Every Modification Expert at modbargains is an enthusiast themselves with years of car building experience under their belts. Our experts have helped us put together an amazingly comprehensive assortment of performance parts for a wide variety of makes and models. Using our experience and enthusiasm, we'll help you extract every last bit of horsepower out of your car and since we've built many popular enthusiast vehicles ourselves, we've got the experience to let you know about issues you may encounter and advice you'll only get from another enthusiast.
There are many ways to get more power out of your car's engine, and often you'll find optimal power with a certain combination of performance parts working together to make your engine run more efficiently and make more horsepower at the wheels as well as improve the torque curve.
What kinds of Intake System Upgrades are there for BMW?
When most people think of performance, a high-flow air intake immediately comes to mind for most people. There are several styles of intake available, and you should be aware of what the differences are. Not all Air Intake Upgrades are the same, and some can be used in combination for the most benefit. There are Cold Air Intake Systems, Ram Air Intake Systems, Short-Ram Air Intake Systems and Performance Replacement Air Filters. For more information about Intake Systems, click here.
What types of Exhaust Systems are available for my BMW?
Several types of exhaust upgrades are available for most vehicles. The design of an exhaust system can vary depending on which parts of an exhaust system you want to replace. Systems can be either bolt on exhaust kits or weld-in, depending on style and manufacturer. Exhaust systems are typically offered as header/downpipe-back, cat-back or axle-back, which refer to how much of the exhaust system is included. Typically, cat-back or header back is best for performance and sound improvements, whereas Axle-Back is more ideal if you are simply after a better exhaust tone. While less effective, because there is much less of the exhaust system replaced, axle-back setups are usually less expensive and make less of an alteration to the vehicle. Most exhaust kits include exhaust pipe adapters [as needed] to allow them to bolt on directly to the OEM exhaust system where necessary.
How can I "chip" my car? What is ECU Flash Tuning? What will an ECU tune do for my car?
This is a great question, because today's cars complex electronic systems can be upgraded or modified in a variety of ways, sometimes without even needing to physically leave a component installed on the vehicle to have a huge increase in power. Many modern cars, especially turbocharged or supercharged vehicles, can pick up huge power increases simply by changing the ECU software a little. For example, on BMW's popular N54 Turbocharged Inline Six engine, installing a performance tune alone can yield nearly 100 horsepower gains. While not all cars will yield such dramatic gains, it's proof that some serious gains can be had.
-What are Piggyback Upgrades? What do those do to my BMW?
This sort of system plugs into existing sensors or onto the OEM ECU itself as a physical device. These typically don't directly modify the ECU map parameters but instead somehow alter things like timing and fuel by alternate means. These can typically be installed and removed fairly easily. Some good examples of piggy-back systems include Air Flow Engineering (aFe)'s Power Scorcher Module, BMS JB Plus Processor or BMS Power Box Tuner. These typically offer modest gains at a reasonable price.
-Piggyback ECU Upgrades
This type of system plugs directly into the ECU and allows you to change the parameters of the car's fuel maps, timing and a variety of other settings to configure the car to deliver optimal power, and is especially powerful when used to take advantage of other upgrades (Stage I, Stage II, etc...). An excellent example of these types of system are the Burger Motorsports JB4, Active Autowerke's Processor and Vishnu's PROcedeTuning system.
-ECU Flash Tune Upgrades
These types of systems typically plug into the vehicle's OBD II port via a cable connecting the car to either a handheld device or a laptop. The laptop or device makes a backup copy of the car's original "Stock" computer settings and installs a "tuned" set of parameters for fuel, timing, boost, ignition and other settings as well as doing things like disabling maximum speed limits, raising the rev limiter, turning off torque limiting and other things that may impede performance. Good examples of this sort of upgrade include the Cobb AccessPort, Velocity AP's Handheld Upgrade System and Korkar Performance Engineering's Handheld system.
