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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When it comes to Drop-in air filters, I've been around the block. I have used stock, ITG, K&N, and Streamline in my E46. Below you will find my thoughts on each, while paying special attention to the newcomer on the market: Streamline Engineering.
For those interested in finding out more info on the Streamline, check this thread:
http://www.z4um.com/viewtopic.php?t=7796
You will also find more info on here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=2498931#post2498931

Upon opening the box containing my Streamline filter, initial impressions were very positive. The rubber seal is large, making the filter uncommonly sturdy. The pleats are very even and consistent, and only minute amounts of rubber can be found in the edges of the filter media. Overall, quality is very impressive and I can find little fault in its design and construction.

K&N Left - Streamline on the Right. Note that the K&N has 9,000 miles on it, which is why it appears dirty.


Comparing the two, you can see that they are quite different. The Streamline is much thicker, with considerably less rubber on the filter media. As a result, the filtration area appears larger.

To run some numbers, these are measurements I took of the filter area. So for the K&N, the area of the filter covered by rubber is not counted (as it shouldn't be).

Streamline: 19.5cm X 14.5cm = 283 square centimeters
K&N: 20.0cm X 13.0cm = 260 square centimeters

Which means that when it comes to two dimensional surface area, the Streamline has 9% more than the K&N.

Now, the Streamline is also much thicker, as you can see from the picture. The pleat depth of the K&N is 2.8cm, and the Streamline is 4.8cm.
So if we start talking in 3 dimensions, we get:

Streamline: 283 X 4.8 = 1,358 cubic square centimeters
K&N 260 X 2.8 = 728 cubic square centimeters

The Streamline has 87% more three-dimensional surface area than the K&N.

Pleat geometry seems pretty similar, but the Streamline's pleats seem a little more rounded, which to my knowledge is a good thing. The filter media itself might be a little thicker, but it's tough to tell with the naked eye.


Here are some close-ups of each unit. Look at the horrendous amount of polyurethane which has bled onto the K&N filter. Very unimpressive. For such a large company with so many resources, I find it disheartening that they choose to allow ~10% of the filter media to be rendered completely useless.


The Streamline:


Notice the difference in height, approximately 1.2inches:


Streamline claims that their testing has proven their unit to have a filtration efficiency of 98.98%. This is compared to 98.21% with the stock BMW filter. I do not have exact numbers for the K&N, but things I have read in the past usually put them just slightly above the industry standard of 97%. If Streamline's numbers are legitimate, their filter does a better job of protecting the engine than even the OEM filter.
For a new OEM filter, they claim it had 5” of restriction while flowing at 375CFM. The Streamline: 1.1” of restriction.

Fitment in the air box is excellent... the large seal makes for a very snug fit, much better than both the K&N and stock filters.

ITG: I don't have a pretty picture, but I ran one in my car for around 8,000 miles. The filter does seem to be of good quality and design, and my only real gripe is that their filtration oil more closely resembles maple syrup than it does oil. It is quite viscous and sticky, which likely impedes airflow. Also, the fact that the filter is not pleated reduces its surface area, something I am unsure about. I can't comment on its flow or filtration abilities as there is no data on it. Streamline has offered to test one if someone wants to send them a filter.

Gas Mileage: Streamline vs. Stock
Well, after using the Streamline for a week and 300 miles, it is hard to draw any solid conclusions. With the recent arrival of warm weather, I have been using my A/C considerably more, yet I have experienced above average fuel economy. Usually to be in the 19s was uncommon for me, even in cold weather. But prior to resetting my ECU the other day I was averaging 19.6, abnormally high. Just by a hair, maybe .5 to 1mpg more than I would expect to see. Like I said, the difference is small, and it's hard to say for sure.
With that said, Streamline recommends resetting the ECU upon filter installation, so that the computer can adjust to the increased airflow. I waited a week to try this, and my above results are from prior to the reset. I then reset the ECU, and now after 2 days was averaging 20.5 (keep in mind, my driving route and conditions never really change). So, maybe I will notice a more marked improvement after the reset. It’s still too early to say. I'll let you know for sure in a week.

Conclusion
Overall, the design and quality of the Streamline unit is impressive. K&N certainly pales in comparison, as does the stock filter. For those looking to let their engine breathe a little better without the hassles of a CAI, this is certainly an attractive alternative. The only drawback is the price; at $69 it is quite expensive. Is the quality worth it to me personally? Absolutely, but that is for you to decide.
 

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Streamline Air Filter

Just installed my Streamline air filter this evening. The install was simple and the fit was nice and snug. Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother. Not sure on increased gas milage, but every little bit would help with the cost of oil/gas going up.

Anyone know if you need a diagnostic tool to reset the ECU?

