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3617RE: 528e improvements

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  • Bob Sutterfield
    May 20, 2005
      Scott Gamble wrote:
      > Do you have any performance or component suggestions...
      > I'm a rather demanding driver...

      The most effective bang-for-the-buck performance improvement you can make on any BMW is to upgrade the nut holding the steering wheel. Join the BMW Car Club of America at http://bmwcca.org and participate in your chapter's performance driving schools and its autocross series. The skills, knowledge, and experience you gain will improve your safety and the performance you can extract from every vehicle you drive for the rest of your life. Frankly, without some specific training, your greatest demands on the street cannot exceed around 20% of your car's capabilities. A skillful, experienced driver can safely extract performance from your stock 528e that exceeds your wildest imagination. And it's fun too!

      David Patterson wrote:
      > If you want to bump up the ponies on your 528e...

      Along with all those items, a popular change is to turn your eta into an "ita" by transplanting the head from a M20B25, which you'll find in an E30 325i or an early E34 525i. Join http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/mod_m20 for all there is to learn about that engine.

      For forced induction, read anything by Corky Bell. For an off-the-shelf product, see http://turbochargingdynamics.com and http://machschnell.com and http://kormanfastbmw.com

      > With all these mods you need to make sure that your BMW brake system
      > is upgraded also as you beef up the performance. Drilled/slotted
      > rotors and HIGH quality brake pads or if your money allows add a
      > Brembo brake kit! Choice!

      Drilled and slotted rotors are ornamental with no functional benefit, which is fine if that's what you want. I use Balo flat-face rotors when I can. I once tried Zimmerman holey rotors that had been frozen, and found no benefit for the way I drive, whether street or autocross or racetrack. Every set of Ate rotors I have ever bought, for whatever vehicle, have had excessive runout when I took them out of the box. Since Ate is the only manufacturer of rotors to fit my van, I now know to get them turned before I even bother installing them. I put Brembo (only vendor I could get on my schedule) flat-face vented rotors on my 320i, though with only a few thousand miles and no track or autocross time I can't say whether they're good or bad. Now that I'm parting the car out I suppose I'll never know...

      Though they're fine for street and autocross, I found the stock 535i front rotors to be inadequately sized for the heat of track use. They warped to unusability within a couple hours on an open lapping day. I then replaced my brakes with the setup from an E34 540i (same as an E32 7xx in front and a US E34 M5 in back) and installed the factory front brake ducts. No more rotor problems. I chose the factory 540i route because of their lower cost than high-zoot aftermarket options, and the wide availability of a variety of pad choices (same pad fitment as an E36 M3), and because they fit beneath the ugly 15" steel snow wheels we used when we lived in Denver.

      See http://bimmer.roadfly.org/e28/messages/archive/msgsy2002w12/12698.html for my duct write-up. See http://www.bmwe34.net/e34main/upgrade/brakes.htm
      and http://m535i.org/officers/ra/articles.html#brakes for factory brake upgrade choices.

      On the street, I use R4-S pads from http://porterfield-brakes.com On the racetrack I use a menagerie of Porterfield and Performance Friction pads, depending upon the particular track and its braking and handling demands, also the weather on the day I'm driving.

      I hope this is useful to you! I may be a bit of a curmudgeon regarding mods that are popular but I decry as ornamental or snake oil. Certainly others may hold differing opinions, but this is what I've found works for me.
      Bob Sutterfield
      '88 E28 535iS lachssilber-met
      '91 E30 318iS alpinweiß
      '83 E21 320i opalgrün-met (RIP, parting out)
      '93 T4 EV MV Weekender Arktisches Weiß
      BMWCCA #169277 GGC/RMC
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