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      03-30-2010, 03:04 PM   #1
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Exclamation Grassroots Motorsports Project 335i (Complete Project Compilation)

Grassroots Motorsports recently concluded their 335i project in the latest issue (May 2010). The objective of this project was to take a 2008 E92 335i and make it as fast as an M3 around the track for less than half the difference in price ($15,000 at the time of the initial article).

The articles were scanned and converted to PDF. The files were too large to attach directly to the thread, so please access the articles via Google Docs by clicking on the hyperlinks below (download for best quality).


Part 1: Project Introduction and Baseline Comparison (December 2008)

Part 2: Testing Exhaust Systems (May 2009)

Part 3: Intake and Computer Module Testing (October 2009)

Part 4: Suspension Tweaks, Shootout, and Wrap-Up (May 2010)
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      05-10-2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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great build and well written. It proves that exhaust really comes down to what sound you like, There is no real difference in performance. I like the UUC for 999 and it sounds like the sound it gives would be the one I would prefer.
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      05-10-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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very interesting article, I give those guys props for being able to do it within budget. i'd still rather have the m3 though
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      05-10-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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M3 has a colorful badge and looks that people who buy cars such as ours can't keep away from.
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      05-10-2010, 02:14 PM   #5
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They did not address the major problem with tracking a 335i, heat soak and limp mode problems. Anyone who has tracked a 335i, knows how annoying it can be. Upgraded or an additional oil cooler is a must. One thing the M3 can do, is go all day ripping around the track.

Quote:
"335i has good low-end torque and pulls out of the corners nicely, but it is still not quite ready for track time. Limp mode is lurking and ready to jump out at anytime - sometimes with very few laps completed."


I still would like the interior amenities of the M3. Also the EDC for everyday driving, drive to and from the track in comfort mode. But I am getting older. The intoxicating sound of the V8 and aggressive styling, doesn't hurt either. There are 08 M3's out there for mid to low $40k range. On the other hand like the article said, there are 335i's out there in the $20k range.
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      05-10-2010, 02:35 PM   #6
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for the article, I would of preferred a reflash(vishnu and dinan) over the piggybacks
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      05-10-2010, 02:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3_WC View Post
They did not address the major problem with tracking a 335i, heat soak and limp mode problems. Anyone who has tracked a 335i, knows how annoying it can be. Upgraded or an additional oil cooler is a must. One thing the M3 can do, is go all day ripping around the track.

Quote:
"335i has good low-end torque and pulls out of the corners nicely, but it is still not quite ready for track time. Limp mode is lurking and ready to jump out at anytime - sometimes with very few laps completed."
Agreed. On the track, a 335i without upgraded cooling is usually sitting out laps.
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      05-10-2010, 02:52 PM   #8
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Can't wait to read this when I get home! Very cool.
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      05-10-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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Poor choices of mods IMO. They should have consulted with these boards!

Spend:
$2000 on a Proceed, IC and DP's.
$1500 on a LSD
$2000 coilovers and M3 suspension bits
$2000 on cheaper wheels and tires

You will end up with a MUCH faster car then what they cobbled together.
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      05-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_DML View Post
for the article, I would of preferred a reflash(vishnu and dinan) over the piggybacks
I agree, I would have preferred a publicized comparison of the relfash options as well.
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      05-10-2010, 06:56 PM   #11
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Cool!
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      05-10-2010, 07:59 PM   #12
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This is a great post and a great read, even though the modifications are not oriented towards solving the heat dissipation problem in the 335i. Thanks, DCTepper.
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      05-10-2010, 09:01 PM   #13
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Links- Fail Exceed bandwidth.
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      05-10-2010, 09:22 PM   #14
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Links- Fail Exceed bandwidth.
ditto
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      05-11-2010, 05:05 AM   #15
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It's well written, and I found in particular the exhaust section with a testing of all the different systems quite interesting.

