Close

Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    349
    Rep Points
    544.8
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    6


    Reputation: Yes | No

    REVIEW: Oil cooler - VK Motorwerks + Setrab core / Alpina_B3_Lux

    Hello fellow Bimmerboost members,

    A few of you may know me from "the other forum" and it has been some time since I've been on this one here as well. As I'm not much in favour of the policy (the word comes from "police" I guess...) of E90post and more precisely at its way of handling conflicts (mostly by inflicting bans on members who have posted lots of useful information), I have also decided some time ago to join Bimmerboost.

    Some of you may know the reviews I've written so far, and I would like to make them available to Bimmerboost as well - together with some new ones and updates to the existing reviews. The present article is therefor one among several threads that I will be posting individually (to make them easier to find without having to wade through many posts in one thread).

    Almost all of these are performance oriented, and I will therefor post most of them in the N54 sub-section. @Sticky: If you think one or the other is better placed elsewhere, just move it there please.

    But enough of the preamble, here we go.

    ---


    REVIEW: Replacement for stock oil cooler / VK Motorwerks + Setrab core

    Why?

    As I've already mentioned in my earlier reviews on the various modifications done to my car, I've had the AR Design Oil Cooler (see here: http://www.ardesign.info/store/bmw-1...t-stage-1.html) installed in my car. It's the second version that is installed in front of the radiator and has a big Setrab core. Here are two photos of it installed but with the bumper removed for better visibility:

    AR Design oil cooler - installed (1)
    Click here to enlarge

    AR Design oil cooler - installed (2)
    Click here to enlarge

    The AR Design oil cooler already improved things quite a bit, and compared to the stock setup (note: all cars in Europe - so mine as well - already have the stock oil cooler installed!), the oil temperatures rose much slower and peaked considerably lower. After driving thousands of kilometers with it, I would say that the delta (i.e. the difference in temperature between the stock setup and the addition of the AR Design oil cooler) is roughly around 10 degrees Celsius.

    However, after switching from my initial Evotech flash (yielding around 400hp crank) to the GIAC stage 2 with even higher boost, I noticed that the oil temperatures were again too high: When going faster than 200 km/h, they rose to around 125 degrees Celsius (257 Fahrenheit), and if I went faster than 230 km/h, the temperatures even exceeded 130 degrees Celsius (266 Fahrenheit). Also, when driving with my car on the Nürburgring (Nordschleife), I also saw temperatures of slightly over 130 degrees Celsius.

    I'm driving quite often in Germany, and it's frequently possible to drive faster than 230-250 km/h (155 mph) for some time; furthermore, I'm going to the 'Ring on a regular basis. As a consequence, the reliability of my car and the absence of any oil temperature-induced limp mode (which I didn't see until now) is of considerable importance to me - and oil temperatures of 130 degrees Celsius or beyond are not improving the long-term reliability and stress the engine as well as the turbos. I do believe that if I were to run my car under these high oil temperatures, the resulting thermal stress on the components would - not immediately, but after a while - lead to failure of one or the other component, if not the engine or the turbos as such. That was, obviously, not acceptable to me and I was looking for ways to further improve the oil cooling of my car.


    How?

    I did some research and came upon three alternatives:
    Evolution Racewerks Sports Series Oil Cooler Upgrade Kit: This kit replaces the stock oil cooler with a bigger core (795 USD)
    STETT Performance oil cooler: Also replaces the stock core with a Setrab core, with the option of a thermostate delete or a modified thermostat.
    VK Motorwerks oil cooler upgrade kit: Similar to the two previous options, but doesn't use a Setrab core.

    Now, the problem for me was that I needed something that was compatible with my existing additional AR Design oil cooler which I didn't want to throw out as it did improve the oil temperatures. I was reasonably sure that the ER option would be compatible, as well as the VK Motorwerks one. As far as the STETT was concerned (a company that I had already bought several items from - Cold Air Intake, charge pipe - and that I was very satisfied with), I was doubtful about the thermostat modification: a great idea as such, certainly, but as I'm living in rather cold climates I feared that in winter the oil might not reach its operating temperature of slightly about 100 degrees Celsius. I excluded the VK Motorwerks option, too, as I knew several people that had experience leaks with it, due to the cutting of the oil cooler core that weakened its structure; I had even personally witnessed such an event.

    Luckily for me, a friend of mine was getting rid of his 335i and contacted me on whether I wanted to acquire his upgraded oil cooler - which was a VK Motorwerks set, but with a modified and much better Setrab core instead of the leak-prone one that VK Motorwerks installed. I was immediately interested, also knowing that another friend of mine was running this setup with upgraded turbos (E92Fan), and therefor bought it from him for a fair price, along with the necessary oil lines and adapter to hook it up to the stock cooling system.

    The installation was, according to my garage Daum Motorsport that installed it, fairly straightforward, in particular as it had already been installed on a similar car and therefor all necessary parts were there. Here are two photos that illustrate how this solution looks (I know that the second photo is not so illustrative but you can at least see that it's a very stealth solution and looks like OEM - but is far, far better):

    Comparison between stock oil cooler (left) and new Setrab core (right):
    Click here to enlarge

    Installation passenger wheel well (behind grille):
    Click here to enlarge


    Improvements?