Both Piggyback type and ECU Flash tune upgrades allow the use of proper "Tunes". The Tune is a file that is either pre-programmed for certain sets of upgrades ("canned tunes") by the device's manufacturer or can be custom written by a professional tuner on a dynamometer for maximum gains. The Canned tunes are typically more conservative whereas a professional tune can be tailored to your exact vehicle and upgrades.
What does an Oil Catch Can do for my BMW exactly?
Many turbo and supercharged vehicles suffer from some degree of oil blowby that enters the intake system. This isn't your fault or because you've somehow neglected your car or that you have a worn out engine (but if you see clouds of blue smoke coming out of your exhaust regularly there may be something wrong), it's just a fact of life. It's going to happen. This blowby oil exits the crankcase vent system as vapor, and tends to accumulate and gunk up the intake system. It loves to accumulate in your intercooler. By installing an oil catch can, you are better filtering the crankcase vent system and catching that blowby oil and keeping your intake system clean. Not to mention, they look cool. They're a great preventative maintenance sort of device.
What will an Upgraded Intercooler Do for my BMW?
The intake system of a turbocharged car can seem intimidating but it's not that complicated. In simplest terms, what the intercooler does is that incoming intake air passes through it to reduce intake air temperatures and improve horsepower. In the most straightforward terms, a bigger intercooler may only directly result in a modest horsepower gain, but what it primarily does is allow you to make peak horsepower more consistently by keeping air intake temperatures lower. Used in conjunction with other upgrades, an intercooler will allow you to do things like run a more aggressive "tune" for even greater increases in horsepower. If you're looking to increase the power of your turbocharged or supercharged vehicle, a larger volume intercooler is definitely a good idea.
What's wrong with my Factory Intercooler?
Many OEM intercoolers are engineered with packaging or cost-saving concerns in mind, which often results in undersized intercoolers being placed in less-than-ideal-for-airflow situations on the car. Many aftermarket manufacturers have stepped in to offer high performance intercoolers that address these issues through the use of things like stepped-core designs or integrating the intercooler into the crash bar to maximize the efficiency of the intercooler. When upgrading the intercooler, you should also strongly consider upgrading the intercooler charge pipes as well. Often, these are a huge restriction and have things like resonators built in which dampen performance. We offer high performance intercoolers from the finest manufacturers including Evolution Racewerks, Cobb Tuning, Active Autowerke, AMS Performance, AWE Tuning, Banks Power, Eurojet, Fabspeed, Forge Motorsport, Korkar Performance Engineering, Mishimoto, RPi, Steve Petty Motorsports and Wagner Tuning.
What is a Downpipe and what will that do for my car?
The downpipe is a part of the exhaust system only on turbocharged vehicles. The downpipe is the part of the exhaust system that connects from the turbocharger's outlet to the rest of the exhaust system. Many OEM downpipes feature integral catalytic converters, which are often highly restrictive. Performance downpipes streamline the flow of exhaust gases out of the turbo for better throttle response, faster spool-up and more power and often either omit the catalytic converter or replace it with a high performance unit.
A redesigneddownpipe from Wagner Tuning, for instance, is a re-engineered version of the OEM pipe that eliminates restrictions in the OEM system for enhanced flow. This results in much faster turbocharger spool-up times (less lag), enhanced exhaust sound and significantly improved power. Generally speaking, most downpipes will yield similar results. A downpipe is a great bang-for-the-buck modification for most turbocharged vehicles and really unlock the potential of your turbocharged motor. A multitude of manufacturers offer Catted and Catless Downpipes for a wide variety of turbocharged models, especially for the popular BMW N54 and N55 turbo sixes. We offer a wide selection of performance Downpipes manufactured to the highest engineering standards, including: Remus Exhaust, AR Design, Active Autowerke, Air Flow Engineering, AMS Performance, AWE Tuning, Cobb Tuning, Eurojet, Evolution Racewerks, Korkar Performance Engineering, Milltek Sport, Steve Petty Motorsports (SPM), MBRP, Supersprint Exhaust, Tanabe and Wagner Tuning.
