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      05-09-2011, 06:29 AM   #1
Dackelone
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Exclamation Got my car tuned/flashed in Germany…

So… I decided to get a German tune for my 135i…

I finally did it! After having my 135i’s software re-flashed by my BMW dealer for the new HPFP pump priming… I also found out (the hard way) that the SW update also gave me some added “turbo lag”. At first it was hard to notice… but then the more I drove my car… the more noticeable the “lag” became. The main thing I noticed was a quieter engine idle and less power at low revs – and lag at low revs. I think this is because the new SW keeps the waste gates open at idle and just off idle.

What I really wanted was my original SW back… but BMW does not let us do that! Once the SW has been updated there is no original file saved to re-load.

So… that is when I knew it was time for me to get a SW flash tune! And… I knew who I was going to turn to get it done! Last year I started informal talks with MS Tuning, near Stuttgart (30 minutes away). Marcel is the owner and really knows a lot about BMW’s software and tuning possibilities. Actually he tunes all sorts of makes & models (from Audi’s to Volvo’s)… but his passion is for BMW’s. He drives one fast 335i (tuned of course!) too.

Anyway… last year I went to a lot of the various BMW tuners over here in Germany. Digi Tech, Tech-Tec, SKN, UpSoLuTe, ect… At first they all want your money… but they did not seem that thrilled to field my various questions on engine tuning, gains and how the engine is tuned for the customer – me!


I did find one company that was very helpful though: MS Tuning. Marcel goes by the user name: reihensechszyli over at the www.1erforum.de (ie the German 1er forum) Marcel took time to answer my many questions. Over the course of a year we talked back and fourth thru emails and PM’s over at the 1er forum… I realized he was going to tune my car. He had gained my trust. Something that not many shops can do. It is hard trusting your “baby” to strangers. But I just had a “good feeling” with talking to Marcel. He really knows all the various SW differences when it comes to BMW’s turbo models and also NA models too! And he did a great job on tuning my car.

Flash tunes are VERY expensive over here. Most Germans are willing to pay upwards of 1,400 euros JUST to have the speed limiter removed! Most software tunes range from 1,000 to 1,800 euros. Mine cost around 1,000 euros. For that I got peace of mind of a factory level tune… with little chance of throwing an engine check light or blowing up my motor. I really did not want a piggy back tune. I wanted something that incorporated the safety features of the OE software. So I knew a German tuners was for me. I also wanted to remove the top speed limiter.


I did not want absolute power mod’s… but rather something very drivable yet powerful. I opted for Marcel’s stage II: 380 PS and 520 Nm of Tq. Boost pressure: 0.95 Bar (almost 15 psi). The tune is meant to run on 98 octane SuperPlus fuel but you can limp around on lower grade fuel IF need be and IF you do not plant your foot on the loud pedal.



The Process:

First thing Marcel did was to check for any fault codes and general health of my car. He looked in the car’s service history and maintenances due. He also checked the “oil condition” screen/menu. All was good. The last thing you want to do is tune a unhealthy engine! He then started a backup of the original software currently loaded on the engine ECU (DME). This took a long time. A little bit over an hour. After the original SW was saved… we went out for a road test with the stock BMW SW. Marcel does this to gauge in what condition the car/engine is.





Marcel was quite surprised on how strong my engine felt during our road test. He told me just the day before, he had tuned a 135i N54 with the BMW Performance Kit (PPK) and my “stock” car felt just as strong. He really could not feel the lag I was talking (complaining) about since I had my SW updated. He also told me that this other 135i with the PPK (a German model e82) also had the new SW update (since it also had the new DSC icon – but that car did not flash the turn signals as my car does with locking/unlocking). Marcel also commented on how great my clutch felt (thanks to my CDV delete) and how great my Performance SSK felt. He told me that my car’s engine was a GOOD one!

During Marcel’s road test… he runs a data logging on his laptop – to check for any trouble. He also checks the exhaust temps, air intake temps, oil temps and water temps. Just to make sure there is nothing wrong with the stock engine. We then headed back and started the second part of the tune.




