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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased an ESS VT1 Vortech supercharger for my 2001 BMW 330i in December 2002. The mileage on my 2001 BMW 330i was 24,000, I now have 36,800 miles with no troubles. I installed the Supercharger myself with the help of Todd’s DIY at www.my330i.com. I’ve installed other forced induction equipment before this project on Porsches but this one is an easy Intermediate project. I never had any Check Engine Lights or codes since the install, never had any for that matter. In the preceding 22 months I have exchanged numerous emails with ESS concerning the inability of my car to get near the claimed 275-280 RWHP, and gone through an extensive list of troubleshooting. Fortunately for me (unfortunately for ESS I suppose) I have the technical background and determination to troubleshoot this supercharger system. In the past 22 months, I’ve run 5 sets of dyno runs, had more sensors and computers hooked up to the car than the Space Shuttle, and spent another $1300 in test equipment, dyno runs and parts to counter every reason ESS could come up with to explain the shortcomings. I’ve installed Wideband O2 sensors to monitor the AFR, new Mass Air Sensor (wasn’t the problem), had fuel pressure verified, new fuel filter/regulator, had real time telemetry on the ignition timing, injector pulse duration, blah, blah, blah… Anyway, I am presenting my data to the E46 Fanatics so that you may come to your own conclusions, and maybe someone out there has some other ideas. I can say that ESS has been completely professional, total cooperative, friendly and helpful in trying to figure out why my car (and several other US ESS cars) aren’t getting what the ESS test car is getting. Asbjorn (@ ESS) in particular is extremely knowledgeable.

So, after the 5th set of dyno runs, I am throwing in the towel, put a fork in it, I’m done. What I got is what I got… I came up with the following horsepower and torque numbers on a recently certified Dynojet Dyno.

Temp = 79F
Baro = 29.84
Humidity = 49%

Horsepower = (SAE) 248.2 RWHP
Torque= 223.7

Air/Fuel Ratio (Dynojet Widebandcommander) = 12.5 @ 3000rpm increasing to 12.9 @6500rpm
Fuel Pressure = 52psi @ 3000rpm increasing to 59psi @ 6500rpm
Boost – 2psi @ 3000rpm with a steady climb to 7psi @ 6500rpm
Ignition Timing - +16 deg @ 3000 slowly retarding to +10 degrees at 6500 (correct according to ESS)

PROS:
- Well-designed supercharger system from an engineering standpoint (mounting plate is very sturdy)
- Mature Software (v 110) my car runs like a Swiss watch
- Outstanding customer support
- Car is somewhat quicker at the higher RPM’s
- Quiet

CONS:
- Company is overseas so you have to send DME to Norway for programming, ~10 day round trip (use FEDEX, they’re cheaper and faster)
- No US based distributor for installation or troubleshooting
- Horsepower/Torque not 275-280RWHP
- HP/TQ doesn’t come on until >4000 rpm’s when boost starts to pick up.
- Kills resale value

In conclusion, after extensive testing, my car is up to specs, according to ESS, the ESS Vortech Supercharger is running up to specs but the dyno tells the story. It would have been nice for me to drop my car at a shop in my region and have a S/C system installed. When I picked up the car, the shop would hand me the dyno sheet and say “Your car makes – 300 RWHP, here is the proof, thank you very much…” Your mileage may vary.

Below is our most recent email exchanges (we had about 30 exchanges) . At one point, ESS offered to send a mechanic if I complied with all of the tests. I did so and when it came time for that, it never happened :rolleyes:


----- Original Message -----
From: ####
To: Asbjorn Bohn | ESS
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 6:12 PM
Subject: Re: Results


Asbjorn,
I think we have exhausted all possible reasons for my lack of claimed RWHP. As per your previous offer to send a mechanic, I think it is that time. If you want to give me an intercooler to make up the missing horsepower, then that will be satisfactory. If you decide to send a mechanic, I live in ####################


ESS Response:

300 engine HP is not very far from VT330 US specs of 320-325, and the car is running good. There is nothing major wrong with your car, and you might just be a couple degrees of ignition timing away from full power. The 335HP quoted VT330 euro number is on euro 98 octane - some US 94-95 fuels are just as good but on generic US 92-93 octane power will be less due to retarded timing.

If you have no error codes using the BMW DIS system (have you checked using DIS/GT1?), clean air filter and exhaust flow is good, fuel is witihin 11-13.5:1 @ WOT then ignition timing is the only element than can hold back power. If all above is proper, there is nothing more a mechanic can do that to increase baseline ignition timing which we can do remotely. Would you like us to send you a slightly more agressive chip ? You just need to be aware of pinging when testing.

