Mike -- great news, the pictures looked great. This is definitely a mod that's high on my list. I talked to Ryan on the phone, and he was great. Question for you: how many hours of labor did your mechanic charge you for the install? And, do you know how they installed it? Did they lift the engine out and go that route, or did they go through the bottom, taking out the oil pumps, draining the oil, etc.? I'm trying to get my head around how long of an install I'm looking at, how many labor hours I'll have to pay for, and how many days I'll be without my car. The BMW shop manual quotes 14 hours for a header replacement.
Ryan is a fantastic guy, you just can't go wrong with him, he will do whatever it takes to make you happy
I have a great independent and he's the only guy on the planet I'd have trusted to do the install, he didn't really charge me by the hour, just a fairly low fixed price for the job but it was the first time that he'd done this job and it did take him the best part of 2 days
There's no getting away from the fact that this is a big job and I was really cringing at the thought of doing this to my virginal low mileage 2010 but in my case the install went without issue. My guy installed this from below and had to support the engine from above, lower the subframe, remove the engine mounts and unbolt the oil pumps so this is a substantial job and you need to trust whoever you get to do it. We ended up changing all header studs, gaskets, nuts, rear exhaust seals and nuts / bolts at the rear connecting the headers to the exhaust. The oil had just been changed last week so the 5-odd litres that was removed was poured back into the engine after it was all back together
I can give you some more feedback having been driving this around now for a couple of days and doing maybe 300 miles. Firstly I still have no CEL warning, no idea why, but the car is going in for an Evolve tune next week anyway so it'll be coded out. Now I was not looking for more volume from the exhaust, just more of an exotic sound. I was expecting to be changing the rear section for a Corsa as that was the sound I was after but having been driving this around for a while I have had the time to get used to the catless noise and it's better than I was expecting to the extent that I am now happy with the sound and will be leaving the exhaust stock. This thing really does sound angry and mean, there is now a real edge to the exhaust note especially at low revs under 4k and importantly to me there is no drone or rasp which was one of the things I was afraid of, it sounds as it did before but a bit louder and a bit meaner
Power-wise I am trying to separate real world gains from placebo effect which is hard. I'm pretty sure that torque under 4k has gone up which is exactly what I wanted to achieve and the car feels like it revs easier and pulls to the red line with less effort. An Alpha N Evolve tune will free up the maximum possible power and torque which was the intention all along
In summary, although I was cringing while the work was being done at the thought of all of the disassembly of my pristine car, now it is back and I have some miles on her I have no regrets at all, I have achieved exactly what I set out to with the added bonus now of not having to change the rear exhaust. No regrets with the concept but most of all no regrets with Ryan and his product, you will not believe the quality of his work until you see it for yourself, it's the best welding on the car by far and I am an OCD perfectionist as Ryan will confirm...