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  1. #1
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    ESS VT-445 supercharger install

    Found this and thought it was interesting, especially considering the owner of the car switched from the VF Street Sport kit. How do you guys feel about the ESS S54 kits?

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    Hi Guys,
    I am installing Comando’s supercharger and wanted to share some pics of the install with you! He will be posting up his own review, but he wanted to see photos of the install so here we go! This is the first ESS VT-445 kit to be installed outside of their Arizona facility so there has been a learning curve for both us and ESS, but they have been great helping over the phone with any questions we have had and getting us out parts needed quickly!

    Comando’s Car On the Lift:
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    Entire Kit Layed Out:
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    New Injectors Installed:
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    New BMW Spark Plugs and Bosch Coilpacks:
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    ESS Intake Assembled:
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    Bypass Valve Had To Be Modified as the holes didn’t quite line up:
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    Installed after modification:
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    Supercharger Bracket Installed (Very nice Anodized Piece):
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    Power Steering Reservoir Relocated:
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    Vortec V3 Blower and Pulley:
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    Blower Installed & Discovering There is a Clocking and Drain Issue:
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    At this point, re-clocking the blower was no problem , however, the sealant they Vortech used on the plugs mad removing them to relocate the drain lower impossible (bolts just stripped) so we needed a new blower from ESS/Vortech
    New Blower Installed and Intake on:
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    Intake Manifold Installed:
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    Belt and Coolant Hose Re-Installed:
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    Next came installing the intake, however, there was supposed to be a fitting for the brake booster hose that was missing. Not a problem, we just drilled and tapped the hole where it was supposed to be and installed a fitting:
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    Install Complete:
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    With The Expection of the Mason Strut Brace He Had as it hits the BOV:”
    Click here to enlarge

    DME Reinstalled From ESS:
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    AEM Gauges and HPF Pod Installed:
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    First starts the car wouldn’t hold an idle, however, after clearing the adaptations its good to go! The car idles perfect (steady), drives extremely smooth under cruising and pulls nice under WOT! Night and day from the VF-E SS kit this car used to have on it! I am very impressed with the quality of parts and the tuning from ESS thus far! Hope I can do some more in the future!
    Regards,
    Evan

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    ESS is ESS... I'm not a fan of the fear mongering they've participated in, but their hardware (and software) has generally been solid (aside from a cold-start non-M issue they ignored for years).

    But I think they've screwed themselves out of the S54 market. They had a viable product (CFR-series), yet pulled it prematurely while switching to the more upgradeable Vortech. That would have been fine, but they seemed to have put a low priority on finishing the vortech conversion and kept pushing back the date for VT1 and VT2 kits. Their VT1 kits are just now out and they missed a good opportunity to gain share since they had nothing to sell during the whole VF backlash -- and AFAIK, their VT2 kits still aren't ready. Now we see that despite the delays, the VT1 kits still seem a bit rushed together (and their choice to use Series Autosport as their first non in-house install is baffling considering Evan has burned most/all bridges with AA, HPF, and VF).

    The S54 market is only going to decline so that loss in share may prove costly. On the other hand, they do have one of the cheapest FI kits which should help. I just think many will resent the fact they neglected the E46 to promote the E9x.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
    ESS is ESS... I'm not a fan of the fear mongering they've participated in, but their hardware (and software) has generally been solid (aside from a cold-start non-M issue they ignored for years).
    I would definitely agree with this 100%. Their hardware is very nice and their software has generally been solid. I contact Roman the other day telling him I wanted him to know no bad blood or anything like that and he would not be excluded from participating here. I invited him to participate and possibly address any concerns but for he has not responded.

