||The Idea, the
Dream, the Build-Up Philosophy...
E36 M3/4 KO Supercharged Stage III kit and Philosophy
Midwest Sales Manager
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
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
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
The result is a very fast car propelled from an already
great system to a place Dinan has never gone with their
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
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