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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 > Tuner wars II: battle of the flashes



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      08-14-2009, 11:11 PM   #1
stressdoc
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Tuner wars II: battle of the flashes

So we are now fortunate to have several choices of aftermarket performance flash tunes in the USA/NA market. I am a flash newb, never had one, don't know much about them, and don't have any training in that aspect of engineering. So we are counting on those of you with much more knowledge to carry this discussion along. Here are the basics as I see it:

BMW Performance: OEM. Warranty, dealer network, etc. High cost but includes extensive cooling hardware. About $1500-2000 ($1795 MSRP for MSD81). +25-35 hp

Dinan: long and storied reputation, huge initial advantage with BMW dealer network. Three stages, but require expensive Dinan parts. High cost (MSRP $1500-2500), but includes Dinan/BMW warranty. Future not as clear as it once was. +40-80 hp

ESS: High tech Euro firm breaking into USA market. Four stages. About $600-800 (MSRP 895-1095). Limited dealer network. +40-90 hp

GIAC: High tech NA firm. Two+ stages. About $800. Extensive dealer network. +40-80 hp

LET: Small scale midwest firm. About $400-500. Limited dealer network. +40-50 hp.

No doubt I have forgotten a few others. Please help me to include them. I am curious to see how the market pans out. Dinan appears to be fading in the flash area. BMW is not competing in the high performance niche. It seems to boil down to ESS & GIAC and the Piggys. ESS has tremendous tech resources from its Euro operations. GIAC has a fairly extensive dealer network and lots of experience in the USA market.
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      08-15-2009, 09:19 AM   #2
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How about:
dmetune.com (Jim Conforti) - I wish their network was bigger or they had a map switcher.

Turner Motorsports: http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html...CT_ID=TN54-ST1

GIAC and DME Tune have a nice flat torque curve.. errr, aaa, line. That's some control.
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      08-15-2009, 01:03 PM   #3
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      08-15-2009, 01:52 PM   #4
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I think the BMW Performance upgrade would be a great thing to get if it were included in a New Car and you bundle that in financing...But adding it after the fact, unless you are track junkie, is probably not worth it to most people.

Then you can add a Flash on top of the added cooling components
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      08-15-2009, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stressdoc View Post
BMW Performance: OEM. Warranty, dealer network, etc. High cost but includes extensive cooling hardware. About $1500-2000 ($1795 MSRP for MSD81). +25-35 hp

ESS: High tech Euro firm breaking into USA market. Four stages. About $600-800 (MSRP 895-1095). Limited dealer network. +40-90 hp
Just two minor corrections, if you don't mind:
- BMW Performance flash only gives you +20hp (crank, not whp)
- ESS is 749$ for all stages (at least for members of this forum)

I could add quite a number of flashes from the European market where they are more popular, but as I don't think they're widely available in the US I'll pass on that for now.

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      08-15-2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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I reckon if Jim Conforti wanted to apply himself he would clean up the market. I reckon the rest of the guys are buying information from here or there or have limited knowledge and are reselling the same file and this includes Dinan.
In the case of South Africa the same file is being sold by six vendors as their own, this is the all too common file that has received that tag of being called the Alpina file which has a max boost of 14.5psi.
There are plenty of companies entering the market now. Have they been developing for the past 2.5 years? or have they just decided now is the time to milk the enthusiasts of there cash. If I was a consumer in the states I would go with the piggy back guys like Shiv and Terry. At least they have been supporting from the start and you can see that effort has been put into their product. As for the copy and paste artists they will gain my respect when they can replicate the results of the vehicles with piggy backs both on the dyno and the track.
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      08-15-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeSmooth View Post
I reckon if Jim Conforti wanted to apply himself he would clean up the market. I reckon the rest of the guys are buying information from here or there or have limited knowledge and are reselling the same file and this includes Dinan.
In the case of South Africa the same file is being sold by six vendors as their own, this is the all too common file that has received that tag of being called the Alpina file which has a max boost of 14.5psi.
There are plenty of companies entering the market now. Have they been developing for the past 2.5 years? or have they just decided now is the time to milk the enthusiasts of there cash. If I was a consumer in the states I would go with the piggy back guys like Shiv and Terry. At least they have been supporting from the start and you can see that effort has been put into their product. As for the copy and paste artists they will gain my respect when they can replicate the results of the vehicles with piggy backs both on the dyno and the track.
+1, I'd personally hold off on the flashes until I saw more results. The piggy's were put thru their paces for several years and are pretty damned good right now.

Can't wait to see some flash results from the drag strips across the US this fall.

custom tuning is where its at anyway, is anyone offering that yet here in the US? I'm getting my s52 custom flash tuned soon w/ new turbo and meth........
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      08-15-2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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Powerchip coming soon
hope so..been waiting to see an rpi/pc flash
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      08-15-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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im in my Lease for another year and a half. i have a JB3 im very happy with. There would have to be something totally above and beyond and extraordinary that any of these flashes do to make me switch.
And before anyone starts to get their panties in a ruffle. Im not a BMW nor a JB3 fanboy. Because after my lease is up im gonna look into the turbo m3 comin out and the b8 audi s4.
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      08-15-2009, 09:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeSmooth View Post
I reckon if Jim Conforti wanted to apply himself he would clean up the market. I reckon the rest of the guys are buying information from here or there or have limited knowledge and are reselling the same file and this includes Dinan.
In the case of South Africa the same file is being sold by six vendors as their own, this is the all too common file that has received that tag of being called the Alpina file which has a max boost of 14.5psi.
There are plenty of companies entering the market now. Have they been developing for the past 2.5 years? or have they just decided now is the time to milk the enthusiasts of there cash. If I was a consumer in the states I would go with the piggy back guys like Shiv and Terry. At least they have been supporting from the start and you can see that effort has been put into their product. As for the copy and paste artists they will gain my respect when they can replicate the results of the vehicles with piggy backs both on the dyno and the track.
I think I disagree with pretty much everything you said.
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