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Cold Air Intake

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by lesreynolds, Jun 16, 2009.

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    lesreynolds

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    I would like to purchase a cold air intake for my 95 M3 but do not want to spend $285 on a K&N. Do any members out there have any suggestions for a cheaper alternative?
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    CRKrieger

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    Yeah. Use the stock intake. It is as good as, if not better than, anything else you'll find.

    NJHaupt guest

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    You're not going to be able to find a good one for less than $250 unless you buy it used, which I wouldn't recommend at all. TurnerMotorsport.com offers an aFe intake for $270, plus shipping while BavAuto.com has aFe intakes on sale from $255 to $308. Conforti intakes usually go for around $300. The best thing you could do to save might be to buy locally to avoid shipping costs (granted the tax in your state would add up to less than the shipping). And then, there's always eBay. But I really wouldn't recommend it. Realistically, you only get about a 4-8hp gain with a cold air intake and there's always the risk (albeit a very small one) of getting water into your filter. I'd recommend getting a chip if you don't already have one. It costs about the same, but the performance gains are much higher. A Dinan Stage 1 chip with give you an additional 12hp and 15lb/ft. of torque for $200. For $250, Turner Motorsport's Conforti chip will give you 19hp and 16lb/ft.. Look into underdrive pulley kits, too. They reduce the power provided for the alternator, water pump, and power steering pump. They'll still operate safely, but you can free up about 11hp for around $250. I guess I haven't presented much in the way of 'cheaper alternatives.' More like 'bang for your buck.'
    Hope it helps.
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    steven s

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    I like my Conforti CAI, although it is above what you are looking to spend.
    Whatever you do, be sure there is a heatshield.
    I have seen so many so called Cold Air Intakes that do nothing more than suck in warm air.
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    lesreynolds

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    Thank you for your replies and suggestions. Are there any drawbacks to adding performance chips to the original equipment?
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    steven s

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    Only thing I can see is the added cost in fuel. Chips generally require premium.
    The main reason I added a chip (flash ROM) was to bump up my rev limiter a bit.

    NJHaupt guest

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    Yea, aside from added fuel costs, there aren't many drawbacks. The only other one I could think of would be additional wear and tear to engine components that would come with being able to drive the car harder. But that's fairly obvious. Also, I'm not 100% sure on this, but I think if your car goes through inspection, you can get in trouble if a chip is found that removes the governor. If it turns out to be true, you can always just remove it before the car gets inspected and put it back on, afterward.
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    CRKrieger

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    I'd like to see any objective and verifiable proof of that.

    Realistically, you get zero.

    NJHaupt guest

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    I'm not here to argue.
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    CRKrieger

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    I'm not either. I don't mean to sound harsh, but K&N has been selling this BS to consumers for decades. Yes; their pseudo-filters might make a slight difference in power on a car with a less-than-optimal intake system like a Chevy, but no one has ever been able to show any proof that any BMW built since 1975 has that problem and certainly no one has offered any proof of a 4-8 hp gain from a CAI from K&N or anyone else or I'd be the first to be all over it.

    Listen closely to what they guarantee on their TV ads: "up to 10 horsepower". Well, zero is "up to 10". So is minus three ...

    Don't drink the Kool-Aid. ;)
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    granthr

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    I don't know about the HP gains but the Dinan CAI on my 328is Dinan S2 sounds awesome! :D It is pretty cool, but I don't know if I would buy it myself. I bought the car used with the S2 kit. So the cold air intake works with a Dinan enlarged throttle body and reflashed ECU w/ Dinan Software. So it is a package deal, which is probably the way to go if you are looking for increased power, but this kit is not cheap.
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    lesreynolds

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    Gentlemen:

    Thank you all for your kind replies and suggestions. I am not sure which way I am going to go but with money being the way it currently is, I am going to do nothing for a while. Maybe when my new, personal stimulus check comes in, I will have a little extra cash to spend.

    Thanks again for all your help.

    NJHaupt guest

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    I feel your pain, there. There's s much I want to do to my car, but I just don't have the money right now. So far, I've managed to swap my interior lights with xenon bulbs. Next, I think I'll black out my grille. It's much chaper to do it yourself than to go out and buy one.

    I suppose that makes sense. A lot of people buy intakes for the look and the sound they provide, not to mention it's almost always an easy install. Would it be more beneficial to buy an aftermarket air filter that just fits into the air box? Despite the lack of claimed power gains, it might be cheaper to have a filter that you can clean instead of swap out?
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    Dave93M325

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    C.R. Do you really think the increased HP claims of TMS and Conforti are totally untrue? They even include dyno charts comparing baseline and modified setups. I have the "large" element/large tubing Conforti intake (with full containment box that isolates the intake air from that passing through the radiator) on my 1995 M3 and am quite pleased with it. It pulls noticeably stronger on the track at 100+ MPH than with the stock air intake. I have not had it dyno tested, though.

    I entirely agree with your comment if applied to substituting a K&N air filter for a stock BMW paper element in a stock BMW air box. The stock paper elements when clean generally have better air flow (less pressure drop), due to more pleats which provide significantly more filter area.

    Dave R.
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    CRKrieger

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    I haven't seen those charts. Did they include the chip every time? There is a real benefit to chip tuning because it can change fuel delivery and ignition timing, but the CAI 'benefits' are supposedly twofold:
    1.) To provide cooler, denser air and
    2.) To provide more airflow
    If you look at a BMW air intake system, you can see it already is cool. If anything, many so-called 'CAI's actually provide hotter air, especially if they're unshielded cones under the hood. All BMWs since the late '60s draw air from in front of the radiator wall. It doesn't get any cooler.

    To analyze effective flow through an engine, you need to find the most restrictive point, whether it's in the intake, the exhaust, or, most important in a BMW, the head. Making the intake or the exhaust (or both) flow more doesn't do a bit of good if the head is the most restrictive point - and it is. A stock BMW intake and exhaust will carry more airflow than the stock head can handle unless you change the cam or do extensive and expensive machine work on the head. Offering it more than it can handle on the intake side is pointless. Offering more exhaust area than it can handle can actually be counterproductive if it needs the scavenging effect that good headers (including stock BMW's) provide.
    Do you have a chip in it? If so, you need to take it out to do a valid comparison - and you know why. If you'll recall, your stock intake didn't use any air that passed through the radiator, either.
    The biggest problem we as mere humans have is eliminating the 'butt dyno' factor. Most aftermarket induction systems are noisier and our butt dynos all think that's more power. Most of the time, it isn't.

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