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      03-21-2013, 04:50 PM   #1
JoM3z
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1 mile above sea level

I recently moved to Albuquerque from New York City. One major thing I noticed is how sluggish the car is. Given the 12% power train loss due to high altitude (1 mile above sea level) and lower octane gas (91) the car feels like it lost 100HP I am now seriously considering some performance mod to make up for it. Super charger of course is the fastest way, but I am in no hurry to drop $8k on a entry level setup, but it is not by any means out of the question. Few things I am considering...

Tune - GIAC, ESS, BPM, etc..
Test pipes, Xpipe, HFC
Pulleys
Intake

Any suggestions from folks who lives in high altitude?
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      03-21-2013, 05:05 PM   #2
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I'm in Denver and understand your pain. Your loss is really more like 15-18% but I digress...

Relative to your starting point the best gain back with going FI would be xpipe/testpipes (catless or HFC). Tune will help a bit but not as much as what a good x-pipe would get you. All of the rest of the stuff is at the margin. I'm lucky (sort of) in that I've never driven one at sea level so don't know what I'm missing. The only way to get you back to what you had is a blower, although even an entry level one will get you more than what you had at sea level.
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      03-21-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear that, I was actually thinking last week, must be tough living in the mile high..

Maybe you will find this USELESS Car Channel interesting, since they do just about ALL of their tests @ 1 Mile Above Sea Level...
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      03-21-2013, 06:14 PM   #4
JoM3z
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I was spoiled being at sea level, the car had more pep and moves like beast. FI does sound like a better solution. I've seen some pretty decently priced used kits in the forum. Not sure if the wife will allow it, may take a lot of brownie points. For now I'll give these bolt-ons a try and see how the car feels.
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      03-21-2013, 06:15 PM   #5
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I think I would have to go blower. I drove at 5-6k feet last summer and it was brutal power loss. I just couldn't handle that on a near permanent basis.
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      03-21-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoM3z View Post
I recently moved to Albuquerque from New York City. One major thing I noticed is how sluggish the car is. Given the 12% power train loss due to high altitude (1 mile above sea level) and lower octane gas (91) the car feels like it lost 100HP I am now seriously considering some performance mod to make up for it. Super charger of course is the fastest way, but I am in no hurry to drop $8k on a entry level setup, but it is not by any means out of the question. Few things I am considering...

Tune - GIAC, ESS, BPM, etc..
Test pipes, Xpipe, HFC
Pulleys
Intake

Any suggestions from folks who lives in high altitude?
Hope it is just some bad gas you tanked. I would try another gas station like Shell.
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      03-21-2013, 06:19 PM   #7
JoM3z
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It's been 2 days for me and I am already dreading how the car feels. I am seriously considering a blower at this point, but I am willing to give some bolt-ons a try before dropping $8k on a kit.

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I think I would have to go blower. I drove at 5-6k feet last summer and it was brutal power loss. I just couldn't handle that on a near permanent basis.
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      03-21-2013, 06:23 PM   #8
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I've been driving around looking for a 93oct, but I don't think they carry it here. I did find a place that sells a 100oct gas going to give that a try see how the car feels.

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Hope it is just some bad gas you tanked. I would try another gas station like Shell.
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      03-21-2013, 06:41 PM   #9
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I've been driving around looking for a 93oct, but I don't think they carry it here. I did find a place that sells a 100oct gas going to give that a try see how the car feels.
If that does not work for you try out a "Fuel Additive"

Have a read of this ----> Click to open

Good Luck

PS. You properly know this, never tank at a gas station that is just serviced by a tanker to top up the tanks. Drive away and go to another station if you can.
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      03-21-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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I think the obvious solution is to move back.....
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      03-21-2013, 06:57 PM   #11
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I think the obvious solution is to move back.....
Be nice now ...
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      03-21-2013, 07:13 PM   #12
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My wife would Trust me if that's an option I would have done it already.

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I think the obvious solution is to move back.....
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      03-21-2013, 07:15 PM   #13
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In addition to the music and food, living below sea level here in New Orleans does have some small advantages!
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      03-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #14
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Oh jeeez, not this power debate again....
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      03-21-2013, 07:35 PM   #15
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Obviously I did Happy wife, happy life LoL

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Was thinking the same thing, who moves from NYC to New Mexico?
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      03-21-2013, 07:57 PM   #16
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OP moved from NY and complains that his M3 isn't fast any more
#FirstWorldProblems
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      03-21-2013, 08:36 PM   #17
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You sound like you are clueless what 1 mile above sea level does to your car.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=HDg8_mrvkRo


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OP moved from NY and complains that his M3 isn't fast any more
#FirstWorldProblems
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      03-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #18
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OP you are not far off from your butt dyno. There is a formula to calculate which is HP * elevation in feet /1000 *.03

So using 420 hp for the m3, you actually lose 70 horsepower

Full bolt ons might get you 30 of it back but losing 40-50 hp is no good at all. I would forsure get a supercharger living there. No way I would dip below 300 wheel horsepower which your car easily would be below at this point which just is not cool for the m!
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      03-21-2013, 09:24 PM   #19
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I did the calculation before moving out here. Funny thing is I didn't think it would be that much noticeable, boy was I wrong. It's looking like a supercharger would be the ideal solution. I am just not ready to drop the cash at the moment.

