The supercharger is finally installed and the end result is nice. Not perfect sadly but it is nice. So to start off the build, i grouped up all of my tools which sadly was not enough. Just to give you guys some information about my experience so you can gauge and compare your knowledge with mine. I have what i would consider pretty darn good knowledge of m52 and m54 engines. I have done everything to an m52 and s52 with the exception of changing camshafts and disassembling the bottom end. Ive done a little bit of work on m54 engines but from what ive seen and experienced they are basically a perfected m52 with some nice additions to make them in my opinion a little easier to work on. The disassemby started out great, very easy and very quick no surprises there.
Everything came off nice and easy i only broke one small part which was my error but easily reaired.
This is a picture of the vacuum line attached at the "back of the manifold" as the AA directions indicate. The directions dont really help to identify which capped of nipple to attach to. On my ZHP there were 4, if you consult realOEM you can match up the sizes and this was the correct port.
As for the belt tensioner the last 3rd bolt is hidden from view compeltely and very close to several other bolts that look like they could be part of the tensioner. Here is a pictures of me pointing to the last one, this might just save you 10 minutes its a lot easier when you can see where that last bolt could be.
The cutting, extending, and modifying of the hoses is really easy and the AA instructions are pretty good for this, it shouldnt really cause any issues for anyone.
With everything disassembled and the new tensioner installed i began to mount up the supercharger and pulley to the bracket. The fitment on this was great, the bracket is of very high quality and provides a perfect fit with the alternator and bolt holes. Great work here AA it fit like a glove.
At this point, this is where the problems started. The bracket to apply pressure to the supercharger is not very fun to get in. The directions and parts provided dont help you figure out exactly which bolt to remove and mount the bracket to on the oil filter bracket. The bolt they also provided was twice as long as the one pulled out and would not fit so i had to source a new one.
Ill post up this picture when photobucket gets back online it wont let me upload anymore at the moment.
Fitment on the powersteering pump is tight as to be expected, but there is enough room and the modified bracket works with out any issues.
At this point, this is where the problems began to start. The fitment for the snail pipe and blow of pipe is terrible. I expected a lot more from a kit costing this much money. The 90 degree elbow on the bottom of the supercharger to the BOVpipe does not and will not fit. I called AA and to my surprise was able to talk with the engineer who designed the kit. We chatted for a while and he said its very difficult to get it to fit but to keep trying at different angles from the 45 degree silicone piping at the throttle body to the BOV pipe and to the 90 degree at the supercharger.
After that failed i called back and spoke with the same gentlement. He was very eager to help and the service i received on the phone was great. This time he told me to do it opposite from the instructions and attach the 90 degree elbow first then work my way back to the throttle body. Sadly this did not and would never work. Simply put the hose provided is around 1-2" too short. I called again and he told me that they shorten them before sending them out. Well this was a problem for me. There was no way this piece would fit so he advised me, because of my time crunch, to go to pep boys and purchase a longer 90 degree elbow. Great...... Well no pepboys so i went to napa and had to cut a longer 90 from a 2.5inch radiator hose. This part really bugged me. I consulted one last time with AA and he assured me that this is an acceptable replacement and would handle the heat and pressure just fine.
After that the following the order the instructions sugjest for putting on the BOV (which you must attach before putting the BOV pipe on because there is no way to tighten this in the engine bay. In short take the BOV pipe out again to put the BOV on. Now the instuctions say DESA can go on with the BOV this is wrong, there is no way that would ever be able to get the DESA back on with the BOV there. So make sure you fully connect the DESA before the BOV and BOV pipe go back on. There is not even close to enough room with the BOV on.
The snail pipe is also an extremely tight fit this takes a lot of time and lot of adjust the BOV pipe to get the lengths right to fit.
