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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:10 PM
Asian M3 Asian M3 is offline
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Should i buy a turbo or a supercharger?



Hey i want to buy a either a turbo or a supercharger for my m3. i not sure what i should buy. i want something that is dependable and easy to mantain. I know im going to get a lot of power either way but i dont know what i would be happy with.
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:46 PM
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supercharger. i honestly dont know much about the subject but almost all of the adds i see are for superchargers. plus that whine they make sounds cool lol good luck.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:28 PM
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Depends on what you want. Both of them whine. Lol.

Do you want power down low for everyday driving, or just power in the top for racing?

For 95% of the people on this board, a supercharger will be infinitely more effective. Turbos are fun, feeling that boost suddenly kicking in and hearing your BOV, but on the streets they're pretty much useless.
Superchargers don't have that sudden kick or BOV noise, but they'll make more power in your lower ranges (like up to 3k) that a turbo could never dream of. So, you'll actually have more power for your everyday use without having to kill the car going up to redline. It will have a much more smooth, powerful, strong feeling, while you won't even NOTICE the turbo until about 3k.
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:04 PM
superalex superalex is offline
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go with turbo=higher top end, cheaper, more efficient in daily driving than supercharger
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by superalex View Post
go with turbo=higher top end, cheaper, more efficient in daily driving than supercharger
Uhm, if someone wants to drop money into their car for more power, why would they waste it on something thats only good for street racing? And if I was spending a few grand to go FI, I wouldn't be caring about that kind of efficiency.

The simple answer is if you want usable, mean power all through the rev range, go Super.
If you just want power up top when you really gun it, and want to wait for it, but can't expend a few ponies to drive the supercharger at high RPM's, then turbo.

If its a street driven car, super is the only way to go. End of story.
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:02 AM
Chris S Chris S is offline
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hmm... heres a REALLY dumb question but can you install both super and a turbo? if so wont that fix bottom range and top range power?

i suspect not but then never considered installing either so dont have a clue
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:29 AM
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I don't know from doing it on an E36, but there was a Subaru with both. All it takes is money.
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2008, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Depends on what you want. Both of them whine. Lol.

Do you want power down low for everyday driving, or just power in the top for racing?

For 95% of the people on this board, a supercharger will be infinitely more effective. Turbos are fun, feeling that boost suddenly kicking in and hearing your BOV, but on the streets they're pretty much useless.
Superchargers don't have that sudden kick or BOV noise, but they'll make more power in your lower ranges (like up to 3k) that a turbo could never dream of. So, you'll actually have more power for your everyday use without having to kill the car going up to redline. It will have a much more smooth, powerful, strong feeling, while you won't even NOTICE the turbo until about 3k.
lol thanks for the eduction chad. i did always know there was a difference i just couldnt remember what it is. i i also agree now with chad. supercharge for street turbo for racing.
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by 328ioc View Post
lol thanks for the eduction chad. i did always know there was a difference i just couldnt remember what it is. i i also agree now with chad. supercharge for street turbo for racing.
Well, that's the symptoms of the differences. That's not the difference itself.

Real quick before I'm late to class....
-They both use a turbine to force air into the engine, the more air you have, the more fuel+air goes into the cylinder each stroke, and the more power you get.

-Turbos are connected to the exhaust. The exhaust manifold terminates at the turbo. They exhaust gases have just come out of the cylinders and are hot and very highly pressurized. They spin through the turbo, turning a turbine, before exiting out of the turbo and through the rest of the exhaust. The turbine spins an impeller, which the incoming air goes through and is pressurized. However, because the speed of the turbo is dependent on the exhaust gases, you don't get much pressure until the higher RPMs and enough gases have gone through to really get it spinning. On an E36, a small 7psi turbo would probably not be fully spooled (producing max boost) until at least 3100 or so.

-Superchargers are connected to the crank. As the engine spins, it drives the impellers, which propel more gases in. The main downside here is that since it relies on the engine to run it, it creates a small amount of drag on the engine. What this means is that an s/c is not as efficient at making power. It takes a bit of the power of the engine to make power. You obviously still end up with a net increase, but you do have that effect. That's why, for racing, many people go with turbos so there is only power with no drag on the engine, the turbo can make the same (or more) power at high RPM's with no negative effects. But, at low RPMs on a street car, you're better off with an s/c because you don't have to wait for it to spool up. You can be making 12psi at 2000 RPM (well, I wouldn't use that much boost on an E36, but you get the idea).

Hope that makes sense. Gotta run....
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:56 PM
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Super Chargers Vs. Turbos.

Essentially both are from the same family, artificial aspiration (A/A). The differences between the two arise from how evolved they are.

