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  1. #1
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    N54 AT: Looking for Cooling Upgrades

    Hey all,

    As of right now I am looking at upgrading the cooling systems of my car, a FBO 335i AT 2008. I need a little help/advice on doing so, however.

    First off, let me start by saying that I have the stock oil cooler from the factory with the stock thermostat, as well as the Helix FMIC to control IAT's. I also have the aFe sealed intake box. I live in South Florida, where I see 240-250 oil temps all the time, and this is higher than I would like to be operating at. Ideally, I would like to be around 210-220 on the street, and during a track session, no higher than 250. This brings me to my options I have researched thus far with a budget of around 1,000 dollars or less:

    AR Design Oil cooler-- I like how it retains the stock oil cooler, and I can use BMS's thermostat delete with this. Problem with this option is I was reading Alpina B3 Lux's review on this product, and apparently the core blocks about half of the stock intake snorkel, which is the primary area I get my air from. Also, being an AT, I need to keep as much rad surface area as possible to avoid higher coolant temps than I would like. I know airflow can pass through AR's core and into the rad, but it seems like that may be less than ideal? SO far, this seems to be the best option, as I have also considered doing the PPK rad retrofit (more on that later)

    STETT Stage 2-- Looks as if it replaces the stock core. I don't know if I want to go this route if it costs more than AR's kit, and essentially has less overall surface area than the stock+AR combo. I like the fact that it uses a 180F thermostat, as it will allow for proper oil warm up procedure. I also like how it dousn't interfere with the radiator at all. I know some users have experienced line leakage problems, but it seems as if aftermarket steel lines solve the problem (I don't think this should be required from a kit the price STETT charges)

    ER Sport Oil Cooler (Competition out of my price range)-- Not sure how good of an upgrade this will be for me, if I already have the stock OC. If it keeps me around 210-230 on the street and dousn't pass that, I would be interested however.

    As of right now I am leaning towards going with AR's kit, but I would like to hear some of your experiences with various OC options, and how your temps look on the street and road course. These options mentioned above are the top three I have come to in my research on this topic, but I would like to see if anybody has had sucess with other kits. I am not a DIY person, I would prefer a kit specifically made for the car I can purchase and hook up right away. I was also looking into the PPK aux radiator option, considering I could do this as a secondary option, and live with a thermostat delete on my stock oil cooler for now if this PPK rad really helps coolant temps. In the end, I am wanting to solve both heat from coolant and oil, but will do which ever will net me more of a benefit in the mean time. Has anyone here retrofitted the PPK radiator without buying the PPK tune (As I am on COBB)? If so, what were the part #'s/final costs?

    Thank you for your time, I am looking foward to hearing your opinions on my choices and/or PPK aux radiator thoughts as I know AT guys need to worry about coolant temps more so than MT guys. Also on my to do list is the M-Tech front bumper, to get more frontal surface area to benefit airflow to these various cores.
    Nick

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    Have you looked into transmission cooling or water wetter? I used water wetter and saw about a 10 degree reduction in oil temps. Cooling the transmission fluid before it makes it to the oil/water heat exchanger by using an oil/air cooler would reduce the thermal load on the engine cooling system, and it would help make your ATF last longer.

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    The biggest difference should be a properly flushed cooling system running only water + "water wetter" type coolant additives with surfactants and water pump lubricants. Getting rid of a glycol where it's not needed (soflo) will only help you. Water wetter does work and is worth the $. It will drop about 10'F water temp on most cars.

    Also, take a look at @Terry@BMS ' low-temp oil thermostat replacement http://www.burgertuning.com/upgrades.html for $59. I believe he said testing dropped oil temps about 20'F. Cheap and easy IMO but I've never tried it.

    I've heard some folks say removing the rubber seal along the cowl (to hood) lets a lot of hot air out of the engine bay and some said it literally helped keep the engine cooler resulting in less oil vaporization and less smoking on c@tless exhaust.

    Last, I've always wondered removing some or all of the plastic panels under the engine would result in significantly better cooling. All that heat needs to go somewhere...

    my 3c

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    Modern engines with direct injection are designed to be run at 240-260. If you are at 280 constantly you need to run a bigger core in the wheel well to enable the thermostat governed temps. OC in front of radiator just heats up your radiator and coolant which you cannot afford being AT.

