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      08-02-2012, 07:25 PM   #1
RPChan
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Question about Intercoolers and Cold Air Intakes for 1M.

I am thinking about upgrading my Intercooler and getting a performance cold air intake. For those of you that have done it was it worth it to the point that you could recognize a performance improvement? I see a lot of these cars that have been modified and I see the dyno's put out by the performance part manufacturers but I am curious from an individual perspective if you could really tell a dramatic difference.

I modified an e46 M3 years ago with cold air, free flow exhaust and stage 2 Dinan software and while I remember thinking there was a significant improvement I am not really sure if a 10% -15% improvement was really that noticeable. So I am asking those of you that have made the changes. Was it worth it and if so whose Intercooler and cold air intake did you put on? Thanks
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      08-02-2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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E46 M3 was naturally aspirated. On the 1 M with twin turbo chargers, these modification have a much stronger effect, as the intake and intercooler allow the turbos the spool quicker, and have better flow which then relates to increased horsepower. I currently am not to satisfied with everything on the market yet, however I know the AFE for example has shown great gains. As far as intercoolers I really think the Evolution Racewerks is the best of the best for the N54 Motors.
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      08-02-2012, 07:34 PM   #3
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I have been in an FBO 1M during a few very aggressive acceleration runs then we switched to my car which at that time didn't have meth or an intercooler to do the same type of runs and we noticed a huge difference in heat soak. The 1M owner had a CPE intercooler I believe. But if you don't want to do any kind of trimming / cutting to fit one in there then ETS 5" is the way to go.
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      08-03-2012, 11:33 AM   #4
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On the CAI your mileage may vary, they are not all created the same make sure you get one with proven results.

As far as an upgraded FMIC is concerned, yes it will have a significant impact on performance. As mentioned before the stock core soaks easily, especially in warmer climates.

If you are going to go with these mods I also recommend opening up the exhaust to help the motor breathe, typically this is done with downpipes and a mid pipe exhaust change. You'll also want make sure you adjust the software to take advantage of these changes. The stock ECU will not fully maximize the power gains, you'll want to look into something like a Cobb accessport, Juice box or a reflash.
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      08-03-2012, 01:07 PM   #5
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If you are going to track it and want to reduce "heat soak" or increase boost a bit then inter cooler will help. Bigger intercooler however means more lag as There is more air volume to compress. Everyone keeps focusing on HP figures but no one is addressing throttle response. If you are driving aggressively on track you can maintain boost but on the street the intercooler is likely to increase lag a bit. That is the last thing you want in a street car. That is why engineers try to keep plumbing and intercooler to a minimum. There is a lot of expense and some cutting usually to get more lag around town IMO, so unless you are using it quite a bit on track or autocross it doesn't make sense. Then once you modify the intercooler for track/autocross you open up a can of worms when it comes to class. Now you are running modified classes. Good luck.
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      08-03-2012, 02:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
If you are going to track it and want to reduce "heat soak" or increase boost a bit then inter cooler will help. Bigger intercooler however means more lag as There is more air volume to compress. Everyone keeps focusing on HP figures but no one is addressing throttle response. If you are driving aggressively on track you can maintain boost but on the street the intercooler is likely to increase lag a bit. That is the last thing you want in a street car. That is why engineers try to keep plumbing and intercooler to a minimum. There is a lot of expense and some cutting usually to get more lag around town IMO, so unless you are using it quite a bit on track or autocross it doesn't make sense. Then once you modify the intercooler for track/autocross you open up a can of worms when it comes to class. Now you are running modified classes. Good luck.
Very good post indeed
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      08-03-2012, 02:54 PM   #7
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But that just applies to a bigger intercooler right? If replacing with one similar to stock except it performs better there shouldn't be an impact to lag, right?
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      08-03-2012, 04:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sergeremi
But that just applies to a bigger intercooler right? If replacing with one similar to stock except it performs better there shouldn't be an impact to lag, right?
Yes if you had a more efficient intercooler in terms of airflow and heat transfer then that shouldn't affect lag but adding more volume would have an increase in lag and could actually decrease power since we have small turbos and if the IC is too big might not even achieve max boost.

Bigger turbos could compensate for larger volume but then again it takes longer to spool them up. There is a sweet spot between turbo size and IC size. While you might make more power you can also get more lag. A tune like Dinan's can do other things like enriching the mixture to bring cylinder charge temps down without increasing lag significantly. I wish that tuners would star listing throttle response in their specs not just HP.

Here is a thought, if you rigged a WOT water sprayer on the intercooler like the WRX, you can get temporary IC efficiency gains without messing with the turbo plumbing. Just a thought!
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      08-03-2012, 05:59 PM   #9
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Thank you to all. This has been very helpful. It is a street car as I have an e36 for the track so I might consider going with the ETS intercooler as it appears to be a better engineered IC but not any larger (at least it doesn't require cutting). The CAI seems to make great sense for a twin turbo vehicle. I have not heard of anyone installing a CAI and wished they hadn't later. Thanks again for your opinions and insight.
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      08-03-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Yes if you had a more efficient intercooler in terms of airflow and heat transfer then that shouldn't affect lag but adding more volume would have an increase in lag and could actually decrease power since we have small turbos and if the IC is too big might not even achieve max boost.

Bigger turbos could compensate for larger volume but then again it takes longer to spool them up. There is a sweet spot between turbo size and IC size. While you might make more power you can also get more lag. A tune like Dinan's can do other things like enriching the mixture to bring cylinder charge temps down without increasing lag significantly. I wish that tuners would star listing throttle response in their specs not just HP.

Here is a thought, if you rigged a WOT water sprayer on the intercooler like the WRX, you can get temporary IC efficiency gains without messing with the turbo plumbing. Just a thought!
The water sprayer idea is great actually.