However, as an upgrade to M3-like performance it is an utter failure. And I say that knowing the budget restraints they put upon themselves, obviously.

First, they concentrated on two upgrades (exhaust, intake) that are proven to give the least gain in power from all available upgrades. Granted, the sound is nice, but between 10 and 13 hp more is negligible. Anyone who's done some testing on the N54 knows the most gains come from the primary catalysts in the factory downpipes, if we're talking optimizing the exhaust system.

Secondly, they test two piggybacks but omit the two that are (even outside these forums) by far the most popular, JuiceBox and ProCede. Also, they completely ignore flashes like Dinan, GIAC or ESS. A JB3 2.0 would have been just as inexpensive and gotten substantially more power gains than witnessed here.

Thirdly, and as already mentioned by others, the biggest problem of tracking a 335i is its lack of thermal resistance. You absolutely NEED an upgraded intercooler and an additional (or upgraded) oil cooler, otherwise you'll be in limp-mode-land after some laps. They even admitted that in the last part themselves...

Fourthly, nothing is said about the brakes. Now, the 335i stock brakes aren't bad, but anyone who's ever driven on a circuit knows they are prone to fading and don't have linear braking power. The M3 has far better brakes - to at least partially counter this you would need to think about different brake pads, at least. Not even mentioning that clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

Lastly, the biggest advantage of the M3 and that would always give it an edge over a stock 335i (which is why I don't really believe their lap times) is (i) the presence of a limited slip differential and (ii) the better suspension. Anyone who's tried to drive a tuned 335i with its massive torque on a circuit can attest that you NEED an LSD to drive it properly. Also, having driven both cars, even with some sway bars on it the M3 still has by far the better suspension. Countering that is possible, but needs much more refinement and research. Not even mentioning those options clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

In the end, the choices made in this article were quite poor, IMO. If you really want more power and also go faster on a track while mostly retaining stock-like driving comfort and the ability to retrofit the stock parts, leave in the exhaust and factory intake, get much cheaper rims/tires and you have the budget for an LSD and some other upgrades; catless downpipes and a JB3 will yield substantially more power than tested here, and if you really want to take on the M3, you need an additional oil cooler, intercooler and additional suspension components. There would still be a hefty margin to the M3, and the modifications would be much more realistic. Also, taking all those mods out would not be more time-consuming than changing the exhaust and sway bars which they already did.

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      05-11-2010, 07:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montoya View Post
Links- Fail Exceed bandwidth.
I apologize to those who are having bandwidth problems, the files are too large to attach directly to the thread. If anyone else has a solution, please let me know!
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      05-12-2010, 12:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpina_B3_Lux View Post
It's well written, and I found in particular the exhaust section with a testing of all the different systems quite interesting.

However, as an upgrade to M3-like performance it is an utter failure. And I say that knowing the budget restraints they put upon themselves, obviously.

First, they concentrated on two upgrades (exhaust, intake) that are proven to give the least gain in power from all available upgrades. Granted, the sound is nice, but between 10 and 13 hp more is negligible. Anyone who's done some testing on the N54 knows the most gains come from the primary catalysts in the factory downpipes, if we're talking optimizing the exhaust system.

Secondly, they test two piggybacks but omit the two that are (even outside these forums) by far the most popular, JuiceBox and ProCede. Also, they completely ignore flashes like Dinan, GIAC or ESS. A JB3 2.0 would have been just as inexpensive and gotten substantially more power gains than witnessed here.

Thirdly, and as already mentioned by others, the biggest problem of tracking a 335i is its lack of thermal resistance. You absolutely NEED an upgraded intercooler and an additional (or upgraded) oil cooler, otherwise you'll be in limp-mode-land after some laps. They even admitted that in the last part themselves...