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    Thanks guys. Looks like I should be focusing more on my coolant temperatures then, because during street driving I never see over 250 oil temps. Maybe I should just do the BMS thermostat delete and PPK radiator then? That way nothing would block my radiator and I can have maximum coolant cooling. The dealer replaced my coolant 1,000 miles ago with the turbos, and I always seem to have low coolant from it burning off I suppose. So I have whatever the dealer did in the coolant replacement, plus about 1 bottle of water added.

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    What was the original problem if any? Did you have symptoms related to either coolant or oil temps?

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    I will trade you my Dinan OC for your Cobb AP Click here to enlarge . Its got less than 300 miles on it from my previous E92 and been garaged since

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    I have the ER Sports edition oil cooler and the PPK aux radiator for my car. The temps for my car after a long drive usually sits between 230-240F. It has never passed 250F.

    I was contemplating getting the dual oil cooler, but the aux radiator takes up the space on the driver side.

    To improve the engine oil cooling there are two things you should do and you're already on the right path. Get a low temperature thermostat or the thermostat bypass by BMS, since the stock one still regulates the flow at 220F. And a slightly bigger radiator, that's probably the most cost effective way for you. As for which cooler to get, I would suggest the ER sports edition, since you can always add another one in the future without much hassle. And I've seen negative reviews on the AR oil cooler.

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    If you're tracking your car, you should absolutely not have glycol based coolant in your car. Once it gets on the track it's very hard to wipe it up vs water and presents hazards to other drivers afterwards. Whatever sanctioning body is responsible for the event usually puts that in their rulebook but it's rarely enforced. That would be at the top of my list if tracking a car in a warm climate, primarily for the cooling benefits but also because a 50/50 mix is completely unneeded if you're never going to see freezing temperatures. Don't use tap water though, it'll scale up the radiator pretty quickly. Use distilled or at least descaled water.

    You should probably find a safe place off-track to beat on your car a bit and log the oil and coolant temp and review.

    I lease my BMWs and if I really wanted to hang onto one, esp if I tracked it, I'd change the oil every 4-5k mi and keep street oil temps down around 210-220F max.

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    BavarianBullet is right on about Glycol. It is mainly used to prevent the water from freezing, it does raise the boiling point, but so does the pressure the coolant system is designed to run under. The pressure alone should be enough to prevent the water from boiling (see http://docs.engineeringtoolbox.com/d...emperature.pdf). Glycol actually reduces the ability of the cooling system to remove heat, but it is necessary in cold climates because of freezing.

    I think our coolant systems are about 8 quarts, so you use 8 ounces of water wetter.

    Oh, and make sure you use distilled or de-ionized water only in the coolant system.

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    Thanks all for the comments. During street driving, my coolant temps are generally around 220-230. As I said previously, my dealer did a coolant flush on my car during my turbo job, about 1,000 miles ago. I added about a full bottle of water to the coolant overflow tank, drinking water from Publix to top it off and bring it to it's max level. I probably should have used distilled water, but didn't. As of right now I am looking into how to retrofit the PPK radiator, part numbers/pricing/how to. As of right now, I think I am going to be using BMS's thermostat delete on my oil cooler to help keep oil temps in check meantime, but will probably go with ER's Sport.

    Regarding the water wetter, should I flush the coolant again, add 8oz of water wetter, and the rest distilled? Right now my coolant seems to burn off fairly quickly.

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    I would drain the coolant once and fill with distilled water. Do the water pump bleed then bring the vehicle to operating temp to open the thermostat. Then drain the coolant again ( I recommend letting the vehicle cool some first Click here to enlarge), and fill with distilled water and water wetter. Bleed the coolant system again and that should remove almost all of the glycol.

    You may have to look into the best way to drain the coolant system. I think I drained the radiator and also removed one of the hoses from the transmission cooler.

    The reason you only should use distilled or de-ionized water is because all other water (tap water, bottled water, etc.) contains minerals. They actually add minerals to bottled water for taste. These minerals can build up in the cooling system and cause premature failure.

    I think it is very strange that you are losing coolant. How much do you lose over time?

