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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 > First Vishnu/FFTEC FlexFuel 335i xDrive install, review with pictures.



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      09-15-2012, 03:33 AM   #1
Ferruccio
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First Vishnu/FFTEC FlexFuel 335i xDrive install, review with pictures.

This is the second time that I am typing up this post, so forgive my brevity. My laptop crapped out for the first time ever, and I was dumb enough to write the whole thing in notepad without saving. I will also be without my laptop for quite a while, since it is no longer charging, and I need to do this in one battery charge.

This is a review of the Vishnu/FFTEC FlexFuel system for the BMW 335i. As far as I know, this is the first Vishnu FlexFuel installation for a 335i xdrive. This will cover my experience during the installation at FFTEC, and the subsequent drive with the FlexFuel system.

Upon hearing about the FlexFuel system, I immediately knew that that was what I wanted to get. Since I live in the bay area, within a half hour of their shop, I set up an appointment. FFTEC seems to specialize in Lancer Evo tunes, so they had an AWD dyno, which was just what the 335xi needed. I arrived on Tuesday afternoon to have the tune done. Upon arriving, they did a baseline dyno, and recorded roughly 260 horsepower on the Mustang dyno. Afterwards, I was told to fill up with E85 (75% E85 mixture, since I had a quarter tank), and return.
I returned and they did the install of the FlexFuel kit. It was a really simple and elegant install.

This is what the actual fuel alcohol sensor looks like. This runs in series with the current fuel flow, reading data in real time. It bolts into already-existing bolts atop one of the wheel wells.



The additional fuel lines consist, really, of connectors to the different pieces, and some hoses. The stock car has a fuel line connecting the engine to a line that runs under the car. This connection is bypassed. Now, the engine fuel line hits the fuel sensor, and then this tube (pictured) runs from the sensor to the fuel line which runs under the car.


This is a very rough "before and after" comaprison. The first shot shows where the fuel line connects to the hose which goes right to the end. Now, the line hooks under the car like this.



I did not manage to get any pictures of the installed fuel sensor, but it is actually quite elegant. If I manage to get my laptop fixed and have a working laptop that I can actually charge this weekend, I will try to upload a picture showing the fuel sensor itself installed.

After the install of the FlexFuel kit, which included flashing the DME (which took approximately an hour), they did a second dyno run. This time, the car lasted until the mid RPMs before the fuel simply cut out. Specifically, the low pressure fuel pump was unable to maintain the extra rate of flow under load at high RPMs. With stock fuel flow, this would not be noticed. But, since the pump was already getting old, this additional load was enough to cause it to cut out. So, I left on Tuesday awaiting a new fuel pump to come in, so it can be installed and I can return later.

On Wednesday, I received notification that a new pump arrived, so I set up an appointment on Friday. Both Wednesday and Thursday were interesting days, since I was able to drive with a tune, albeit limited by the fuel pump. I was told to limit my RPMs to under 4500. Even then, I could immediately notice a difference with the way the car pulled. The car seemed much more responsive and had much more torque. However, around those RPMs (~4k or so), especially at higher gears, I noticed that the clutch was beginning to slip.

On Friday, I returned to have the final dyno test and the final tune, based on that dyno test. It was a slightly long process, though the initial install was long, as well. The main reason is just due to how busy FFTEC is. There are many projects going on in the same building, so one can expect things to take a little bit of time. Also, I waited there during everything, so I got to see a lot of it first-hand. A lot of other customers drop off their cars. Anyway, the new fuel pump worked, and the car was putting down horsepower in the 400 range on the dyno. This is a significant improvement, and right around what Shiv predicted. However, this 400 horsepower reading was with a slipping clutch at roughly 5k rpm. So, I need to eventually get a stronger clutch.

Throughout the whole installation process, the people at FFTEC were extremely patient, friendly, and eager to answer any questions that I might have. They showed me the nuances of the install, and the differences in layout of components and types of materials used between the xDrive and the standard 335i models. I highly recommend getting a tune done at FFTEC. They conducted extremely open and honest business with me. These guys know what they are doing, especially with E85 tunes.