Fourthly, nothing is said about the brakes. Now, the 335i stock brakes aren't bad, but anyone who's ever driven on a circuit knows they are prone to fading and don't have linear braking power. The M3 has far better brakes - to at least partially counter this you would need to think about different brake pads, at least. Not even mentioning that clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

Lastly, the biggest advantage of the M3 and that would always give it an edge over a stock 335i (which is why I don't really believe their lap times) is (i) the presence of a limited slip differential and (ii) the better suspension. Anyone who's tried to drive a tuned 335i with its massive torque on a circuit can attest that you NEED an LSD to drive it properly. Also, having driven both cars, even with some sway bars on it the M3 still has by far the better suspension. Countering that is possible, but needs much more refinement and research. Not even mentioning those options clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

In the end, the choices made in this article were quite poor, IMO. If you really want more power and also go faster on a track while mostly retaining stock-like driving comfort and the ability to retrofit the stock parts, leave in the exhaust and factory intake, get much cheaper rims/tires and you have the budget for an LSD and some other upgrades; catless downpipes and a JB3 will yield substantially more power than tested here, and if you really want to take on the M3, you need an additional oil cooler, intercooler and additional suspension components. There would still be a hefty margin to the M3, and the modifications would be much more realistic. Also, taking all those mods out would not be more time-consuming than changing the exhaust and sway bars which they already did.

Alpina_B3_Lux
I didn't know the Borla system is one of the lightest ones out there. There is nothing wrong with slip joints, flanges can leak from faulty gaskets and is simply not needed in a system for the 335i as it reduces ground and exhaust to floor pan clearance. And there is no one offering a million mile warranty like Borla!


LSD and a FMIC is a must. The stock IC is good for maybe one lap if that, after that you are loosing 20-30 hp due to heat soaking.

It was hard to hear the scanned article, did Koni say the stock dampers were good enough? That is a surprise! During back to back driving with stock vs Koni, the Koni offered much better damping and more control over bumps, not to mention a better than stock ride quality.
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      05-12-2010, 09:36 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpina_B3_Lux View Post
However, as an upgrade to M3-like performance it is an utter failure. And I say that knowing the budget restraints they put upon themselves, obviously.

First, they concentrated on two upgrades (exhaust, intake) that are proven to give the least gain in power from all available upgrades. Granted, the sound is nice, but between 10 and 13 hp more is negligible. Anyone who's done some testing on the N54 knows the most gains come from the primary catalysts in the factory downpipes, if we're talking optimizing the exhaust system.

Secondly, they test two piggybacks but omit the two that are (even outside these forums) by far the most popular, JuiceBox and ProCede. Also, they completely ignore flashes like Dinan, GIAC or ESS. A JB3 2.0 would have been just as inexpensive and gotten substantially more power gains than witnessed here.

Thirdly, and as already mentioned by others, the biggest problem of tracking a 335i is its lack of thermal resistance. You absolutely NEED an upgraded intercooler and an additional (or upgraded) oil cooler, otherwise you'll be in limp-mode-land after some laps. They even admitted that in the last part themselves...

Fourthly, nothing is said about the brakes. Now, the 335i stock brakes aren't bad, but anyone who's ever driven on a circuit knows they are prone to fading and don't have linear braking power. The M3 has far better brakes - to at least partially counter this you would need to think about different brake pads, at least. Not even mentioning that clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

Lastly, the biggest advantage of the M3 and that would always give it an edge over a stock 335i (which is why I don't really believe their lap times) is (i) the presence of a limited slip differential and (ii) the better suspension. Anyone who's tried to drive a tuned 335i with its massive torque on a circuit can attest that you NEED an LSD to drive it properly. Also, having driven both cars, even with some sway bars on it the M3 still has by far the better suspension. Countering that is possible, but needs much more refinement and research. Not even mentioning those options clearly disqualifies the writers IMO.

