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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 08-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #21
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Well, today I found out there is a semi-massive coolant leak. No coolant in the oil, no oil in the coolant. Just a nice leak that hits the drive belts. It's bad because that WILL cause slip. It's also hitting enough that the water pump aluminum pulley has been dyed blue in the lands and grooves!

The strangest thing though. I can see all the dried splashes everywhere around the belts, but after staring at it idling for HOURS I cannot see a single wet drop. Frustrating.
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:32 PM   #22
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Alot of the time the waterpump will seep when it's cold, pressure test the cooling system when cold to find your leak.
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastjasonbmw View Post
Alot of the time the waterpump will seep when it's cold, pressure test the cooling system when cold to find your leak.
That's my fear, and dread. Especially because I just did the cooling system a couple months ago.

Also the shop that did the install pressure tested the cooling system, but I guess they did it when it was warm.

I still have to form that freaking plexiglass to the vent. Also, I got a package today....



But before that can stealthily go in where the CD changer normally goes, I need to move the sub to on top of the battery tray.

I'm also slowly coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably need to do something about the exhaust. If I can get away with a simple x-pipe after the headers to act as a merge then that's fantastic. But I have a feeling it will require more than that.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:48 AM   #24
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I hit 10psi tonight. It was absolutely terrifying.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:52 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadwood83 View Post
I hit 10psi tonight. It was absolutely terrifying.
I hit 9-10 psi every day.. on my way to work lets see some installed pix
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:48 AM   #26
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Love the build! Keep up the great work!
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:27 AM   #27
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There's road work going on outside my shop, and they keep leaving the windows down. It was there for the annoying cooling leak and axle not-quite-drip. Both got checked out.

They sucked out all the coolant with some fancy coolant sucker then put the entire system under vacuum so the hoses collapsed. After that, they monitored the vacuum gauge for 45 minutes. Not even a .1psi change. Then they filled it again, idled it, got it to temp, revved it, watched. Not a single drop. We're both confused.

It also explains the horribly dusty interior though, so please forgive me on that.

I got the gauge installed last night finally. You can see a finger smudge, because it was like 12am and I was elated that it was finally done. Forming the plexi was tricky. I cut it roughly with a dremel, then used temporary spray adhesive to affix sandpaper to a marble slab. I gently clamped the plexi to a contractor's square so that everything would be perfect. I approximated angles, made rough cuts, then sanded to perfection. 150 grit then 400 grit then 800 grit. The top edge that is exposed got a nice treatment with a buffing wheel on the dremel to finish it out. The buffing wheel heats the acrylic and causes it to reflow a little bit. Really nifty trick, but insanely easy to overdo and ruin a piece of good acrylic. I just have to find that stupid anti-glare I bought specifically for the gauge.

Here it is, simply a press-fit, before the final height was sanded down.



and here it is again, this morning.



The exhaust is killing me though. Quiet (compared to the whine and MASSIVE whooshing of the S/C), drones at 1500-2200revs, and generally just not fantastic.

I'd really like to try a Dynomax VT muffler because one UNIVERSAL review point is that it does completely kill drone. But there seems to be a 50/50 chance that it will rattle like crazy. I also plan to put a magnaflow x-pipe right after the header downtubes so that I can play with the exhaust without much power gain/loss.

I also plan to run a Bosch 710N bypass valve. The character of the car changes completely going from -0psi to 0psi, so if I can build the boost a wee bit faster (a closed valve is still a closed valve though :p) that would be very nice! Currently 0psi under load seems to be about 2750rpm.

As a side note, I need to find a freakin aluminum welder willing to take tiny jobs to get this meth kit in. Already have two bungs from Summit, just waiting on my small Coolingmist nozzle for the pre-compressor injection.

Also debating whether I should uncrimp and solder the MAF extensions. I'm thinking yes. Currently idle goes between 14.0-14.4 and WOT load is 11:1. I think that should be a full point leaner at WOT. The crimped MAF could be introducing resistance, and a MAF with a higher resistance is reading "more air" or a denser air, possibly causing the system to run a bit rich.

ETA:

MOAR UPDATE.

When I solder, I like to make sure things are insulated. Insulation went as so:
-Heatshrink
-Heatshrink
-Electrical Tape
-Heatshrink
-Like 3 more layers of electrical tape

I'm sorry these pics are not fantastic. Other than my cellphone, my camera is a Pentax K5, which I'm not going to mess with when my hands are incredibly grimy, so I took these pics with a potato.

Soldered


and Heatshrinked


and all taped up


My hypothesis was only slightly correct. It DID lean things out a little, by .1 point at idle and .3 points at WOT. It also increased vacuum, which was weird.