As for having an increased IC volume, doesn't the tuner handle those situations which is why the boost is raised and the hp output is higher as well?
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      08-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtrain
Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Yes if you had a more efficient intercooler in terms of airflow and heat transfer then that shouldn't affect lag but adding more volume would have an increase in lag and could actually decrease power since we have small turbos and if the IC is too big might not even achieve max boost.

Bigger turbos could compensate for larger volume but then again it takes longer to spool them up. There is a sweet spot between turbo size and IC size. While you might make more power you can also get more lag. A tune like Dinan's can do other things like enriching the mixture to bring cylinder charge temps down without increasing lag significantly. I wish that tuners would star listing throttle response in their specs not just HP.

Here is a thought, if you rigged a WOT water sprayer on the intercooler like the WRX, you can get temporary IC efficiency gains without messing with the turbo plumbing. Just a thought!
The water sprayer idea is great actually.

As for having an increased IC volume, doesn't the tuner handle those situations which is why the boost is raised and the hp output is higher as well?
The tuner can increase final boost but very difficult to increase turbo rate of flow. So you can achieve higher boost if you wait for the turbos to fill and compress the larger volume. We're not talking hours just more lag. Personally I want less lag and more linear throttle response. The 1M is pretty fast and I see managing traction as a bigger priority.
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      08-03-2012, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
The tuner can increase final boost but very difficult to increase turbo rate of flow. So you can achieve higher boost if you wait for the turbos to fill and compress the larger volume. We're not talking hours just more lag. Personally I want less lag and more linear throttle response. The 1M is pretty fast and I see managing traction as a bigger priority.
I agree that managing the traction is a bigger priority so I am looking to go with a different tire and widers as well and when I want to put more down to the ground, I'll get a set of 18's for more tire to run on to get grip.

I feel that the 1M is pretty linear compared to the 335 that I had but not as linear as the M3. With a tune it's gotten even more smoother and more linear than stock which is great and feels awesome. Now it's traction that I need to solve as you mentioned.
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      08-03-2012, 10:15 PM   #13
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I feel that with more traction the car could be quicker. It is a handful properly launching the 1M. I would be interested in a tune with quicker and more linear throttle. What tune do you have?

I have driven Early N54 335i and it was pretty good. Later they put a waste gate fix that increased lag. Some got it fixed eventually do I'm not sure which one you drove. My buddy has a 2011 N55 335 and it has slightly quicker throttle response than 1M but the surge from 1M is stronger. One key difference between 335 and 1M is lightened flywheel which helps it spool faster.

So to me traction is the most obvious shortcoming and should be addresed first. If you can get the power down you could improve your 0-60 time. THEN you can try to get more power. I wasn't aware you were addressing traction too. That's good! It wouldn't make sense to go for
More power first when the PS2 s can barely handle the torque. Let us know what tune gave you better response and linear throttle, that is one tune I would be interested in.
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      08-04-2012, 12:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
If you are going to track it and want to reduce "heat soak" or increase boost a bit then inter cooler will help. Bigger intercooler however means more lag as There is more air volume to compress. Everyone keeps focusing on HP figures but no one is addressing throttle response. If you are driving aggressively on track you can maintain boost but on the street the intercooler is likely to increase lag a bit. That is the last thing you want in a street car. That is why engineers try to keep plumbing and intercooler to a minimum. There is a lot of expense and some cutting usually to get more lag around town IMO, so unless you are using it quite a bit on track or autocross it doesn't make sense. Then once you modify the intercooler for track/autocross you open up a can of worms when it comes to class. Now you are running modified classes. Good luck.
Theoretically, the increased volume will increase lag. However, practically the intercooler volume is so small compare to the plumbing it doesn't make much difference and it is more than compensate by less pressure drop from most aftermarket intercooler design. I actually get better response after I replace my intercooler.
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      08-04-2012, 12:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
Yes if you had a more efficient intercooler in terms of airflow and heat transfer then that shouldn't affect lag but adding more volume would have an increase in lag and could actually decrease power since we have small turbos and if the IC is too big might not even achieve max boost.

Bigger turbos could compensate for larger volume but then again it takes longer to spool them up. There is a sweet spot between turbo size and IC size. While you might make more power you can also get more lag. A tune like Dinan's can do other things like enriching the mixture to bring cylinder charge temps down without increasing lag significantly. I wish that tuners would star listing throttle response in their specs not just HP.

Here is a thought, if you rigged a WOT water sprayer on the intercooler like the WRX, you can get temporary IC efficiency gains without messing with the turbo plumbing. Just a thought!
If you got into trouble spraying on the IC, you might as we go down the Meth route.
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      08-04-2012, 12:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachob View Post
The tuner can increase final boost but very difficult to increase turbo rate of flow. So you can achieve higher boost if you wait for the turbos to fill and compress the larger volume. We're not talking hours just more lag. Personally I want less lag and more linear throttle response. The 1M is pretty fast and I see managing traction as a bigger priority.
Rate of flow is not an issue at low RPM where turbo lag occurs in our cars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtrain View Post
I agree that managing the traction is a bigger priority so I am looking to go with a different tire and widers as well and when I want to put more down to the ground, I'll get a set of 18's for more tire to run on to get grip.

I feel that the 1M is pretty linear compared to the 335 that I had but not as linear as the M3. With a tune it's gotten even more smoother and more linear than stock which is great and feels awesome. Now it's traction that I need to solve as you mentioned.
The 1M doesn't need more power low down, as I am struggling to control traction in 1st and 2nd gear anyway. It is the higher rev range that needs more boost, where the small turbo restriction comes into play.
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      08-04-2012, 06:02 AM   #17
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ETS intercooler + AFE CAI

are what I have (along with other stuff) . Mods worth having for sure.
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