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      02-27-2013, 09:12 AM   #23
135Pats
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For whatever reason a lot of dealers don’t like chargepipes, but FMICs seem to be in a grey area…As with all mods, it’s a case by case basis.

Best overall- Helix
Best 5” core- ETS or ER
Best value- VRSF 7”

You cannot go wrong with any of the above choices.

Edit: Ozinaldo- regarding your concerns above, A 7” core will weigh a good deal more than the OE unit, personally that’s something I’ll trade off every time, but it’s a valid concern. I’ve held the ETS 5”, and while it is heavier, I’d doubt it would make a noticeable difference in the handling dynamics of your car. With regards to the lag, again a 5” will be virtually identical to the OE unit, and a well-made 7” core will only introduce a small amount of lag on throttle tip in. You guys get pretty nice catted downpipes OE, so your starting off with less lag than I’d perceive in my car. IMO a good FMIC is one of the best upgrades on the market for the N54, it’s not a “wow” product, but it relieves so much thermal stress from the system. N54 is an oven in terms of heat.
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Last edited by 135Pats; 02-27-2013 at 09:23 AM.
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      02-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135Pats View Post
For whatever reason a lot of dealers dont like chargepipes, but FMICs seem to be in a grey areaAs with all mods, its a case by case basis.

Best overall- Helix
Best 5 core- ETS or ER
Best value- VRSF 7

You cannot go wrong with any of the above choices.

Edit: Ozinaldo- regarding your concerns above, A 7 core will weigh a good deal more than the OE unit, personally thats something Ill trade off every time, but its a valid concern. Ive held the ETS 5, and while it is heavier, Id doubt it would make a noticeable difference in the handling dynamics of your car. With regards to the lag, again a 5 will be virtually identical to the OE unit, and a well-made 7 core will only introduce a small amount of lag on throttle tip in. You guys get pretty nice catted downpipes OE, so your starting off with less lag than Id perceive in my car. IMO a good FMIC is one of the best upgrades on the market for the N54, its not a wow product, but it relives so much thermal stress from the system. N54 is an oven in terms of heat.
Thanks, much appreciated. Do you think ER would be better to mate with my already installed ER charge pipe, or probably any IC would fit the same way?
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      02-27-2013, 09:29 AM   #25
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The FMIC on the cold side attaches to the lower charge pipe, which is not part of the “charge pipe” you’re thinking of. So I’d imagine the ER would couple just like any of the other FMICs, I don’t see an inherent advantage there. But to be clear, I’ve never handled the ER unit in person, I just know that it comes very highly recommended and ER is a great company. The optional carbon fiber shroud is badass too.
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      02-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135Pats View Post
The FMIC on the cold side attaches to the lower charge pipe, which is not part of the charge pipe youre thinking of. So Id imagine the ER would couple just like any of the other FMICs, I dont see an inherent advantage there. But to be clear, Ive never handled the ER unit in person, I just know that it comes very highly recommended and ER is a great company. The optional carbon fiber shroud is badass too.
No, I know that lower charge pipe is another piece, just was wondering if there could be any issues while mating THE diverter valve charge pipe with IC components, I guess there isn't.

I heard ER is very good too but it looks much bigger and heavier than the ETS, I think it is bigger than 5 inch core as well.
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      02-27-2013, 11:37 AM   #27
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I really don't see how 20 lbs or so weight difference in the fmic will affect the cars balance or handling. The car does weigh 3300 lbs. 20 lbs is less than 1% of its total weight.

And it's not part of the rotating mass.
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      02-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #28
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ETS makes great intercoolers. Their engineering and quality holds up to the 1500whp GTR kits, lots of the Evo and Subie guys like their quality too. They are proven and are able to provide tangible data to back up their claims. That is what sold me on the ETS kit to start. I would love to try more though and be able to compare, as best i can, between the performance of each.
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      02-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyPowers View Post
I really don't see how 20 lbs or so weight difference in the fmic will affect the cars balance or handling. The car does weigh 3300 lbs. 20 lbs is less than 1% of its total weight.

