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I'd like to start off saying that ESS puts together an amazing SC kits that are nothing but top notch quality, I've installed a variety of ESS SC kits and each and every one of them have been 110% complete quality.
Next up is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. The tune -its flawless. Unlike the competitors in the FI industry the ESS tune is THE best, its extremely smooth and clean. It has no cold start idle issues, nor does it pop/miss/backfire when being held at any RPM… try that with a competitors and it won't hold steady with out popping/missing. The tune is one of the reasons I chose ESS, I've tried/tested out a few other SC kits and was unhappy with the drivability of the tune. Seeing that the tune was "unstable"/choppy just free revving and driving on the street, I could not have that type of inconsistency while on the track at 100% duty. Oh yea… ESS runs "MAF-less/Alpha-n" tune on all their kit for the S54 engine.
The power output is again very smooth/linear driving around town, the drivability of the car is still just like how it was from the factory with the exception of the added power. Under 3000rpm you can feel a difference, the car moves and covers ground quickly. Over 4000rpm is when the car turns into a monster!! as the boost climbs the car pulls to redline very hard and very fast. Its hard to keep the power down even in second gear at higher rpm's I get wheel spin.
**Brake ducts were rerouted b/c of the intercooler piping, they're sticking out b/c the new route is much shorter so the photos are before I trimmed them down.**
***TIPS***- Since I've done a few ESS installs I changed up a few minor things to clean up my personal install that I would recommend to everyone.
1. Power steering hose, instead of running the elbow/extension hose that ESS supplies you can get a brand new OEM hose from a regular E46 and it'll be of the shape you need and it'll be one continuous hose. it comes from BMW with a mesh covering to protect the hose which is a big plus when you squeeze it in those tight areas for the SC install. Another plus is that you'll have 2 less connection points/hose clamps to use, which means you reduce the chance of leakage at that connection. Part #: 32416750155 ~$40 (photo #3/ the braided hose that is tucked under the oil cooler lines)
2. The plastic 90 degree elbow that is supposed to be used for the power steering, you can now use for the crankcase hose. When I routed mine as one hose it did not want to flex in that direction and cause the hose to bulge up, so instead I used the 90 degree elbow. (Photo #6, you can see the 90 degree fitting. I felt that this made the install look a better instead of a bulging hose thats rubbing against the nice manifold.)
3. Those with a early production vehicle or those who have converted to the aluminum bumper support will have to cut a piece of the bumper support to clear the intercooler. I would suggest you test fit your bumper prior to cutting anything from your bumper, I only needed to cut off the tabs that hold the grill and adjust the intercooler mounting to get everything to clear.
Final words.... again! As if I haven't expressed it enough… you can't beat the ESS tune. I can honestly say there is no other competitor has a better tune. I love my kit and can't wait to upgrade to the VT2-550, I can't imagine having more power and putting it down so smooth!!! Anyone that is buying this kit will be extremely satisfied!
We are an Authorized ESS Tuning Dealer/Installation Center, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
**Excuse me if there are any grammar error/typos... its late and I know you guys have been waiting for this post**
Replacement crank pulley from ESS.
Photo taken before the engine bay was degresed/cleaned.
After cleaning, Bracket installed, Power steering hose "upgrade"
Checking intercooler clearance with the OEM bumper support.
Vortech blower mounted!
Crank pulley mounted and belts all tensioned up.
Manifold mounted! Injectors waiting to go in.
Test fitting the bumper with the splitter installed to check piping clearance.
A shot of the fitment in between the bumper/IC
A great shot that shows the "factory" finish on the manifold, it matched the OEM engine cover pretty well.
A couple of photo of my car at a recent event…
Mine + Our Z4MC track car
Our booth shared with Akrapovic and Brembo!