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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > Track prep questions from brand new '13 335is owner and HPDE enthusiast



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      01-17-2013, 02:01 PM   #1
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Track prep questions from brand new '13 335is owner and HPDE enthusiast

Hi Everyone,
First off, it's good to be here. I just acquired my very first BMW, which happens to be a '13 335is. I've had all sorts of rides in my driving career, but have mostly been a Nissan guy (most notably a '78 280z, '95 300ZXtt, and recently a '10 G37s).

Here are a couple obligatory, albeit crappy cell phone pics:








This thread is intended to be about prepping the car for the track, which I intend to do in stages. The first stage is what I consider to be the bare minimum for steady-state trackability... which basically means thermal management.

I know the N54 is a hot mama, even with the 'is upgraded cooling capacity. So I want to address that with an oil cooler option (and maybe radiator, if recommended) that will future proof me against power adders, which I'm not doing right away. I put a 34-row Setrab on my G37 with a Mocal thermostatic plate adapter and it allowed me to romp until the gas gauge read 'E' without worry. What do I need for the N54 to accomplish the same, without completely breaking the bank?

Second, and I know this isn't exactly the right section, is brakes. I'm assuming the calipers are "good enough" thermally and that quality two-piece rotors with track-specific pads, and hi-temp racing fluid should probably be enough to survive, right? I'm leaning towards Racingbrake two-piece jobbies which I ran and ran well on my G. Nice thing there is I can upgrade to their racing calipers at a later date as a staged upgrade.

That said, I have a question about the pedal feel. Even when stock, the Akebono setup on my G was much firmer in the pedal and had far better initial bite than the BMW. I plan on doing the usual SS lines, but I'm not convinced that will cure the excessive amount of mush I feel in the pedal. Is this normal? Do you think I have a lot of air in the system? I will get around to bleeding the brake system with RBF600, but I'm curious about what to expect. Better pads with lower compressibility should also help, but again, I'm not convinced it will be enough to get where I want.

Advice and ideas are appreciated! Nice to meet you all.

-Ash
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      01-17-2013, 02:55 PM   #2
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Evolution Racewerks makes a great oil cooler that replaces the OEM one. They have 2 versions, sport and competition, depending on how hard core you want to go.
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      01-17-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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You have already mentioned some of the things that I'm going to list, but these are some mods that I would recommend for regular tracking and longevity.

1. Oil cooler
2. Inter-cooler and upgraded piping
3. Charge pipe
4. Brakes

5. Wheels
6. Tires
7. LSD

There's no radiator upgrade that's currently available on the market. The only work in progress that I know of right now is that ER is developing a radiator upgrade.

However, you have a 335IS, meaning you already have an auxiliary radiator upgrade.

Which brings me to the next point, due to the auxiliary radiator, you would only be able to install the single oil cooler upgrade from the ER sports edition oil cooler unless you mount the second oil cooler in front of the radiator or remove the auxiliary radiator.

ER also has a complete set for FMIC and charge pipe with upgraded piping which keeps your IAT down and improves your throttle response.

Some people would recommend upgrading the intake, but I think the stock air-box works fairly well already.

These are just some of my initial thoughts, but honestly I would just start with the oil cooler upgrade and FMIC if you're on a tight budget.

Last edited by jyeah; 01-17-2013 at 03:36 PM.
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      01-17-2013, 03:50 PM   #4
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LSD, oil-cooler, FMIC +DPs would be my suggestion. Tires as well, obviously, but that can wait until you finish your current set.

First off, id choose a FMIC/oil-cooler.
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      01-17-2013, 04:49 PM   #5
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You guys rock.

Let me know if you think this is flawed thinking: I was leaning towards doing LSD after the first round of work (and a track day) to assess how bad the traction limitation is. I do intend to run Michelin Pilot Super Sports instead of the crap mine came with (BridgeSLOW). I have had great results from PSS's on my G for both DD and track duty.

As for the other stuff:
1) I'll go look up with the charge pipe addresses as I'm assuming it's a vehicle-specific issue
2) Does the factory 'is FMIC heat soak quickly, or is this more of an advanced requirement?
3) Did you mention upgraded piping due to structural weakness?
4) What do you think about my brake plans- good enough, or do I need to throw in some ducting? Do I need a BBK? Finally, are the rear brakes not thermally-limited to the point of needing additional cooling or a BBK?