And it's not part of the rotating mass.
Sure, but I am also not in favor of putting even the slightest additional weight right on top of the nose of a sports car, of course unless I have real gains (I am with stock tune and I live in a relatively mild climate for the foreseeable future). So, basically my thinking is since I didn't feel any overheating or loss of power issue, even after prolonged hard driving (definition: consistently over 200 km/h and sometimes close to whatever top speed of the car, occasional hard braking and going over those speeds again for durations like an hour or so during which I stay regularly over 4000 and mostly over 5000 rpms, change gears around 6000 to 7000 rpms depending on my mood, basically finishing the gas tank, outside temparatures around 30 to 35 Celsius)-hardest I can do here I may say and usually only once a week-brakes usually feel over heated and a bit noisy (nothing dramatic though) and that's all I can say about the noticeable difference between the end and the beginning of my weekly spirited driving sessions.

So, question is why will I change to a "better" aftermarket IC since I have one which works in "my" conditions, easily the lightest and also potentially with the least lag and best response? As nachob says in his post it also comes with a factory warranty and is already there since I bought the car new

I like to change things and put better ones instead only when I see a need. I will change the stock ic if I move to a warmer location and/or if I tune the engine.
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      02-27-2013, 12:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozinaldo View Post
Sure, but I am also not in favor of putting even the slightest additional weight right on top of the nose of a sports car, of course unless I have real gains (I am with stock tune and I live in a relatively mild climate for the foreseeable future). So, basically my thinking is since I didn't feel any overheating or loss of power issue, even after prolonged hard driving (definition: consistently over 200 km/h and sometimes close to whatever top speed of the car, occasional hard braking and going over those speeds again for durations like an hour or so during which I stay regularly over 4000 and mostly over 5000 rpms, change gears around 6000 to 7000 rpms depending on my mood, basically finishing the gas tank, outside temparatures around 30 to 35 Celsius)-hardest I can do here I may say and usually only once a week-brakes usually feel over heated and a bit noisy (nothing dramatic though) and that's all I can say about the noticeable difference between the end and the beginning of my weekly spirited driving sessions.

So, question is why will I change to a "better" aftermarket IC since I have one which works in "my" conditions, easily the lightest and also potentially with the least lag and best response? As nachob says in his post it also comes with a factory warranty and is already there since I bought the car new

I like to change things and put better ones instead only when I see a need. I will change the stock ic if I move to a warmer location and/or if I tune the engine.
a little occasional hard driving on the street isnt really what i would call hard use of a sports car. i also wouldnt consider the 1m a sports car, but that is neither here nor there.

i dont think you can feel the extra 20lbs, especially not in the type of driving you are talking about.

what i do think is that in that type of driving, it is proven in logs all over this forum and other forums that you will likely be encountering timing drops and pre-detonation to possibly detonation events with the stock FMIC even on the stock tune.

the much lower IAT and resistence to heat soak gained from a 5 inch FMIC massively outweighs whatever possible negatives gained from an addiitonal 10-20lbs over the stock FMIC.

i still firmly believe there is no way you can notice any negative effects from 10-20 lbs added on the street driving like that.

I also think its a major mistake to assume all is good under the hood by "feeling" like there are no negative effects from the stock FMIC. Real proof comes from datalogging. You will absolutely take stress off your engine and run smoother in those, or any, conditions with an upgraded FMIC.
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      02-27-2013, 01:12 PM   #31
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Quote:
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a little occasional hard driving on the street isnt really what i would call hard use of a sports car. i also wouldnt consider the 1m a sports car, but that is neither here nor there.

i dont think you can feel the extra 20lbs, especially not in the type of driving you are talking about.

what i do think is that in that type of driving, it is proven in logs all over this forum and other forums that you will likely be encountering timing drops and pre-detonation to possibly detonation events with the stock FMIC even on the stock tune.

the much lower IAT and resistence to heat soak gained from a 5 inch FMIC massively outweighs whatever possible negatives gained from an addiitonal 10-20lbs over the stock FMIC.

i still firmly believe there is no way you can notice any negative effects from 10-20 lbs added on the street driving like that.