After the install, Shiv tested out the car, and I went along for the ride. What a rush! This thing is like day and night. Acceleration is *easily* comparable to a stock 996 Turbo, if not faster. With AWD, there is no wheel spin, and I never see traction control kick in under acceleration. This is now a brutal car, and what’s great is how mundane it sounds under normal driving. It looks plain, sounds plain, and, even under the engine bay, it does not look like much of anything was done. Upon driving it around, myself, this thing is fantastic. I would even venture to guess that the engine is running smoother now than it was when it was a stock tune. Shiv has created a true sleeper, here. And, in the bay area, with a million 3 series on the road, it certainly does blend in. For anyone who likes lots and lots of traction under hard acceleration, get the xDrive!

As a slight addendum: This 400 horsepower (up from 260) number is actually on a conservative tune. Once I get a stronger clutch, I am encouraged to use a tune with higher pressure turbos. Also, from here, I can eventually continue to become an FBO car. Every little bit, as usual, will surely improve performance to some extent. For now, I am told to simply not go at full boost through peak torque in the higher gears. For the lower gears (1st, 2nd, maybe 3rd), the clutch can handle max torque, as it is more easily converted into a change in momentum for the car in the lower gears.

Anyway, this is a crazy nice kit. If you have E85 stations around you, this is a great way to go.

Last edited by Ferruccio; 09-15-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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      09-15-2012, 04:52 AM   #2
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good review! Thanks
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      09-15-2012, 05:55 AM   #3
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Wow that's awesome for xdrive! Thanks for the review!
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      09-15-2012, 04:36 PM   #4
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Thanks Charles! It was a pleasure having you and your car in the shop. Here are a few pics that you desired to add but could not.









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      09-15-2012, 05:59 PM   #5
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Do you guys have more sensors in Stock? I know the Vishnu guys said they were checking for me. Hopefully I can get my car in next week!
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      09-15-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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Update!

Now, this doesn't make much sense at all, but maybe someone can offer a reasonable explanation. I thought my MPG would be a lot worse with the FlexFuel conversion. But, on a mixture of highway and city driving for the past few days, my average mpg has been about the same. Is there some other way that the 3 series measures mpg? Is it because, with the additional power, I'm never needing to floor it anymore?
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      09-15-2012, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joec500 View Post
Do you guys have more sensors in Stock? I know the Vishnu guys said they were checking for me. Hopefully I can get my car in next week!
Yes, our next shipment is scheduled to arrive on Monday

And your mpg reading may be a bit optimistic when running on e85 as the OL fuel value is elevated over stock. Thank you for the great write up Ferruccio. It was great meeting you
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      09-16-2012, 04:02 AM   #8
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Loving the numbers on the awd. I'm definitely ordering this in the next three months. Once you replace that clutch Ooo man that car is a problem enjoy that beast! This is a game changing for most of us awd guys.
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      09-16-2012, 04:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiv@vishnu View Post
Yes, our next shipment is scheduled to arrive on Monday

And your mpg reading may be a bit optimistic when running on e85 as the OL fuel value is elevated over stock. Thank you for the great write up Ferruccio. It was great meeting you

Shiv what would a 100%E85+FBO awd make at this same dyno with and with out meth. Doesn't have to be exact # as I know it is a give or take on every engine and you may had not yet dyno one like this. I'll be FBO by Dec and loving the results of this kit. You are definitely changing the n54 world much respect to you and the shop.

Raulin
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      09-16-2012, 05:19 AM   #10
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Oh, and, please excuse the dust in those pics, guys. I drove through a really bad sand storm in Arizona, and it's been a long process getting rid of the mess.
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      09-16-2012, 12:30 PM   #11
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Really looking into this upgrade
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      09-16-2012, 12:58 PM   #12
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Looks very tempting ! It's reassuring that the gas tap is below the engine.

