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      10-21-2012, 10:19 PM   #1
SfValley335i
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VRSF Intercooler Review and Install 135i

It's been a couple years since I owed my 335i which was FBO and made 400+whp. I recently got a 135i and within a month Im FBO again Things have changed since 2007/2008, mainly prices of parts have come down.

I recently purchased a VRSF 7" intercooler for my 135i. The purchase was quick and smooth, I had the intercooler shipped to my buddies house since thats where I planned to do the install. I opted for the free shipping and received it in 6 days (West coast). The intercooler was packaged really well, it was wrapped in bubble wrap, it had hard foam all around and then popcorn. The supplied hardware included quality t-bolt clamps, mounting brackets and thick hoses.

I've had experience with Helix intercooler back in 2008, I had Long tran aka LTBMW do the install but failed because the intercooler was not a good fit. Eventually after a few phone calls to Helix, they refunded me some money and I had to do a lot of trimming/modifications to make their intercooler fit. The Helix intercooler did work great once it was installed and helped me break 400whp.

The install on the VRSF intercooler is pretty straight forward. You need to trim off a few plastic pieces and the intercooler slips right in. I did not remove the bumper off my 135i, nor did I have to adjust/move the radiator fan.

After the install of the VRSF IC, I can say the engine has a deeper sound, the car pulls better than it did with stock IC but best and most important part of all, is that after numerous runs from a stop the car continues to pulls hard. I will get logs this week once the weather warms again. I took logs of the stock IC when the temp was in the 80s.

Comparing the VRSF IC to the Helix IC I had previously, going off memory, I can say both feel about the same throughout the power band and dealing with heat soak. I can say for a fact that the Helix IC did weigh more than the VRSF IC.

At the end of the day, I'm really happy with my purchase, I did PM VRSF to ask a few questions prior to purchase and received replies within a couple hours . I do not think you can find a better fitting and functional IC for a cheaper price than the VRSF IC. I without a doubt will make future purchases from them on their exhaust/charge pipe.

One thing I did not like is that the fins on the VRSF IC seem to bend easily.



Below are some pictures from the install.

Stock IC on top and VRSF IC on bottom




Fins and lower plastic bar removed


VRSF IC mounted


Fitment is nice and snug


Passenger side IC Hose



Driver side IC Hose
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      10-22-2012, 12:43 AM   #2
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Awesome, my VRSF 7" is going in tomorrow morning, good to hear the fitment is good without excessive trimming and fiddling. I know an intercoolers primary function is not to increase power, but can you offer any guesses as to the power gains? I'd imagine they're modest, but i'm curious.
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      10-22-2012, 01:22 AM   #3
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the gains are in the really high RPM range, thats when you can see the intercooler starting to work.

the car being filmed has VRSF intercooler, other car has stock intercooler, both JB4 Map 2 w/ downpipes and DCI + exhaust.

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      10-22-2012, 09:00 AM   #4
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As mentioned above gains are really noticed after a few wot pulls and mainly in higher rpms. Butt dyno says 7whp
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      10-22-2012, 02:03 PM   #5
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So a bigger intercooler really helps alot? do you feel just a consistant power output?
i know with the intercooler you can boost more.
is there anything else im missing that a larger intercooler does that makes it worth getting?
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      10-22-2012, 02:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaDoNiOn View Post
So a bigger intercooler really helps alot? do you feel just a consistant power output?
i know with the intercooler you can boost more.
is there anything else im missing that a larger intercooler does that makes it worth getting?
An IC should not be the first mod you get. It should be purchased after getting a tune and intake/downpipe. An intercooler helps keep hp that is normally lost after things heat up beyond what the stock ic can handle.

IC makes a difference but nothing like a tune or downpipe... id say its more on par with a intake...
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      10-22-2012, 02:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaDoNiOn View Post
So a bigger intercooler really helps alot? do you feel just a consistant power output?

i know with the intercooler you can boost more.

is there anything else im missing that a larger intercooler does that makes it worth getting?
A better intercooler will show the most gains at higher airflows and higher boost levels. Don't expect a lot of gains on the stock 8 psi tune.

