G Power Supercharger

* g-power supercharger with 405 hp

* complete stainless steel exhaust system

* Porsche brake with 322mm brake discs

* KW-height and hardness adjustable suspension (very low)

* No Door Locks

* No rear Screen Wiper

* No antenna

* No BMW signs

* Rear spoiler in car colour

* Strut brace

* wheel spacers 5mm front, 20mm rear

* 265/40 on rear axis

* Plastic coated wheels (black)

* White indicator bulbs front and rear

* clutch stop

* 32cm diameter steering wheel with full size airbag

Coming Soon… More details and photos

Under The Hood

Before – One of the pleasures of owning an M roadser is to show off your engine.

After – I decided to add a little more spice in the look of it. I started to add some chrome accent. Most of the parts came from Ron J. Stygar expect for the strut bar, which came from Paul Ebeyer Sr.

After – Here’s what I’ve added;

* Battery Ground post

* Diagnostic connector cap

* Engine Lift point

* Oil filter lid

* Oil filter cap

* Radiator Cap

* Steering pump cap

* Radiator Spacer screws

* Valve cover nuts and washers

* Various Z8 nuts

* Windshield wiper jug screw

After doing so I felt that I could go the extra mile and have my valve cover and fuel line cover painted in Imola Red. Needless to say that I was really impress with the result.

I bought a new set of cover since I have use a lot of Armorall of these cover. My dealer told me that even if he would prep the cover very well, I could end up with fish eye on the cover.

After – Here’s the part number for the covers

* 11-12-1-404-466 – BMW M Power valve cover

* 13-54-1-740-160 – Fuel line cover

This really didn’t bring any power to the car but it sure looks more beautiful.

Cleaning the Conforti Air Intake System

I’m a big fan of the Conforti Air Intake System, since installation the unit has not given me any trouble and has offered great performance (plus it sounds good). But the time had come to clean the filter. Thankfully cleaning this air intake is nowhere near as involved as cleaning the dinan air intake.

I simply unscrewed the bracket around the filter and then gave the filter a light tug. Once removed, I beat the dust off the filter with my hand then used water to flush it clean. I let it sit awhile to dry, then sprayed some more of that dust catching spray that came with the Conforti kit on the filter and reinstalled it. Later I was informed that soap and water is the recommended cleaning method.

While the filter was drying I looked at the area under the filer, there was a lot of sand and debris in there so I used a shop vac to clean up the area. Once everything was back together I went for a drive to see how much more power I could feel…. couldn’t tell a bit of difference, oh well cleaner is better anyway.

2.8 SuperTrapp Exhaust

Subject: Muffler system upgrade for a 2000 2.8 Z3 Roadster
Cost: $150 for the exhaust plus installation (approx $75), I just checked the website and the price increased to $160.
Good: Customizable sound & performance, low cost AND lightweight
Bad: Non-that I am aware of at this time.

Why do this: As the immortal Tim Allen said “MORE POWER”. One of the first things I did to get more power out of my 2.8 was to Fogg the cold air intake (CAI). Even though Shawn never did a 2000 2.8, I took his ideas and suggestions from both his instruction on the 1.9 and from communications with the immortal himself and I was able to modify my CAI to work similar to his.

Of course this was not enough. So the hunt was on for a more affordable power upgrades. So I started looking into exhaust system replacements. I looked at every type possible, even asking about replacing the exhaust manifold and/or catalytic converter, not without screwing up my emissions & computer. So I concentrated my search to muffler replacement only. I looked at Bola, Dinan, Supersprint, etc. I searched for all types of information (horsepower increase, cost, material type, etc.) that would help me decide what muffler to purchase. I read all the articles from the MZ3 website on exhaust/muffler systems.

To my surprise, I found that all the stainless steel mufflers’ costs were in excess of $300 to $600!!!! Not including installation. Plus I was not convinced that the performance versus cost ratio was worth the money spent. I then remembered about the SuperTrapp system. They were primary an aftermarket motorcycle muffler. But, I saw them on cars in the past, about the late 70s. Plus I knew that they made systems that were stainless steel and lightweight. So the hunt was on.

First: I found their limited website http://www.supertrapp.com/default/atv_splash.htm not a great site to see what was available. But it did explain on how their system works.