What will a Limited Slip Differential do for my car?
Well, should you want to go drifting (if you have a rear-wheel-drive car), this upgrade is almost a must. If someone were to tell you all about their experience with LSD, if they're talking cars, they're talking about their differential and not how cool Burning Man was.
The differential is a gearing device that helps balance the delivery of power between your drive wheels left-to-right. Without Limited-Slip, under low-traction conditions, power will predominantly go to one wheel - this is most clearly illustrated by a Rear-Wheel-Drive car with an "open" (non-limited slip) attempting to do a burnout. Only one of the wheels will do a burnout - this is called "one-wheel-peel" among enthusiasts. Having the limited slip differential in a rear wheel drive car improves handling performance and also allows you to maintain even grip between the drive wheels for better take-offs. We offer Limited Slip units from Cusco, Quaife and Wave-trac.
What is a Throttle Body Spacer and what will it do?
A throttle body spacer is a machined device typically half an inch or more thick that is installed between the intake manifold and the throttle body. This effectively changes the length of the intake manifold after the throttle body thereby changing the airflow dynamics of the air intake, and machined in features in many throttle body spacers (such as aFe's Silver Bullet Throttle Body Spacers) also are designed to improve airflow inside the manifold to improve atomization and thereby enhance efficiency. Typically these result in a mild horsepower and torque gain and a slight improvement in fuel economy.
How can Heat Shielding help improve my performance?
By isolating major sources of heat, you can keep your engine cooler, thereby lowering intake air temperatures, which will always result in the car making more power. Heat shielding can also be used to keep your intake from sucking in hot air or to protect sensitive wiring from extreme sources of heat.
What is header wrap? What does that do?
Header wrap is a specially designed type of self-adhesive tape that is wrapped around the runners of the exhaust manifold, with the theory being that it improves exhaust scavenging for better performance. Turbo blankets are similar and are designed to isolate the major source of heat to the turbocharger itself and keep the rest of the engine bay cooler as a result.
What are "Charge Pipes"? How do they improve my performance?
If you have a turbocharged vehicle, the charge pipes are the sections of the intake tract that are pressurized, or "Charged" by the turbo. A leaky set of charge pipes will leak boost, resulting in impeded performance and diminished economy and an overly restrictive set of charge pipes can be robbing your engine of power. By replacing the sometimes awkwardly contoured OEM chargepipes with ones designed for improved flow, you'll unlock valuable horsepower and significantly improve response and cooling efficiency. We offer charge pipes from AMS Performance, Eurojet, Evolution Racewerks and TiTek.
Can I supercharge my naturally aspirated car?
For really dramatic power gains, we offer a number of well designed conversion systems that are a great way to go to help you get force-fed. You can Supercharge your vehicle - Supercharging being especially popular with V8s. A belt-driven supercharger will yield fantastic throttle response and immediate boost, but a supercharger is generally will make slightly less power than a turbocharger. We offer Centrifugal Supercharger systems like as well as Roots type blowers.
Should you want to go turbo, we've got you covered there too.
Can I upgrade my car's turbo?
Yes, you can. Sometimes at higher power levels, the turbocharger itself becomes a point of restriction. Upgrading the turbocharger will allow your car to step up to the next power level and can increase the overall efficiency of your engine for better power and response. We offer performance turbochargers from Vargas Turbo and more.
We hope this has helped you better understand some of the types of performance parts that are available on the automotive aftermarket. For specific recommendations for your vehicle, we invite you to talk to our Modification Experts - give us a call at 714-582-3330 or chat with us online at modbargains.com - we are happy to share our passion for cars with you. Our mission is to use our Experience, Expertise and Enthusiasm to make the world a better place for auto enthusiasts. Let us show you what that means to us and call today.
Check out some of our BLOG posts about BMW Performance!
5 Ways to go Full Bolt-on with your BMW N55
Real Bolt-on Power BMW 135i Sleeper
5 Ways to Go full bolt-on with your BMW N54
Why your BMW NEEDS an Oil Cooler