    You raise some very interesting points and why exactly do you feel they neglected the E46 for the E9X? Due to the vortech conversion? What happened to all their ASA talk and how that blower is superior, better torque, yadda yadda yadda?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    You raise some very interesting points and why exactly do you feel they neglected the E46 for the E9X? Due to the vortech conversion? What happened to all their ASA talk and how that blower is superior, better torque, yadda yadda yadda?
    They've neglected the E46 because they've taken a relatively simple transition (ASA to vortech) and stretched it out for 18 months. ESS had no problem selling vortech-based VT1 440/450 kits as far back as 2008, but by september '09 they decided to upgrade the entry-level kit to the old CFR manifold (creating the "gen 2" and suggesting that their promise of "Stage 1 only running at 4-4.5 psi is 100% functional and safe on stock intake manifold and no intercooling" wasn't quite true).

    Still that's a relatively minor change -- slight tune, maybe a new charge pipe, existing manifold, existing bypass valve, etc. So why did it take another 8 months to rerelease stage 1 (especially when the VT500/550 were supposed to use that same cfr manifold all along)? ESS has obviously been focusing their attention elsewhere. And they still don't have the intercooled version out (let alone that mythical 620rwhp VT3 they posted dynos from last summer)... Basically ESS hasn't had a 400+rwhp sc kit for sale since phasing out the CFR500 a year ago.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
    They've neglected the E46 because they've taken a relatively simple transition (ASA to vortech) and stretched it out for 18 months. ESS had no problem selling vortech-based VT1 440/450 kits as far back as 2008, but by september '09 they decided to upgrade the entry-level kit to the old CFR manifold (creating the "gen 2" and suggesting that their promise of "Stage 1 only running at 4-4.5 psi is 100% functional and safe on stock intake manifold and no intercooling" wasn't quite true).

    Still that's a relatively minor change -- slight tune, maybe a new charge pipe, existing manifold, existing bypass valve, etc. So why did it take another 8 months to rerelease stage 1 (especially when the VT500/550 were supposed to use that same cfr manifold all along)? ESS has obviously been focusing their attention elsewhere. And they still don't have the intercooled version out (let alone that mythical 620rwhp VT3 they posted dynos from last summer)... Basically ESS hasn't had a 400+rwhp sc kit for sale since phasing out the CFR500 a year ago.
    What was the reasoning for the change from the ASA to the Vortech anyway? They spent so much time proclaiming ASA superiority, I don't understand.

    How was it an upgrade going back to the old manifold? Why was the manifold changed at all then?

    I don't doubt your assertion regarding attention being focused elsewhere. They focused on the E9X kit, definitely, and it is a good kit. They wanted to get the E9X market early.

    What 620 whp VT3 btw? 620 whp S54 blown?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    What was the reasoning for the change from the ASA to the Vortech anyway? They spent so much time proclaiming ASA superiority, I don't understand.
    ASA is superior in many regards, but it falls short in upgradeability and cost. With little/no competition, ESS could get away with specing a nice ASA for each stage, but when they are trying to put together complete kits at competitive prices they can't afford to pay 3x as much for a charger that would need to be completely replaced for the next stage (at least not until 'area under the curve' attracts more buyers than peak hp figures).

    How was it an upgrade going back to the old manifold? Why was the manifold changed at all then?
    Originally they used the stock plastic intake manifold for the VT440/450 kits, and planned to use that same CFR rounded intake manifold for the intercooler/higher boost VT500/550 (and 600-700). My guess is that plastic manifold didn't hold up to boost as claimed. Why they didn't finish the VT500/550 kits mid 2009 as planned is beyond me.

    I don't doubt your assertion regarding attention being focused elsewhere. They focused on the E9X kit, definitely, and it is a good kit. They wanted to get the E9X market early.
    They did, and it is a good kit. They also were setting up their US offices and had other distractions -- they just clearly came at the expense of the S54 development.

    What 620 whp VT3 btw? 620 whp S54 blown?
    9.5:1 built motor and 18psi: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=696222

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
    ASA is superior in many regards, but it falls short in upgradeability and cost. With little/no competition, ESS could get away with specing a nice ASA for each stage, but when they are trying to put together complete kits at competitive prices they can't afford to pay 3x as much for a charger that would need to be completely replaced for the next stage (at least not until 'area under the curve' attracts more buyers than peak hp figures).


