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      12-23-2012, 07:06 AM   #1
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Supercharged motors.....how are they holding up?

I have been a car enthusiast my whole life. No matter what car I have owned, I always look to the next car down the road. Now, however, I face a dilemma. Everything seems to be getting so big and bloated. I was certain I would move to an M5 or M6 but the reviews are very luke warm at best other than the acceleration.

The M3 is perfect for me in so many ways, just lacking the supercar power. Maybe SC is the answer for me after all. So, a few questions:

1. How are the engines holding up? Any reports of blown motors?
2. Do I need to modify my transmission at all? (6MT)
3. Any issues with heat management? Do I need a bigger oil pan, radiator, oil cooler, etc?

This is not a done deal for me at this point, but it is something I am considering more and more. Even economically, it is starting to make sense.

I figure my 2011 M3 is worth about $50k. It would take me another $70k to get me into a new M6 or Porsche 911. Or....it would take me about $30k for an SC, BBK, bigger wheels/tires. That's a difference of $40k and I get all the straight line performance of the M6 in a more dynamic package.

Hmmmmm.......
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      12-23-2012, 09:34 AM   #2
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I say go for it. A heavily modded M3 is still cooler than a stock M5/6. Those cars are too big anyway...badass cars but too big and too much tech for my taste.

As for the engines holding up, I really can't speak on that matter. However, there are some fairly high mileage SC cars on this forum...most of them being ESS I believe.
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      12-23-2012, 09:47 AM   #3
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It's still morning, so all of the guys with supercharged M3's are still recovering from their night of menage e trois, high stakes craps and Cristal. Before they chime in, I second Krozi and say go for it. I've been following the supercharged threads, and compared to modded 335's, for example, they seem bullet proof.

Obviously, with great power, comes great tire replacement costs. Mod responsibly!
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      12-23-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarThaL View Post
I have been a car enthusiast my whole life. No matter what car I have owned, I always look to the next car down the road. Now, however, I face a dilemma. Everything seems to be getting so big and bloated. I was certain I would move to an M5 or M6 but the reviews are very luke warm at best other than the acceleration.

The M3 is perfect for me in so many ways, just lacking the supercar power. Maybe SC is the answer for me after all. So, a few questions:

1. How are the engines holding up? Any reports of blown motors?
2. Do I need to modify my transmission at all? (6MT)
3. Any issues with heat management? Do I need a bigger oil pan, radiator, oil cooler, etc?

This is not a done deal for me at this point, but it is something I am considering more and more. Even economically, it is starting to make sense.

I figure my 2011 M3 is worth about $50k. It would take me another $70k to get me into a new M6 or Porsche 911. Or....it would take me about $30k for an SC, BBK, bigger wheels/tires. That's a difference of $40k and I get all the straight line performance of the M6 in a more dynamic package.

Hmmmmm.......
I went through a similar thought process before I ordered my 2013 M3. I wanted a multi-disciplinary car that could be formidable at the track, roll-on events, and one that could be a comfortable daily driver and on occasion haul my surfboards, 3-yr old son, dog, etc.

In stock form, the M3 was nice, but in no way fast enough to do what I was going to ask. In fact, at the first Shift-S3tor Trona Airstrip event, the slowest cars there were the NA M3's.

Because it was going to be my daily driver, I needed something with rock solid reliability. So the ESS VT2 kit was the natural choice given its legacy reliability. And when I mean reliability, I don't even want ONE check engine light etc. And so far, so good (in a short amount of time) but I am very hard on this thing and it's seen a couple events so far where half the cars seem to experience some sort of issue. I was hard-set on also upgrading to a meth system, but I had a bunch of problems with it on my 335 and others do as well...so I've scrapped that idea...just one more thing that can go wrong. 100 octane works wonders. I've found that the manifold stays completely cool also - even after a 20 min track session you can put your hand right on top of the manifold as the air/air + air/water system is extremely efficient. I don't know if you saw the Coalinga Airstrip Vids but I have some great runs with the simple combo of the VT2 625 kit + MRF cat less exhaust + ~97 octane.

I will also be upgrading the brakes and suspension...but I'm still researching what I should get. Leaning toward a simple solution of H&R springs + camber plates for now (I have ZCP like you). Also planning on a BBK kit - likely Stoptech or Brembo.

Once suspension and brakes are dialed in, the car should work very well at the track as well. I'm going to Big Willow in a couple days with the car as-is to get a baseline to see how it does with the stock suspension/brakes.

Choice is yours and I do like the F10 M6 and the fact is the M6 will probably be as fast as a VT2 M3 once tunes are perfected for those cars. But it will never be as nimble or engaging as the lighter M3. It will be quieter and more comfortable and the torque will be insane no doubt. Also, your budget seems a bit high. You probably only need about $20K to do it right as you don't need to upgrade anything else since the platform of the car is literally 'perfect' for what you want to do with it.

