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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
ESS Product: M54/52 VT1

Install Car: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP Sedan 6MT with 104700 miles on the odometer (At time of this review I am at 108600 miles)
Mods at time of install: UUC TSE3 Exhaust (full), Gruppe M intake, ESS Software, OEM Short Shift Kit

Pre Install Dyno: 190HP / 192TQ
Post Install Dyno: 290HP / 235TQ
Supercharger Improvement: 100HP

Current Boost Pressure: 7 -8 PSI

Costs: $4,295.00

Website: http://www.esstuning.com/products/ESS-M52TÜ{47}M54-VT1-Supercharger-System.html

Install Timeframe: 3-4 hours with general mechanical ability. If you can change your oil and/or perform normal maintenance on your car this shouldn't be an issue to install.
ECU update: For the ZHP model, the ECU needs to be sent to ESS to have them update. For non-ZHP models, then this can be performed without removing the ECU.

Drivability Review:
The ZHP powertrain by itself is already a very potent engine with the OEM changes made with the package. It has a very nice powerline curve of acceleration, torque and all around driveability. When you do want to drive it in a spirited way though, it responds nicely and when you are in the correct powerband/gear it responds very nicely.

All that being said, this new supercharger system from ESS completely changes the dynamic of the car. I am a previous owner of a 2002 E46 M3 SMG and one of the things that I definitely missed when getting rid of it was the raw unbridled power when I would drive it. Now with this kit installed, I can happily say, that thought NO LONGER lingers in my mind. If the ZHP had a smooth curve of acceleration and torque, this kit completely SNAPS that curve into an almost linear line of power. The acceleration is rapid, immediate and noticeable as it moves the needle quickly up the gauges. When accelerating in the 3-5K RPM range, I have to be very aware of what is in front of me as it will accelerate like crazy!

However, I have also noticed that it is also a very mild experience when driving around in a conservative manner. In fact, with normal day to day driving, it is hardly noticeable when I am driving around in the upper gears, like 5th and 6th gear or just accelerating behind some traffic or other cars at stop lights. I would go so far as to say that it feels as if nothing has changed on the car. But the beauty of it is, if I want to get around someone or accelerate to get on the freeway, the engine completely changes and wakes up like nobody's business. It is almost as if a switch is turned on and you get pushed firmly back into your seat with nothing more than playing with the throttle.

I'll try to give an example here of gear by gear driving to hopefully make some sense.

1st gear:
10-35% throttle - Mild and very enjoyable, as if I don't have the kit on at all
40-60% throttle - Lively and very quickly moving ground beneath you. No tire chirp yet
60% and up - Tires squealing, people looking at you, better be dropping into 2nd gear at this point because your gonna redline it in half a heart beat

2nd gear:
10-35% throttle - Again mild and enjoyable
40-60% throttle - It is moving and we are in the 3-5K powerband quick and we are flying down the road at this point. The engine feels alive and ready to go
60% and up - Since we had to jump out of 1st so fast, we only dropped the RPM's a tiny bit and are still well within the power band we want, so 3rd gear is less than 2 seconds away and you better make sure nothing is in front of you.

3rd gear:
10-35% throttle - Feels good, moving along at a nice pace. Cops give you a nod as you pass by them.
40-60% throttle - Now we are going, better hope we are on a deserted highway or already on the freeway from that on ramp because we are in the zone and the engine is primed for take off any second. The cops give you a stern look of disapproval as you are well at or just above the highway speed limit at this point
60% and up - Forget it, speed limits and other cars behind you aren't a concern, we are flying and hitting the redline like Mike Tyson. Better shift, because you only lived in 3rd gear for about 3 seconds before you have to remove your foot from the throttle or change gears NOW

4th and 5th gear:
10-35% throttle - Same as 3rd, we are cruising like a Sunday afternoon, feels smooth and easy
40-60% throttle - Hanging out just shy of the powerband but moving quickly down the road, a lot faster than is probably prudent. Feathering the throttle at this point puts the engine into the power band and the kit pushes the engine into the next level.
60% and up - Only done this once so far getting onto an open freeway late at night..................probably wont' do it again. I went from 1st gear to 5th gear faster than I have ever shifted and was just shy of 3 digits on the speedo by the time i was fully merged onto the freeway. Yea if you are still asking the kit for this much in 5th gear then you better have a lot of open road, because we are in triple digit territory and climbing. Hope you got some good tires!

6th gear:
10-35% throttle - Gotta love those Sunday afternoon drives
40-60% throttle - Need to get by that semi or slow driver in the fast lane, no problem, feather that throttle a little and don't even worry about down shifting.
60% and up - Honestly, I don't even know. Call me a teenage girl if you want, because I can't even.......


Appearance:
This kit is a very good looking kit and ESS has put together one of the cleanest looking vortech kits I have seen so far. The fabricated bracket that bolts up where the airbox usually is at, is incredible to look at. I honestly wish they had made one that stands out more as it is a very sweet looking bracket. The vortech looks absolutely huge in the engine bay as well. I don't know of the different vortech kits out there and the sizes and models, but i'll be honest this thing looks like a monster and I freaking LOVE IT.

