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Old 08-26-2008, 02:02 AM   #1
jeffgm3conv
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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My Ride: 05 M3 Conv VFE Stg2
My new VF Engineering Stage 2 - 469 WHP w/ stock headers/cats!

I'm now on my third week and 1000th mile of my new VF Stage 2 supercharger kit and I wanted to share my initial impressions with everyone as well as my decision-making process in choosing VF.

I'm going to cut straight to the punch line - the kit is fantastic and my car has been utterly transformed. I have a lot of rich friends with very fast cars and now my 05 M3 Vert is an even match (or better) for their M6's, turbo porsches, or F430's. It pulls insanely to redline, sounds fantastic (and beastly), and makes me want to keep my car forever. While I'm still adapting, it's getting closer and closer to running just as perfectly as stock. It also seems to keep on getting faster...I was close to trading in my car for the new M3 Vert, but the $50k upgrade cost, massive weight gain, and pathetic trunk space led me to go the supercharged route instead. I am SO glad I did.

As I also had a TC Kline suspension and Rogue SSK installed at the same time my car now truly feels like a four seat convertible supercar. (SSK is awesome and the suspension is shockingly good - I was very unhappy with my vert's ride before - harsh and floaty at the same time - and am stunned to discover that it's now more comfortable and handles WAY WAY better). Mad props to Ben Liaw over at Rogue Engineering (as well as Mark, Harold, and the rest of the gang) for doing the VF install as well as the suspension and SSK. Highly recommend them for anyone in the NJ/NY area.

Since I finally got to a dyno today, I can give some numbers to back this up. Keep in mind that I am running STOCK cats and headers on my car now. Supposedly this should be costing me 30-40 whp. Yet my car dyno'd today (on a dynojet with 93 pump) at 469 WHP!! I was stunned. (Hats off to George and his crew at ICS for a very professional, thorough, and friendly dyno session)

(I've attempted to attach the dyno printout to this post - hope it works)

So, while my car's final potential with the VF Stage 2 will have to wait for my headers and cats (if I get another 30-40 whp on top of my 469 I think I may have a record), as of now I am thrilled.

Since I'm sure there are many folks out there debating whether or not to go FI, whether to supercharge or turbocharge, and then which vendor to go with, let me share my thought process. I've spent countless hours reading every post related to FI on the boards and speaking with as many vendors as possible and managed to sort things out so they made sense to me - maybe this will be helpful to others:

First, whether to go FI. This one is easy. The new M3 is not really that much faster. It's a lot heavier and very expensive. And frankly I don't really like the looks. Our E46's have massive potential with FI and a long track record of durability. Depending on how old your M3 is, it's going to cost you $50-60k to upgrade to the new M3. It'll cost $20k to transform your M3 to something that blows away the new M3 in every respect (I'm talking FI kit + install, headers/cats, suspension, and brakes. Really think you need each of them). For that money you will have a true supercar. The only real negative in the equation is resale value. Easy solution: never sell it. You won't want to.

Second, supercharging vs. turbocharging. This one completely depends on your personal preference. Now, I've never driven an HPF kit, but of course have watched lots of vids and studied many dynos. So if I'm off base here, please forgive me. It's a very impressive kit, and I'm not trying to criticize it at all, but here's how I concluded - If you care more about high speed power - highway pulls, 60-130, etc, then you prob want a turbo. However, if you care more about 0-100 performance, country road assaults, and track sessions, then you prob want a supercharger. Why? Lag and linearity. The HPF kit is impressively powerful, but every turbo has lag and more importantly a non-linear torque curve. Not a problem on the highway. But when I'm accelerating out of a corner at the threshold of adhesion, the last thing I want is a massive spike in torque that breaks the rear tires loose. Great for drifting. Bad for avoiding trees. You can argue that a good driver can plan for and manage around this, but it's easier said than done, and frankly I'd rather not have to. In addition to this, I also hope that the lower boost levels of a supercharger kit will be kinder to my engine... and I'm not really keen on having to keep a methanol tank filled all the time. So for me, sacrificing a little bit of speed was well worth it given the above. And all of the 'why is my VF car slow' BS is really misleading. A VF S2 is NOT slow. It's F430 fast. Or better. Now it's not going to feel like you dropped a Z06 engine into the car - it's still a high rpm motor that makes peak torque from 4.5-8k rpm and has to be driven accordingly. Adding a CF supercharger won't give you monstrous torque at 3-4k rpm, but if you're driving hard you have no business being below 4k anyways. It's called downshifting, and its fun. Drive your VF S2 properly and you'll keep up with the guy in the $400k Murcielago Roadster as I did (the look on his face was priceless!!). The fact that a turbo kit running methanol/race fuel can pull on the VF at high speeds really doesn't concern me. And unless you're a diehard street racer, it shouldn't be a concern for you either.

Finally, which vendor of supercharger kits. The three ones that I researched - VF, AA, and ESS - all seem to offer good kits that people will be happy with. But one must choose. And here's how I did it. First, ESS just doesn't have enough of a history in the US. As far as I could tell there are only two, maybe three here. Not enough data. Might be great, but I'm not taking the chance. So now it's down to AA vs. VF. There is so much information and misinformation here that it's sickening. This whole 'VF software is stock' BS is utterly ridiculous. My car just put down 469whp with a beautifully smooth torque curve and runs great with new injectors, a new MAF, and 8.5lbs of boost. Stock software? Doesn't seem possible. I'm not going to play the criticism game that seems to have infected some of the boards. AA appears to make a great kit, and there are many happy owners. But for me, here's what led me to choose VF. All of these comments relate to the Rotrex kit btw - AA's new ASA kit may be better, but the 'not enough data' problem applies.. First, the VF S2 makes more power with less boost. This is important - faster and should last longer. Second, the torque with the Rotrex AA really looks like it falls off towards redline, while the VF one holds peak torque all the way to 8k rpm. And finally, the fact that VF retains the MAF and the car runs without a CEL and can pass emissions impressed me.

So there you have it. I hope this is helpful to people debating their FI options. And I hope I haven't upset anyone with my comments. I'm totally open to other people's thoughtful counters to my conclusions. It's entirely possible that I missed something in my logic and made the wrong decision. But I'm still happy as hell with my VF Stage 2.

Will report back in a month or so after I've installed headers and cats.

-Jeff
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Old 08-26-2008, 02:26 PM   #2
zracer196
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My Ride: 05' M3 AA SC!!
Congrats!!!

Nice write up, HP, etc.

SC cars ARE a nice option...

Here is my curve...Does drop off after 7500, but still makes a LOT on a Mustang dyno (reads a lot lower than a Dynojet).

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Old 08-26-2008, 03:21 PM   #3
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Nice thread and grats on joining the FI club... sigh.. you'll be craving more soon.. trust me... ha ha... great power and that torque curve is VERY healthy - nice and fat low down where it counts
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:45 PM   #4
jeffgm3conv
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Thanks guys. Zracer96 - that's awesome byno btw! A little dropoff after 7500 is prob a good thing - keeps you from hitting the rev limiter too often
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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Bump for an update Jeff!
-Sean
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:43 PM   #6
iLLM3
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Very nice man, VF looks to be a SOLID and strong kit, maybe I would go FI on an M3 again afterall .... My first time around was a nightmare :/
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:58 AM   #7
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Here are some pics from a cross post in M3Forum.net from the installer: Rogue Engineering.





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