And now for the real meat of the post; the piping! Starting from the driver's side brake duct area, the intercooler outlet pipe with BPV is routed across and under the trans cooler (which DOES interfere with the engine cover, but nothing comes without sacrifice) and joins a rubber pipe with heat/impact shield from a 2012 Golf GTI that someone ran into a tree. Reference the pic by the intercooler inlet elbow and the radiator drain plug.


The pipe then snakes up and over the swaybar and joins an aluminum tube for a nearly uninterrupted travel to the throttle body elbow. Don't be fooled, space is incredibly tight. Just, unreasonably incredibly tight.






The BPV itself is pointed upwards, towards the center of the engine. As always with this build, space is scarily tight. This BPV will be replaced with a Bosch 114 (Audi 710N) that I ordered from ECS Tuning today.


Alright, and one more to show better the compressor->intercooler piping folded under the snail and y-pipes, snaking around the bumper shock mount extrusion. Again, fit is incredibly tight.


After all the pics, I did a lot of vacuum line and S/C oil line re-routing. That's when I discovered that a 3-way tee had been used as a four-way tee and the FPR had ZERO connection to the manifold vac/pressure. Fixed that.
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:43 AM   #28
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Remove the waterpump pulley and take a good look at the weep hole. Then replace the waterpump.
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Old 08-26-2012, 01:11 PM   #29
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New BPV is on.

Front diff fluid is changed.

Completely redid intercooler return tubing. Might redo it once more.

Performed two 14psi boost leak tests.

Debadged for symmetry. Considering rebadging to 323 or 318.

About the BPV's. Active ships the kit with an Audi 710P. Not a bad valve by any means, but it had some things I didn't like:
-The spring rate was very weak, leading to boost leak when nearing 8psi (probably due to a bad valve)
-When I would let off the throttle, there was audible and felt compressor surge, and I HATED that.
-It made a very loud bypass noise on shifts.

So I replaced it with Audi part 710N, which has some astoundingly high flow rates. The 710 series are now manufactured by Kayser instead of Bosch, for whatever that's worth. When I started playing with the 710P from the kit, it had noticeable diaphragm sticking and noise near the top of its travel. Also the spring was so weak that I could easily open the diaphragm completely and without discomfort by simply sucking on the vacuum nipple. The 710N, in comparison, feels much sturdier. When I would toss and catch it, there was no spring twang that I could neither hear nor feel (perceived both with the 710P). I could open the valve some by sucking on the vacuum port, but not without moderate to high levels of discomfort in my ears, eyes, and sinuses.

So, what did the new bypass do for me? In a nutshell, it fixed a leak, slightly improved throttle response, but most importantly it made the transition from vacuum to boost much smoother. It also quieted the noise at shifts. I know a lot of people like this noise, but it is indicative of a restriction in the system. Here's a nice graph (source) that I will reference:



The 710P I believe is more closely matched in performance to the Bosch 108/710A (though without any of the reliability issues). The 710N, as you can see, requires more vacuum for full open (so you'll feel a bit more mid range torque) AND has more piston travel for the same piston displacement as the 710A. If you look at the graph, you'll see that the piston is also much more gradual with opening at pressure. This means that for everyday cruising I don't see the weird power humps that I did before! It's incredibly nice and more OE-feeling. Instead of being hit with a hard vac/boost change, it's brought on more gradually, which my trans and front diff will definitely appreciate. Of course, it is also making slightly more power since there is less leak. Also the larger piston opening means that when you drop off the throttle and go boost to vacuum, the air is released much less violently which prevents MAF backflow and compressor surging.

The downside to it though is that at one specific throttle position I once again have an air whistle. It's like having a cold air intake in both pitch and volume. Also, since the cracking pressure is -6 to -7psi, at some cruising conditions you might notice a sound like a "fwup fwup fwup" which is just the piston slightly varying its position. I believe I can fix this by running better vacuum lines. The part was a whopping $37 + shipping and is a direct fit.

Now for some comparison pictures!

Starting with physical size, you can see they are the same. Both are Kayser parts (on the 710P the non-audi part number begins, "KYS").


Piston shape and size is also similar. On the outside, the 710P seems like a nicer valve, but the better material of the 710N was saved for its guts. My 710P output was also deformed, which I found strange.
710N left, 710P right




The guts are where the big differences are. First, the 710P.



Notice how it has the four guide rods and a mostly plastic piston face. I believe the guide rods were what was causing the loud bypass noise. In comparison, the 710N has none of these. In place of the flat plastic surface, there is also a slightly beveled brass edge that I believe should help with airflow.



