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Forced Induction Forum Sponsored by Active Autowerke
Discuss supercharging, turbocharging and even nitrous and water injection here.
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Old 12-23-2013, 05:52 PM   #1
Harry330
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To Supercharge Or Just Go N/A ?

So I've been reading E46F for months now and I'm trying to decide if I should go with a VF Supercharger for 4K, or go the N/A route. Thoughts?
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Old 12-23-2013, 08:07 PM   #2
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To Supercharge Or Just Go N/A ?

Supercharger.


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Old 12-23-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
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Supercharger. I have been dealing with the same thing and you will never get what you want out of NA and by the time you spend all the money on a NA setup you could have that kit. Ive already put 2500 in my car before I got smart.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:03 PM   #4
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Re: To Supercharge Or Just Go N/A ?

Sell and buy M3. Or keep your car and buy M3.

I'm doing the latter.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
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Sell and buy M3. Or keep your car and buy M3.

I'm doing the latter.
Ya well I guess I agree with that also. Actually OP if this is your only car then that is what I would do. My daily driver is a f250 that is running 0-60 in 4.5 seconds and a mid 13s in the 1/4 mile. If I want to go fast in a straight line i drive that haha. I just wanted a car to have fun with the rest of the time.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:32 PM   #6
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OK, so if I go with a supercharger, what's the minimum I could purchase to pair up with it to make it work well. I ask this because I know I could buy a boatload of performance parts to go with it, costing me double. Assuming my 330 is up to date maintenance wise, will just a header be at the top of the list?
I figure it needs to breath well, and I think VF includes some type of CAI in their kit.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:37 PM   #7
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If you go supercharger the thing I would do with a 330 is an exhaust to pair with it(3" single in my opinion). Then if you have more money after you could always go lsd to put the power to the ground, FI cams to add a little more power and then a clutch and brakes suitable to hold the extra power. Not many NA mods work well with a supercharger. A supercharger just opens up a whole different ballgame.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:44 PM   #8
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If you go supercharger the thing I would do with a 330 is an exhaust to pair with it(3" single in my opinion). Then if you have more money after you could always go lsd to put the power to the ground, FI cams to add a little more power and then a clutch and brakes suitable to hold the extra power. Not many NA mods work well with a supercharger. A supercharger just opens up a whole different ballgame.
So a singe 3" catback from the header? What company sells one or would this need to be custom.
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Old 12-23-2013, 09:52 PM   #9
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If you are running a supercharger that is what I would do. I just installed my 3" last week. You could also run any normal aftermarket catback but the 3" works perfectly with a Forced Induction set up. I did mine all custom and it looks amazing. I bout all the parts for around $200 and then a shop installed it for $300. It sounds amazing. Also I have catless headers. That is another mod that will work well with NA and a SC. I don't how strict your emissions are but Catless headers do wonders for our cars. Catless headers and the 3" single exhaust is the best setup you could have for a supercharger in my opinion.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:04 AM   #10
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I spent a lot of time and money before I realized that I needed F/I to reach the numbers I wanted, fortunately for me I realized this PRIOR tohhaving a top to bottom built motor done, which I did anyway as I already spent a lot on parts and the labor was the cheap part. I simply altered a few things, and did end up losingmoney on some tthings, but it was oh so worth it in the end!

I highly recommend looking at ESS TS kits, as after having spent a lot of wheel time in centi S/C'd Bimmers, I was in awe theffirst time I drove a TSE1 kit... It feels so much more like the engine just suddenly grew in displacement, with torque everywhere and (I'm assuming here, as I have a different sized Lysholm than what ESS uses, about 22 percent larger) power all the way to the red (7900rpm and no drop here!).

As for what else needs to be done...
1) your car needs to be COMPLETELY up to date on any and all wear item maintenance
2) I would not recommend that you S/C a car with the stock suspension, so figure $1-1.5k for coilovers and whatnot, $500 for bushings, $500 for drivetrain mounts
3) I would never not advise a brake system upgrade. This can be $459 for StopTech slotted rotors + ST Pads + ST SS Lines + RBF600, or you can spring for the BMW Performance 6-piston front BBK from ECS for around a grand and go with some stock size slotted rotors in back to match.
4) Flywheel and clutch will wear more quickly, and will eventually need upgrading
5) You will almost certainly need wider wheels and tires, and more importantly, your car will use UHP Summer tires, no "all season" junk... If you are increasing power by 50pct or more, the tires are what will save your life, or fail to do so, when you screw up.

And so forth.

Not trying to dissuade you, justttrying to give you a picture of what doing it properly entails, even when you are going as cheap as acceptable.


As far as what you can do to make power on top of a blower?

Well, the number one thing is adding an intercooler if not so equipped.

Otherwise, without getting into custom head work, etc, you have TWO things that are actually going tommake power:
1) quality stainless steel mandrel bent equal length tubular headers w quality Burns mergers (ideally you would send them to Swain Tech for their insanely good thermal barrier coating). This frees up the biggest restriction in the engine's breathing pathway, and a proper set will be tuned to actively scavenge, etc. I put my Suoersprint headers on prior to the SC, so I don't know exactly what they made in FI setup, but the tuner said it was likely to be around 25rwhp/rwtq pretty consistently (after he saw the design of the headers)
2) CAMS! You are looking at 25-40rwhp from cams, combined with a REAL tune.

