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      10-03-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
[Deactivated-Velos]
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Velos Designwerks | An in-depth look into Supercharger System differences

Over the past few years, the most common topic in regards to the S65 and aftermarket performance has been "Which Supercharger kit is better" (or something along those lines). It has been discussed so much it's turning into one of those topics that you do not discuss among friends such as politics and religion as it could quickly ruin a friendship.

I am confident in saying that i doubt anyone has had more experience with the two most popular candidates than I have.

Over the past few years I have had countless hours of direct contact with both the AA Systems as well as the ESS Systems. Everything from have hours of seat time behind the wheel of E92's equipped with both kit down to the packaging of each kit and everything in between. I would like to touch on a few topics while I post the differences of both systems.

The list of similarities is pretty short, both are supercharger systems applied to the S65 engine. Thats might just about be it.

Power and Power delivery:
Horsepower and Torque gains are just about the most discussed aspect of the systems.

As far as horsepower goes, without a doubt a comparable ESS system will make more horsepower. It has been proven countless times with dyno charts from both companies as well as from customers and other types of individual testing. I will post two charts below as it will refer to them a few times through out my post.

Other than the chargers there has not been much discussion as to "why" one kit makes more power. It has been attributed to "one charger is larger than the other" but it actually goes much deeper than that. I will do my best to explain.

Boost: it is no secret that the charger makes boost etc... which allows us to make more power from an S65.

Once the air is compressed it has to makes it way into the intake manifold and then to the engine. The ESS system has a very short amount of travel between the charger and engine, the fastest path between two points is a straight line.

While the AA system requires the compressed air to travel quite a bit before entering the intake manifold, it much travel around a few 90 degree bends and actually go full circle before reaching the intake manifold, if you study physics you will see why this is not ideal.

A little background on superchargers: they take power to make power (we can go deeper into this by request but it has been discussed many times over).
Considering above, the ESS system does not have to work as hard to make the required boost to achieve the required power output; however, the AA system not only has to travel much longer distances but it also have to enter the intercooler half way between it's travel. During testing the AA system has to actually make a few extra pounds of boost to compensate for the few pounds of boost that are lost during the travel and from the intercooler. Which in turn forces the engine to work harder because it has to create more boost and is actually forced to work harder to compensate for a less efficient system.

Charge cooling: I want to be the first to recognize the improvements of aftercooling as an effective method of charge cooling, i have been a long time believer of intercooling and refused to admit aftercooling could be efficient.

The method of charge cooling should dictated by the platform and the system to find the most efficient method. In our case, space is an issue which is probably a big reason improvements in aftercooling have been addressed over the past few years. For example: the N54 which was the first recent turbo model by BMW was intercooled; however, the S63TU found the M5 is aftercooled and makes more power. Which makes my point that the method should be dictated by the platform.

Going back to the Boost section above, running an aftercooler allows the compressed air to reach the engine with less restriction and at the same time placing less load on the engine to make power.

Tuning: Tuning is just as important as the hardare as it needs to be perfected to allow the car to make power and make it safely but tuning also plays a hand in regards to power delivery and the overall user experience provided by the system.

The two largest things i've noticed after having been behind the wheel of both systems.

The first is the throttle response. The ESS system feels like a wire, the response is instand and smooth but powerful, with traction off and street tires on a 20" wheel the car will get away from you in third gear if you allow it too.

The AA system is smooth but it has a weird hesitation around 3K which could be attributed to the design of the system since the compressed air has to travel quite a bit (compared to the ESS System) or it could be software. This hesitation can be exaggerated based driving style or not be noticed at all based on driving style.

Second is the power delivery at redline. The ESS system revs cleanly to redline. If anyone has driven a stock E92 M3, you know that as you approach redline the throttle starts to close and if you hit redline it's a soft redline, you dont bang on it like the E46 M3. It seems AA has not figured this out and it gives the driver a weird drop off as you close in on redline, where the ESS system feels like it just wants to keep going. The only thing possible is to shift early once you've become accustomed to the system however, you are then missing out on a few hundred RPM of the power band given AA lowers the redline and you still need to shift early. This dip/drop off is seen on all dyno charts.

The system as a whole and going back to stock: Both systems can be installed by the end user; however, the AA system requires more parts due to the systems design. It also requires quite a bit of cutting compared to the ESS system. The ESS system includes any factory parts that require cutting so you actually retain the stock part that is modified instead of actually modifying your actual stock part. This plays a big role in going back to stock as with the AA system you will need to purchase a few parts to successfully put your car back to 100% factory form.