Second: I found a supplier (there were not many in my area): http://www.racesearch.com, Part number: 543-2519, http://www.racesearch.com/CGI/mhp?mode=sbpn&pn=543-2519

Third: I found the one I wanted Stainless steel 5″, now granted if you called SuperTrapp & view the Z3 Coupe message board, they recommend that I use a 4″ system for horsepower up to 250 Hp. The 5″ system is rated up to 400 Hp. The reasons for the 5″ is simple with the wider inner diameter, the exhaust gasses would flow easier, less noisy and the 5″ outer diameter fills the factory muffler exhaust cutout nicer.

Arrow points to the location where the stock exhaust tube was cutWhen I had my muffler installed I had the installer hack off the original muffler and it’s supply piping back to the rear axle. If you look at the picture, you will see that the bend to the muffler has been reduced. He then made some custom hangers to hang the muffler at the stock points. Due to the heat generated from the exhaust gasses and the many discussions on the message board on melted bumper fascias due to the muffler. I instructed the installer to have the muffler hang a little lower and poke out more than normal. Giving it less of a chance of the muffler from melting the bumper fascia.

What is with the metal disks and cover???? The SuperTrapp muffler is basically a “glass pack”, where you have an inner tube that has holes and an outer tube that has insulation between the two tubes. Since there is no bends or baffles within the muffler, the gasses are unrestricted to flow toward the end of the pipe. Now the glass pack system has been around for a long time, if you had a hotrod or muscle car, you will know what I mean. Now for the metal disks and cover. The disks that you see on the side of the muffler are really spacers that have been stamped to allow the exhaust gasses to pass between two spacers. The metal cap is to help tune the performance of the muffler and car. Now the easiest way to explain this is to imagine that you have a large bucket with some holes in it. Now fill the bucket up with water, you will see that the water takes a long time to empty out. Now add more holes to the bucket and add water, you will now see that the water will empty out quicker than before. So the more holes you add the faster the water exits. Now there is more to the SuperTrapp system, which deals with vanturies that help pull the exhaust gases from the car. View the SuperTrapp website for more information.

Basically this is how this works with the car: The less spacers you install on the muffler, will produce more backpressure on to the system. Thus, increasing your torque, decreasing overall horsepower and a more quiet sound. With (6) spacers, the noise was a similar to my stock system. The more spacers you install on the muffler, it will reduce backpressure. Thus, decreasing your torque, increasing overall horsepower and a more robust sound. I ran both (12), (18) & (24-max) spacers. I normally run (24) spacers as a daily driver. Which is has a nice growl during idle and a cool roar during hard acceleration plus, I have had no complaints from my neighbors. I did try the system with NO spacers and it was too loud for normal driving.

I have raced my new exhaust with only (12) and no spacers, only to find that no spacers worked best. I will try my (24) spacer setup to see how it fares. Since the installation, I have not conducted a horsepower comparison, my fault. It will be hard to see if my new muffler has done anything, because I have done a ton of things to get this car quicker than stock. Check out my website for details: http://www.z3power.net

Summery: I am happy with the purchase of this muffler and I would do it again. In addition, if I did not have any performance gains in torque or horsepower, I have reduced the overall weight of the car. Which is always a good thing for our heavy cars.

Dinan ///M Air Intake

The ///M engine can benefit from additional air (mass) intake, however the Dinan design (specifically for the M roadster and M coupe) concerns me. Look at the picture below, the air filter is exposed in the lower air intake (front bumper). While this may provide additional performance I really question the long term effects. The K&N filter is rather durable, but what happens when it gets wet. I’ve heard a report of a check engine light coming on after a car wash. I also look at the amount of rock chips this section of my bumper has picked up and wonder how long a paper filter could last against this kind of impact abuse.

For these reasons I would not recommend the Dinan intake unless it was only for Autocrossing or Track use, even under those circumstances I question if the Dinan design has any advantage over the ECIS or Jim C design.

Update: I have been informed “Dinan is now shipping (for free) filter covers, a la K&N condoms, which are supposed to solve these issues”. I think this shows great customer service and reminds everyone why Dinan is such a popular company to do business with.

