you pay for the Plug 'n' Play harness and map switching option. Also pictured is the tubing, T-fitting and zip ties used during the install. It was truly impressive just how easy this kit made the install - working slowly, I was able to complete the install, clean-up AND finish another project I was working on in roughly 45-50 minutes. There's literally NO guess work! For those interested, HERE are the directions for the install.



So here she is all installed - as you can see, it's a perfect fit and very clean looking. Between the tinted face, perfectly matched lighting and simple, 1-button interface for all of the functionality, it truly is the epitome of "integrated!"



Two of my favorite features of the gauge are the ability to adjust the the brightness of the readout (both during the day AND night) and the ability to control how detailed the readout is for the driver. One can have it display in increments of 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 PSI - this is something I've not had the ability to do with the numerous other brands of gauges I've owned! I keep it set to 0.1, but there's always the option to set it to 0.5 (or 1.0) and press the "peak recall" button too... Which is another GREAT standard option!

For details on everything the gauge is capable of, check out the instructions HERE.

Here's an image I created to show the difference between the dimmest and brightest settings of the gauge at night. As you can see, "bP.1" is almost a perfect match here (realistically, I use bP.2, but this looked better for the camera) and bP.9 is VERY bright.



And here's a close-up of the gauge. Again, if you compare to the light switch below it, you can tell that it's a PERFECT match. It really doesn't get much better than this... This seriously looks like an OEM piece of the dash!





Here are a few night shots to show the difference between the daytime and nighttime lighting. As you can see, it's flawless either way!





So there it is, folks... One of the most long-awaited and exciting mods for our beloved 1ers, yet... And I'm happy to say, there are ZERO disappointments! If you're even remotely considering the purchase of this gauge, stop debating now and pull the trigger. I promise you, it's worth having!

And if my word isn't enough, check out what AMS had to say about the 335i/xi gauge - take note that I didn't comment much on performance... This is mostly because I had no way to accurately test the gauge; however, I think one of the biggest names in turbocharged performance definitely has the right to do so!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric@AMS

Functionality:

Now that I had the item installed and calibrated it was time to see how it stacked up and how it operated. we compared it to a manual gauge that we have here that is horribly accurate and this thing was DEAD ON. I have NEVER seen a digital gauge that isn't just a hair off aside from using a high quality MAP (manifold absolute pressure) sensor. That in itself sold me. It was easy to view the peak boost feature. Setup for match switching is a breeze.

Conclusion:

In all honesty I thought I would have something a bit bad to say about this product as I have never met an electronic boost gauge that I liked. I can say without a shadow of doubt that this gauge is not only the best boost gauge I have put in a car...it might be the best electronic part period. The only bad thing I can say about this is that with the R&D that is put into this piece they are charging WAAAY to little for this. lol if that is a bad thing.

So in short this passed the AMS test with flying colors! We highly recommend this piece and hope to see it or install it in as many cars possible.
For their entire review, click HERE.

Last, but certainly not least, I'd like to send a shout-out to P3cars.com for distributing and doing the pre-order on this gauge, as well as extending my my appreciation to Rick for building it! I do my best to put only the highest quality parts on my car and he made it possible for me to stick with the trend. When he started building these for the 3-series, it was a personal project that he extended to the community and that's exactly what he's done with the 1-series, as well. For this, I'm truly appreciative!

UPDATES:

Promo video from P3cars.com:



And start-up sequence:


Last edited by jtsherri; 12-23-2009 at 01:24 PM.
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      12-21-2009, 05:35 PM   #2
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Man, that was a really in-depth review!

It really is a quality piece. I just got mine today and can't wait to install it.
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      12-21-2009, 06:04 PM   #3
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damn that is SWEET!!!
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      12-21-2009, 06:21 PM   #4
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great review. I agree with everything you and AMS said. It is quite the engineering feat for the price.
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      12-21-2009, 06:33 PM   #5
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Wow, what a well-written review...professionally done and one of the best I've seen on the forums. Anyway, it looks like I can't write my review now since it would be pretty identical to this one.

I just don't know how you installed this in under an hour, while working on another project! It took me much over an hour. I think I worked on it too delicately.
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      12-21-2009, 06:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
I just don't know how you installed this in under an hour, while working on another project! It took me much over an hour. I think I worked on it too delicately.
It took me closer to 75min. Dropping a screw under the seat certainly did not help the install time.

Under an hour for the first time would be a good time. If you are familiar with taking off the dash pieces it will go much quicker. Probably less than half of the first time if I had to do it again.
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      12-21-2009, 07:03 PM   #7
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Thanks guys!