Will look into the oil cooler option from ER then. I will want the largest damn cooler I can find. I wonder if my 34-row setrab could be used... will look into that too. Better to have more than less, I say.

Finally, I will look into whether the ER setup uses a thermostatic solution or always-on. If anyone has comments about those two approaches on these cars, I'm all ears!

Again, thanks.
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      01-17-2013, 04:54 PM   #6
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I should add that I have no intention of upping the boost of my ride until all the motor becomes the slowest aspect of the car on the track. I doubt that will happen for a while. I'm more into getting the brakes and traction up to par as I would think those are the limiting factors of this car.

That said, do I need upgraded FMIC, charge pipe, or down pipes right away?


Also, referring to my question about my brakes- is it normal for them to feel pretty spongy compared to other cars, or do I likely have some air in my lines?

Last edited by ashmostro; 01-17-2013 at 05:02 PM.
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      01-17-2013, 05:03 PM   #7
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Upgrading the intercooler will be an all around good upgrade, no matter if you are adding boost or not. The stock intercooler is not well suited for running the car hard for longer periods of time given the small size. Your car will thank you for going with a larger intercooler.

The downpipes are certainly something you can pick to do or not, they will allow the turbos to spool more freely, as well as having less back pressure is good for the longevity of them. At stock boost levels, you may not need to ever do it, but if you are planning on getting a tune down the road, you may want to start the look for something you like.

Charge pipe really isn't something you need to worry about unless you start to have issues with it popping off, or want to run methanol.
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      01-17-2013, 05:05 PM   #8
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A few quick things, its a given that an LSD is a basic requirement on this car for track day events & the stock FMIC heat soaks very quickly. The suspension is softly mounted so you also need to really look at M3 subframe bushings etc.

One additional I would block the gas pedal so the trans does not kick down @ WOT. Its pretty clumsy the way it goes about this.

Tires, brakes, LSD/M3 bushings, FMIC in the first go. If you hit heat related limp mode more cooling/better oil cooler etc.

As per above if you are not going to tune it skip the downpipes. I am running 375whp (DynoJet) without them & can easily push up into the low 400's with an E85 mix. The car is new & under full warrantee & will have issues with the dealer if they see the DP's & depending on the state the emissions inspection can be a problem.
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      01-17-2013, 05:06 PM   #9
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Thought so, and makes sense. To me the mods that add power or decrease lag are great, but given $$ limitations are in the nice to have category right now. I just want to get her reliable first, then I'll make her f a s t e r (although brakes, tires and LSD will make me faster!)
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      01-17-2013, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEAR-AvHistory View Post
A few quick things, its a given that an LSD is a basic requirement on this car for track day events & the stock FMIC heat soaks very quickly. The suspension is softly mounted so you also need to really look at M3 subframe bushings etc.

One additional I would block the gas pedal so the trans does not kick down @ WOT. Its pretty clumsy the way it goes about this.

Tires, brakes, LSD/M3 bushings, FMIC in the first go. If you hit heat related limp mode more cooling/better oil cooler etc.
Interesting... oil cooler after LSD? I thought the oil cooler was in the "must do" category in that just a couple laps will send the oil to acidic temps?
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      01-17-2013, 05:17 PM   #11
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Depends on location & its winter now. The IS has additional water cooling radiator, faster pump & IIRC bigger fan etc, then the stock 335i so it would depend on the weather. Without an LSD you would will spend a lot of time recovering from wheel slip as on/off/on the power does not make this car a happy camper without a tune to control lag.

Don't know what you experience with the car is but if you are under 1200 miles the car will change a lot with the full boost is made available by the ECU.
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      01-17-2013, 05:19 PM   #12
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That makes sense. Ok sold on that idea.

I'm in DC metro so while it's cold now, it's hot and humid as all get out come summer. I probably will need the cooling but maybe not yet in the Spring- first session. Agree?

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      01-17-2013, 05:24 PM   #13
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Agree you will need to upgrade the oil cooler for summer runs at VIR. Also the tires are a big deal as you will light them up even on the street by just breathing hard.

I don't track this car, did not want to get into the mods required, do drag race at Rockingham/Fayetteville a bit, so I don't run the PSS's but have Conti DW's.