Regards,

Asbjorn Bohn
ESS Performance Products AS
Sales & Operations Planning
Address: Rive, 1798 Aremark, Norway
Telephone: +4769198555 Fax: +4769198556
E-mail: [email protected]
Homepage: http://www.esstuning.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++
ESS Offer:

What we can do is that when you replace pump and get a new dyno with A/F ratio readings and if it still doesn't make the correct power we can send you a mechanic to diagnose and correct any issues. Where do you currently live?

Also what kind of dyno did you use? We have just installed a new DynoJet and if you check out the first development car tested on this dyno (Z4 2.2) you will see how the power/torque is supposed to raise from stock in a M54 engine. The 2.2 is basically the same engine as the 3.0 only with less volume and even the 2.2 version makes much more power than your 3.0 so something is WAY off. Correct 3.0 DynoJet readings will be published next week. If you have a DynoJet run file or printed graph of the 225RWHP run can you email that to me for comparison?
 

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damn... sound like a long journey... with no results...
good luck man....

My car right now is putting 250whp and its a 323ci auto.
 

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Very interesting. So the Vortech is making 248WHP instead of 275 even though everything is running perfectly and up to spec without errors?
Did you buy the charger new or used? ESS did nothing to help you reach the right numbers?

Also you mentioned "give me an intercooler to make up the missing horsepower," does that mean your s/c is running without an intercooler? I don't see how any s/c could make 275WHP without an intercooler?
 

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Some very good and interesting information in this post, good to see that you are exploring the workings of your system, most just bolt on a forget about it....of how many SC'd owners...how many have actually shared or posted their information with us. Good job :thumbup:

I have tried to share all of my tuning and have posted about 10 dyno runs on this board to see what these cars can really do. My latest round of dyno's I peaked at 292 rwhp and 265 ft/lbs or torque on my ASA SC'c 330cic. My AFR on those runs is still not perfect but I have installed wideband O2, headers and exhaust and determined as you are to squeeze everything our current setups are capable of. My AFR on my last set of runs was approaching 10.5...so definitely have some HP to gain. Also am so pumped about Rennsports Stage II upgrade for the ASA. :thumbup: :woot: :woot:

Just curious how does adjust fuel pressure, I know they have larger injectors and software but is there a RRFPR (boost/vacuum relationship) or does the software adjust it, and what type and size of injectors.

I was wondering if you could share some more information on the fuel pulse width monitoring you did and how the larger injectors handled themselves, this is an very big issue with ASA owners if they know what pulse width is but just curious.



Best regards,
Omes. :thumbup:
 

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I made 271 Hp, and 258 torque

Got worse every run after that.

Car has been pretty reliable, up until the blower bearings went last weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nico3k said:
Very interesting. So the Vortech is making 248WHP instead of 275 even though everything is running perfectly and up to spec without errors?
Did you buy the charger new or used? ESS did nothing to help you reach the right numbers?

Also you mentioned "give me an intercooler to make up the missing horsepower," does that mean your s/c is running without an intercooler? I don't see how any s/c could make 275WHP without an intercooler?
The supercharger was brand new and as you can see by the data in my post, it is supplying the correct boost for the rpm (so it isn't the problem). Fuel pressure is correct, AFR is correct, ignition timing is correct. And I'm running ~95octane (93 octane plus a can of NOS Octane Booster.) to prevent any ignition rollback from detonation (which is not occuring).

As for the intercooler, I have always been about 30-40 RWHP below the claimed horsepower so I am trying to get ESS to give me an intercooler which they claim will give me another 20-25 HP. So far, no luck, and no luck on the mechanic offer either. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
 

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Man...this must have been one hell of a ordeal for you (learning experience too!)

Did you ever get a compression test done? Could be something with the motor and not the SC... :hmm:

Side note - How do you like the NOS octane booster? Feel any difference when using it? I have a bottle of their street formula but i'm worried about using it so I never poured it in. Not sure if it contains anything that might foul up the o2 sensors, eat away rubber seals in the fuel system etc......(long term damage)

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Alan L. said:
Man...this must have been one hell of a ordeal for you (learning experience too!)

Did you ever get a compression test done? Could be something with the motor and not the SC... :hmm:

Side note - How do you like the NOS octane booster? Feel any difference when using it? I have a bottle of their street formula but i'm worried about using it so I never poured it in. Not sure if it contains anything that might foul up the o2 sensors, eat away rubber seals in the fuel system etc......(long term damage)

Alan

You know, a compression test is an excellent idea. Since I have such low mileage I never considered it. I'll do that and an exhaust back pressure test and see if anything is out of order. As for the NOS, I'll probably quit using it. It seems to work but the only way for me to tell is to run a tank without the NOS, reset the short term fuel trim by disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes and then let the ECU relearn the new fuel. If I don't get any pinging or ignition rollback, then I should be good to go without NOS....
 