However a lot of stage 1 or 2 tunes have a peak boost of 14-18psi and 10-12psi at redline. That's a lot more temperature and heat to deal with. Plus the stock turbos start to choke when pushed at higher RPM and become inefficient themselves, blowing extra hot air.

You should read this as a primer on what an aftermarket intercooler does. http://www.cp-e.com/imgs/n54FMIC.pdf

The effect is a combination of better heat rejection (removes more heat), lower pressure loss which in combination can be considered an overall "efficiency". In addition, adding more thermal mass (more weight in aluminum) can help short term.

CP-E's intercooler seems pretty representative of what is out there.
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      10-22-2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Thx for the info guys
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      10-23-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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ill piggyback on this post to avoid cluttering the forum, hope you dont mind OP. My 7" VRSF FMIC went in yesterday without a hitch, my mechanic said that the trimming was fairly modest, and fitment was very good. there does seem to be a small (1" maybe) gap between the top of the IC and the radiator, im not sure what to make of it but ive seen a similar gap on other cars, and it certaibly looks properly seated. Id agree with whats been said, the power gains arent apparent until 4-5k revs, but the engine feels much smoother and repeated pulls felt very strong on the butt dyno. For the price VRSF cant be beat. Bad news is one of my o2 sensors ate it, so thatll need to be replaced, at least its cheap and wont damage the car while faulty (its the cat check o2).
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      10-23-2012, 11:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135Pats View Post
ill piggyback on this post to avoid cluttering the forum, hope you dont mind OP. My 7" VRSF FMIC went in yesterday without a hitch, my mechanic said that the trimming was fairly modest, and fitment was very good. there does seem to be a small (1" maybe) gap between the top of the IC and the radiator, im not sure what to make of it but ive seen a similar gap on other cars, and it certaibly looks properly seated. Id agree with whats been said, the power gains arent apparent until 4-5k revs, but the engine feels much smoother and repeated pulls felt very strong on the butt dyno. For the price VRSF cant be beat. Bad news is one of my o2 sensors ate it, so thatll need to be replaced, at least its cheap and wont damage the car while faulty (its the cat check o2).
That gap is normal the radiator has a 1/2 inch lip or rubber piece that sits on this longer IC... it does not effect performance but it also doesnt block the radiator like the helix IC...

This IC does not fill the entire grill...

After a day of driving I noticed im boosting about 1psi more. I believe the stock IC was not as efficient as the VRSF.
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      10-23-2012, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SfValley335i View Post
That gap is normal the radiator has a 1/2 inch lip or rubber piece that sits on this longer IC... it does not effect performance but it also doesnt block the radiator like the helix IC...

This IC does not fill the entire grill...
The Active Autowerke does the same...for a while I thought my mechanic half-assed the install or something. I'm going to get a performance shop to check it out when I go in for a dyno; this is what it looks like currently

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looks like unicorn vomit.
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      10-23-2012, 12:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angerman View Post
The Active Autowerke does the same...for a while I thought my mechanic half-assed the install or something. I'm going to get a performance shop to check it out when I go in for a dyno; this is what it looks like currently


Ya that does look weird. Your AA intercooler is 1/2 inch lower than the radiator lip in the rear... thats not the case with my VRSF IC. Mine sits up against the radiator lip...
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      10-23-2012, 02:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SfValley335i View Post
Ya that does look weird. Your AA intercooler is 1/2 inch lower than the radiator lip in the rear... thats not the case with my VRSF IC. Mine sits up against the radiator lip...
Guess even more of a reason to bring myself to the shop other than the dyno lol
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looks like unicorn vomit.
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      10-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #14
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anyone have any idea what the gains are from a N55 engine with an added intercooler? CP-E, AA, or VRSF? Need some recommendations for which company to go with, price not an issue, just concerned about proper fit and quality