Meth: Meth has been one of the quickest ways to make more horsepower and provide an edge to anyone looking for one. However, i am not sure if requiring your system to use meth is the best method of making power. The ESS systems make more power without meth while the comparable level 2 AA system makes less power with meth. It is an added piece of the system which add to the systems install difficulty and could be a turn off for the DIY member. It is also something else that requires maintenance. Some other aftermarket systems come with some sort of light or gauge when your tank is empty, hopefully AA can add this to their system as it should have already been included.

Price: There is a difference of $2,225.00 between the AA Level 2 and the ESS VT2-625 (comparable systems) in ESS's favor. Where there is efficiency there will be savings without sacrifice.
**If anyone has any questions or would like to discuss any points of my post please do so and i will answer to the best of my ability.

Dyno Charts used for reference: Both charts were done at the same Dyno Jet. How do i know? Like Chris Berman would say on Sports Center "because we were there". Both posted in SAE and Smoothing 5.
ESS VT-625 System with full exhaust and no meth:



AA Level 2 System with full exhaust and meth:




Last edited by [Deactivated-Velos]; 10-03-2012 at 12:49 PM.
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      10-03-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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      10-03-2012, 01:29 PM   #3
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      10-03-2012, 01:30 PM   #4
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      10-03-2012, 01:32 PM   #5
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      10-03-2012, 02:14 PM   #6
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Good post. What about the other companies with S/Cs for the S65? It'd be nice to have an informative post including the other companies too and their pros/cons in your opinion - probably wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention.
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      10-03-2012, 02:18 PM   #7
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Maybe saying " Let us look at the system differences " rather than " Which is better."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon@BA View Post

Good post. What about the other companies with S/Cs for the S65? It'd be nice to have an informative post including the other companies too and their pros/cons in your opinion - probably wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention.
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      10-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCMpower View Post
Maybe saying " Let us look at the system differences " rather than " Which is better."
Good point, although that gets put back to those asking the question he quotes. There are some who want the technical differences and some who just want the highest power output #. This thread itself is great, although should be done by someone with less bias (although you make a good point of having first hand experience, your experience would not be as valued due to your previous employment in the majority of the worlds point of view) and not leaving out other companies who have kits on the market. There's so many S/C E9X M3s out there that I bet this forum only accounts for 1/3 of them so who can say who has the most sold, or on the track solely etc. Keep in mind how many BMW forums there are.

Back on topic do you have dates of the dynos?

To make it clear I am not taking sides...but the informative thread doesn't seem transparently informative.

Last edited by Jon@Bimmersport Automotive; 10-03-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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      10-03-2012, 02:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon@BA View Post
Or more so on the mindset you left that company in. Just sayin..

Good post. What about the other companies with S/Cs for the S65? It'd be nice to have an informative post including the other companies too and their pros/cons in your opinion - probably wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention.
Johnny,

The only other company worth mentioning would be VF and it would be unfair to comment on that system. Kudos to Nik and his team and we respect him for finally bringing a complete system to the market and not doing so until it was complete (VF has one of the first E9X M3's running a SC kit in the country) As far as Salman and his team at Evolve are concerned I respect the fact that he is patiently waiting to come to the market with a finished product. Salman chose to go a different route with the blower and I have watched Evolve reach where they are from just being a reseller. These are both companies that seem to be standing behind their product and offering the consumer a complete product.

Over the past couple of weeks there have been a number of people asking about the differences between the two systems mentioned in this thread. The fact that we understand the system better than the individuals that offer them I think it would make sense for us to come forward with the information. (Johnny and Andrew I am sure you understand this)

Standing behind a product is very important, but it is also good to know when to go back to the drawing board or choose a different route.

This thread along with its title were bold and meant to provide facts for the client interested in a SC kit. At the end of the day we are also enthusiasts and I too have my popcorn in hand .. with the keyboard close by.

edit: Johnny good job editing your post... and most "debates" aren't too informative in the first hour...

Best Regards,
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      10-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #10
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Jean, I know you're well versed on semantics and forum posts, so I'll address a few things that I noticed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
Boost: it is no secret that the charger makes boost etc... which allows us to make more power from an S65.

Once the air is compressed it has to makes it way into the intake manifold and then to the engine. The ESS system has a very short amount of travel between the charger and engine, the fastest path between two points is a straight line.

While the AA system requires the compressed air to travel quite a bit before entering the intake manifold, it much travel around a few 90 degree bends and actually go full circle before reaching the intake manifold, if you study physics you will see why this is not ideal.

