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Old 06-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #1
deadwood83
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I dipped a toe, now it's time to jump in (comparing kits)

So, the time has come. I have been green-lit by insurance and all other relevant parties to drop money on supercharging my car. It's only got 86k on the clock and my mechanics and I had a 20-minute sit-down today to talk ALL about it.

Here's the quick and dirty.

First I wanted VF because I could stay within nearly guaranteed safe zones power-wise on the xi transfer case (tranny can take it, transfer case and front diff are the scary bits). But then I was worried that my friend in his spiffy Msport 335i would egg me on. I know I'll never keep up with that car in a boosted 325 and I don't aim to. But he is a bad influence when it comes to saving money.

So then I firmly decided on ESS due to low-end torque. The AWD is prime low-end territory for low-speed rolling starts anyway. Plus I heard they can flash a car running Euro software, which is essential for me. I can't vouch for the source of that, so I hope it's true.

But then, when sitting down with my mechs, they had experience installing procharger kits on three E46s recently and reported that they ran beautifully and needed zero additional tuning. They also reported a responsive low-end.

For the install, with the ESS kit I was planning to do it myself since the initial price is rather high. From what I've gathered, it's mostly just replacing the intake manifold with some other gubbins? Considering that I replaced my front axles a couple weeks back I'm feeling fairly confident.

Recent maintenance:
Front brakes/rotors: Feb.
Front LCA/:CAB: Feb.
RTABs: Feb.
Entire CCV system: Feb.
New springs/shocks/RSMs: March
Electric fan conversion: March
Entire cooling system w/ OEM parts: May
Oil/filter change: April
Pulleys/Belts: June
Front axles: June
Front Diff. fluid: June
New electric fan (BEHR crapped itself, so I got Bosch): June
New fuel filter: June
Brake flush: June
A/C drain/refill: June


But now I'm stuck on which kit again. VF, AA, ESS, Procharger? I'd like to maintain the low-down drivability without any sudden surges of power such as the ones that can be found in a B7 A4 2.0T with FWD. Price definitely matters though. But I also don't want to get a cheap kit that won't take any upgrades down the road. I know that after a while I'll want to do something. I'd also like a kit that can somehow preserve my intake. I got an Injen long tube for a steal and if I can keep that in some form I won't feel like I just burned money on it.

Relevant mods/info:
Headers
300-cel spun metallic cats
EU2 flash
Injen long tube intake
86000mi.
Automatic
AWD


Please don't tell me, "sell your car and get an M3." I am far too emotionally invested in this car to part with it. I don't want to supercharge so that I can have a fast car. I want to supercharge to make my car faster.

Thanks for your help fanatics!
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:10 PM   #2
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while I dont own your series I have owned AA, VF, ESS and HPF products on my car. What is important is the support you get AFTER the sale. I would rate the companies for your plate form as ESS first, AA second and VF third. In fact ESS called me 6 months after I bought a product and asked me how I liked my product! Good luck with your choice!
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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From the people I've talked to IN PERSON...not one complaint about VF. I've heard plenty of complaints about AA. To be fair, AA seems to be getting better since an O left.
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
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From the people I've talked to IN PERSON...not one complaint about VF. I've heard plenty of complaints about AA. To be fair, AA seems to be getting better since an O left.
x2 but it need to speed up...

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Old 06-20-2012, 10:21 PM   #5
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From the people I've talked to IN PERSON...not one complaint about VF. I've heard plenty of complaints about AA. To be fair, AA seems to be getting better since an O left.
Lol use the search feature
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:31 PM   #6
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So ESS seems to be a safe choice. I was really hoping that someone would have some experience with prochargers or w.e their name is since my mechanics seemed to be so gung-ho about them.

Now I'd like to get the TS2 kit but its knocked down to 7 PSI for auto cars. The TS 1 kit is also 7psi. Am I really getting any extra power going TS2 over TS1 in this case? I understand that part of the cost is the water cooling. But wouldn't it be simpler (read: cheaper) to get the TS1, water pump, and hoses after the fact? My goal is 300-ish BHP. Also sweet jeebus the price when you select the auto option. Maybe I'll call ESS.
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:45 PM   #7
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Lol use the search feature
+1 There was a lot of VF drama about 2 yrs back.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Lol use the search feature
I found that a few people here are full of sh1t. Now you'll say that you're not biased? Please, stay out of these kinds of threads that have nothing to do with HPF. Everyone you get involved in goes one direction.
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadwood83 View Post
So ESS seems to be a safe choice. I was really hoping that someone would have some experience with prochargers or w.e their name is since my mechanics seemed to be so gung-ho about them.

Now I'd like to get the TS2 kit but its knocked down to 7 PSI for auto cars. The TS 1 kit is also 7psi. Am I really getting any extra power going TS2 over TS1 in this case? I understand that part of the cost is the water cooling. But wouldn't it be simpler (read: cheaper) to get the TS1, water pump, and hoses after the fact? My goal is 300-ish BHP. Also sweet jeebus the price when you select the auto option. Maybe I'll call ESS.
With the TS2 you get the intercooler. A very good thing to have in warmer climates.
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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We are stepping up our game! Give me a call if you have any questions regarding our kits for your 325.