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ajm8127 Click here to enlarge
    I would drain the coolant once and fill with distilled water. Do the water pump bleed then bring the vehicle to operating temp to open the thermostat. Then drain the coolant again ( I recommend letting the vehicle cool some first Click here to enlarge), and fill with distilled water and water wetter. Bleed the coolant system again and that should remove almost all of the glycol.

    You may have to look into the best way to drain the coolant system. I think I drained the radiator and also removed one of the hoses from the transmission cooler.

    The reason you only should use distilled or de-ionized water is because all other water (tap water, bottled water, etc.) contains minerals. They actually add minerals to bottled water for taste. These minerals can build up in the cooling system and cause premature failure.

    I think it is very strange that you are losing coolant. How much do you lose over time?
    I tend to go down from the little red dipstick being at the max level, down to the top of the dipstick being level with the overflow tank top in about 1,000 miles. (About an inch). I also do only 12 miles a day round trip.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by jyeah Click here to enlarge
    I have the ER Sports edition oil cooler and the PPK aux radiator for my car. The temps for my car after a long drive usually sits between 230-240F. It has never passed 250F.

    I was contemplating getting the dual oil cooler, but the aux radiator takes up the space on the driver side.

    To improve the engine oil cooling there are two things you should do and you're already on the right path. Get a low temperature thermostat or the thermostat bypass by BMS, since the stock one still regulates the flow at 220F. And a slightly bigger radiator, that's probably the most cost effective way for you. As for which cooler to get, I would suggest the ER sports edition, since you can always add another one in the future without much hassle. And I've seen negative reviews on the AR oil cooler.
    Did you retrofit the PPK cooler?

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    Yeah, it was retrofitted to my E90 when I purchased the PPK v2 upgrade.

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    I have the ER Sports Oilcooler, the AR oilcooler in front of the radiator and the PPK radiator in the driver side footwell.

    My observations are the following: The AR OC won't do much. At the time of purchase there were no other options around but now we namely can get the ER Sports OC. And THAT is a huge improvement over stock! I haven't had oil temp issues ever since I got that upgrade.

    Yet, my car was getting power reduced on the racetrack due to high coolant temps. Which lead me to installing the PPK radiator. And there is no certain verdict about that product. What I did notice is that coolant temps would go down faster again with this radiator. However peak temps would still be a problem and can lead to power reduction within 10 minutes of hard tracking in summer heat! Clearly, for street driving, none of this will be an issue anymore with all these upgrades but on the track it sure is. The root problem is that the 6AT is connected to the main radiator and the lower 3 rows of the core are used as a heat exchanger with the engine coolant. This is good to get engine temps to operating range faster. But it ucks at the track where the hot transmission oil will heat the coolant up even further!

    Which leads me to my next project, which should be done shortly and which WILL solve this problem once and for all: a dedicated transmission cooler.

    Here's what needs to be done:

    - Install a cooler below the PPK radiator or in front of the main radiator.
    - Connect this core to the transmission using stainless lines with AN fittings.
    - Block off the connections to the stock radiator permanently.

    DONE! Click here to enlarge

    One could even add a thermostat.

    In any case that's what needs to be done to get the 6AT track-ready. And I can assure it works since I've seen a shop do this custom job on an Alpina 3S which is driven VERY hard on the track and which used to suffer from the same issues as we do.

    Now if any vendor could commercially produce such a kit, I'm sure it would sell like hot pancakes!
    E92 335i SB / Black Leather / 6AT / Navi Prof / Sunroof / Active Steering
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    Next: GTS Wing

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
    I have the ER Sports Oilcooler, the AR oilcooler in front of the radiator and the PPK radiator in the driver side footwell.

    My observations are the following: The AR OC won't do much. At the time of purchase there were no other options around but now we namely can get the ER Sports OC. And THAT is a huge improvement over stock! I haven't had oil temp issues ever since I got that upgrade.

    Yet, my car was getting power reduced on the racetrack due to high coolant temps. Which lead me to installing the PPK radiator. And there is no certain verdict about that product. What I did notice is that coolant temps would go down faster again with this radiator. However peak temps would still be a problem and can lead to power reduction within 10 minutes of hard tracking in summer heat! Clearly, for street driving, none of this will be an issue anymore with all these upgrades but on the track it sure is. The root problem is that the 6AT is connected to the main radiator and the lower 3 rows of the core are used as a heat exchanger with the engine coolant. This is good to get engine temps to operating range faster. But it ucks at the track where the hot transmission oil will heat the coolant up even further!