Dinan ///M Exhaust

Conforti/Shark Air Intake System

Pros: Factory appearance,improved performance,great sound
Cons: Slightly tricky installation
Cost: $449 plus shipping from Eurosport High Performance

Shark Intake

Publishing product reviews on the MZ3.Net is beginning to take on a life of its own! After I posted a complimentary article on Jim Conforti’s OBDII Performance Reprogram I received an e-mail from Josh MacMurray, head man at Eurosport High Performance in Salt Lake City. Eurosport is one of Conforti’s two national distributors, and Josh invited me to review Jim’s new Shark Air Intake System. I don’t need much prompting to try out the latest wrinkle on my M Roadster, and since I had already reviewed the ECIS Evolution Air Intake System I was anxious to see if the Shark Intake lives up to the great comments which have been appearing on the BMW bulletin boards. Eurosport arranged to ship me the appropriate system for my M Roadster, and the system arrived several days later carefully packed in styrofoam pellets with individual components of the system sealed in foil or plastic envelopes. Very neat!

The intake system consists of a molded plastic shield, an intake pipe with O-ring and clamps, an ITG Maxogen foam intake filter with a spray can of retention oil, plus all of the clamps, seals and fasteners required to complete the installation. The included instruction sheet is a model of clarity and features photos of critical steps in the removal of the stock air box and the installation of the Shark system. My first installation attempt ended almost before it began when I got too muscular with one of the intake pipe clamps and broke it off of the pipe. I e-mailed Eurosport and they responded immediately, overnighting a replacement intake pipe assembly. Comforting to know they’re ready to help out even the most ham handed! Josh MacMurray tells me that they have experienced about a three percent breakage rate for this part, a rate which they consider much too high, and have redesigned the clamp attachment point. The redesigned intake pipe should be available by the time this article is posted.

Given the new pipe, I completed the installation. Casual mechanics should have no problem with this 30-45 minute procedure as long as they pay attention to step 10 of the instructions which says in part; “Install the shield. Sounds simple, but it will require a little patience and wiggle technique.” Indeed!! If I hadn’t been forewarned, I might well have thought they sent me the wrong shield. But by applying “a little patience and wiggle technique” the shield did slip into place as promised. Once in place, the shield is fastened to existing mounting points, no drilling or fabrication required. I got a little nervous when the install was complete and I discovered that I had a few small parts left over, but a quick review of the instructions revealed that Conforti includes parts necessary for all versions of the six cylinder Z3, which vary in detail model to model.

Jim C has obviously gone to a lot of trouble to design a system which maintains a factory appearance under the hood. The black plastic intake pipe attaches to the mass air sensor with factory-like spring clamps and the black shield, with its seal, looks very much like the electronics bay next to the firewall on the right side of the engine compartment. The hose clamp which secures the ITG filter to the intake pipe appears to be identical to the BMW clamp which secures the rubber air duct to the back of the mass air sensor, and the ITG filter itself has a really businesslike look with black foam filter and aluminum trumpet. Very attractive! Not to enter into any ITG vs. K&N controversies, but a non-automotive friend of mine thought my own K&N looked like a pink lampshade. I’ve been reading posts on the BMW bulletin boards from lots of K&N owners who are switching to ITG just to improve under hood cosmetics. Additionally, the ITG is claimed to provide superior filtration ability, especially of harmful particles in the 10 to 20 micron range, and exceptional dust load up tolerance; the ability to absorb large amounts of dust without reducing air flow capacity

Road test time! On a brisk run on local farm roads my butt dyno senses a definite performance improvement, particularly at higher RPMs, accompanied by a subtle shriek approaching redline. Though I don’t have access to a dyno, several dyno runs on late model M3s equipped with the Shark Intake have appeared on the net. Eurosport provides a dyno sheet in Adobe Acrobat format, but to save time here’s the Eurosport Dyno Run as a .jpg file. Boston Performance Group, Inc. has also posted a comprehensive E36 Intake Shootout on their web site, including dyno runs, and both sources validate my butt dyno impressions (Editors Note: Web link removed, web page was no longer valid). If you’re buying the Shark Intake, seriously consider getting Jim C’s OBDII Performance Reprogram at the same time. The Conforti reprogram is great value and is optimized for use with the Shark Intake. The combination is my candidate for leading bang-for-the-buck performance enhancement for your Z3.

