Myths and FUDs about ESS software, installation, S/C unit... [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Myths and FUDs about ESS software, installation, S/C unit...

01-28-2006, 03:52 PM
So sounds like this might be a place to clear up some myths and FUDs i'm hearing about ESS, so here it goes...

I need to order a supercharger unit by latest, this coming Monday, just my situation i'm at right now.

So here's where i stand, my options, and they are it (unfortunately for 2003 E39 530i automatic),

a) ESS 7 psi TX-1, Vortech or ASA supercharger unit, direct programming kit and performance automatic transmission software upgrade (very much like what Dinan offers). Looks like ESS doesn't have intercooler option for my car, so this kit would be it.

b) VF Engineering's 6 psi stage 1, uses Vortech and GIAC software. Their stage 2 (brings up to 8 to 9 psi) is air-to-water integrated chargecooler manifold and at the moment claims ~30 to 40 HP gain at the wheel and ~25% toque gain (also at the wheel).

2 very good companies. And i would be happy with any one of this kit's performance gain, although i do like ESS's claimed gain little better. But after VF comes out with their stage 2 then well, they may have upper hand.

Except i'm hearing pretty "consistent" complaints/FUDs from shops and individuals that have had ESS supercharger kit installed. And they are,

a) Illustrated installation instruction is terrible for average, non-mechnical person. Maybe this is better now with lots of pictures and illustrations. And this's DIY does help too. Reason i'm getting really worried about poor instruction is that i'm trying to really do this myself to save some $$$. If not a shop called RevTech that does purely Honda cars. But ESS (like VF) being a "bolt-on" ready-to-run kit, i would think that any performance mod shop can do this installation. So having a really good instruction would be a bonus.

b) Although ESS claims they tune their software with stock setup, most people end up going back and forth several times with ESS at Norway (i think with Hans is the person that do all the software tunning???) to get the tunning done right and looks like eventually ESS gets it right. Most cases people dyno and realize after ESS install their car is running TOO rich (whatever that means). Even the local performance shop had this exact experience when they installed ESS several months ago, just going back and forth several times to get the tunning right. So i'm thinking maybe ESS software just isn't a plug-n-play with stock setup and that couple iteration is just the norm and i just need to accept it. I don't know what to say about this, i.e. whether i will also run into this problem. But i'm thinking with local US office and if i were to purchase the direct programming kit, maybe i can lessen the pain and grief of not having to go back and forth with sending the ECU unit to Norway for reprogramming.

c) ESS service and support was horrible. Maybe that will change with opening of office in USA.

Anyone can help to clear up above points? I personally like to go with ESS but then again, above points are just eery experiences and really TOO consistent with folks that have done work on ESS kit... sigh...

You could also say things about VF that are,

a) VF doesn't have track record with BMW, and tunning BMW. But sounds like GIAC has great track record with tunning BMW's. Or something like that.

b) VF's stage 2 sounds dangerous and actually loose than gain. I don't know what to say here.

Then comes not ESS specific, but ASA versus Vortech. Just another head spinner... What comes down to this battle is following points,

a) Vortech is US based so support will be better, eg. if need to be rebuilt.
b) ASA is quieter (supposedly), but i understand that all supercharger unit will start out loud for first 1000 miles or so.
c) ASA is technically a better unit, with cluth and better torque response at the low RPM, and ASA is more $$$.
d) Vortech appears to have real issue with blower running at IDLE and if driving in metropolitan cities with traffic issues, then stop and go driving with blower always running can be real hard on the engine with heat related issues.

So sounds like what i need is a kit with ASA supercharger unit with GIAC software... sigh...

So much choices... so little time...

Thanks much!