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    Post aFe Stage 2 Sealed CAI for N54 - Review

    Part 1

    This post will serve as my journal and review of the aFe N54 Stage 2 SI or Sealed Intake part # 54-82002. You might want to subscribe to this post so in order to keep you updated with the progression on this intake. There will be many parts to this review.

    Today, 04/11/2012, I received my aFe Stage 2 SI via UPS. I saw this huge box and was almost afraid to left it cause I thought it was going to have some weight to it. I was suprise the box was light, too light, and I wondering if UPS jacked me for my intake

    Click here to enlarge

    Well it seems UPS didnt jack me, everything was in the box as expected. One of my cats weight mroe than this thing...hehe

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    The box is solid when everything is assembled. The thickness of the structure is acceptable, I think even better than the stock structure.

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    As I begin to take this intake apart, i notice something. ITS NOT TRUELY SEALED ! There is no sealing around the external parts that can be seperated:

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    This intake serves more as an "enclosure" rather than it being "sealed" intake. Now the only reason I can see it was designed like this is to allow some sort of "passive" airflow from the stock snorkel.
    For those of us with tuned cars this is not good, as there will be significant preasure loss from the stock snorkel, mixed with heat from the engine bay that will be "sucked" into these unsealed slots.
    However, there is an easy fix for this. Just get some sealing tape and problem resolved and I will have a true "SEALED" intake like the Dinan and Mr 5 setup up. In part two of my review I will show the parts that can be easily sealed up with sealing tape and make it look proffessional.
    If the design intent was to allow some sort of passive air flow then the option to remove the secondary inlet plug would have been the solution instead:

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    This secondary inlet leaves alot of potential for this intake if harnest correctly, but first, properly sealing the box is a MUST before installing this intake in a tuned car running significantly more boost over stock.
    This filter and intake inlet are firm and sturdy "together". There is a metal brace in the filter to prevent the filter from collapsing from high PSI. The open mouth of the inlet that connects to the turbo inlets adds support to the filter also.

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    After taking eveything apart the box itself stood sturdy by itself. the stock box is thinner and harder, the aFe box is thicker with some flex to it making it hard to break. You can run a truck over this box and it will not break. If you do that with a stock box it will break into pieces.

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    The glossy internal is a coating to keep heat out and easy transistion of air and cleaning. the inlet for the turbo inlets also has this coating and as you can see there is nothing but smooth curves in the inlet

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    This concludes my Part 1 review of the aFe Stage 2 intake for the N54 motor. Next I will be a dyno run with stock intake, then the installation of the aFe intake after I have sealed it up. I will post pics of all of this or perhaps a video of the sealing. So back into the box it goes until this friday

    Click here to enlarge


    Part 2

    I have sealed up the intake which turned out really good. I used a high resistant thermal insulation rubber tape and a caulk gun.The insulation tape is used in plumbing to wrap heated pipes.
    These are the things I bought at Home Depot, except for the pot pie - my dinner

    Click here to enlarge

    Turned out all I needed was the caulk gun, the insulation rubber tape, and of course my pot pie to eat.

    Click here to enlarge

    I used the caulk gun on the turbo external part of the inlet that is inserted into the air box. After it has hardened I will cut the residue.

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    Next I started to seal up the air box cover with the insulation tape and the top part of the box

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    All is ready tomorrow (04/13/2012) for installing right after I dyno with the stock intake. After installing I will be heading out the Palm Beach International Race Way for some test runs and for the DME to adapt.

    Overall, definitely better than stock intake, power comes on earlier than before. All I can do now is wait for aFe to release their new version based off of my concept of what this intake is suppose to be for those of us that are tuned. The dyno graph whp, wtq, and afr lines above the others is with the aFe intake

    Part 3 Conclusion



    Click here to enlarge

    Note: aFe will be coming out with a newer intake that willl be one piece and completel sealed for those us running significant higher boosts.

    It is also possible that they will address the issue of this intake box not being truely sealed by coming out with a gasket kit for current users.

  2. #2
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    Maybe I am missing something, but it seems this intake uses the stock snorkel and if one do not use the extra air channel it will be as limited as the stock air-box? The only difference is the high-flow filter inside the box?

    Wouldn't a drop in filter for the stock box provide pretty much exactly the same performance?
    Click here to enlarge
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  3. #3
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    The dyno sheet is hard to read on my computer, what is it saying?
    Kevin
    2011 335is 7DCT/JB4 G5-ISO BMS Flash
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xbox_fan Click here to enlarge
    Maybe I am missing something, but it seems this intake uses the stock snorkel and if one do not use the extra air channel it will be as limited as the stock air-box? The only difference is the high-flow filter inside the box?