    Which leads me to my next project, which should be done shortly and which WILL solve this problem once and for all: a dedicated transmission cooler.

    Here's what needs to be done:

    - Install a cooler below the PPK radiator or in front of the main radiator.
    - Connect this core to the transmission using stainless lines with AN fittings.
    - Block off the connections to the stock radiator permanently.

    DONE! Click here to enlarge

    One could even add a thermostat.

    In any case that's what needs to be done to get the 6AT track-ready. And I can assure it works since I've seen a shop do this custom job on an Alpina 3S which is driven VERY hard on the track and which used to suffer from the same issues as we do.

    Now if any vendor could commercially produce such a kit, I'm sure it would sell like hot pancakes!
    Removing the AR from the front of the radiator could help already as the spot in the radiator behind the current AR would receive cold air instead of hot air increasing the cooling capacity.

  18. #18
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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Autobahn335i Click here to enlarge
    I have the ER Sports Oilcooler, the AR oilcooler in front of the radiator and the PPK radiator in the driver side footwell.

    My observations are the following: The AR OC won't do much. At the time of purchase there were no other options around but now we namely can get the ER Sports OC. And THAT is a huge improvement over stock! I haven't had oil temp issues ever since I got that upgrade.

    Yet, my car was getting power reduced on the racetrack due to high coolant temps. Which lead me to installing the PPK radiator. And there is no certain verdict about that product. What I did notice is that coolant temps would go down faster again with this radiator. However peak temps would still be a problem and can lead to power reduction within 10 minutes of hard tracking in summer heat! Clearly, for street driving, none of this will be an issue anymore with all these upgrades but on the track it sure is. The root problem is that the 6AT is connected to the main radiator and the lower 3 rows of the core are used as a heat exchanger with the engine coolant. This is good to get engine temps to operating range faster. But it ucks at the track where the hot transmission oil will heat the coolant up even further!

    Which leads me to my next project, which should be done shortly and which WILL solve this problem once and for all: a dedicated transmission cooler.

    Here's what needs to be done:

    - Install a cooler below the PPK radiator or in front of the main radiator.
    - Connect this core to the transmission using stainless lines with AN fittings.
    - Block off the connections to the stock radiator permanently.

    DONE! Click here to enlarge

    One could even add a thermostat.

    In any case that's what needs to be done to get the 6AT track-ready. And I can assure it works since I've seen a shop do this custom job on an Alpina 3S which is driven VERY hard on the track and which used to suffer from the same issues as we do.

    Now if any vendor could commercially produce such a kit, I'm sure it would sell like hot pancakes!
    This goes along with what I am saying. The transmission dumps it's heat into the coolant, and the radiator needs to dissipate this heat. If you remove the heat from the ATF first, and then feed it through the stock ATF cooler to maintain operating temperature (I live in a place that gets cold), that would reduce the amount of heat the radiator is required to dissipate.

    Just like people install engine oil coolers in front of the passenger side wheel, an ATF cooler could be fit in front of the drivers wheel. Plumb it so the fluid goes to the aux cooler first, to remove heat, and then through the stock cooler to maintain operating temperature. I suppose if you lived in a warm place, you could totally disconnect the stock ATF cooler, but you should install a thermostat either way to bypass the aux cooler if the ATF temp is too low.

    If you do bypass the stock ATF cooler, you may want to have a look at the coolant system schematic to ensure those rows of the radiator are being used to cool the engine. It may require some hose routing to be changed, or the MT control sleeve to be purchased for the radiator.
    Eppur si muove.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by ajm8127 Click here to enlarge
    This goes along with what I am saying. The transmission dumps it's heat into the coolant, and the radiator needs to dissipate this heat. If you remove the heat from the ATF first, and then feed it through the stock ATF cooler to maintain operating temperature (I live in a place that gets cold), that would reduce the amount of heat the radiator is required to dissipate.