The FOGG/FONG’ed 2.8 Cold Air Intake

Pros: Increased performance, low cost, keeps stock air filter
Cons: Do not screw up cutting the plastic cover for the headlamp
Cost: $30 and 2 to 3 hours of your time

First I want to thank Shawn Fogg for the original idea to supply cold air to the intake, WITHOUT spending up to $500, and labor. His instruction and basic concept to modify the air intake helped me to modify the 2.8’s airbox & intake delivery system.

* Tools needed: 10-mm open/boxed end wrench.

* Metal File

* 8-mm ¼-inch socket wrench.

* 6″ long ¼-inch socket extension.

* Flat head screw driver-med.

* Philip head screw driver-med.

* Dremel & cutting wheel OR a keyhole saw.

* Magic marker.

* Hot glue gun with heavy-duty glue sticks.

* Hair dryer

* Things to Buy: Go to the nearest Home Depot or the like and in the ventilation section get an aluminum 5″ to 4″ duct adapter. This is a tubular piece to allow a 5″ hose to plug into a 4″ hose.

* Buy a 4-inch aluminum flexible duct tube. This will be the new air supply tube.

* Buy a 5-inch stainless steel hose clamp.

* Hot glue gun and heavy-duty glue sticks, if you do not have any.

** NOTE THAT ANY DIRECTIONS I MENTION IS IN BODY POSITION **

PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS. You will notice that the pictures show the completed product and not before modification.

1. Basic design of the 2.8 (00) airbox and air supply route: The stock unit’s air supply comes from the driver side of the radiator. It funnels through a 3.5 X 4.5-inch triangular opening.

2. That opening then feeds into a semi-enclosed space that surrounds the rear of the headlamp assembly and wire harness.

3. From there, the air funnels once more through a 3-inch tube that goes into the airbox.

4. The air passes through the filter then into another funnel (3-inches diameter) that leads to the air-mass sensor.

1. Making the Intake: First thing you need to do is to make the 4″ inlet out of the adapter you bought at Home Depot.

2. To do this on the expansion funnel (between the 4″ and 5″ tubes) you need to drill out the two rivets. This lets you separate the adapter into 3 pieces, the 4″ tube, the expansion funnel and the 5″ tube.

3. We only need the 4″ tube with the ‘rib’ on the side that was connected to the expansion funnel which opened up to the 5″ piece.

4. Using the hack saw, take the 4×36″ diameter tube and cut it down to 6 to 8-inches. Make sure that the tube IS NOT EXPANDED when you are measuring and cutting. This will become your inlet into the airbox.

5. Now dry fit the adapter and tube together. It will be a very tight fit. You might need to cut a 2″ slice, either on the tube or adapter, to make the tube slide onto the adapter correctly.

6. Once you are satisfied with the fit, take apart the tube and adapter and place it aside for later

1. Removing the 2.8 (00) airbox from the engine compartment: Remove the stock paper filter and holder from the airbox.

2. Use the flat head screwdriver to unfasten the (2) snap clips that holds the rubber hose & air mass sensor. Slide off the hose from the airbox. When removing the unit, there will be a rubber O-ring between the airbox & runner hose. Its purpose is to maintain a good seal between the plastic & rubber.

Tech Tip: When reinstalling the O-ring, install the O-ring, then wet your CLEAN finger and run it along the inside diameter of the O-ring. This will allow you to slide the rubber hose together with the plastic airbox when you are ready to reassemble the components.

3. Snap off the overfill hose from the radiator. It is located on top to the passenger side of the airbox.

4. To unbolt the airbox, you only need to unbolt (1) 10-mm nut, located on the driver side, plus the rubber hose to the engine. You do not need to undo the nut all the way.

5. Now this will take some fannagling, the small overfill hose to the radiator will be in the way during the removal of the airbox. To remove the airbox, you will need to pull & stretch the tubing around the airbox, as you are pulling the air box out of the engine compartment. The easiest way I was able to remove the air box is by stretching the tubing towards the passenger side of the airbox.

6. Once the airbox is out, you will want to clean out all the little bugs, dust and rocks the filter has trapped. It is also a good time to replace the filter – – mine had almost 18,000 miles.

