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E36 M3 Tuning Guide - Tech

We Can Help You Awaken The S50 Or S52 Motor In Your E36 M3 With This Tuning Guide, Extracting The Best Bang For Your Buck.

By Paul Piola

In this price range we have VF-Engineering's stage 1 supercharger kit for OBD1, which boasts 295whp at 6psi with the stock exhaust for $4500. It uses a polished Vortech V2 SQ blower, which comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and is tuned with GIAC software. VF states its kits will work on S50 manifold-equipped OBD2 cars and the systems are undergoing CARB certification for street-legal use in all 50 states.

For $5700, AA sells its C30 supercharger kit, which includes an intercooler, oil cooler and two-year warranty. Power is expected to be 300whp at 8psi, but unlike the C38 kit, you can expect intake air temps to be consistently lower.

If you desire instant torque, a twin-screw supercharger is for you. Unlike the linear build of boost from a centrifugal 'charger, which peaks boost and power at redline, twin-screw blowers keep torque flat to redline; it's similar to the instant torque of a V8 and is the preferred method of Jaguar, Mercedes and Mini. AA's stage 1, non-intercooled, twin-screw system sells for $5900 and makes 300whp at 6.5psi.

By the time you read this, VF should have its stage 2 supercharger available for about $6500. It includes everything in the stage 1 kit, adding a chargecooler built into the intake manifold. The kit uses factory mounting locations so no drilling is required. Boost is bumped to 9-10psi and they expect around 340whp.

If neck-snapping torque is what you desire, then Technique Tuning (TT) offers its stage 1 turbo system for $6800, including a front-mount intercooler (FMIC) and external wastegate. The turbo uses a 60:1 compressor, tuned for 330whp at 8psi with a stock exhaust, and similar peak torque numbers. At this torque level, the stock M3 clutch can be used but won't last long.

Squeezing into this category is the Dinan stage 1 supercharger kit.It boasts 300whp at 6psi with a Vortech supercharger, has a two-year warranty and is offered to M3 automatics as well.

The Active stage 2 twin-screw supercharger is offered with 9psi boost and includes a front-mount chargecooler plus oil cooler. It's been tuned in-house to make 340whp for $7900.

Technique offers a stage 2 turbo kit using the same 60-1 turbo as its stage 1 but running 13psi. For $7700 it delivers 400whp, but off-boost performance will suffer because it requires a compression-lowering head gasket, and its 400 lb/ft will definitely necessitate a sturdier clutch. With the head gasket and clutch replacement you're looking at an extra day's work. TT sells UUC's Ultra Cerametallic clutch for $688 that should take the power, bringing the total to $8388. If you have your own boost controller, the stage 1 kit is tuned for 6-8psi, and stage 2 is tuned for 8-13psi adjustments.

Eurosport originated the twin-screw for the M3 and offers its system for $8495. With a V8-like 300 lb/ft of torque that's almost flat to redline, the 1.7-liter Opcon Autorotor twin-screw sees about 350whp at 8psi. The kit also features a Laminova chargecooler integrated into a CAD manifold, 255 L/hr fuel pump with 36 lb/hr injectors, high capacity coolant reservoir and electric water pump, FMIC and Conforti-tuned software.

Active, the pioneer of successful M3 turbo kits, sells its stage 1 turbo for $8700. The intercooled system uses a Mitsubishi TD06H-20G turbo with an external wastegate making 300whp and 300 lb/ft. A good factory clutch should hold the power, but OBD1 cars will see it at 7psi, and OBD2 at 8.5psi - slightly higher because of the more restrictive S52 intake manifold. In addition, AA reports its customers see up to 330whp at 10psi on stock compression with its optional $470 GReddy boost controller.

By Paul Piola
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