A little background on superchargers: they take power to make power (we can go deeper into this by request but it has been discussed many times over).
Considering above, the ESS system does not have to work as hard to make the required boost to achieve the required power output; however, the AA system not only has to travel much longer distances but it also have to enter the intercooler half way between it's travel. During testing the AA system has to actually make a few extra pounds of boost to compensate for the few pounds of boost that are lost during the travel and from the intercooler. Which in turn forces the engine to work harder because it has to create more boost and is actually forced to work harder to compensate for a less efficient system.

Charge cooling: I want to be the first to recognize the improvements of aftercooling as an effective method of charge cooling, i have been a long time believer of intercooling and refused to admit aftercooling could be efficient.

The method of charge cooling should dictated by the platform and the system to find the most efficient method. In our case, space is an issue which is probably a big reason improvements in aftercooling have been addressed over the past few years. For example: the N54 which was the first recent turbo model by BMW was intercooled; however, the S63TU found the M5 is aftercooled and makes more power. Which makes my point that the method should be dictated by the platform.

Going back to the Boost section above, running an aftercooler allows the compressed air to reach the engine with less restriction and at the same time placing less load on the engine to make power.
AA's kit does have more area to cover before the charge reaches the throttle bodies. You're right on that. However, would you not agree that charge cooling through an air-water core is more restrictive than a larger sized air-air intercooler? I'm sure you'll also agree that for any sort of cooling to be effective, there must be some sort of restriction.

As for pressure drop, have you personally measured pre and post cooler pressure differences on both kits on a day with similar conditions?

You can't compare the N54 to the S63TU, obviously the twin turbo v8 makes more power than the straight 6 3.0L. The N55 was released air-air, along with the N20. If you've worked on the S63TU you'll notice that with the location of the turbos it's not logical to run an air-air setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
Tuning:
The first is the throttle response. The ESS system feels like a wire, the response is instand and smooth but powerful, with traction off and street tires on a 20" wheel the car will get away from you in third gear if you allow it too.

The AA system is smooth but it has a weird hesitation around 3K which could be attributed to the design of the system since the compressed air has to travel quite a bit (compared to the ESS System) or it could be software. This hesitation can be exaggerated based driving style or not be noticed at all based on driving style.

Second is the power delivery at redline. The ESS system revs cleanly to redline. If anyone has driven a stock E92 M3, you know that as you approach redline the throttle starts to close and if you hit redline it's a soft redline, you dont bang on it like the E46 M3. It seems AA has not figured this out and it gives the driver a weird drop off as you close in on redline, where the ESS system feels like it just wants to keep going. The only thing possible is to shift early once you've become accustomed to the system however, you are then missing out on a few hundred RPM of the power band given AA lowers the redline and you still need to shift early. This dip/drop off is seen on all dyno charts.
We both know that throttle response with a drive by wire system can be tuned to different sensitivities. Some people prefer their throttle control to be exponential, whereas some prefer a linear style delivery. Doesn't mean one is better than any other.

Banging the rev limiter like the e46 M3 is how you bend rods. You put the most stress on a motor when you lift at high rpm under load. Again, different tuners will do different things, it's preference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
Meth: Meth has been one of the quickest ways to make more horsepower and provide an edge to anyone looking for one. However, i am not sure if requiring your system to use meth is the best method of making power. The ESS systems make more power without meth while the comparable level 2 AA system makes less power with meth. It is an added piece of the system which add to the systems install difficulty and could be a turn off for the DIY member. It is also something else that requires maintenance. Some other aftermarket systems come with some sort of light or gauge when your tank is empty, hopefully AA can add this to their system as it should have already been included.
Reving a centrifugal blower higher will yield higher HP numbers. The last AA meth kit we installed had a green LED.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
Dyno Charts used for reference: Both charts were done at the same Dyno Jet. How do i know? Like Chris Berman would say on Sports Center "because we were there". Both posted in SAE and Smoothing 5.
ESS VT-625 System with full exhaust and no meth:



AA Level 2 System with full exhaust and meth:



If you look at both dynos, the AA kit makes more power up until about 7250rpm. Would you attribute that to restriction, blower design, tuning, or the somewhat lean afr on the ESS car?

The ESS car peaks higher, but it also revs higher.
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      10-03-2012, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quite lean AFR's on the ESS dyno run.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
Jean, I know you're well versed on semantics and forum posts, so I'll address a few things that I noticed.



AA's kit does have more area to cover before the charge reaches the throttle bodies. You're right on that. However, would you not agree that charge cooling through an air-water core is more restrictive than a larger sized air-air intercooler? I'm sure you'll also agree that for any sort of cooling to be effective, there must be some sort of restriction.

As for pressure drop, have you personally measured pre and post cooler pressure differences on both kits on a day with similar conditions?