At this point i had spent to much time on the rest of the build. I had to leave the car and go back to school for a week. I ended up going with my back up plan and dropped the car off at Bimmers'R'us. They are a local BMW shop and ended up finishing the build for me. This install requires having a lot of the right and odd length extensions that i was unable to get. Fitting the BOVpipe Snail pipe and BOV is the harded part of this build.
i will provide some more pictures of some of the rest of the build. Such as that this kit is not a complete bolt on. On later e46s you are required to cut part of the inner fender to fit the filter and snail pipe extensions. I did not have the tools to cut through sheet metal with me so i could not do this on my own.
Bimmers'r'us also did some work to make the kit installation a bit cleaner such as notching out a couple sports for the oil lines for the supercharger. and routing the oil lines differently so they flow better instead of making awkward bends as per AA's instructions.
The amount of fluid provided for the supercharger ended up barely being enough. I had only a little bit of the bottle left after the system was fully bled. The installation of the oil canister and lines as well as the injectors is very easy and is a great fit. As is the oil cooler, mounts up nicely, the air shroud will not go back on though.
I also ordered the simons tool so i could install the software without shipping my ecu out. Once you download your original tune you have to send that information to AA so they can email you back the modified tune for the supercharger. this takes AA about a day to get back to you so plan accordingly.
Once the car was started for the first time it found its idle in a few seconds and held a few hundred RPM's higher than is used to. Its been about 2 weeks and the idle is consistently a few hundred RPMs higher than before not a big deal.
Onto my impressions of the kit fully installed and functioning when you start the car the idle will flutter for a couple seconds and settle this seems to happen every time i start the car. When idling it does not change after the first start though. The gas mileage gauge is wildly inaccurate, Im not sure if this was something that should have been corrected in the re-calibration of the computer or will sort it self out over time, but i will continue to watch it as im sure my car is not averaging 50mpgs. The belts are very noisy, even after continuing to adjust the supercharger after the break in period for the belt, it remains fairly noisy. Its not squealing but does provide a bit of noise that is definitely noticeable.
Now for the goods! the BOV is quite noisy, i personally like this, but other people may find it to be an issue. The car feels very solid, ive put about 400 miles on it since the install and it has yet to give me any issues and i like the way it drives. The power delivery under 3500 RPMs feels like you just had the car retuned, you cant feel any boost and the car drives great in the city and around town. The ZHP has a different camshaft from other 330s and i feel like AA was able to get some more low end power from 2000-3500rpms from them. After 3500rpms is where the smiles per gallon are greatly increased. You hear and feel the car making boost at this point and it simply takes off like a rocket. its obviously not e90 m3 but i would not hesitate in saying it is faster than e46 m3s. When calculating out the mileage there is no change in MPGs on the highway if you are able to keep from getting on the accelerator. Traction is a huge issue now as the car will easily spin all the way into 3rd gear. I have all season tires so for me 1st gear and 2nd gear has a lot of power cut from traction control.
Overall i am happy with the end result and do no regret supercharging the car at all, it has the extra power to make it the perfect daily driver. The power delivery is a bit strong at 3500rpms but it is also a lot of fun once you know what the car will do. Up top the car pulls extremely hard and will not stop pulling.
If i had to do it all over again im not sure i would go with AA again due to the fitment issues with the snail pipe and BOV pipe and the amount of lines and piping you have to cut and modify. I would be interested in knowning if the ZHPs are slightly different and can contribute to this. The ability to upgrade to a stage 2 kit is a nice option to have, but if i did it again i may look at other kits. I do feel a little let down from some of the fender cutting and fitment issues for having paid as much as i did though.
Thanks to bimmers'r'us for helping me out in a pinch, they are a bunch of great guys and they do some awesome work. Anyone in the St. Louis area should definitely check them out. Also thank to Viral for hooking me up with a promotional deal he and the whole AA staff was great to work with and seem very committed to what they do.
If anyone is looking to purchase the AA kit and wants to install it yourself, i would recommend having either experience installing a supercharger kit, or someone who has done this before to help you as it is not really a DIY for a first timer. Post up with any questions im happy to share my experience and ill post up more pictures soon exampling the rest of the build.