Everything I have read indicates that the bypass valve on these kits is oriented wrongly. Other forums say that the boost should come from the side and exit the bottom. This makes the valve more likely to operate mostly on manifold pressure as opposed to using a combination of spring pressure and manifold pressure fighting against the force of the boost at the intercooler return pipe. Will I re-orient mine? Maybe? I don't know.

Oh and for the love of pete, change your driveline fluids.

Here's a small sample of my front diff fluid after 88k next to a bottle of brand spankin new Redline 75w90.



Don't let people tell you that you need anything lower than Eibach Pro-Kit springs.



New fuel pump on the way. INPA adaptations are +max% on multiplicative throwing a BMW 277 (deviation max bank 1) code. I verified the injectors with Zak @ Active and fixed two small boost leaks, so the pump is the next cheapest option.

My registration expires in 6 days. I replied to Zak's email asking if there was any way to re-enable the readiness on the rear O2 sensors so I can pass electronic emissions. This is basically a hint saying, "on the ECU form I said I had headers and that the rear O2 sensors would not be a problem, but they were tuned out anyway, can we please fix this so my car doesn't get red-flagged bu the health department?" Actually, that's not a hint at all, I used almost those exact words in quotes in an email. If I don't have a reply tomorrow, I will call Viral since he hooked me up with the kit. Oh and FCAB's are torn on both sides. One torn on top, the other on the bottom.
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Old 09-02-2012, 10:29 AM   #30
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New fuel pump is in.

Active re-enabled my rear-O2 sensors. Another shout-out to Viral for being awesome and fast! It literally took less than 1.5 minutes TOPS from "Hello" to "send it in." The only downside is FedEx not automatically including weekend delivery on anything above 3-day like UPS does. So no ECU until Tuesday.

Though I also got another goodie installed in its temporary location.



Also it's a sad feeling when the Rolls gets more driving in any given week than my car.



Meth kit needs to go in soon. I don't plan to run it until AFR's are all worked out, but the physical bits need to go in before the underside of my car is jam packed with snow. I have AWD and I use it.
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Old 09-05-2012, 04:08 PM   #31
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Great writeup! I would really like to do a Stage 1 on my 330.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:11 PM   #32
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ECU with O2s enabled is in. Differential leak is fixed. New passenger axle. I got GKN Loebro from Pelican and the passenger side shoulder was machined so poorly that it had no chance of sealing. My show doing the emissions (which it passed with flying colors) had an FEQ passenger axle that they gave me for $110 BNIB, no core charge. I've been busy with schooling so I had them install it. Since they did the diff seal, there was no labor charge. They also warranty their work and parts for 3 years/36000 miles, so having a Chinese doo-dad in there doesn't worry me overmuch. Plus I expect Pelican to warranty that GKN axle since it's maybe 3-4 months old with less than 3k miles.

With the new fuel pump, the car runs like a top. WOT AFR's are even slightly lean at 12.7:1 which is pretty much a perfect storm for safe running but with no danger of over-richening the engine with meth. However the engine leans out to 15 D: for about 1 second if I give it very light throttle off idle or cruising. If I push it with any conviction it's fine. The ECU only has maybe 112-120 miles on it since the reflash though, so the adaptations will probably need a while longer to mature.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:51 PM   #33
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You're going to have pretty much a brand new car when you're done with this...

What of all the things you've done was actually necessary in the installation and operation of the supercharger itself?

I understand the maintenance stuff that probably would have had to have been done anyway (or not?) but what is involved and/or required in the supercharger itself.

Trying to gain knowledge for when I decide to tackle this (read, when I convince my other half to let me tackle this).
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
You're going to have pretty much a brand new car when you're done with this...

What of all the things you've done was actually necessary in the installation and operation of the supercharger itself?

I understand the maintenance stuff that probably would have had to have been done anyway (or not?) but what is involved and/or required in the supercharger itself.

Trying to gain knowledge for when I decide to tackle this (read, when I convince my other half to let me tackle this).
That's the trick i have to perform as well!
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:13 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
You're going to have pretty much a brand new car when you're done with this...

What of all the things you've done was actually necessary in the installation and operation of the supercharger itself?

I understand the maintenance stuff that probably would have had to have been done anyway (or not?) but what is involved and/or required in the supercharger itself.

Trying to gain knowledge for when I decide to tackle this (read, when I convince my other half to let me tackle this).
If you get the stage 1 kit, the xi will run it perfectly fine with no other parts (though generally new fuel pump is advised) assuming all your normal maintenance is done. Of course new O2s are recommended if you haven't done them for >35k miles.