You can't compare the N54 to the S63TU, obviously the twin turbo v8 makes more power than the straight 6 3.0L. The N55 was released air-air, along with the N20. If you've worked on the S63TU you'll notice that with the location of the turbos it's not logical to run an air-air setup.



We both know that throttle response with a drive by wire system can be tuned to different sensitivities. Some people prefer their throttle control to be exponential, whereas some prefer a linear style delivery. Doesn't mean one is better than any other.

Banging the rev limiter like the e46 M3 is how you bend rods. You put the most stress on a motor when you lift at high rpm under load. Again, different tuners will do different things, it's preference.



Reving a centrifugal blower higher will yield higher HP numbers. The last AA meth kit we installed had a green LED.



If you look at both dynos, the AA kit makes more power up until about 7250rpm. Would you attribute that to restriction, blower design, tuning, or the somewhat lean afr on the ESS car?

The ESS car peaks higher, but it also revs higher.
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      10-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon@BA View Post
Good post. What about the other companies with S/Cs for the S65? It'd be nice to have an informative post including the other companies too and their pros/cons in your opinion - probably wouldn't have gotten this kind of attention.
Thanks.

Sadly I have no experience with the other systems so I can not provide any feedback even if i wanted too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VCMpower View Post
Maybe saying " Let us look at the system differences " rather than " Which is better."
Hey Mark, the term "better" is relative and only the end user can make that decision based on their research and needs.

However, you are correct: "Differences" would have been the politically correct term.

However, I am addressing a question that is posted way too often lately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon@BA View Post
Good point, although that gets put back to those asking the question he quotes. There are some who want the technical differences and some who just want the highest power output #. This thread itself is great, although should be done by someone with less bias (although you make a good point of having first hand experience, your experience would not be as valued due to your previous employment in the majority of the worlds point of view) and not leaving out other companies who have kits on the market. There's so many S/C E9X M3s out there that I bet this forum only accounts for 1/3 of them so who can say who has the most sold, or on the track solely etc. Keep in mind how many BMW forums there are.

Back on topic do you have dates of the dynos?

To make it clear I am not taking sides...but the informative thread doesn't seem transparently informative.
How many people have actually had the chance to tear down multiple systems? Not many.

Once you work with a system or for a company, you automatically believe in it and that it's the best. Regardless if you confidence is well placed or false.

I've had the chance to open up both systems on multiple occasions and drive them each for hours.

Thanks for appreciating the thread.
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      10-03-2012, 03:17 PM   #13
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Right on Jean. Agreed,a question and topic that is posted way too often. We all can't give our experiences and it always just a handful of people getting in on this. I hit the track with Vettes and GTR's and AMG's and I have no complaints.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
Thanks.

Sadly I have no experience with the other systems so I can not provide any feedback even if i wanted too.



Hey Mark, the term "better" is relative and only the end user can make that decision based on their research and needs.

However, you are correct: "Differences" would have been the politically correct term.

However, I am addressing a question that is posted way too often lately.



How many people have actually had the chance to tear down multiple systems? Not many.

Once you work with a system or for a company, you automatically believe in it and that it's the best. Regardless if you confidence is well placed or false.

I've had the chance to open up both systems on multiple occasions and drive them each for hours.

Thanks for appreciating the thread.
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      10-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
AA's kit does have more area to cover before the charge reaches the throttle bodies. You're right on that. However, would you not agree that charge cooling through an air-water core is more restrictive than a larger sized air-air intercooler? I'm sure you'll also agree that for any sort of cooling to be effective, there must be some sort of restriction.
It's not a matter of what's more efficient as far as just air-to-water or air-to-air, it's how efficient the entire system is.

The Air to Air intercooler on the AA system is poorly placed directly behind the bumper. We both know the benefits of cooling comes from having cool air hit a larger surface area into a cooler with less restriction. Due to the intercooler placement, this benefit has been nullified.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
As for pressure drop, have you personally measured pre and post cooler pressure differences on both kits on a day with similar conditions?
Yes and we can not measure the boost post cooler on the ESS system as it's basically the throttle bodies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
You can't compare the N54 to the S63TU, obviously the twin turbo v8 makes more power than the straight 6 3.0L. The N55 was released air-air, along with the N20. If you've worked on the S63TU you'll notice that with the location of the turbos it's not logical to run an air-air setup.
Thats exactly why the most effective form of charge cooling should be dictated by the overall platform.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
We both know that throttle response with a drive by wire system can be tuned to different sensitivities. Some people prefer their throttle control to be exponential, whereas some prefer a linear style delivery. Doesn't mean one is better than any other.