Best of luck with your decision.
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      12-23-2012, 11:04 AM   #5
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The S65 motor has held up with boost very well over the years when tuned properly and kept within it's limits. We have been very happy with this platform. With well over 500 kits installed worldwide now the track record on our kits have been very solid.

I looked into the new M5 / M6 but the weight and cost made my decision to go back to another M3 easy.
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      12-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roman@ESS View Post
The S65 motor has held up with boost very well over the years when tuned properly and kept within it's limits. We have been very happy with this platform. With well over 500 kits installed worldwide now the track record on our kits have been very solid.

I looked into the new M5 / M6 but the weight and cost made my decision to go back to another M3 easy.
Roman, I am interested in supercharging my M3 as well. I am looking at VF, ESS, and G-Power.

My question to you: I know that supercharged m3s hold up well, but have you encountered ANY significant issues with customers' superchargers? And by significant i mean blown motors, or other supercharged related repairs that cost >5K to fix?
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      12-23-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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The answer to all 3 questions is NO. And you don't need 30-40k for all those parts. Buy a used supercharged kit here for 7-10k and your done. Stock transmission and brakes are fine!!
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      12-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSSIIM3 View Post
Roman, I am interested in supercharging my M3 as well. I am looking at VF, ESS, and G-Power.

My question to you: I know that supercharged m3s hold up well, but have you encountered ANY significant issues with customers' superchargers? And by significant i mean blown motors, or other supercharged related repairs that cost >5K to fix?
We have not but that is not to say it could not happen or never will. We take reliability very seriously when we develop and tune our products but anytime you add up to 50% + additional power to a vehicle there is always a chance you can break something. If you follow the guidelines we provide for our kits your chance of having a major failure are very slim but even stock motors, transmissions etc... have failures so there is never a guarantee.

Your best bet when adding power to your car is to use a tuner with a proven track record and use the product as intended. There is no substitute for real world, long term testing and R&D when it comes to adding FI to a vehicle.
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      12-23-2012, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roman@ESS View Post
The S65 motor has held up with boost very well over the years when tuned properly and kept within it's limits. We have been very happy with this platform. With well over 500 kits installed worldwide now the track record on our kits have been very solid.

I looked into the new M5 / M6 but the weight and cost made my decision to go back to another M3 easy.
Hi Roman,

you guys should really release a track proven "hardcore" supercharger kit.
From time to time there are guys who give their SC'ed M3 a try on the track.
100% of them has heat issues.
I've seen that several times especially on the Nordschleife

It's ESS, it's G-Power, it's all kind of SC kit's.
They're 100% rock solid for daily driving or highspeed Autobahn stuff but when it comes to racetrack usage I haven't seen one car which just works.

I'd love to SC my M3, too. But that means SC kit + big oil cooler + big water cooler + removing the AC + big air to air intercooler + .......


Isn't there a change to build a track proven SC kit which will not move the engine oil and water temperatures too hell and the car to limp mode?
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      12-23-2012, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MRSSIIM3 View Post
Roman, I am interested in supercharging my M3 as well. I am looking at VF, ESS, and G-Power.

My question to you: I know that supercharged m3s hold up well, but have you encountered ANY significant issues with customers' superchargers? And by significant i mean blown motors, or other supercharged related repairs that cost >5K to fix?
At this point, all of the major kits have undergone extensive, long-term R&D and consumer use. Any serious issues that might of existed have been address by this time by offering kit revisions & upgrades (ex: ESS recently updated their tunes).

ESSENTIALLY, as long as you properly maintain the car & follow the required mods (octane used, sport exhaust, etc), the car should be rock solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lukester View Post
you guys should really release a track proven "hardcore" supercharger kit.
From time to time there are guys who give their SC'ed M3 a try on the track.
100% of them has heat issues.
I've seen that several times especially on the Nordschleife

It's ESS, it's G-Power, it's all kind of SC kit's.
They're 100% rock solid for daily driving or highspeed Autobahn stuff but when it comes to racetrack usage I haven't seen one car which just works.

Isn't there a change to build a track proven SC kit which will not move the engine oil and water temperatures too hell and the car to limp mode?
While the Nordschleife is prob the most abusive track known, I know that VAC Motorsports regularly tracks their VF620 car. I'm sure Mike@VAC would have no problem commenting on how their car is holding up, if there are any issues with overheating after extended use and if the've have been any problems with the DCT (overheating, trans slip, etc).

I will say that air/air intercooling is a better alternative for track use. Why? Well while air/water intercooling has incredible cooling abilities, once the water is heated up & stops effectively cooling, it takes a long time for it to cool back down (which you won't really get at a track event). Meanwhile, air/air does not face this problem because it operates by cooling passive airflow (which you'll get plenty of while lapping the track).