1. Removing & modifying the air restrictions within the airbox for the 2.8 (00) When looking inside the airbox, you will see a plastic funnel that is attached to the driver side of the airbox. The funnel can be unattached by unscrewing the Phillips head screw on the outside wall of the airbox. The funnel can be pulled straight out of the airbox.

2. Now is time to put on your SAFETY GLASSES. You will be cutting the funnel in half. Starting at the widest portion of the funnel, (the side that empties into the airbox).

* Take the hacksaw and saw from the widest portion of the funnel towards the inlet of the funnel.

Tech Tip: There is a line that you can see that is called a parting line. The term is used for injection molded components. You can use the parting line as a guide.

* Now stop short of cutting into the ribbed area.

* Take the hacksaw and start cutting on the side that DOES NOT have the screw boss that attaches the funnel to the airbox. (You need to be able to remount this in the airbox).

* Use a file to smooth the edges. Then use a damp cloth to clean the surface. Once that is done, you may reinstall the modified funnel. Do not forget to use the screw to hold it back in place.

1. Removing the 2.8 (00) headlamp and fog lamp assemblies First, we will remove the fog lights (the easier of the two).

2. Using a medium sized flat head screw driver, remove the plastic cover that is towards the passenger side of the fog lamp.

3. You will see (2) 8-mm hex head bolts that hold the lamp in place. Remove them.

4. To remove the lamp assembly, just pivot the lamp from the passenger side edge and pull towards you (front of the car).

5. To remove the wiring, it is located behind the lamp. There are (2) pressure clips on either side of the wire harness. You might need to employ someone with small hands (your wife, girlfriend, your young son or me… LOL) to be able to reach behind the lamp and squeeze the clips together.

6. Once the wire harness has been released, remove the fog lamp and place in a safe spot.

7. Second is the headlamp assembly.

8. Located behind the lamp and in front of the airbox location. You will see a plastic housing that has the wiring for the headlamp going into through rubber grommets.

9. Those grommets are on plastic doors, that are removable from the plastic housing.

10. You will need to reach inside the housing to twist and remove the individual light bulbs from the headlamp.

Tech Tip: Do not touch the surfaces of the bulbs with your fingers (the oils from the skin will help DECREASE the life of the bulb).

11. Now is the fun part of unscrewing the headlamp from the car.

12. There are (4) 8-mm hex head bolts. You will need to use the 6-inch extension arm with the 8-mm socket.

Tech Tip: Use a magnet to magnetize your sockets. This will help you REMOVE and not loose the screws down within the car body.

* (2) are easy to see – they are located on top portion of the headlamp.

* (1) is on the passenger side, accessible through a steel hole.

* (1) is on the driver side accessible through a steel hole.

13. Once all the screw bolts are free, remove the headlamp and place in a safe location.

1. New Air Supply Tube You will notice once you have removed the headlamp, you will notice on the bottom portion of the plastic headlamp housing, there is a 2 ½-inch hole that appears to be plugged. How ever, you will be able to remove that plug by pressing in the (3) plastic clips towards the center of the hole. It will just fall down towards the fog lamp.

2. Now you get to cut things up. You will now follow the instructions of Shawn Fogg (with the necessary modifications to make it work for the 2.8 (MY00) Z3.

* When I cut my new air supply hole, I did not remove the plastic cover from the car. I believe that it is possible to remove it, but it would be a problem to remove and reinstall. BMW used a something similar to a drywall expander nail system. It is easy to remove the nail, but not too easy to remove the expander part that is in the wall. To remove either part, you would need to use flat head screw driver and needle nose pliers. You would have a greater chance of scratching the paint, during the removal of the units. That is why I left the plastic cover in.

* Now comes the fun part, you need to cut a 4″ hole where the stock hole is. Put the 4″ side of the inlet over the hole and draw a new circle on it with the marker. Do not center the new hole over the old one. You want the new hole to be as far to the passenger side of the box as you can make it. There is limited real estate to enlarge the hole. In addition, the surface of the area is not flat.

Tech Tip: INITIALLY CUT THE HOLE SMALL AND WORK YOUR WAY TO THE CORRECT SIZE. YOU ONLY GET TO CUT THE PLASTIC ONCE!

* If you have kept the plastic cover installed, I HIGHLY SUGGEST covering any exposed areas that hot plastic bits might fly to.