    1) German Autobahn

    Click here to enlarge

    A few days after having picked up my car from the garage, I was driving on an unlimited portion of a German Autobahn, one that sees little traffic and is rather straight. I therefor "gave it the beans" (although I don't like beans that much…) and pushed the car to almost 300 km/h before letting off as I ran out of straight road. The oil temperature gauge went just slightly beyond 120 degrees Celsius, and it stayed there. Later on I drove for a few minutes between 230 and 260 km/h, and again the same picture presented itself. In the end, there seemed to be a delta in oil temperatures of around 10 degrees Celsius to the setup I had before. Excellent!

    2) Nürburgring
    Click here to enlarge

    I have done three full track days so far with this setup on the Nordschleife of the famous Nürburgring. Although the temperatures were not very high (we had a rather crappy summer here this year), even if pushing the car really hard I never saw temperatures beyond slightly above 120 degrees Celsius. I found this very reassuring, as it was therefor excluded to go into a limp mode or even stress the engine much due to high oil temperatures. There also seemed to be some margin - even if installing bigger turbos, at least the oil cooling should be sufficient.

    After having driven a considerable amount of kilometers with the upgraded RB turbos, I can confirm that the oil temperatures still remain within a safe margin - in any case below 130 degrees even if driving very fast. And that is without the AR Design oil cooler which I had to remove due to space issues (when installing the Alpina replica intake).


    Problems?

    None at all. Of course, the oil cooler itself is not cheap, and the installation takes a few hours - but the result is very well worth it.

    In summary, if you're running your N54 with high boost applications (like GIAC in my case, but cars with JB4 or PROcede or COBB will have similar issues) and drive it very fast for extended periods of time (i.e. tracking it or, when living in Europe, drive on unlimited German motorways), upgrading the oil cooler is definitely a must. In my opinion, a single upgrade will be enough for most; a double one like here - AR Design in parallel with an upgraded stock core - could be a good solution for demanding drivers.


    Still up to date?

    Yes!

    As mentioned above, I still have this upgraded stock oil cooler installed and am now running it without the AR Design oil cooler, which seems to be fine. If I were considering an oil cooler upgrade today, I would probably choose the Evolution Racewerks sports version which is very similar to what I'm running now; I would however upgrade the oil lines with proper dash lines.

    Alpina_B3_Lux
    Current: Audi R8 V10 2013 S-Tronic, daytona grey, carbon side blades, MTM tune, Michelin PSS tires, Capristo x-pipe
    Gone: Audi R8 V10 2010 manual, ice silver, grey side blades, MTM tune, MTM air filters, Michelin PSS tires
    Gone: BMW 335i Individual (Öhlins, PFC brakes, RB turbos etc.)

    Gone: Alpina B3 E46 3,3

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Stickys mouth
    Posts
    2,351
    Rep Points
    8.0
    Mentioned
    13 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    0


    Reputation: Yes | No
    Always enjoyed your through reviews on deletepost.com. Glad to see you over here and hopefully you don't look back. Fwiw All of the guys from the Chicago chat have migrated over here for the better because all of the horse$#@! that goes on at bimmerpost.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    117,681
    Rep Points
    31,507.9
    Mentioned
    2062 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    316


    Reputation: Yes | No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Alpina_B3_Lux Click here to enlarge
    Almost all of these are performance oriented, and I will therefor post most of them in the N54 sub-section. @Sticky : If you think one or the other is better placed elsewhere, just move it there please.
    I think you placed your reviews correctly but it would have been wise to space them out and not post them all at once as they will get lost in the shuffle. Also, you should have waited until your entry into the contest so you would get the rep boost from making threads.

    Regardless, I'll manually give you some points and I appreciate the contribution but try not to make it one big clump of threads.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    349
    Rep Points
    544.8
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    6



    Reputation: Yes | No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    I think you placed your reviews correctly but it would have been wise to space them out and not post them all at once as they will get lost in the shuffle. Also, you should have waited until your entry into the contest so you would get the rep boost from making threads.

    Regardless, I'll manually give you some points and I appreciate the contribution but try not to make it one big clump of threads.
    I only have a very limited amount of time to post these threads, let a lone write them. I also would have liked to space them out more, but that was not possible. I think people will still be able to find them through the search function, just as they do on the other forum where I receive a constant stream of questions about them.

    Alpina_B3_Lux
    Current: Audi R8 V10 2013 S-Tronic, daytona grey, carbon side blades, MTM tune, Michelin PSS tires, Capristo x-pipe
    Gone: Audi R8 V10 2010 manual, ice silver, grey side blades, MTM tune, MTM air filters, Michelin PSS tires
    Gone: BMW 335i Individual (Öhlins, PFC brakes, RB turbos etc.)