While initially the air/water setup might be more effective in cooling, it is more appropriate for daily driving & 1/4 mile driving (where the car has time to cool down between runs). ON a race track, air/air intercooling is the most appropriate system.

AFAIK, there are 3 air/air systems available:
  1. G-Power ($$$$)
  2. Active Autowerke
  3. Evolve

The ESS, VF Engineering & Gintani all use air/water intercooling.
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      12-23-2012, 02:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukester View Post
Hi Roman,

you guys should really release a track proven "hardcore" supercharger kit.
From time to time there are guys who give their SC'ed M3 a try on the track.
100% of them has heat issues.
I've seen that several times especially on the Nordschleife

It's ESS, it's G-Power, it's all kind of SC kit's.
They're 100% rock solid for daily driving or highspeed Autobahn stuff but when it comes to racetrack usage I haven't seen one car which just works.

I'd love to SC my M3, too. But that means SC kit + big oil cooler + big water cooler + removing the AC + big air to air intercooler + .......


Isn't there a change to build a track proven SC kit which will not move the engine oil and water temperatures too hell and the car to limp mode?
Interesting. I've been to one (private) track session at Streets of Willow and didn't experience any heat issues but it was pretty cool (65 deg F). I just posted on another thread that my intake was still cool enough to rest my hand on it after a 20 minute session.

Going to Big Willow next Sat and wouldn't expect any heat issues either given how fast that track is with plenty of airflow.

The ESS kit has a large FMIC to cool the water so it doesn't get that hot. Maybe summertime will be different...will see in a few months.
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      12-23-2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benzy89 View Post

I will say that air/air intercooling is a better alternative for track use. Why? Well while air/water intercooling has incredible cooling abilities, once the water is heated up & stops effectively cooling, it takes a long time for it to cool back down (which you won't really get at a track event). Meanwhile, air/air does not face this problem because it operates by cooling passive airflow (which you'll get plenty of while lapping the track).

While initially the air/water setup might be more effective in cooling, it is more appropriate for daily driving & 1/4 mile driving (where the car has time to cool down between runs). ON a race track, air/air intercooling is the most appropriate system.

AFAIK, there are 3 air/air systems available:
  1. G-Power ($$$$)
  2. Active Autowerke
  3. Evolve

The ESS, VF Engineering & Gintani all use air/water intercooling.
From what I understand, water-air coolers run on the same circuit as the radiator fluid (I think). This means that if the IC gets hot, radiator is already hot as well. Would in not be simpler and more heat effiencient to run some sort of additive in the rad coolant, or perhaps a upgraded thermostat that would open sooner? Or perhaps inclrease the pressure in the rad?

While we are on the topic of coolant, I saw this some time back:
http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/...olant/1376127/
I talked to the manufacturer, and the only downside are cold temperatures. It colder climates (-10C +) the water pump would have a hard time during start up because the coolant would get thick.

Has anyone tried this?
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      12-23-2012, 03:16 PM   #13
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Water/air intercoolers have their own radiator and pump and coolant. They do not share coolant or thermostat or coolant pump or anything else with the engine cooling system

A larger reservoir can be used, fans can be used on the intercooler radiator, or a larger intercooler radiator can be used.
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      12-23-2012, 03:23 PM   #14
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I have been meaning to start a similar thread as going supercharged has recently peaked my interest.

My main concern is with the main bearings. I know these engines have main bearing issues at stock power levels and I would think these problems would only be exacerbated by an additional 50% HP.

I have done a ton of research on the main bearing issues and many say the issues were unique to the 2008s. However, I have also read that there were no part number changes and that the bearing tolerances did not change from 2008 so I'm not sure why these issues would be unique to the 2008s other than they have the highest miles.

Would it be recommended to inspect and replace/upgrade the main bearings before going forced induction? I am assuming this would be a ton of labor since the engine would need to be dropped?
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      12-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W Cole View Post
I have been meaning to start a similar thread as going supercharged has recently peaked my interest.

My main concern is with the main bearings. I know these engines have main bearing issues at stock power levels and I would think these problems would only be exacerbated by an additional 50% HP.

I have done a ton of research on the main bearing issues and many say the issues were unique to the 2008s. However, I have also read that there were no part number changes and that the bearing tolerances did not change from 2008 so I'm not sure why these issues would be unique to the 2008s other than they have the highest miles.

Would it be recommended to inspect and replace/upgrade the main bearings before going forced induction? I am assuming this would be a ton of labor since the engine would need to be dropped?

