How's it going M5board?
Some of you may know that I recently switched over to
's Fast Attack Motorsports (FAMS) tune. For the past few years I had been running the Evolve tune and had been very happy with it as it complemented my previous Evolve Race-R headers, my current Evolve LTH, Evolve Eventuri intakes, as well as my others mods (although the others won't affect the tune as much). I had take my car to many of Shift S3ctor's 1/2 mile race events (I'm sure many of you have seen my videos that I've posted on this forum) and track events and the car had performed very well. I was able to beat many cars such including a GTR (dig), a 911tt (dig), a 6MT VT2-650 M5 (roll), and many others. I was quite pleased with my car and where it was at mod wise and didn't feel like I needed to change anything.
However, then along comes Jim and his new venture to start selling tunes for the S65 and S85 platforms, and we all know that next to the S85 BMW engineers themselves, Jim probably understands the S85 DME (and many other aspects of the platform) the most out of any human being. I was very anxious to see what, if anything, Jim could improve on my tune while keeping the car running safe and healthy.
If you don't already know, Jim's option uses a portable programmer that you can easily store in your glove box for programming on the fly. The programmer holds up to 3 tunes at once so it's good for race events if you're switching octane fuels. Very easy to use along with the PC interface to load tunes onto the programmer.
As many of us already know, there is only so much you can squeeze out of this NA engine without jeopardizing its safety. We believe that many of the tuners out there likely have already reached close to the max amount of power achievable without risking blowing the engine. Jim's tune, however, had more features to add to improve driveability which I haven't seen other tuner's offer. He told me that he wanted me to test out two specific features -
1. Faster SMG shifts
2. VANOS timing changes in mid-high range
I didn't believe that the SMG shifts could be faster, but the moment I did my first shift in S5 after loading the FAMS tune I just laughed. "How in the hell did Jim do it?!" He really did make the shifts faster! Incredible. The shifts also felt smoother as well. For the mid-high range RPMs, it did seem that the car was pulling a little harder. I confirmed with my datalogs that indeed there were VANOS timing changes as compared to my previous tune.
Here is a datalog of my test run of the FAMS tune on 91octane.
datazap.me | randywei | 07.06.16 Jim's FAMS tune, 91oct, 56F ambient
Now usually I'm not one to play the numbers game, but ever since people started watching my race videos I've always been asked "How much power you putting down?". I believe more in real world performance vs dyno numbers, that's why I go to the Shift S3ctor race events. Last time I dynoed, which was on a dynojet at DNR Performance in Hayward CA, was 2 years ago. I had the Evolve Race-R headers at the time and dynoed about 450whp/330wtq SAE CF on 91 octane. I unfortunately didn't datalog back then and don't remember what the ambient temp was. Since then, I have upgraded to Evolve LTH, saved a bunch of unsprung weight via wheels & BBK, and also installed a 3.91 LSD. I've been running the same Evolve Stage 3 tune for a few years except last year I switched to AlphaN. I never dynoed with my car in its state prior to the FAMS tune switchover.
Last night I decided to go back to DNR Performance to dyno with the FAMS tune. This time I made sure to datalog so I could track the environmental and run conditions (AFAIK
, no one has provided dyno charts supplemented with datalogs). The ambient temp was 66F, but unfortunately I had been sitting in traffic on the way to the dyno, didn't let the car cool off, and we only used one carpet cleaner snail fan which was pointed at the radiator. For those of you who know the Eventuri intake design, all the air intake comes from the two ducts below the headlights. Therefore, I had absolutely no airflow in my dyno runs and my IATs started at 115F. Note that from my real world datalogging (see link above for an example), I have seen that on the highway my IATs are about 10F over ambient and on highway pulls my IATs will drop to about 4-5F over ambient. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get a dyno to reproduce those real world airflow conditions.
I did 3 dyno pulls in 4th gear on 91octane, hood open (since that seems to be the norm nowadays and I wanted to give as close of an apples-to-apples comparison) and averaged about 495whp/340wtq STD CF (peak of 502whp and 343wtq) and 483whp/333wtq SAE CF (peak of 490whp 335wtq)
. Given that I had 0 airflow and my IATs were about double the ambient temp and not indicative at all of real world performance, I am very happy with these numbers.
Here is the datalog during the 3 pulls:
datazap.me | randywei | DNR Dynojet 66degF Ambient 07.12.16
And here are the dyno charts:
Having good real-world-like airflow is very hard to find in dyno setups these days. I did visit a local shop which had a MAHA dyno and the best cooling setup I have ever seen. We tried to dyno my car there, but the operator claimed that the MAHA dyno doesn't like SMG/DCT cars. Unlike an inertia dyno (i.e. dynojet) where you just care about how fast you can roll the rollers, torque dynos (i.e. MAHA) have a "roll out" period where after the acceleration period, you let the wheels roll out and it calculates the "drag" from that, thus giving a very accurate dyno figure. MAHA dynos are what the factories use. So unfortunately, I did not get a good run at the MAHA dyno. The operator said he couldn't just floor it, but instead had to "feed the throttle" and the the SMG kept wanting to downshift thus making the dyno think it was on its "roll out" period before the acceleration period even started. He thought he got one "good run" in where he claims he was WOT at 5k RPM+, but looking at the datalogs he only ever reached 60% throttle. I personally just think he didn't know how to dyno SMG/DCT cars on his MAHA. He said majority of SMG/DCT cars he dynos behave like this. Because of insurance purposes, I wasn't even allowed in the dyno room during the pulls and had to watch from outside peering through a porthole in the door. Oh well, only cost $20.
HOWEVER, the point of mentioning this incident is the airflow setup. It was the best I had ever seen for a dyno. My datalogs showed that my IATs were only about 10F above ambient! It closely mimics a real world environment. Too bad I couldn't get any good runs in it.
Picture of the MAHA setup
In conclusion, I am VERY
happy with taking a leap and giving Jim's tune a try. Faster, smoother SMG shifts. Better acceleration in mid-high range. If you're on the fence about his tune, don't hesitate and just go for it. I've tried two other tuning companies and I have to say that I'm most satisfied with Jim's, although the Evolve tune had kept me very happy for a long time. Jim has just somehow dug deep into the workings of the DME and figured out a few more tweaks. I thought the S85 tuning venture had plateaued, but I guess not!
for providing such an awesome, quality product! Anxious to see what other tricks you have up your sleeves...especially after those Infinity Design Equal Length LTH arrive