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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 05-23-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
bryce-o
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Tuning options

While I'm new to the e46, I'm not new to tuning cars, bmw's, etc. i've had several honda/acura models that i've had dyno tuned, a mitsubishi evo x, and i've owned a 135i and a 335i that i had running over 450 hp, etc.

i recently picked up a 2005 330Ci with the zhp package. i purchased technik headers for the car, and i'm getting ready to install them this weekend. i have a few questions/comments on the tuning options for this platform. obviously, a custom dyno tune is my first choice, and I have a shop local that does custom tuning on bmw dme's (secret services, in houston).

i have researched the other tuning options (shark injector, AA flash, OE flash, eurocharged flash, etc.). It's a little disappointing that there aren't more options. the shark injector won't be as compatable with my car/setup, since i'm running a drop-in filter in the stock airbox, and the technik headers as my only performance mods.

the AA tune has poor reviews, it might not provide any gains over stock by some reports. the OE tune sounds good, but they don't appear to have a zhp-specific tune. that leaves eurocharged, who have tuned zhp's, but might not have a file for catless headers.

is my best option going with a custom dyno tune? it's the highest price option, and should provide the best gains. the thing that's making me hesitate is the fact that the shop may not have tuned any e46 or zhp models before. i know tuning is basic principals, i've just had a few bad tunes before where i didn't like the throttle response, part throttle drivability, etc.

thanks in advance for any advice
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:51 AM   #2
E46_330i_Stud
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If it was as easy as just getting a custom dyno tune, don't you think they're would be more options available? I'd say your best bet is to wait until you get at least an exhaust then get a tune. Gives you more time to research what works best for you.

Also, go with what many guys here use and recommend. Shark, OE (if they can tune the ms43), Active or ESS.
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Last edited by E46_330i_Stud; 05-23-2012 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by E46_330i_Stud View Post
If it was as easy as just getting a custom dyno tune, don't you think they're would be more options available? I'd say your best bet is to wait until you get at least an exhaust then get a tune. Gives you more time to research what works best for you.
did you read my post lol? i'm going to have headers installed this weekend. that, plus a drop in filter will be my only performance mods. i'm not going to get a catback exhaust.

a custom dyno tune is pretty easy to get where i live. a shop has the necessary hardware and software to put the car on the dyno and reflash the tables over several pulls/datalogs.

my point was, is a custom dyno tune worth it, if i don't know how well the car will drive? or should i get a "canned" tune like eurocharged or OE tuning? i am leaning towards the custom dyno tune, but hoping to get feedback from users who have been custom tuned.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
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Yes I read your post. I was stating that with only headers and a drop in filter you may be better off waiting for more mods, such as exhaust, before tuning or you may be getting it reflashed again. If headers is ALL your planning on doing, a custom tune wouldn't be worth while IMO.
With AA I believe you can get a second reflash for a discounted price once you add more mods. I may be wrong but that might be worth looking into.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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OP, why do you think the shark tune is not as compatible with your car/setup? I am not an expert on e46 tuning either, but have tuned cars in the past. It is to my understanding that shark provides real HP numbers, as proven by Iceman's dyno thread. The shark shows gains with no others mods, with a long tube CAI, and with headers. I am simply going by the graphs I have seen in that thread, as I am no expert and have yet to tune my car (more of a maintence over mods right now, but in the future I will shark).

What pricing is your custom tune going for?
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:10 AM   #6
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yeah op theres really isn't much you can do. you can't beat the shark injector price of 350 bucks and since it has shown 10whp or more with a real intake it would make sense for you to buy a real 1 maybe long tube and then put the shark on so you may get 18 whp roughly with the shark injector which is pretty impressive assuming shark works for your car. i think it does just not on autotragics..
i plan on going with oe tunning because they are local. they are a tad bit pricey for their dyno tunes but i will have headers and cams so it would make sense to have a dyno tune to get the most out of them
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:15 AM   #7
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turner motorsports said it's not really compatible or optimized for long tube, catless headers. a few members who had the shark and headers reported bad a/f ratios and not the best performance. shark injector is really made for an intake, maybe a catback exhaust.


i'm also not convinced that the stock exhaust is that limiting. i'm planning on installing the headers and deleting the resonators. the stock axle back muffler on the zhp is straight-through. i don't imagine my hacked up stock exhaust will be losing any power compared to a magnaflow or similar exhaust.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:35 AM   #8
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The ZHP exhaust is not any different than a regular 325/330's exhaust other than the muffler is single walled instead of double walled. I believe the tips are a tad different as well. You probably won't enjoy the raspy sound from catless headers and stock exhaust especially when deleting the reaonator, unless that's your thing!
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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A dyno tune is always going to out perform a flash tune, that being said, if they don't know how to tune BMW's then you will actually lose power, the shark injector is perfectly capable for any NA mods. Also people don't really add an exhaust to make power on our cars but more for changing the exhaust note, the ZHP exhaust sounds good with headers and the front res deleted though goodluck
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:47 AM   #10
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Cool, good info, thanks. I'll probably just do the headers, resonator delete, and get the shark tune then. I was originally worried that the a/f ratio would be skewed because the shark tune is made for an intake and/or exhaust. Thanks again
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:46 PM   #11
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When I talked to ESS they had a tune for ZHPs, but I have seen no before/after dynos yet to know if its actually making power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by E46_330i_Stud View Post
...If headers is ALL your planning on doing, a custom tune wouldn't be worth while IMO....
Seriously? Headers is the #1 reason to get a tune, as it is the mod that nets probably the biggest gains on these cars short of forced induction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steven747 View Post
you can't beat the shark injector price of 350 bucks and since it has shown 10whp or more with a real intake it would make sense for you to buy a real 1 maybe long tube and then put the shark on so you may get 18 whp roughly with the shark injector which is pretty impressive assuming shark works for your car.
You again posting this kind of crap. Where are you getting these numbers from, besides the deep dark hole directly above your seat? You need to stop posting misinformation.