-Mike
 

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Shred Sled said:
Just installed my Streamline air filter this evening. The install was simple and the fit was nice and snug. Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother. Not sure on increased gas milage, but every little bit would help with the cost of oil/gas going up.

Anyone know if you need a diagnostic tool to reset the ECU?

-Mike
Just curious, a filter affects a transmission how?
 

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ECU Reset

Shred Sled said:
Just installed my Streamline air filter this evening. The install was simple and the fit was nice and snug. Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother. Not sure on increased gas milage, but every little bit would help with the cost of oil/gas going up.

Anyone know if you need a diagnostic tool to reset the ECU?

-Mike
By removing your Negative (-) Cable on your battery for a few minutes, it will give your ECU time to reset.
 

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Shred Sled said:
Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother.
-Mike
BMWERKEN said:
Just curious, a filter affects a transmission how?
I kind of know what he is saying as I had a similar impression after I sharked my car...my 5spd shifted smoother...maybe because the engine was running better. :dunno:

Only way to find out for sure is to put the stock filter back in after you've had some time with the Streamline to know its feel.
 

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Shred Sled said:
Just installed my Streamline air filter this evening. The install was simple and the fit was nice and snug. Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother. Not sure on increased gas milage, but every little bit would help with the cost of oil/gas going up.

Anyone know if you need a diagnostic tool to reset the ECU?

-Mike
This is a very common comment from users of the Streamline Engineering filter.

The reason for this is from the effect the filter has on air flow to the engine. Our filter doesn't just flow better, it's engineered to flow a determined amount of CFM throughout the entire RPM band. In other words, restriction was actually tuned into the filter based on the demand of the engine. This will actually allow smoother engine operation and it will also allow the engine to spin freely within the RPM band.

The effect this has on a SMG/automatic equipped vehicles is amazing. The feedback that I have obtained says that the "jerk" felt with the SMG/Automatic is all but eliminated. I have also heard that SMG equipped vehicles don't exhibit the "slip" while leaving from a stop any longer either.

On manual transmission equipped vehicles, it makes it much easier to modulate the throttle for smooth starts and shifting as well.

What this all boils down to is a finely tuned filter that actually "works" with the BMW engine. Why does the Streamline Engineering filter work where others have not? The reason is simple...because it was engineered specifically for the application and just made to fit.

We are currently testing on the M3 and we'll fine tune the a filter for that application as needed. So all you M3 owners stay posted as well.

Ok guys, back to your discussion. I'll let the filter and the review(s) do the talking. If anyone has any specific questions that they would like asked, please feel free to ask inside this thread or you may email me directly as well.

Enjoy!

Jay "Red" Crouch
 

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I've been using the Streamline filter in my Z4 since January of this year. I've definitely noticed increased throttle response and slightly improved fuel economy (though for the first month, the increased throttle response was stimulating excessive inputs from my right foot, if you know what I mean :woot: ).

I'd definitely recommend this upgrade. :thumbup:
 

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hm...... interesting, how often should we change our intake filters? Also the air filter to our cabin air?

Please advise.
 

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SE4Life said:
This is a very common comment from users of the Streamline Engineering filter.

The reason for this is from the effect the filter has on air flow to the engine. Our filter doesn't just flow better, it's engineered to flow a determined amount of CFM throughout the entire RPM band. In other words, restriction was actually tuned into the filter based on the demand of the engine. This will actually allow smoother engine operation and it will also allow the engine to spin freely within the RPM band.

The effect this has on a SMG/automatic equipped vehicles is amazing. The feedback that I have obtained says that the "jerk" felt with the SMG/Automatic is all but eliminated. I have also heard that SMG equipped vehicles don't exhibit the "slip" while leaving from a stop any longer either.

On manual transmission equipped vehicles, it makes it much easier to modulate the throttle for smooth starts and shifting as well.

What this all boils down to is a finely tuned filter that actually "works" with the BMW engine. Why does the Streamline Engineering filter work where others have not? The reason is simple...because it was engineered specifically for the application and just made to fit.

We are currently testing on the M3 and we'll fine tune the a filter for that application as needed. So all you M3 owners stay posted as well.

Ok guys, back to your discussion. I'll let the filter and the review(s) do the talking. If anyone has any specific questions that they would like asked, please feel free to ask inside this thread or you may email me directly as well.

Enjoy!

Jay "Red" Crouch
President / General Manager
Streamline Engineering
[email protected]
How do you order one...only through paypal, no website?
 

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Mmm, Pancakes.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BigRain said:
hm...... interesting, how often should we change our intake filters? Also the air filter to our cabin air?

Please advise.
I believe BMW reccomends changing both cabin and intake filters every 15,000 miles (or more often if used in dusty conditions).
If you move from paper to a cotton filter, it will likely go much longer before restriction starts to be a factor... I would expect it to go at least 20,000 miles before requiring a cleaning.
 

