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The HOT Spot - KO Cars - KO Boosted BMW Supercharger M3 Car Philosophy
  The Idea, the Dream, the Build-Up Philosophy...

M3 Dreams become bmw supercharger reality

E36 M3/4 KO Supercharged Stage III kit and Philosophy

Owned and Driven by:

Jim Nolden
Midwest Sales Manager
KO Performance
BMW CCA Member and
Group 3 Advanced Driver
You can contact Jim directly at:
or call our Midwest Sales Office

My M3 started life as a M3 4 door that I bought with 12k miles on it when it was 2 years old. Soon after I bought it I started tuning and modifying the car. The very first mods were a Dinan chip and cold air intake. Of course, within a year, I was taking the car to the track and began my journey toward realizing the full potential of this car.

After my first couple of track experiences, I determined that modifying the suspension was the next logical step for my BMW, after the software upgrade (chip) and cold air intake. It wasn't too long after that, I figured out I wouldn't be satisfied until the real potential with this car was unleashed with forced induction.

Supercharger it is! At that time, in the BMW performance parts scene, there wasn't a whole lot going on in advanced tuning for BMW's with superchargers, beyond a few people who were tinkering with Dinan set ups. The most common upgrade was to increase the boost and add some sort of cooling system to the car. The problem was that nobody was marketing a kit to safely increase the boost of the car and at the same time keep the drivability of the system.

So, I started down the path of seeking out a solution to safely increasing the boost level on stock Dinan supercharged cars and also make the system more efficient. There were several challenges along the way that led me down the path that I chose to go with this kit, and this car. My demands for the car included that first and foremost it had to remain reliable and drivable. It also had to be able to perform on the track. The other major concern that I had was that the car had to be able to make consistent power that wouldn't dissipate with the car becoming heat soaked.

So the task began. The first thing that was apparent to me was that Dinan wasn't using any cooling on the car at all! With all supercharged cars heat is the largest enemy. As a supercharged car is run and reaches a "heat soaked" condition the car pulls back timing to avoid detonation. The car is simply protecting itself from a serious knock condition and detonation that can lead to engine failure. To address this problem I added the already proven water/alcohol injection system. The reason I went this route was due to some of the limitations of the Vortech blower system. At the time there was really only one other source of cooling and that was the RMS aftercooler/heat exchanger. While this is a decent system it is also very cost and labor prohibitive. For street driving the water/alcohol system seemed just as reliable at lowering temps and much less expensive to purchase and install.

Now that the system had cooling it was safe to increase boost since we were cooling the charge from the blower. At this point I increased boost to 9.5 lbs. While many BMW tuners have gone all the way to 11 or 12 pounds of boost, my goal was again to build something reliable for the street that would provide more power without pushing the threshold of the engines components. At this boost level (9.5 lbs.) the car produced 304 whp and was very reliable at several track events. For this level of performance, the stock Dinan software was providing excellent flexibility and compensating for the added boost. AFR's (Air Fuel Ratios) looked fantastic and the car was very fast.

With the car already running very well power-wise, it was now time to engage some other areas of the car that were weak points in the system. Since the Vortech blower is cooled with engine oil it is also contributing to high oil temps. I was seeing the stock 250 degree oil return hose from the Dinan supercharger leaking after track events. This was a warning to me that I needed to address oil temps. A solid oil temperature solution was needed, so I added the Victory Product Design oil cooler kit. With this addition alone I saw oil temps drop by some 40 degrees and was able to also increase oil capacity to 9 quarts. The increased cooling capabilities of the oil cooler heat sink and increased volume of oil, also helps the engine shed additional heat and helps with heat soak conditions. To me this was a no-brainer in any supercharged car as the oil is the lifeblood of the system.

Air flow was the next component that we looked at to increase the efficiency of the motor. There were several areas in the stock system that were prime targets for upgrading to increase air flow and help with efficiencies in the system. The first area was the intake manifold itself. The stock OBD II manifold on M3s is very restrictive in order to produce more low end torque at the expense of horsepower on the upper end. Looking at an OBD I manifold from a 95 M3 it is obvious that this would be a huge improvement in air flow. So the stock manifold was switched out to an OBD I manifold and a conversion kit from Eurosport. The transition was seamless and this change made a huge difference in the power we were now seeing out of the car. The after-dyno with this change took the car to 340 whp, which is quite an improvement over the 306 whp we were previously making with the same boost.

This change unfortunately caused another set of problems. Now the car was beyond the capabilities of the stock Dinan software. The car was simply running out of fuel on the top end and the fuel injectors were maxed out. There was also still a bottleneck in the system with the undersized 3" HFM. So the next logical step was larger injectors and a larger 3.5" Euro HFM. At this point we also decided that it was a logical step to also add the Schrick performance cam shafts since we would be creating a custom set up.

While the stock cams are very good the Schricks were a proven winner producing more midrange torque, more high end hp and better air flow. The results were incredible.

The original system from Dinan made 280 whp on my car and we now have added another 100 plus whp with this kit. The great thing is we took a system that was already good and just improved it, reaching all the goals of the kit without any sacrifices. The car has fulfilled all of the original goals.

It is drivable, reliable, and track worthy, while keeping the power consistent. Through the additions of increased flow we have not had to bump the boost up to 11 or 12 pounds like others have done to make similar power. We have also addressed the major issue with superchargers even better than we originally expected… heat soak. The result is a very fast car propelled from an already great system to a place Dinan has never gone with their kit.

The car is now stronger than it has ever been. It now has the injectors and software that can handle the extra power the car is making. This step now has taken the car to the next level and we are awaiting the dyno numbers from an upcoming run, to see just how much more power the car is now making now that we've tuned the system on a second and final software iteration. The first dyno runs, after the last set of upgrades but before the final software upgrade, generated close to 385 whp or 450 crank hp. At 3,200 lbs this puts the M3 in supercar status for HP and one that should be able to contend with the greatest cars in the world. All of this in a complete package that can reliably be installed in any Vortech supercharged M3.
Bimmer Magazine May 2006 Featured Article "Hammer of the Gods" unveils KO's E36 M3 Stage III Supercharger Boost Kit!
Bimmer May 2006 Feature "Hammer of the Gods" -
KO's E36 M3 Stage III
Supercharger Kit unveiled to the
public at 400 RWHP! more info...

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