That being said, don't know what size wheels you are running, but you can go oversized on 19" to 245/35 in the front & 265/30 in back on stock wheels with no rubbing. This is what I have & one of the guys IIRC said he has 275/30 Nittos in back.

Pic is with the bigger tires
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      01-17-2013, 05:29 PM   #14
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I'll probably start out at Summit Point then maybe VIR later when I get more experience under my belt, but same same as far as heat.

Looking into Wavetracs- looks like late model DCTs have bolted diffs which is nice. If I buy the complete assembly from ER for $1300, is that a complete pumpkin that I just swap out, or do I have to crack the pumpkin?

If it's just a swap, I don't have to worry about shimming and all that, right? Because if not, I'm an experienced enough wrench to do it in my garage.
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      01-17-2013, 05:41 PM   #15
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Love your car. Nice choice.

I tracked my n54 335 with success until I upgraded to an M3. I did it with a very simple set of mods:

1) Driver training

2) Coils, alignment

3) Tires (I used 19" Mich PSS since it was my daily driver)

4) race pads + fluid

5) tune + 50/50 water/meth system (water/meth keeps IATs AND oil temps down) + catless downpipes. I never had to come in early from a track session because of heat soak. Plus, my car would start pulling on cars in the 500 to 650 HP range in the mid to late session as they are pulling timing from very high IATs and I am not due to the water/meth. I used the Procede adjustibility to create a linear boost curve that mimicked the power delivery of a N/A motor.

6) Wavetrack LSD

Good luck.
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      01-17-2013, 05:46 PM   #16
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Very interesting approach that I'll look into as well. Though I don't want to run catless DPs for pesky VA emissions regs.

What race pads did you run? I'm considering many options, including Carbotechs but those are not friendly with racingbrake rotors so would have either run another rotor brand, or stick with OEM. Other pad options are Project Mu, Hawk, and Racingbrake's own XT compound.
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      01-17-2013, 05:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BEAR-AvHistory View Post
That being said, don't know what size wheels you are running, but you can go oversized on 19" to 245/35 in the front & 265/30 in back on stock wheels with no rubbing. This is what I have & one of the guys IIRC said he has 275/30 Nittos in back.

Pic is with the bigger tires
GREAT to know, because I don't plan to lower the car- might just get Bilstein 10-ways on stock springs. Unless I magically become godly enough to benefit from corner weighting!

I will be getting PSS's and probably in the sizes you mentioned. That setup would help combat understeer too. I have the factory 19's like you (I think).
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      01-17-2013, 06:07 PM   #18
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Yes mine are 19" 313's
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      01-17-2013, 06:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashmostro View Post

Looking into Wavetracs- looks like late model DCTs have bolted diffs which is nice.
Source?

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      01-17-2013, 08:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longboarder View Post
Love your car. Nice choice.

I tracked my n54 335 with success until I upgraded to an M3. I did it with a very simple set of mods:

1) Driver training

2) Coils, alignment

3) Tires (I used 19" Mich PSS since it was my daily driver)

4) race pads + fluid

5) tune + 50/50 water/meth system (water/meth keeps IATs AND oil temps down) + catless downpipes. I never had to come in early from a track session because of heat soak. Plus, my car would start pulling on cars in the 500 to 650 HP range in the mid to late session as they are pulling timing from very high IATs and I am not due to the water/meth. I used the Procede adjustibility to create a linear boost curve that mimicked the power delivery of a N/A motor.

6) Wavetrack LSD

Good luck.

I think this ^ would be the ideal setup seeing as you really need to focus on keeping you IAT's and oil temps down. Methanol injection is very safe and basically rocks for power AND cooling. If you are tracking the car I think that Methanol Injection should be in your top things to do... And make sure you do a proper rear trunk mount setup not the bull crap Windshield Wiper kit due to potential spilling or even Methanol vapors that can catch fire Def rear trunk mount is way to go!
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      01-17-2013, 08:09 PM   #21
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Ah, crap. I was going off of the ER site and assumed the DCT is considered an automatic.

So what does that mean in terms of buying a complete replacement diff assembly? Do I need the conversion kit too?
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      01-17-2013, 08:13 PM   #22
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Not that it's the only concern, but which option has the lower initial cash outlay? (Meth vs enhanced external cooling)
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