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There is no way to reset the ECU without a trip to the dealer.

If anyone is claiming that you just pull the battery cable, they are wrong. The e36's worked this way but not anymore for the e46. You have to hook up a BMW computer to reset the ECU.

We learned this from a master mechanic here on e46fanatics like last year who researched this for us to bust the myth.

So how are you resetting the ecu per streamline?


InSuboRdiNaTioN said:
When it comes to Drop-in air filters, I've been around the block. I have used stock, ITG, K&N, and Streamline in my E46. Below you will find my thoughts on each, while paying special attention to the newcomer on the market: Streamline Engineering.
For those interested in finding out more info on the Streamline, check this thread:
http://www.z4um.com/viewtopic.php?t=7796
You will also find more info on here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=2498931#post2498931

Upon opening the box containing my Streamline filter, initial impressions were very positive. The rubber seal is large, making the filter uncommonly sturdy. The pleats are very even and consistent, and only minute amounts of rubber can be found in the edges of the filter media. Overall, quality is very impressive and I can find little fault in its design and construction.

K&N Left - Streamline on the Right. Note that the K&N has 9,000 miles on it, which is why it appears dirty.


Comparing the two, you can see that they are quite different. The Streamline is much thicker, with considerably less rubber on the filter media. As a result, the filtration area appears larger.

To run some numbers, these are measurements I took of the filter area. So for the K&N, the area of the filter covered by rubber is not counted (as it shouldn't be).

Streamline: 19.5cm X 14.5cm = 283 square centimeters
K&N: 20.0cm X 13.0cm = 260 square centimeters

Which means that when it comes to two dimensional surface area, the Streamline has 9% more than the K&N.

Now, the Streamline is also much thicker, as you can see from the picture. The pleat depth of the K&N is 2.8cm, and the Streamline is 4.8cm.
So if we start talking in 3 dimensions, we get:

Streamline: 283 X 4.8 = 1,358 cubic square centimeters
K&N 260 X 2.8 = 728 cubic square centimeters

The Streamline has 87% more three-dimensional surface area than the K&N.

Pleat geometry seems pretty similar, but the Streamline's pleats seem a little more rounded, which to my knowledge is a good thing. The filter media itself might be a little thicker, but it's tough to tell with the naked eye.


Here are some close-ups of each unit. Look at the horrendous amount of polyurethane which has bled onto the K&N filter. Very unimpressive. For such a large company with so many resources, I find it disheartening that they choose to allow ~10% of the filter media to be rendered completely useless.


The Streamline:


Notice the difference in height, approximately 1.2inches:


Streamline claims that their testing has proven their unit to have a filtration efficiency of 98.98%. This is compared to 98.21% with the stock BMW filter. I do not have exact numbers for the K&N, but things I have read in the past usually put them just slightly above the industry standard of 97%. If Streamline's numbers are legitimate, their filter does a better job of protecting the engine than even the OEM filter.
For a new OEM filter, they claim it had 5” of restriction while flowing at 375CFM. The Streamline: 1.1” of restriction.

Fitment in the air box is excellent... the large seal makes for a very snug fit, much better than both the K&N and stock filters.

ITG: I don't have a pretty picture, but I ran one in my car for around 8,000 miles. The filter does seem to be of good quality and design, and my only real gripe is that their filtration oil more closely resembles maple syrup than it does oil. It is quite viscous and sticky, which likely impedes airflow. Also, the fact that the filter is not pleated reduces its surface area, something I am unsure about. I can't comment on its flow or filtration abilities as there is no data on it. Streamline has offered to test one if someone wants to send them a filter.

Gas Mileage: Streamline vs. Stock
Well, after using the Streamline for a week and 300 miles, it is hard to draw any solid conclusions. With the recent arrival of warm weather, I have been using my A/C considerably more, yet I have experienced above average fuel economy. Usually to be in the 19s was uncommon for me, even in cold weather. But prior to resetting my ECU the other day I was averaging 19.6, abnormally high. Just by a hair, maybe .5 to 1mpg more than I would expect to see. Like I said, the difference is small, and it's hard to say for sure.
With that said, Streamline recommends resetting the ECU upon filter installation, so that the computer can adjust to the increased airflow. I waited a week to try this, and my above results are from prior to the reset. I then reset the ECU, and now after 2 days was averaging 20.5 (keep in mind, my driving route and conditions never really change). So, maybe I will notice a more marked improvement after the reset. It’s still too early to say. I'll let you know for sure in a week.

Conclusion
Overall, the design and quality of the Streamline unit is impressive. K&N certainly pales in comparison, as does the stock filter. For those looking to let their engine breathe a little better without the hassles of a CAI, this is certainly an attractive alternative. The only drawback is the price; at $69 it is quite expensive. Is the quality worth it to me personally? Absolutely, but that is for you to decide.
 