* Now PUT ON YOUR EYE PROTECTION!!!!! – Using whatever method you decided on, cut out that 4″ circle. This is the most time consuming part of the project. If you use a Dremel, you will experience hot, nearly liquid plastic flying around, so be careful!

* When I cut my hole, I had to make sure I had some land area to allow the new air supply funnel to be mounted on a semi-flat surface. This way it would be easy to apply the hot glue.

3. After you cut the hole, test fit the inlet into it. The inlet should fit through the hole but stop at the ‘rib’ on the inlet. For the test, it is easier if you just put the 4″ side through the top of the plastic cover. If you cannot get it to fit use the Dremel’s grinding wheel or a file to smooth and enlarge the hole. The fit needs to be tight as possible, WITHOUT distorting the inlet.

4. After you are satisfied with the fit, you may dry fit the aluminum tubing. This way you can determine if you need to resize the length of the tube.

5. Now is the time to clean the inside of the box.

6. Scrub out the inside of the air box with a brillo pad or something similar to remove all the plastic bits that got thrown around when you cut the hole.

7. Also, use a damp cloth to wipe down & remove any particles remaining.

8. After you get it all cleaned out, dry it.

9. Now put the inlet into the airbox for real.

10. Attach the aluminum tubing to the 4-inch adapter. Keep the aluminum tube UNSTRECHED and UNBENT. Do not attach the hose clamp at this time.

11. You will install the assembly from the TOP of the plastic cover (over the fog lamp). The side with the rib goes inside of the box with the 4″ tube & aluminum tube will be pointing down towards the fog lamp. The rib will keep the inlet from pulling through the box if you cut the hole properly.

12. Now slide the hose clamp from the bottom of the aluminum tube and tighten. Make sure to have it snug up against the bottom of the plastic cover. Do not overtighten the hose clamp as you could deform the inlet.

13. Now the top of the plastic cover, you will be applying hot glue between the rib and the floor of the plastic cover.

14. A slight air leak here isn’t critical, as it’s still before the air filter, but do the best you can. Do NOT use silicone glue as it could cause problems with your O2 sensors.

15. Let the glue cure for a hour, good time for a beer break – – if you are of legal age =:o

16. After the glue has cured, you will now need to stretch and bend the aluminum tube down and towards the front of the fog lamp assembly.

17. You will notice that my aluminum tube is bent slightly towards the plastic cover for the fog lamp. I am leaving that cover off to have a semi-ram-air effect to the air box. However, as Shawn said in his discoveries, he did not notice any difference when he place a scoop below the fog lamp. In addition, there was enough air movement going around the complete fog lamp to allow plenty of cold air to enter the tube.

18. The use of aluminum helps keep the tube in position and is easy to relocate, if you are not satisfied of its current placement.

19. You will need to use the fog lamp to determine good placement.

20. Once you are satisfied, reinstall everything like before.

21. One thing that I did before I drove my car with the modifications, was to disconnect the power from the battery for at least 24 hours. During the workweek is the best time.

22. Please note that I have NO modified computer chip. Therefore, I expect better results with persons who have the modified chip

* After thoughts: I did notice an increase of torque using my butt-seat-sensor. I sold my old G-tech unit, so I cannot verify any decrease of 0-60 times.

* The sound is deeper than stock.

* I still have the stock exhaust. I am looking at a Supersprint unit.

* I do not have a modified computer chip. I am debating between a Land Shark or a Dinan chip.

* Some people might be thinking why not just, run the new air supply from the fog lamp area to the air box directly. After talking with Shawn about Hydro-lock, I felt that connecting the tube all the way might up the possibility of it actually happening. Having the tube not connected will almost eliminate that chance.

ECIS – Evolution Air Intake System

Pros: Measurable performance improvement and great sound
Cons: I can’t think of any
Cost: $225 plus shipping from East Coast Intake Systems

I monitor the M3 bulletin boards regularly for news and opinions on performance modifications which might apply to my M Roadster, and there I saw quite a bit of favorable comment on the ECIS cold air intake system. ECIS stands for East Coast Intake Systems, and their product is called the Evolution Air Intake System. Common unshielded open air intakes seek to increase air flow by providing a larger air filter, but often produce less power than the factory air box because of the twin problems of turbulent fan wash and underhood heat. ECIS insures that the larger filter receives only cool, non-turbulent air by constructing a shield which completely isolates the filter from the engine compartment, receiving air from the same source as the factory filter box. They offer both their complete Evolution Air Intake System; consisting of their custom heat shield, mandrel bent inlet tube, 6″ K&N cone filter, brackets, silicone connection hose, clamps and detailed instructions for $225; or the heat shield alone for $70. The heat shield can be used with a number of aftermarket open filter systems available from BMP Design, Bavarian Autosport, and Turner Motorsport, as well as other aftermarket suppliers.