I also think its a major mistake to assume all is good under the hood by "feeling" like there are no negative effects from the stock FMIC. Real proof comes from datalogging. You will absolutely take stress off your engine and run smoother in those, or any, conditions with an upgraded FMIC.
Fair enough, maybe I really can't feel everything going on as you say. By the way, I don't assume everything is good under the hood, for example I changed the charge pipe before it popped or cracked even though I am with stock boost level. Other parts of the car that I was confident that an upgrade is necessary were also changed.

And don't blame me, without a real track around that's all I could possibly do (not even legally) with a car like 1M!

I am probably over-sensitive with weight and throttle response related issues, and not keen to do anything which may have the slightest negative effect on those. Much like how I feel about my own body: loose weight and stay sharp after 40 years old
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      02-27-2013, 01:38 PM   #32
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Same-day testing results of the Forge FMIC are attached. Testing procedure was to do 3 consecutive runs at normal operating temperature in 4th gear starting at 2500rpm till 7000rpm. The attached runs compare the 3rd run (hottest) from before and after the FMIC install. We didn't have enough time to install our external pressure and temp sensors, but the results were clearly favorable.

Results are from a 2011 135i with no mods other than the PPK software updgrade.
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      02-27-2013, 01:45 PM   #33
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still, why is the forge intercooler so damn expensive compared to others with the same performance? must be a reason.
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      02-27-2013, 03:24 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zayzay
still, why is the forge intercooler so damn expensive compared to others with the same performance? must be a reason.
price doesn't necessarily denote quality! I almost went Forge, but ETS offers proof and replaces restrictive lower charge pipe too.
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      02-27-2013, 03:44 PM   #35
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price doesn't necessarily denote quality! I almost went Forge, but ETS offers proof and replaces restrictive lower charge pipe too.
True. ETS is a great company. I've used their intercoolers before with good success. I wanted to keep the factory connectors, which limits the options. I've not seen anything proving that the lower pipe swap makes a real difference when compared to a good upgraded FMIC with the stock connectors/pipe. Do you know if any tests have been performed?
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      02-27-2013, 03:47 PM   #36
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Sure, but I am also not in favor of putting even the slightest additional weight right on top of the nose of a sports car, of course unless I have real gains.
I completely agree with this. The biggest issue with aftermarket intercoolers is the extra 15 lbs or more, in my opinion. I'm sure there are lots of drivers that would not notice; it's well less than the difference between a full and empty gas tank, for example. However I believe many drivers could notice that difference if they tried- the car puts power down better with a full gas tank, etc. BMW's piece, while many consider it flimsy, is very light. I wish there was an aftermarket offering that came close.
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      02-27-2013, 03:58 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyPowers View Post
the much lower IAT and resistence to heat soak gained from a 5 inch FMIC massively outweighs whatever possible negatives gained from an addiitonal 10-20lbs over the stock FMIC.

i still firmly believe there is no way you can notice any negative effects from 10-20 lbs added on the street driving like that.
On most autocross courses I think a FMIC is likely to slow you down. Slightly more lag due to the larger volume of air to compress after the turbos (it's there, even if you don't feel it), more weight on the nose increases both understeer on turn-in and oversteer on exit, and reduces acceleration whever you're traction limited (which is a lot at the autocross). You're also probably not on the throttle (or on course) long enough for heat-soak to be an issue, and the extra weight will hurt cornering, braking, transitions, etc everywhere, which is where time is made. Could the extra power overcome this? On most courses I don't think so.