    Originally they used the stock plastic intake manifold for the VT440/450 kits, and planned to use that same CFR rounded intake manifold for the intercooler/higher boost VT500/550 (and 600-700). My guess is that plastic manifold didn't hold up to boost as claimed. Why they didn't finish the VT500/550 kits mid 2009 as planned is beyond me.


    They did, and it is a good kit. They also were setting up their US offices and had other distractions -- they just clearly came at the expense of the S54 development.


    9.5:1 built motor and 18psi: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=696222
    I have never seen the ASA blower outperform the Vortechs with performance numbers to back it. They are all centrifugal anyway but the ASA is a nice blower from what I hear. G-power uses ASA I believe. You are likely right with the pricing but didn't they always have E46 competition? AA and VF always have been more popular options for that platform.

    I see, your conclusion is likely correct, the manifold was not up to the higher boost hence necessitating a redesign. Where is the VT500/550 development now?

    Thanks for the link!

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    I personally (along with a few others) have been waiting for ESS to release their new VT series systems. I live in the southwest and their Phoenix faculty isn't too far from me. If I go FI with this car I would like to go to ESS have have them do the install, tune and SMG reprogram on my car. My plan is to install a VT500 system but I'm still waiting for the release.....

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
    ESS is ESS... I'm not a fan of the fear mongering they've participated in, but their hardware (and software) has generally been solid (aside from a cold-start non-M issue they ignored for years).

    But I think they've screwed themselves out of the S54 market. They had a viable product (CFR-series), yet pulled it prematurely while switching to the more upgradeable Vortech. That would have been fine, but they seemed to have put a low priority on finishing the vortech conversion and kept pushing back the date for VT1 and VT2 kits. Their VT1 kits are just now out and they missed a good opportunity to gain share since they had nothing to sell during the whole VF backlash -- and AFAIK, their VT2 kits still aren't ready. Now we see that despite the delays, the VT1 kits still seem a bit rushed together (and their choice to use Series Autosport as their first non in-house install is baffling considering Evan has burned most/all bridges with AA, HPF, and VF).

    The S54 market is only going to decline so that loss in share may prove costly. On the other hand, they do have one of the cheapest FI kits which should help. I just think many will resent the fact they neglected the E46 to promote the E9x.
    I dont think the market for modding the s54 will decline. The cars are getting cheaper sales of aftermarket kits will go up with more people modding them. Just look at e36's. Alot of them are getting sc'd turbo'd or then in the past I believe since I'm involved in that scene. 2-3 years after the e9x m3's goes off production we will see more people modding them because the car will be chaeper to buy.
    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

  10. #10
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GG///M3 Click here to enlarge
    I dont think the market for modding the s54 will decline. The cars are getting cheaper sales of aftermarket kits will go up with more people modding them. Just look at e36's. Alot of them are getting sc'd turbo'd or then in the past I believe since I'm involved in that scene. 2-3 years after the e9x m3's goes off production we will see more people modding them because the car will be chaeper to buy.
    This is very true, more and more people will be willing to mod.

    I was even thinking of picking up an E46...

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by spdu4ea Click here to enlarge
    (and their choice to use Series Autosport as their first non in-house install is baffling considering Evan has burned most/all bridges with AA, HPF, and VF).
    Woah, get your facts straight. I have not burned any bridges with ANY of those tuners.

    I do not like the way AA does business (Pricing and attitude) and I have chosen not to support their products. We get along and I still like some of the guys down there (Karl and Omar are nice guys).

    VF I have no bad dealings with whatsoever, I have simply installed one kit (the one on this car) and helped diagnose an issue on another (I actually found the issue in a half of a day when 2 other shops couldn't in 2 weeks).

    HPF is my car's tuner and I have not burned any bridges there. Have I been honest about my ups and downs with the car? Yes and I will continue to be. I will not blow smoke on a forum and tell people my car has been perfect when its not. HPF has been great to me and I have said that in every post. Do Chris B. (Owner) and I get along? Not really, but thats life and we are both still cordial towards eachother now.