OP, I think a tune of some kind is warranted after installing headers. Whether you choose the custom tune or a flash from someone like ESS or eurocharged or OE, please post up a before/after dyno. I'd love to see it.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rkneeshaw View Post
When I talked to ESS they had a tune for ZHPs, but I have seen no before/after dynos yet to know if its actually making power.



Seriously? Headers is the #1 reason to get a tune, as it is the mod that nets probably the biggest gains on these cars short of forced induction.



You again posting this kind of crap. Where are you getting these numbers from, besides the deep dark hole directly above your seat? You need to stop posting misinformation.

OP, I think a tune of some kind is warranted after installing headers. Whether you choose the custom tune or a flash from someone like ESS or eurocharged or OE, please post up a before/after dyno. I'd love to see it.
Honestly man shark is a great option your a/f ratios wont be that messed up for 350 bucks and more than 10 hp.. Vs. custom tune for 700 bucks. Do the math buddy..
Btw ess's tune for n/a is comparable to AA's
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:06 PM   #13
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i'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for." ebay headers may fit well for some, not others. the chinese stainless may rust, or the welds may not be the best, etc.

i've always thought you shouldn't cheap out on the tune of the car especially. $350 for a shark injector is a nice price, but the tune isn't optimized for the long tube headers. so, i think i'm leaning towards having the local shop dyno tune my car. i had their tune on my old acura, and they've done work for me on my 135i and 335i. they're pretty trustworthy and their tuner is touted as the best in texas. i know they've tuned some m3's and z3 ///m cars, so this should be pretty straight forward.


problem: they want $600 to install the headers. yikes. i don't want to DIY, i did that with the 3" catless downpipes on my 135i and swore i'd never attempt something like that again. so, i think .'lli shop around and have some shop complete the work for $300 or so. then, get their dyno tune. if i have enough time, i'll try to get a baseline without the headers installed. of course i'll have a baseline with the headers, on the stock ecu tune. and then the tuned dyno run.




by the way, i also thought it was ridiculous that members were telling me to add an exhaust, as getting tuned with just headers wouldn't be worth it. lol this forum is full of very knowledgable guys



thanks for the positive advice
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:10 AM   #14
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Shark and ebay headers work perfect. Sometimes you should stop talking and listen when good advice is given.
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:35 AM   #15
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So, the good advise you're giving me is to skip a custom dyno tune, and get a shark injector?
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Old 05-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #16
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So, the good advise you're giving me is to skip a custom dyno tune, and get a shark injector?
To be perfectly honest, given the relatively limited gains you'll see from either, I think you would be perfectly happy with either. The Shark tune is from Jim Conforti, probably the top BMW tuner in the world. The canned tune may be slightly more conservative given its "generic" nature (ie, has to run on all cars and still be safe) whereas a custom dyno tune can optimize for the current state/condition of your motor. Is your custom dyno tune going to push things to the ragged edge looking for the biggest numbers and eliminate any safety margin you might need should you get a tank of bad gas or start to need to change plugs, fuel filter, fix an intake leak, etc down the road? If you go the custom tune route, be sure to discuss your goals with your tuner (ie, reliable power vs ultimate power).
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:13 AM   #17
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i've had custom dyno tunes, i've had "canned tunes," and i've had piggy back tunes. i know the benefits, risks, details involved with each. i was leaning towards a canned tune like the shark injector, but the fact that it doesn't offer a file for catless headers makes me wonder if it'd be worth it or not. i can get the custom dyno tune for $500, so not all that much more expensive. when they tuned my previous cars, it was 3+ hours on the dyno, mulitple pulls and datalogs. car ran awesome afterwards.

i'm going to research eurocharged a little, but i'm pretty sure i'll be going the custom dyno tune route.
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:19 AM   #18
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Eurocharged does do custom tunes, just call them and ask. They can tailor their ZHP tune for your specific mods!
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:28 AM   #19
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Eurocharged does do custom tunes, just call them and ask. They can tailor their ZHP tune for your specific mods!
it's funny you posted that. i had a call yesterday with eurocharged here in houston. they have a "canned" file tune for $350, and they have an in-house dyno for $100 an hour for custom tuning. it's about the same price most likely as secret services. i'm not sure which would be better to go with, honestly. chris@secret services is an amazing tuner. i've heard good things about jerry@eurocharged, too. will continue research
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Old 05-24-2012, 10:45 AM   #20
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it's funny you posted that. i had a call yesterday with eurocharged here in houston. they have a "canned" file tune for $350, and they have an in-house dyno for $100 an hour for custom tuning. it's about the same price most likely as secret services. i'm not sure which would be better to go with, honestly. chris@secret services is an amazing tuner. i've heard good things about jerry@eurocharged, too. will continue research
sounds good! just making sure you knew before deciding.
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