    Wouldn't a drop in filter for the stock box provide pretty much exactly the same performance?
    The aFe Stage 2 SI stand alone airbox does use the stock snorkel. The aFe test results is in comparison to the stock intake with a K&N drop in filter.

    I did not use yet the secondary inlet on the aFe airbox in these tests. Later I will when I have a new high heat resistant snorkel made that will connect to the cowl untilizing the seconday inlet. So we still have more potential to tap into.

    The aFe is less restrictive than the stock airbox even with a K&N drop in filter. On the stock box the air enters the box, climbs up and then over/down (think of a waterfall) into turbo inlets. There is alot of sharp cornering the air passes through. There is additional restriction at the snorkel as their is dependency of passive airflow for air to get to airbox where the CFMs are stronger as there is preasure loss at the snorkel connection to the stock airbox.

    On my version of the aFe Stage 2 intake, not only did I completely seal the box but I also sealed the connection of the stock storkel to the aFe airbox also. Thus increasing the CFM pull in the snorkel to reduce airflow restriction already in the snorkel. As air enters the aFe airbox it passes through the filters and then down into the turbo inlets. No acrobatic turns and banking corners like it does on the stock airbox.

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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BEAR-AvHistory Click here to enlarge
    The dyno sheet is hard to read on my computer, what is it saying?
    I blurred out the whp, and wtq numbers per RENNtech as the tune is still in test phase. That why you cant see them fi that is what your talking about. The dyno graph only was displayed to show the improvements the aFe airbox rendered, over the stock airbox w/ a K&N drop in filter, even at the disadvantage of the higher temps in the shop.

    The whp and wtq gains are noted in the youtube video of 9 whp increase and 12 wtq increase. The dyno graph also show the power coming much more sooner with the aFe airbox.

    Note: Click on the dyno sheet twice to enlarge it so it can be seen more clearly

  6. #6
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    Will you dyno using also the extra inlet to the are box? I assume it would make this as good as a DCI or a Mr 5 solution, but looking good instead Click here to enlarge

    I am really tired of looking at my DCI's and I got the stuff needed for a Mr 5 style intake but don't really want to start cutting my stock air box.

    This intake looks as being even better IF one uses the extra inlet to the box...
    Click here to enlarge
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  7. #7
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    OK no problem. I was looking for the actualW HP & torque numbers.
    Kevin
    2011 335is 7DCT/JB4 G5-ISO BMS Flash
    2013 135is 6MT - JB4 G5-ISO
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xbox_fan Click here to enlarge
    Will you dyno using also the extra inlet to the are box? I assume it would make this as good as a DCI or a Mr 5 solution, but looking good instead Click here to enlarge
    Yes, I will be getting to that when they come out with their newer version intake for the N54 that will be had to the my custom seal concept but as a whole piece. However I can get some pre numbers of what their new version should do or better

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xbox_fan Click here to enlarge
    I am really tired of looking at my DCI's and I got the stuff needed for a Mr 5 style intake but don't really want to start cutting my stock air box.

    This intake looks as being even better IF one uses the extra inlet to the box...
    I know the feeling...I was about to put a hole in my cowl and had sme second thoughts not to do it and just get the aFe right and left air ducts that replace the stock snorkel all together.

    As thing progress though I will keep this thread updated. So far the rumors of the aFe intake causing loss of power has been debunked even at the disadvantage it had with the temps vs stock intake with K&N drop in filter.

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    What were the numbers?
    Click here to enlarge


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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Forcefed Click here to enlarge
    What were the numbers?
    I blurred them out per RENNtech's request not to show their test tune numbers online as the tune is still in the testing phase. The dyno graph denotes the improvement with the aFe intake

    For all readers here is the airflow diagram of the aFe intake for the N54 motor

    Click here to enlarge

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    So far, so good. I'm interested to see what it looks like and how it performs with the replacement snorkels.

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    What is the combinded area of the afe intake at it smallest for the two ducts entering the air box compared to the stock snorkel?
    Click here to enlarge
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  13. #13
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xbox_fan Click here to enlarge
    What is the combinded area of the afe intake at it smallest for the two ducts entering the air box compared to the stock snorkel?
    Not exactly sure what your asking. The right and left air ducts is a direct replacement for the stock snorkel, that remove the already present restriction on the stock snorkel for a more straight forward air flow to the air box as shown in the above post air flow diagram

    Hope this helps if this is what your asking for:

    Click here to enlargeClick here to enlarge

    These numbers however are based on the current product enclosed conditions rather than a completely sealed air box. So these numbers should be greater when completely sealing the air box or with their newer version when released

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    I checked out the photos on the website for the air snorkel replacements and, to be honest, the one that leads to the rear of the box looks like it has a really narrow, sharp turn. You may have had a better look at it. What are your thoughts?

