E46 Fanatics Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Content free since 1994
Joined
·
572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First real performance updates for my car… tint and clutch stop don’t count. It’s a 2001 325Ci 5 speed that I bought in 2004 as a CPO car. My first BMW ever, probably not my last.

Over the weekend I reprogrammed the computer with a Shark Injector and installed an aFe intake kit. I also did before/after G-tech runs to see if there was any improvement. Since I did all the work in a few hours during the middle of the day, I think it’s safe to make some inferences.

A word about the G-tech Pro:

I don’t believe they are necessarily accurate out of the box. In my experience, they tend to be optimistic. They don’t LIE as much as EXAGGERATE. :) I do believe, however, that they are consistent. My experience with them bears that out. I have a G-tech Pro around here somewhere, and I recently upgraded to a G-tech Pro RR so I can upload all the run data to my computer.

I baselined my car by doing several runs over the last several months. I did two additional runs on Saturday before dinking with the car. Since they were consistent with my earlier runs, I called it good. To the best of my ability to do so, all the runs were done under the same circumstances – same launch technique, same outside temp, same everything. Most were on the same day with the car thoroughly warmed up, etc.

If I had to guess (which I do at this point), I’d say that the G-tech is at least 3 tenths optimistic for my car. For a baseline I averaged performance data over 5 runs and calculated the standard deviation. I had a really fast outlier that I threw out, but not before noting that it didn’t change the results significantly if I left it in.

Baseline:

Quarter Mile 15.222 sec @ 92.2 mph
0-60 mph 6.833 sec
50-70 Passing 3.839 sec

Installing the Conforti software from a Shark Injector couldn’t be easier. By far the toughest part was using the Shark at all after reading the dire implications in the instruction pages. Once I got past that, it was stupid simple. I still hovered over the car, checking my watch and reading the directions over and over.

After installing the software, I drove around a bit to see how it felt. The car feels *maybe* a bit more responsive. It was actually difficult for me to tell much difference. I took it on the freeway and did some higher gear passes and stuff, and I think there is a very small difference in responsiveness.

I got to my “test spot” and did four runs. The 7000 RPM limit makes it much easier to hit the right shift point and . I know why BMW put redline where it is but for driving enthusiasts, 7000 RPM is where the redline should be.

On one of the runs I blew a shift so I tossed out that run. Here’s the average of three runs:

Quarter Mile 14.944 sec @ 94.0 mph
0-60 mph 6.385 sec
50-70 Passing 3.713 sec

Since I had multiple runs for baseline and with the Shark installed, I noted that the difference is more than two times the standard deviation from each metric. That means there very likely is a real difference in performance from installing the shark. Hey man – I’ll take it.

Then I went home, uninstalled the Shark, ripped out the air filter box and installed the aFe CAI.

The aFe kit is well made and fit rather well. It re-uses two bolts from the stock air system, and the top plate uses 4mm hex screws... not something in everyone's tool box. Overall I like the workmanship of the aFe quite a bit. But there are three things I’m not thrilled about:

* The stock intake box is mounted on rubber bushings and a rubber bar underneath. The aFe kit does away with the rubber stuff. I think it’s possible that the aFe will rattle, and I’ll need to go retighten the fasteners occasionally. I’ll probably do that when I clean the filter. The rubber gizmos I took out were also hose tie-downs. I don’t like unsecured stuff in my engine compartment. I’ll have to look and see if there’s something I can or should do to make sure everything’s buttoned down properly.

* The sound – there’s a piercing whistle that others have mentioned. It isn’t at all loud, but it’s a nails on the chalkboard sort of sound. It doesn’t really bug me but I can see how it would annoy some folks.

* The MAF looks to be a hot wire MAF. That means if you use an oiled filter (like the aFe or a K&N), you’ll need to keep the MAF clean or you may experience trouble. If the hot wire gets coated with oil, it will send inaccurate data to the computer and that will change how your engine responds. For example, an over-oiled filter can coat the hot wire and make the computer think you’re at 6500 feet elevation when you’re running at sea level. Probably not good -- ask me how I know.

When I fired up the engine with the aFe kit installed, it didn’t sound overly loud. I drove out to a thoroughfare and pulled into traffic – still no big deal. When I merged onto a freeway, I accelerated a bit harder. When I got over 3000 to 4000, things opened changed. It’s the same motor but it gets more excited when I put the hammer down. Noticeably more sturm und drang. The engine feels more responsive. It is clearly a bigger difference – at least in sound and fury –than the Shark.

I only got one clean run in with CAI only. On subsequent runs it felt like my clutch was starting to go so I called it a day. Here’s the one run I got:

Quarter Mile 14.676 sec @ 95.58 mph
0-60 mph 6.337 sec
50-70 Passing 3.551 sec

This is more than two standard deviations away from the mean of my baseline runs in every category. Even though it’s just one run, I think it shows that the aFe works.