Data logging…




Once back Marcel looks up your VIN in his data base… and writes a special “tuned” software code - tailored to your particular car’s needs. One some cars there are special cache codes that need to be written. On other cars nothing is needed. But he needs to go thru the car’s SW (line) code to find out. This took about an hour to do. Then once the software code is finished… he uploads the new “performance tune” – to flash into the car’s DME. This doesn’t take as long as the download. The upload only took about 25 minutes. Once finished… Marcel drives/tests the car once again… and makes sure all the data points are ok. He runs another data log… and checks all the various values to make sure everything is in working order. The most important thing is the EGT (exhaust gas temp) and oil and water temps. I think the highest EGT we saw was 690’ C.

When Marcel first started the engine with the new SW I immediately recognized my old friend. My engine was back! It was making the same old noises I had become accustomed too… and not the new “quiet” tune (idle for the waste gate rattles “fix”) that BMW’s latest SW provides. It is very noticeable difference to my ear. I am gald to have my old SW sounds back. Because that means better throttle response than BMW’s latest SW offerings.

Marcel did say that the engine will have to “adapt” or “learn” to the new SW flash. This can take four or five hundred kilometers. After those kms the engine will have a few more ponies.

All and all… I am very happy with my flash. The engine runs just like normal. But it is safely running more boost then stock (0.95 Bar almost 15 PSI). The throttle response is much quicker and the car is simply awesome! No hiccups, no stumbles, the engine just drives like a stock engine… but it has FAR more grunt and urge to it. The engine also stats up normal and sounds just like my old SW. The difference is in the performance – when you nail it… there is a whole lot more urge than you ever thought possible. Now I find myself just tipping into the gas pedal, say 1/8 to ¼ throttle – and the car just rockets away. Before with BMW’s new SW I would need to give the engine close to ½ throttle to get that kind of performance. I also think the fuel economy has gotten better! I really was not expecting that.

Marcel driving my car up to 160+ mph on the Autobahn…





One thing is for sure… I am going to need new brakes sooner than I thought! Because the car can accelerate so darn fast it is downright scary! The speed limiter has been removed but the speedo needle stops at 160 mph. The car just keeps on accelerating even though the speedo needle is pegged at 160 mph mark! So far I have seen 6,300 rpms which I think that is 180 mph!! And… it was still pulling hard. It is uncanny how the speedo needle climbs around the dial now. I made a small video showing how the car can accelerate in 6th gear from 100 kph to 260 kph! Unbelievable! I think I am going to need a suspension upgrade soon too! Because now my car really squats when I nail it and the tail kind of wags (back and forth) on certain low traction surfaces. But its fun!





Marcel/MS Tuning offers many levels of tuning. For the N54 motor here are your choices:


N54
Stage I: 350 PS and 480 Nm of Tq.
Stage II: 380 PS and 520 Nm of Tq. Boost pressure 0.95 Bar
Stage III: 400 PS and 550 Nm of Tq. (includes downpipes cat deletes and FMIC)
Stage IV: 420 PS and 565 Nm of Tq. (includes downpipes cat deletes and FMIC but with a more aggressive flash tune)

N55

Stage I: 341 PS and 455 Nm
Stage II: 360 PS and 500 Nm


Marcel does say that 390 PS and 550 Nm is possible with a N55 but it is NOT good for the long term life of the motor. The reason - is because BMW uses weaker components with the N55 internal engine parts. The crankshaft is not forged like with the N54 motor. The pistons are NOT made by Mahle like with the N54 but are made by Mopisan from Turkey! And the list goes on.






Marcel is a wealth of BMW knowledge. For instance he told me of the HPFP issue. He said the original HPFP (or as in German it is called; “Hoch Druck Pump”: HDP) that the original ones were all made by Bosch… which is junk. They most likely will all fail. Starting from March/2010 BMW Werk production… cars being made got the new Continental designed pump. The Conti pump is more durable and makes good power. He said that is the pump to get! Not sure of the part number though.