    Click here to enlarge

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    Very glad they are actually taking this seriously! Great to see CFM reports and an attempt to draw ambient air but with larger combined duct opening.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by xbox_fan Click here to enlarge
    What is the combinded area of the afe intake at it smallest for the two ducts entering the air box compared to the stock snorkel?
    It is the same for Afe and stock. The small openings at the kidney grilles.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by SlicktopTTZ Click here to enlarge
    Very glad they are actually taking this seriously! Great to see CFM reports and an attempt to draw ambient air but with larger combined duct opening.
    The duct opening is not larger.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by GetSomeE92 Click here to enlarge
    I checked out the photos on the website for the air snorkel replacements and, to be honest, the one that leads to the rear of the box looks like it has a really narrow, sharp turn. You may have had a better look at it. What are your thoughts?

    Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

    From what I gathered, it could be CFM control. Not only will you have CFM pull on the air ducts you will have a higher force down of CFM air, greater than the CFM pull, during MPH increase. This is my opinion on this...The side inlet to the air box is alot bigger than what pic shows

    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    I did question this last year when I was researching this intake system and suggested the mouth opening to to be increased and this is the reply I got

    Dimitri,

    That neck down actually does not hinder the air. It actually speeds the air up. The total area of both tubes supplies more than enough air than your 335i needs. We design the tubes to slim down so that the air velocity is increased which is half of the performance equation.

    The filter is what controls how much air can come in. The intake tubes deal with the velocity. Consider when you turn your garden hose on full blast and it comes out at a slow speed. Add your thumb and the velocity increases. This analogy is the same with air flow.

    I hope this answers your questions, please let me know if you need anything further.

    Jason
    However, having this intake completely sealed will have a different characteristic from what aFe expereinced with it on a stock car.

    On the other hand I will have to wait till I get it so I can see it in person to know.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by 654 Click here to enlarge
    The duct opening is not larger.
    On the elite version that replaces the stock snorkel you are getting more volume of air to the air box than the stock

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BuraQ Click here to enlarge

    From what I gathered, it could be CFM control. Not only will you have CFM pull on the air ducts you will have a higher force down of CFM air, greater than the CFM pull, during MPH increase. This is my opinion on this...The side inlet to the air box is alot bigger than what pic shows:

    *snip*

    I did question this last year when I was researching this intake system and suggested the mouth opening to to be increased and this is the reply I got

    However, having this intake completely sealed will have a different characteristic from what aFe expereinced with it on a stock car.

    On the other hand I will have to wait till I get it so I can see it in person to know.
    Their response about velocity of the air seems plausible. The bend into the air box seems smooth enough, even if somewhat abrupt.

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    You can squeeze for velocity but that can also induce extra pressure losses.

    It looks like with both ducted openings open, it will have a decrease in pressure loss vs stock airbox, assuming the main (bigger) opening is the same square inches as the stock opening, and the filter media is equal or less restrictive than stock.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BuraQ Click here to enlarge
    Click here to enlarge

    From what I gathered, it could be CFM control. Not only will you have CFM pull on the air ducts you will have a higher force down of CFM air, greater than the CFM pull, during MPH increase. This is my opinion on this...The side inlet to the air box is alot bigger than what pic shows

    Click here to enlarge

    Click here to enlarge

    I did question this last year when I was researching this intake system and suggested the mouth opening to to be increased and this is the reply I got



    However, having this intake completely sealed will have a different characteristic from what aFe expereinced with it on a stock car.

    On the other hand I will have to wait till I get it so I can see it in person to know.
    They are correct in that the mouth opening is big enough for a stock 335i or a mildly tuned one.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by BuraQ Click here to enlarge
    On the elite version that replaces the stock snorkel you are getting more volume of air to the air box than the stock
    That's good, because the stock mouth opening is not enough for a heavily tuned car.

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    Will you give the snorkels of the Elite version a try to see how they compare vs stock and vs the standard sealed intake?

    Also, what's your take on the fact that most gains are in the mid-rpm band? I expected the biggest difference at peak rpm.

    Great review btw!! Click here to enlarge

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
    Will you give the snorkels of the Elite version a try to see how they compare vs stock and vs the standard sealed intake?
    Yup...that is on the map to do with in the next month if the pockets permit

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
    Also, what's your take on the fact that most gains are in the mid-rpm band? I expected the biggest difference at peak rpm.

    Great review btw!! Click here to enlarge
    Alot of it could be the tune, but yet again based on the design of the aFe intake system we would see more results in real world conditions rather than on a dyno platform as there will be much more forced air hitting the air scoops to the air ducts.

    I will be ordering a Dashdaq soon for logging, so this will give us more details

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