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Old 06-21-2012, 09:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
I found that a few people here are full of sh1t. Now you'll say that you're not biased? Please, stay out of these kinds of threads that have nothing to do with HPF. Everyone you get involved in goes one direction.
x2 Gets old....
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Old 06-21-2012, 09:28 AM   #12
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aa or ess are the only two companies i would even consider when supercharging.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:04 AM   #13
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x2 but it need to speed up...

Edit: Zak has been great for me. Quick responds and follows up with me :d
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:44 AM   #14
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I too have to agree AA or ESS.

I would go positive displacement blower over centrifugal( both make about same hp on the top end) but 3999 is a sick deal.
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Old 06-21-2012, 11:45 AM   #15
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Go with the AA kit. for $3999 you are getting your moneys worth.

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Old 06-21-2012, 01:02 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I too have to agree AA or ESS.

I would go positive displacement blower over centrifugal( both make about same hp on the top end) but 3999 is a sick deal.
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Originally Posted by A55A55IN View Post
Go with the AA kit. for $3999 you are getting your moneys worth.

Ah, that price was a mistake turns out. That was for 323 and 328. I did still get a good deal on the 325 stg 2, just not quite as sweet as it first appeared since it's not $1100 off :p

I haven't been able to speak with ESS yet but it's looking more and more like it will end-up being AA or VF. The VF kit is still running ~$700 cheaper for the same power (assuming running +2psi with VF is possible and can be done for only $200 on top; a big assumption I know) if I go C30, $1500 cheaper if I go with the HKS.

But since my car sees rather drastic changes in altitude (see up to 5200 foot elevation change in <1 hour if I run Big Cottonwood -> Guardsman's pass) the quality of the tune is something I am concerned about as well. I know VF used to use GIAC which resulted in many unhappy customers. But I read somewhere that they changed? If I can keep the factory adaptability range that would be best. AA soothed my worries regarding that since the tune is only a slightly more restrictive than the stock adaptation range.

The more I read about twinscrews the more I worry about the ESS' effect on my driveline. Since the xi uses the GM tranny (same as Auto ZHP) the weak point shifts from the transmission to the transfer case, front diff, and axles in that order. I'm a bit worried what the instant power and torque would do to them, especially if I want to reach my goal of 300BHP (NOT whp). Replacing the axles isn't a big deal and as long as the problem is the rubber I can switch between the two sets I have indefinitely at little cost. But with that instant torque/power I begin to worry about the axles.

I just barely stopped worrying about the transfer case. BMW documentation would suggest that the max torque handling in the NV124 transfer case is conveniently the exact torque that a 330 puts out. Luckily NV is more than just a BMW supplier and I was able to find a document of torque handling specs for many of their units.
http://www.denalitrucks.com/document...20NV149AWD.htm

I don't plan on launching since it's foolish anyway, so I guess over the course of typing this ESS got back in the game. Since my goal is more of a stock+ feel they definitely have the power curve that would make the feel a bit more transparent. If only I could get a price D:

bigjae I've read many of your posts and I do trust your word so VF is still definitely in the game. Euro Enginuity has that sale on VF for $3800 ($60 shipping) and I have them asking VF what any additional costs/possibility of bumping to 7-8psi would be. I'd really like that 300bhp range. It just seems like a good, comfortable, round number. And that sale on VF right now. Dear lord.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:11 PM   #17
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+1 for ESS is my vote!

Been for a ride in a ts2 equipped 330 and it was fantastic!
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #18
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any additional costs/possibility of bumping to 7-8psi would be.
remember there are locked in as stage one kits and stage two or anything higher than 6psi is not officially supported on the non ms, prob one of the reasons why its cheaper too, and no heat exchanger.(thinking about it, your xi prob woulnt supprot alot of stage 2s..)
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:40 PM   #19
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remember there are locked in as stage one kits and stage two or anything higher than 6psi is not officially supported on the non ms, prob one of the reasons why its cheaper too, and no heat exchanger.(thinking about it, your xi prob woulnt supprot alot of stage 2s..)
I have no doubt it would support them, it's probably just a matter of how much I can stick to rolling starts only and how often I'm down to replace axles/ possibly front diff.

I don't want an m3 killer nor a 335 killer. I'd like to at least be a bit quicker than a 330xi w/ 5sp auto but any of the kits will get me there so that's not really a big deal.

If I went AA, I might actually want a little less power than their 325 kit provides. 330crank seems terrifying for axles/diff.

ETA: Of course people say the posted numbers are higher than actual, so it might be in the safeish range. Switching the axles and rebuilding them isn't a huge deal and I actually enjoyed it last time but it's not something I want to do more than once every year or so.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:04 PM   #20
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I have no doubt it would support them, it's probably just a matter of how much I can stick to rolling starts only and how often I'm down to replace axles/ possibly front diff.

I don't want an m3 killer nor a 335 killer. I'd like to at least be a bit quicker than a 330xi w/ 5sp auto but any of the kits will get me there so that's not really a big deal.

If I went AA, I might actually want a little less power than their 325 kit provides. 330crank seems terrifying for axles/diff.

ETA: Of course people say the posted numbers are higher than actual, so it might be in the safeish range. Switching the axles and rebuilding them isn't a huge deal and I actually enjoyed it last time but it's not something I want to do more than once every year or so.
Our Supercharger Kit would be perfect for the amount of power your looking to achieve with this vehicle. Our system power increase is linear and mimics the factory power curve. Please feel free to contact me directly and I will be more than glad to provide you with more detail about our Supercharger Kit for your vehicle.
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