Dyno:




Marcel has a friend (Henni) with a dyno in Wernau. It is a Bosch Service Center that has one of Germany’s best dynos: SuperFlow 880 all wheel drive dyno. The owner is a friend of Marcel’s and he can arrange for very reasonable dyno runs for only 70 euros per dyno! I think that is a deal! Henni especially likes fast/tuned BMW’s.





Here is a dyno graph of a 135i with Marcel’s Stage II setup like I have on my car.


And here is Marcel’s top level of tuning for the N54, stage IV with down pipes (cat deletes) and FMIC and a remapped flash to go along with all the bolt on’s:




Marcel also recommends a FMIC (intercooler) made by Wagner for PS freaks. While not necessary – it is worth considering. It is truly a “bolt on” intercooler w/minimal bumper trimming. You will only have to trim a 1.8mm’s from the front edge of the FMIC on the inside of the front bumper cover. You can do this with an everyday box cutter or carpet knife. The intercooler is much larger than the OE one.

Here are some specs.

• Size 520 x 210 x130 mm, 11.752cm³ Volume (OEM 510x130x110mm, 7293cm³ Volume)
• High Performance flow with stepped design.
• Original mounting points utilized
• 85% more intercooler face area vs. OEM
• Original intercooler hoses used.
• Simple Installation!





Wagner’s 335i kit…


And the 135i intercooler fotos bellow…












Wagner also makes some nice 3” down pipes:

• true 76mm 3” pipe diameter.
• made from Stainless Steel SS304
• true fit like OE pipes












Here is what is possible with a N54. Stage IV with down pipes and FMIC on a 335i…










www.ms-chiptuning.de

Marcel Stefanescu
Fichtenweg 1
72202 Nagold

Marcel.Stefanescu@gmx.de

Mobil: 0171 / 3165667






PS: Here is something for you 128i guys!... Marcel can also offer you 130i plus power levels for your 125i or 128i. You can also ship your ECU to Marcel to have it flashed.

NA motors:

N52 and N51 tunes
280 PS and 325Nm


125i tuned dyno run…

Last edited by Dackelone; 06-12-2011 at 02:23 PM.
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      05-09-2011, 07:02 AM   #2
JimmyT
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Great write up for the tune, and more importantly, experience with the tuner!! If this guy was local, I would beat a path to his door!!
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      05-09-2011, 07:37 AM   #3
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Hey David,

Nice writeup

I Hope you got much and long Fun and Pleasure with your Einser

Hey... I thougt you drive AT? An American who drives Stick... Only in Sauerkraut Land

There are a few other Members at 1erforum.de who get their Cars tuned by Marcel... They are all happy with it! ESP. The 125i Guys

Have Fun and CU

Marco
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      05-09-2011, 08:47 AM   #4
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Cool stuff, congratulations on the new ECU software. I am sure it's a blast to drive. I had no idea that the N54 pistons were made my Mahle and the crank was forged unlike the N55. Interesting... I also didn't know that the original HPFP's were made by Bosch.

That intercooler looks pretty nice as well. Sometimes those silicone hoses are more prone to coming off under boost as opposed to a hard pipe, but they probably did substantial R&D to make sure everything is fine.
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      05-09-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Looks like you certainly did your research David!

Now for the suspension! ;-)

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      05-09-2011, 02:30 PM   #6
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Awesome writeup David. How hard would it be to schedule a couple of pulls with Marcel?
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      05-09-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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That's a great write-up! Congrats on the tune, man

380 PS/ 520 NM seems a little low for 15 psi boost though. that's like 380 hp 380 lb ft at the crank, which other tunes seem to make at around 12-13 psi. though that might be with other bolt-ons..