    Just like people install engine oil coolers in front of the passenger side wheel, an ATF cooler could be fit in front of the drivers wheel. Plumb it so the fluid goes to the aux cooler first, to remove heat, and then through the stock cooler to maintain operating temperature. I suppose if you lived in a warm place, you could totally disconnect the stock ATF cooler, but you should install a thermostat either way to bypass the aux cooler if the ATF temp is too low.

    If you do bypass the stock ATF cooler, you may want to have a look at the coolant system schematic to ensure those rows of the radiator are being used to cool the engine. It may require some hose routing to be changed, or the MT control sleeve to be purchased for the radiator.
    Let's say you had to choose between the Dinan oil cooler, and ER sport oil cooler, price not being a factor. Which would you choose?

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    LOL, love the avatar.

    I hate the ER cooler's rear louver piece. Looks pretty restrictive to airflow. I would come up with a different solution for the rear. Maybe the same piece, but with the louvers cut out and a piece of stainless screen riveted on. you can get such things from McMaster. If you go with the ER cooler, I would definitely get the shroud, as I see it's optional.

    The Dinan cooler is unbelievably over priced. I can't look past it although you asked me to. With the money saved on the Dinan cooler, you may be able to get a driver's side shroud and an extra cooler from ER, and adapt that to use as a transmission cooler. Maybe jut buy the competition ER cooler and use the drivers side for the transmission. But fix those louvers - they are horrid.

    With some small tweaks, I would get the ER competition cooler and use the drives side for the transmission. If you want a hassle-less experience with no custom DIY stuff, get the Dinan, but you should still address the transmission somehow for the road course.
    Eppur si muove.

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    So you chose which one?

    And @E90Company and @ajm8127 I think I have been confusing you both for a week.
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    1 out of 1 members liked this post. Yes Reputation No
    LOL @Sticky look at the stats too, pretty damn similar. Join date, posts and mentions off by one, etc.

    As of right now, I won't be doing anything. In about a month or two, I think I will be going with ER's sport oil cooler and BMW's aux PPK radiator, but connecting that to the transmission, at the same time changing my trans fluid even though I have 23,000 miles. I had a "little" incident that some local guys know about (lol) that needs to get fixed first and that's where my money is going right now. So far I'm up to two tires, a control arm, and a bent rim if you can guess.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
    So you chose which one?

    And @E90Company and @ajm8127 I think I have been confusing you both for a week.
    Lol. That's because @E90Company stole my avatar idea.
    Eppur si muove.

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    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by E90Company Click here to enlarge
    LOL @Sticky look at the stats too, pretty damn similar. Join date, posts and mentions off by one, etc.

    As of right now, I won't be doing anything. In about a month or two, I think I will be going with ER's sport oil cooler and BMW's aux PPK radiator, but connecting that to the transmission, at the same time changing my trans fluid even though I have 23,000 miles. I had a "little" incident that some local guys know about (lol) that needs to get fixed first and that's where my money is going right now. So far I'm up to two tires, a control arm, and a bent rim if you can guess.
    Hey there! Found this post as I'm also interested in keeping things cooler...how did this turn out for you? Also, I'm curious how you ordered the PPK radiator separately from the full PPK package. Thanks in advance for your response!
    2008 E90 335xi AT 58K MILES - FAILING XFER CASE MOUNT
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    Hey bud, as you know i am also in miami/broward...first thing i did years ago is address the cooling issue as i took the car to road courses.....i have the ER dual setup (i am sure the sport will work for street) and have done the thermostat delete (cheap version by taking the plunger out with spring and putting the plunger in first then spring behind to keep the plunger in place....essentiall what the BMS plug does)....i daily drive 30-40 min each way to/from work...in the summer....220 max in traffic.....in winter months i hover in the 200-210 max....if you remove the cowl thats another -10 degress.

    i actually have some extra ER stainless steel oil lines and the adaptor for the oil cooler, so you would just need a core.......actually i stopped taking my car to the track so may disconnect the second core and willing to sell for decent price......maybe simon can hookup the install..pm me for info.
    let me know if this helps.

    Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by E90Company Click here to enlarge
    Let's say you had to choose between the Dinan oil cooler, and ER sport oil cooler, price not being a factor. Which would you choose?

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