    So please don't go starting crap like that, that is far from the truth, and please do not bring my business into this. Serious is not a dealer for ANY of the tuners you listed above, this customer chose to bring a kit that HE purchased direct from ESS to my shop and asked me to post the install. Would I be a dealer for any of these company's? Maybe... AA probably not as they are only 45mins to an hour away, VF probably not as I will not associate my business with a company that has customer service issues (as this is the most important thing in our shop), ESS I proabably would, and I'm not sure about HPF. I have total confidence in their products and customer service, we just don't do projects quite this big yet at my shop and I will not do a job unless I can do it 100%. I hope to expand someday and hire some BMW certified tech's and get more into the BMW market, but for now that is not the case I will not go above my or my tech's heads.

    Just wanted to clear this up! Click here to enlarge
    Evan

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    Now, back on topic....

    Since I installed and have driven this same car with VF SS and ESS VT445 I can give my honest opinion.

    Hardware:
    Both have VERY nice hardware and I have no complaints about either. Very well made and everything fit well (With some small issues with this first ESS kit that will be extremely easy to fix and sounds like they aready did by their post on E46F).

    Software:
    ESS for sure. The AFR's on this VT445 kit are SPOT ON. VF was always extremely lean at idle and low cruising speed and pig rich under WOT

    Install:
    About the same... VF's bigger manifold is a pain, but ESS requires relocating the power steering so each has their little quirks.

    Power:
    ESS feels a good bit stronger than the VF, but I will reserve judgement till we dyno the ESS next week.

    Driveability:
    ESS by a long shot. Steady idle, extremely smooth cruising and great power up top!

    VF has a horrible idle surge, horrible hesitation aound 3-4K, and just never seemed to pull up top (felt like it ran outta steam around 6K)



    So there is my comparison of the 2. IMO the ESS kit blows the VF out of the water and for the similar price, I would go ESS in a heartbeat.

    Best Regards,
    Evan

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    Woah, get your facts straight. I have not burned any bridges with ANY of those tuners.

    I do not like the way AA does business (Pricing and attitude) and I have chosen not to support their products. We get along and I still like some of the guys down there (Karl and Omar are nice guys).

    VF I have no bad dealings with whatsoever, I have simply installed one kit (the one on this car) and helped diagnose an issue on another (I actually found the issue in a half of a day when 2 other shops couldn't in 2 weeks).

    HPF is my car's tuner and I have not burned any bridges there. Have I been honest about my ups and downs with the car? Yes and I will continue to be. I will not blow smoke on a forum and tell people my car has been perfect when its not. HPF has been great to me and I have said that in every post. Do Chris B. (Owner) and I get along? Not really, but thats life and we are both still cordial towards eachother now.

    So please don't go starting crap like that, that is far from the truth, and please do not bring my business into this. Serious is not a dealer for ANY of the tuners you listed above, this customer chose to bring a kit that HE purchased direct from ESS to my shop and asked me to post the install. Would I be a dealer for any of these company's? Maybe... AA probably not as they are only 45mins to an hour away, VF probably not as I will not associate my business with a company that has customer service issues (as this is the most important thing in our shop), ESS I proabably would, and I'm not sure about HPF. I have total confidence in their products and customer service, we just don't do projects quite this big yet at my shop and I will not do a job unless I can do it 100%. I hope to expand someday and hire some BMW certified tech's and get more into the BMW market, but for now that is not the case I will not go above my or my tech's heads.

    Just wanted to clear this up! Click here to enlarge
    Evan
    I'm familiar with you as I have read some of your dealings on 6speed over the years. What was the deal with you and FVD exactly?

    You had a Gallardo, then a Z06, then an M5 with nitrous, and then the HPF E46 as I recall, right? Now you work at some kind of shop?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    Now, back on topic....

    Since I installed and have driven this same car with VF SS and ESS VT445 I can give my honest opinion.

    Hardware:
    Both have VERY nice hardware and I have no complaints about either. Very well made and everything fit well (With some small issues with this first ESS kit that will be extremely easy to fix and sounds like they aready did by their post on E46F).

    Software:
    ESS for sure. The AFR's on this VT445 kit are SPOT ON. VF was always extremely lean at idle and low cruising speed and pig rich under WOT

    Install:
    About the same... VF's bigger manifold is a pain, but ESS requires relocating the power steering so each has their little quirks.

    Power:
    ESS feels a good bit stronger than the VF, but I will reserve judgement till we dyno the ESS next week.

    Driveability:
    ESS by a long shot. Steady idle, extremely smooth cruising and great power up top!

    VF has a horrible idle surge, horrible hesitation aound 3-4K, and just never seemed to pull up top (felt like it ran outta steam around 6K)



    So there is my comparison of the 2. IMO the ESS kit blows the VF out of the water and for the similar price, I would go ESS in a heartbeat.

    Best Regards,
    Evan
    Is the price similar?

    I haven't really heard anything good about the VF SS kit outside of M3forum.

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    I worked at FVD as a salesman ("Internet Sales Manager") for 4 years. Great job, a lot of fun, but I was in college at the time and it got to be too much (1 hour drive each way) so I left to focus on school.

    I now run a shop in West Palm that we started about a year and a half ago with a couple business partners Click here to enlarge

    I've had an E46 M3 Conv. (03), E39 M5 (Dinan S2) 996 Turbo (03), E60 M5 (Nitrous), Current E46 M3 (HPF 2.5). The Gallardo was my familly's though I put 2,999 miles of the 3,000 miles it had on it when we sold it Click here to enlarge

    I think the price's on the kit are ESS VT445 = $5700 and VF SS Kit = $5900 so yea pretty similar...

    Regards,
    Evan

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    Now, back on topic....

    Since I installed and have driven this same car with VF SS and ESS VT445 I can give my honest opinion.

    Hardware:
    Both have VERY nice hardware and I have no complaints about either. Very well made and everything fit well (With some small issues with this first ESS kit that will be extremely easy to fix and sounds like they aready did by their post on E46F).

    Software:
    ESS for sure. The AFR's on this VT445 kit are SPOT ON. VF was always extremely lean at idle and low cruising speed and pig rich under WOT

    Install:
    About the same... VF's bigger manifold is a pain, but ESS requires relocating the power steering so each has their little quirks.

    Power:
    ESS feels a good bit stronger than the VF, but I will reserve judgement till we dyno the ESS next week.

    Driveability:
    ESS by a long shot. Steady idle, extremely smooth cruising and great power up top!

    VF has a horrible idle surge, horrible hesitation aound 3-4K, and just never seemed to pull up top (felt like it ran outta steam around 6K)



    So there is my comparison of the 2. IMO the ESS kit blows the VF out of the water and for the similar price, I would go ESS in a heartbeat.

    Best Regards,
    Evan
    nice review... i was waiting for this from you..

    as always, upfront no BS.
    Garage Queen LSB 2001 M3 | VF Engineering Stg 1 | Black out package | Depo Smoke corners | LED smoked Tail lights | UUC short Shifter | UUC RK5 shift knob | Vorsteiner V-CSL Vented Race Hood | CF windshield washer grill | H&R Springs | HRE C21, black center with custom LSB colored Lip | BSW Stg 1 Speakers | BSW Dual 10" Sub setup
    Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by finger123 Click here to enlarge
    nice review... i was waiting for this from you..

    as always, upfront no BS.
    No problem! I have no reason to not be upfront. If that pisses off a tuner (including my own) sorry, but I have always been honest on the forums for better or worse!
    Regards
    Evan Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    I worked at FVD as a salesman ("Internet Sales Manager") for 4 years. Great job, a lot of fun, but I was in college at the time and it got to be too much (1 hour drive each way) so I left to focus on school.

    I now run a shop in West Palm that we started about a year and a half ago with a couple business partners Click here to enlarge

    I've had an E46 M3 Conv. (03), E39 M5 (Dinan S2) 996 Turbo (03), E60 M5 (Nitrous), Current E46 M3 (HPF 2.5). The Gallardo was my familly's though I put 2,999 miles of the 3,000 miles it had on it when we sold it Click here to enlarge

    I think the price's on the kit are ESS VT445 = $5700 and VF SS Kit = $5900 so yea pretty similar...