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OP you are not far off from your butt dyno. There is a formula to calculate which is HP * elevation in feet /1000 *.03

So using 420 hp for the m3, you actually lose 70 horsepower

Full bolt ons might get you 30 of it back but losing 40-50 hp is no good at all. I would forsure get a supercharger living there. No way I would dip below 300 wheel horsepower which your car easily would be below at this point which just is not cool for the m!
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      03-21-2013, 10:30 PM   #20
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I'm so happy montreal canada is 57 metres (187 feet) OSL full power to the wheels
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      03-21-2013, 10:43 PM   #21
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Altitude

My house is at 6 700 feet, and I regularly tool about up to about 10 000 feet. It's all I've ever known with my M3. Prior to this I had a 335 at sea level, then moved up here, with that same 335. From my limited understanding of such things, altitude does not much impact a turbo car, and my 335 pulled strongly through the canyons. When I switched to the M3 from the 335, there was a noticeable difference in the way the cars pulled up long hills in the 6 000 - 8 000 ft. range. Take it from a simple guy (when it comes to all the torque/power conversations here), the M3, in 5th gear, when floored spools up a little slower than the turbo, but it seems (to me) that it pulls longer and harder with much less effort (that's what she said). My X5 35d is very similar to my 335 in that, yes, it has stump pulling power, but a very narrow power band - thanks to an eight speed transmission though, it gets the job done for a heavy vehicle. So, my conclusions about living at altitude, yes, your car has lost some of its power, but it remains one of the best kick ass values out there, for the money. I would concur with you that a supercharger is the way to go - I never thought much about this until I drove my girlfriends F150 Quadcab (yes she wears the wifebeater t-shirt in our house). Even towing a Moomba, it pulls effortlessly at 6 000 + feet, and totally sold me on supercharging (whatever that is!)
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      03-22-2013, 02:30 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoM3z View Post
I recently moved to Albuquerque from New York City. One major thing I noticed is how sluggish the car is. Given the 12% power train loss due to high altitude (1 mile above sea level) and lower octane gas (91) the car feels like it lost 100HP I am now seriously considering some performance mod to make up for it. Super charger of course is the fastest way, but I am in no hurry to drop $8k on a entry level setup, but it is not by any means out of the question. Few things I am considering...

Tune - GIAC, ESS, BPM, etc..
Test pipes, Xpipe, HFC
Pulleys
Intake

Any suggestions from folks who lives in high altitude?
One of the problems about high-altitude performance loss is that you feel it everywhere from idle to redline. In this case the power and torque loss is about 15%, but the torque loss is what you feel right out of your driveway. Traditional power enhancers such as intake and exhaust mods tend to offer their best gains at high rpm, so no big help there except for aural enjoyment. Pulleys also tend to do their best at high rpm as well.

A tune just isn't going to do it for you, so the best advice is to save your pennies for a supercharger kit - or wait for the new car, which will almost certainly allow for sea-level power up to at least 6000 feet.

The turbo-at-altitude issue is that at, say, 15 psi nominal above ambient, you're making about 30 psi total at sea level. Assuming a loss of about 2.25 psi (15%) at your altitude while normally aspirated (netting 12.75 psi), just maintaining a 15 psi boost level means you'll drop from 30 psi to about 27.75 psi while boosted, meaning you'd only lose about 7.5% in power and torque assuming 15 psi of boost. So forced induction motors intrinsically suffer less at altitude compared to their normally aspirated brethren.

It gets better than that, however. These days, just about every manufacturer will allow for increased boost over normal spec (on turbo cars) to correct for altitude, so the car will automatically adjust the max boost to 17.25 psi in Albuquerque, getting you back to the nominal 30 psi absolute that the engine experiences at sea level.

Of course, the new M3 may not be a killer car in other ways, but I guarantee you it will be a killer car in Albuquerque, power-wise.

Bruce

PS - Don't worry about 91 octane fuel. It's all that's needed at altitude in your car.

Last edited by bruce.augenstein@comcast.; 03-22-2013 at 02:35 AM.
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