In the end, the choices made in this article were quite poor, IMO. If you really want more power and also go faster on a track while mostly retaining stock-like driving comfort and the ability to retrofit the stock parts, leave in the exhaust and factory intake, get much cheaper rims/tires and you have the budget for an LSD and some other upgrades; catless downpipes and a JB3 will yield substantially more power than tested here, and if you really want to take on the M3, you need an additional oil cooler, intercooler and additional suspension components. There would still be a hefty margin to the M3, and the modifications would be much more realistic. Also, taking all those mods out would not be more time-consuming than changing the exhaust and sway bars which they already did.

Alpina_B3_Lux
Calling it an utter failure is a bit hard to do considering that they did, in fact, beat the M3 around the track. Achieving what you set out to do is called success in my book.

Having said that, I will agree that the choices that they made for the upgrades were probably not the ones I would have done. I completely agree with doing better work on the exhaust side and using a better reflash like the JB3 for better power. There was way too much money spent on the wheels which should have been spent on the oil cooler and a better intercooler. The same could be said for upgrading the brakes with more aggressive pads, a higher temp fluid and some braided lines.

I will, however, have to disagree about the LSD and suspension. Not necessarily because I don't believe that the M3 has the better setup, because it does, but, because, despite the better suspension and LSD and all that jazz, it lost to the 335i around the track. And that's a fact.

Is an LSD better to have - yes.
Did the 335i's lack of one hamper it on its run around the track - no.

Ultimately, I think that most of us will agree that the upgrade path that GRM took to their 335i is not the one that we would have taken, but, it's hard to deny the fact that they did, in fact, match the M3 around the track when it was all said and done.
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      05-12-2010, 09:50 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I will, however, have to disagree about the LSD and suspension. Not necessarily because I don't believe that the M3 has the better setup, because it does, but, because, despite the better suspension and LSD and all that jazz, it lost to the 335i around the track. And that's a fact.
+1 It's like a one legged man beating a two legged man in a race.
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      05-12-2010, 10:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Function>Form View Post
I will, however, have to disagree about the LSD and suspension. Not necessarily because I don't believe that the M3 has the better setup, because it does, but, because, despite the better suspension and LSD and all that jazz, it lost to the 335i around the track. And that's a fact.

Is an LSD better to have - yes.
Did the 335i's lack of one hamper it on its run around the track - no.
Which is why I do dispute their track times. I have a very hard time believing a 335i with stock suspension and without LSD can beat an M3 which has an LSD and a better suspension setup around a track under identical conditions. Having driven the 335i with and without LSD on a track extensively, I do know what it can and what it cannot do. It's simple physics, after all.

Also, in Germany there have been in-depths tests of the M3 and also the Alpina B3 Biturbo that comes quite close to what Grassroots set up here. Even WITH an LSD, the Alpina cannot keep up with the M3 on the track, in any of those tests; there exist lots of lap times for both cars around several tracks, among them the Nürburgring. The difference was not enormous, but it was there systematically.

I therefore have to disagree with the results by Grassroots.

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      05-12-2010, 10:10 AM   #21
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I too, found it surprising to see the track times for each car. I can say that the Sport suspension on my car is downright soft. Especially compared to the M3. Heck, even the softest setting on the M3 EDC suspension is stiffer than my Sport suspension (this is from hands-on experience, not supposition). It seems hard to believe, but I doubt they'd make stuff up.
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      05-12-2010, 10:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Liquid View Post
I too, found it surprising to see the track times for each car. I can say that the Sport suspension on my car is downright soft. Especially compared to the M3. Heck, even the softest setting on the M3 EDC suspension is stiffer than my Sport suspension (this is from hands-on experience, not supposition). It seems hard to believe, but I doubt they'd make stuff up.
Stiffer does not necessarily mean better. On tracks with a very smooth surface, stiffer suspension can have an advantage; on not-so-ideal tracks their performance will rather suffer as they will lose traction more frequently.

I will not go so far as to say they make stuff up deliberately. It's simply that what they write is contrary to any other test and the laws of physics, let alone subjective experiences by other drivers.

And I say that as a 335i-driver.

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