Any new thought on compatibility with the Z4 ?
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      09-17-2012, 12:47 AM   #13
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I have been coding my 335xi to run e85 with my accessport. I cant wait to see what I can do when I start running more and more e85, currently I am only running a 50/50 mix and am seeing no issues even with my car just passing 100,000 miles! Looking forward to the rest of your cars transformation!
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      09-17-2012, 10:12 PM   #14
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So this sensor allows for 100% e85? How does this work?
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      09-17-2012, 10:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shiv@vishnu View Post
Yes, our next shipment is scheduled to arrive on Monday

And your mpg reading may be a bit optimistic when running on e85 as the OL fuel value is elevated over stock. Thank you for the great write up Ferruccio. It was great meeting you
BOOM!!!! Scheduled for an install this Thursday along with an LSD and DCI's.

So excited!
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      09-18-2012, 03:39 AM   #16
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Update! Just because of availability and time constraints, I'm now 3/4 91 octane, but this thing is still breaking traction in second gear. These tires are new, honest! This car is just silly. I'm enjoying having insane loads of torque. The only difference I'm noticing (aside from slightly reduced top end) is slightly more turbo lag on 91 octane. It also feels more like a "v-tec is kicking in yo" when the turbos reach max boost, not that I mind

I also got a very long crank today when still on 100% E85. I'm not sure if that's a side effect to something else or not. I'm sure the HPFP is fine. Every subsequent start up has been like normal.
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      09-18-2012, 04:04 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90328i View Post
So this sensor allows for 100% e85? How does this work?
sensor has nothing to do with the amount you can run.
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      09-18-2012, 05:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90328i View Post
So this sensor allows for 100% e85? How does this work?
The sensor is for measuring the ethanol content accurately. They flash your DME to enable 100% e85 given that you have a healthy in-tank (LPFP) fuel pump.
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      09-18-2012, 10:49 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferruccio View Post

I also got a very long crank today when still on 100% E85. I'm not sure if that's a side effect to something else or not. I'm sure the HPFP is fine. Every subsequent start up has been like normal.
Keep us updated on this please.
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      09-18-2012, 12:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferruccio View Post
Update! Just because of availability and time constraints, I'm now 3/4 91 octane, but this thing is still breaking traction in second gear. These tires are new, honest! This car is just silly. I'm enjoying having insane loads of torque. The only difference I'm noticing (aside from slightly reduced top end) is slightly more turbo lag on 91 octane. It also feels more like a "v-tec is kicking in yo" when the turbos reach max boost, not that I mind

I also got a very long crank today when still on 100% E85. I'm not sure if that's a side effect to something else or not. I'm sure the HPFP is fine. Every subsequent start up has been like normal.
With 100% E85 and possibly cold weather it's usually normal. Ethanol in cold temps is harder to ignite then its gasoline counterparts.
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      09-18-2012, 12:30 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@topgearsolutions View Post
With 100% E85 and possibly cold weather it's usually normal. Ethanol in cold temps is harder to ignite then its gasoline counterparts.
Well, that's good to hear! I heard that new maps for higher 91 octane concentrations are being worked on, so I will also try to provide updates on what the updated maps feel like. For now, on a higher 91 octane concentration, car feels roughly stock at lower loads, though a totally different story once the turbos reach the higher pressure.
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      11-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #22
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I wanted to add an addendum to this to tell you what kind of fuel economy I am getting on the E85. Of course, I am sure that it varies depending on the ethanol content. Given that the trip computer measures inaccurately the amount of fuel being consumed, I just computed this the old fashioned way, by doing a round trip and filling the tank to the brim each time.

What I found is that I am getting a little over 20 mpg highway. This is with several highway pulls and hard accelerations. Not bad for 400 AWHP and cheap fuel, huh? It is certainly not the best highway fuel economy, but for having a relative sleeper with AWD, composure under normal speeds, and cheap fuel, would say this is a great combination. I regularly get about 25 mpg highway. YMMV.
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