FYI, post-headers, the exhaust setup really doesn't matter for power, as in the stock setup is good enough that you can spend a grand and not see more than 0-2rwhp, usually what happens. If you want the sound, and weight loss, go for it, but realize now that exhaust does not equal power! The absolute best setup of all the Frankensteinian exhausts I've run made a whopping 6.1rwhp and 5.5rwtq over just the headers w a factory 330i ZHP exhaust. If you think you can feel that on a 225-235bhp car, much less a 345-360bhp car, I hate to break it to you but it's in your head.

Instead of focusing on bolt on mods, focus on reducing weight, especially unsprung weight, as well as reducing drive train parasitic losses. While you won't feel anythingffrom an exhaust, I guarantee you will feel a big difference running wheels that shave a total of 24lbs or more off what you have now, and this benefits every single aspect of the cars performance, not just power.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:10 AM   #11
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Very nice writeup !
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Old 12-24-2013, 10:10 AM   #12
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Indeed. Everything's spot on, I have a few things to catch up on in that list, unfortunately.

Having had a twin-screw car in the past, it's a lot of fun! I'm turbo'd now, but both are great options.

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Old 12-24-2013, 11:30 AM   #13
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Just know that the vf kit is without an intercooler and there is no other off shelf upgrade path(no stage 2) if you choose to/get used to "more power".

After awhile, boosting a little over 6 psi, youre going to want to see what 8-9 psi setup might feel like with proper cooling.

Whether you go centri, twinscrew or turbo I recommend getting a kit that has a cooling upgrade or comes with one.
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Old 12-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #14
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To Supercharge Or Just Go N/A ?

why supercharge? why not turbo? much hard?
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Old 12-24-2013, 04:12 PM   #15
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To Supercharge Or Just Go N/A ?

You can do a basic VF kit and be done, without much more than making sure your general maintenance is up to date. You could probably do the same with an AA stage 1 kit. The ESS TS1 would likely require a clutch upgrade due to the increase in torque. My torque curve on my dyno was a near-perfect horizontal line up to redline. This is good and bad, in that the car doesn't have the low end of the twin screw or turbo setups, but it's barely harder on the car's drivetrain than stock.

I got around the lack of low end by installing a 3.64 final drive, which would be more like a 3.46 in a E46 330. It puts 18.6% more torque to the ground than the stock 3.07, which gives me lots of low end around town. I paid $60 for the 15k mile finned diff, $60 shipping, and 2 hours labor plus fluid to get it installed. A stock Z4M or M3 wouldn't stand a chance in a straight line against the car as it sits. Besides that, it's fun to row through the gears and feel the rush of boost approaching redline. I have many more gear options to keep the car in boost.

I'm one of the few centri proponents. I'm also one of the few that has a car he's perfectly satisfied with, and not looking for more. There will always be someone faster. Once you realize that, and decide it's all about fun, you start looking for different things. Mine was all about power delivery, sound, and driving experience. A Vortech centri kit sounds better than the others in my opinion - though they all sound great. I like having the boost build towards redline, which comes much sooner with the short final drive. And the way it adds torque where torque would normally fall off in the upper rpm, you aren't shocking the drivetrain.

I agree with most of what's written, though I wouldn't say it's all required. If anything, it gives you an upgrade path. I've enjoyed my supercharged car for a year and a half / 12k miles. I started with the VF kit, lightweight wheels, upgraded Koni shocks, and Stoptech pads / slotted rotors / Motul 600 fluid only. Everything else was stock. I was able to pull up top on a stock Z4M, so I'd assume you would be able to do the same with an M3. Since then I added Supersprint headers, Magnaflow cats, Supersprint Y-pipe (3" single exhaust), Supersprint Race Muffler, and 3.64 final drive. I still plan to do a flywheel/clutch combo and LSD.

My Z4M has enough low end at 3-4k rpm to spin the tires at will with new 265 width Michelin PSS out back, in 2nd (always) and 3rd (occasionally). While it's fun, I can't floor it other than at higher speeds, and I have to carefully modulate the throttle. With the non-M, I can burn through the gears and listen to the crackle and pop high rpm let off. Long story short, it's not always about what the dyno says.


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Old 12-24-2013, 05:50 PM   #16
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A lot of great response's. I think I'm leaning toward VF based on the price, for me the only other choice would be ESS TS1, AA is not an option. The ESS TS1 looks great but is $1350 more in price than the VF, I figure that the $1350 will go a long way for other upgrades. Currently I'm thinking my short list of upgrades will be a Header, 3.46 Diff, Stoptech Pads, and some Nitto NT05 tires.

As to the upgrade-ability of the VF (stage 1 only), I see it like this. After my one year warranty has expired, there are two upgrades I'll try. The first will be either an Aquamist or Snow Performance water methanol injection system with the nozzle paced after the Supercharger and Maf, I figure this will create the same effect as having a front mount intercooler. Second would be to source a smaller pulley so I could get to 7 or 8 psi, with some luck the VF tune would adapt to the change in pulley size.
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