Super chargers are the more primitive form of A/A. It requires a device added, driven by the crankshaft, to pact more oxygen into the same volume of space so that more fuel can be combusted producing more Torque. The extra load on the crankshaft means that the motor must work harder all the time to drive the extra pulley that force feeds the motor. There is a power loss involved to turn the extra device but also a power gain from the more potent combustion. All in all the net result is a positive Torque gain despite the parasitic drain.

Turbo chargers are the more evolved form of A/A. It uses the naturally pressurized exhaust fumes from the motor to turn what looks like a water wheel. This water wheel is connected to another water wheel via a shaft in its center and the two wheels are separated by a wall. This second wheel is the device that force feeds the motor. The advantage of this more evolved design is the absence of the parasitic drain from the extra pulley found in super charging hence it yields better on the net gains.

Another way to look at it is turbo chargers are free power boosters since they use spent exhausts to rotate turbines that in turn force feeds the motor, whereas super chargers are paid power boosters who require payment upfront to do the same job. This will produce a better yield of net gains in turbo charged scenarios.

This is not an end all solution though because there are disadvantages of turbos over supers. Firstly, turbos are more complex since harnessing free power isn't cheap. More complex means more $ and more potential problems. Secondly, turbo's rely on exhaust fumes to rotate turbines hence producing a slight lag time to feel the effects of the turbo . The lag time arises because the motor has to start combusting first, before the turbo starts to spin and produce results. Supers on the other hand, are always running and produces the extra boost the instant the crank moves quicker so the response time is quicker.

Generally speaking, besides price, this is where the big difference lies between the two and which one to install depends on your needs. Can you wait for mum's free taxi service or do you want your own limo driver waiting on stand-by?
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2008, 12:24 AM
SCANDINAVIAN13 SCANDINAVIAN13 is offline
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It's Forced Induction, or FI. Artificial Aspiration is somewhat of a misnomer.

As for the OP's query, you're going to want to mod everything else before adding a turbo. Most tools come on here and their first post is "OMG 1337, can I add a farking TURBO, 1337, OMG LOLZ!" and my answer to all of them is this:

Upgrade everything else:
-Exhaust
-Plugs
-Pulleys
-Gaskets
-Heads
-Clutch
-Fly
...etc, etc, etc.

If you're going to throttle your engine by increasing compression the thing needs to be in shape. The engine and driveline all need to be in good health to take the punishment. Until that point, turbo is not the answer. Turbos are an end answer, after all other performance modifications have been exhausted.

FI is essentially worthless on the street as has been mentioned earlier, anyway.

Start at the bottom and work up. It'll be worth it in the end.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2008, 01:09 AM
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Well, I totally agree everything needs to be in better shape than it was when it left Germany.

However, if you ask me, your plugs and head don't need to be messed with.
With FI, yes, gaskets, exhaust, intake, plugs, and clutch need to be in perfect shape. Also, your injectors and fuel system need to be running top notch.

BTW, FI in general is not worthless on the street. A turbo is worthless on the street. A supercharger is extremely fun on the street and well worth the money.
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
A turbo is worthless on the street.
Many, many thousands of BMW, Audi, Saab, Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Subaru owners might disagree.

Either kit is expensive. Considering the engine is relatively high compression to begin with and was not designed for FI, I would avoid both - especially as the cost per HP added is quite high. If forced to choose, I would prefer the SC because of its near instant response and torque. Add the fact most SCs operate at lower pressures and produce lower volumes of air and I believe the installation of the SC would prove somewhat less difficult when compared to a turbo which would require replacement or modification of the exhaust manifold and the installation of an intercooler. Some of the SC kits come minus the intercooler because typically they produce lower pressure.

Perhaps the Turbo kits intended for the E36 don't spin up before 3100 RPM, but a properly selected turbo would. If you choose a turbo to add to an NA engine, it's going to have to run relatively low boost. Low boost means you can select a small turbo and small turbos spin up fast. The kits I've seen run well under one bar of pressure.

Adding either a SC or Turbo will require the replacement of fuel injectors so you're wasting your time wondering about yours. The kits I've seen come with injectors and I'd have them flow tested before installing them to be certain they are balanced.
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Last edited by da geez; 03-05-2008 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 03-05-2008, 07:33 AM
SCANDINAVIAN13 SCANDINAVIAN13 is offline
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Quote:
Many, many thousands of BMW, Audi, Saab, Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Subaru owners might disagree.
The point you failed to highlight, however, is that those turbos are all small turbos and some are progressive, unlike more aftermarket turbo kits that most tools throw in their cars. They're not interested in smart modding, they just want to brag about peak HP. They want the big turbo with tons of low-end lag, little mid-range power and tons of high-end.