    Regards,
    Evan
    If the ESS kit is actually even cheaper than yes, definitely should be chosen over the VF SS.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by AMG ETR Click here to enlarge
    Now, back on topic....

    Since I installed and have driven this same car with VF SS and ESS VT445 I can give my honest opinion.

    Hardware:
    Both have VERY nice hardware and I have no complaints about either. Very well made and everything fit well (With some small issues with this first ESS kit that will be extremely easy to fix and sounds like they aready did by their post on E46F).

    Software:
    ESS for sure. The AFR's on this VT445 kit are SPOT ON. VF was always extremely lean at idle and low cruising speed and pig rich under WOT

    Install:
    About the same... VF's bigger manifold is a pain, but ESS requires relocating the power steering so each has their little quirks.

    Power:
    ESS feels a good bit stronger than the VF, but I will reserve judgement till we dyno the ESS next week.

    Driveability:
    ESS by a long shot. Steady idle, extremely smooth cruising and great power up top!

    VF has a horrible idle surge, horrible hesitation aound 3-4K, and just never seemed to pull up top (felt like it ran outta steam around 6K)



    So there is my comparison of the 2. IMO the ESS kit blows the VF out of the water and for the similar price, I would go ESS in a heartbeat.

    Best Regards,
    Evan
    What other performance modifications were on this car?

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    Hey guys,

    Sticky asked me to pop over here from E46fanatics since I also have the VT445 and absolutely love it. Not exactly sure what I should say, I posted a review and on-going Q&A on E46fanatics in the FI section:

    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=763181

    I'd be happy to field any questions here as well. I would save Evan is spot on with his comments on the ESS software and hardware.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Adgar Click here to enlarge
    What other performance modifications were on this car?
    Just exhaust (Section 1, 2 and Muffler). Nothing else beyond that!
    Evan

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Reputation: Yes | No
    DYNO RESULTS!!

    Had a chance to take Commando's car to the dyno today and we could not be happier with the result! This was on a MUSTANG dyno, 91 degrees outside, probably 100 degrees + in the dyno room and the car performed flawlessly! It made almost 15HP more on a MUSTANG dyno than ESS claims on a DYNOJET! Final high numbers were 411RWHP and 313RWTQ! It consistently put down over 400RWHP run after run even in the heat with no intercooler which was extremely impressive!

    Here is a video of the last pull I did with it (thank to Commando for filming it since its hard to "drive" and video lol:


    And the dyno sheet (ignore the low RPM's these were full 8200 pulls, the calibration was just a bit off as we had to use roller speed instead of actual rpm imput):
    Click here to enlarge

    Regards,
    Evan
    Last edited by AMG ETR; 05-15-2010 at 04:35 PM.

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    Very solid numbers and thank you for posting the dyno!

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    Very solid numbers and thank you for posting the dyno!
    No prob. I was actually quite impressed! I went in expecting 370-380RHWP being that it was so hot and it was a Mustang, but we were all very surprised to find its still extremely strong in these conditions!
    Evan

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    Nice Install and good choice going with ESS. I will be going for the VT2-500 kit.

    Despite the delays which are not due to issues mentioned in some posts above but actually due to the stock coming in from their manufacturer for the parts for the intercooled kits.....
    Click here to enlarge



    EURO 04 M3 Current Mods:GC DAs, Eibach Sways, PF RTAB's, RE RCAs, INTRAVEE II, Black Roundels, ///MFEST Badges, Depo's, Screen protector for NAV display, VCSL Bumper + Race Lip & CF Trunk & CF Rear Diffusor, DIETZ TV in Motion, SS= V1 Headers + catless pipes + X-Pipe + SS Sport Exhaust, Z8 Starter Button, Lamin-X, OEM CSL interior, OEM CSL Steering, OEM CSL Intake, OEM CSL Roof, MSS54HP + OEM CSL Tune, BBS CH's, LIGHTWERKZ, 355mm ST40 BBK, BW Oil Cooler....

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