With the stage 2 kit, all that is needed is a few extra clamps and a flexible charge pipe from a Golf GTI (that has the right-angle bend necessary to get around the AT cooler molded into it). Fitting the stage 2 (see: intercooler piping) is difficult due to clearances and the necessity of routing the compressor -> intercooler pipes around the outside of the frame rail, right underneath the compressor intake pipe. Of course each application will vary, but that was all I needed.

However, if you go stage 2 on am auto 330, your transmission WILL die. It's not a matter of if, it's when. Stage 2 325 and stage 1 330 seem to be comparable in terms out output and if you're not constantly hitting 4500+ then the trans can probably cope for some multiple of ten thousand miles if it's in good knick right now. With my downsized pulley and a peak boost of 10.5psi, it's too much for the transmission without mods. I CANNOT drive the car gently in sport or else the 1-2 shift is so hard at part throttle that it slams the rear down a solid half inch. In drive it's perfectly smooth. The EGS has programmed shift curves based on the car's stock power output. Needless to say, those maps no longer apply...

I want to get a good sound clip of the S/C in a parking garage. I parked in one and even at 2k revs the sound that comes out the front is terrifying.

I am an extreme tinkerer. "Done" is little more than a concept of an ideal for me. But I also have a very strong emotional attachment to the car, so upgrading wasn't an option. My friend with the 335 admitted the other day, "I've been thinking of getting a JB4. For some reason your boost feels stronger than mine." I think he's just going based off the feel in the passenger seat, where he doesn't have the wheel to brace against. But I didn't correct him :p
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:31 PM   #36
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^ Thanks for the insight! I think I'll stick with stage 1 for the time being, mainly due to cost/benefit on an almost 9 year old car. Also, mine is a manual so I likely (if I went stage 2) wouldn't run into problems routing around the non-existant trans cooler and the only programmed shift curves are in my head and left foot. Also, manual transmissions are known for being much more robust so I'd probably fry the clutch before anything worse went wrong.

If I did this, I would for sure ditch the cats and run headers. With MN being a non-inspecting state it's a no brainer to do this.
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Old 09-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
^ Thanks for the insight! I think I'll stick with stage 1 for the time being, mainly due to cost/benefit on an almost 9 year old car. Also, mine is a manual so I likely (if I went stage 2) wouldn't run into problems routing around the non-existant trans cooler and the only programmed shift curves are in my head and left foot. Also, manual transmissions are known for being much more robust so I'd probably fry the clutch before anything worse went wrong.

If I did this, I would for sure ditch the cats and run headers. With MN being a non-inspecting state it's a no brainer to do this.
You most likely could get away with just replacing the flywheel rather than the entire clutch.

Without the trans cooler there is still some fitment creativity necessary due to the front swaybar location, but it definitely makes things a whole lot easier. Most of my motivation for the intercooler were the plethora of posts saying how it was incredibly difficult and the few posts straight-out saying it couldn't be done. The forum isn't super reliable.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:06 PM   #38
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So yesterday I called Dinan to set up and purchase some trans. software directly through them and send in my EGS. As soon as I was talking to the sales rep for Utah and relayed my experience at the shop his first suggestion was, "there's probably something wrong with your car." So I told him that I have flashed my transmission software before and he replied with, "what software?" This went on with him saying my hardware might not be supported and that he would have to forward me to tech support. I tried to tell him that my application was listed right on their website and that if obviously was hardware approved since the shop tried to flash it (wrongly) before. He forwarded me to tech support anyway.

Tech support didn't pick up. I was forwarded to the operator. I asked if he could just call me back, she forwarded me to his voicemail. I left a message explaining what I wanted, said it was the Siemens GS20 EGS for the A5S390R transmission and I included my phone number and the BMW hardware number on my box.

Then I thought about it for 10 minutes, decided $200 extra was worth it for someone who would listen, and called ESS. I had an order placed in five minutes. The EGS ships in 30ish minutes. Dinan still hasn't called me back.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:18 PM   #39
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F Dinan, the only reason I ever use their products is when they are cheaper than OEM, which is very rare. We can't sell their products anymore at work, so I get a smokin employee deal on them. For example, I got a CAI for 330xi cheaper than an OEM airbox (bought the car wrecked).
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #40
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Well, I got the EGS back and it was unresponsive. WinKFP, the ECU, INPA, nothing could see it nor read hardware numbers. kind of scary. But ESS has been really good with the support, and the EGS is back on its way to them. I got very quick e-mail replies that actually helped me troubleshoot rather than blaming the car immediately. It was a nice change.

New control arm center ball joints, windshield gasket, some plastic clips, and maybe I'll actually finish my meth install. It's sad though. The car has been sitting for two weeks with almost a full tank of gas.
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