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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > NA Engine (non-turbo) / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications > N52- 3 stage intake manifold or headers?



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      04-07-2020, 09:25 PM   #1
tsosby20
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N52- 3 stage intake manifold or headers?

I'm at a standstill and just want others opinions. What is the easiest to do? 3Im or headers...What would you go with first?
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      04-07-2020, 10:35 PM   #2
rick100
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3 stage intake and free tune
A lot cheaper too and u can do it urself

Headers are nice butnthey are more expensive and u have to pay for a tune and you ll probably need someone to install it for u
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      04-08-2020, 04:01 AM   #3
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Agree with above. 3IM is half as much work as installing headers.
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      04-08-2020, 07:15 AM   #4
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Did the 3SI install a few months ago and just got around to flashing the 130i tune. HUGE difference! More responsive throttle and pulls so much harder above 6K than before. Well worth the upgrade and you don’t have to futz with emissions stuff.
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      04-08-2020, 10:01 AM   #5
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If you need to pass inspection, rethink headers
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      04-08-2020, 10:39 AM   #6
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intake manifold is an easy afternoon.
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      04-08-2020, 09:51 PM   #7
tsosby20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
intake manifold is an easy afternoon.
Could y'all tell a big performance difference in it? I have pretty much everything now except the manifold and headers. It is also tuned my Stagefp
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      Yesterday, 12:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsosby20 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nsjames View Post
intake manifold is an easy afternoon.
Could y'all tell a big performance difference in it? I have pretty much everything now except the manifold and headers. It is also tuned my Stagefp
Skip exhaust unless you want the sound. But I'd do 3IM and then headers, then exhaust if you want the handful of extra HP and (mostly) sound.
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      Yesterday, 06:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick100 View Post
3 stage intake and free tune
A lot cheaper too and u can do it urself

Headers are nice butnthey are more expensive and u have to pay for a tune and you ll probably need someone to install it for u
Free tune? I have a 328xi that came stock with the 3 stage intake manifold, added Megan racing exhaust and euro air box with silicone intake tube. I'd love me some better throttle responsiveness. I can't see spending $500 for a few horsepower, but I'll spend free! Lol
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      Yesterday, 09:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rick100 View Post
3 stage intake and free tune
A lot cheaper too and u can do it urself

Headers are nice butnthey are more expensive and u have to pay for a tune and you ll probably need someone to install it for u
do you mind elaborating?
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      Yesterday, 09:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbytomorow View Post
do you mind elaborating?
Bimmerlabs offers a free 130i/330i flash that properly utilizes a 3SI on an N52K. Doesn’t work with an N51
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      Yesterday, 09:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsosby20 View Post
Could y'all tell a big performance difference in it? I have pretty much everything now except the manifold and headers. It is also tuned my Stagefp
Massive difference here. Almost like a new car.
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      Yesterday, 10:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsosby20 View Post
Could y'all tell a big performance difference in it? I have pretty much everything now except the manifold and headers. It is also tuned my Stagefp
yes. it's not just peak HP, it's the torque in the mid range.


Quote:
Originally Posted by OnlyDriveGerman View Post
Free tune? I have a 328xi that came stock with the 3 stage intake manifold, added Megan racing exhaust and euro air box with silicone intake tube. I'd love me some better throttle responsiveness. I can't see spending $500 for a few horsepower, but I'll spend free! Lol
it sounds like an n51.
not much to be done in your case. The 3sim makes up for what the n51 lacks internally.
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      Yesterday, 10:35 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b1aze View Post
Bimmerlabs offers a free 130i/330i flash that properly utilizes a 3SI on an N52K. Doesn’t work with an N51
Awesome thank you. I just registered an account and created a project and the tune files came up.

Maybe you can answer another question, I am planning for 3IM upgrade soon but would flashing the 330i tune now still give me some performance increase or waste of time until i install the manifold?

Cheers
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      Yesterday, 12:08 PM   #15
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I can do a 3IM in about an hour - I can do headers in about 5 lol.

Also for the flash tune I'd highly recommend Bimmergeeks K+DCAN cable! And double/triple check you have EVERYTHING set up right (1ms latency!!). No risk, you'll just get a headache trying to figure out why the flash failed.
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      Yesterday, 12:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsosby20 View Post
I'm at a standstill and just want others opinions. What is the easiest to do? 3Im or headers...What would you go with first?
Do following mods:
Here is the best streetable setup. 3IM, MILVS, Tune from Bob (Stage FP) and exhaust (muffler). If you have a manual, you can swap out your diff.

Personally, I wouldn't bother too much with headers unless you are chasing every possible HP. Most of gains I felt were on top of the RPM range.
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      Yesterday, 01:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbytomorow View Post
Awesome thank you. I just registered an account and created a project and the tune files came up.

Maybe you can answer another question, I am planning for 3IM upgrade soon but would flashing the 330i tune now still give me some performance increase or waste of time until i install the manifold?

Cheers
You won’t see any gains and if I had to guess, you’d see a decrease in performance as the expected timing and air flow won’t match the reality. I did the opposite, installed the 3SIM and waited to flash the updated tune for about 2 months. No issues at all.
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      Yesterday, 01:56 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b1aze View Post
You won’t see any gains and if I had to guess, you’d see a decrease in performance as the expected timing and air flow won’t match the reality. I did the opposite, installed the 3SIM and waited to flash the updated tune for about 2 months. No issues at all.
Exactly. Without a tune, the 3IM is still basically the same as the default setting for any car with the prewiring is that the DISA's are at least partially open (yes there is a signal going through before the tune, just not what you want if you want the DISAs to work like the 330i).
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      Yesterday, 02:38 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b1aze View Post
You won’t see any gains and if I had to guess, you’d see a decrease in performance as the expected timing and air flow won’t match the reality. I did the opposite, installed the 3SIM and waited to flash the updated tune for about 2 months. No issues at all.
Ok I'll do the intake upgrade first before the tune

cheers
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      Yesterday, 03:34 PM   #20
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where's the best place to get parts for the 3IM upgrade?

thanks.
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      Yesterday, 04:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by eugenecp View Post
where's the best place to get parts for the 3IM upgrade?

thanks.
a junkyard.

the 3sim was used on all sorts of n52s in the suvs and what not, just not in the e90 so much.
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      Yesterday, 04:18 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b1aze View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbytomorow View Post
Awesome thank you. I just registered an account and created a project and the tune files came up.

Maybe you can answer another question, I am planning for 3IM upgrade soon but would flashing the 330i tune now still give me some performance increase or waste of time until i install the manifold?

Cheers
You won’t see any gains and if I had to guess, you’d see a decrease in performance as the expected timing and air flow won’t match the reality. I did the opposite, installed the 3SIM and waited to flash the updated tune for about 2 months. No issues at all.
There is a lot more to the 330 tune than just activating the Disa valves.

For starters the intake valve lift in the 325/328 tunes is neutered. With the 325/328 tunes you only see full valve lift 9.7 mm for a very small section of the RPM range. Then the VVT maps are different as well as fueling. Hassmachine posted some good graphs on his post " I cloned my MSV70".

You probably will see gains running the 330 tune alone,but why? Just install the 3IM and 330 software. It's so easy now. It's been done a thousand times and the software is free.

Like many others, I ran the 3IM with the old tune for a few months before I learned how to modify the powerclass. This was back in the dark ages, before Bimmerlabs . You have it easy!
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