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KevinJ_2k1_325ci said:
If anyone is claiming that you just pull the battery cable, they are wrong. The e36's worked this way but not anymore for the e46. You have to hook up a BMW computer to reset the ECU.

We learned this from a master mechanic here on e46fanatics like last year who researched this for us to bust the myth.

So how are you resetting the ecu per streamline?
Kevin,

Thanks for the reply.

I hate to tell you this, but the E46 will reset as well. I double checked this fact while doing software upgrades for our products with a very well known tuner.

You disconnect the negative battery cable for a minimun of 60 seconds and this allows the ECU to reset. Once reset, the ECU begins adjusting from it's base maps all over again.

You can double check this by using the BMW scanner on the OBDII port. You may also be confused with resetting trouble codes versus resetting the base maps of the ECU. Not all trouble codes can be removed by resetting the ECU and you would need a BMW scanner to do that.

Where is this thread that you are talking about, I'd like to review it.

Enjoy!

Red
 

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these filters do look good... considerin one myself... is it necessary to reset your ECU after you install the filter? or can you put it in and jus start driving?
 

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m330 said:
these filters do look good... considerin one myself... is it necessary to reset your ECU after you install the filter? or can you put it in and jus start driving?
You can put it in and start driving. By resetting the ECU, it actually allows your ECU to tune around the modification "faster". You can still just drop it in and drive, but it might take a few days of driving before you really start to feel the benefit, although most report feeling better throttle response and power right away.

:thumbup:

Enjoy!

Red
 

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SE4Life said:
You can put it in and start driving. By resetting the ECU, it actually allows your ECU to tune around the modification "faster". You can still just drop it in and drive, but it might take a few days of driving before you really start to feel the benefit, although most report feeling better throttle response and power right away.

:thumbup:

Enjoy!

Red
I like the look of this new filter. It's construction looks solid.
Of course, it pretty much is/looks like a K&N, just appears to be made better which is a good thing. I'd like to order one.

I'll have to disagree with the computer reset necessity. This "reset" has been promoted for some years. It's been a recommended procedure when people do "modifications" and has even come to be regarded as a necessity for when people simply do maintenance. People have been ranting on the wonders of "resetting" their computers and gaining wonderous performance increases.

I'm sure this comes from the idea that modern ECU/ECM's "adapt" and can change and control various operations within the engine.
When a computer flags a problem and the "check engine" light comes on, ome techs would "clear" or "reset" the ECU/ECM and then all would be better. Of course if it's an intermittent problem then it can come back and be flagged again. But, many times it allowed the owner to drive a while before the problem came back. I'm sure that had something to do with prompting this "reset" thing.

There is no good reason why the engine shouldn't or won't run better with a better flowing or new or freshly cleaned air filter as soon as you install it.
And, the ECU/ECM will adapt to whatever changes happen with the new filter in place on a continuous basis.
Why would it take days? As you mention, people notice a change right away.
Whether that change is due to better air flow or simply changing an old, clogged filter with a new one is a different issue.

Modern engines are not only adaptive to the drivers they are adaptive to the environment and the subsequent running conditions. That is the great thing about modern engine control and it's ability to allow an engine to produce better power bands while still achieving better efficiency than 20 years ago.
The computer doesn't need days to adjust fuel to an increase in air flow. If that were the case then the computer wouldn't properly adjust a/f mixture on a day where the ambient air temp is 20 degrees when the day before it may have been 75 and humid and the day after it is 85 and humid.

Todays auto computers do many many instantaneous calculations in order to keep the engine running at it's best given the current environment it's running it, along with the demand placed on it in accordance with how the driver is driving. That's pretty darn amazing. And, it does this on a CONTINUOUS basis. "Resetting" the ECU/ECM for no good reason is placebo.

Many many people wait too long to change maintenance items such as air filters or spark plugs. They wait so long that they haven't noticed the performance decrease over time. Then they install a new filter or new spark plugs and all of a sudden notice how much better the car is running.
:) Well....uh, yeah, it SHOULD be, when you actually do the maintenance.

I base this on experience over the years with modding and tuning and maintaining my cars and motorcycles.

TT
 

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Shred Sled said:
Just installed my Streamline air filter this evening. The install was simple and the fit was nice and snug. Drove the car about 30 miles and shifting between gears (automatic) seems smoother. Not sure on increased gas milage, but every little bit would help with the cost of oil/gas going up.

Anyone know if you need a diagnostic tool to reset the ECU?

-Mike
Are we confusing ECU with the mileage counter on the onboard computer display???? I think he was referring to the mileage display on the dash.
 
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