At the time I first read about ECIS they offered only systems for the M3, but I e-mailed them and quickly received a return message from Sean Cain at ECIS informing me that the M Roadster system was in the design stage and due out soon. Then, 45 days later, I got another message from Kenny Bernatsky of ECIS to let me know that the M Roadster system was now complete, with details available on the ECIS web page. Their web page provides just about all the info you need; photos, dyno runs, testimonials, an FAQ, and ordering information. The web page does not support on-line product ordering, but they have a handy order form which you can fill out and print, then mail with your check. I sent my order in that day and several days later received an e-mail from Kenny citing a delivery date and Airborne Express tracking number. My shipment arrived as promised, neatly packed. My relations with ECIS couldn’t have been better. Sean and Kenny answer inquiries promptly and keep in touch, qualities often absent with other web merchants. As I was writing this, I got a Christmas card from them. How’s that for customer service?

When I unpacked my carton from ECIS, I found the ECIS custom shield, the K&N filter, still packed in its original box, the various bits and pieces to attach the filter to the air flow meter, and a colorfully illustrated set of installation instructions. I was impressed to find that the silicone connection hose was in place on the inlet tube, held on by the loosely tightened hose clamps. No possibility that this amateur mechanic won’t know where the parts fit. More impressive still, a bolt which is required to attach the inlet tube support to a bracket on the inner fender of the car was carefully taped to the end of the support. For sure, this bolt isn’t going to be thrown out in the trash! The shield itself is a really neat piece. Constructed from lightweight, slightly flexible material which I believe is sheet fiberglass. The fiberglass was obviously cut from a single sheet, then folded and riveted into its final shape. The outside is finished with insulation which matches the car’s underhood finish, and the inside is sprayed with undercoating. The top edge of the shield is weather stripped to seal against the underside of the closed hood, fully enclosing the filter. Three holes are provided in the shield at the points where the shield mates to the air flow meter, the air inlet flange, and the car’s rubber air box support grommet. No holes need be drilled in the car in order to install the ECIS system. I had expected to provide a step-by-step installation guide, but ECIS’s instruction sheet is so well presented, and the installation so easy that I’m going to dive right into my driving impressions and performance testing.

On my first drive, my admittedly inexperienced butt dyno couldn’t detect any obvious performance improvement, but the engine seems to run smoother and, though not loud, the intake makes a low, pleasant moan which sure makes the car sound more powerful. My wife—she of the exquisitely sensitive hearing—approved of the new sound. More driving convinced me that, though not dramatic, the car did accelerate more forcefully, especially as it approached redline. I decided then to go back and perform before and after objective tests to validate the performance improvement my butt told me I had achieved.

The almost trivial installation procedure made returning the stock air box to the car a matter of, perhaps, ten minutes. Not wanting to torture the clutch, skin the rear tires, or invite the unwanted attention of the sheriff, standing start tests wouldn’t do. I decided to perform acceleration tests in second gear, timing from 1000 rpm to 6500 rpm. This test had the advantage of testing almost the entire rpm range, without having to exceed the speed limit. I drove the car hard for about 100 miles to insure that the ECU had readapted to the stock air box, then took the car out to a straight, flat section of country road nearby. I let the car settle at 1000 rpm in second, then started my watch as I floorboarded the accelerator, stopping my watch as the tach reached 6500 rpm. I timed eight runs, four in each direction, discarded the fastest and slowest times, then averaged the remaining six times. My average time for this series of tests was 5.71 seconds. I then reinstalled the ECIS intake, another ten minute job, and again drove the car hard for 100 miles to readapt the ECU. Another trip to the country road, using the same timing techniques as before, yielded an average time of 5.55 seconds, an improvement of .16 seconds.