Keep us updated as you drive more

Also..
I just wish I could have some autobahn over here to enjoy 6th gear on
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      05-09-2011, 03:32 PM   #8
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If you're still running the previous stock version of the software can you refuse to have the software update from BMW and still maintain your warranty?
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      05-09-2011, 03:42 PM   #9
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Always..always got to have a stick!!!!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by comar1979 View Post
Hey David,

Nice writeup

I Hope you got much and long Fun and Pleasure with your Einser

Hey... I thougt you drive AT? An American who drives Stick... Only in Sauerkraut Land

There are a few other Members at 1erforum.de who get their Cars tuned by Marcel... They are all happy with it! ESP. The 125i Guys

Have Fun and CU

Marco
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      05-09-2011, 04:22 PM   #10
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How much do you think we need to chip in and get this guy kid-napped and brought over to the US?
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      05-09-2011, 04:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsabor67 View Post
Awesome writeup David. How hard would it be to schedule a couple of pulls with Marcel?

Marcel said it is no problem to do a dyno run. Not hard at all! lets do it! And at only 70 to 80 (w/printout) euros - it is a steal! Maybe we should get a bunch of guys together next month for a dyno day? Who is game?

Here is the website of Henni's SuperFlow dyno. There are photos of the dyno being built/installed in his garage. I would contact Marcel though since Marcel knows Henni personally.

Also be sure to clich on the various videos: like the e60 being dyno'd.

http://www.hennigmbh.de/html/fotogalerie.html


Dackel
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      05-09-2011, 04:50 PM   #12
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BTW, I found out that 0.95bar is 13.8 psi and not "almost 15". I stand corrected.
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      05-09-2011, 05:06 PM   #13
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God, thats why I love stand-alone EMS. Someone needs to shell out and design one for the BMW folks.
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      05-09-2011, 05:14 PM   #14
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1 bar = 14.5037738 pounds per square inch (one standard atmoshere)

.95 bar = 13.7785851 pounds per square inch

I wish the US would finally go metric like the rest of the planet.
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      05-09-2011, 05:25 PM   #15
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All I know is... my car goes like a stink now! It is soooooo much faster now in ANY gear. You really have to be careful when you get on the throttle in the lower gears. Even with 255 PS3's! I think a proper suspension and LSD are in my future.


Btw... one of the BEST things about the flash tune is the way the power builds. Stock the power fell on its face at 5,500 rpms. Now the engine really pulls well up to 7K rpms. MUCH better power above 5K rpms then before.
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      05-09-2011, 08:44 PM   #16
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Nice of you to let him enjoy your car at 160mph or so.
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      05-09-2011, 08:57 PM   #17
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How much for the n52 tune?
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      05-09-2011, 09:04 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by MarkkyyMan View Post
How much for the n52 tune?
You should ask Marcel directly. I think close to 900 euros, though. Tunes are not cheap over here. There are MANY happy 125i customers over on the 1erforum.de

You can also get TUV and also a garranty IF you want one.
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      05-09-2011, 10:20 PM   #19
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This is so sweet.

Come on US company! Have tune available already!!!
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      05-10-2011, 04:44 AM   #20
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      05-10-2011, 06:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Marcel said it is no problem to do a dyno run. Not hard at all! lets do it! And at only 70 to 80 (w/printout) euros - it is a steal! Maybe we should get a bunch of guys together next month for a dyno day? Who is game?

Here is the website of Henni's SuperFlow dyno. There are photos of the dyno being built/installed in his garage. I would contact Marcel though since Marcel knows Henni personally.

Also be sure to clich on the various videos: like the e60 being dyno'd.

http://www.hennigmbh.de/html/fotogalerie.html


Dackel


A dyno day would be awesome, one question though, 70 euro for a dyno run?? Are we talking 3 pulls? 5 pulls? or one pull and off you go cause $100+ for one pull is ridiculous.
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      05-10-2011, 08:24 AM   #22
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Quote:
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A dyno day would be awesome, one question though, 70 euro for a dyno run?? Are we talking 3 pulls? 5 pulls? or one pull and off you go cause $100+ for one pull is ridiculous.
Ok, I talked to Marcel.

IF you guys want to schedule a Dyno Day on Henni's SuperFlow Dyno we can make this happen.

70 euros for RWD BMW's two pulls. 80 euros for AWD cars. You sould get a print out of the PS and Nm numbers.

So... who is in? I think we should try to shoot for June sometime. What do you guys think>?


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