If you've ever watched someone play Forza, you'll know what I mean. Those smaller turbos and superchargers are there for a reason. They're not there just for cheaper modding - they're there for different applications. If it's not a high speed course, the supercharger will help you burn people out of turns, unlike the other cars with turbos strapped on them.
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Old 03-05-2008, 11:16 AM
estoril blu estoril blu is offline
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Da geez thats what i was thinking dont think its as simple of bolting on a super charger or turbo you have to low compress the engine right a standard engine has too much compression for a turbo so alot more mods like smaller pistons is requied for lowering compression,if i was to choose one i think a super charger is more suited to the bmw engine and less likely to go wrong ive had quite a few turbod cars and had loads of headach especially is theyve been highly modded
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da geez View Post
Many, many thousands of BMW, Audi, Saab, Volvo, Mitsubishi, and Subaru owners might disagree.

Either kit is expensive. Considering the engine is relatively high compression to begin with and was not designed for FI, I would avoid both - especially as the cost per HP added is quite high. If forced to choose, I would prefer the SC because of its near instant response and torque. Add the fact most SCs operate at lower pressures and produce lower volumes of air and I believe the installation of the SC would prove somewhat less difficult when compared to a turbo which would require replacement or modification of the exhaust manifold and the installation of an intercooler. Some of the SC kits come minus the intercooler because typically they produce lower pressure.

Perhaps the Turbo kits intended for the E36 don't spin up before 3100 RPM, but a properly selected turbo would. If you choose a turbo to add to an NA engine, it's going to have to run relatively low boost. Low boost means you can select a small turbo and small turbos spin up fast. The kits I've seen run well under one bar of pressure.

Adding either a SC or Turbo will require the replacement of fuel injectors so you're wasting your time wondering about yours. The kits I've seen come with injectors and I'd have them flow tested before installing them to be certain they are balanced.
That's nice, but I've owned and had plenty of experience with turbo charged and supercharged cars, and can tell you hands down a supercharger will produce mire usable power during normal driving. And if you're going to add a turbo, why would want to put a small turbo that's good for 8 or 10 PSI max on there? Sure that may spool quickly, but in the end you want to be able to upgrade.

You are correct about compression. I'm trying to tell people the way that most of them will be happy with, just upgrading what needs to be done to put on a small turb running 5 or 6 pounds. If it were me I'd have the head pulled and machined, the block decked, and a thicker metal headgasket installed. Good injectors, better fuel pump, a wideband, oil pressure, oil temp, fuel pressure, turbo pressure, AFR gauges, CAI, downpipe, exhaust, higher pressure clutch, since the head was off I'd port and polish and increase the valve openings, bigger valves and better springs, etc. Plus, if I were to do a turbo set up, I'd be running sequential twins. But that's thousands more than the kit already, so......
Most people just want one to give a bit more pressure and say I HAZ A TURBOZ!!! LAWL!

Either way, I'd still want a supercharger.....lol.
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Old 03-07-2008, 12:32 PM
Regista84 Regista84 is offline
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you can set up a turbo kit for a lot cheaper than a sc kit. also you can basically turn off your turbo (with the right instrument)if you want to save some gas. 2,500 to 3000 rpm is not that far way from idle so that argument is not so strong. Speed is an adiction and we can all agree on that. Sometimes you want a good thrill for less $$$. It's like what Mary99 said you should get cake is tastier to you. SC = instant power/$$$$. Turbo = more power a little later on/lot let $$$$(plus bov is pretty cool)
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:58 PM
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I wouldnt go so far as to call Turbos useless on the street. My main driver is a MKV VW GTI and its a complete blast to drive around in, quick, agile, doesnt take long to spool up, max torque is avail at around 2500rpm and torque stays flat from there on up.

If you want to get a bit of a comparison, go test drive a Mini S and a GTI and see how they both feel. Mini is Supercharged, GTI has a turbo.

Edit: Also it has a lot to do with the engine, some work better and see different results with a turbo vs a sc. AS for what works better with a BMW I dont know Still learning!
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Old 03-07-2008, 05:54 PM
SCANDINAVIAN13 SCANDINAVIAN13 is offline
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The typical turbo that you're going to drop big dollars on, that all the teenagers want, that has massive boost is worthless on the street. If it's a smaller turbo and can spool earlier, while sacrificing ridiculous boost, fine. Even so, all other upgrades should be taken into account first, as a matter of squeezing out all performance, before adding any FI (turbo or SC).

Again, some people here are missing the difference between a stock turbo and most aftermarket turbos.
Stock turbos are designed for the engine and the engine is designed to handle the turbo. The turbos are also smaller, have less boost and less lag. A lot of the aftermarket kits are high boost, high-end output systems. Meaning, you're not going to be getting much benefit from them unless you're driving ridiculously fast. As with the stock FI, it's designed in such a way that you can take advantage of it without sacrificing your daily driving needs, while still being able to kick in with enough performance down low.
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