So is the ECIS Evolution Air Intake System a worthwhile performance modification? For my money, the sound alone is worth the price of admission. Dealing with Sean and Kenny made the purchase really pleasant and I’m particularly impressed with the clarity of the instructions they provide. The system itself is well designed, with high quality construction. That it provably provides a small but measurable performance improvement is icing on a very large cake.

Dinan Strut Brace

Pros: Better Handling Characteristics, Keeps The Z3 Tighter In The Long Run
Cons: Need To Be Careful During Installation
Cost: $399

During the 1998 Z3 Homecoming I was walking around looking at all the vendor exhibits with Larry Nissen (BMW Tech). After we had seen most of the aftermarket products available I asked Larry “so what should I buy”. He replied “I would start with a good Strut Brace, it may help the handling a little now but where you will get your money back is three years down the road when your car is still as tight as it is now”. That sounded like good advice so we went back to the Dinan tent and as luck would have it I got the very last Dinan Strut Brace they had. I handed them my credit card and they installed it on sight (a process that took about 10 minutes).

My main concern with any strut brace was the low clearance available under the Z3 hood. I’ve heard of a few individuals denting their hood after installing a strut brace. The Dinan design has the lowest profile of the ones I have seen, but even with this low profile I still see some indications that it slightly rubs. There are some adjustments to the Z3 hood stops to slightly raise or lower the hood if you need additional clearance. I have not made any adjustments to the hood stops on my vehicle, I see that it is rubbing but this is after a year of use so I’m not concerned. But with ANY strut brace I would suggest being really cautious the first couple times you lower the hood to make sure you have enough clearance. One real good way to do this is to put silly putty or something similar on top of the brace and then lower the hood slowly until the hood latches or until you feel the brace contacting the hood. Then you can raise the hood, and see how much the silly putty got squished. Raise the hood stops if you need more clearance.

The strut brace attaches via three nuts and bolts that are part of the stock strut tower. Notice that the Dinan brace I received in 1998 has a notch that fits around the grounding plug. It appears Dinan has since redesigned the strut brace, I have seen pictures of a 1999 Dinan Strut Brace that has a different looking strut tower mount. The new design has a flat side instead of a complete circle. The newer design also appears to have a better black power coating on the strut tower mounts, where mine seems to just be painted.

One of the things I really like about the Dinan design is how the underside of the strut tower mount has machined groves that match the ridges in the strut tower. Before owning the M roadster I had a 1.9 Z3 and had installed a strut brace on it. That Strut Brace didn’t have the groves on it, instead it was a softer aluminum and the torque of the bolts would bend the strut tower mount around the strut tower ridges.

The brace itself is aluminum with the Dinan logo etched/engraved in the center. On either side of the Dinan logo are carbon fiber inserts which I assume are only there for cosmetic reasons. Overall the strut brace is very attractive.

The brace attaches to the strut mounts via some allen bolts that act like hinges. Once the Strut Brace is installed if you need to get access to the engine you can remove one of the allen bolts and raise the Strut Brace. (This had to be done when BMW needed to replace a crank sensor)

This is optional: BMW makes Strut Tower Caps that can be installed to keep dust and dirt from getting to the top of the strut tower. The part number is 31-33-1-133-729 they list for $3.75 each and you will need two of them. Installation was difficult, I had to soap the edges of the caps and push really hard to get them to snap down. A Z3 owner sent in a great tip that aided in his installation of these caps. He heated the caps with a hairdryer (which I’m assuming made the rubber temporarly softer) and used a rubber hammer to tap the caps down into place.

Since purchasing and installing these Strut Tower Caps I have been told that BMW makes another cap part number 31-33-1-129-512 that lists for $1.52 (remember to order 2). I’ve heard conflicting reports but it appears these strut tower caps might be even more difficult to install. Visually there is a difference in that this other cap is smooth on top.

Performance: I remember right after installing the brace taking a spirited test drive and I could notice a difference when I was pushing it really hard in a turn. The car felt more solid and stable but only during really hard cornering. During everyday driving I can not notice any difference. But I did not buy the brace for its performance characteristics. While I appreciate what the brace has done to the handling performance, what I really purchased the brace for is in an attempt to keep the car tight and solid in the future.