    Gone: Alpina B3 E46 3,3

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    3,268
    Rep Points
    1,418.2
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    15


    Reputation: Yes | No
    So... because the AR one is radiator mounted (this doesn't get in the way of actual coolant temps?).. the VK one goes more in the stock position?

    how exactly do they work together? is it sorta like.. Filter housing>Cooler1>cooler2>filter housing ? and all the oil lines run in fine like this?

    i'm not sure i've seen anyone run multiple oil coolers like this, definitely something i'd look into since my #1 priority is reliability Click here to enlarge

    ED: wait.. you removed your AR design one because of your intake? .. ah ok... so this one fits straight where the OE cooler is, but is even better than the AR one.. is it better with or without the AR one?

    so if temps with both coolers were around the 120 mark, what are they like with the single VK?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    349
    Rep Points
    544.8
    Mentioned
    10 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    6



    Reputation: Yes | No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
    So... because the AR one is radiator mounted (this doesn't get in the way of actual coolant temps?).. the VK one goes more in the stock position?

    how exactly do they work together? is it sorta like.. Filter housing>Cooler1>cooler2>filter housing ? and all the oil lines run in fine like this?

    i'm not sure i've seen anyone run multiple oil coolers like this, definitely something i'd look into since my #1 priority is reliability Click here to enlarge

    ED: wait.. you removed your AR design one because of your intake? .. ah ok... so this one fits straight where the OE cooler is, but is even better than the AR one.. is it better with or without the AR one?

    so if temps with both coolers were around the 120 mark, what are they like with the single VK?
    I think I described everything in my review...yes the AR Design was installed in front of the radiator, yes the VK one was a replacement of the stock cooler with a much larger core, yes there is no problems with the oil lines or anything else.

    I don't see much difference between when I still had the AR Design one installed and now. Which is why I mentioned that if I were to do this again today I would choose the Evolution Racewerks sports cooler which is basically the same as my current setup.

    Alpina_B3_Lux
    Current: Audi R8 V10 2013 S-Tronic, daytona grey, carbon side blades, MTM tune, Michelin PSS tires, Capristo x-pipe
    Gone: Audi R8 V10 2010 manual, ice silver, grey side blades, MTM tune, MTM air filters, Michelin PSS tires
    Gone: BMW 335i Individual (Öhlins, PFC brakes, RB turbos etc.)

    Gone: Alpina B3 E46 3,3

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Luxembourg
    Posts
    1,191
    Rep Points
    917.6
    Mentioned
    12 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    10


    Reputation: Yes | No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
    So... because the AR one is radiator mounted (this doesn't get in the way of actual coolant temps?).. the VK one goes more in the stock position?

    how exactly do they work together? is it sorta like.. Filter housing>Cooler1>cooler2>filter housing ? and all the oil lines run in fine like this?
    i'm not sure i've seen anyone run multiple oil coolers like this, definitely something i'd look into since my #1 priority is reliability Click here to enlarge
    ?
    I have both the ER sports oilcooler (replacement for stock OC) and the AR Design OC (in front of the radiator) on my car.

    The ER OC was purchased last and it had a much bigger effect on oil temps compared to my previous stock + AR setup. I was thinking about removing the AR OC but didn't want to dump more money into it. So now I just run both of them in parallel.
    E92 335i SB / Black Leather / 6AT / Navi Prof / Sunroof / Active Steering
    Mods: Performance Seats / Performance Exhaust / RB Turbos / M3 CF Roof / Brembo GT BBK 355/345 / Rollcage / M3 Mirrors / Forge FMIC / QUAIFE LSD / Ohlins R&T / M3 Suspension Parts / Vorshlag Camberplates / Megan Toe Links / LeatherZ Gauges / Extended M3 DCT Paddles / ER Sports OC / AR OC / Aux Radiator / AR catted DP / COBB Pro-Tune
    Next: GTS Wing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Brisbane, Australia
    Posts
    3,268
    Rep Points
    1,418.2
    Mentioned
    53 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    15


    Reputation: Yes | No
    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Alpina_B3_Lux Click here to enlarge
    I think I described everything in my review...yes the AR Design was installed in front of the radiator, yes the VK one was a replacement of the stock cooler with a much larger core, yes there is no problems with the oil lines or anything else.

    I don't see much difference between when I still had the AR Design one installed and now. Which is why I mentioned that if I were to do this again today I would choose the Evolution Racewerks sports cooler which is basically the same as my current setup.

    Alpina_B3_Lux
    ahh, cool, thankyou.. i'm after prettymuch whatever would be the best setup to keep my temps down, the ER one looks pretty awesome, also has the twincooler option

    the Stett one looks like it has a fair bit of work put into it too though, thermostat replacement/delete etc... more research required >_<

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Valley Stream NY
    Posts
    3,297
    Rep Points
    2,756.8
    Mentioned
    85 Post(s)
    Rep Power
    28


    Reputation: Yes | No
    thats crazy that some of you guys in Europe run both big oil coolers! Here no one even bothers to do the oil cooler upgrade, unless they can get a factory one retrofitted for free by the dealer. Its so hard to try and sell someone an upgraded oil cooler for reliability reasons because 95% of the people that come in the door are looking for power and power alone.

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •