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.

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.

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.

1.9 ROAR “RAM-AIR” Intake

Pros: Improve sound and performance, carbon fiber components and shield to hinder recirculating hot air intake
Cons: Vague installation instructions, intake system enclosed in engine compartment
Cost: $348

Despite the discontinued sales of the 1.9 Z3 in the US, there are many 1.9 owners who want added performance and most of all who still love their cars. With this in mind, there has been a slow start of third party manufacturers that offer upgrades and modification(s) to these loved but not forgotten Z3s.

Presently, there are a few manufacturers who offer an ‘air-intake’ solution to the 1.9 Z3. According to a previous article on the MZ3.NET, the K&N filter charger has some inconsistent performance results. THe K&N filter charger successfully addressed the restrictions in the stock intake allowing more volume of air to enter the engine. However the flaw with the K&N filer charger system was that the source of intake air was the (hot) air trapped under the hood of the Z3. While the intake was allowing more air volume to enter the 1.9 engine, the actual air mass varied greatly depending on the air temperature under the hood. Because of this flaw it was actually possible to loose engine power. (In case you haven’t caught on, cold air has more mass than hot air). Because of this, many Z3’ers (especially those living in hotter climates) avoid in installing such a design in their vehicles.

Since I received the DINAN UPGRADE for my 7/97 build 1.9, there has been no answer as of yet for the release of the DINAN COLD AIR INTAKE SYSTEM for the 1.9 since its debut for the 6 cylinder Z3s. Because of this I wanted to see if there are any third party companies that offer such a system for the 1.9 besides the K&N filter charger. I came across a company called “ROAR” (www.roarfilter.com) that offers such a system for most BMWs including the 1.9 Z3. Though fairly new to the name I decided to call and investigate what this company offers and stands for: I called the company and left a voice mail message with them explaining my interest in their air-intake system for my 1.9 Z3. Two days later I received a call back and spoke to a very nice and enthusiastic sales manager of Roar named Scott. He was very friendly and excited to explain to me how their air-intake system functioned and how it was designed. He welcomed the challenge of putting the ROAR air-intake system against any other system designed for the BMW Z3.

The ROAR intake system is similar to the K&N filter charger system in that it addresses the air flow restriction of stock BMW airbox. Where the ROAR system differs is that it also addresses the problem of air intake temperature, by providing a carbon fiber shield that helps reduce the engine’s intake of hot air from inside the engine compartment. The construction of the Roar air intake system is mostly comprised of carbon fiber due to its low relative heat absorbence.

Review: After installing the Roar “Ram-Air” Intake System to the DINAN equipped 1997 1.9 we put it up against a 1998 1.9 which only consisted of an exhaust upgrade (Supersprint). Both Z3s being tested are manual and had no passengers in the vehicle. The test consisted of both 1.9s cruising head-to-head at 50mph in 5th gear. Once each front nose were equal we then cued each other to accelerate without downshifting. Both of the 1.9s remained head-to-head up until we hit 60 mph (3600 rpm) and the 1997 DINAN equipped with Roar system pulled out ahead of the 1998 Supersprint exhaust 1.9 by almost half a car length. This concluded that the ROAR system with the DINAN upgrade improves performance at higher RPM.

Other test(s) included 0-60mph runs recorded before and after the installation of the ROAR system. With a passenger operating the stopwatch, four runs were record before the installation and four runs after the installation. The results showed that after installing the ROAR system with the DINAN upgrade, the 0-60mph timing was reduced almost 3/8 of a second.

Note: testing in this manner resulted in extra weight due to the timekeeper sitting in the passenger seat. It should also be noted that potential human error is possible, due to the time it takes a human hand to start and stop the stopwatch.

Stock 1.9Roar Intake Installed

6 month update

With the Roar Ram Air System installed and after few thousand miles later, I have concluded that I am quite happy with my investment. The performance gain is a plus as well as the sound. The sound will be noticed when the engine is at load as opposed to a constant, maybe annoying, low resonance sound.

The journey of the Roar installation

After leaving several messages with Scott at Roar and no return calls, I received the package on the very day that was discussed during the sales transaction. With the help of Carter Lee (CTG) and Fred Byrom (Teachum) we immediately looked at the contents within the package and read the instructions. Let me first tell you that the instructions were vague and offered no pictures of installation. This is not a plug-n-play upgrade for those who are not ‘handy’.

Fortunately, with the help of Carter and Fred, the three of us made the installation procedures a lot easier. The first step is to remove the stock air box: unlatch four(4) clips which removes the cover and after doing so the box itself is only held down by two(2) 10mm bolts. For more detailed instructions on the removal of the stock BMW airbox, please see this article on MZ3.Net.

Tools Needed:

* 10mm socket and wrench

* 10mm bolt

* 2.5 in drill bit and drill

After complete removal of the stock air box:

* The next step is to mount the mounting bracket (a) to one of the existing posts where that previously held the stock air box. You can use either the same bolt that held the stock airbox in place or use another one.

* Take one of the filter(s) provided and spray oil on the outer shell. The oil is located in the white aero-spray can that is provided. Do not spray the inside of the filter. After spraying the filter, place it within the funnel system and tuck the filter underneath the carbon fiber nose to hold it in place.

* Get ready to drill a 2.5in. hole into the air-intake system (b) for the temperature sensor location. There should be a rubber boot for allowing the temp sensor to be inserted. The boot acts as a tunnel/bridge connection from the air-intake system to the temperature sensor.

* After mounting part (a) you then will need to install two (2) rubber washers (provided) to size match the filter system (b) prior to installing it. After this, you can insert the filter system onto the the Z3’s hose intake located where (b) is on the picture. Once installed (remember it is going to be a tight fit so you can use water to moisten the rubber washer for easier slip) you want the mounting bracket (a) to have its clamp to hold the very end (located where the Roar filter system and the Z3 intake meets) of the filter system.

* Once the clamp is successfully holding the system (do not tighten at this time) take (c) vacuum/valve cover and insert it to the air pressure vacuum hose located where (c) is on the picture. Position the vacuum/valve cover opening tilted opposite from engine (there will be a filter opening and you want it position towards the driver’s side opposite from engine). After the above steps are installed, tighten the clamps just enough so its stays in place (do not overtighten).

* Next step is to locate the temp sensor. After completing the drill, making sure it will be snug, plug the temp sensor into the rubber boot on the air-intake system that was placed.

Taking out the stock box Stock box removed Roar Bracket

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Dissecting the M Air Intake Box

Turns out the air intake box on the M roadster is slightly different than the air intake box on the 2.8 liter Z3. The difference stems from the fact that the M roadster has an additional air intake “snorkel” that is connected down to the hole on the front bumper where the 2.8 liter Z3 fog lights are installed.

I was curious to see how BMW redesigned the air intake box to account for this additional air intake. Dissecting the M air intake box might also be informative to 2.8 owners who are looking to increase the airflow to their roadsters. It appears you could even retro-fit the M air box into a 2.8 and install your own snorkel, but I’ll let a 2.8 owner try that one.

First step was to remove the air filter so I could see inside the box. Two plastic clips hold the filter housing in place. After the clips are unclipped, the entire filter housing slides out (FYI: this is also how you replace the filter). I believe I’m still on my factory filter and have over 11,000 miles on my M roadster. The filter still looks fairly clean, but I knocked some dust off since I had it out anyway.

Once the filter is removed you can look into the wide slot on the top of the air box. The following pictures are of inside that open slot, but because it is dark in there it is difficult to make out what you will be seeing. Just remember you are looking down into the now open slot where the air filter used to be.

First notice the debris that had accumulated in the air box. It was mostly sand and dirt, but I did find one pebble about 5/6th the size of a dime (guess this is why we have air filters). But the important thing to notice in this picture is the tube inside the air box. This tube is what carries air INTO the air box.

Getting the camera positioned just right, you can actually find the right angle and see down into the air box, through that air tube, down the snorkel, to the bumper and catch some daylight. I’m sure this is probably the path that nearly dime sized pebble took, but the point is it is also the path that a LOT of air took.

The other air intake position is just to the left of the driver’s side headlight. Although this area is not directly exposed behind the kidney grill on the hood, it is pretty close and should catch a lot of incoming air. This air intake is identical to the air intake on the 2.8 liter Z3, although in the 2.8 it is the sole air intake. In the M this intake works in addition to the other one. They are both connected to the air box via the same tube I showed you inside the air box (so there is a “Y” connection somewhere just outside the air box).

Looking back in the air box (remember the air filter is removed in this picture) you can see a second tube that would normally be on the other side of the air filter. This tube moves air from the air box into the engine. Just out of frame but to the right of this picture is a air flow meter that monitors the airflow and passes the information onto the roadster’s CPU.

Dinan Cold Air Intake for the 2.8 Z3

Pros: Performance, Sound
Cons: Difficult Installation
Cost: $399

After receiving the Dinan snorkel, I looked over the instructions. They looked very sparse and included no pictures and only one diagram.

As recommended, I read through the instruction before starting, and still could not glean what it was supposed to doing – even though I knew what the outcome was supposed to be.

The other part that was missing was a list of tools needed to complete the job. This is important with this install as the proper tools make it so much easier to complete the job in the small areas the snorkel fits in.

So, based on the provided instructions and a little help from the Baba, I was able to complete the job in a relatively short time – even though I had to take apart a good portion of my work to retrieve a wayward socket head.

Based on my experiences, I decided to write up some better instructions to eliminate some confusion I experienced, to input some tips that will eliminate the need for a second set of hands, and provide the much needed information left out of the Dinan documentation.

List of required tools:

Small socket wrench – recommend a small ¼ inch drive

Socket driver (screw driver type) – recommend a small one (¼ inch drive) with extension(s) to provide 6 inches or more of length

6, 8, 10, and 13mm socket heads

16mm open end wrench

Medium blade screwdriver

Small fine tooth saw

Conventions:

The instructions are oriented relative to you sitting behind the wheel of the car. Although you cannot install the snorkel sitting behind the seat of the car, this orientation is necessary.

Directions:

As with the Dinan instruction, I suggest you at least read a number of steps ahead of any step so as to “visualize” the next instruction before you start.

Remove the two 10mm bolts holding the factory air box from the front of the left fender.

Release the clamps from the sides of the Air Mass Meter.

Remove the factory air box by pulling the airflow meter from the air box and pulling straight up and slightly on the air box. The air box intake is stuck in a space next to the headlight, so remove slowly so as not to tear the foam cushion around the intake.

Disconnect 2 power connectors from behind the headlight assembly. Unscrew the turn signal light connector and remove light from headlight assembly.

Locate the four 8mm screws holding the headlight assembly. Below or behind each is a headlight alignment bushing. In order to maintain proper headlight alignment, you must keep these bushings in place while removing the screws. The bushings are a 16mm hex with a slit in each side. If you have open end wrench that you can fit on the bushing, it is best. Otherwise, locate the slit on the bushing and use the screwdriver blade to lock the bushing in place while removing each of the screws holding the headlight assembly in place.

Disconnect the horn power connector and remove the horn and horn mounting bracket. You will need to relocate the horn and its bracket. However, it is much easier to get to the horn mounting bracket bolt if you first remove the horn from the bracket. Re-assemble horn on bracket once removed.

Remove the lower left (remember orientation) bumper shock nut and use this as the new horn mounting bracket attaching point. Tighten the nut only finger tight as you may have to adjust the horn position later.

Assemble the K&N filter, the air filter bracket, the filter support bracket, the support bracket screw clamps and screws, and the filter clamp as shown in the picture. Tighten the filter clamp only enough to hold the filter in place. Place the screw clamps on the support bracket so that the small holes of the clamps are towards the middle of the support bracket. Attach the support bracket to the filter bracket with the supplied screws, but do not tighten.

NOTE: Completely ignore the 2 holes in the air filter bracket. They are never used. I spent quite a time trying to figure where these attached.

Insert the filter assembly into the area just behind the fog light so that the bent part of the filter bracket mates with the lip on the frame rail and the curve of the air filter bracket fits to the contour of the curve of the wheel well.

Align the upper hole of the air filter support bracket with the bottom of the hole on the lip in front of the wheel well and attach in place with the second support bracket screw. Tighten both support bracket screws.

Align the lip of the bend part of the air filter bracket with the lip of the frame rail and attach with the 2 supplied clips.

Adjust the horn so that the power connector can be re-attached and re-attach the horn power connector. Tighten the nut holding the horn bracket in place.

Locate the mounting bracket on the left fenderwell below the airflow meter. If a hose is attached, remove the hose from the attaching clip and remove the clip from the mounting bracket.

Fit the airflow meter support bracket to the left side of the airflow meter. Align the holes at the bottom of the airflow meter support bracket with the bracket on the fenderwell and attach with supplied 6mm bolts.

Secure the airflow meter support bracket to the airflow meter with the long wire tie. Secure the hose formally attached to the mounting bracket to the airflow support bracket with the shorter wire tie.

Slip the #36 hose clamp on the reduced end of the silicone hose and slip the reduced end of the silicone hose to the airflow meter. Tighten the clamp.

While supporting the filter from the bottom, loosen the clamp around the air filter enough to fit the bottom end of the carbon fiber tube into the filter open enough so that the clamp will securely hold it. Fit the carbon fiber tube into the filter opening and retighten the clamp.

Slip the #48 hose clamp over the end of the silicone hose. Slip the end of the carbon filter tube well into the silicone hose and tighten the clamp to hold the tube in place.

Cut the headlight adjuster flang(es) as necessary to allow the headlight assembly to fit in the mounting area with clearance between the headlight adjuster and the carbon fiber tube.

Refit the headlight assembly into position and secure with mounting screws. Ensure the alignment bushings do not move when re-mounting the headlight.

Insert turn signal light into headlight assembly and secure. Re-attach headlight power connections.

Check all connections for tight fit

Review

So, how is the new air snorkel? The extra air the 2.8 gets makes a big difference (particularly when coupled with the Dinan chip). The engine response better and the stock exhaust has a much better tone…particularly when above 3.5K rpm and under load (read, romping on the gas).

An upgraded intake is a definite plus to any Z3. However, at $399, the Dinan intake is a bit pricey for what you get. Particularly since the filter does not open to the outside air. There is probably a better way to make modifications to the existing intake to provide the extra air the engine craves. I have been considering a couple designs myself and plan on keeping the Dinan intake if just to have a comparison should I fabricate a different design myself.

K&N Air Filter

Pros: Easy replacement, improves intake sound
Cons: Questionable performance gains
Cost: $40

Air filter box is located on the front driver’s side. Unlatch all four clips holding the airbox cover.

Lift cover to reveal stock air filter Remove stock air filter careful not to drop sediment into airbox.

K&N Filter vs. Stock Filter Seat K&N filter onto airbox lip

Carefully re-seat cover onto airbox Relatch all four clips