Banging the rev limiter like the e46 M3 is how you bend rods. You put the most stress on a motor when you lift at high rpm under load. Again, different tuners will do different things, it's preference.
I 100% agree, everything is preference, even the kits being discussed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
Reving a centrifugal blower higher will yield higher HP numbers. The last AA meth kit we installed had a green LED.
Correct but the light tells you that you are spraying meth, nothing else.

David we both know everyone is not as hands on and technically inclined as you are. Some may not realize the light has not turned on until after a few pulls...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Activ3 View Post
If you look at both dynos, the AA kit makes more power up until about 7250rpm. Would you attribute that to restriction, blower design, tuning, or the somewhat lean afr on the ESS car?

The ESS car peaks higher, but it also revs higher.
I can go deeper but it may no longer be a fair discussion at that point.

However, as stated above, i agree with you 100% as far as everything being preference.
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      10-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #15
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Didn't you guys used to work for AA? Now bashing them? Just brought this up a few mins ago but I'm guessing the mods removed it. Lets see how long this one stays up
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      10-03-2012, 03:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCMpower View Post
Quite lean AFR's on the ESS dyno run.
I touched on this when i originally posted that dyno chart.

See here: http://www.m3post.com/forums/showpos...2&postcount=13
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      10-03-2012, 03:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post



Correct but the light tells you that you are spraying meth, nothing else.

David we both know everyone is not as hands on and technically inclined as you are. Some may not realize the light has not turned on until after a few pulls...

I can go deeper but it may no longer be a fair discussion at that point.
You are 100% incorrect our meth kits have a level sensor in them and the light will blink if you are running low.

Btw Lost marine is not a stock 535 he has an upgraded pulley and meth 500whp according to him.
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      10-03-2012, 03:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew@ActiveAutowerke View Post
You are 100% incorrect our meth kits have a level sensor in them and the light will blink if you are running low.
I'm happy these are shipping out with the systems now.

However, from a consumer standpoint why would this added feature alone propel me towards one system or another?

Another question, how comparable would a level 2 system be without meth? I've seen you post that meth is now only required for vehicles running 91 octane, with a lower rev limit and less power wouldn't the system be more enticing if the cost of the meth system were removed from the equation?
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      10-03-2012, 03:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew@ActiveAutowerke View Post
You are 100% incorrect our meth kits have a level sensor in them and the light will blink if you are running low.

Btw Lost marine is not a stock 535 he has an upgraded pulley and meth 500whp according to him.
My kit didnt have a light, and my car blew up cause of your supercharger, and no responsibilty was taken, You guys actaully made me pay 2k to take my motor apart after it blew and made some excuse as it was a bmw oil failure that would of happened even if my cars was stock..... how many car have blown on your kit already 5-6 ??? Also my car was dct no overrevving. I have emails and pics to prove it, btw my car was the the matte green 4 door with copper wheels for reference
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Last edited by mchm3; 10-03-2012 at 03:50 PM.
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      10-03-2012, 03:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jean@VelosDesignwerks View Post
I'm happy these are shipping out with the systems now.

However, from a consumer standpoint why would this added feature alone propel me towards one system or another?

Another question, how comparable would a level 2 system be without meth? I've seen you post that meth is now only required for vehicles running 91 octane, with a lower rev limit and less power wouldn't the system be more enticing if the cost of the meth system were removed from the equation?
I was just correcting you not trying to sway anyone towards our kit.

A level 2 without meth would be our level 1 kit. Our level 2 works great with meth and it will not be removed from the kit to save money.
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      10-03-2012, 03:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew@ActiveAutowerke View Post
I was just correcting you not trying to sway anyone towards our kit.

A level 2 without meth would be our level 1 kit. Our level 2 works great with meth and it will not be removed from the kit to save money.
Appreciated. Your Level 2 without Meth is not your Level 1. A Level 2 without meth is just that a Level 2 without meth and your Level 1 is your Level 1.

Do you understand the the benefits/purpose of meth?
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      10-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VCMpower View Post
Quite lean AFR's on the ESS dyno run.
Agreed. 13 @ redline is even leaner than the STOCK targets with no supercharger fitted.

The stock target at redline is .85 lambda, or 12.5:1 AFR.

From what I've seen the ESS VT625 kit targets .83 lambda, so unless they have decided to lean this out, it should theoretically be around 12.2:1 at redline.

(Another note, I didn't look to see if this was a VT625 dyno, maybe if it was a 600 or 535 they are running higher targets. Regardless of the kit, I think leaner than the stock targets is the wrong way to go).

Way too many AA vs ESS supercharger threads. I'm genuinely interested in what the eVolve system will do.

Jean, do you by change have an AFR reading from the AA dyno you posted in the OP? I would be curious to see what their fueling looks like.
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