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Thank you thekubiaks for posting your experience. I wonder if the current ESS kit with the ASA TM1-12 performs better than the Vortech? Can they send you the ASA to retrofit? Why did you end up with the Vortech unit vs the ASA anyway?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
roadsterdoc said:
Thank you thekubiaks for posting your experience. I wonder if the current ESS kit with the ASA TM1-12 performs better than the Vortech? Can they send you the ASA to retrofit? Why did you end up with the Vortech unit vs the ASA anyway?
I talked to ESS about a retrofit to the ASA S/C, they offered a "reduced" price. I declined because I don't want to be the guinea pig again. I suspect the design of the ASA S/C is better but I'm not sure if it is as "robust" as the Vortech unit. Only time will tell how long the newer unit will last.
 

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Question:

Have you seen other US based ESS (Vortech) SCed 330 cars that are putting out more RWHP? What are other folks with a similar setup getting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
mattman said:
Question:

Have you seen other US based ESS (Vortech) SCed 330 cars that are putting out more RWHP? What are other folks with a similar setup getting?

That is the big mystery. No one else with an ESS SC'd car has put a dyno sheet on this board as far as I can tell, believe me, I've searched. I am now talking to AA in Miami about dynoing my 330i, changing the injectors, and reprogramming the ECU to get the 285 RWHP. According to AA, 285 RWHP is easy, you'll probably get 295-300 RWHP. He wants $1600 but I may do it. So, that will make a lot of $$$ I spent on this S/C system. :thumbdwn: :thumbdwn: :thumbdwn:
 

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Sorry for going off-topic, but what do you think of AA's SC system that uses the Rotrex unit? What would system you buy if you could do it all over again?
 

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Hey man, sounds like you are on the right track and getting this figured out sensibly. I wouldn't let AA fock with your car. You already have upgraded injectors and software for the boost you are running and good AFR's. Unless you are thinking about running more boost keep on it (searching i mean). I wonder if i could be an issue with the lack of the intercooler, or airflow while dynoing? Have you got any info recorded on your IAT's? I think the FMIC is a very logical choice for you, Technik posted some info on IAT's of non IC'd supercharger systems a while back. I would definitely would persue that course and the compression testing. :thumbup:

Oh BTW: the ECU will pull back ignition timing on at least a couple of these, HIGH IAT's, poor catalytic converter efficiency or 02 sensor fault, or MAF faults.
 

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I think part of the problem is also the design of the vortech blower. I see boost as soon as 2500-3K rpm...much earlier than other SC on the market. I would first get a compression test to make sure its not the motor then work from there. If you have access to a GT1 at the dealer, it might be worthwhile to see what that pulls up on the computer.

1600 is steep. Typical AA pricing. Figure if your motor checks out ok, you could turn around and sell your ESS kit for a good price on top of that $1600 to pick up a new ASA kit. Something to think about....

Alan
 

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Hope you don't mind the posting...but heat soaking is a major issue on non-intercooled application. Dyno 10 times in a row that you will see the numbers keep dropping. More rapidly than an intercooled setup. Take the car to a track event and you will feel the car losing power after a few laps.

What ESS has is probably the numbers from the first couple of dyno runs. If you can ask them to post some IAT numbers. Just to give you an idea, with my current ASA's 6.5psi setup, ambient temp of about 30C and I have witnessed compressed air temp up to 80C, before being intercooled to 38C. I know the ESS got around this by relocating the IAT. But I am pretty sure that the amount of performance compensation is not comparable to air temp at 38C.

My advice is to retrofit a Cartech FMIC. Samir posted that on the Rennsport forum a while back. A search on the FI subforum on Bimmerforums.com should get you some answers as well.

The bottomline: Get a FMIC.



thekubiaks said:
That is the big mystery. No one else with an ESS SC'd car has put a dyno sheet on this board as far as I can tell, believe me, I've searched. I am now talking to AA in Miami about dynoing my 330i, changing the injectors, and reprogramming the ECU to get the 285 RWHP. According to AA, 285 RWHP is easy, you'll probably get 295-300 RWHP. He wants $1600 but I may do it. So, that will make a lot of $$$ I spent on this S/C system. :thumbdwn: :thumbdwn: :thumbdwn:
 

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my friend here in colorado with a supercharged 330 (ESS) put down 296 with no intercooler. but he also has other mods that i cant think of for the life of me.

but i would also run a compression test.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
E46325Ci said:
my friend here in colorado with a supercharged 330 (ESS) put down 296 with no intercooler. but he also has other mods that i cant think of for the life of me.

but i would also run a compression test.

Thank you all for the feedback, an intercooler is definitely a possibility, I think I will steer clear of the AA guys. As for the quote above, once again, plenty of numbers but no dyno charts to back it up. I rest my case......... :str8pimpi
 
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