Noise:
Yes, I'll be honest here, there is some noise. There is the notorious "Vortech tick", however I really only hear it and notice it when the car and kit is cold. Once the kit and car do warm up then it seems to go away for the most part. There is a sucking sound that comes from the open cone filter but really I have NO problem hearing that sound. My exhaust seems to put out more sound than the kit does. I also don't have any hood padding on the car either, I don't remember what happened to it but if I ever did get some of that and put it on, then I probably wouldn't hear the kit at all.

Dyno Sheet:


Dyno Testing Vid:
http://vid1311.photobucket.com/albums/s674/artimasJC/MOV_0754.MOV_zps8eolbua4.mp4

Pictures:
Here are some pictures of the kit and the kit installed in the car:










 

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bravo!!!!
now lets try to find someone with the ESS TS2 setup and made an review....
can you put the video link URL?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

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+1 on jdjg comments about a twinscrew vs vortech battle.
 

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Great review bullfrog.

ESS does great kits, they know their stuff.

Sounds like the install went great. Did you get the AFR reading during your dyno's?

My TS2 install didn't go so smoothly, I've just been having terrible luck. O2 sensors needed replacing and now looks like my fuel pump can't keep up. I've got 110k miles on my ZHP, so I guess if your stuff is wearing out the supercharger install will reveal it quite clearly.

I've got my "before" dyno from back in June, and have my "after" dyno scheduled for Oct 24, I'll post up the results when I get them
 

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Considering getting this kit in the next couple of weeks. Just curious, is the tune included in the price of the kit? I know for my ZHP I'll have to send my ECU to them, but what I don't want to do is drop $4k on the kit and another $700 on the tune.

Also, is a dyno after install required or were you just trying to figure out where you were?
 

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Considering getting this kit in the next couple of weeks. Just curious, is the tune included in the price of the kit? I know for my ZHP I'll have to send my ECU to them, but what I don't want to do is drop $4k on the kit and another $700 on the tune.

Also, is a dyno after install required or were you just trying to figure out where you were?

Have you looked at ess website? It is included as clearly stated.
 

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Would you like my IP address to see exactly how many times I've been on ESS' site the past few days drooling and mulling over which kit to purchase? Show me where it says its included because I haven't seen it.
I promise you it's included.

Davcon, myself, & others including the OP of this thread can assure you that you do get a working tune with your ESS S/C purchase....



Rob43
 

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Clear and concise. Thanks Rob! I'll be getting the kit next week!:excited:

Edit: What about a boost gauge?

Can't speak for ESS but VF do not supply a boost guage.
I do recommend a boost gauge and an AFR gauge.
 

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100% do this ^^^^^^

Apart from the information you will gain for your own piece of mind, any future queries with ESS in regards to performance of the kit will be more easily resolved with proof of delta gain, and condition of current setup ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
As others have stated, a tune is included in the price, however for ZHP models, you will need to send in your ECU to them to program.

There is no boost gauge provided as part of this kit.

The dyno test is not required at all, however, since I was one of the first cars to get this kit, they needed to see where the car was at pre-S/C install and then again after the S/C install. I would recommend it to you to see where your car is at and then again (at some point) to see how much more TQ and HP you are putting down. I did a couple of dyno sessions at different dyno's to see what the numbers were and to also pass that along to potential buyers. Was it necessary to pay for extra dyno sessions outside of ESS? meh... probably not, but again, i thought it might be beneficial for others to know the numbers as well.

Let me know if there are any other questions I might be able to answer.
 

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You guys might be out of date on the "send in your DME" thing. With my TS2 kit they sent me a programmer and I programmed the DME right in my own garage, I didnt have to send anything out. I have a ZHP with MS45.1 DME.

Also, since you have a ZHP, you also have the MS45.1 DME, which means you have wideband O2 sensors. I believe I have a formula that converts those wideband O2 voltages to AFR, so you probably don't need a dedicated AFR gauge cluttering up your dash. Just get a copy of Bytelogger and a cheap OBDII-to-USB cable, and you can get almost all the data you really need (except boost, you'd need a gauge for that).

Good call on the compression test and dyno Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Update on some information that I got when talking with ESS:

1. The kit comes with the ESS E-flash cable for MS42/MS43 cars. MS45 cars needs ECU sent in for operating system change.
2. There is a port on back of intake manifold that can be used for the boost gauge and any boost gauge will work fine.
3. There is no oil cooler needed and they don't have any recommendations for one either.
4. Install time takes about 4 hours for a good/decent mechanic and upwards of 6-8 hours if you take your time and work slow.

Let me know if there are any other questions.
 

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I remember when I bought my TS2+ for the MS43 (almost 2 years ago) and the seller told me I need to send my DME, then I talk with Asbjorn and he told me I can reflash my FME with the e flash cable...
so my advice, try to contact Asbjorn and asking him
 
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