If you don’t like statistics, here are the top runs from each set I did on Saturday – under as close to identical conditions as I could make them:

Stock 15.026 sec @ 92.12 mph
Shark 14.887 sec @ 94.34 mph
CAI 14.676 sec @ 95.58 mph

The test results matched my gut feeling: the Shark helped, but the aFe helped more. The Shark pulled harder down low while the CAI pulled harder both at higher rpm’s and higher mph. That makes sense to me, and I’ll bet the two mods will work well together.

It’s unfortunate that the clutch started to act up – or whatever else was happening – because I’d much rather have 3 to 5 runs with CAI only and then 3 to 5 runs with CAI plus Shark.

Here I’ll repeat myself: I don’t think a very mildly modded 325Ci runs mid 14’s. While that would be nice, it’s much more likely running close to 15 flat -- and with my amateur driving skills, probably a mid 15. :rolleyes:

Once I get the clutch sorted, I’d really like to do a drag run day. I’d like to see what the car is actually capable of, and also get a chance to calibrate the G-tech.

Maybe this is an opportunity to drop in a lightweight flywheel and a tougher clutch. Repeat after me: “I’m sorry it’s expensive, honey, but it’s a repair part.”.

Cheers,
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
30 Posts
first of all, wow, despite the baseline(s) the gains were impressive, now onto the baseline numbers, even though you may think they are off the mark, it all depends, MotorWeek got a 323Ci to run to 60 in 6.5 and do the quarter mile in 15 flat at 93 mph, back in 2000 when they first tested it. so your numbers could well be realistic. this really makes me a fan of the AFE intake, although I feel my streamline filter does a great job. wondering if I should get the aFe instead of the ZHP cams I've been looking at......

great review- did you get any times with the shark and the aFe?
 

·
Content free since 1994
Joined
·
572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all for the comments.

I didn't get any runs in with the aFe and the Shark. I certainly would have liked to, especially since ideally I'd want multiple runs under exactly the same conditions. But I drive this car to work every day and when the clutch started slipping, I called it a day. :bawling:

I also think that there are a lot of other variables involved in doing this test -- road surface variation, wind, my launch, etc... that while the results *look* statistically significant, I don't have enough data to approximate the amount of gain from the aFe. The one run I did with the CAI, everything worked out just right: strong launch, no bog, good shifts, etc. I still think the CAI is good for two tenths for my car and a lot of smiles for me.

The big deal for the Shark is the 7000 RPM redline. With the car totally stock I shifted to 3rd at ~ 58 mph. Now I'm shifting to 3rd after I hit 60 mph. Having only one shift before 60 mph made a big difference to 0-60 and less of a difference to the 1/4 mile time.
 

·
Content free since 1994
Joined
·
572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Romulus said:
Wow - really nice write up - made me look more positive on the shark and CAI... What do you think'll do for my 300Ci?
Dunno. Is your car a manual or automatic?

The aFe website claims the same 20hp gain for a 325 and for a 330. Whatever the actual wheel hp gain is, I bet it's similar to a 325.

The install was really easy as long as you have the right tools handy. It's pretty refreshing, working on a well engineered car.

If my car is any example and if the test runs are accurate, I'd bet you would see maybe 3 tenths faster in the 1/4 mile and even better to 60 mph.

Just one note about driving the car around today -- it feels stronger and more responsive at all rpm's. But where it really comes to life is at 3500 and over. I drove quite a few cars before I bought this car, and I can say that it feels closer to some of the 330's I looked at. Still not there, but closer. :)
 

·
Content free since 1994
Joined
·
572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
e46m54325ci said:
MotorWeek got a 323Ci to run to 60 in 6.5 and do the quarter mile in 15 flat at 93 mph, back in 2000 when they first tested it. so your numbers could well be realistic.
Thanks for the info. That would make my day -- to be the proud owner of a factory freak. Only a time slip will tell!

I don't know much about the cam swap. Maybe I should look into that too...

Just my .02 but I tested the aFe against a stock airbox. I have no experience at all with other intake upgrades, and no money or time (or clutch apparently) to compare them to the aFe. From internet snooping I got the idea that the aFe was a good one to get and I'm happy with it. But that doesn't mean that other CAI kits are no good. If you already have an intake and a different mod in mind -- well if it were me I'd stick with the original plan.

Cheers,

Aaron
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
30 Posts
after those times though I think I am going to order the aFe right now, I can get it for like $354 on driverfx.com, bc of a 10% discount, and my intake now is stock, with just the streamline engineering filter and the camshaft install just seems to costly for right now and too prone to warranty issues so I think I'm going for the aFe, and a shark or powerchip later on. thanks for the post
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
I agree with everyone else, very informative writeup, my dinan makes great music above 3500rpm, and is worth every cent i paid just for the noise, the gains in the power dept are noticeable, just not very significant, software is next, thanks again for the writeup:thumbup:
 

·
Content free since 1994
Joined
·
572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
BlackChrome said:
If you are interested, we (BimmerForums.com) are having a dyno day next Saturday (25th) at CarbConn of Kirkland. Let us know if you are interested.

Thanks, I might take you up on that. I gotta see about a prior commitment first though.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top