So whether the intercooler benefits "massively outweigh" the negatives depends on usage. Drag racing, sure. In a number of other cases I don't agree, however.
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      02-27-2013, 04:05 PM   #38
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still, why is the forge intercooler so damn expensive compared to others with the same performance? must be a reason.
you seem to be hung up on cost. cost has nothing to do with anything. figure out what you want out of the car (fast daily driver, full blown track car, etc) and then go from there. if your looking for a fast daily driver any one will do.
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      02-27-2013, 04:18 PM   #39
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i am looking for a fast daily driver and sometimes a track car
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      02-27-2013, 04:27 PM   #40
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The Evolve FMIC is the best that I have seen. Very light weight and stepped design, but around $1900
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      02-27-2013, 04:30 PM   #41
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Quote:
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On most autocross courses I think a FMIC is likely to slow you down. Slightly more lag due to the larger volume of air to compress after the turbos (it's there, even if you don't feel it), more weight on the nose increases both understeer on turn-in and oversteer on exit, and reduces acceleration whever you're traction limited (which is a lot at the autocross). You're also probably not on the throttle (or on course) long enough for heat-soak to be an issue, and the extra weight will hurt cornering, braking, transitions, etc everywhere, which is where time is made. Could the extra power overcome this? On most courses I don't think so.

So whether the intercooler benefits "massively outweigh" the negatives depends on usage. Drag racing, sure. In a number of other cases I don't agree, however.
Tracking = road course, in my opinion

Not to mention I was specifically responding to the op commenting that he frequently did hour long drives consistently at high rpm. Nothing to do with autocross.

Again, I seriously doubt anyone could notice 10 lbs at the front of the car. Swapping to different tires would equal 100x more of a difference.

As far as lag goes, depends on the setup. I have noticed zero lag when using ets on my prior 335i 6mt. Stock or tuned.

If you are focused on the 1m as a focused auto x car I think one would be missing the point. And if you are more concerned with 10lbs at the front end than high iat and related detonation, well, we will have to agree to disagree
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      02-27-2013, 04:38 PM   #42
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Ian, despite the fact that I find nachob's post not only amusing (really so) but also quite right for people whose cars are with factory tune, do not track (or very rarely do) and live in relatively mild or simply cooler climates; I tend to go with what you say here but I have a few questions:

I would like to know if ETS that you have in your car and which is 100 % reversable and real bolt-on according to all reports, also covers the following well vs. the stock unit:

- stock is extremely light and helps the car's almost perfect weight balance, is there any noticeable weight difference between stock and ETS (which must be among the lighter options of aftermarket ICs)?

- lag/throttle response is of fundamental concern for me, stock IC might be POS for most people but as long as it does the job it also seems to be great for minimal lag due to its small size. So what about ETS? Is there any negative (or positive) difference in this field that you noticed after you installed the ETS, especially without M button pressed?
On the track I didn't notice more understeer. The ETS weighs about 5 kg more than stock, doubt that would make a difference.

I definitely don't have more lag. The ETS is a small core of 5". The lower charge pipe mod by ETS certainly smooths the air flow, but whether this makes a difference, who knows?

I have a P3 gauge, and IAT definitely run about 15% lower than with stock FMIC.

If you are running a tune/track car, change the FMIC in my opinion.

The 1M's FMIC is the same as other N54's.... BMW should have upgraded it.
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      02-27-2013, 05:13 PM   #43
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^^^
Too much bench racing in this thread....thanks Ian for providing some real impressions! Any data logs with the ETS IC on the track? Notice the timing being pulled at all?
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      02-27-2013, 05:28 PM   #44
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Considering a FMIC additional weight of 10lbs is an understeer issue? Think what does a supercharger kit for an M3 add to the frontend then?

I'd say that the only light weight FMIC that I know (tube and fin) is the Evolve. I have looked at ETS/Evolve side by side and the Evolve is much lighter. Others such as Forge, Wagner are heavy
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