And for those regarding the time it took: Keep in mind I've done a fair number of audio installs, so I'm very much used to tearing the dash and other pieces of the interior apart... That combined with the fact that I have cars at my place regularly to wrench gives me a fair bit of experience doing this kind of thing.

Not doubting anyone's skills, by any means, as a 1ish hour install is completely respectable, in my opinion. Keep in mind that Rick told me he can do this install in 15-20 minutes now. THAT's hauling ass!
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      12-21-2009, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
Keep in mind that Rick told me he can do this install in 15-20 minutes now. THAT's hauling ass!
True. lol.
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      12-21-2009, 08:28 PM   #9
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Thats cool! Thanks for the review!
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      12-21-2009, 08:44 PM   #10
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Flat out awesome product.
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      12-21-2009, 08:48 PM   #11
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I hate the post office they delivered it today but since I wasn't home they took it back. Hopefully I can get someone to pick this up for me tomorrow. Nice review by the way
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      12-21-2009, 09:20 PM   #12
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wow, thats amazing looking

thanks for the detailed review
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      12-21-2009, 10:27 PM   #13
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Thanks for the praises, guys. Hope everyone that gets one of these likes it as much as I like mine!
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      12-21-2009, 11:09 PM   #14
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gonna order mine as soon as i get permission from the boss..prob dec 26th!!!
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      12-21-2009, 11:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mineo77 View Post
gonna order mine as soon as i get permission from the boss..prob dec 26th!!!
I know what it's like trying to get approval from headquarters... That's why I go back and sell other expensive toys that I don't use anymore - I figure: if it's already mine and I sell it, that's "mad money" for stuff like this. Then getting "approval" for other BIG ticket items is easier since you're not asking for as much stuff frequently.

That or I just raise my pimp hand wayyy up high!
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      12-21-2009, 11:30 PM   #16
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nice...so funny cause i do the same thing! i am trying to sell some stuff from my old car at the moment to get my approval. may have to sneak this one by since the preorder opportunity will end soon

by the way..love your extensive reviews. It sold me on Ben's custom enclosure and has me 99% on this one too. if it wasnt for saving for midpipes and suspension i would be 100%
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      12-21-2009, 11:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mineo77 View Post
nice...so funny cause i do the same thing! i am trying to sell some stuff from my old car at the moment to get my approval. may have to sneak this one by since the preorder opportunity will end soon

by the way..love your extensive reviews. It sold me on Ben's custom enclosure and has me 99% on this one too. if it wasnt for saving for midpipes and suspension i would be 100%
Too funny! I'd definitely move on this while you can get the OEM vent assembly. It's REALLY convenient (especially since Rick threw it in for free).

And thanks for the compliment! I try my best to help out the community AND the vendor/manufacture (since they're providing a great product). Generally seems like they do just that.

Oh and hit me with a PM regarding what you're leaning towards for your midpipes and suspension. I'm curious.
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      12-21-2009, 11:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtsherri View Post
Too funny! I'd definitely move on this while you can get the OEM vent assembly. It's REALLY convenient (especially since Rick threw it in for free).
That extra OEM vent is not gonna be free for much longer! Those OEM bmw vents are expensive!

Nice review! You have done a great service to the community with all the products you have reviewed!

-Rick
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      12-21-2009, 11:55 PM   #19
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do you notice a difference in the amount of air that the vent blows out?
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      12-22-2009, 12:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiXst3r View Post
That extra OEM vent is not gonna be free for much longer! Those OEM bmw vents are expensive!

Nice review! You have done a great service to the community with all the products you have reviewed!

-Rick
Thanks, Rick! Your service to the 1er community is even more awesome... This gauge is TOO sweet! And I'm still floored that you included the vent for free... It really is a costly piece and wasn't necessary, but is a great gesture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jibaholic101 View Post
do you notice a difference in the amount of air that the vent blows out?
None whatsoever. I was testing it like crazy the other day and notice zero difference. This was a big concern of mine and meant to mention it, so thanks for asking!
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      12-22-2009, 12:21 AM   #21
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Jason,
Awesome reviews as always! I thought as well how expensive this boost gauge seems, but looks like its worth every penny! Definitely the next mod to my 1er. Now this one is going to be a bit harder to hide from the wifey. lol Great job on the review as always, and great job Rick on an awesome boost gauge!
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      12-22-2009, 03:21 AM   #22
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Just curious how do you switch between maps?
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