Looking to add an IC and DP as my next two mods. Berk full race exhaust, BMW PPK, and af-e cold air intake already fitted...(still in warranty mind you)

Thanks!
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      10-24-2012, 12:18 PM   #15
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there are numerous high quality ICs out there, i can tell you that i am very pleased with VRSF from order to install. Last night i switched from stg1 aggressive to stg1 fmic sport, and the car felt very strong and consistant. FMICs are more about reducing engine stress than outright power, but running higher boost i think 15ish peak whp is a reasonable guess, mind you this would probably be at 5-6k rpms. reducing thermal stress, guarding against knock, and adding a bit of power up top...its a solid investment if you plan to run additional power and/or live in a hot climate.
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      11-04-2012, 01:55 PM   #16
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Here logs from yesterday. Temp outside was 70deg F. I did about 15minutes of driving before taking this log, this log was from my 3rd and final run of the night. Other runs were not good because of road conditions...



This log shows a run from 3rd gear and to the end of 4th. I dont remember the mph I started at but I let off throttle around 120mph.

Starting IAT was 86deg and at the end of 3rd gear IAT was 95deg. So in 3rd gear with VRSF IC temps only went up 9 degrees.

Without stopping I shifted into 4th gear, starting IAT in 4th was 96deg and by the time I left off the throttle it had gone up to 111deg. Thats a 15 deg change.

So all in all, running through two complete gears WOT, the VRSF IC kept temps from rising more than 24 degrees.


Here is a log of my car with stock IC. All else kept the same.



This log was only a 3rd gear pull, IAT started at 75deg and at the end of the run IAT were 95deg. Keep in mind that in this run I only went to 5k rpm where as the VRSF IC runs I went to 6k or higher.

So it shows that the stock IC heats up much faster than the VRSF IC. Stock IC heated up in a 1 gear pull as much as a VRSF IC heats up in a 2 gear pull.
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      05-08-2013, 03:54 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SfValley335i View Post
VRSF IC mounted
Were these two bottom mounting brackets included or did you fab them?
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      05-08-2013, 07:50 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kleen View Post
Were these two bottom mounting brackets included or did you fab them?
They came with the fmic
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      08-02-2013, 06:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrenetiK View Post
the gains are in the really high RPM range, thats when you can see the intercooler starting to work.

the car being filmed has VRSF intercooler, other car has stock intercooler, both JB4 Map 2 w/ downpipes and DCI + exhaust.

reviving a dead thread most likely, but what's the difference between the 5" FMIC and 7"FMIC

and what's that hissing noise everytime the white 135i shifts? Is that a BOV?
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      08-02-2013, 06:19 PM   #20
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Really the difference between the 5 and 7 will only be noticeable if you update the turbo's. Otherwise the 5" is more than sufficient.
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      03-23-2014, 11:16 PM   #21
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Installed the VRSF 7" fmic today with the help of the pictures in the thread, thanks for posting them up.

Having never worked on this car before I wasn't sure what to expect. Install took me three hours (mostly because I'm anal and cut slow) from start to finish. Nice quality product with great fitment.

Installed this along with burger dual cone intake. Can definitely feel an improvement from 4500-6500 rpm over just the JB4 tuner. Currently running 40% e85 on map 5 on a JB4, AR downpipes going on soon as well.
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      03-24-2014, 12:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 135iam View Post
Installed the VRSF 7" fmic today with the help of the pictures in the thread, thanks for posting them up.

Having never worked on this car before I wasn't sure what to expect. Install took me three hours (mostly because I'm anal and cut slow) from start to finish. Nice quality product with great fitment.

Installed this along with burger dual cone intake. Can definitely feel an improvement from 4500-6500 rpm over just the JB4 tuner. Currently running 40% e85 on map 5 on a JB4, AR downpipes going on soon as well.
Indeed, I love mine .

Here is my review
http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=955952
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