From ESS's website regarding the 625+ kits:

"...on 2007 and 2008MY cars we recommend upgrading the rod bearings to latest BMW spec before installing this kit."
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      12-23-2012, 06:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superfly_M3 View Post
From what I understand, water-air coolers run on the same circuit as the radiator fluid (I think). This means that if the IC gets hot, radiator is already hot as well. Would in not be simpler and more heat effiencient to run some sort of additive in the rad coolant, or perhaps a upgraded thermostat that would open sooner? Or perhaps inclrease the pressure in the rad?
The air/water intercooled kits (VF620/650 or ESS 585/625/650) have a completely separate cooling system (pumps, intercooler, coolant reservoir, etc). I'm not sure if someone has messed around to see if there's something more effective for track days (like an ice box or a fluid with a higher heat retention), but it is something worth investigating.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W Cole View Post
Would it be recommended to inspect and replace/upgrade the main bearings before going forced induction? I am assuming this would be a ton of labor since the engine would need to be dropped?
Bearing related problems are nothing new to M motors. For the E9x M3s, MY07-09 (Early Build '09) are unfortunately more susceptible to this problem (that doesn't mean EVERY M3 from MY07-09 will or can be affected). Keep your ears open for weird sounds (engine chatter), regularly change your oil & if you want to be extra careful, get your oil analyzed (Blackstone Labs) every so often to confirm there is no abnormal wear on the internals.

Last edited by benzy89; 12-23-2012 at 06:06 PM.
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      12-23-2012, 08:20 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krozi View Post
From ESS's website regarding the 625+ kits:

"...on 2007 and 2008MY cars we recommend upgrading the rod bearings to latest BMW spec before installing this kit."
Ouch. Mine is a 2009 MY but was built in late 2008. How do I know if it falls into the above category?

Interesting they recommend replacing the rod and not main bearings. Ill have to research if there was a P/N change on these..

Edit: Per realOEM I don't see any P/N change for the rod bearings.

Last edited by W Cole; 12-23-2012 at 10:42 PM.
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      12-23-2012, 10:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roman@ESS View Post
We have not but that is not to say it could not happen or never will. We take reliability very seriously when we develop and tune our products but anytime you add up to 50% + additional power to a vehicle there is always a chance you can break something. If you follow the guidelines we provide for our kits your chance of having a major failure are very slim but even stock motors, transmissions etc... have failures so there is never a guarantee.

Your best bet when adding power to your car is to use a tuner with a proven track record and use the product as intended. There is no substitute for real world, long term testing and R&D when it comes to adding FI to a vehicle.
I'm intrested in a VT2-585 so I've been doing a lot of research. I do not have access to any ESS authorized dealer so it would be installed by a former BMW tech that now owns a shop. I will discuss the install (I have a digital copy of the instructions) prior to ordering the system. Do your system's intercooler replaces the stock oil cooler?
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      12-23-2012, 11:26 PM   #19
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I had an ESS kit on my car since 15000 miles and built a VT3 @ almost 50000 miles and love it. Pretty straight forward install.
6MT tranny is very strong,Clutch can handle power with no issues but it depends on your driving style. I put down 666whp and no clutch issues.

Good Luck !
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      12-24-2012, 12:01 AM   #20
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One advantage of the air/water system over the air/air that I have not seen mentioned is the ability to use the on board A/C system to chill the coolant so that you can get IAT's below ambient. C02 also gives the same result but needs to be refilled.

Also I saw someone mention that ESS uses an FMIC, FMIC's are used with air/air and from what I know the ESS kit is not air/air.

As for the bearing issues, I have been trying to find out more but I suspect that an oil with a high ZZDP pack like Valvoline VR1 would make the bearings a hell of a lot happier.
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      12-24-2012, 09:16 AM   #21
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One advantage of the air/water system over the air/air that I have not seen mentioned is the ability to use the on board A/C system to chill the coolant so that you can get IAT's below ambient. C02 also gives the same result but needs to be refilled.

Also I saw someone mention that ESS uses an FMIC, FMIC's are used with air/air and from what I know the ESS kit is not air/air.

As for the bearing issues, I have been trying to find out more but I suspect that an oil with a high ZZDP pack like Valvoline VR1 would make the bearings a hell of a lot happier.
Do you even have an ESS supercharger? I said it has a FMIC because it IN FACT does. The air to water intercooler system also utilizes a completely separate standalone water system that has nothing to do with the factory A/C, coolant, etc...
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      12-24-2012, 10:27 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GIdriver View Post
I'm intrested in a VT2-585 so I've been doing a lot of research. I do not have access to any ESS authorized dealer so it would be installed by a former BMW tech that now owns a shop. I will discuss the install (I have a digital copy of the instructions) prior to ordering the system. Do your system's intercooler replaces the stock oil cooler?
Our front mount heat exchanger and the rest of the charge cooling system are seperate from the stock cooling components. Stock cooling components are not replaced or modified.
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